most reliable .22 semi-auto pocket pistol under $200


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USAF_Vet
January 8, 2013, 08:33 PM
Provided Uncle Sugar gives me back a little of my hard earned money this year instead of keeping it all for himself, I'm looking to splurge a bit.

Times are tough and ammo is expensive, so I'm looking for a little .22 rimfire pocket pistol for a range toy/ plinker that is reliable enough to toss in my pocket as a back up gun.

Now as I said, times are tough, so I'm looking to keep costs reasonable, like a $200 top limit.

I would also entertain a .22LR revolver, provided it's not one of the single action NAA ones. Not a fan of the design/ ergos.

Please don't post things like "if you saved a little more..." or "for only $XX more you could get..." as it really isn't pertinent. I know whats out there in the $250+ range. If I was willing to drop $250+ on a new pistol, it wouldn't be a .22 rimfire.

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speedway
January 8, 2013, 08:36 PM
I had a Beretta 21a in .22lr that was extremely reliable. Fun little shooter.

They can be had for under $200 used all day long.

toivo
January 8, 2013, 08:58 PM
I agree that a used Beretta is your best bet. You could get a new Taurus PT-22 for that much -- I have one that works pretty well -- but I would still give the Beretta the edge on reliability.

Steve H
January 8, 2013, 09:01 PM
For under $200 I'd have to go with a used 21A also.....too bad you cant add a bit more$$$

USAF_Vet
January 8, 2013, 09:10 PM
For more $, i could and would get something else in a center fire cartridge.

I'll keep my eyes open for a used Beretta 21A.

Any recommendations for a factory new .22 pocket gun in that price range.

I've handled the Taurus, not bad and more or less what I'm looking for.

Walt Sherrill
January 8, 2013, 09:20 PM
What are you planning to do with a .22 pocket pistol? Why that size?

For around $200 you can get a pretty nice used .22 that is up to serious varminting or paper punching. None of them are much good for self defense, unless you're attacked by straw men.

Reliability with .22s is as often as not, a function of the ammo used, rather than the gun. .22 ammo is notorious for bad rounds.... due to the complexity of making rimfire ammo work.

USAF_Vet
January 8, 2013, 10:03 PM
I use my rifles and/ or shotguns for varmints and punching paper.

I have several ideas of what I'd use it for:
1) to back up my 9mm when I carry.
2) as a primary carry in weather when concealing my 9mm isn't quite so easy. Which won't be often since I can usually get away with wearing a jacket for 8-10 months out of the year in Michigan.
3) inexpensive plinker/ short range paper puncher.
4) it's kid sized, and my step son wants a .22 pistol for when we go to the range. It's a lot more fun than plinking with his Cricket. Also, my step daughter is a bit recoil shy and has refused to shoot pistols at all because of it. A kid sized .22 pistol might help alleviate that fear.
5) I want one. :)


I'm aware of the reliability issues associated with .22 rimfire ammo, and have ammo I use for punching paper and plinking, and different ammo I use for hunting and/ or defense.

SouthernYankee
January 8, 2013, 10:32 PM
The 21A is in a class all by itself. The Taurus is ok but DA only. The 21A is SA/DA and a better finish. A fun Pocket Pistol, but good for no better that 7yds. BTW, for ammo stick with either CCI Stingers or....gosh I can't remember:banghead:. The higher velocity stuff. Good Luck!

TennJed
January 8, 2013, 10:32 PM
I got a Beretta 21 that is great. Eats all ammo. Find a used one and you are good to go

mg.mikael
January 8, 2013, 10:39 PM
---

grandpa1466
January 8, 2013, 11:01 PM
The Taurus PT-22 is fine. I got one for my wife and one for my 80-year-old mother. Mom can't rack a slide and wife doesn't want recoil, so it was ideal for them. Not much knockdown, of course, but the short barrel makes it extremely loud, and if that noisy thing was going off toward me and with its big muzzle blast, I would be trying to be elsewhere pretty fast. We have both the polymer and steel versions. The only rounds that fire completely reliably in them are the CCI Mini Mags; everything else has misfeeds with every magazine. The long trigger pull is maybe not so kid-friendly, but it is a very good gun all in all.

Quote:
> 3) inexpensive plinker
> 4) step daughter is a bit recoil shy and has refused to shoot pistols at all
> because of it. A kid sized .22 pistol might help alleviate that fear.

Until you listed those two reasons, I was going to suggest the Taurus TCP 738 in .380. Same price range, good backup gun, pocket- and kid-sized, nice trigger. I carry one every day. The recoil is really minimal, surprisingly, but the ammo is not cheap. Still worth a look, though.

TennJed
January 8, 2013, 11:32 PM
Well then, that's disappointing to here. So you don't think a .22 is a "real" gun that deserves a price tag comparable to it's centerfire counterparts? ---

I too have never understood the "that is too much for a 22" mindset. For a lot of people a 22 might become the gun that gets the most rounds through it. They are also good guns to become family heirlooms. Teach your child to shoot on one and pass it on down to him/her as their first gun.

I rather my 22s be of the highest quality they can. My most expensive revolver is a 22 (S&W 617) and my next purchase will be a higher end 22 semi auto (Kimber Rimfire, CZ Kadet, or Beretta 87).

It takes just as much materials, time, and R&D to make a 22 as a centerfire. Mine see a lot of use and I personally think $ spent on a good 22 is $ well spent

hatchetbearer
January 8, 2013, 11:56 PM
I know it's a little out of your price range, but I was at a gun show this weekend and FFL's were selling a Sig Sauer 1911 .22 for $270. you could probably get it cheaper in store.

rcmodel
January 9, 2013, 12:13 AM
They can be had for under $200 used all day long. I'd have to see that to believe it in this part of the free world.

The only thing you can get that might work for two bills is a Saturday night special revolver or a piece of crap Jennings.

If it says Beretta .22 on it and has a spec of finish left on it, you are looking at $250 - $300.

rc

weblance
January 9, 2013, 12:22 AM
I have the Beretta 21a and the Taurus POLY PT-22. The Taurus comes in at the $200 mark. It has an extra round over the Beretta and is very reliable. I got my stainless POLY PT-22 for $185. It has much better sights than the Beretta, and a better trigger in Double Action(it is DAO, the Beretta is DA/SA). I have over a thousand rounds thru my Taurus POLY PT-22 and have no reason not to recommend it.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=684625

Gordon
January 9, 2013, 12:28 AM
Get a used Ruger Mk 1,2 or 3 and a bigger pocket.:rolleyes:

tuj
January 9, 2013, 07:27 AM
just make sure to use good ammo, CCI makes some hyper-velocity HP's that could be a good choice, just check them for feeding. CCI rimfire priming is pretty good (Eley is the best), so you should have reasonably good reliability for a 22lr. Avoid Remington anything; I have had more light-strikes with their ammo than any others.

Walt Sherrill
January 9, 2013, 08:10 AM
Thanks for the extra details.

Unlike some, I don't really see the effectiveness of a pocket .22 as a backup self defense weapon. An already anemic round -- I know they CAN kill -- is made more so by the very short barrel of a pocket .22. (A small .380 seems more sensible in that role -- and there's almost no concern about ammo reliability. I've shot a LOT of .380 and 9mm Mak, and don't think I've ever had a dud round.)

For the other uses, and for your kids, a used Ruger Mk II seems the best choice; I bought a very, very nice one recently, for less than $200.

3leggeddog
January 9, 2013, 10:18 AM
You may be better off spending the $200.00 on training + some amo! Its better to hit it with your main carry than depend on a cheap back up, if you have time.. No offence meant,justmy opinion.

MR2Aaron
January 9, 2013, 10:53 AM
I like the idea of a used Ruger Mark II or Mark III, and a slightly larger pocket. Mine cost about $400 as I recall, but I think they have a model that sells for about $200 brand new.

My Mark III is a stainless version, with the 5.5" bull barrel. It's a blast to shoot, and has tolerated every brand of cheap bulk ammo I've tried in it. I'm sitting here trying to imagine how one would improve on this, and other than maybe a better front sight, I'm not really thinking of much.

The less expensive versions appear to compromise mostly on cosmetic features.

jon_in_wv
January 9, 2013, 11:26 AM
Buy the 21a. I have a Taurus PT-22 and it is the most worthless piece of junk I own. Its been back to Taurus and it still doesn't work right. I would sell it if I felt like screwing someone over but I don't do that so I won't. It has a permanent place just sitting in my safe. I will probably get a Beretta too but never another Taurus 22.

weblance
January 9, 2013, 02:09 PM
I want to comment on what Jon_in_wv has said. The original Taurus PT-22 has some faults. The POLY PT-22 is a redesign, and supposedly has fixed the issues of the original PT-22. I have somewhere near 1,600 rounds thru my POLY and have had no failure of any kind. I have disassembled it, and see no signs of wear. I would recommend it with no reservations of any kind. Its a great pistol at the $200 mark the OP has asked us to stay at.

bannockburn
January 9, 2013, 03:11 PM
USAF Vet

This is a tough one. I think you might even be hard pressed to find a decent used Beretta Model 21A for less than $240.

You could probably get a Phoenix Arms HP-22 for around $150 although I must say I was a bit amused, and more than a little confused, by someone selling a used HP-22 on Gunbroker with a Buy-It-Now price of $295! This was a used one with the black finish, no box, no manual.

If you scroll down a few more listings you will find someone else selling one NIB, nickel or black finish, with both barrels, with a Buy-It-Now price of $164. For about $20 more they'll give you an extra mag too.

Like I said, this is a tough one.

USAF_Vet
January 9, 2013, 04:13 PM
I too have never understood the "that is too much for a 22" mindset. For a lot of people a 22 might become the gun that gets the most rounds through it. They are also good guns to become family heirlooms. Teach your child to shoot on one and pass it on down to him/her as their first gun.

I rather my 22s be of the highest quality they can. My most expensive revolver is a 22 (S&W 617) and my next purchase will be a higher end 22 semi auto (Kimber Rimfire, CZ Kadet, or Beretta 87).

It takes just as much materials, time, and R&D to make a 22 as a centerfire. Mine see a lot of use and I personally think $ spent on a good 22 is $ well spent
It's not so much a "it's just a .22, so it doesn't have to be expensive" mindset and more of a "I'm on a budget and want to see if there is anything that fits my needs as well as my budget" mindset.


Walt,
I realize the .22 is a last ditch choice. But I'd say its a fair sight better than a harsh glare when Murphy rears his head and breaks my S&W at a most inopportune moment.


3leggeddog,
I have put time and money on ammo and training. I've got several thousand rounds down range a a few dozen hours of classroom training prior to hitting the range. Not that further training is a bad thing, or upkeep training on what I already have rattling in the old skull would be a waste of time and money, but I'm at the point training wise where I'm training others.

While the Ruger Marks are fine guns, they don't fit the size parameters of what I'm looking for. Unless they have a subcompact model I'm not aware of.

The Phienix Arms HP-22 is, as I recall, on par with the Jennings J-22 as far as quality and reliability go. Is this a correct understanding or have do I have the wrong impression of Phoenix?

I guess there is not much out there that fits the bill of reliable, inexpensive and pocket sized. I can get 2/3, but as Meatloaf said, two out if three ain't bad.

Walt Sherrill
January 9, 2013, 04:40 PM
Walt,
I realize the .22 is a last ditch choice. But I'd say its a fair sight better than a harsh glare when Murphy rears his head and breaks my S&W at a most inopportune moment.

I agree that a .22 is probably better than a pointed stick -- but what if the bad guy in question is a Pit Bull or Rottweiler intent on eating your liver for lunch? That may be a more realistic opponent than a person with a knife or gun!

The larger-caliber pocket guns aren't that much more expensive than the small .22s, but are arguably going to be more effective if it's not a rabbit that's attacking you. Those guns won't be as good for your kids to shoot, but maybe getting them out shooting should not be the primary consideration when you make this choice?

In some respects, this is an academic/theoretical/theological discussion, like monks arguing about angels dancing on the point of a pin. I know a lot of folks who carry, and have known a few who actually had to draw their weapon -- but don't personally know of any who have had to USE their carry weapon away from their home turf -- and that means I know NONE who have ever gotten so far down that proverbial dark alley as to actually need a backup gun.

I can see LEOs maybe needing them. They go in harm's way far more often than most of us. State Troopers here in NC, like my son, are on their own while on duty, and backup can be a long time coming, and they have been known to get into tussles with the folks they're trying to arrest... A back up gun makes sense for them.

A number of NC State Troopers carry a Kel-Tec P3AT or Ruger LCP.... I find that almost unbelievable, as they have to qualify with their backup weapons at 20 yards. (I've had a P3AT and I'm not sure I could reliably hit the target at 20 yards... I could do it with my PF9, however.)

You've now heard all of the arguments, so you'll be making an informed decision -- but think about that Pit Bull when you go to buy that B.U.G. I guarantee that you will, sooner or later, carry your backup gun rather than your normal carry gun, and when you do, that's probably when the stuff will hit the fan.

.

