Best 22 Caliber Revolvers – 2019 Ultimate Round-up

Finding the best .22 revolver can be a real challenge. But if you have a basic understanding of how these types of pistols work, the search process may not be so difficult. The best quality revolver should be your goal if you want something that will be great for not just home defense, but also for regular target practicing, competitive shooting, and other applicable purposes. To ensure you find the best .22 revolver that fits you best, we’ve listed eight of the best revolvers that are currently on the market.

Before we dive into the list itself, we’ll be talking about how accurate a .22 revolver is and whether or not they are the same from all the others. Also, we’ll provide you a brief list of some things to look out for while choosing a .22 revolver of your own.

Comparison Chart of the Best .22 Revolvers

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Ruger LCR .22 LR

  • 2-inch barrel.
  • 8-round capacity.
  • Double action revolver.
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Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun

  • 3-inch barrel.
  • 8-round capacity.
  • Runner-up for best overall .22 revolver.
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Charter Arms Pathfinder

  • 6-round capacity.
  • Includes adjustable rear sights.
  • Best .22 revolver for the money.
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North American Arms Sidewinder 22 Magnum

  • 5-round capacity.
  • Single-action revolver.
  • Best .22 magnum revolver.
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Heritage Rough Rider .22 LR 6.5" Revolver

  • 6-round cylinder capacity.
  • Barrel length measured at 6.5 inches.
  • Best .22 Revolver from the Heritage Brand.
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Smith & Wesson 617

  • 10-round capacity.
  • Best double-action revolver.
  • Barrel measured at 6 inches in length.
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Smith & Wesson 17 (K-22 Masterpiece)

  • 6-round capacity.
  • Best .22 revolver for target shooting.
  • Barrel measured at 6 inches in length.
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How Accurate is a .22 Revolver?

Some will say that the accuracy will vary depending on the kind of .22 revolver that you use. There have been users that claim to have used them for varmint hunting and have been able to hit their targets from as far as 50 yards out. Some pistols are effective and accurate at close ranges between 10 to 25 yards.

It will also depend on the application of how they’re used. For example, in competitions, a .22 revolver will be effectively accurate when the targets are set between 25 to 50 yards. 

Are All .22 Revolvers the Same?

The short answer: no. To give you a better explanation, not every .22 revolver will be the same for a few reasons. First of all, the size and design might differ. Some revolvers will be smaller in size while some will be slightly larger. The performance may differ from one pistol to another as well. One might be effectively accurate at about 25 to 30 yards out while another can have the ability to go farther.

While the applications for this kind of revolver might be the same, there are some features and characteristics that indicate that not all .22 revolvers are created equal.

What Makes a Great .22 Revolver?

There are a few characteristics and features that will make a .22 revolver stand out among the rest of the pack. Yes, there are many .22 revolvers on the market. But most of them may not pass the test in some way or another. You’ll need to know how to distinguish a great .22 revolver from one that isn’t as reliable in performance. Here are some things to look for while choosing a revolver:

Accuracy Fits the Application

As mentioned before, some .22 revolvers will be effective in one application or another. Using the competition example, they are effectively accurate from 25 to 50 yards out. These revolvers can be used for hunting or target shooting if you hold accuracy to a high standard. If you have a good idea of what you’re going to be using a .22 revolver for, then keep in mind of how accurate it is to ensure if it is the best fit.

Affordable For Your Budget

Whether money is a bit of an issue or if you have money to play around with, these eight pistols are worth the investment. What is important is if you are on a budget, you should invest more in the high quality and performance that you can afford. Never sacrifice quality for the sake of saving money. That will lead to purchasing a revolver where the reliability is questionable.

Built to Last

Every revolver on this is made from high-quality materials. This means they are built to last you a long time so long as you take care of it regularly. That means having to clean the revolver inside and out. Not only will it lengthen the life of your revolver, but it will also prevent any jamming or other reliability issues that can pose a dangerous threat to your safety.

Quick Take - The Best .22 Revolvers

These are our recommendations for the best .22 revolvers:

  1. Ruger LCR .22 LR
  2. Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun
  3. Charter Arms Pathfinder

Review of the Best .22 Revolvers

The following is a list of the eight best .22 revolvers currently on the market. As you go through each one, you should make a note of any of the characteristics and features that stand out. This way, you’ll have a good idea of which one of these revolvers will match your ideal description of what you want personally. If you find a revolver that fits your ideal description, you may have found a winner. Now, let’s take a look at the first .22 revolver on our list -- our “best overall” choice:

Best Overall:
Ruger LCR .22 LR

Pros

  • Small and concealable.
  • Accurate at about 25 yards out.
  • Easy to load. It takes a few minutes.
  • Great for home defense and target shooting purposes.
  • Super durable construction thanks to the polymer material. It can take quite a beating.

