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

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by USAF_Vet, Jan 8, 2013.

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  1. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  2. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    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.
     
  3. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    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?
     
  4. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    Look for a H&R 22 Revolver with a 3 inch or less barrel and they hold 8 or 9 rounds.
     
  5. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    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.
     
  6. weblance

    weblance Member

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  7. hemiram

    hemiram Member

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    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.
     
  8. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    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.
     
  9. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    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.
     
  10. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

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    Another recommendation for the Taurus 22-PLY,,,

    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.

    PLY-hand.jpg

    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

    .
     
  11. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  12. weblance

    weblance Member

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

    CCWPics040fixedMedium.jpg
     
  13. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    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.
     
  14. Sun Tzu warrior

    Sun Tzu warrior Member

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    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
     

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  15. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    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.)
     
  16. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    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?
     
  17. Sun Tzu warrior

    Sun Tzu warrior Member

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    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.
     
  18. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    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.
     
  19. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    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...
     
  20. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    In pocket semi-auto .22s, you can have "Reliable" or "Under $200"; pick one. :)
     
  21. weblance

    weblance Member

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    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.
     
  22. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    ^^ 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.
     
  23. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    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.
     
  24. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    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.
     
  25. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    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.]
     
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