Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report. This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its many guns, ammunition, and trends. This week I want to talk about something that has been a minor annoyance over my many years of using and abusing rimfire firearms. Many of you will be familiar with the term “kit gun” which is just a special way of saying a gun that can fit a lot of roles but in most cases is just a small and handy pistol used for dispatching pests or small game. My ideal .22LR kit gun doesn’t exist yet. Today I’m going to take you guys through a couple of features that I like in several different .22LR pistols I already own to showcase what features I think combined will make the ultimate .22LR kit gun.
More Rimfire Articles @ TFB:
- The Rimfire Report: Ruger LCP II Lite Rack Threaded Barrel Kit Review
- The Rimfire Report: A Eulogy for the Australian Made 42 Max Rimfire
- The Rimfire Report: Totally Toggle-Locked – Stoeger Luger 22 Review
The Rimfire Report: What I Want in a .22LR Kit Gun
I’d like to always carry a rifle or SBR on me but as soon as you cross that line, you end up dealing with a lot more weight and bulk and on top of that, most of the time, it’s not as easily accessible when you’re going about your business. A small .22LR kit gun is great because it is both compact, lightweight and uses cheap and lightweight ammunition. So what makes a good kit gun?
Most .22LR pistols have an upper limit of 10-rounds per magazine. Pistols like the Ruger MK III and MK IV fall into this category but they are about the same size as a 1911 pistol. Smaller guns like my Beretta 21A Bobcat Covert take up a lot less space but also have the downfall of only having a scant 7-rounds on tap as well as a pretty outdated reloading method (not to mention each 21A Bobcat Covert only comes with one magazine). I think the greatest option in this field is the Taurus TX22 Comp which has a generous 16-rounds and also features quick and familiar magazine changes (not to mention the TX22 has been very reliable for me).
The problem with the increased capacity means that the pistol is going to be much larger, specifically in terms of the hardest part to conceal – the butt of the gun. Even if concealment isn’t your goal, carrying a pistol with a large grip can also be uncomfortable and get knocked around by larger backpacks making it inconvenient to carry. Sticking to the 10-round magazine capacity and keeping a smaller profile is honestly the sweet spot for me and for this reason, I think something along the lines of the Ruger LCP II Lite Rack fits the bill in terms of magazine capacity and manual of arms.
A lot of people associate .22LR kit guns with the use of a suppressor – I fall into this category as well. However, I am 100% willing to admit that suppressors are not entirely necessary for a kit gun but I always like to have the option. This is where the Ruger LCP II and the 21A Bobcat really shine as they are currently the two smallest production .22LR pistols that feature threaded barrels and work. The surprising thing about the LCP II Lite Rack is that it has a tilting barrel making it sort of an oddity in that it still works even with a suppressor attached. The Beretta 21A Bobcat Covert also features a 1/2×28 threaded barrel but as mentioned before, it suffers in terms of magazine capacity and reloading characteristics.
Far better options in this category are the Ruger MK series of pistols as well as options like the KelTec P17, Taurus TX22, and the Smith & Wesson M&P22. If you’re willing to sacrifice size and capacity for great reliability with a suppressor as well as proper sights for use with a suppressor these are currently your best options. The LCP II and 21A Bobcat both suffer from the same problem in that their sights are fixed and too low to be used with even the smallest suppressors. As of writing, there is currently no practical way to mount an optic or suppressor height sights to either of those pistols.
Again, there are some trade-offs you have to make when mounting a suppressor, but I think that having the option and having it be reliable in either state is key for situations when you can’t or don’t want to make a lot of noise.
What does my Ideal .22LR Kit Gun Look Like? Yours?
So to put things in plain English there are a couple of features I’d want in a dedicated .22LR kit gun and I’ll list them out here as well as what pistol I think they could draw features from in order to make it happen.
- Compact Size – Ruger LCP II Lite Rack
- Suppressor Compatibility – Beretta 21A Bobcat (is 100% reliable regardless of ammunition used)
- Magazine Capacity – KelTec P17 or Taurus TX22
- Red Dot Compatibility – Ruger MK IV (this design features the best use of red dot mounting without interfering with the action of the gun)
- Sights – Taurus TX22 style suppressor height sights
I’m not sure if this is asking too much out of a niche category of firearms, but I feel like we’ve made many small advancements in pistol design over the years that I could possibly see this becoming a more and more popular type of firearm. I for one would absolutely love to have a pistol that is small, cheap to shoot, quiet, and most of all reasonably accurate.
I’d like to know what type of features you’d like on a .22LR kit gun or if there is already a pistol out there that fits the bill perfectly for you. If I had to pick one that most closely fits everything I’d want out of one, it would probably be the .22LR Lite Rack as I can still use the pistol at pretty close range and it is somewhat accurate with point shooting despite its lack of good sights for use with a suppressor. A close second would be the TX22 Comp as it has all of those same features but with the addition of a red dot. The biggest downside with the TX22 Comp is its overall size. Let us know down in the comments what you’d want in your ideal .22LR kit gun and thanks as always for reading TFB and The Rimfire Report! See you all next time.