Need some advice on a .22 for the Wife to use


November 2, 2007, 05:49 PM
I've been trying to get the wife more involved with shooting sports. She really doesn't like the noise and recoil of the wheel guns I have now. (.38sp and .357)
She is a great natural shooter, but only for the first 3-4 rounds and then she starts flinching so bad I get worried for my safety even when I'm behind her.

I figure a .22 is a good way to go and was looking at a Browning Buckmark today. My only experience with a semi-auto is the little bit of military shooting I did with a .45. So I basically have no knowledge about anything but revolvers.

I'd appreciate any input and ideas on this as I plan to get her some kind of small pistol this Christmas. This purchase would be good for me too, as it would open up a whole new area (autos) for me.

Your thoughts are appreciated. Unk

BTW - This is a really fine site. I've spent the last few days just looking around and just had to tell ya.

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November 2, 2007, 05:54 PM
There are alot of really good .22's out there. The Buckmark is a really nice, accurate gun. I have shot the 5.5" target model and the standard model. Both were plenty accurate.

I would also recommend a Ruger Mark II/III or a Smith and Wesson 22A.

If you're not opposed to wheelguns, a Ruger Single Six is an EXCELLENT pistol, as is the Smith and Wesson 617 or 22 Masterpiece.

The Bushmaster
November 2, 2007, 05:57 PM
Browning Buckmark or the Ruger Mark II/III. If it must be a auto those are the best for the price as jameslovesjammie stated...

November 2, 2007, 05:57 PM
Browning Buckmark or a Walther P-22 would be what I'd choose. I bought a Ruger Mark II slab sided target pistol for my wife when she first started shooting and she hated it. It was way too heavy and she didn't like it much and shot it even less. The heavy barrel was just too heavy for her. Bull barrels maybe more accurate, but most women don't seem to appreciate their weight.

If you get her the Buckmark, think about getting her one with the thinner/skinny barrels, she'll thank you for it.

The Walther P-22 would probably be the one that I'd pick as it's inexpensive, very light, the grip is comfortable for both me and her (grip inserts) and in the P-22 in almost feels like you're shooting a centerfire cartridge vs. a rimfire. It's a really fun gun to shoot and it's pretty accurate for being as little as it is.

That's my .02 cents anyway.

November 2, 2007, 07:30 PM
My wife initially was hesitant to shoot my 357 magnum even with 38 special loads (Taurus 66). She has a small 22 semi-auto. However, after she shot some light 38 loads with it, she loved it. I couldn't get it back. I think the combination of the heavy gun (mid frame 6" barrel) with the light load sold her. She also wasn't fond of the semi auto spitting shells and the slide movement.

November 2, 2007, 08:28 PM
I have a Beretta Neos that i love to shoot !and so does everyone else that has tried it ! Including several young women !

November 2, 2007, 08:48 PM
Have her shop for a hand gun just like she shops for shoes. If it doesn't feel right in her hands, she'll never shoot it enough to become proficient with it, much less enjoy it..... regardless of who made it or how much it costs.

You're in Indiana, and I'm about half way between Ft Wayne, and Indy. I have Buck Marks, Ruger Mk II's, and Smiths she can try on for size, if you'd be interested.

Ala Dan
November 2, 2007, 08:52 PM
Browning Buckmark is the way too go~! :cool: ;) :D

November 2, 2007, 09:00 PM
Wow! Thanks for the rapid input folks.
JayB- I like the "shop like it's for shoes" analogy. Makes good sense. Appreciate the offer too. My coworker has extended a similar offer and lives a lot closer, so .... But thanks a lot. That's pretty nice for a complete stranger to make an offer like that. BTW- I'm down in the Southern end of the state.

Thanks again, all

November 2, 2007, 09:13 PM
The Walther P-22 is a good choice if you like inaccurate plastic and zinc firearms with a reputation for breaking.

Ruger and Browning are the mainstays of .22 handguns, and either is a far better choice than the Walther.

November 2, 2007, 09:27 PM
The BuckMark Challenge has a slightly smaller profile than the standard BM and may fit your wife's hands better. If she likes the grip and styling, the Neos is a good value, easy to care for, and shoots anything but it does have an odd grip and style. The Rugers are the most popular 22s but the have a rep for being a bear to clean. Personally I don't care for the Walthers. The S&W 22a seems to get much better reviews now than it used to, so might be worth a look. The Sig Mosquito seems to have various problems and is not cheap. There are many other choices out there but those are the main ones. I wouldn't hide your intentions. Try to get to a range and let her handle and shoot the various options. Much better to get her the gun she likes than trying to guess and end up with something she's not happy with.

November 2, 2007, 10:21 PM
I agree that a nice .22 is the best way to keep a new shooter interested in the sport.

Have her also "double up" on hearing protection as well. Wearing plugs under muffs will reduce the noise and blast of any caliber and make shooting a more pleasant experience overall. If she gets in the habit of wearing plugs & muffs now, it will really pay off later when she's shooting the larger calibers.

As far as what gun, have her handle and, if possible, fire as many different kinds as possible. I like the Ruger Mk II or the newer Mk III. The Browning Buckmark is also a good gun and would be a good choice. It's more a matter of which she likes better then one being better then the other.

I'm NOT a fan of the Walther P22 though. I've had several students with those guns and many have had problems with reliability. I know the P22 owner's here will jump in and say they haven't had any problems, but I'm just reporting what I've seen first hand.

November 3, 2007, 07:09 AM
I'm a vote for the Buckmark, with the Ruger as a second choice.
I own both and wouldn't trade either.

November 3, 2007, 07:17 AM
My wife loves her Ruger MK II. (The MK III isn't really any different.)

She also likes her Bersa Firestorm 22. A bit smaller and lighter, and a little more particular about ammo, the Bersa is fun to shoot. With CCI mini mags, it runs like a watch, but will choke on cheap ammo. I have read that people have a hard time finding them for some reason.

November 3, 2007, 09:12 AM

I'm with you on both recommendations..

The old Ruger "Standard" in any form is a very good first 22 cal pistol, only downside is it's bit too bulky for cc..

The Firestorm FS22 isn't "quite" as good a target plinker, but CAN be cc in a pinch (w/10+1 CCI Stingers), and if the little lady takes a liking to it she can always upgrade to the same pistol in 380cal (Bersa Thunder 380) for personal defense. From all I read the BT380 is a "ladies favorite"..

My FS22 is not ammo sensitive, and feeds the cheap ww stuff as readily as the CCI's and such. At any reasonable distance my FS22 is pretty darn accurate too..

Best Wishes,


November 3, 2007, 09:12 AM
Thanks again for all the good feedback! Gonna have to take her shopping.
As far as the hearing protection goes, we both wear plugs and muffs both as it is now. I'm trying to keep what I have and I don't want to lose her hearing - she's my hearing aid!

November 3, 2007, 09:35 AM
Good suggestions here; mainly let her decide what she likes. My G/F and I shoot together occassionally, but she's pretty recoil shy and not much interested in my .38/.357. We started renting .22s, and secretly I decided I'd eventually buy her whatever she liked if she keeps shooting. She tried a Buckmark. She thought it ok. We rented a Ruger MkIII. That was ok, too. One day both were in use, so we rented a S&W Model 41. She had no idea how much it sells for. After the first round, she said "WOW!! I love this gun!!". She's never touched the Buckmark or Ruger since. :cuss: I still haven't ponied up for that 41. :(

The Bushmaster
November 3, 2007, 11:09 AM
If you really want a .22 auto that your wife will fall in love with. Look at the Colt Woodsman second generation. Of course you will pay an arm and a leg for one (Colt doesn't make them anymore). I know...I have one with a 6" barrel. It is a must around here that I keep it ready to go for the wife. Even my 8 year old grand daughter likes it...You will be lucky to find one under $600.00 though...

Charles Foxtrot
November 3, 2007, 12:13 PM
You're going to have to let your wife decide.

Turns out my wifey has a strong preference for wheel guns. She okay with my pet Buckmark Field 5.5, but the S&W 22LR 6 inch revolver really speaks to her.

Could it be the fact that the S&W is $500 more than the Buckmark?

Our recommendation: Go to a range that rents guns and let her try every one. She'll tell you what she likes. She's going to get what she wants anyway, so you might as well cut out the intermediate steps.

November 3, 2007, 08:03 PM
Conqueror : The Walther P-22 is a good choice if you like inaccurate plastic and zinc firearms with a reputation for breaking.

