By Mark Fike
Last week I wrote a column about which gun I would pick for my family if I could only choose one. I actually wrote about the caliber I would choose which is .22. While I won’t rehash that story, I wanted to do a follow-up story on the SR22 pistol I mentioned in last week’s piece.
Ruger makes great products. I have been using Ruger firearms for nearly 40 years. My use of their products includes rimfire rifles and pistols, centerfire rifles and pistols and some shotgun use. A little over a year ago, I was looking for a handgun to train women and kids with that was not heavy, had little recoil and decent sights.
One of my friends, who is a woman, came to an introductory firearms event I was hosting to assist and she was showing the young women her “carry gun.” I was a bit surprised to see it was a .22 pistol. The young women shot her gun and my old Mark II .22 pistol and did quite well with mine, but soon grew tired of holding all that weight up (I have the target version with a long barrel). However, once they became proficient at aligning sights and trigger control, they began shooting quite well with the SR22.
A month later I went into my local gun shop looking for some advice from a lady named Kathy that I always deal with. She is a straight shooter both literally and figuratively. I did not tell her about my experience with the SR22 and the young women, but I did ask what she would recommend for training purposes. She immediately led me to the counter where the Ruger SR22s were kept.
Two women I trusted had the same opinion on the matter and I could not pass that up as a random coincidence. Being a huge fan of the .22 round, I purchased one for the purposes stated above.
Here are the tech specs: Double or single action, rounded hammer, polymer frame with interchangeable rubberized grips, aluminum slide with serrations for working it, inspection port for visual confirmation of loaded chamber, Picatinny rail, 2 ten round mags, 2 finger grip extension floorplates, simple to field strip, 3 dot sights with rear being totally adjustable with a flathead screwdriver, ambidextrous thumb safety and decocking lever and mag release. Barrels are either 3.5” (the one I tested) or 4.5” and pistols come in a variety of color configurations. All shoot .22LR ammo. Mags hold 10 +1.
Since purchasing that pistol over a year ago for the club I run, we have had no issues at all. Women and youth love shooting it. For brand new shooters, it can take time to teach them to take careful aim. Using a .22 pistol shortens that learning curve quite a bit because recoil is negligible and ammunition is not expensive, loud or hard to come by.
Because the gun is officially the club gun, I did not shoot it or use it myself beyond club duties. So, after watching everyone else have a ton of fun with it, I went and purchased one for myself and my family as I stated in last week’s article. Retail on this gun is around $420 in places I looked.
Here are my findings:
Groups at 10 yards simply using a table and my hands (no vise or V rest) to carefully shoot were a smidge over 1 inch. Given that I wear bifocals now, I suspect it will shoot even better. I then decided to dump 20 rounds (2 magazines) into a second target in 10 seconds. I actually took 11 seconds and change to drop 20 rounds including the magazine swap, but my group at 10 yards was 3.5 inches. I don’t think that is too shabby considering I still am figuring out the bifocal glasses and pistol sights.
When I first got the second pistol, I noticed a gritty trigger pull. I cleaned the gun but it was still there. 300 rounds later, it seems to have disappeared. The first 300 rounds also presented a slight issue with the slide release not cleanly dropping the slide on the full magazine. The proper way to load the gun is pull the slide back and let it fly forward to pick up the round off the top of the magazine. I never had any issues doing that. After breaking the gun in, the slide release works well too.
This pistol is simple to use and a real pleasure to shoot. As a challenge, I shot at the Shoot-N-C repair dots (approx. 1” in size) that come with the targets at 10 yards from a rest just to see if the pistol could hit them repeatedly. I was pleasantly surprised to see all three shots nearly touching inside the dot!
While a .22 is not as effective as a .380, 9mm, .45, or a .40, my go-to carry gun, in the hands of someone that is very comfortable, confident and consistent, it would suffice in a self-defense situation to at least allow you to buy yourself time, gain the upper hand and possibly end the attack.
The gun is lightweight, easy to carry and fits your hand well. While I am sure that there are plenty of people that might disagree with my statement about this gun being used for self-defense, I tend to ask myself which is better: someone carrying a gun that they are slightly afraid of or possibly not as proficient with because it does not fit them well, or that person carrying something like an SR22 which allows them to put 10 rounds plus 1 downrange quickly, accurately and with confidence? I will take the latter any day.