I think many of us grew-up, with a .22 caliber rifle of some sort, as our first gun. I still remember getting my first .22 rifle when I was down in Kentucky, back in 1967. My grandmother took me down to Sturgis, Kentucky to visit her sister, whom she hadn’t seen in 40 years. I met all manner of country cousins that I didn’t know I had. I remember walking through the tiny downtown area of Sturgis, and I stopped in the Western Auto store. I was surprised to see that they carried all manner of firearms. I was literally like a kid in a candy store.
I was only 15 years old at the time, but I spied a bolt-action .22 rifle for only $19.95 – I had that amount in my pocket and then some. I told the man I wanted to buy that rifle. I still remember what he said to me that day “boy, I don’t think I know you, are you from around here? I explained who I was, and that I was there visiting my Aunt Catherine. Little did I know at the time, that she was one of the richest people in town, and owned the coal mine – where most of the folks worked at the time. The man called my Aunt Catherine, and told her I was there and wanted to buy a rifle. She asked the man, “does he have the money?” And, he told her I did, she said “well, then sell him the gun…” Remember back then, we didn’t have the 1968 Gun Control Act, and it was easier to purchase firearms. You simply paid your money and walked out with a gun.
I honestly can’t remember how many rounds of .22 ammo I fired through that bolt action rifle during the two weeks I was down in Kentucky. However, I believe it’s safe to say, I easily put a couple thousand rounds through that gun – hunting rabbits and birds, and “killing” all manner of tin cans and rocks. My two favorite country cousins, Mo’ and Abner taught me how to shoot and took me shooting all over the countryside. I also shot my first 1911 .45ACP during that visit, as well as a couple of rifles.
My own two daughters were both given .22 rifles when they were only four years old, and they are still avid shooters to this day. So, I still believe a first gun for a child, or even an adult, is a good ol’ fashion .22 rifle of some sort. And, if you are serious about survival, you need to have some sort of .22 caliber firearms in your battery.
I received an ISSC M22, .22 LR handgun for Test and Evaluation for SurvivalBlog. Upon first opening the box, I was struck at how closely the M22 resembles a Glock Model 19 9mm handgun. The gun not only looks like a Glock 19, but it also feels very Glock-like as well. The M22 has a 4″ barrel inside of an alloy slide, mounted on a polymer frame. The gun weighs 21.4 ounces empty, without a magazine in it – again, very Glock-like. The magazine holds 10 rounds of .22 LR ammo. The rear sight is adjustable for windage, and the front sight can be easily removed and replaced with (supplied) front sights of different heights to change your elevation – I found no need to change the front sight that was installed on the M22.
The trigger-pull on the M22 is smooth and broke at a nice even four pounds. The Glock line-up of pistols have what the BATF calls a double-action only trigger (it’s not – really). The M22s trigger is single-action only. There are several safeties on the M22, some are visible and some are passive in nature. You’ll note the slide mounted safety and the trigger safety right off the bat, the others are passive in nature – this is one very safe handgun to be sure. When you apply the slide-mounted manual safety, if also (safely) drops the hammer. So, when you are ready to fire, you’ll need to put the safety in the fire position and thumb cock the hammer – not a big deal!
One thing I really liked about the M22 was that it felt like a “real” gun – it didn’t feel toyish, like many .22 handguns do. The frame has finger grooves on the front strap – again, a nice touch! The polymer frame has texturing for a secure grip. There is also a Weaver-style rail on the frame for mounting a laser or light, as well.
I was anxious to get out and fire this pistol – I just knew I was gonna like it. The gun didn’t disappoint me or my wife, who also loved it. We put many brands an varieties of .22 LR ammo through the gun with zero malfunctions. The gun shot to point of aim at 25-yards and you can’t ask for better than that. While we didn’t measure any groups on paper, the gun hit whatever we were aiming it at – we “killed” all manner of rock, tin cans and other targets of opportunity while testing this gun. It was just plain fun to shoot.
If I had one complaint it would be, the gun only came with one magazine. It would be nice to have had a second mag with the gun. However, your dealer should be able to order additional mags for you – they run around $25 to $30 each. I found the M22 also fit most holster designed for a Glock 19 pistol, too. Again, this is a nice touch, so you should be able to easily find a good holster for the M22.
Now, I wouldn’t carry any manner of .22 caliber handgun for self-defense on purpose. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to carry the M22 afield for small game hunting and plinking. And, if push came to shove, the M22 with 10+1 rounds of .22 LR ammo would sure make a bad guy wish he were some place else if he were shot with this pistol. While the grand ol’ .22 caliber isn’t known as a man stopper, I think it’s safe to say that thousands of people have probably been accidentally (or on purpose) shot and killed with this round since in was invented. Still, having the M22 on your hip is better than a pocket full of stones or a handful of sticks to use in a self-defense situation.
The ISSC M22 is manufactured in Austria – just like the Glock is. I honestly couldn’t find anything to fault with the M22. It performed perfectly with a wide assortment of .22 LR ammo with no malfunctions of any type. It hit whatever I, and my wife were aiming at. And, it comes with the accessory rail on the frame for a laser or light. The gun is lightweight and easy to handle, too. The only minor drawback I can report is that, ISSC says to not use Break Free Powder Blast on the gun, it will cause the finish on the slide to start flaking or it can discolor the slide. I guess if it were me, I’d steer clear of using any sort of spray cleaner on the M22, just to be safe.
In all, I put more than 500 rounds of various .22 LR through the M22 – and some of the ammo was dirty and corroded, and there were no problems encountered during my testing – that’s a great gun in my book.
You can get your M22 at your local FFL dealer. Full retail is only $299.99, but you will usually find the M22 discounted. So, if you’re in the market for a well-made and good performing .22 handgun, take a serious look at the ISSC M22, I think that you’ll like it. – Pat Cascio, SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor