Gun World - - Contents -

These days, shoot­ers are blessed with al­most ev­ery type of firearm imag­in­able, from repli­cas of 18thand 19th-cen­tury firearms to the most-modern of pis­tol and ri­fle de­signs, as well as shot­guns for ev­ery pos­si­ble use. We are blessed with more choices than were ever pos­si­ble be­fore in his­tory. How­ever, there is a niche in the firearms mar­ket that needs to be filled, and that is a good, re­li­able, lightweight .22 LR pocket pis­tol.

Three decades ago, there were a few on the mar­ket, but most were cheap and un­re­li­able and went away over time. A cou­ple were re­ally pretty good, such as the lit­tle Iver Johnson TP22 and the Walther TPH. The Walther was a bit ammo-sen­si­tive but worked pretty well, if a bit on the heavy side.

To­day, there are a cou­ple of pocket-sized .22 pis­tols on the mar­ket, such as the Tau­rus and Beretta. But what I have been lob­by­ing for in re­cent years is a .22 of modern de­sign such as the Ruger LCP and the lit­tle Kel-Tec pocket guns. I am think­ing they would sell like crazy, be­cause ev­ery­one who owns the lit­tle .380 pocket pis­tols will want one for an un­der­study, and those who find the .380 too dif­fi­cult to fire will want one as an al­ter­na­tive.


The .22 Long Ri­fle car­tridge is no pow­er­house, es­pe­cially when fired from a short-bar­reled pocket gun, but it does have its uses. For de­fense, no one is rec­om­mend­ing the .22 as a first-line pri­mary fight­ing gun, but it can (and has) serve as a de­fen­sive pis­tol when needed.

The .22 Long Ri­fle makes a small hole, but it makes a hole, and most peo­ple do not want ex­tra holes poked into them ... they tend to leak blood and let in air. A pocket-sized .22 pis­tol can make those lit­tle holes very rapidly, with­out a lot of re­coil and blast, so those who are re­coil-sen­si­tive find them eas­ier to shoot well. The .22 LR bul­lets also pen­e­trate pretty well to get to the im­por­tant parts in­side the body. As a backup gun to an­other pri­mary de­fen­sive weapon, the .22 pis­tol can work as a last-ditch hide­out. A lightweight .22 pis­tol can be car­ried with­out no­tice to ei­ther the car­rier or to oth­ers.


Be­sides its use as a backup to a backup, a .22 poly­mer-framed pis­tol would make an ex­cel­lent un­der­study for those who own and carry a small .32 or .380 pocket pis­tol. The .22 al­lows for eco­nom­i­cal prac­tice with lighter re­coil and is an ex­cel­lent way to train a shooter who will be de­pend­ing upon one of the cen­ter­fire vari­ants as a daily carry gun. While nei­ther the .32 nor the .380 is an ideal de­fen­sive pis­tol, both are car­ried daily by thou­sands of peo­ple as their pri­mary and only means of de­fense, and a .22 un­der­study would al­low for hours of in­ex­pen­sive prac­tice and lighter re­coil.

An­other good pur­pose for a small, lightweight pocket .22 is as a lit­tle trail com­pan­ion, whether your trail car­ries you hik­ing in the wilder­ness or in more-ur­ban set­tings.

Some­times, things just need to be shot. Run­ning into a rac­coon or opos­sum in the chicken house or a cot­ton­mouth down by the creek, a handy, lit­tle .22 that is al­ways in the pocket can serve well to cleanly dis­patch such crit­ters. Such small, handy .22 pis­tols were once re­ferred to as “kit guns,” be­cause they were of­ten in­cluded in a fish­er­man’s or hiker’s “kit” to have avail­able if needed. I don’t hear that term used much any­more, but a .22 pis­tol is a very use­ful tool around camp for plink­ing or for putting meat in the camp pot.


An­other great rea­son—and per­haps the most im­por­tant—is that lit­tle .22 pis­tols are just fun to shoot. A .22 semi­au­to­matic pis­tol and a brick of ammo make for a very fun and in­ex­pen­sive af­ter­noon of fun, es­pe­cially away from the pub­lic range and out in the ru­ral ar­eas of our coun­try. Plink­ing at tar­gets-of-op­por­tu­nity, such as rocks and sticks, or shoot­ing biodegrad­able tar­gets such as vanilla wafers or Life­savers is fun and in­ex­pen­sive; plus, the leav­ings help to feed birds and such. (A bonus of us­ing Life­savers candy is that the hole in the middle pro­vides a good al­ibi if you miss but still claim that the small bul­let went through the hole. No one can prove oth­er­wise.)

So, there it is—my def­i­ni­tion of the niche in the firearms mar­ket that needs fill­ing. It is not as if I am ask­ing for a stain­less, highly pol­ished Schofield replica or some­thing. I have been shot down on that one a few times.

I am sug­gest­ing a dandy, lit­tle pis­tol I be­lieve would have wide pop­u­lar ap­peal and that would sell as well as the small poly­mer cen­ter­fire pis­tols sell—a pis­tol for which al­most any­one could find a need.

Hope­fully, this niche will be filled sooner rather than later. GW


All Jeff wants is a modern semiauto pocket pis­tol cham­bered in .22 LR. (Photo by Robb Man­ning) This is a mockup, not an ac­tual of­fer­ing in Ruger’s cur­rent lineup. Shown is the Ruger LCP II .380 ACP, with a CZ DUO (.25-cal­iber) mag­a­zine mod­i­fied with...

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