There are a few clever innovations in handguns that have specific usefulness to certain groups of individuals. One of these is the pop-up barrel that permits loading one round into the chamber of semiautomatic pistols without the need for weak or possibly arthritic hands to work a slide. This feature has been mighty handy over the years for a few folks, to our certain knowledge. We found two modern .22 LR pistols with this feature and decided to see just how well they worked in the field, and against each other on the target.
They were Beretta's Model 21A Bobcat, $250; and Taurus' PT-22, Model 22B, $227, both chambered for .22 LR. The mechanisms were a bit different, the Beretta being DA for the first shot and SA thereafter for all 7+1 shots, and the Taurus being DAO for all its 8+1 shots. But we thought they were within a nickel of each other for overall size and usefulness. Each gun came with just one magazine. Neither gun had an extractor, nor did they need one. With the open-top design, spent cases had lots of room to get out, and all fired rounds from both pistols ejected perfectly, as it turned out.
Either pistol could be carried in the pocket, and it seems to us that's the service for which they're designed. Our general feelings are that a .22 LR would not be our first choice for serious back-up work, but hey, any gun sometimes is much better than nothing at all.
We won't recommend any specific usage for these tiny pistols. We'll leave that up the individual; but if you own one of these you should expect to be able to shoot it inexpensively, hit your target, and have some fun with it. In that vein, we thought either gun could be used easily and well as a single-loader for training purposes. Let's see what else we found out about them:
Need a full-size .22 pistol? We've looked at smaller pistols and revolvers recently, but some want or need a larger .22 pistol, for whatever reasons. Happy to oblige, we grabbed two pistols that we thought would fill the hands better than anything smaller, and put them against each other in the hands of our test team. The pistols were the Whitney Wolverine ($280), Olympic Arms' remake of the Space-Age-looking older design which used to have an aluminum frame; and SIG's Mosquito ($390), a close copy of that company's larger pistols, with similar shape and finish but made somewhat smaller overall. The Wolverine was much lighter than the Mosquito, and it had a grip shape that not everyone will like. The Mosquito, which felt great in most hands, cost a bunch more. Was it worth it? Let's see what we found.
The quest for a small .22 LR handgun can take one to strange places. The first place one might look is in the catalogs of today's makers, but your first surprise will be that there are not all that many small .22 LR autoloader handguns available. There are plenty of ‘em about the size of a 1911, but it seems the fine small autos of the past are almost gone. Walther offers the fine P22 in two barrel lengths. We looked hard at the longer-barrel version in January 2003, but the shorter version was something of a mystery. Both of these new Walthers had parallels in the older PP Walther, with short barrel and fixed sights, and in the adjustable-sighted, longer-barreled Walther PP Sport. We obtained both the long- and short-barrel P22 (MSRP $301 for either one) along with a copy of the all-steel Walther PP, offered recently by Southern Ohio Gun ($500). Luck was with us, because a staff member happened to own one of the fairly rare Walther PP Sports (about $1100), and made it available for testing. We put them to the test, and this is what we found.
Kimber's Rimfire Target and .22 conversions by Ciener and Marvel provide three ways to save money and have fun by shooting .22 LRs in 1911 frames.
Nearly equal on paper, these three rimfire pistols have very different personalities. Which one is the right pick for you?
As the sport of competitive shooting progresses, the latest trend does not always supplant or erase what came before it. In terms of smallbore pistol competition, Bullseye, one of the oldest forms of competition, is still alive and well despite the increasing popularity of rimfire practical shooting sports such as those fostered by the USPSA. But with new games comes changes in equipment.
In the August 2000 issue, the Pardini Nygord Master beat out the Hmmerli 208S and Benelli MP95E Atlanta target pistols for value received. Here we test two more high-dollar .22 LR pistols.
Somehow believing the gun in their hand will instantly transform them into masters of the sport, far too many plunge into bullseye shooting by making an major, initial expenditure. This error is often compounded by making that investment in a caliber never intended to, and generally incapable of, deliver 10 rounds to the 10-ring at 50 yards. Were thinking specifically of the 9mm. Another foible is to spend the big bucks going in, then deciding you dont cotton all that much to paper-bu...
The concept of a pocket pistol in .22 Long Rifle (LR) makes us wonder to what purpose it might be put. Certainly it is not anywhere near ideal for self-defense, though it beats having no gun at all. They're not known for being target punchers, either.
But, these small autoloaders are lots more fun than the bigger guns, especially because the bigger, heavier guns will be more likely to be left home. Perhaps such a gun is the ideal choice for a fisherman who wants a popgun for dispatching big pike or small muskies, or for puncturing empty cans in camp. The hiker, burdened by a pack, tent and bedding, might be able to find a small bit of room for a pocket .22 LR semiautomatic with its light...