3 Must-Have Rimfire Pistols

I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a good rimfire pistol. Specifically, you need a good .22LR pistol. Sure, the .22 Magnum is great, and the .17 HMR is cool, but the real rimfire round is the dirt cheap .22LR. The meek little .22LR is America’s favorite round due to its low price and ability to buy literal bricks of it for $20 or so. You can spend all day shooting .22LR and spend about the same amount of money you would on a Quarter Pounder.

Why do you need a rimfire pistol? I can honestly come up with about a dozen different reasons. I will say the primary reason is for practice and training purposes. Handguns are tough to shoot compared to shoulder-fired weapons. The more practice you get, the better you’ll become. The price of .22LR makes it easy to go to the range and let it rip without hurting your wallet.

On top of that, the little .22LR can be quite versatile. It can be used to train, but it can also just be a fun round to shoot. It has barely any recoil, and for a handgun caliber, it’s relatively quiet. It’s easy for any shooter to pick up and learn how to use it. A rimfire pistol can get you into the competition world and get you blasting away with Steel Challenge. There is just so much you can do that it’s tough to

There is a massive market for rimfire handguns, and while I think you have to own one, there are three in particular that would give you a high-quality, diverse selection of the best rimfire pistols on the market.

Rimfire Pistols Rule

The Jack of All Trades: The Sig Sauer P322

If you want one affordable option that can do it all, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the modern and fantastic Sig Sauer P322. The Sig P322 is Sig’s take on the rimfire pistol. It doesn’t mimic the P365 or P320 but fits between the two. It’s a feature-rich pistol that won’t break the bank. The P322 has a 20-round magazine in a world where the .22LR comes in 10-round capacities or less.

SIG P322
The Sig Sauer P322 is an affordable plinker.

Additionally, the P322 comes optics-ready with a Shield RMSc footprint. An optic on this bad boy makes it easy to hit targets at nearly any reasonable distance. If you don’t want a dot, the adjustable rear sight and high visibility front sight are a great combination. The P322 comes with a flat-face trigger, and Sig includes a curved trigger if that’s what you prefer. We also get a threaded barrel adapter in the box for suppressor use.

The P322 comes with an ambi safety and a slide lock to accommodate all shooters. The magazine release isn’t ambidextrous but is reversible. It even has a rail just in case you want to attach a light or laser. Sig Sauer didn’t sidestep ergonomics. You can get a nice high grip on the gun, and the pistol grip is fairly svelte and easy to hold.

P322 with suppressor being shot
The P322 from Sig is said to be a guilt-free, low-cost training option for left- and right-handed shooters with ambidextrous controls.

Sig packs a ton of gun into an affordable package. The P322 can be a training gun, a plinker, or even a competition rifle. If need be, it can take a small game without any problems, too. It can do it all, but it’s admittedly not a master of one category or another.

The Concealed Carry Option: Ruger LCP II Literack

There has been a shift in the idea of carrying .22LR for concealed carry. The little .22LR can be a capable defensive caliber as long as you do the right preparation and planning. You need the right ammo, something that’s hot and loaded with a solid hard projectile. I like Federal Punch, but Velocitors from CCI are also good. Next, you ended a good gun, and guess what? The LCP II Literack is that gun.

Ruger LCP 2
The LCP II in 22LR might be the best modern pocket-sized .22LR.

This pocket-sized pistol uses a really simple blowback-operated system. The Literack design makes it really easy for anyone to operate the weapon. If you have poor hand strength, don’t worry; you can handle it. The LCP II also has hardly any recoil, which makes it a great choice for those who are recoil-adverse. It even holds ten rounds in a pocket-sized package.

If you want a pocket gun, consider recoil and accuracy. Hitting 10 rounds with a .22LR in a speedy manner is better than hitting twice out of six with a .380 ACP. The LCP II Literack is super easy to control and shoot straight with. I can drill an FBI Q Target in the upper chest region at 25 yards with ease. The sights across the top are big but all black. I do recommend touching the sights up with a paint pen.

Ruger LCP 2
Don’t disregard the .22 Long Rifle. Ruger’s LCP II is highly concealable and light. Photo: Ruger Firearms.

The Ruger LCP II Literack is also super reliable. It’s not ammo-picky, or at least it’s not as ammo-picky as their guns. You need full-powered rounds, but even cheap bulk stuff shoots pretty well. Full-powered premium .22LR from CCI and Federal presents zero problems. If you need a carry-ready .22LR, then the LCP II is the model to meet. It’s light, easy to rack, accurate, and easy to shoot.

The Champion: Volquartsen Black Mamba

The Black Mamba from Volquartsen is their premium grade competition-ready pistol that takes the Ruger Mk IV to entirely new levels. Volquartsen is a custom house that produces top-tier rimfire guns. The Black Mamba represents the top-of-the-line pistol for sports like Steel Challenge, where speed and accuracy are necessary for success. When you have to win by fractions of a second, then every little feature counts, and Volquartsen is featured-filled.

volquartsen mamba-tf and target
Though not award-winning my first 30 rounds at 50’ unsupported were very satisfactory, is the Mamba worth the cost?  That is hard to answer. Was it a joy to shoot? Absolutely.

Volquartsen takes the frame of the Ruger Mark IV and incorporates its own custom-made upper receiver. The frame isn’t just a stock Ruger Mark IV frame. Volquartsen works it over inside and out and provides a short and light 2.5-pound trigger that’s ultra short and makes accurate and fast shots completely possible. The Volquartsen Black Mamba then moves onto a custom upper.

Up top, we get a long rail for mounting optics of all sizes and types. You can get the height just right by using a Picatinny rail. Plus, due to the design, you aren’t limited by optic size or position. The included iron sights are high visibility and also adjustable. They even sit high enough to co-witness with most standard pistol optics. Underneath, there is a rail for adding a weight to help reduce recoil.

Volquartsen Mini Mamba 22 LR new gun SHOT Show 2021.
The Mini Mamba 22 LR pistol is the lightest, most compact Black Mamba configuration currently offered. It features an overall length under 8″ and weighs only 1 lb 9 oz.

Inside, we have a custom stainless steel barrel for maximum accuracy. The end of the barrel has a single port compensator to reduce what’s hardly any recoil to even less. The retrofitted frame is accurized, and the base pads and magazine release ensure complete reliability. Failures add seconds, and seconds turn into losses.

Feeding the Beast

Even in times of economic downturn and inflation, the humble .22LR keeps up steady. A .22LR pistol allows you to have fun, train hard, and compete without breaking the bank. There are tons of great .22LR pistols out there, but these three represent the three that would make a complete collection for everything the .22LR excels at.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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