I don't know about it being made out of zinc (It is made out of some plastic/polymer, so what? So's the Glock and they're reliable), but mine's accurate and it hasn't broken. I've shot it alot too. Several of my buddies also have them and they've been happy with the Walther P-22's that they own too.

November 3, 2007, 10:16 PM
Hi guys, i am in the same situation, in terms of picking up a 22 for the wife. I will admit that i like the look and feel of the P22 for my wife, she handled one a couple of months ago, and it fit well....
In researching the P22 it is made out of a 'zinc alloy' injection molded, and reliability issues were mentioned prominently in a google search on the model (perhaps the early years?)...
I already have a MarkII, and its a bit big for the wife, but reliable and fun to shoot, with numerous aftermarket could be cusomized with the addition of a Pac-Lite and some better grips to fit my womans smaller hands....
So i would vote for the Ruger Mark III/22-45, or maybe the Ruger Single Six convertible would be appropriate? I do like the increased range of the 22WMR, and apparently they are quite accurate (anybody want to 'ground truth' this?)....or if you have the resources, the Freedom ARms 22 is a work of art....and function...
good luck

November 4, 2007, 12:02 AM
My wife did not like the noise and recoil of my .38special, so she shopped and ended up with a Sig Mosquito .22.

Because it was "her" gun, she wanted to take a lesson to learn how to use it properly. The instructor at the range tried it and put 3 quick shots in a very tight group (2 almost in the same hole).

It shoots well, she likes the fit, she likes the look. Only problem is that it is picky about the ammo it takes. This particular one works perfectly with CCI hypervelocity.

November 4, 2007, 12:35 AM
Charter arms .22 pathfinder revolver. Period, amen.

November 4, 2007, 12:37 AM
hmm. For all the talk about autos on here, we seem to have forgotten that we have an admitted wheel-gun man asking the question. There is no shortage of perfectly good .22 wheelguns out there. If your wife has small hands, a Ruger Bearcat would be nice and easy for her to use, and if she needs something a little bigger, a single-six would work just fine. She can also scale up to larger caliber Ruger (or Colt, or whomever) single-actions if she wants with no dip in the learning curve.

For double-action, Smith & Wesson and Taurus both make .22 revolvers, with the Smith being particularly nice.

If you can find one, my all-time favorite .22 revolver is the H&R Sportsman 999. Its a break open design that holds ten shots, and they function in both SA and DA. Gunbroker usually has one or two for sale at around the $350.00 mark.

Finally, Welcome to THR. There are a bunch of nice people on here, plus a few soreheads. (as the city limit sign outside Keenesburg, CO says...)

November 4, 2007, 01:43 AM
If you really want a .22 auto that your wife will fall in love with. Look at the Colt Woodsman

Now we're talking. I have my grandfather's Colt Challenger. There's a couple nice ones on Gunbroker.

November 4, 2007, 09:06 AM
Hi GU...

Her flinch may, or may not, be coming from the noise. Next time you shoot with her take a careful look at how the recoil treats her hand/wrist - that is - how well she can control the recoil. Your current guns may simply be the wrong size (or grip angle or grip size or balance or weight) for her. Like everyone else, she needs a gun with a grip sized so she has a gripping surface that matches her hand. Too small or too large and she loses control of the recoil and the gun punishes her. The unquestionable popularity of the old Smith model 41 .22 auto demonstrates how sweet a stock designed for recoil control and balance can make the World.
I used to teach handgun classes for women and it wasn't uncommon to find a student who preferred the humble Ruger Security-Six simply because it fit her.


November 4, 2007, 12:59 PM
I really would like to pick up one of those Bersa .22's. I have several Ruger MK II's and they are great, but I'd like something that is more comparable to a regular semi auto. The Beretta M87 is a good choice too, but more expensive.

Hey, here's a thought. I love the CZ Kadet Kit, .22 conversion and use it on both my 75B and 75D PCR. Works great. If she is considering a carry piece the PCR and Kadet Kit for practice is hard to beat. The Kadet Kit is accurate and reliable.

November 4, 2007, 01:16 PM

I have the Firestorm version (FS22) and it is a fantastic firearm. My particular pistol is NOT ammo sensitive, and will feed anything I've ever tried in it. I generally just plink with the cheapest wally world value pack box I can find.

If I'm out walking in the woods I keep 10+1 CCI Stingers in it.

I could be wrong but I think the FS version has better grips than the Bersa version, and it's the same pistol.. You might check that out.

Lotsa' gun for the money.. Lifetime warranty too.

Best Wishes,


November 5, 2007, 02:45 AM
I'd like to thank all of you for the great advice and warm welcome here.
I have no friggin' idea what we'll end up with now! But this is ok, as shopping and shooting a bunch of different things will be a lot of fun and the whole "shopping experience" is sure to make her more enthusiastic about this. And enthusiasm, or lack of, is one of the major roadblocks. She seemed pretty excited this morning when I was talking to her before I left for work about this. Maybe I'll have her read this post and get her input afterwords.
We're heading South this week for a wedding, but I'll let ya all know how this works out.
Thanks again!

November 5, 2007, 02:56 AM
CZ 122 sport is a fine semi-auto .22lr pistol.
It has a little too short handle for men (at least me)
but fits well for my womans hand.
6" barrel and accurate as hell. With a red dot its a killing machine!
Its quite cheap too.

November 5, 2007, 03:03 AM
I agree with the wife shooting various guns and picking one out.
I agree with simple guns, that are not too heavy leading to fatigue such as Ruger Standard and Buckmarks.
I agree with wheel guns, in fact a huge believer in learning to shoot with a .22 revolver, then stepping up to a .38spl with light loads.
For example a S&W Model 18 (.22) and then Model 10 (38spl).

That said, for some time now, some of the ladies and kids, have really had a big kick out of older H&R model 999s, H&R .22 specials, and other older .22 guns.

Some were bought a long time ago and have sentimental value, others are more recent purchases and bought right.
Neat Factor if you will.

Just a really fun gun to learn on, some sentimental attachments as a dad, brother, uncle, grandparent had/has one.

The "shooting bug" bites, they get some basics down, have fun, and folks comment on these older guns, heck they want to shoot it, they have a story or a memory to share.
Self Esteem is high and all these firearm folks are "really nice and a great group of folks".

Some of these guns were not expensive, some had character.
The second gun, like one lady went from a H&R 999 to a High Standard Duramatic, a great semi auto, is obtained, and again at a good price.

Bug bit and now her husband is really afraid she wants a Colt Python, or a STI Racegun..."both honey".

Just be advised this first gun is not that hard really, getting the danged ladies to stop wanting guns is the problem...*wink*

November 5, 2007, 11:03 AM
Just be advised this first gun is not that hard really, getting the danged ladies to stop wanting guns is the problem...*wink*

Ain't that the truth? Now my wife looks at it as her guns are hers. My guns are ours. :confused:

Oh well. At least I don't have the "Why do you need another gun" question.

November 5, 2007, 02:47 PM
Yeah there is a deal somewhere that "says"...

What is mine is mine, what is yours is ours and ours is mine.

Kicker is, only female eyes can read that fine print. *grin*

November 5, 2007, 07:59 PM
GrumpyUnk : Gonna have to take her shopping.

I have no friggin' idea what we'll end up with now! But this is ok, as shopping and shooting a bunch of different things will be a lot of fun and the whole "shopping experience" is sure to make her more enthusiastic about this. And enthusiasm, or lack of, is one of the major roadblocks. She seemed pretty excited this morning when I was talking to her before I left for work about this. Maybe I'll have her read this post and get her input afterwords.

That's probably your best bet (to just take her to pick something out that she likes), afterall it's for her. Most of the women that I know want to have a say in what gets picked out anyway. It's an easy enough lesson to learn, but it took me awhile to get that one myself.

We can sit here all day and spit out different options for her, but if she doesn't like how it looks or feels then she's not going to like shooting it which is kind of the whole point. The only thing that this thread really says is that a whole bunch of guys who like guns have different ideas about women SHOULD like (according to us), go figure.

Good luck and yes she will eventually steal one of your guns, it happened to me too.

November 5, 2007, 09:09 PM
ruger dude. I have two, and am a cocky bastard with one in my hand.

November 7, 2007, 03:34 PM
It was a Ruger MKIII-Target model that turned my wife on to shooting. I really like the design and look of the Walther P22 as well, but they seem to have more reliability issues than the Rugers. I guess since it is a plinking gun that reliability is not high on your list of priorities. The Browning is an excellent gun as well. Any of these three should be a hoot to shoot.

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