Walther P22 Complaints

There's no doubt that the Walther P22 has become a popular little pistol because its many positive aspects make it an easy firearm to like. It chambers an economical .22 caliber round, it looks great and it's fun to shoot. With that said, the P22 isn't without its problems and it shortcomings.

The most widespread complaint about the Walther P22 has to do with how picky it is about ammunition. The majority of P22s are finicky about the type of ammo that they'll shoot without frequent chambering and feed problems. As the manual for the pistol clearly states, "Malfunction may occur when ammunition with a low propellant charge is fired. Use only high velocity ammunition in your Walther P22." Mini-Mag and Stinger ammunition by CCI consistently performs well with P22s. Bulk ammunition from manufacturers like Federal and Remington often fail to feed properly and partially chamber. There's a complete table over here that outlines the best ammo to use with the Walther P22.

Another more unsettling complaint about the Walther P22 involves its cast zinc-alloy slide. Zinc-alloy or "pot metal" as it's commonly referred to in the shooting community is not as strong as steel and has a tendency to fracture under pressure. The P22's zinc-alloy slide has been known to fracture, crack and in some cases even break apart during operation creating a potentially dangerous situation.

A much less dangerous complaint about the P22 is that the front site tends to pop off. The front site of the P22 is plastic and clicks into the top of the slide. The site has a tendency to pop off especially when the firearm is being inserted into or removed from a snug holster. On rare occasions the site has been known to pop off while the gun is being fired, although this is rare and can usually be remedied by purchasing a new site.

Another complaint that's more of a nuisance is that the Walther P22 magazine doesn't hold enough rounds. Although ten rounds are enough for some people, many shooters would like a high-capacity option for the P22. A modified follower can be purchased that will increase the magazine's capacity to thirteen rounds but the modification comes with an annoying side-effect. The button that holds the slide back once the magazine is empty is not present on the smaller follower causing the slide to spring forward even after the final round is fired.

Another annoying complaint about the P22 is that the thumb safety drops or "walks" during operation. The slide safety is held in place by a ball that's forced into a depression on the safety lever. The safety may begin to fall when the spring that puts pressure on the ball begins to fatigue or when the screw that attaches the safety lever to the slide begins to loosen. In either case, there's a pretty easy solution that involves replacing the spring or tightening the safety lever screw.

Despite its shortcomings and the shooting community's love/hate relationship with the firearm, the P22 remains a popular pistol that's fun to shoot.

Questions & Comments

On April 7, 2012 greg said:

my p22 actually scheared of the back of the 22 case and left the remainder of the case in the barrel the gun attempted to load another round and actually went off. has anyone ever heard of this.

On May 9, 2012 David said:

I bought a new P 22 at Gander Mountain. It missfeeds, jams, smokestacks, fails to eject every kind of ammo so far. The same ammo feeds through my Ruger no problems. The p 22 is big dissapointment, trash right out of the box. Gander Mountain said I bought it now I am stuck with it, now that it is a used gun, tough stuff. I have not found any ammo that it will use trouble free. My opinion: P 22 is a junk gun, money wasted.
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