After putting about 2000 rounds through this little pistol, I think it’s high time we did the Ruger SR22 Review for 2020. It may not be perfect, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better semi-auto 22 caliber plinker at this or any price.
The Ruger SR22 is a compact .22 caliber rimfire pistol. It is semi-automatic and utilizes a straight blowback action to cycle the pistol. The SR22 sports a polymer lower and an aluminum slide, tipping the scales at a bantamweight 17.5 ounces.
The AMMDOG test pistol is the traditional model, which is all black except for a patch of bright red under the safety/decocker lever (more on that later). However, if you are looking to outfit the family with SR22s, Ruger now offers them in about twenty different colors and Cerakote patterns.
The Ruger SR22 is a SA/DA (single action/double action) hammer fired pistol. No striker here. The skeletonized hammer is spurred to give your thumb some purchase if you’re inclined to cock the hammer manually to fire single action.
It’s a Good Fit.
As you might expect of a .22 caliber single stack, the grip is fairly slender but not excessively so. The Ruger SR22 grip is augmented with a rubberized palm swell, a grip sleeve really, and ships with two different sizes. The sleeve is textured along the back with a series of chevron ridges and straight ridges where your fingertips rest.
It’s grippy and unless you’ve got monster mitts, fits the palm well. The grip sleeves are interchangeable but require a Herculean effort to replace.
Both the safety/decocker and magazine releases are ambidextrous so lefties will feel right at home.
View From the Top
You get a very conventional three white dot sight configuration. The rear sight is screw adjustable for both windage and elevation. As you look down the sights there is more than adequate light on either side of the front post.
The sights are very good, just maybe not great. I would be inclined to throw a fiber optic replacement on the front sight to upgrade from the small white dot (but I do that on everything!). The rear sight blade is reversible if you prefer the picture of front white dot on a blacked out rear sight.
The black anodized slide has cocking serrations both front and rear and racking the lightly sprung slide should not be a problem for most any shooter regardless of hand strength. Ruger also saw fit to give you a tactical rail underneath just in case you would like to add a light or laser.
Overall the ergonomics of the little SR22 are very good. Although it’s really in the plinker category, Ruger definitely gave it a hip tactical look with some of the style that showed up in the later Ruger American pistol line.
Ruger SR22 Magazines
If you’ve ever struggled to fill pistol magazines to capacity (P365 anyone?) you’ll be delighted with the SR22 mags. The blued steel single stacks have a thumb button on the side which allows you to compress the light spring as you slide rounds on top of the follower.
It doesn’t get any easier. The thumb follower button does double duty enabling the last round hold open functionality. There are some aftermarket magazine extenders sold for the Ruger SR22 Magazines that remove this button so beware if you go that route. You might lose the last round hold open function.
The magazines also come with both flush and extended floor plates to give your pinky a little extra real estate. Personally I don’t look at the SR22 as a carry piece so I go for the extended floor plate all the way. In reality, it’s only changing the length about ¼” in either case.
Ruger SR22 Review: Under the Hood
When you remove the slide on the Ruger SR22 the most noticeable feature is the fixed barrel. The 3 ½” stainless steel barrel is screwed to the frame via an allen screw inside the trigger well. There’s really no reason to remove it for even white glove cleaning but it’s possible to replace if needed.
As the barrel doesn’t move, field stripping the SR22 may be a little different than you’re used to. First unload, remove the magazine and safety check the pistol. Cycle the side cocking the hammer back, release the slide lock and move the slide fully forward. You then operate the small takedown lever in front of the trigger.
Now pull the slide back, up and over the fixed barrel and slide off the front of the pistol. It’s a little unnatural but when the barrel doesn’t move you’ve got to go around it. The plastic guide rod and recoil spring just position into a hole in the frame, they don’t lock into place.
By the way if you feel the guide rod is a little flimsy there are a number of good aftermarket steel replacements. On our test gun, the original plastic seems to holding up just fine so far.
Up is Down
The slide stop and safety/decocker controller are beveled but big enough to move easily with your thumb and the action is positive. My only gripe about the safety lever is it works opposite all my other manual safety guns in the safe right now. Down is safe, up is hot.
It’s kind of like driving in England. It works, you just have to get used to it. If it was a carry piece, that would be a disqualifier for me but even though it looks the part, a .22 isn’t the EDC of choice.
The safety lever also decocks the hammer. The hammer releases but is blocked from contacting the firing pin. Flip the lever back up (arghh) and you’re ready to fire double action again. With the safety engaged the trigger is disconnected and pulls freely.
2000 Rounds Down The Pipe
I had planned to do a Ruger SR22 review quite some time ago but priorities tend to get shuffled around. The upside of having had it around so long, I’ve had the opportunity to shoot approximately two thousand rounds through this little pistol.
It doesn’t take much room in the range bag with a couple hundred rounds so it often hitches a ride when I’m intending to be shooting something else. When my primary shooter is out of ammo but I’m not ready to bail – out comes the SR22.
It’s as reliable as clockwork. Rimfire pistols can often be a little finicky with ammunition. Some of the other pistols in this class like the Sig Mosquito and Walther P22 are notoriously picky eaters. Although they have their good points, it’s pretty much CCI Mini-Mags or leave me at home.
The Ruger SR22 is exactly the opposite. I have served the SR22 a diet of whatever is on the shelf at the time and it thrives. It has performed amazingly well no matter which ammo I’ve used, including some ancient, back of the closet Remington Thunderbolts that would easily gag a Sig Mosquito or Walther.
No, it hasn’t been perfect, but I’ve never yet had a failure I blamed on the pistol. In that number of rounds of rimfire you are just bound to get a couple duds or squibs and I have too. Bulk .22 is not precision ammo, but at four or five cents a round what do you expect?
What you do get is a whole lot of fun. With its great ergonomics and fixed barrel you get surprising accuracy out of the 3 ½” barrel. It excels as an inexpensive trainer for heavier caliber guns or just an everyday backyard target and tin can plinker.
The double action trigger pull averages just over 7 1/2 pounds and single action just barely over 3 pounds. In double action you do get some stacking before it finally breaks. OK, maybe more than some – quite a bit actually. If this was double action only, well that would be a concern. But it’s not.
In single action, which you’re shooting most of the time, you have about 3/8” of free play and a pretty crisp three pound break. It’s not a competition trigger, it’s not a competition gun. But with a decent trigger and essentially no recoil, it’s easy for even novice shooters to stay on target.
I might be accused of being Ruger fanboy from time to time but apart from the up-is-down safety lever (that’s just me) it’s hard to find fault with the SR22. OK, maybe just a slight knock on the DA trigger pull.
It looks cool, shoots great and eats any ammo I feed it with a smile on its face. With a street price under $400 and 2000 happy rounds down the pipe so far (and counting) you’ll get your money’s worth and then some.
|• Model Tested: Ruger SR22 Model 3600 |
• Caliber: 22LR
• Capacity: 10+1
• Barrel Length: 3.5”
• Barrel: Stainless 1:16 RH Twist
|• Width: 0.97”|
• Weight: 17.5 oz.
• Length: 6.4”
• Height: 4.9”
• MSRP: $439.00