Phoenix HP 22, worth it?


June 10, 2012, 05:39 PM
I'm sure I'll get some flack for this, but I just wanted to put this up and give a short revue/mostly opinion on this Phoenix HP 22 I recently acquired. First off I am in no way an "expert" on doing reviews. I am not an acclaimed marksman either, just someone who has owned many different firearms for many years and who enjoys the sport of shooting. That said here goes.
These kind of weapons are widely referred to as "Saturday Night Specials" because of their cheap price and because the companies that produce them are considered the bottom of the barrel when it comes to reputation. That being said, I used to own one of these many years back just as a fun plinker to take out and shoot all day long for next to nothing. I never had any issues with it and was quite fond of it. I decided it was time to try one out again and see if my experience was a fluke and I got lucky with a quality one or if there may be something to it. I personally don't like to gamble on weapons like this, but for the price I think it's worth it, and I just can't justify spending $300-$400 for a 22 handgun, I just think it's silly, but thats just me :D. I bought the kit with the 3" and 5" barrels plus an extra mag for $180. I took it out yesterday and had an absolute blast with it straight out of the box. out of 200 rnds I had one FTE and 1 FTF, other than that it ran flawlessly. I consider that to be very acceptable as again this is a .22 handgun so those things are kind of expected, especially as I was using ammo that was probably at least 3 yrs old from when I originally had another .22. It performed just as well as the Rugers and Smith's I've shot before. The 200 safeties on the gun are a pain but you can do some work to fix them. The accuracy is decent, definitely a 10-15yd gun. Because of the weight of the gun, about 24oz I believe, there is little to no recoil so you can fire very rapidly. The trigger is decent for a gun this cheap, feels probably around a 6lb pull. With the 3" barrel it is easily concealed in a pocket. I would never carry it, maybe only as a 3rd back up. Nothing to do with reliability, just because to me a .22 is just a plinker, not a carry option unless TSHTF 3 times over :neener:.

Anyways, I am very pleased so far as it is very inexpensive and very fun to shoot. Is it a gun for everyone? Probably not, but for the price I would definitely recommend it to those looking for a cheap plinker. Like I said I just can't justify paying 2-3 times as much for a .22 that I'll just use to shoot cans and paper with. I think if there's anything gun wise you can cheap out on, it's one of these. For a self defense weapon, I advise to spend what is needed for something you can bet your life on. It also comes with a lifetime warrenty, so when it decides to die on me I'll just send it in and get a new one. Well, thanks for reading, I hope it was informative or at least not a complete waste of time :).

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June 10, 2012, 05:55 PM
They're cheap enough. I got one 20 years ago for dealer, something like 60 bucks. I haven't shot more'n a couple of K rounds through it and have had ALL SORTS of problems that I've worked around. First off was a slide cracked early on, was one of the first runs. They sent me a redesigned slide. The recoil spring gives up every 500 rounds or so. Keep a couple on hand. That spring reminds me of a ball point pen spring. :rolleyes: The frame finally peened itself such that it was pinching the recoil spring. Once I finally figured out the problem, I opened it up with a dremel and now it works again.

This gun is NOT for a lot of range use. It's quite accurate and is pocket sized, though owing to its zinc construction, it's heavy for its size. I still have mine, don't shoot it much. It will put 10 rounds into 3" at 25 yards off the bench. I'm not rightly sure how it does that because there's so much slop in the barrel. Amazing. Guess the front sight being on the barrel helps compensate for the slop. I have the 5" barrel, too. It's not THAT much more accurate and being as the gun is so short lived, I don't ever shoot it much with that 5" barrel. If I use the gun, it's just to slip in my pocket to go fishing.

However, I now have replaced it in that niche with a new Ruger SR22. That pistol will likely last me the rest of my life and it's even more accurate, a little larger, but lighter and still pocketable when I go fishing. I like to have an accurate .22 kit gun for targets of opportunity when I'm fishing, snakes, nutria, that sort of thing. The Ruger is a great range plinker and I don't worry about it goofing up on me.

There is a lifetime warranty on the HP22 and their service is pretty prompt. If you buy one and it breaks, they'll fix or replace it, but you WILL be using that service if you shoot the gun much. I've always had other more durable .22s and never worried a whole lot about the HP22. It just sorta filled a fishing gun niche for me.

