Walther P22

7.0
7.0 score
[Editors rating (7.0) + Users rating (8.6)] / 2 = (TheGearHunt) score (7.0)/10


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Editor rating: 7.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 3 user ratings
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Walther P22 Review Facts

There are many variations of the P22. It is a semi-automatic pistol that once resembled the P99. Now it is similar in style to the Walther PPQ or the new Walther CCP. There are stainless steel and colored models. The Walther P22 has changed the way a .22 rimfire handgun looks.

Walther adapted the Performance Design concepts and tactical styling from the centerfire handguns. They have been applied to the .22 L.R. A new movement in a contemporary rimfire handgun design was created. Competitors are trying to imitate the model. The stylish, fun handgun is at home in a modern art museum, on the shooting range, and around camp.

This semi-automatic pistol is chambered for .22 L.R. rimfire ammunition. It fires double action at approximately 11 pounds and single action using a little more than four pounds of force. The P22 comes with a Walther Legendary Lifetime Warranty which offers confidence in the decision to purchase it. It is a combination of German engineering and a dependable American guarantee. The warranty provides unwavering support of the Walther P22 regardless of the owner being the original purchaser or not.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Ambidextrous safety
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Customizable fit back straps
  • Affordable
  • 10-round magazine
  • Multiple accessory options
Cons
  • Only one mag in the box
  • Not a self-defense weapon
  • Doesn’t function well with low-velocity, low-pressure ammo
Barrel

Barrel

The pistol has a .34-inch barrel and weighs a little over a pound. The barrel, along with the recoil spring guide, ejector, and extractor are made of steel. The Walther P22 has a threaded barrel to be used with a suppressor.

The pistol has an option for an extended barrel which is recommended because, without the section, the gun is not very long and very light. Adding the extension improves accuracy and adds some weight to the pistol.

Handgun suppressors provide significant benefits. They tend to reduce complaints of noise whether shooting at the range or in the backyard. Muzzle flash is significantly reduced. Most of the hot gas that follows as projectile out of a barrel is siphoned off.

They cool in the suppressor before they are capable of igniting in the open air. Most suppressors cause a slight velocity bump that is good unless attempting to shoot subsonic ammunition loaded close to the environment speed of sound. A suppressor aids in muzzle control which means faster follow-up shot and sometimes better accuracy.
Magazine Release

Magazine Release

The magazine injector of the Walther P22 is stiff. More than one person has reported the problem. When a magazine is loaded into the pistol, there is a hard click to engage the magazine. It has a sliding spring that is supposed to make putting rounds into the gun easy.

Experts have different opinions about the solution. One train of thought is to polish the piece that catches on to the magazine lock. The system begins to work better after continued use. Lack of knowledge about how to use the magazine release is the other theory. Do not use the thumb. Use the middle finger, and it magically works. The user does not have to shift the grip. The magazine comes out quickly. It is easy and ergonomic.
 Chamber Viewport

Chamber Viewport

Loaded-chamber indicators provide a tactical an visual indication or a cartridge in the chamber. Many manufacturers include them because they are required by some states and serve as a liability hedge rather than to verify the status of a gun or to a round being in the chamber or not.

Pistols having a loaded-chamber indicator protruding from the slide top behind the ejection port are effective from a tactical perspective and visually. Even when wearing gloves, the indicator does its job. Experts who are concerned about the aesthetics of a firearm find indicators to be ugly.

There are other means of verifying that there is a cartridge in the chamber such as the press-check method. The Walther P22 does have a chamber viewport that is advertised for quick status inspection. The loaded-chamber indicator indicates there is a round in the chamber. It is not a reliable determination that the chamber is clear.
Sights

Sights

The sights of the Walther P22 are excellent. There are two sights. There is plenty of light between the rear sight and the front sight blade. The front is interchangeable for adjusting elevation. The other sight adjusts for windage. Interchangeable sights improve performance and enhance shooting experience and confidence. Vision and accuracy are also improved.

Sights for handguns are optic, tritium, or fiber. The standard sight of the Walther P22 is a 3-Dot polymer sight. Nearly all new guns have some form of three-dot sights that are painted white. Experts have shown disdain for the configuration.

The reason is not that there are three dots but rather that they are white-on-black, non-illuminated sights. That configuration is not suitable for quick sight acquisition or tracking during rapid fire. The three dots are the same color and usually the same size. They compete for the user’s attention. A plus side of the Walther 3-Dot polymer sight, meant for rapid aiming and target acquisition, is low-profile and will not snag clothing.
Safeties

Safeties

When the Walther P22 is on ‘fire,’ the blocking safety will allow the hammer to hit the firing pin which is the silver bar below the rear sight. Engaging the safety blocks the hammer from hitting the firing pin. The hammer does not drop.

In the ‘safe’ position you can manually pull to drop the hammer. The hammer should never drop when the safety lever is moved. The primary purpose of the safety is to provide negligent or accidental discharge.

