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Old November 18, 2016, 11:35 AM   #1
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Inexpensive 22 handgun: GSG Firefly or Walther P22

Hey all. One of the glaring omissions in my small gun collection is that I don't have a 22 handgun, and I'd like to remedy that. I'd like to get something that is built similar to a modern larger caliber handgun (i.e. not in the Ruger Mark series or Browning Buckmark style) if I can. It'd be for cheap practice for me and for helping introduce new shooters to the hobby. I've gotten quite a few coworkers interested in going shooting, and don't want to scare the recoil sensitive ones off if I can avoid it.

I know the Firefly is basically a rebranded Sig Mosquito. I like they style of it, but have heard that they can be ammo-picky and that the trigger is a bit on the heavy side. It's also the cheaper of the two at the moment at right around $200.

The Walther P22 has a good reputation for the most part from what I've read, particularly that it has a better trigger and is not as ammo picky. I'm not a huge fan of the mag release but I could get used to it, especially since it's not going to be a "combat" handgun. It is about $30 more expensive at the moment based on a quick look.

I'd like to be able to spend more, but my limit will probably be in the $250 range since it will probably be a Christmas gift from my wife. So, please don't pull the "save up a bit more and get ______" card. I am open to other options, just really can't cost more than that. Anyway, looking for opinions from those who have shot one or both.
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Old November 18, 2016, 11:56 AM   #2
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I have not owned nor shot a GSG Firefly. Most of what I have heard about the SIG Mosquito has been bad, however.

I own a Walther P22. The pistol is actually made by Umarex, not at the Walther Ulm factory. There have been quite a few reports of cracked slides with the P22.

I have not had any such catastrophic failures. The pistol works pretty well, when it works. I have experienced failures to cycle with less powerful ammo and tend to stick to high velocity stuff. Even with that, I initially had a lot of failures to feed or return fully to battery. For what ever reason, over time the pistol seems to have settled in and it has become much more reliable.

The P22 has a slide-mounted safety lever that is somewhat like that of a Beretta M9/92 FS. But unlike the Beretta, the safety does not act as a decocker. So the pistol could be carried "cocked and locked" although I suspect few would actually want to do that. Reassembling the pistol after field stripping can be a PITA due to the straight blow-back design and the nature of the recoil spring.

From all accounts the Ruger SR22 is a significantly better pistol, but they usually go for around $300 these days. Still, I would consider looking for a good used Ruger which would probably be within your price range, rather than buying a new Walther P22.

So my feelings regarding the Walther P22 are rather mixed. But I know a few P22 owners who really like them.
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Old November 18, 2016, 02:16 PM   #3
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Thanks. The SR may be doable, I'll add it to the list, didn't realize they were as low as 300, which still might be a stretch but worth a try.
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Old November 18, 2016, 03:29 PM   #4
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I have a P22 and hate to love it. Super picky on ammo. STAY AWAY FROM THE FIREFLY. For a little over $250 you can pick up a Bersa Thunder in 22lr, it's a step above the first 2. For a little more the Ruger SR22 is a great choice and for a lot more a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 is the best choice.
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Old November 18, 2016, 07:34 PM   #5
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Ruger SR22.
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Old November 18, 2016, 11:36 PM   #6
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CCI minimags work just fine in my P22. It's not fond of Remington bulk pack stuff ( I save that for my revolvers). No mechanical issues with mine. I have the combo set with both the short and long barrels. I leave the longer bbl on mine, my brother prefers the short on his, but both seem to function the same.
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Old November 19, 2016, 07:15 AM   #7
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From those that are mentioned, if I had to choose I'd select the SR22. Not familiar with the Firefly but, if it is a rebranded Mosquito, then run (don't walk) away from that one.

IMHO the problem with all of these 22LR combat style look-alikes is that they all suffer from 1 or 2, or both problems. They tend to be VERY picky about the type of 22LR ammo they will digest and they aren't very accurate to boot. They are great in teaching you how to clear jams quickly.

