I’m using the words holy grail because, at least in my opinion and as of today, its something unachievable.
I can sit here and say a Glock 9mm is the perfect self defense firearm when taking all traits into account (durability, reliability, weight, size, accuracy, ruggedness and mechanical simplicity) and while a large percentage of people would disagree, it would be a tough debate and I could hold my ground nicely in such a discussion with more than enough facts and an impressive track record for the Glock.
As some of you know I prefer the Glock 357SIG myself, but as I was saying before, it would be a tight debate, with small margins of pro and cons that depend on personal choices.
Fighting semi auto carbine? AK. Again, lots of people will disagree but I’d have many on my side backing it up, again, history proving that the AK is the best at what it does.
Now, 22LR being the most common round in the planet, maybe the most versatile round, and the one that gives the best bang/buck, when it comes to 22LR rifles you have Rugers 10/22 and Marlins, the Marlin 60 the most popular 22LR rifle world wide. Better 22LR rifles? Of course, some other brands make more accurate rifles, but either of those well known models will serve you well.
But what happens with 22LR handguns?
First of all, the semi auto system is compromised form the beginning because of the 22LR intricate characteristics. The rimfire cartridge simply isn’t as reliable as centerfire ones. Its true that buying good quality ammo instead of cheaper bulk helps a lot (CCI Minimags work well in most guns) but the neat thing about 22LR is the price of bulk ammo, not spending several times as much on the expensive stuff.
Ruger, Smith, they make accurate, target or plinking guns that work ok and are pretty accurate, but you are still talking about firearms that are much more likely to have misfires, again, most of the time ammo related. My favorite 22LR autos, the Bersa 22LR (they like Thunderbolts) , they aren’t target guns but have greater tolerances and usually work well when using hot, heavy loads. And still…
Since the problem is ammo related, a revolver looks like a much smarter choice, and it might as well be.
That is until I tried a Taurus 94 22LR revolver. Talk about revolvers reliability! The gun, brand new, would only fire half the cylinder. Sometimes you weren’t even that lucky. Back to the dealer, back to Taurus, and it returned firing about 2/3 of the cylinder, or not, depending on how the Taurus was feeling that day.
I’m sticking with my Bersas. So far, they are the most reliable 22LR I’ve found or seen others use.
I believe the grail may be close to the revolver realm though, in the form of a “high capacity” cylinder Smith and Wesson revolver, 3 or 4 inch barrel and target sights. Such a gun isn’t exactly inexpensive around here, but it would be as perfect as it gets. You lose the auto’s ease of repair, and trade 10+1 round capacity with fast reloads for a 8 or 9 round cylinder. Still, not too shabby. Yes, I’m talking about something like the S&W “Kit” gun, used by camper, hikers and hunters as a trail gun for decades. That would be close to the perfect, general purpose 22LR revolver as it would get in my opinon.
S&W 22/32 Kit Gun
Smith & Wesson's Model 317 "Kit Gun" PIC from GunBlast, good review there too.
The 22LR is an important piece in your humble firearms battery, and I think these thoughts and considerations are worth making.
Take care people, and have fun.