My 2 cents. I just got tired of messing with the little POS and when the Ruger came out a few months back, I saw the replacement I'd been looking for. :D

June 10, 2012, 05:58 PM
Once I figured out all the safeties I really like mine. It is heavy enough to feel substantial in my hand but light enough to slip into a pocket. It DOES NOT like subsonic ammo but the manual says not to shoot subsonic so I guess they are right. The only issue I have had is that the slide will not go fully forward if you hold it up even a little bit. I guess the spring is just so weak but you can see that the slide did not go all the way forward quite easily.

I don't think it is a good pocket carry but is fairly accurate out to 20-25 feet which is all I expect from a sub $200 pistol NIB.

June 10, 2012, 06:03 PM
The only issue I have had is that the slide will not go fully forward if you hold it up even a little bit. I guess the spring is just so weak but you can see that the slide did not go all the way forward quite easily.

Sounds like you wore out the recoil spring. When it wears enough, it will start misfiring as it will not go all the way into battery. Call Phoenix Arms and they'll send you a few free.

June 10, 2012, 07:25 PM
McGunner, you said before that you shoot stingers in yours, and according to the manual, that's also a no-no...Think that could have exacerbated your problems? BTW, my wife's will shoot Federal silver box HPs accurately enough to shoot the thumbtacks out of the 7-yard targets at the range with the 5" barrel.

June 10, 2012, 07:58 PM
As Stingers were the most accurate in the 3" barrel, oddly enough, I did shoot probably 250 rounds of the stuff through it and still carry it afield, when I do, with Stingers. But, Federal Lightening is almost as accurate and that's mostly what's been down the tube. Stingers MIGHT have accelerated wear, not sure, but there's lots of folks that have worn these things slap dab out after round counts that my Ruger Mk 2 would laugh at, probably do in a range session without cleaning if I didn't wear out first.

It's a cheap gun. That about sums it all up for me. My Rugers, my Rossi revolver, even my NAA mini revolvers will eat Stinger all day long. If you have a tight budget and need an accurate pocket .22, I CAN say that the HP22 is amazingly accurate, reliable if you keep a good recoil spring in it (a common worn out part, nothing to do with Stingers), and has a lifetime warranty if you don't mind keeping Phoenix Arms on speed dial. However, for not much more money, there's lots of better guns out there. In the pocket kit gun niche is the Ruger SR22 and the Bersa 22 off the top of my head. Experience with zinc keeps me from paying as much for a Wather P22 as I did my Ruger. However, the HP22 is dirt cheap and functional, just a high maintenance gun is all. It's a good field beater gun. It has its uses, but I don't hold it very highly as a range shooter.

As to the 5" barrel, it shaved an inch off my 3" barrel at 25 yards, not enough to mess with for ME. However, it did that with Federal bulk pack, which is its favorite. So, I've done some plinking with the 5" barrel so I could get the added accuracy with the cheap ammo. The 3" barrel shoots about 3.5" at 25 with Federal. The Stinger shoots 3" at 25 iin the 3" barrel. Obviously there's a cost difference, too.

I've not tried the new Federal automatch in the gun. I probably oughta do that, eh? I tried it in 5 of my handguns and my 10/22 and the only gun I got significant improvement out of was my stainless Rossi M511 Sportsman, a 4" J frame "kit gun" type six shot revolver. It shoots 2" at 25 with the bulk pack, right at 1" groups at 25 with the automatch, so I'm keeping that stuff around. That's a pretty amazing little revolver, had dozens of 550 round bulk pack down its barrel over the years, have no idea how many, but I shoot it about every time I go to the range, well, not as much since I've been playing with the SR22, but it has been my go to plinker for over 20 years now. Still in time, still dead accurate. Since I have a scope on my Mk2 for squirrel hunting, I still use the Rossi a lot and if I don't need to use a pocket, I'll take it along on my field jaunts. But, it's not pocket sized with that 4" barrel. Light and easy to carry on the belt, though. :D

The HP22 gets used more'n SOME of my .22 pistols, but I leave it at home most of the time. I own 10 or more .22 handguns at this point, without taking a count. Several of 'em are old and worn. One of 'em cost me more and lasted me less than the HP22, a plastic Ramline Exactor. NOW we can talk crap.....:D At least Phoenix Arms is still in business when I need parts.