MedWheeler
January 9, 2013, 09:21 PM
I have the PT-22, and it works great. It's an older one, made in 1998, and I've only had it a little less than a year, so I don't know its whole history. It's handy, accurate out to about ten yards or so, and reliable. The DA trigger is a little mushy when one is more used to single-action triggers. But, I'm pleased with it. I don't carry it; I carry a Kel-Tec PF9 and sometimes a P32 (the latter being more powerful and easier to conceal than the Taurus.)

My initial impression of it is in this thread: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=663829

Oh, and scroll down to post 20 in that thread; I add some important information that applies to the Taurus, and the Beretta as well.

USAF_Vet
January 9, 2013, 10:48 PM
I think I may have made my choice, provided I can get one ordered. I had forgotten about it until I ran across an older thread.

The USFA Zip .22 ultimately fits my criteria. USFA is well known for their quality SAA clones, so I can imagine the quality of their semi auto .22 would be up to snuff.
Size wise, it's slightly longer than what I really want, but only about 3/4" longer than the Taurus PT-22. Height and Width are comparable, too. It would fit in a jacket pocket by any means. Cost is slightly over my initial estimate at $219.99, but I'm pretty sure eating rice and beans for an extra week will more than cover the extra.

How I forgot about this gun, I don't know. Now that it's back on my radar, I'm leaning toward it as my next gun purchase, although I would like to read some first hand reports first. I typically don't like being a guinea pig for new products.

Walt Sherrill
January 9, 2013, 11:06 PM
The only ones I can find pictures of (or videos, showing one being fired) makes it look substantially larger than the PT22 or similar pocket pistols, not just a little bigger. Where did you find measurements?

Deltaboy
January 9, 2013, 11:11 PM
Look for a H&R 22 Revolver with a 3 inch or less barrel and they hold 8 or 9 rounds.

USAF_Vet
January 10, 2013, 12:16 AM
I got the measurement right off the website. Length is 5.9" where the PT-22 is 5.25".

I figure I'm going to have to sacrifice either size, price, or reliability.
Of the three, size is the least important.

weblance
January 10, 2013, 12:48 AM
You buy what you want... its your money. The Taurus POLY PT-22 is 4 3/4" by 4 3/4". You sacrifice nothing with the POLY PT-22. Size, price or reliability. I think you are making a mistake buying something like that Zip thing.

http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=790&category=Pistol&toggle=tp&breadcrumbseries=SF1

hemiram
January 10, 2013, 06:46 AM
I never had a Beretta 21, but I've shot one a few times and if I HAD to have a pocket sized .22, it would probably be my pick. I would probably look for a decent Beretta 950 .25, and go with that instead, as I did years ago, as a back up gun. All the .22's I tried weren't reliable. I've had that little thing for over 30 years and it's never failed, ever.

All the .22 semiautos I had, every one of them, had some kind of issues. Some weren't too bad, such as stovepiping the last shot in a mag, but most just had random failures to feed, so I never trusted them, and went to the .25 after shooting some guy's 950 at the range. I bought two boxes of ammo and it went through all 100 rounds without a miss, so I bought the one they had in the new guns for sale case.

bannockburn
January 10, 2013, 07:01 AM
USAF Vet

I just went to the Zip website and went through their info; man that thing looks like it's the size of a camcorder. I know appearances can be deceiving but that looks a lot bigger and whole lot wider than any Taurus or Beretta .22 I have ever seen. Actually the dimensions are pretty close to that of a Walther P-22.

snooperman
January 10, 2013, 08:01 AM
I would seriously reconsider your choice of a 22 rimfire as a back-up gun because of reliability with ammo issues and weakness of cartridge. Why not a light weight snubby in 38 special such as Ruger LCR? Or perhaps a lightweight 380 ACP pocket gun? Just a thought.

aarondhgraham
January 10, 2013, 10:28 AM
The 22-PLY is a redesigned version of the old PT-22,,,
Mine has been 100% reliable with CCI MiniMags,,,
As well as WalMart Federal Bulk Pack ammo.

http://aarondgraham.com/pics/PLY-hand.jpg

http://aarondgraham.com/pics/PLY-ruler.jpg

Mine has had a lot of rounds fired though it,,,
I don't mind the DAO action a bit,,,
It's a Point & Click interface.

It does have a somewhat longish trigger pull,,,
But practice with the gun made that point irrelevant.

I highly recommend this little shooter,,,
Not because I'm a Taurus fanboy,,,
But because it performs well.

I bought mine at budsgunshop.com last year for $101.00,,,
I bought the .25 ACP version as well for the exact same price.

