Ruger's Versatile SR22: Training, Plinking, and yes, Self Defense Ready


Note the ambidextrous safety and magazine release. The SR22 also offers adjustable grip inserts.

Comfy. Not quite the word I ever expected to use to describe a pistol, but it’s true. One might argue for comfortable, and I’d likely concede, but I appreciate the former’s connotation. The bottom line? Comfy was my first impression of the Ruger SR22. Holding it in one hand felt right. It felt easy.

The ergonomic black polymer grip didn’t leave my hands marked with indentations and the black anodized aluminum slide was just heavy enough for gravity to pull the muzzle towards the ground. Though it arrived with interchangeable rubberized grips for varied palm swell options, I never felt a need to change it. To quote Goldilocks, it felt “just right.”

A three-dot sight system with a fixed front sight and windage-and-elevation adjustable rear allows for similar customization. The rear blade itself is reversible — allowing shooters to choose between two white dots and solid black.

What’s not to love about the flat shooting joy of plinking with a nice rimfire pistol?

Safety First …

After verifying the gun was unloaded, I dared myself to try the trigger. Though there are various schools of thought on it, I’ve always tried to avoid dry-firing rimfires. With barely any force at all, the trigger shoe smoothly glided to the rear of the trigger guard. Surprised and concerned, I kept trying. I soon realized I had left the gun on safe. Oops. I moved the ambidextrous safety with my thumb and attempted to try again. This time the trigger was “stuck,” the shoe seemingly locked back to the rear of the trigger guard. I almost panicked. My first thought was I never should have dry-fired the gun, I had broken it without even having shot it. In reality, I discovered the magazine safety.

While some may argue magazine safeties are good, allowing someone to render a firearm unusable or keep a handgun stored with one in the chamber and no chance of it going off without a magazine inserted, I tend to disagree. But that’s just my preference. If you’re in the “love magazine safeties” camp, then you’ll be happy to learn the SR22 has one.

Serena checking out the SR22 at an indoor IDPA match. Seeing those 0.22"
hits on target was a bit tough, but the lack of recoil made up for it.

Trial By Competition

I used the Ruger SR22 at my very first IDPA match. Due to ammunition shortages, the course was somewhat modified. Participants could shoot .22LR in lieu of centerfire. Since I was new, I started from low-ready rather than drawing from cover from a holster. The match consisted of several stages, each with a self-defense themed scenario and instructions on how many rounds to fire and at what targets. Speed and accuracy both play roles in IDPA shooting.

Trial by fire IDPA with a .22 was incredibly difficult. I couldn’t see holes in the cardboard targets like I could with centerfire rounds. Some stages required a certain number of hits per target — I had to guess, and trust, where my hits were. Although I have to admit, the ease of control and lack of recoil was a nice benefit …

The sights are standard 3-dot, but if you prefer blacked out rear sights, the blade is reversible.

The SR22 is a hammer-fired, double-action/single-action
pistol and features a magazine disconnect safety.


This wasn’t the first time I fired the pistol, shooting it first in my backyard and at an indoor range. It was still easy to hold, nothing changed that, but the trigger tripped me up a bit. The single-action trigger pull is predictable and relatively smooth and crisp. As a hammer-fired pistol, the first shot on the SR22 double action with a longer and heavier pull — by design — unless you manually cock the hammer. I freely admit I’m spoiled rotten by my regular diet of match rifle triggers so I’m still getting accustomed to double-action pistol triggers. I found myself applying mere fractions of the pressure I needed. To make it through, I began pulling through the trigger and jumping it — both negative habits I didn’t wish to foster. Gotta work on that!

The rounded external hammer is small and low-profile, it stays out of the way, unlikely to snag on clothing and other objects though not large and easy to reach by feel.

The Ruger SR22 is a nice-looking pistol, isn’t it? It feels equally good in the hand.

Rimfire Ammo

Though not my first choice for self-defense, the release of viable .22LR self-defense ammunition like Federal’s Punch makes it an option. These new rounds ran flawlessly in the gun — no jams or misfires. The nice thing about Punch ammo for those who choose a .22 for defensive use is it’s designed to penetrate reliably. No fancy hollowpoint features designed for thin-skinned, small varmints.

Federal wasn’t the only ammunition I fired through the gun. I was very happy with SK’s Pistol Match rimfire ammunition too as it offered flawless function and predictable accuracy.

The Ruger SR22 has many uses. Holster manufacturers make dozens of options for it. It serves as a great trainer gun for larger centerfires, .22 LR self-defense option, or low-recoil plinking gun. An underside Picatinny rail has multiple cross slots for accessory mounting. MantisX, a company focused on improving shooter abilities, even offers a special magazine adapter for this arm. Grip and sight options allow shooters to make the gun their own and for it to fit more than one person. Easy and fun to shoot, this is an item I’d take out to the range for some light plinking and keep by my bedside as a backup firearm.

The MSRP is $529, and the package includes two 10-round magazines, two finger grip extension floorplates, and the palmswell grip panels if you want to customize the hand fit.

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