They all tend to look and feel great in the hand, but that's where the love stops.
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Old November 19, 2016, 10:00 AM   #8
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my [daughter's] P22 is 6 years old and has never had a problem. I even shoot Remington thunderbolts out of it.
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Old November 19, 2016, 11:45 PM   #9
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We have had a Ruger SR22 for a couple years now. Great pistol. Ours eats any ammo we load in it. Cant tell you how many thousands of rounds have gone thru it. Its one of those guns that usually goes to the range just about every time we go.
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Old November 20, 2016, 12:52 AM   #10
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I second (or third) the SR 22. But, If you can get a little closer to the 300 range, take a look at the SW MP .22 Compact. Very reliable with pretty much any ammo, accurate, very easy to field strip and clean. Just a great little .22 and a hoot to shoot. My favorite .22 pistol of them all for just having one for fun. I've got several thousand rounds through mine and it just keeps on going. Ambi safety, well made here in the USA. It looks like an MP, it feels like a gun, not a cheap toy.

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Old November 20, 2016, 11:19 AM   #11
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Aren't both of them just different versions of the Mosquito? I have one and it is junk. It jams about as often as it functions correctly.
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Old November 21, 2016, 10:21 AM   #12
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My local LGS has a Ruger Mk III 22/45 Target on sale today for $199.99. I paid $299 for mine and it is a great lifetime and accurate gun. Thr Mk III is being discontinuted to be replaced by the Mk IV (because it is easier to take apart and put back together). If I didn't already have one, I would buy it.
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Old November 21, 2016, 11:15 AM   #13
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Dang, for that price I'd pick one up even though it's not exactly what I want.
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Old November 21, 2016, 02:20 PM   #14
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In your post, you stated that you do not want a Ruger Mark pistol, and that you prefer other pistols which are styled like modern combat guns. I respect your viewpoint, but I would encourage you to reconsider about the Ruger .22 Mark pistols. In my experience, there is no comparison in overall quality between the Ruger Mark pistols and the Walther P22. The Ruger pistols are superior in build quality, shootability, accuracy, overall feel in the hand, and tolerance for different types of ammo.

Due to the recent release of the Ruger Mark IV, there may be bargains available on remaining stock of Mark III pistols. And, as another poster mentioned, used Ruger pistols should fit in your price range.

Of course, if the Ruger Mark pistols really don't suit you, then I respect your choice. Among the polymer .22s, I think the Ruger SR22 is better than its competition.
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Old November 23, 2016, 10:03 AM   #15
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Avoid the potmetal guns and get a quality pistol like a Ruger Mark-series or Browning Buck Mark.

If you must have a "service pistol style" .22LR, the Ruger SR22 is probably the best choice out there.
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Old November 23, 2016, 10:24 AM   #16
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I have both the Walther P22 (bought it 1st) and a Sig Mosquito to complement my Sig P220. The Walther continuously loses it's front sight and the Mosquito will ONLY work with CCI Stingers. Both are less than expected. Neither is even near the league of Ruger or Browning. Both of the former are very ammo sensitive. They are just NOT a pleasure to shoot. I have retired my Ruger (50th Ann Ed.) and my Browning Buckmark went with the ex-wife; really miss the Buckmark. For shooters I use a Taurus 94 revolver, Beretta 21, Ruger Single-Six and a POS Erma 22 Luger that is a jam-o-matic but is a fun toy worth the effort. I REALLY WISH I HAD MY MONEY BACK on the Walther and Sig.

Last edited by PolarFBear; November 23, 2016 at 12:53 PM.
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Old November 23, 2016, 12:34 PM   #17
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Ruger, S&W, or Bersa,,,

Ruger, S&W, or Bersa,,,
These will be your best choices.

GSG pistols are hit or miss,,,
I have a friend with a great performing GSG pistol,,,
But I also have three other range-acquaintances whose GSG's are gosh-awful.

My Ruger SR-22 is a delightful pistol,,,
Feeds and shoots anything I put in it's magazine.

My Bersa Thunder 22 is another delightful pistol,,,
Like my Ruger, it feeds and shoots anything I put in it's magazine.

I don't own a S&W M&P Compact,,,
That's because I much prefer a SA/DA with exposed hammer.

I do have several range acquaintances who own them,,,
They are equal in performance/quality to my Ruger.

We swap our pistols back and forth at the range quite often,,,
The S&W feeds the Federal Bulk ammo I prefer very nicely.

I just don't like not being able to de-cock it after I chamber a round.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from the second tier pistols,,,
Some consider the Bersa Thunder to be a second tier gun,,,
But they have been around for quite a while now,,,
They have proven to be quality performers.


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