Aarond

.

MedWheeler
January 10, 2013, 11:02 AM
USAF_Vet, do you own any Ruger rotary magazines yet? They are wide, more so than any double-stack 9mm magazine. Any firearm capable of accepting one will be even wider. Just want to make sure you factor that in when deciding on a handgun you have said might be carried.

Also, are you open to buying used? There are typically several options available in that price range in the used market, but you have to check each shop periodically, as they come and go. I've seen the Beretta (would have liked to have found one of the 70-71 series, but no), Llamas, and Star firearms around that price range in .22LR.

Last week, I picked up one imported by Interarms and made by FEG of Hungary. It's a .22 version of their venerable PA-63 9x18 Makarov pistol. Under the Interarms name, they are known as the AP22, but they were also imported as the SMC-22 by other importers, and run right about two bills nowadays.

Mine does have one issue which you can read about in my initial-impression review here:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=694161

weblance
January 10, 2013, 01:34 PM
I bought mine at budsgunshop.com last year for $101.00,,, I bought the .25 ACP version as well for the exact same price.

Seriously? $101? WOW! I thought I got a good deal on my Stainless POLY 22 at $185.

http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb97/weblance/CCWPics040fixedMedium.jpg

USAF_Vet
January 10, 2013, 06:28 PM
I'm as undecided as ever. LOL.

And as such, I think I'll take the wait and see approach.

My LGS had a sale on the Poly PT-22 not long ago, and I could probably swing a deal with them to get me the old sale price. I've bought enough from them, and I'm on a first name basis with one of the cashiers. I handled it when they had it on sale, almost bought one and talked myself out if it since I was saving for my AR. Now that I have my AR in hand, I might go revisit the Taurus.

The Zip looks like a fun gun, but will sacrifice size. I'm no small person, so if anything needed to be sacrificed size would be an easy choice. I'll take a closer look at the Poly 22, as well as scour the local used circuit for a Beretta. One advantage the Zip has is the 'hi-cap' magazine option. Granted, it's the size of a Tec-22 with the 25 round mag installed, but its an option no other gun has of its size.

As far as going to a more expensive gun with a center fire round, no. It's not what I want, I'm not looking to stock yet another caliber. If the price for .25, .38 or even .32 was remotely reasonable, I'd certainly consider dropping the cash for something in a different caliber. Best case back up would be a pocket 9mm like an M&P Shield, but I want a .22 to serve various purposes. I honestly never see myself in a situation where a .22 pocket gun will make or break me over and beyond my 9mm.

I'm in no hurry to buy, just putting the feelers out to get some ideas and feedback from fellow High Roadies.

Sun Tzu warrior
January 10, 2013, 06:30 PM
Check out Phoenix arms, http://www.phoenix-arms.com/
I have great experience with this weapon, and many friends have bought after seeing mine. All positive feedback. kit 2 different barrels and magsNIB for about $220. The short model $135 (no kit)

Sorry the picture didn't come out right

Walt Sherrill
January 10, 2013, 07:14 PM
You've set some limitations that sort of contradict each other... so waiting might be a good idea.

I've been looking for something that my wife, who is recoil sensitive, could shoot, but would function as a self-defense/home defense weapon. The new Kel-Tec PMR-30, in .22 wmr would seem to be the solution, and recent versions seem to be trouble-free. Finding one is the problem. With a 30-round magazine, and a more potent round, you've got options there that fit some of your constraints, but it's definitely NOT a pocket gun. The .22 WMR round is also NOT cheap, but it would be a gun your kids could enjoy shooting.

I've been on two waiting lists for over a year, and am still waiting. I'm unwilling to pay the outrageous prices I see them offered for,as used weapons. (Kel-Tec is getting more stringent in their warranty work, and I don't know whether they'd honor the warranty on a "new" gun sold by the original owner. That was their practice in the past, but things may be changing.)

USAF_Vet
January 10, 2013, 07:47 PM
I got to handle the PMR-30, and the guy who had it used it as his CC gun.

I can always grab a Ruger single six with conversion cylinder, which I've used to teach my step-son some pistol basics. So the teaching tool is covered there, and I'll own that gun eventually, anyway. Not a CCW piece, by any stretch. .22 mag, as I recall when I bought some for the Ruger, was about 7.99 for 50 rounds. Not exactly .22LR cheap, but acceptable. Slightly less than the even cheapest of 9mm rounds.



Sun, how does that Phoenix fare? I've heard them described as being akin to the Jennings, but I've never actually put hands on one (because I heard them compare with the Jennings). Is this an accurate assessment, or more internet lore?

Sun Tzu warrior
January 10, 2013, 10:22 PM
I would compare them as follows; Jennings = Yugo Phoenix = nissan Altima
Imho, no real comparison and I do have a J-22 Jennings as well.
The Phoenix is well constructed, all that I have been around have been accurate, and reliable. The only thing I didn't like about it, was that the side safety (also has a hammer block safety on the slide) has to be in the fire position to drop the mag, and to chamber or unload a round. I eliminated these problems in 5 minutes with a screwdriver, and a dremel, The side safety still works after this mod.

MedWheeler
January 10, 2013, 11:05 PM
USAF_Vet, the Phoenix HP22A is a remarkably fun shooter. I own one, which I've had since 2009. It is a zinc-alloy-framed gun, available with an optional 5-inch barrel, and comes with one 10-round magazine.
The gun is heavy for its size, more than twice the weight of my backup gun, a Kel-Tec P32. It's of a single-action mechanism, but has a true exposed hammer instead of the striker found on the "even-lesser" guns, like the Jennings/Jiminez JA-22/25. To meet Canadian firearms-import laws, though, the HP22A is equipped with three safeties. One is a slide-mounted hammer-block, one is a frame-mounted trigger-block, and one is a mag-disconnect.
Also, to remove a round from the chamber (without firing it out), you must remove the magazine first, empty it, then re-insert it to open the slide. The slide will not open with no magazine in it.

Pretty much all of the small .22LR guns have stiff recoil springs to help cushion the slides on them, and the Phoenix is no exception. That means that the gun may be less-than-reliable with "bulk" ammunition. Mine is. Break out the CCI MiniMags, though, and you'll be ready to pistol-party smoothly all day.

The Phoenix is also a good choice for the person who wants a gun that can be carried about, nicked and scratched, and not have any lost sleep over, especially for its price.

But, there is one other issue that is common: after a few thousand rounds, these guns are known to have their frames crack at or in the magazine well. This will not hamper operation, and Phoenix is known for repairing it at no cost. Actually, it's typically cheaper for them to simply replace the gun, and that's been a common response of theirs to consumers with cracked frames.

MedWheeler
January 10, 2013, 11:06 PM
USAF_Vet, the Phoenix HP22A is a remarkably fun shooter. I own one, which I've had since 2009. It is a zinc-alloy-framed gun, available with an optional 5-inch barrel, and comes with one 10-round magazine......


Edit: The site has been either not responding to my post submissions, or responding twice; this was one of the latter...

GCBurner
January 11, 2013, 12:35 AM
In pocket semi-auto .22s, you can have "Reliable" or "Under $200"; pick one. :-)

weblance
January 11, 2013, 01:57 AM
In pocket semi-auto .22s, you can have "Reliable" or "Under $200"; pick one. :-)

That is simply not completely true. You can ask aarondhgraham, or myself about the reliability of the POLY PT-22. Im not a Taurus fanboy. I have a Model 94 .22 revolver that has had issues right out of the box, and has soured me of the Taurus brand, but this little POLY PT-22 of mine is over 1,600 rounds with only one actual "jam" That was with waxy, dirty, Remington Golden that I had left over from the late 1980s. These little pistols are a real hoot to play with, and very accurate, for such a little pea shooter. Its one of the true hidden gems of the 22 pistol world. If .25 acp wasn't ridiculously priced for what it is, I would also have a POLY PT-25.

MedWheeler
January 11, 2013, 11:45 AM
^^ I believe too many people who buy small .22LR pistols cheap out on the ammo by buying underpowered "bulk" stuff, then figure the gun is crap because it won't run it. Truth is, the smaller guns have stiffer recoil springs because, believe it or not, the slide and frame in a blowback gun, even in a .22, takes some abuse. A stiffer recoil spring helps negate that abuse, but it requires a hotter round to cycle it reliably. Simply using a lighter spring would risk damage should the shooter decide to step up in ammunition potency.

USAF_Vet
January 11, 2013, 12:09 PM
Seems like I've been mistaken on the Phoenix. That certainly sounds like something I'd compare side by side with the Taurus.

