Walther P22

So, over the past few days my blog has gotten quite a few hits for people searching for some combination of “Walther P22” and Virginia Tech, or VA Tech, Virginia Tech shooting, etc. This is of course due to the fact that the mutant psycho killer at VA Tech used a P22 as one of his rampage weapons, which has lead to all sorts of media coverage about the Walther. