This review is based on the performance of my personal Walther P22 pistol that I have shot over 16,000 rounds through. It focuses on the gun’s reliability and performance.
- WALTHER P22 BACKGROUND & USAGE
- WALTHER P22 AMMUNITION
- WALTHER P22 RELIABILITY
- WALTHER P22 TRIGGER LOCK
- WALTHER P22 REPAIRS
- GUN INFORMATION
- WALTHER P22 FEEDBACK MESSAGES
WALTHER P22 BACKGROUND & USAGE
Two years ago I purchased a Walther P22 .22 caliber pistol and have since put over 16,000 rounds through it. This will not a detailed review of the guns characteristics and specifications, but rather of its reliability and performance.
My P22 was purchased for $325 in Florida on 8/14/08. It was fired weekly at an indoor shooting range and cleaned and lubricated after each use. The gun has been repaired three times. Gun currently has over 16,000 rounds fired through it and is still in excellent condition.
Out of the box, my P22 pistol worked great. The “box” is a sturdy plastic gun case containing the handgun, one 10 round stainless steel magazine, interchangeable frame back straps, trigger lock key and plastic re-assembly rod.
Slide locked back
WALTHER P22 AMMUNITION
From the Owner’s Manual – “Malfunction may occur when ammunition with a low propellant charge is fired. Use only high velocity ammunition in your Walther P22.” High velocity LR cartridges are loaded with copper plated bullets to reduce lead fouling. These come in 40 grain round nose or 36-40 grain hollow point (HP) styles.
WHICH AMMO WORKS BEST IN A WALTHER P22 PISTOL?
When I initially purchased my P22, my internet research uncovered much debate over which ammunition will work the best in the gun. The general consensus was:
- The following ammunition was RECOMMENDED.
CCI Mini Mags, CCI Stingers, Remington High Velocity Golden Bullet, Velocitors, Remingtion Thunderbolt, Winchester wildcat, Remington Target, Federal Premium Gold, Federal High Velocity (Game-Shok).
- The following ammunition caused jams but was ACCEPTABLE for target practice.
Winchester 40 grain solids, Federal (Bulk), Winchester Xpert (bulk), Remington Golden (bulk), Remington Thunderbolt, 40gr bullet, 1255fps
- The following ammunition was NOT RECOMMENDED.
Yellow Jackets, Remington Thunderbolts, Federal ammo, Remington SubSonics, Winchester wildcats
PERSONAL TESTS OF AMMUNITION FOR THE WALTHER P22
- Federal High Velocity (Game-Shok) 40 grain, copper plated, solid
$6.75 per 100; Accurate shooting; 65 out of 65 shot OK.
- Federal Champion High Velocity, 40 grain
$15.99 per 500; Unjacketed lead bullet; 99 out of 100 shot OK; 1 failed to fire; 2 times slide stayed open when last round in clip fired.
- CCI Mini-Mag HP High Velocity, 36 grain, copper plated hollow point; $7.50 per 100; Accurate shooting; 50 out of 50 shot OK.
- CCI Velocitor Hypervelocity, 40 grain, copper plated, hollow point; $6.50 per 50; Accurate shooting; 24 out of 25 shot OK; 1 round stove piped and got bent and deformed. Ejected shells tended to hit me in face.
- Winchester Super X High Velocity: $2.49 per 50; Accurate shooting; 50 out of 50 OK; Rounds looked a little dirty.
WALTHER P22 RELIABILITY
For the first 11,700 rounds fired through my P22 it shot flawlessly (except for the occasional ammo related jam). I was pleasantly surprised that this inexpensive little gun kept shooting week after week. Only after 12,000 rounds did it need any repair or show any signs of wear and tear. Descriptions of my repairs are shown below.
WHAT COMES IN THE BOX ?
A new Walther P22 (unless the Walther company recently changed it) comes with the pistol, one stainless steel 10 round magazine, one spare replaceable back strap, one trigger lock key, one recoil spring reassembly rod and one small wrench (for barrel removal).
WALTHER P22 TRIGGER LOCK
The Walter P22 is designed with a trigger lock as an integral part of the handgun. The trigger lock is operated with a separate key found in the gun box. To lock the gun you simply insert the forked prongs of the key into the corresponding hole on the right side of the gun just above the trigger and turn. The hole is marked with “F” and “S” symbols to indicate the fire and safe positions of the lock. I never use the trigger lock because I find it difficult to operate because of the poor design of the key. You have to really bear down and push pretty hard on the key to lock the trigger. Also if you ever lose the key you are in trouble and will have to wait while another is ordered.
- Very reliable.
- Feels good in your hand. Looks cool.
- Little or no recoil.
- Seems to shoot better when it’s dirty (not cleaned from the previous shooting).
- Poor standard sights.
- Ammo sensitive.
GREAT GUN – INEXPENSIVE – RELIABLE – FUN TO SHOOT
WALTHER P22 REPAIRS
I had three repairs performed on my Walther P22 over the course of 16,000 rounds. Detailed descriptions of the repairs needed are as follows.
TWO SEPARATE PROBLEMS:
1. Broken trigger
2. Frequent slide return failure and jamming
Date Purchased: 8/14/08, Merritt Island, FL
Rounds fired: 11,700 (Ammunition used: Federal .22LR, 36 grain, hollow point, copper plated, high velocity rounds)
History: For the first 8,000 rounds the gun performed flawlessly (except the occasionally jam). The gun was fired weekly (about 500 rounds) and cleaned after each use. From 8,000 â€“ 11,000 rounds jamming and slide return failures increased. After 11,000 failures became intolerable and the trigger broke.
Trigger problem – At about round 11,700 the trigger “broke” and would remain in the “pulled” or back position. Hammer remains in the back position but can be manually pushed forward when the trigger is pressed.
Slide return and jamming failures – Pistol worked almost flawlessly with for the first 9,000 rounds then started to jam occasionally, then more frequently. Slide would get stuck in the back position frequently. Some spent casings would get stuck in the barrel.
Date Purchased: 8/14/08, Merritt Island, FL
Rounds fired: 15,000
TWO SEPARATE PROBLEMS
1. Hammer Fails To Remain In Cocked Position
About 20-30% of the time the hammer fails to stay in the fully cocked back position between firings. This problem has started and seemed to get increasingly worse in the past month.
2. Possible Slam Fire Occurred
After loading new magazine and releasing the slide the gun fired by itself upon slide return. I can’t be 100% sure that my finger wasn’t near the trigger but I looked at my hand position immediately after the occurrence and my finger position was fine.
Gun: Walther P22 Pistol, serial # XXXXXXXX
Date Purchased: 8/14/08, Merritt Island, FL
Rounds fired: 15,000
Note: Gun was picked up from factory repair of hammer problem on 8/21/09. Only shot about 150 rounds through it before the following problems occurred.
TWO SEPARATE PROBLEMS
1. Gun will not fire – Trigger, slide and hammer seem to work properly but gun will not fire. Normal clicking sound only when trigger is pulled. It is as if firing pin does not contact the round.
2. Slide moves forward when magazine is inserted â€“ occasional problem
When slide is locked back and the magazine is forcibly inserted, the slide comes forward by itself. This only happens occasionally.
From the Walther Website (ref: smith-wesson.com)
Action & Fun
Whether you are looking for a pistol for affordable training or simply the excitement of shooting, the WALTHER P22 is the pistol for you. The WALTHER P22 is fascinating in its compact size, while still maintaining all of the features of a full-size pistol. Constructed using a modular manufacturing concept, the WALTHER P22 offers several different equipment configurations. The barrel can be changed out or a red dot sight can be mounted–almost instantly.
- Interchangeable frame back straps create an ideal fit to the shooter’s hand
- Compact design and light-weight are achieved by a modern polymer frame (just 480 grams, including the magazine)
- Traditional double-action operation
- Ambidextrous controls for both left and right hand shooters
- Integrated trigger lock, loaded chamber indicator
- Magazine disconnect, hammer safety and firing pin safety for safe and reliable operation
- Modern, eye catching high tech design
- Fixed barrel for incredible accuracy
- Windage adjustable rear sight and elevation adjustment with interchangeable front sights for variations in shooter operation
- Interchangeable barrel (sold separately) can convert the P22 from the standard configuration to the target version in minutes
- Includes 1 Magazine
Important Note: Purchase of Interchangeable Barrels Void Where Prohibited or Restricted By Law.
WALTHER P22 FEEDBACK MESSAGES
1. WALTHER P22 PROBLEMS
Hammer Fails To Remain In Cocked Position. About 20-30% of the time the hammer fails to stay in the fully cocked back position between firings. This problem has started and seemed to get increasingly worse in the past month. I have shot about 15,000 rounds through my P22 and this is happening. I suspect its because the slide is made of a zinc-alloy “pot metal” and the rails on the lower reciever are steel and the steel is wearing the groves on the slide larger. How did you get this repaired and will Walther cover it? Keith
Reply – Keith, Sorry for the delay in responding. I took it back to the gun shop where I purchased it and they sent it back to Walther for repair. The repair cost me nothing. Best regards, Tanner
2. NEAT LITTLE GUN
Neat little gun, mine works fine with about everything so far as long as I stay with 40grs. Like all light pistols you can’t “limp wrist” it or it will cause misfires. all in all, its a fun, good looking, dependable, .22.
3. NO JAMS WITH WALTHER P22
Just bought one today then went to range & put 200 rounds through it. Had 1 jam by no other issues. They must have fixed whatever jam issues they had before. I really like this as a concealed carry gun.
4. UNHAPPY WALTHER P22 OWNER
First of all, in my opinion the P22 has many issues. The one I own has an issue with the striker. The striker only hits the shell occasionally. I purchased the gun from a local gun show a week ago, used. I have done much research on the internet and find most people are having similar problems. some problems are ejection of the shell, slide sticking open when fired, re-assembling the slide. Are there any recalls on the P22? I think Walther should recall the pistol and correct the problems. YOU CAN GET A MUCH BETTER PISTOL for the same money.
Very unhappy customer.
5. WALTHER P22 REPAIRS & WARRANTY
Just purchased a P22 and after reading your review was wondering if you were satisfied with the repairs done by Walther. Have you had any further problems with this gun and how many rounds do you now have through it? Did Walther cover everything under warranty? Thanks.
Response – Dave,
I have needed no further repairs (no further problems) other than what is listed on the website.
I am satisfied with the repairs done by Walther.
I used to keep track of rounds shot in each of my guns on my computer, then my computer hard drive went belly up and I lost all the information. If I had to guess I would say I shot about 20,000 rounds through my Walther P22.
Since I bought the Walther I have purchased other guns and don’t shoot it as much as I used to.
You will have to read the warranty yourself. All of my repairs were covered. I bought my Walther from a local gun shop that has an on-site gun smith. They offer their own warranty and do all the minor repairs themselves. For major stuff they return the gun to Walther for repair.
Have fun with your gun and don’t lose that little plastic rod for re-assembly after field stripping.
Also, reassembling after field stripping is a little tricky the first time you do it, but after you do it a few times it’s easy.
Thanks so much. I’m an NRA Instructor and bought this gun, primarily, to replace my Glock 19 with the Advantage Arms 22 Conversion that I’ve been using for years. The Glock grip is just too big for a lot of women and the Walther seems to cover all bases.
The new Ruger SR22 is supposed to be a really fine gun but very few have it.
One of the best things I like about the P22 is the grip and the way it feels and fits my hand (I don’t have large hands) so it’s probably a pretty good choice for women.
I just took a look a picture of the Ruger SR22 and it looks a lot like the Walther.
One thought about the Glock 19. If you wanted to continue using it to teach women you may want to look into getting a mag well for it.
I have one on my Glock 19 and it makes a big difference in the grip and feel of the gun. Women that I let try mine said they like it better with the mag well.
Not sure I understand re the mag well. The complaint I get from women is they can’t get their hand around the grip and reach the trigger.
Sorry, I misread what you wrote.
When you said “too big” I was thinking grip length (not thickness) and while the mag well does not effectively decrease the grip length the flare or angle of the mag well seems to “cup” your hand and provides your pinky and palm with additional additional support (assuming your hand is big enough).
It probably wouldn’t help any for women with small hands.
That’s okay. I’ve been told a cop’s mind works in strange and twisted ways.
6. WALTHER P22 HAMMER PROBLEM
I was shooting my P22 Walther today and somehow the hammer is locked in the back position. I can’t get it released forward. I removed the mag and have tried everything any idea? Do I need to take it apart?
I would try the following. Assuming no ammo in the gun.
1. Make sure an empty magazine in installed when trying to bring the hammer forward. The hammer will not move forward when you do not have a magazine in the gun. Hopefully the lack of the magazine is your problem. If not try the following.
2. Move the safety back and forth a few times.
3. Use the trigger lock key to lock and unlock the trigger a few times.
4. With a magazine installed, pull back on the hammer with your thumb the press the trigger to see if that releases it, then slowly bring the hammer forward.
5. Field strip it to see if that frees up anything. I would not pull the trigger while it is field stripped though.
If any of those do the trick I would appreciate you telling me what the problem was. I would be curious to know how you fixed it. Thanks.
Cool name btw, thank you! I had to lock and unlock the trigger a few times and that solved the problem! You’ve been so very helpful.
7. WALTHER P22 REPAIRS
I have a Walther GSP in 22cal that is doubling on the owner. Where can I send the gun for repairs.
Response – Arnold,
I would first contact the Walther customer service department.
Here is another link that appears to offer repair services for Walther guns.