Thanks for the info, guys. Keep it coming.

jon_in_wv
January 11, 2013, 08:51 PM
I want to comment on what Jon_in_wv has said. The original Taurus PT-22 has some faults. The POLY PT-22 is a redesign, and supposedly has fixed the issues of the original PT-22. I have somewhere near 1,600 rounds thru my POLY and have had no failure of any kind. I have disassembled it, and see no signs of wear. I would recommend it with no reservations of any kind. Its a great pistol at the $200 mark the OP has asked us to stay at.

I sincerely hope the Poly 22 is better. I don't have any experience with it but the PT-22 I bought is an utter failure and I still find it offensive they would sell something so poorly made. That being said Taurus has a habit of making some really good guns and some really crappy ones. The Poly might be one of the better ones. I can't speak to that, my input is only to steer away from the PT22 even at half the price.

tubeshooter
January 11, 2013, 09:09 PM
I have been following this thread with interest.

I used to have a Beretta 21A in .22lr, but I sold it. Even though I decided I did not trust it for even backup SD duty, I kind of miss it. It was still a fun short range plinker, and it was well made.

If I did it over again and wanted to be able to trust it for self defense in a backup role, I think I would get .25ACP instead. But then - you don't have a cheap plinker anymore.

I don't think you will find either caliber for under $200 easily.


Minus the "pocket pistol" requirement, I would recommend a Bersa in .22... but you'd be hard pressed to find that under $200 also now. They used to be that cheap.



My recommendation to the OP would be to give the new Taurus PLY a try. I think that fits the bill as far as price limit and intended use. I have heard mostly good things, and it sounds like a vast improvement over their PT models. [EDIT: I have never owned either model.]

MedWheeler
January 11, 2013, 11:25 PM
Seems like I've been mistaken on the Phoenix. That certainly sounds like something I'd compare side by side with the Taurus.

These two guns are similar in caliber only. The Taurus is double-action-only, and the Phoenix is single-action-only. The Taurus (PT-22) weighs half what the HP22A does, and the PLY-22 Taurus even less.

To me, the Phoenix is more "fun", and the PT-22 (and likely the PLY, which I have no experience with), more "practical."

Tinker
January 12, 2013, 11:51 AM
USAF Vet,

(first, judging by your handle, thanks for your service)

I used to own the little Beretta 21A. Liked it a lot. Regret selling it even though it was particular about the ammo it liked.

After that one I was in the market for another plinker. A buddy of mine raved about his little cheapo Phoenix HP22. Surprized me, because this guy is what you'd call a high-end gun snob. ;) I borrowed it, ran various brands of ammo through it and bought one shortly after that. That was in 2005. It has been on a diet of cheap Thunderbolt ammo ever since. The only malfunctions I can recall is with duds or when it has not been cleaned in several hundred rounds.

Honestly, if I had the Beretta and this Phoenix and had to sell one, the Beretta would have to go. No joke.

Kiln
January 13, 2013, 04:29 AM
The Phoenix HP22 is a decent handgun but is bogged down by the inclusion of so many safeties. It also has a fairly short lifespan due to the thin magazine well.

These guns are made of zamak so if that bothers you, you'd better look for something different. At the price they go for, they're an excellent value and I'd challenge you to find a more reliable new pistol for $120-$150.

For limited use, they work very well and function reliably. Long term though you'll most likely have to send it in to the factory at some point to have the frame replaced.

MedWheeler
January 21, 2013, 10:11 PM
Hey, bringing this back to ask the OP.. did you get something yet?

USAF_Vet
January 22, 2013, 01:18 AM
Nope.

I've reconsidered even getting a .22, since I have not found anything that suits my desires.

I'm now debating between a Charter Arms Southpaw for CCW, or lefty bolt action in .30-06. I think either of those would be more useful and practical than a .22.

rcmodel
January 22, 2013, 01:24 AM
Nothing is more practical then a .22, if you don't have one yet.

Please reconsider.

The finest shooters in the world learned to shoot at championship levels, and still practice with .22's to break bad habits.

rc

USAF_Vet
January 22, 2013, 12:30 PM
I'd accept donations, but my desires have changed, and there are other guns I would prefer.

Based on the responses to this thread, I am not going to find something I really want in a .22 semi auto.

MedWheeler
January 22, 2013, 12:58 PM
I'm a southpaw, too, but a left-handed revolver would really screw me up.. just too used to the "normal" ones.

I own two Charter Arms revolvers, both Undercover 38 models. One is from 1987, bought the day I was sworn in as a LEO, and the other is from 1966; that one was carried by my dad when he was in LE (and after), and became mine upon his death in 2010.

