Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: ISSC M22 .22 target pistol


In a previous article, we looked at the ISSC M22 standard version. In fact, we also ran it through a simple torture test to see how long it's little rimfire heart would keep beating in the face of abuse. Now, we get a chance to see the other offering in their lineup... the M22 target version.

What makes the target version different than the standard Glock-like M22? I am so glad you asked..... and we'll explore those differences now.

The ISSC target pistol offering is really nothing more than a standard M22 with a longer barrel, a forward barrel mounted shroud that relocates the front sight further out, and more impre
ssive... muzzle porting through the shroud. Other that that, it looks like a standard M22 frame and slide.

This is not to sneer.... the longer barrel and longer sight radius are classics in the recipe for making a pi
stol easier to shoot accurately. The muzzle porting, while not strictly necessary in a .22 rimfire, sure is a nice touch. In fact, if shooting a compensated Glock in competition is your joy, then this might be the rimfire training pistol for you.

The extended barrel (made by Walther) and it's shroud do add one chore to field stripping the weapon. Where a standard M22 tears down for cleaning in seconds without tools, the target version needs the barrel shroud removed first before the slide can be removed. This is done by loosening a set screw on the underside of the shroud, and sliding the finely machined shroud forward off the muzzle.

There was a concern with this, as the front sight is mounted on the shroud. Would removing the shroud to clean the pistol blow away the the sight settings? ISSC solved that issue by providing a very positive detent for the set screw to contact. It locates the shroud exactly back to it's original position on re-installation. That said, there is another issue. I'd expect some care must be taken to be gentle on tightening the set screw. Too loose, and the shroud will fall off. Too tight, and the set screw could strip. This might be a good case for owning a torque setting screwdriver like MidwayUSA sells.

While field stripping and examining the M22 target pistol, something interesting was noticed... a feature usually found only on more expensive pistols. The barrel and slide are serial numbered to the frame, and all carry what appear to be Austrian proof marks.

The M22 does have a failing... and that is a mediocre trigger pull. It's rough, heavy, and catchy. Perhaps this is not surprising in a pistol as inexpensive as the M22, but it does detract from the shooting experience.

Never one to leave well enough alone, 'Ol Carteach had to take it apart a little and see what can be done.

Lightening the trigger pull does not seem much of an option, as the pistol appears to use the mainspring in double duty on both hammer and sear. The gritty feeling, however seems to be perfectly workable. I didn't tear into this loner pistol and attack it with my trigger engagement stones (400, 600, and 800 grit square stones from Brownells), but I did apply several dabs of moly grease in strategic places. This minuscule change had a huge effect, and is a clue that a decent trigger is just a little stone work away.

I'll note something here..... ISSC provided the M22 target pistol for this review. The standard M22 pistol from the previous articles...
that one I bought, as I was impressed enough to loath giving it back. The loaner will get nothing more that a bit of grease applied to it, but the pistol I own now will get a lot more. While lawyers everywhere might cringe and whine about liability, I'll throw caution to the wind and treat my M22 just as I treat most of my weapons... with loving care, good quality lube, and the judicious touch of a fine stone here and there. Expect an article in the future as that little magic happens.

How did the M22 target pistol shoot? Not bad, not bad at all......

Accuracy was hampered by the less than optimum trigger, but fifty foot groups of two inches were not hard to do on a regular basis. This is just slightly better than the standard version, and can likely be pinned on the longer sight radius.

The compensating ports do nothing for accuracy... but in rapid fire shooting... oh My! Double taps from the rimfire pistol flowed quickly and surely once accustomed to the triggers reset length. The weapon stays flat and on target, and recovery is very fast indeed.

The target version proved even less finicky about ammunition than the standard M22, and that may be because of the extra barrel length. The pistol shot at the range tod
ay did not have a single hiccup in 150 rounds of .22, of four different brands. More shooting will be done... we are not done yet... but this fact alone is promising.

The thought comes to my mind, as I shoot and examine the M22 series of pistols. These things are like firearm velcro... anything your heart desires could be done to it. All the M22's come with a rail, so every light and laser on the market will fit. The trigger appears to be easily workable, and the adjustable sights can be easily swapped out too. The extended barrel with it's shroud removed.... a welcome home to a dedicated suppressor, or a barrel weight, or a sight rail, or....... the sky is the limit. I can see this thing cleaning the clock at the rimfire steel match, with a trigger job, different sights, and a weight hanging off that rail.