Cons

  • The trigger might be a little difficult to pull at first.
  • It may be hard to handle for users with large hands.
  • The revolving magazine may have a hard time deploying at times.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new buyers are quite happy with the revolver. They were able to land accurate shots ranging from 25 to 30 yards out through various applications. One user said that he was able to take it out to an outdoor range and managed to hit his targets close to or on the bullseye from that range. They also reported that little felt recoil was present with this pistol.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a pistol that is small, concealable, and can be perfect for those that conceal carry. It can also fit in a lot of CCW holsters (depending on the size). Find a holster that is the perfect size to keep this pistol secure and you’ll be able to take it with you wherever you go (in jurisdictions where concealed carry is legal). Other than that, it is a pistol that is built to take on some beatings thanks to the high-quality polymer construction.

Who Will Use This Most

This revolver will be your best friend out on the range or in a self-defense situation. Ideally, it can even be a great EDC revolver to have on hand. You might not ever need to use it in a dangerous situation, but it’s good to be prepared in case it happens. Other users will also range from casual target shooters to those that use a revolver for competitive purposes.

Bottom Line

The Ruger LCR is a .22 pistol that is durable, reliable, and concealable for most users. Use the pistol to your advantage regardless of your intended application. You’ll be quite satisfied with the accuracy and overall performance that this pistol can put together.

Pros

  • Accurate from various ranges.
  • The trigger pull is nice and smooth.
  • Easy to load. It takes a few minutes.
  • The grip is durable. It provides an excellent handle for most users.
  • Excellent for general purposes (i.e.--home defense, target practice, etc.)

Cons

  • None.

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were quite satisfied with this revolver. Most of them were able to easily handle the pistol with excellent stability and fired off each shot with ease. They were happy with the reliability and speed of each shot. One user said that this pistol is his new “go-to” pistol for target practice and competition shooting.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol is a little larger than our previous pistol. But still, it is large enough to be concealable in most holsters. So it would make sense if you’re looking for something that is concealable but won’t bulge in your holster at the same time. The grip is made from a high-quality polymer and does a great job easily fitting into many hands of different users. Most hand sizes will be able to handle this pistol without making it feel like it’s too small or large.

Who Will Use This Most

This will probably be used by those starting with concealed carry. Indeed, it is a bit larger than the smaller revolvers. But it will be good enough for those who want to give concealed carry a try and want to carry around a revolver each day in the event of being in potential danger. Likewise, they can still put it to use for other purposes like target shooting or even varmint hunting.

Bottom Line

The Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun proves itself that is belongs in the company of great .22 revolvers. The performance and quality are sure to not disappoint you each time you use it. No matter if it’s for concealed carry or a casual day at the range, this pistol will probably exceed your standards one way or another.

Best for the Money:
Charter Arms Pathfinder

Pros

  • Great for concealed carry.
  • Affordable for most budgets.
  • Excellent for many applications.
  • Easy to load. It takes a few minutes.
  • Accurate from ranges between 25 to 50 yards.

Cons

  • It may not be ideal for users with larger hands.
  • Hammer may be a little stiff to cock back at first.
  • The cylinder may be a little difficult to open at first.

What Recent Buyers Report

This revolver was a hit with many budget shoppers. They were not disappointed with what they’ve paid for. Most of them were able to hit their targets from a wide variety of ranges. One user said that he was able to hit targets accurately near the bullseye from about 30 yards out. Others have concluded that this might be put to good use as a general-purpose pistol (with a majority saying they would use it for EDC or concealed carry use).

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver is anything but a cheap model. It’s one of those “more than what you pay for” kinds of revolvers that will work better than expected and exceed many users' expectations. Simply put, it’s at the right size to fit in most holsters. Plus, it has a good deal of firepower that will allow each round to travel a little way. If it can reach targets from a range of 25 to 50 yards, you know it has to be good.

Who Will Use This Most

This revolver will probably be another choice for beginners. Especially those who need a revolver on a budget since money might be a little tight. If you want something that will work miles ahead of many .22 revolvers when it comes to quality and performance, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pistol quite like this.

Bottom Line

The Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 revolver might just be something that you’ll start with if you’re considering carrying something around for concealed carry use or any other purposes. It’s an excellent model that will perform much better than budget revolvers. For something fast, accurate, and affordable this might be your best choice.