They're both good performers. I'd have no issues with Charter Arms, though they did have some bad years through the 1990s, from what I understand.

The other day, I was eyeballing a really nice stainless "Pathfinder Target" Charter Arms revolver (a .22LR model.) Quite a handsome piece, with a four-inch barrel and adjustable sights. Was pretty tempted. Not badly priced, either, running less than a Taurus 94.

USAF_Vet
January 22, 2013, 03:26 PM
I think I'd be more comfortable with a lefty revolver because I wouldn't be trying to overcome a lot of habit and muscle memory. The only other revolvers I shoot a lot are Single Action, so I'm used to loading/ unloading a revolver with my right hand and shooting it with my left.

EBK
January 22, 2013, 05:21 PM
A lot of people bag on them but I have had wonderful luck with my 130$ Pheonix arms HP.22

I have gone through several bricks (more than 5)of wally world special bulk ammo with no more problems than you would see in anyother .22 firearm (all ammo related IE: dead primers, light loads ETC...)

heeler
January 23, 2013, 01:42 PM
Late to the party but it's good to see so many people having such great reliability from their Beretta 21's.
My brother bought one in the 90's and it is a 100 percent jamomatic using all sorts of 22 rimfire ammo.
And it's heavier than my Kel-Tec P32 and my LCP which either would make Swiss cheese out of it.
Perhaps his was built first thing on Monday morning.

Dentite
January 23, 2013, 04:15 PM
Since you are still undecided I might as well pile on my $.02

I think you get a big .22LR and a small .380 auto.

Why? Well I see the .22LR as a target/plinking/small game round. The pistols that allow for accuracy and reliability are generally large pistols with longer sight radii. I chose the Ruger MkIII with a 5.5" bull barrel but you have options out there.

As for the small .380...you can get a small .380 auto like a Ruger LCP that holds 6+1 rounds that are much better for defense than .22LR. And the modern polymer .380 autos are small...the LCP isn't much bigger or heavier than a Beretta 21. Much better choice for a compact back up/deep concealment defensive pistol.

Good luck!

Deer_Freak
January 23, 2013, 05:43 PM
I don't know where this rumor about 22 ammo being unreliable got started. Yes, if you count on bulk plinking ammo you are going to have some misfires. But if you use CCI mini mags/stingers or any other premium ammunition you don't have any duds. Anyone that can't afford a box of premium 22 ammo for self defense can't afford to own a gun.

As for those who say a 22 will bounce off someones skull is planning on a one in a million freak occurrence. They should carry a 20mm cannon to make sure they get the bad guy. Even centerfire rifle rounds have bounced off the human skull. If you watch the history channel for any length of time they will interview someone who survived being shot in the head with a military rifle of some fashion.

A child can not handle a 380 pocket pistol. Maybe a Bersa Thunder or other heavy 380 with a long barrel. They are all out of his $200 price range. Finding a used Bersa Thunder is no easy task. Plus his girl might not like shooting the 380 because of the report. Young girls ears are much more sensitive than an adult males ears.

People need to read the OP before responding. I am amazed at how many people don't read the OP before responding.

Stevie-Ray
January 23, 2013, 05:56 PM
Well, I'm certainly not a Taurus fanboy, either, since I have one and sold one that I thought junk. But my present Taurus is a PT-22 that I will NEVER sell. It has been 100% with every load and likes Rem Yellow Jackets especially, a round that Taurus recommends against due to it's truncated cone design not being conducive to reliability in the weapon. No matter, it's generally what I use. It's a great piece to toss in a pocket for targets of opportunity while hiking. I've also carried it on occasion as a BUG, but my P32 has taken over that duty. The PT-22 is a fun little piece if you get a good one and mine is stellar. Be aware though, some have gotten lemons, enough that threads on it can be rather lively. I paid 200 bucks for mine several years ago, for my wife that couldn't rack a slide. But she can't use it, either.

mje
January 23, 2013, 07:32 PM
I have a 21a, and while it's a great little pistol it's not my first choice for teaching someone to shoot. That short muzzle generates a lot of noise and blast, and it's difficult to shoot at ranges beyond a few yards. For first-time shooters and youngsters I'd look around for something like a used S&W 22A, or maybe a Heritage single action, or an older H&R revolver.

I bought my Beretta as a carry gun, but it does have one problem in that role- no extractor. Clearing a misfire involves flipping the barrel open, pulling out the dud, snapping the barrel shut and cycling the action. I replaced it in that role with an LCP that is thinner and lighter.

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