Ruger SR22 vs. Walther P22 – Which is Best?

Ruger SR22 300x214 Ruger SR22 vs. Walther P22    Which is Best?

Ruger SR22

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.

Specifications:

  • 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.

 

p22 new 300x242 Ruger SR22 vs. Walther P22    Which is Best?

Walther P22

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.

 

Comments

  1. caoimhin says:

    Nice story, now can you share the web site that has the after market mags at about half price. I have a Walther PPS and the spare mags are $40. Thanks again

    • JP in MT says:

      I found P22 mags at http://www.keepshooting.com. At the timer they were about $12 plus shipping. I know they also make 1911 45 ACP mags, but I haven’t tried them you.

      I also got an email from BotachTactical.com about P-Mags for the AR. Gen 2’s under $13 and Gen 3’s under $15. No shipping charge!

      • caoimhin says:

        I think I reported you by accident. Sorry sir. Thanks for the link. I use Botach quite often and have never had a problem with them. Gotta save where we can because we won’t save any on ammo.

  2. When I was looking for a trail gun/plinker a revolver was on the list then I saw the Walther P22. It was smaller,lighter had a higher capacity and was about the same price. The little P22 has been fun and accurate, with no hiccups yet, the only problems I’ve had are magazines have been very hard to find with prices on ebay in the $50-60 range.Of course ammo has been a challenge, with 22lr being so popular it has almost disappeared with prices skyrocketing.
    Recently ammo has become more available while prices have calmed a bit. Also I have been able to find some aftermarket magazines for $19-20, they have been reliable sofar without any issues.
    The Walther P22 was a nice surprise,although it lacks the stopping power of a Glock 23 in 40 s&w, I feel confident that with good shot placement it can handle most emergencies that could pop up along the local rail-trails and in the backyard.

    • bwright1553 says:

      I agree BId D. My Walther P22 is a great little gun. If you I were to carry the P22 I’m confident that I could get some well place shots.

    • JP in MT says:

      You will be well served by the Walther, as we were. As I was saying, now it is just a matter of personal preference to go with the Tiger. But for the time being, I’ll still have both. Since ‘some’ 22LR ammo has become available, I plan to put it through a bit of a ‘torture’ test, probably with a couple thousand round of cheap/dirty ammo.

  3. J Stuart says:

    That has been my experience. The Ruger is my preference. Good info on the various ammo tried. I usually just stick with bulk ammo.

    • Thomas T. Tinker says:

      Its’ good to have the $$ to own both. My Walther is the one I use at IDPA several matches a season. I vote with Bid D. It is a very nice fit in my ham like mit. My wife uses one. My SIL and BIL use the one I gave em. It is also a nice partner to the Walther PK380…. which is Momma San’s carry iron.

      • JP in MT says:

        TTT:

        We all make choices with our $$. Mine just happens to be guns and ammo. Right now 22’s are not very expensive and I traded some of my excess ammo (via fiat currency) for the Ruger. The deal I got on the used Walther (almost) made me feel bad.

        My hope in sharing this info was that someone looking at both might be able to save some money by having another persons opinion.

        • Thomas T. Tinker says:

          Ahmen Sir… This style of posting is what helps me connect the dots and make a good choice.

  4. riverrider says:

    nice job, jp! i’ll be sticking with my walther tho, until the ruger has proven its longevity. i keep wanting to sell it but the weight and sheer handy-ness of the thing keeps it in my collection. if it were more accurate i’d sell off my heavy rugers but…

  5. Thanks for the comparison. Good timing, I have been contemplating what to buy next for our home collection now that we have a 12 gauge (HR Protector) and a rifle (Marlin 795). The Ruger is front runner, mostly because of cost (and common ammo with the rifle). We can’t get the threaded barrel version here in CA, but that is not a big deal.

  6. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Thank you for your review. Anyone who wants to research rimfire specific information would be well advised to check out Rimfire Central, a forum dedicated to rimfire shooting shooting sports of all types.

    For the folks who already own a Ruger Mark I / II / III series, some companies offer replacement barelled receivers for about the same amount of money. Since the serial # is on the receiver, this has to be through a federal dealer unless its a face to face private buy. The Browning Buckmark though can have its barrel only replaced, and so does not require a registered transaction and can be sent through the mail in most jurisdictions (check your local laws).

