Friday, July 29, 2016

Guns: Ruger SR22 review - Double-action Indoctrination


Striker-fired pistols dominate today's handgun market, in part because of the perceived advantage of having a single type of trigger pull shot-to-shot, as opposed to the heavy first pull and light subsequent pulls of a traditional double-action/single-action (DA/SA) gun. The thinking is that a heavy first pull causes a shooter to jerk the first shot, or that a change in trigger weight causes second shots to go wide.

Now, I don't agree that a DA/SA trigger is per se worse than other types of triggers (if your fundamentals are good, it shouldn't matter that a trigger pull is heavier or lighter than other pulls), but learning the DA/SA trigger does take some practice, which is where the Ruger SR22 comes in.

What's In the Box

The SR22 is a small, inexpensive polymer-framed .22 LR pistol that is perfect for teaching the DA/SA trigger, especially to new shooters. Despite the low price, Ruger gives you two 10-round magazines, a zippered soft case, and an extended magazine baseplate and large grip panel. I have small hands, so I stuck with the flush baseplate and default grips, but it's nice that alternates are provided right out of the gate.

Trigger and Sights

The main thing that sets the SR22 apart is its ambidextrous frame-mounted safety/decocker. Pressing down on the lever decocks the hammer and safes the pistol, while moving the lever up takes the gun off of safe. From there, you operate the SR22 in the same manner as any DA/SA gun, but without burning expensive centerfire ammo in the process. Another advantage: the .22's light recoil helps you focus on maintaining sight picture during the two trigger weights, instead of managing recoil.

The SR22 has three-dot adjustable sights that did not move or become dislodged during several years (and a couple thousand rounds' worth) of testing. They're not the most precise sights in the world, but they work for the gun's intended roles as a plinker and trainer.

Range Report

The SR22 shot almost every type of ammunition reliably when clean, but did have the occasional light strike or failure to eject when very dirty (which is common in very small .22s). I don't hold it against the gun at all; this is not a self-defense pistol, and the SR22 is as reliable as anything in this class.

In the same vein, the SR22 is not as accurate as its larger brethren in the Ruger stable, but the gun holds its own compared to other compact non-target .22s. Here are some groups fired offhand at my local indoor range to give you an idea...

15 yards, 10 shots, RWS "Sport Line" 40 gr. (probably the most accurate overall, though I didn't have much onhand to test with):

20 yards, 20 shots, CCI Standard Velocity 40 gr.:

20 yards, 20 rounds, CCI Mini Mags:

25 yards, 20 rounds, Blazer value pack 40 gr.:

20 yards, 20 rounds, Federal Automatch:

15 yards, 20 rounds, Winchester Bulk Pack 40 gr. (not one of my favorite ammo types):

15 yards, 30 rounds, Federal HV Match 40 gr. solids (aside from the flier up top, this was very consistent ammo):


As with almost everything in the firearms world, the DA/SA weaknesses people cite are not equipment issues, but training issues. The Ruger SR22 is a way to get in that training, and it is also just a fun gun to take along on the trail or to keep in the car for impromptu shooting sessions. At a street price of around 300 bucks, it's certainly worth taking a look at.


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