The American shooter market likes a weapon that is easily modified to suit personal tastes, and I suspect the ISSC M22 will fit that profile. I doubt ISSC intended that, but it's the case now. With only seven or eight thousand of these pistols on the American market so far, it will be a while till we know for sure. More are coming, and a highly tactical looking .22 rimfire long gun is coming from the company as well.

The pistol has an MSRP of $399, but as is typical they are out in the market for quite a bit less. The M22 should sell at a price point substantially lower then the Walther P22. The two pistols were in fact designed by the same man, and I suspect the M22 benefits from lessons learned with the P22. With it's Glock-like feel and utility as a training pistol, the M-22 series clearly has a place in the range bag.

I know there is one in mine now.

Oh.... and just because it was fun to do.... here is the torture test video again:


Old NFO said...

Thanks for an excellent write up Carteach0- sounds like a buy recommendation to me :-)

Caleb said...

Are the rear sights dovetailed in to the slide? And additionally, is the slide made of steel or a zinc alloy? I ask because if the sights are dovetailed into a steel slide, I could have it milled for an Aimpoint Micro...

Carteach0 said...


The rear sight is dovetailed into the slide. The slide itself is made of some non-ferrous alloy. My GUESS is aluminum, as it feels (and sounds) like some hard aluminum alloys I have worked with. The zinc alloys tend to feel mushier, and have a dull sound when impacted (like dropping the slide).

I can send you detailed photos of the rear sight area if you wish.

Rick said...

I went ahead and picked up an M22, in no small part influenced by your writeup about the pistol. I made sure to avoid the AAA series serial numbers and it's been a great pistol for me so far. I have taken liberties with the face of the trigger lever itself and removed some of the rough edges, but I am very much looking forward to your writeup about how to smooth out the trigger pull itself on this gun.

Thanks for your writeup, and I anxiously await further information about this pistol.

Nabeel said...

Hi, I just bought one of those.. In your opinion, would you prefer a Walther P22 or this one? I like the grip and feeling of the gun.. Also, have you tried using a Holster for it.. Since its same size as Glock 17, would an ankle Holster for Glock 17 work for it.. Thanks..

Carteach0 said...


I have fired both the Walther and the M22, and I prefer the M22 without exception. It just fits better, and mimics the 'Glock Feel' enough that I feel it helps in training.

As for holsters, I draw my M22 from the same holsters I use for my G-30, but it does rattle around in them some. I suspect it would be a perfect fit for a G-17 holster, or a G-19. You'll just have to try.

Nabeel said...

Thanks a lot.. Now, i took the M22 today to the range.. Very strange.. I used Elley, Remington and Federal, all three .2. LR cartridges but in all cases, the gun was getting stuck after firing one or two successfully. There are several reviews out there that we have to use at least 40 grain ammunition but i tried that and it was still getting stuck.. Any advise on what is the best ammo to use here. I want it to be reliable so what is your recommendation? Thanks..

Carteach0 said...

My suggestion is to clean the new pistol thoroughly,lubricate it as the factory recommends, and then break it in using ammunition the instructions recommend.

A Very Bad Dog said...

Just curious what kind of ammo you used for your testing and what you had the best results with? I've had flawless feeding with CCI Blazers but problems with others.

shanalee said...

you should always break a semi auto 22 with high/hyper velocity rounds with the gun well oil and greased. if your having problems with cycling and your knowledgable on gunsmithing try removing some material from the slide or smoothing burrs on touching surfaces. since i have done the above to mine i havent had a single fte ftf besides ammo duds. try better ammo such as cci stingers/ mini mags/ velocitors or winchester super x red wont be let down.

mark gamali said...


my issc m22 has a problem. after shooting the gun and it empties, i release the magazine but when i do that, the slide gets released as well, oplease help on what needs to be adjsuted/

thanks in advance

braxton anthony said...

i bought the m22 target version but intended on getting the standard version instead. is the a way i can shortedn the barrel down. i cant send the gun back. and i just want a shorted version