Ruger SR22 Pistol: Compact 22 Long Rifle Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 2nd, 2012

UPDATED March 26th, 2013


Click pictures for a larger version.



The SR22 is now available with a threaded barrel for mounting a compensator, suppressor, etc. An excellent choice is this "Cascade" suppressor from Tactical Solutions.



SR-22 pistol comes with soft zippered storage case.





The SR22 pistol also comes with two magazines, along with extra finger-extension magazine base plates.





Ambidextrous thumb safety levers.





Excellent adjustable sights.



Slide lock.



Ambidextrous magazine release.



Sturm, Ruger & Company has been in the 22 semi-automatic pistol business since 1949. The Standard Automatic and Mark I pistols quickly built a stellar reputation as being reliable, accurate, and affordable. While other brands of 22 autos have fallen by the wayside, the Ruger, now in its Mark III configuration, is as popular as ever, with no end of production in sight. Like many other shooters, I have often wished that Ruger would produce a more compact 22 pistol, and it has finally arrived, sixty-three years later, and I predict that this one will also be a huge seller for Sturm, Ruger & Company for many years to come, as long as we maintain our freedom to own such handguns.

Right off the bat, this pistol is reliable. I usually report on reliability, accuracy and such after a description of the weapon and detailed specifications, and that will come, but first of all, this pistol is a keeper. Reliability in a compact 22 pistol is not a given, and some on the market are pretty finicky about ammo. Not this SR22 Pistol. I fed it nineteen different types of 22 Long Rifle ammo, foreign and domestic, standard velocity, high velocity, and hyper-velocity, and it fed, fired, and ejected every round offered to it. Often times, 22 Long Rifle ammunition, especially the cheap bulk ammo, can give problems, but this Ruger SR22 Pistol has digested handfuls of the stuff without a hiccup. (Note: after writing this a couple of days ago, today I did have one Winchester DynaPoint round that failed to eject. Upon firing, it felt as if it was underpowered, and it did not fully cycle the slide to eject).

The SR22 Pistol has a black polymer frame and black lightweight aluminum slide. Inside the slide to the rear of the ejection port is a steel insert which houses the extractor, firing pin, and firing pin safety. Set into the polymer frame is a steel sub-frame which houses the trigger, hammer, and other fire control parts. The manual safety pushes up to fire, and has, thankfully, ambidextrous levers. Pushing down on either safety lever also lowers the hammer. In addition to the thumb safety and firing pin safety, the SR22 Pistol has a magazine safety, to prevent firing with the magazine removed. The first shot from a magazine can be fired double-action, or the hammer can be manually cocked to fire the first shot single-action. Subsequent shots are fired single-action, until the hammer is lowered. The slide locks to the rear on an empty magazine, and there is a slide lock lever on the left side. The magazine release is also ambidextrous, and is at the rear of the trigger guard, pushing in to release the ten-shot blued-steel magazine. The magazine has a button on the follower to assist in easily loading to full capacity. The magazine floorplate is polymer, and is easily removed for cleaning of the magazine. The floorplate is relatively flat, but a finger-extension floorplate is also provided. The SR22 pistol ships with two magazines, as well as two of the additional floorplates. The barrel is stainless steel, and is rigidly attached to the steel sub frame, but is easily removed using an Allen wrench, accessed through the trigger guard. Plans are to soon offer a barrel with a threaded extension as an accessory, to fit a sound suppressor or other accessory to the muzzle, if desired. The SR22 Pistol has an excellent set of fully-adjustable sights dovetailed into the slide. The recoil spring for the blow-back operation is a single coil style, and runs on a polymer guide rod. The SR22 Pistol comes with two interchangeable grips, one slightly larger and more hand-filling than the other. They are changed simply by pulling hard downward off the grip frame. For my large hand, I greatly prefer the feel of the larger grip, which is still compact, but fills the palm very well.

Disassembly is very simple, and will be welcome by any owner of a Ruger Standard Auto or Mark 22 pistol. A lever inside the trigger guard is pulled downward, the magazine removed, and the slide pulled rearward and upward. When the rear of the slide clears the frame, simply slide forward off the frame and barrel. Assembly is just as easy.

