Thursday, August 28, 2008

Walther P22 Review

I took a chance on the Walther P22 because the size was the most appealing of any of the semi auto .22LR pistols out there.

I recall going into a gunshop I frequented and reading the sign "The Walther is cute, the Ruger is better" over the .22LR pistol display case several times.

Ignoring the advice from the gunstore I bought the one they had. I had wanted to buy one with a chromed slide, but I was in a hurry to make a hasty gun purchase for some reason. Most of my gun buying is much more calculated and researched.

Walther P22

From the very start I was optimistic about the pistol. It felt great in the hand and had a cool, sexy look to it.

I had thought that I might suppress it eventually (by paying the $200 tax stamp, etc...), but the main purpose I got it was as a range plinker and a training tool.

When I finally got it on the range it was a disappointment. Accuracy was lacking, but even more disturbing was the amount of failures it had. I could not run an entire magazine through this gun without a malfunction (or two, or three, or four...).

The Walther P22 in action

Frustrated, I took to the web to investigate. My search results were disappointing. I was not the only one having issues and it seemed that the only ones who were not having issues were shying away from "bulk" ammo which I had been using (Federal and Remington).

Furthermore, at a family reunion I went to where most of the men (and a few women) went shooting, a cousin had also brought his new P22. It had similar issues throughout the day and he fed it a variety of different brands of ammo, some bulk, some not. I found this even more discouraging.

In the end, I had put over two bricks of .22LR through mine and saw no improvements in reliability. I tried to convince myself to keep it. That it would make for a good training/teaching tool. Finally, after one last not so fun trip to the range, I couldn't take it anymore.

I'll admit I never used the better quality .22LR ammo out there (although my cousin had in his with no luck). I never contacted Walther, I was simply done with this pistol. I cannot tolerate unreliable firearms. I ended up selling it.

Luckily for me, the market for these pistols seemed strong and I ended up selling it for more in used condition than I had paid for it brand new.

I don't doubt that some people have reliable samples of these pistols, however, I am led to believe that they are few and far between just based on my experiences and from what I read about other people's experiences on the net.

I truly wanted to like this pistol. I am upset that it didn't work out.

Let this be a lesson for us all, gunstores are not always full of armchair commandos. Every once in a while, the guy behind the counter actually knows of what he speaks.

Edited to add: Since this writing I have had a slight change of heart about the Walther P22. You can read about my latest experience with it HERE.


Fred said...

It is a shame, I've put a few thousand rounds through mine with only a few issues with CCI Blazer or Mini-Mags. (CCI Mini-Mags are the factory suggested ammmo for these)
The only times I've had major feed issues is when she gets really dirty (as in a couple hundred rounds without cleaning) and this is almost always cleared up by a few blasts of CLP in the chamber and the mag.

Paul Murray said...

I'm surprised by your experience. I have a P22 that I have put 500 rounds through now without a single problem. I read the reviews about the ammo problem before I bought it, and I have used only CCI ammo in it. The price difference between this and the "bulk" ammo is negligible in .22LR (at least around here) so I never saw a reason to cheap out on the ammo even for a plinking/training gun. If you still have it, I'd suggest trying again with a better ammo.