Pistol Review: S&W 22A

S&W 22A 5.5″ barrel model

Some years ago I found myself in the local gun shop looking at the various pistols when I found myself staring at a pistol I’d never seen before. It was a blocky looking thing with a Weaver rail covering the entire top of the gun. This was my first encounter with the Smith & Wesson 22A, a semi-auto .22lr pistol. Having shot the Rugers and Buckmarks forever I was intrigued by this pistol. It had a more classic semi-auto look and the price was right so I bought it.

The 22A has been around a long time and comes in several different varieties, including a 4″, 5.5″, 7″ and even a 7″ bull barrel model. The pistol is large and weighs over 2lbs. The grip has a rubber cover, the rear sight is adjustable, and the entire top of the pistol is one big weaver rail. Similar to other popular .22lr pistols, the barrel is fixed and the breech/striker/slide that reciprocates is small and light. This all adds up to a shooting experience not unlike a BB gun only louder.

I have fired thousands of rounds of various types of ammo with this pistol and it has only had a few hiccups. With Federal bulk pack (550 rds.) from Walmart it has never had a malfunction of any kind. I’ve had a lot of fun with this pistol, not the least of which was allowing many people to shoot this gun as their first firearms experience. It is nearly ideal for that purpose.

The take-down process is facilitated by pressing a plunger under the barrel that allows the barrel assembly to disengage and swing upward and rearward. It then comes off the rear hook and is free for inspection and cleaning. The recoil spring assembly is a little tricky getting back together but this is easy after a few tries. One quirk is that the mag release is on the front strap of the grip rather than the traditional location next to the trigger guard. Manual safety works as expected.

This pistol can be bought new for right around $300 which makes it a great pistol for small-bore fun and perhaps even competition shooting. With it’s light recoil, excellent trigger and sights, and superb accuracy it is an outstanding pistol.

About William Daugherty

William Daugherty is a firearms enthusiast, competition shooter and Second Amendment advocate living in the Upper Connecticut River Valley region of Northern New England.
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