Smith & Wesson Model 22A       

I have owned many .22 pistols over the years, and can say without a doubt, that a good one is worth its weight in gold in terms of overall fun and usability. They are the most accurate, affordable, and generally utilitarian of all the handguns I've ever owned.

Would I choose to take one into the Alaskan backcountry to ward off Grizzlies? No, neither would I keep one next to the bed to deter thieves and monsters. However I have found that over the long years, I HAVE chosen a .22 pistol more times than not to accompany me on hikes, gravel pit plinking fests, camping trips, hunting trips, and most other general shooting occasions. The combined benefits of cheap ammo, (relatively) cheap weapon, low recoil, and astounding accuracy all come together to make a .22 pistol an all around winner. And statistically, they are not even that bad a choice for combating bad guys...though I'd prefer something whose caliber begins with .45.

The first .22lr pistol I ever lugged about was my fathers High Standard Military. A really fine pistol, and lots of little things died under its sights. However, it was and is my fathers, and so when I left the nest, I had to find something to replace it with.

Next I bought a Smith & Wesson 422 with a six inch barrel. This was a wonderful pistol. Lightweight, accurate, and inexpensive. However, this was in my fiscally see-sawing youth, and I eventually sold the thing to pay bills or some stupid thing. I eventually replaced it with a S&W Model 622, which was the same pistol with nicer grips and adjustable sights. It was nice, but for some reason, I didn't like it as much as the 422. I pawned it off to buy something else and then went and bought one with a 4" barrel to use while mountain biking due to its ridiculous light weight. It wouldn't hit the broad side of a barn, so I gave it to a chum for a wedding present or something.

About this time Smith & Wesson figured they'd sold me enough of this series of pistols and discontinued them. So I bought a Browning Buckmark. It was a beautiful pistol. I bought it, and stopped at a friends place on the way home. We went out back to try it out, and I slew a big, fat squirrel with it on its very first shot. We all figured this was some sort of omen, and so I kept that pistol for a long time. But I was never really happy with the way the slide and the frame were arranged. In a hurry, I'd go to grab the slide to jack a round in, and end up with a handful of frame. It sure was pretty though, Black with gold trigger...oh!

I eventually got bored with it, and sold it.

Then I bought a cheap .22 1873 type Single Action Army style six gun. It broke. I eventually fixed it by buying better parts from it's more expensive, higher end "clone" competition, and doing some home gunsmithing to get it to work. I like single actions, but I missed the auto for plinking.

So I bought the Smith & Wesson Model 22A.

It was everything my opinion of a 22 pistol should be. Cheap. Accurate. Easy to use. Accurate. Cheap. I bought a long 7" barreled adjustable sight version, and was tinking targets left and right. It even came with scope rails mounted integrally to the top. I scoped it and shot it. I shot it with iron sights. I shot the piss out of it. Then one day I put it under the seat in my truck and put the seat back. There was a terrible sound. When I looked underneath I found to my horror that the seat mount had torn the crap out of the plastic grips. I was heart broken.

Fortunately, the internet saved the day. I popped on line and ordered up some new grips. While there I saw that there were other barrel sizes available, and, due to the modularity of the design, one could pop a different one on in about six seconds. Ker-Ching! The sound of my credit card ringing through cyber space was deafening.  While I couldn't complain about the accuracy of the big barreled 22A, I could complain about how slightly unwieldy it was with all that steel sticking out there in a relatively unbalanced sort of way. I bought a 5" round bull barrel for it and decided I'd see how I liked that. When it arrived, I was right in the middle of my initial passion for coating things with Norrell's Moly-Resin, so I promptly redid the pistol, and it's new barrel in Olive Drab Green with Black accents. I took it out to my favorite plinking place and WOW! Nirvana had been attained. The already wonderful little pistol was much improved. Accuracy was as good, if not even better than before (perceived that is). The balance was perfect, the size was perfect. Weight was perfect. I was dinging little pieces of flotsom and jetsom left and right.

First 22A in final configuration

All was well with the world.

So I sold it.

A pal of mine had been looking for a .22 semi-auto for some time, and I let him shoot mine. He fell in love with it.

He asked me how much I wanted for it. I told him it wasn't for sale. He named a price. It was as much as a brand new one. I sold it.

Then I went down to the local Gun-o-rama and bought a brand new one just like it. I even slathered it up in O.D. Green the same. So now I have a brand new one, and am happy. I have a pal whose happy, and we both have Green Smith & Wesson Model 22A's which are happy!

Second 22A (note black trigger and take down button vs. original above)


I'd recomend this pistol with all my heart to anyone looking for a good .22 semi-auto pistol. Just make sure you get the 5.5" barreled version for general carry. The 7" is great for target shooting at a range, but I found the accuracy wasn't that much better, and the long barrel did impede ease of carry in the field.

"Peanut Butter Jelly Time!"


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