Ruger SR 22 – A great rimfire

This is a clean design wit much to recommend.

Ruger hit the ground running with the Ruger Standard Model .22. Originally selling for less than forty dollars the Standard Model was an immediate success. The Ruger MKII and polymer frame versions followed. Today Ruger offers a versatile lightweight pistol in the form of the SR 22. It isn’t a target gun or hunting gun like the larger Ruger but it serves a purpose. It is a neat little gun well worth its modest price.  The SR 22 is a modern handgun with a sleek look. While it fits the intended role well the double action first shot trigger isn’t to everyone’s liking. Be certain to understand the ins and outs of a DA first shot handgun. I simply ignore it when target shooting and fire in single action mode. The lightweight SR 22 is accurate enough for most chores but it isn’t a target gun. The pistol was available at for $434.15 in early February with 4.5 inch barrel. The standard 3.5 inch barrel gun is twenty dollar les.

Fit and finish are good to excellent. The pistol is left hand friendly with dual safety and magazine release controls. The safety is a bit different than most but simple enough to acclimate to. The safety moves up to fire and down for safety. Unlike many small handguns the controls are large enough for easy manipulation. The pistol is compact but doesn’t cramp most hand sizes. If you are going to deploy the pistol for personal defense become familiar with the safety hammer and trigger operation. I wont fault you on that choice, quite a few bad guys have been put on ice by a .22. If you are able to use a larger caliber well you should. That said something is better than nothing and the SR 22 is certainly something.

The pistol features a changeable grip frame. The grip as delivered fits my hand well. Large size hands may find the grip sleeve a nice accessory. The grip sleeve isn’t easily changed and requires some effort.  The pistol is supplied with magazine base pads for the two ten round magazines.  The magazines are not difficult to load to full capacity. Take down is simple enough. A take down lever inside the trigger guard is pressed down to release the slide. Triple check the handgun to be certain it isn’t loaded and you will have no problem running the slide to the rear and up off of the receiver rails. It isn’t difficult to run the slide back into battery. This is a blowback design. The barrel remains fixed to the frame during disassembly.  

The slide is nicely machined from aluminum. You may wonder how the tiny recoil spring functions but an aluminum slide and the .22 LR cartridge don’t produce a lot of momentum. The guide rod is a simple plastic unit. The ejector and extractor are larger than needed for this cartridge and all parts are more than strong enough for the task of .22 rimfire reliability. That’s not a hasty conclusion the SR 22 has proven reliable in thousands of examples. The grips are nicely serrated for a firm grip. The slide features both forward and rear cocking serrations a nice touch on a rimfire handgun. The rear sights are fully adjustable allowing the shooter to sight the pistol in properly. The dovetailed front sight offers a possibility of adjustment with the proper sight pusher. Ruger makes some of the best adjustable pistol sights and they are found on even some affordable models. The SR 22 also features a light rail for mounting lights or lasers.  

Operation and manipulation

Lock the slide to the rear and insert a loaded magazine. Load the magazine and drop the slide. The hammer remains cocked. The safety may be applied to decock the hammer. This simply means the hammer is lowered without manual manipulation which is commonly applied by holding the hammer as the trigger is pressed. I sometimes fail to use the decocker, mainly on the range rather when making a pistol ready for carry. We should always use the decocker to lower the hammer as manually lowering the hammer sometimes short circuits the firing pin block. You may wish to carry this pistol hiking or for personal defense. The pistol may be deployed safety on or safety off. Learn to manipulate the safety quickly and properly. The double action first shot trigger is safety enough in the minds of many. The first shot both cocks and drops the hammer. The trigger is pressed to the rear and forces the hammer to the rear by use of a draw bar. The hammer falls and fires the pistol. The slide recoils and the hammer is then cocked for single action fire. Subsequent shots are taken single action. This mean that the trigger only drops the hammer. The double trigger is long and heavy and difficult to press smoothly. Cocking the hammer for a single action shot is indicated if precision is needed. The single action trigger demands about 5/8 inch of travel and then breaks at 6.4 pounds. My version is a relatively new offering with a 4.5 inch barrel kind of a long slide SR 22. The resulting balance is excellent. The pistol is only slightly heavier than the 3.5 inch barrel gun. Practical accuracy is good and the barrel picks up a little more velocity than the standard version usually 22 to 38 fps with assorted loads.

Firing the Ruger SR 22 4.5 inch gun over a period of several months I have fired more than seven hundred cartridges- not very expensive in .22 LR costs. Neither did I have sore wrists after the longer range sessions. The pistol is reliable as there were no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject with .22 Long Rifle High Velocity. At 7 yards as expected the pistol put all the bullets into a ragged hole. For most uses including pest control and taking out an aggressive reptile on the trail this accuracy is encouraging- as long as you cock the hammer for a deliberate shot and press the trigger smoothly. At 50 feet the pistol exhibited several two inch five shot groups with little smaller or larger. The pistol is consistent and worth its modest price. I like the 4.5 inch pistol more than the 3.0 inch and it isn’t any more difficult to carry. As a general purpose spelunking hiking or house gun the SR 22 is a good choice. I do prefer the 4.5 inch barrel version. The SR 22 is reliable and accurate and will give you at least a fighting chance if you choose not to use a heavier caliber. I hope you use something larger. For those using the pistol as intended for training and fun shooting the SR 22 is a neat pistol that fills many shooters needs well.


  • Model: Ruger SR22
  • Caliber: .22LR
  • Magazine capacity: 10 rounds
  • Materials: Aluminum slide, stainless steel barrel, polymer frame, railed dust cover
  • Weight empty:18.7 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 4.5″
  • Overall length: 7.4″
  • Sights: Three white dots, fixed front, windage and elevation adjustable rear, reversible rear insert
  • Action: DA/SA, decocking safety
  • Finish: Black anodized

Disassembly is simple enough.