If the HP22 does it for y'all, great! But, I consider it a niche gun, not a general use range shooter owing to rapid wear of parts. I mean, you could just keep wearing 'em out and getting new one under warranty I guess, whatever.....

June 11, 2012, 04:31 AM
I own an HP22, I really enjoy it but rarely shoot it because after about 3k rounds or so I had a crack in the frame on the left side of the magazine well. The factory replaced it for free but I now have a MK3 so the HP22 has been retired. I used only Remington standard velocity ammunition so I can say for a fact that standard velocity will still cause damage over time. I never changed the recoil spring though so that may have been part of the issue as the spring is very weak.

I fired the crap out of it even after the frame crack but wanted it fixed so I shipped it back, it was pretty expensive because Fedex only allows overnight but Phoenix sent me a new gun. I fired a few hundred rounds through it and it functions just as well as my previous one did. After that I cleaned it, stuck it back in the box, and stuck it into the gun cabinet.

My take: The HP22 is a pretty comfortable, fun, and reliable little hammer fired pistol that is good for infrequent range use or (if you're into mouseguns) concealed carry but the cost of shipping will outweigh the price difference over larger guns in higher price ranges if you intend to shoot it alot.

Still though for a pocket gun it performed very well and was one of my favorites until I had the above issue. I still like it well enough that I won't be getting rid of it though.

June 11, 2012, 06:48 AM
The Phoenix Arms HP22 is the worst pistol I have ever fired.

The one I shot had light strikes, failures to extract, failures to eject, double feeds, stovepipes, everything. It would often malfunction on every single round in the magazine.

Accuracy was so poor the safest place to stand was behind the target.

The new ones are reportedly half decent, as the original poster states. The company also reportedly has good customer service as well, which is good since it seems you will need to make use of it if you fire the pistol much.

Personally, I'd pass. Even if you are lucky enough to get a good one, the $180 you might spend gets you fairly close to the $250 you might spend on a used Ruger.

June 11, 2012, 12:48 PM
I have one... for the price, they can be great guns. Mine is really fun to shoot, and quite reliable, particularly with CCI MiniMags. Though I have no qualms about carrying a reliable .22 as a defensive weapon, I would not carry this one simply because it's so heavy for its size, and because of its single-action double-safety mechanism. But, if it were the only gun I had small enough to carry, I would. For plinking or trail use, though, definitely hard to beat for the price.

June 11, 2012, 12:58 PM
I bought a Jennings J-22 about 25 yrs. ago.It has worked well without jamming since.its looking pretty beat up.It was my fishing gun.I've been thinking about a SR22 as a replacement.There are some cheap guns that are bullet proof.

June 11, 2012, 01:00 PM
I've had 2 of them over the years.

First one was great, very reliable, no issues with it at all. Had the 5" bbl kit with it too. Traded it for somthing, but it was about 15 years ago so I don't remember what.

Then about 5 or 6 years ago I saw one and thought, why not, last one was fun, and for $100 bucks I can't go wrong, right? Wrong. That one was a piece. Went back to factory twice before I traded it off. The owner of the store I bought it from knew it was a problem child so he gave me good money on trade for it.

June 11, 2012, 05:49 PM
i bought mine 3 years ago. put thousands of rounds. never had a issue. and its super accurate. its worth it. i paid 130 for mine new. wife shot it. now we have two. hers is chrome/nickel. mine is blued.

June 11, 2012, 08:51 PM
I have owned 4 of them. Two were combos. Only one to ever have problems I replaced recoil spring because he bent it. Worked great after that. Is a pain to Change Bbls, Reread book every time. Spring was cheap. Did not keep any because I can't keep'em all my wife says.

June 11, 2012, 09:04 PM
I have owned 4 of them. Two were combos. Only one to ever have problems I replaced recoil spring because he bent it. Worked great after that. Is a pain to Change Bbls, Reread book every time. Spring was cheap. Did not keep any because I can't keep'em all my wife says.
I don't agree about barrel change difficulty. I can do it now in less than 15 seconds. You don't even have to take the gun all the way apart to do so.

