by JP in MT
Ruger SR22 vs. Walther P22
Last year, with a collection of Browning Buckmarks, I decided I wanted a 22 LR pistol in a smaller, lighter package. The pistol would have to be able to mount a light, use a sound suppressor, be reliable, preferably with adjustable sights, and use my preferred brands and types of ammunition. After some research I narrowed my search to the Walther P 22 and the Ruger SR 22.
I picked up the Walther first. It came with a threaded barrel (all the 3.5” models come this way), although additional parts were required to actually mount the suppressor (about $30). It had an under-barrel rail to mount the light, available green fiber-optic front sight. Repair parts were fairly available, as were spare magazines (really on-line only for me).
Last week I picked up a Ruger SR22. Again this model came with a threaded barrel (most do not come this way), but also the additional parts to mount the suppressor. It had an under-barrel rail, and parts and magazines are available. No new front sight yet, but I’m sure it will be. Again, I will have to do on-line ordering of parts and spare magazines. Biggest difference up front is the price; about $85 more for a new Walther (although I have seen some on the used market). So, cost is about $415-460 for a new Walther and $335-370 for a new Ruger.
I have a shooting partner with Arthritis issues in his and his wife’s hands so the 22 LR pistol has been a well looked at option for a carry pistol for both. Mostly I will be carrying mine in the field, along with at least one other weapon. In both cases the weight is an issue.
With ammo, these guns had to reliably use our “standard” 22 LR ammo: Aguila 60 gr sub-sonic, Winchester 40 gr HP Power Point, Remington 36 gr HP sub-sonic, and Federal 36 gr HP (our preferred bulk buy load). Based upon previous tests of our battery of 22 LR firearms, including the Ruger 10/22, these are our “preferred” ammo types. As with the standard Ruger 10/22, both these pistols come with a standard 1/16” twist rate.
- Ruger SR22 Walther P22
- Barrel: 3.50” 3.42” (5” available)
- Length: 6.40” 6.30”
- Height: 4.90” 4.50”
- Width: 1.29” 1.10”
- Weight: 17.50 oz 15.10 oz
- Specifics, Walther P22:
Un-official test results at the range. Both weapons operated without a single misfire, failure to feed, or failure to eject with all of the standard ammo. Both weapons cycled reliably with the 2 brands of sub-sonic ammo (some won’t cycle the action). Accuracy, while not measured from the bench (the range is currently unavailable to me) was from a 2-hand hold, in a secure semi-seated position and from a supported standing position (the 2 that I will use most commonly). Results were generally within a 3” circle at 10 yards. I also fired some Remington High Velocity, CCI Stingers, PMC Zapper, Remington Thunderbolt, Winchester Super Speed, and unbranded Russian cartridges. Both weapons functioned with all of the above, with zero additional failures.
I put about 200 rounds of all brands through both guns. Again no, non-operator induced malfunctions.
Likes, Ruger. Boy did this box come filled. It not only came with everything I needed to use it with a suppressor, it came with replacement magazine bases, a zippered case, and long padlock that is actually usable for something besides a cheap gun lock.
The grip can be changed out by sliding the old grip off and sliding a new one on (provided). This operation is a bit sticky the first time or tow, but gets easier with time. Since the DW and I liked the original one, we have not changed to the optional one. This grip is slightly longer and has a slightly larger diameter than the Walther. All of us (4) preferred the feel of this over the Walther. The gun feels slightly heavier, more substantial. Think of the feel of a Walther PPK/s only in steel and plastic vs. all steel.
The trigger reach is slightly shorter on the Ruger, a plus for us with shorter fingers. When loaded and cocked, both pistol’s trigger was far enough back to be comfortable.
Dislikes, Ruger. As I said it is slightly larger and heavier in feel. This becomes a personal preference. Both guns suffer from a need to remove the suppressor adapter to remove the slide for better cleaning.
Likes, Walther. It is a little smaller and lighter. It comes in a fitted plastic case. It has been around for a while and you can convert it to a 5” barrel if you like. There are more accessories, including specifically made laser sights and different fiber-optic sights available on the secondary market. I found an aftermarket company that makes good quality replacement magazines for one-half the cost of original manufacture’s ones. There is also a holster that holds a suppressor and a spare magazine. Although I can make it work for the Ruger if I want, it’s currently not available in that configuration. (This holster fits my personal requirements for the use of the gun, including mounting a light to the pistol.)
The Walther can also be carried with the safety on, a round in the chamber, and the hammer back (Condition One). The Ruger has the hammer down with the safety on. As a matter of personal preference (and a 1911 aficionado) I like Condition One. But most Double Action Pistols don’t allow this so for most people it is an unknown issue (the Taurus 92/96 and the CZ 75B are the only ones that come to mind). And in my intended uses this should not be an issue.
Dislikes, Walther. The magazine release is different from a convention pistol. It is incorporated into the rear of the trigger guard. It works, it’s just different.
Summary. Either weapon would serve the purpose that I was looking for. Both were very “portable”. For me and mine we found that the slightly longer grip was just enough to make it more comfortable. The same with the diameter of the grip the grip, although the Walther has an adapter (included) it only makes the grip longer, and the “fatter” filled my Med-Large hand better. If bought new, the Walther P22 will cost you a little more (about 15-20%) but I have seen gently used ones at the gun show for $350 (once as little as $200). The Ruger is too new to show up used yet (short of a personal financial issue, new-to-the-market guns that don’t have “issues”, rarely show up for a couple of years at gun shows).
Personally, it looks like we will be having Rugers replacing Walthers at my house.