    • JP in MT says:

      j.r.:

      The barrel removal issue is one of the reasons I have gone with a Buckmark for a full sized 22 LR pistol. I found it easier to give a complete cleaning to. I always said bad things when I had to put a Ruger Mk 1/2/3 or 22/45 back together again.

      • axelsteve says:

        JP in MT Do not feel bad about the Rugers. I have heard from many people how hard it is to disassemble the mark series pistol.

      • JP,
        I’ve owned a Ruger Mark II for more than 30 years and although it gets shot a lot, it rarely gets the cleaning it really deserves, and still runs like a top. Saying bad things to a Ruger Mark series after complete disassembly is a pretty common thing to do, and I’ll admit I’ve done it myself a few times. I actually am in a quandary between the Mark II and the Buckmark and really like them about the same. The Buckmark is however truly a tack driver, right out of the box. I also recently acquired an M&P 22 through the S&W instructor program at obscene discount, and will be using it as a standard handgun for new shooters in our classes. Several other instructors and the club also bought these as a standard handgun for the classes, and once I’ve had some trigger time on it, I’ll throw together a review for this forum.

  7. Rider of Rohan says:

    JP,
    Good, informative article. I just bought the Ruger SR-22 a few months ago after a rigorous search and trial period. I did look at a number of other options, but decided to go with the Ruger over the Walther for a couple of reasons, mainly price, though. Both would have worked well for my wife, who is the primary carrier of the pistol, but I like to carry it as well and will be adding another Ruger SR-22 just as soon as I can find one. Thanks.

    • JP in MT says:

      RoR:

      I just got the light for it from Amazon.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005QPBR9W/ref=oh_details_o01_s01_i02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      Adds a little weight to the muzzle of the pistil, but is very bright.

      I was out of town and stopped at the Class 3 dealer I use and asked about the can for this. It was not in. I get home and there is the paperwork for my SBR that I sent in at the same time. Expect a call tomorrow, but it will be a couple of weeks before I get that way again.

      Maybe another report when I get the whole package together.

      • Thomas T. Tinker says:

        JP I’d sure like to see that package. Can you run through the process with the Feds. I delayed going through it cause I just have no faith in the Feds… er.. trust.. but my local C3 dealer got in a crate of shorty Rem. Police magnums and….. I had ta have one. It’s only been 5 months now so….. I wait. ( I own a standard Rem PM… my pet but ya know how it is…. I just had ta have a shorty.)

        I’m taking it to TDI’s shotgun training next July. Wanna come along? Heckolla… Here is the invite again….. Meet up in the Toledo, Ohio. area Mid July. T and D to follow.

        • JP in MT says:

          TTT:

          Short version:

          SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) costs $200. Basically think of using a pistol upper (under 16″) on an AR lower. The lower needs to be registered. Otherwise the whole gun is.

          Suppressor: Cost $200. You can use it on a variety of weapons (caliber dependent) but it has it’s own serial number, so is “normally” not tied to a particular weapon.

          Full auto or selective fire: Cost $200. These are full fledged Assault Rifles and Machine Guns (rifle caliber) and Sub-machine Guns (pistol caliber). The price of the “stamp” is the least of your costs. With the restrictions on importation and again on manufacture, these are really hard to get and expensive when you do.

          Other Weapon: Cost $20. Shortened shotguns fall into this category. There is a company that makes one using both the Remington 870 action and one using the Mossberg 500 action. Both in 20 and 12 gauge.

          You have to go through a dealer to buy one of these. Transfers, I would go through a dealer. Dealers ususally charge $20-25 to transfer a “regular” weapon, Class 3 weapons will run about $100. BATF takes 5-7 months to process.

          I just had one come back as incomplete after a 5+ month wait. Well see how much longer it takes, once I send it back.

          Hope this helps.

  8. Mr. J.P. ~

    That was a swell weapon/s review. Good job in the write-up. I’ve always wanted my own .22 semi-auto and your review gave me a head’s-up.

    Take care and enjoy the weekend with your loved ones.

    Respectfully,
    Billy

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  9. I looked at both in addition to the Sig Mosquito when I wanted to add a new .22 pistol. I read so much negative press about the Sig I immediately took that out of the equation. I looked at a Walther and saw the handle size. That ended it for me. I have large hands and realized that it wasn’t going to work for me. I then looked at the Ruger and was impressed. The fact I could add an extension with the mag was great. That, plus the grip extenders that come with the gun, were exactly what I wanted. Therefore, I picked one up. It shoots wonderfully! It is smooth and easy to put the ammo downrange. I love shooting it. The only negative was the disassembly. It’s not as bad as my Mark III, but it is kind of a pain to strip down.
    I still recommend it for anyone looking to get a .22 pistol.

    • JP in MT says:

      Eric C:

      I’ve also had a SiG Mosquito and really liked the way it felt in my hand, filling but not overfull. But the main issue was it was not significantly better than by Buckmarks and was more expensive. When I decided that there were other things I needed as a prepper than one of everything that went “bang” it found a new home.

  10. nan in nc says:

    We recently had two of the Ruger SR 22’s for sale in our store. One of them was perfect and it sold very quickly. All of the good things mentioned in this article are quite true. The second one had trigger re-set problems and we sent it back to the distributor for credit. The issue is with the mags, I believe. There are lots of things on YouTube about this particular problem, so If you choose to buy one, check both mags before you do. Cock, de-cock, dry fire, release the mags etc. several times to see if yours is going to be a problem.

    • JP in MT says:

      nan in nc:

      Good to know, I had not heard of this problem until now. But, the advise you give is sound for any weapon! I used to tell the new recruits that when the got a new piece of gear to “snap all the snaps, buckle the buckles, and zip the zippers before they left the issuing facility. It still applies, no mater what it is. Plus if you don’t know, ask the rep. Especially with a weapon. Bad things happen when you “think” you can figure it out, and don’t really know.

  11. Encourager says:

    Thanks for the reviews!

    I have a Walther P22…well, rather, it belongs to my son who let me borrow it about 1 1/2 years ago. He occasionally asks how his P22 is doing and I tell him just fine! I normally prefer a revolver. But after using this Walther P22, I have gotten used to the slide and really like it. I have small arthritic hands and can handle this weapon with no problem.

    I keep asking my son if I can buy it off of him but he says no. I told him okay, I will keep babysitting it! 8^p

  12. livinglife says:

    Nice review, I was debating those two for my aunt who has small hands (5’2″), looks like time to rent and see for sure.
    Good to hear they were both reliable as well. some .22’s are pretty finicky. I may end up with the Ruger.

  13. I purchased a Ruger SR22 and so far it functions pretty smoothly. I did encounter a few failure to feeds & failure to fire but I did more experimenting, what I learned is that it was the ammo used. So far Federal and CCI flawlessly but other ammo such as Remington & Winchester did not function at 100%. All in all I am very satisfied with the Ruger. I did receive a bad mag but contacted Ruger about it and they sent me two free of charge mags to replace the one bad mag. Ruger has a lifetime happy consumer.

  14. SpeedSix says:

    I have and use the SR22, but for a small 22LR, I think that the Ruger LCR might be a better bet. I have the SR22 and it isn’t too bad, and I got it to fill the spot for a small .22LR handgun, however, I just cannot get into the pistol. The trigger on it is atrocious. I feel like I have a stapler in my hand. The trigger on the LCR isn’t the best, either, though, as it has a heavy trigger. For an all-round .22LR, I think the Ruger 22/45 Lite with the 4″ barrel is the best one to get. It is light and accurate. It just doesn’t conceal as well as the LCR or the SR22. There is a new .22LR semi-auto coming out from Taurus that might be the perfect tiny .22LR and at a very attractive price point. Is it as attractive as the SR22. No, but it seems to be even more concealable.

    Maybe if the trigger on the SR22 breaks in and gets better, I will like this gun more. I am also not too fond of the reverse thumb safety that is contrary to many other models. However, I think it is a better value than the Walther and an American-made handgun.

    I feel that Ruger could have done something more to make this gun perfect and that it is lacking.

  15. John Gillispie says:

    On the Humorous Side, Have a Listen to BANG! — A tribute to the sound the gun makes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2F8fxEAp4Q

  16. Bought the SR22 last year and have fired over 2,000 rds through it. It’s never had a FTF FTL or jam of any sort. As with all blowback guns especially rimfire they must be kept clean the most continuous firing wo/claining has been a full brick of 550 rds of cheapo remington 36 gr HP. Nary a hiccup. Shot it recently at a family outing and it was a favorite of the ladies and kids in the group. Don’t expect great accuracy over 15 yards but I can hit a 6″ target consistantly at 25 yards wo/ a problem. Overall a nice plinker and if needed a backup defense gun. (my 9mm is my first choice)

  17. Ruger SR22, declines in water and mud is it possible to work in the post.
    This model has been really very aesthetic. I liked it.