Pros

  • Looks aesthetically sharp.
  • Easy to load. It takes about a minute.
  • Great for EDC carry and other purposes.
  • The grip is durable. It can provide excellent handling and stability.
  • Front sight does a good job of making your shots accurate and precise.

Cons

  • May not fit in most concealed carry holsters.
  • Hammer might be a little stiff to cock back at first.
  • May need to be cleaned a little sooner than most, due to potential rusting.

What Recent Buyers Report

This revolver was a hit with many Magnum enthusiasts. So it came as no surprise when they said they were happy with how accurate the shooting was from about 25 yards out. Most of them were able to use this to their advantage in a target shooting situation. Some others have used this pistol for varmint hunting and were able to hit targets from a close, but an effective range.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is made mostly of stainless steel. But the grip is made from a hardwood that makes it stand out. Aesthetics wise, it looks like a classic pistol that has been updated for modern times. But the pistol is not known for its looks. It’s known for a few unique qualities. One of them is allowing you to load the revolver without having to completely take out the cylinder. You have five rounds to load. And it will take you a little less time to reload rather than having to pull out the cylinder, reload it, and put it back together.

Who Will Use This Most

It will probably be used for target shooting and close-range varmint hunting. Either way, it’s a .22 revolver that can get the job done. If you’re looking for a pistol that will give you a few good rounds at your disposal, you’d be insane to pass up on the opportunity to give this powerful .22 magnum a closer look.

Bottom Line

The North American Arms Sidewinder .22 Magnum Single Action Revolver is probably your best possible choice if you’re looking for something that will be easy to load and easy to use for those who are fans of the magnum. Not only that, it’s a good looking model that will serve you well in the long run.

Best Heritage .22 Revolver:
Heritage Rough Rider .22 LR 6.5" Revolver

Pros

  • Easy to load.
  • Very beautiful design.
  • Excellent for various applications.
  • Accurate from about 20 to 30 yards out. 
  • Hammer is smooth and easy to cock back.

Cons

  • May be a little weighty than some revolvers.
  • Some were not too pleased with the overall finish.
  • May not fit in some small holsters that can fit smaller sized revolvers.

What Recent Buyers Report

This revolver was a favorite among new users. Especially those who were looking for a revolver that was not just an aesthetically pleasing pistol, but something that would be reliable and accurate enough to make target shooting or even varmint hunting so much enjoyable. One user said that he was able to hit his targets with ease from a good 25 yards out consistently using this revolver.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Heritage Rough Rider has a barrel that is slightly longer than most revolvers. When you first look at this, it looks like the kind that would only be used in the Wild West by lawmen and outlaws alike. So it stands out as your classic six-shooting revolver that will be great for target practicing and even knocking down a few pests. It may not be for showing off your inner John Wayne skills, however.

Who Will Use This Most

This revolver might stand out as a really good model to shoot targets with. It can be used casually or for competitive purposes. Either way, you’ll be amazed by how this sharp-looking easy to use revolver will work to your advantage.

Bottom Line

The Heritage Rough Rider has a classic look, but it’s reliable and accurate like the revolvers of old times. If you want something that will make you look like an intimidating force to be reckoned with be it out on the range against a few targets or anything that might be damaging your property, this revolver might be right up your alley.

Best Double-Action Revolver:
Smith & Wesson 617

Pros

  • Ridiculously lightweight.
  • Easy to load. It takes a couple of minutes.
  • Great for target shooting and home defense.
  • Accurate from ranges between 25 to 40 yards.
  • Durable construction. It can take on impact and abuse.

Cons

  • May not be easy to conceal.
  • The cylinder may be a little difficult to remove at times.
  • It may be a little tough to handle for those with smaller hands.

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were happy with the revolver. They found it easy to reload in a quick amount of time. Some were able to fully load the cylinder within a few minutes. As for the applications, this was proven to be effective in a target shooting situation. However, one user said that if the opportunity were to arise he would use it for home defense.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a revolver that once again is one of those with a longer barrel. If anything, a longer barrel will usually equal better accuracy. Sure enough, this is a consistently accurate revolver that will get the job done at ranges up to about 40 yards. Plus, with ten rounds at your disposal, you’ll have a little more firing power compared to other revolvers that have a capacity of 6 to 8 shots.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be an excellent revolver that you can keep home for home defense. The only time you’ll want to take it outside of the house is when you’re planning on firing off targets at the range. Either way, it’s a revolver that will certainly give you a little more firepower than most. Make no mistake, there is no such thing as having too many rounds to fire off. If you have 10 or 100 .22 rounds laying around, this revolver would be excellent to use along with them.