There are two drop safeties as well as the firing pin block for safe carriage. Drop safeties mandate a trigger be pressed to fire the weapon. Firing pin blocks are generally not considered a safety feature, but a gun at rest has a striker in the ‘half-cocked’ position. Pressing the trigger fully, cocks the weapon before the striker is released. All three safeties are engaged with the trigger in the forward position.
External Slide Stop

External Slide Stop

Walther has incorporated a revolutionary external slide stop. It locks back after a magazine is empty. It is a slide stop, not a slide release. Using it as a release does not take full advantage of the spring that drives the slide forward.

Occasionally, the slide fails to pick up the fresh round in the magazine. It might not seat a new round in the chamber. Use of the slide stop to release the slide accelerates the wear of the parts involved. It requires fine motor skills to manipulate the slide’s external surface.

Defensive shooters avoid using fine motor skills whenever possible. Under pressure, the user may fumble and slow down response time. A slide stop is not a necessity. Racking the slide back with force works for any pistol if it is necessary to avoid wasted time.
DA/SA Trigger

DA/SA Trigger

The DA/SA trigger system has been called an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem. It is an intricate design. Many disagree. The proof is in the number of DA/SA semi-automatic pistols designed and purchased.

Many people prefer a pistol that has a trigger press that is consistent. It is usually easier to master a single-action pistol unless it has a lousy trigger. Becoming proficient with the dual action pistol is doable. It requires an instructor who can teach the techniques of using a double-action pistol correctly.

Such an instructor may be difficult to find. Seeking someone capable has its advantages. A double-action pistol is a safer option than most other handguns. Being challenging to learn to shoot is the primary reason for their lack of popularity.

It requires deliberate practice. Shooting double-action is the first challenge. The long, heavy trigger intimidates many people. The key to success is consistent trigger pressure. The rule of using only the first pad of the trigger finger does not work for double-action pistols.

More finger on the trigger provides more leverage for a smooth press. There are other techniques to master. With work, a shooter can learn to master a double-action pistol. Until mastery occurs, the single-action is available.
Accessory Rail

Accessory Rail

The Walther P22 sports an accessory rail for lasers and lights. It is a Picatinny rail which is standard military rail interface. The rail provides a firearm accessories platform. It replaces iron sights used in designing many firearms.

The rail is a strip that is undercut to form a hexagonal cross-section or a ‘flattened T’ that has crosswise slats at interspersed intervals that allow sliding and locking accessories in place. The concept is much like the rail mount used for mounting telescopic sights.
Ergonomic Grip

Ergonomic Grip

Experts are fans of the ergonomic grip. The stippled and sculpted grip is designed so that nearly any size hand can control the trigger. The small size of the grip is perfect for little hands. It is a cross-directional, non-slip surface. The shape of the pistol is comfortable. The first things noticed about a handgun are the overall weight and size. If a weapon feels heavy, don’t purchase it.

Straining to hold a handgun makes using it to practice unlikely. There is a line between ‘too heavy’ and ‘heavy.’ Observe how the hands fit around the grip. You should be able to wrap the fingers around the gun in such a way that feels like a proper hold.

It should not feel thin or fat. The process should not be challenging. Move on if there is a need to adjust to compensate for the hand size and gun size to feel natural. The dominant hand should move laterally and vertically with reasonable speed that does not spoil the grip.
Removable Back Strap

Removable Back Strap

The back strap is an excellent feature that was once limited to service pistols. The interchangeable frame back strap allows for a customized fit. It allows the grip insert to be changed to fit different hand sizes. A perfect fit has the crease of the finger resting on the trigger lightly. The back strap is centered in the web of the hand, midway between the forefinger and the thumb.

A correctly-sized gun is in line with the bones of the forearm. The recoil will go into the hand and transfer along the bones of the arm. The back strap allows a natural and strong grip without much strain. The back straps are part of the purchase.
Price

Price

The MSRP is $410. It can be purchased for prices that range from the low to mid 300 dollar range. For the price, there is a nice array of available accessories.

Features

3-Dot polymer sights
Three safeties
Chamber viewport
Custom accessory rail
DA/SA trigger
Ergonomic Walther grip
External slide stop
Magazine release
Removable back strap
Threaded barrel

Bottom Line

The Walther P22 is small and lightweight. It would make a superb entry level or trainer pistol for new enthusiasts. The muzzle flip and recoil are nearly non-existent which adds to easy gradient learning. The gun is comfortable and fun to shoot.

There are concerns about the 3-Dot polymer sight being white and therefore more of a distraction than a benefit. The chamber viewport is also a questionable asset. An external slide stop can be a hindrance if the shooter misuses it. It is not a necessity. One feature, the magazine release, is likely an excellent feature but is misunderstood as to how to use it. Making adjustments to the DA/SA trigger is a feature that many people find difficult.

The ergonomic grip and removable back strap are aspects of the Walther P22 that rate high. Other positive aspects are the ambidextrous safety on the side of the slide, an external hammer and a threaded barrel. Along with the pistol, the package includes one mag, a re-assembly rod, a trigger lock, and the back straps.