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Walther P22 Range Report

Took the newly acquired Walther P22 to the range. If I had my way, Iíd make the following changes to the gun:

  • Get rid of the manual safety. I just donít like those on double action guns.
  • Add two dot (pumpkin on a post) sights since I donít like three dot sights.
  • Move the magazine release from the trigger guard to the grip, which is where it should be. This will be important later.
  • Get rid of the magazine disconnect safety. I cannot decock the pistol without a magazine inserted into the magwell. Why is that considered safer?
  • Lighten the single action trigger pull.
  • It’s like this thing was made for California or something.

    I got to the range, loaded up a couple of mags and took aim. The trigger pull is fairly stiff, even in single action. First shot was in the center of the target. The gun was very accurate. The third shot made a hideous sound and sent powder into my face. It also failed to eject. I ejected the magazine, cleared the chamber, and checked the barrel. I was afraid it was a squib. It was not. I couldnít find the casing as it ejected in front of the firing line. Content it was a fluke, I resumed. A few more rounds and it did it again.

    I grabbed one of the guys at the range to look at it. This time, I managed not to eject the shell casing beyond the firing line. The casing was split, which is very dangerous and in some guns (particularly higher calibers) it could destroy the barrel or, worse, injure the shooter. He called the gunsmith. He checked it out and said the gun looked fine. I switched to Federal ammunition. Turns out, it was old ammo that was doing that. Not sure the brand but it was old and I think I got it from a relative who was tossing it out. I immediately tossed that stuff. No more incidents after that. I should be clear that this was not the gunís fault but the ammoís. In hindsight, I have to say I was impressed with the Walther as a lesser gun may have Kaboomed or at least suffered barrel damage. Powder spraying in your face will get your attention. I went through about 100 rounds of Federal and 120 rounds of CCI Mini-Mags with no more feeding or exploding problems.

    After the first magazine, another issue came up. After every fourth or so round, the magazine would eject into my hand, seemingly on its own. This was quite annoying since the magazine safety also prevented me from shooting the next round. I talked to the gunsmith about it and he said to send it back to Smith and Wesson (who, by the way, are the importers of the Walther line) and they would fix it. Still, I came to shoot and commenced doing so. It kept ejecting the magazine fairly regularly.

    Finally, I decided that maybe it was me with the issue. I had someone else shoot it and they had no problems. Turns out that my long fingers were tripping the magazine release on recoil. They instructed me that maybe I should use a thumbs up shooting grip, in which both thumbs are high on the left side. Takes a few seconds to get used to but seems to offer more stability. I adjusted and sure enough had no problems from that point on. I’m accustomed to shooting handguns with magazine releases on the pistol’s grip so this has never been a problem before. The Walther’s mag release is in an inconvenient place.

    My impressions of the gun are that it is reliable, can stand up to abuse (particularly some rather nasty ammo), and is quite accurate for a gun with a 3.4 inch barrel. All this for under $300, not bad at all. I was impressed with the accuracy. The occasional straggler aside, it was easily getting 1.5 inch groups at 10 yards with Federal and 2.5 inch groups with the CCI.

    The Walther comes with a lot of extras, such as interchangeable back straps for people with long fingers (like me), additional front sight posts, and a threaded barrel (along with a barrel wrench to change out barrels if you need to). There are also a ton of aftermarket accessories for it.

    Next accessory will be a suppressor for it. It was like it was made for one. Not sure which one but I am mulling the AAC Pilot, The Gemtech Outback and the TAC 65. Thoughts?

    8 Responses to “Walther P22 Range Report”

    1. bob reynolds Says:

      “Itís like this thing was made for California or something.”

      IIRC, California has banned this pistol because of the threaded barrel. They did it retroactively after having first said it was okay :-(.

    2. Kristopher Says:

      The crap was added to allow Walther to import it.

      Blame Customs and the BATFE.

    3. Fox Says:

      The Gemtech is likely the better silencer, but it’s also more expensive by far than the TAC, I can’t speak for the AAC though.

    4. Shoot-N-Scoot Says:

      I have heard that AAC has poor customer service. They went so far as to “threaten” someone for posting negatively about there product on ar15.com.

    5. Bounty Hunter Says:

      I have a Gemtech Outback II and all I can say is it rocks! Very, very quiet.

    6. Les Jones Says:

      “Get rid of the magazine disconnect safety. I cannot decock the pistol without a magazine inserted into the magwell. Why is that considered safer?”

      Hmmm… I’m generally in favor of magazine disconnects, but that it is a big downside.

    7. Mr. Completely Says:

      Excellent post on the P-22. I’ll put up a link for you to it from Mr. Completely……

    8. SayUncle » Customer Service Says:

      […] I mentioned the problems I was having with the Walther P22 in this review. I thought I had managed to fix the problem of the magazine ejecting by modifying my shooting grip. Well, that only worked one day. Since, it has done it again. I’ve even had two other people shoot it to make sure it wasn’t me and they had the same problem. So, I called Smith and Wesson, who imports the Walther. I talked to a guy and told him the problem. Without hesitating, he told me that he would be sending me a UPS call tag and that I could ship it back to them and they would either fix it or replace it. Now, that’s service. It’s not often that I’m impressed with customer service anywhere and gun manufactures are notorious for providing bad customer service. I was pleasantly surprised by this and think it speaks volumes. […]