Bottom Line

The Smith & Wesson 617 is perhaps your best friend either at home or out at the range. No matter how you use it, it will be a reliable revolver that will give you a lot more than you’ve bargained for. Once you give this a whirl, you’ll never want to fire off any other revolver.

Best .22 Revolver for Target Shooting:
Smith & Wesson 17 (K-22 Masterpiece)

Pros

  • Easy to load.
  • Durable construction.
  • Excellent with various applications.
  • The grip is easy and allows for great stability.
  • Effectively accurate at ranges between 30 to 50 yards.

Cons

  • Hammer may be a little stiff to cock back.
  • The cylinder is somewhat difficult to remove.
  • Trigger pull may be slightly heavier than expected.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the recent buyers found this revolver to be quite useful for target shooting. One user said that he was found this to be accurate up to 50 yards. He added that it also became his go-to pistol for competitive shooting purposes. Aside from accuracy and reliability, they have also found this to be surprisingly useful when used against small invasive critters.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver was designed after the Second World War for target shooting. Over the years, Smith & Wesson changed up the design. At first glance, it looks like an old school revolver that has the potential to stand the test of time. On top of that, it’s got a wood grip that goes above and beyond in providing excellent stability each time they fire off a shot.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used for casual and competitive target shooting purposes. Either way, it’s accurate and reliable for all the times you’ll need to use it at the range. It’s the kind of revolver that you’ll enjoy using against paper targets, cans, bottles, or whatever you use for target practice.

Bottom Line

The Smith & Wesson 17 has been around for many years. Yet, it’s the kind of revolver that has stood the test of time. If you want something that will give you a boost in target shooting be it in a casual or competitive setting, you’ll love using this revolver.

Pros

  • Easy to grip and keep stable.
  • Great for many applications.
  • Easy to conceal in most holsters.
  • Easy to load. It takes a couple of minutes.
  • Durable construction. It doesn’t scuff easily.

Cons

  • None.

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were quite impressed overall with the revolver. Many of them reported hitting their targets accurately from about 25 to 30 yards out. One of them said that he was a competitive shooter that prefers using a .22 for his competitions. He said that it shoots quicker than some pistols he’s used. On top of that, he said that this pistol gives him a better grip and handle while he’s firing off shots.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This looks like a revolver straight out of the Wild West. But it has more of a modern look to it. But it can shoot straight and can be reliable in almost any application where it would be appropriate to use a .22 revolver. It’s also quick and easy to reload, making it excellent for competitive applications. The quicker you can load this, the better off you may be.

Who Will Use This Most

This may be put to good use as a revolver that will put the rounds to the bullseye on paper (or other targets) at the range or in a competition. It will shoot fast, load fast, and give you a reliable performance that might just be considered second to none. If you’re a sucker for revolvers and want nothing more than a model that will excel as a competition pistol, this could be right up your alley.

Bottom Line

The Ruger SP101 has the power and the ability to make this your go-to revolver for competition shooting. Make no mistake, it will stand out as the kind of revolver that you’ll need for any other application.

Why Should I Get a New .22 Revolver?

Getting a new .22 revolver is essential for many purposes. And with this handgun comes a few benefits that you’ll get to enjoy. They are as follows:

Excellent For Concealed Carry

Most of these .22 revolvers are small enough for concealed carry. The smaller they are, the better the chance they can be carried using a holster. From there, you can be able to lawfully and legally carry outside of your home (depending on your jurisdiction). Remember to find a holster since you are required to use one if you intend to carry your revolver everywhere you go.

Excels at Target Shooting And Self-Defense

This revolver is great for many applications. But it is said to stand out as a handgun that can be used in either a self-defense or target shooting situation. Regardless, you have a pistol that will give you a good number of rounds at your disposal. And you’ll be able to easily reload if and when you have the opportunity to do so.

More Affordable Than Most Handguns

Compared to other calibers like the 9mm, the .22 is probably one of the more affordable in terms of pistols and even ammunition. This is good news for those who are looking for a pistol for concealed carry or other applications but may not have a good amount of money to play around with.

Conclusion

The best .22 revolver is out there. And one of the eight listed above might be your favorite among them all. Be sure to find one that will work to your advantage regardless of what your intent or purpose will be. Be sure to take good care of it and it will take care of you in return. 

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