June 11, 2012, 09:16 PM
I own 1 3000 rounds thru it. I always take it to the range great warm up gun. very acurate for its price range the 5" barrel takes me a couple minuets to change. The safety are a pain but its a great trainer for newcommers.

June 11, 2012, 09:29 PM
I own 1 3000 rounds thru it. I always take it to the range great warm up gun. very acurate for its price range the 5" barrel takes me a couple minuets to change. The safety are a pain but its a great trainer for newcommers.
You don't even need to take it all the way down to swap barrels. I figured this out on my own but after searching for a minute or so I found a video of a guy who uses the same technique I use when changing the barrels. This will cut your barrel swap time from minutes to seconds.

June 12, 2012, 10:32 AM
The HP-22 is a very good design, I just wish they used better materials. Mine has been good, probably 2-3k rounds through it with no more malfunctions than other rimfire pistols, but I know it'll wear out eventually. For a shade over $100, they're great little guns, but I would happily pay twice as much for one made of steel (and with only one safety)

Mauser lover
June 12, 2012, 10:43 AM
I know a guy that has one, he carries it when camping/fishing for two legged predators (hopes to scare them) and snakes. He said that he had never seen a two legged predator, but it is pretty useful for snakes... His is an older one, I shot it a bit, it is pretty accurate, not horribly unreliable, decent finish (blued? some sort of bluing lookalike?) but I saw some new ones when I went to my LGS last and the finish is not as good as the old ones, some kind of plastic finish. The slide cracked, the magazine release died, but Phoenix replaced the parts.

June 12, 2012, 09:40 PM
Is a pain to Change Bbls, Reread book every time.

Dude, if you think THAT, don't EVEN get a Ruger Mk 2 and try to take it down. :rolleyes:

June 13, 2012, 01:46 AM
Dude, if you think THAT, don't EVEN get a Ruger Mk 2 and try to take it down. :rolleyes:
The MK3 is the only gun that I refuse to ever try taking down again. It gets sprayed out with gun blaster, lubed, and the barrel cleaned. I won't take it all the way down again because it is a PITA.

I own 26 firearms and have never met the gun I didn't like to take down until I met the MK3.

June 13, 2012, 02:16 AM
Great thread even with the side rants. My father had a Ruger 'Standard' he always called it. I believe it either WAS, or came just before the Mark 1. He told me the little lever on the back of the grip had to do with stripping it down and to NEVER *choice colorful adjectives* try taking it apart, just lock open the slide and get what you can with a toothbrush and q-tips.

Now to the OP, thank you for the evaluation of the HP22 I thought about buying one and still might / probably will at some point, can't have too many .22 plinkers (within some degree of reason). Ended up getting an amazing deal on a barely broken in Walther P22Q with a Crimson Trace laser. Seems (just from general discussion) to be of higher quality and reliability than the phoenix arms. So far with CCI Mini Mags it has run flawlessly, though I've noticed that appears to be the case no matter what firearm is digesting them lol. Enjoy the purchase, stock up on springs, shoot the heck out of it, and sleep soundly at night knowing they'll take care of any major problems that do arise.
Thanks again for the great post.

June 14, 2012, 10:14 AM
Bought a used Phoenix hp 22 that has been a great reliable pistol. "Adjusting" the mag safety makes it that much better. I would call it the hi point of 22's only looks a lot better. Lifetime warranty. What's not to like for a $100+ gun.

June 14, 2012, 10:18 AM
"Adjusting" the mag safety makes it that much betterYeah, I cut the tab off the mag safety on both of mine, and put a drop of super glue (shut up, it worked) on the slide mounted firing pin safety to lock it in the fire position. This still left me with the trigger block safety on the frame that worked just fine.

Seriously, how many safeties do I need?

Is a pain to Change BblsIIRC, you simply pull forward the retainer tab, lift the barrel up and out, slide the other one in and down, and make sure the retainer tab went back all the way. Something I'm missing?

August 9, 2012, 05:01 PM
I have the Phoenix Arms HP22 and it has proved to be very reliable. I have also bought the last round hold open magazine mod that is available on ebay and it works well. The concept is quite simple. The back end of the magazine follower is squared off and it catches the slide on the last round. The magazine follower is actually the part that holds the slide open. I am getting two more for my other magazines.

They also have a brass slug that does the same thing but I have not tried it. They are also available on

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