Critical specifications for the SR22Pistol are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements in inches. Weight includes an empty magazine. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest parts. The maximum width is measured across the ambidextrous thumb safeties. The height includes the sights and standard magazine base. The trigger pull on the SR22 Pistol was smooth in double-action mode, stacking before the release. The single action pull is very good, with a smooth release and slight overtravel. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance, as measured on my Lyman digital trigger scale.

Weight 17.7 Oz.
Height 4.85"
Length 6.38"
Slide Width 0.94"
Maximum Grip Width 1.06"
Frame Width 0.968"
Maximum Width 1.285"
Trigger Pull SA 4.1 Lbs.
Trigger Pull DA 7.7 Lbs.
Trigger Reach SA 2.2"
Trigger Reach DA 2.68"
Barrel Length 3.51"
Magazine Capacity 10
Magazines Supplies 2

I tested the SR22 Pistol with several brands of 22 Long Rifle ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of 43 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the fifty-five percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the SR22 Pistol. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Bulk HP 36 874
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 877
PMC Match Solid 40 783
Wolf Match Solid 40 881
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 974
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 934
CCI Velocitor HP 40 994
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 1076
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 973
American Eagle HP 36 901
PMC Zapper HP 38 937
Olin Solid 40 896
Winchester XPert HP 36 908
Hansen Solid 40 874
Remington Bulk Solid 37 900

Shooting the SR22 Pistol is a real pleasure. As noted above, functioning was perfect. The magazines are very easy to load, the pistol feels good in the hand, and recoil is very light, as it is with most any 22 Long Rifle pistol. The SR22 Pistol can empty its ten-shot magazine as quickly as the trigger can be pulled, and keeping all shots well-centered on a silhouette target at twenty-five yards is easy to do. This brings us to the purpose of this compact 22 pistol. While the SR22 Pistol is ideally suited for plinking and target practice, with a whole day of fun costing less than one fifty-round box of good centerfire ammunition, the SR22 Pistol can also serve for defense for those who, for whatever reason, cannot handle a larger caliber.

The 22 Long Rifle cartridge would not be my first choice for a defensive cartridge, but I would certainly not feel unarmed with only this SR22 Pistol at hand. Recoil is very light, and most anyone can operate and fire this pistol with confidence and accuracy. It is easy to place eleven bullets on target very quickly, and with the proper ammunition, the 22 Long Rifle offers pretty good penetration. Unlike a centerfire pistol, the slide on the SR22 is easy to manipulate, even for someone with weak hands. The trigger is also relatively easy to pull, and the excellent sights help to place the shots accurately and quickly. I get email almost every day from folks who cannot tolerate the recoil of a centerfire handgun, and for those people, the SR22 Pistol is an excellent choice for defense. For those of us who can pretty much handle any handgun that we want, the SR22 is still a fun little pistol, offering lots of inexpensive shooting fun, and is great for target practice.

The SR22 Pistol is capable of very good accuracy, given its short sight radius. I had no insert for my Ransom Rest, as the SR22 Pistol had not yet been introduced while I was doing my accuracy testing. I rested the pistol handheld across a Target Shooting, Inc. pistol rest, and fired for accuracy with several brands of ammo at a distance of twenty-five yards. Accuracy varied from under two inches to just under five inches, depending upon the ammo and my ability to hold the weapon steadily. Again, the sights are very good, and contributed to the accuracy of the SR22 Pistol. Hopefully, I can get a Ransom insert to fit this pistol, as with its rigidly-mounted barrel, I think that the accuracy will be even better than I was able to shoot holding it in my hands.

The SR22 Pistol is available now, already shipping to distributors. It is lightweight, easy to shoot, built right, and built in the USA.

Check out the extensive line of Ruger firearms and accessories online at

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

To order the SR22 Pistol online, go to

To order quality 22 Long Rifle ammunition, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.




Jeff's seven-year-old grandson Ethan loved firing the SR22 Pistol.



SR22 pistol ships with two interchangeable grips.



The Ruger Standard Auto serial number 0132 (left) was built in 1949. The SR22 Pistol (right) is more compact, and at only 17.7 ounces, less than half the weight.



SR22 pistol was fired with a variety of ammunition.



Seven-yard offhand rapid-fire group.







Quick and easy disassembly.



The barrel is rigidly attached to the steel sub-frame, but is easily removed.



Ruger padlock is included for secure storage.