Handgun Reviews for Women: Which .22 is the best?, Part 1
The very first handgun I ever fired was a .22 Ruger, if I recall correctly. My husband and I took a quick, spontaneous detour to an indoor shooting range, and before I knew it, I was suited up with “eyes and ears”, aka safety goggles and ear plugs. Moments later, there I was. Standing in front of a target, with hubby alongside giving me my first shooting lesson with a .22 pistol.
I still love shooting .22 handguns, and what’s not to love? The ammo is cheap, there’s virtually no recoil, and it’s generally very easy to become proficient with these little troopers. To top it off, it’s not a bad self-defense weapon, either, but training and practice are key! You’ll find far more detailed reviews online, and I’ve even provided links for each handgun I review, but from a woman’s point of view, here is what I liked and disliked about four different .22 handguns.
This little pistol was the very first gun I personally owned. It’s light, compact, and has a solid feel in the hand. If you decide to carry a .22, this fits easily into a holster and is fairly easy to conceal with a loose fitting blouse, shirt, or with a jacket. I own the Black/Black version and prefer it. If I ever need to pull out a gun at nighttime, I don’t want there to be a flash of anything light-colored or metallic to give away my position or the fact that I’m armed. I prefer, what I call, Ninja guns! The P22 comes in other colors, including pink. (If you ever buy a pink gun, please don’t tell me. That’s just plain embarrassing!) It also comes in two different barrel lengths, 3.43 and 5 inches. I own and use the smaller version.
The P22 comes with two easy-to-load magazines. With smaller and hands that aren’t exactly construction-worker tough, I appreciate magazines that don’t require an enormous amount of force to insert each and every round. The P22 magazines are lightweight at just 1.8 ounces each, empty, and are small enough to tuck an extra inside a cosmetic bag. (See? I told you this review was for women!) Each magazine holds 10 rounds. The magazine release is directly under the trigger and is easy to find and operate. All in all, everything about the construction of the P22 is woman-friendly, but how does it shoot?
After firing well over a thousand rounds with this pistol, I’ve noticed a real difference in accuracy depending on the ammunition used. This gun is a little finicky about what it’s fed. I find that I have more jams, which is precisely what you never want to experience in a self-defense situation. Unlike our other handguns, I’ve found that the Walther gets really dry, and I have to keep a little bottle of oil on hand every time I use it. Also, because the gun is so lightweight, my accuracy is never as sharp as with a heavier .22 pistol, such as the Ruger Mark III.
Laser sites: When my husband bought the P22, he went all out and paid extra for the laser sites. Now, I don’t have the steadiest hands in the world when it comes to shooting. I’d make a really lousy surgeon. So, on the range when I was lining up a shot using the laser, the little red dot would dance all over the target. It’s hilarious, really, and I would start to laugh, sending the laser all over the range, literally. Now the only time we pull out the laser is when our cats are bored and need something to chase.
All things considered, I give the P22 3.5 out of 5 stars based on its great size and weight for carrying, light recoil, easy to load magazines, and decent pricetag at $350 or so. I mark it down a bit because accuracy is harder to maintain and its tendency to jam when not using the recommended ammo. For a more detailed review, click here. This handgun is easy for kids to operate and shoot, under supervision!
Ruger Mark III, 22 LR
“Ooooh! I like!”, were the first words out of my mouth when I got my hands on the Ruger Mark III. It fairly screeches, “Spy gun!” with its long barrel and very cool look. The first think you notice, though, is that it would be very difficult to conceal this pistol without a wearing a long, black trenchcoat. However, it’s a boffo target shooting pistol and could be used for self-defense if you carried it in your car or stored it in a safe location at home. I’ve talked with gun nuts who tell me they love and own “several” of the Ruger Mark .22s.
Again, I prefer the all-black version for reasons mentioned above, but you’ll find it in other, probably more attractive, versions. This pistol has a few safety features moms will appreciate. First, it’s equipped with a magazine disconnect safety feature, which prevents the gun from firing when the magazine is removed. It’s very possible for a round of ammunition to remain in the chamber, just waiting for a pull of the trigger. This feature would prevent an accidental shooting in that situation.
A second safety feature is the Mark III’s manual safety, which is easy to operate, and when the gun is loaded, a small metal bar protrudes along the left side of the receiver, or chamber. It can easily be seen or even felt with a finger, leaving no doubt as to whether or not the gun is loaded.
Loading, inserting, and releasing magazines are all simple and comfortable with this pistol. Again, my hands are probably about as strong as the average woman’s, and I hate struggling when it’s time to reload magazines. Just about everything with the Mark III is woman-friendly.
Ruger provides two choices of barrel length with the Mark III, 4.75 and 6 inches. I tested the model with the 6″ barrel. Any time you use a longer barrel, you’ll notice increased accuracy and less recoil. The shorter pistol weighs 35 ounces, the longer weighs 37 ounces.
I found that my accuracy increased rapidly once I fired a few rounds at my target. The heavier gun and longer barrel provide an enjoyable shooting experience, and it was point, click, and hit right where I wanted the round to go.
I give the Ruger Mark III 4 out of 5 stars, and only mark it down because it isn’t a gun useful for concealed carry. Its price point is in the mid-$300 range, making it nicely affordable. For the woman looking for an accurate, easy to operate handgun, this one is a winner! For a more detailed review, click here.
Next: My reviews of three more .22 handguns: the Sig Mosquito, the S&W 617 revolver, and Beretta’s NEOS INOX. If you’re loving handgun reviews and info, check out the podcast and website of my friend Bob Mayne, Handgun World.
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