firearm has had mixed reviews since its introduction
in 2003, but all errors seem to have been corrected
in the new pistols and magazines.
It is 75% (true scale) of the size of
the Walther P99 (9mm) and has several features which
are different. For example the P22 is SA/DA (single
The pistol can be bought with a 3.4"
barrel (like mine) or a 5" barrel model with a
ported barrel assembly. Seriously, who needs a ported
.22LR pistol? The only advantage with the 5" barrel
is a slightly longer sight plane for target shooting.
This is a plinker, though, not a match pistol.
first introduced, the P22 was a bit finicky about ammunition,
which was caused by early magazines which were flawed
in design. Be sure when you purchase one of these to
see that the magazines are marked with their serial
numbers with an "A" after the number sequence.
These are the modified mags.
I bought a brick of Federal Champion
Target 40-grain, two boxes of CCI Stingers, two boxes
of CCI Velocitor 40-grain hollow points, a brick of
Remington Yellow Jacket 33-grain (truncated cone), a
brick of Remington Cyclone 36-grain hollowpoints, and
a brick of Remington Thunderbolt 40-grain round nose.
I already had a plentiful supply of of Remington Subsonic
38-grain hollow points (everyone should).
The pistol comes with two 10-round magazines.
They have a spring-loaded thumb plunger on the side
to help load the diminutive cartridges. An interesting
note is that the cartridges that are loaded about 3
or 4 below the top one start to stack like in a double-stack
full magazine, albeit haphazardly. They look like they
are loaded improperly, and tend to just mash in together
in a volume thicker than their width. Very different
than the straight fashion in Browning Buckmark or Ruger
MK mags. It looks like they are going to cause a problem,
but they amazingly don't.
I loaded two mags with the Federal Champ
Target fodder and used those to say hello to this new
pistol. Pretty crisp report from the little barrel,
which was expected. I burned through 100 rounds with
these Fed rounds and had no failures.
I switched to the Rem Cyclones and started
to check the factory sights. The rounds were impacting
at 25 yards about three inches low and four inches right.
I adjusted the rear target sight with the rim of a .22
cartridge, but I had no elevation adjustment.
I wondered why the factory box came with various front
sight posts, some little, some tall. There was my answer.
I got the windage on, and compensated for the tad low
shots at 25 yards. At normal .22 plinker ranges of 50
feet or less, it became moot.
But this little sucker started flipping
cans, spent 12-gauge shells, bugs, and anything else
I could find to hit. And not even one failure to feed.
I switched to CCI Stingers, and the
little thing was hot. Same point of impact as everything
else, just a little bit more recoil. But we are still
talking small caliber, and it was nothing.
The Remington Yellow Jackets performed
the best in controlled shot groups, about 2 inches at
25 yards, standing offhand.
I ended up putting 1200 rounds through
it, without any cleaning, and never once did it ever
fail to feed, eject, burp, hiccup, puke or fart. I consider
any pistol with less than 2000 rounds through it a "juvenile,"
but this toddler is already driving a Harley. I only
have one other pistol in my stable (Beretta 92FS) that
has never burped during a break-in session such as this.
Whatever those engineers over in Germany
did to make this an out-of-the-box wunderkind, they
did it right. All my fears about early production models
sailed right out the door from the Carl Walther Factory
with these new models, and I am impressed.
Things I didn't like
This great little pistol has a flaw with the sights.
The front sights are simple plastic inserts of varying
heights to accommodate different ammo and their points
of impact. Being plastic, they are vulnerable to popping
out when holstering roughly. I lost one, and have no
idea when or where it left the front slide, so it was
lost and gone. The rear sight is a little too fragile
for my taste, especially for a pistol that I am rough
with. If the chips are down, you can still aim this
little wonder where you want it to hit at close range
and it will generally hit where you point, but the sights
should be more rock solid for expected abuse in a pistol
P.S.: Retail price was only $240, now about $375.
Add $20 for a Fobus Tactical Paddle Holster, or $80
if you want a leather model from Galco.
Buy more magazines, and
get them from S&W and/or Walther. If you bend feed
lips on a mag, it is useless. My rule of thumb is having
a minimum of 10 magazines for any given weapon. It may
sound excessive, but it is not.
Don't use this as a
concealed carry defensive weapon. Carry something bigger
in a caliber that starts with a 4 and hopefully ends
in a 5. If this pistol is all you have, try firing it
up the nose of the perp, as I heard from an unnamed
source that doing so is the best way to deliver a .22LR
round into a bad guy.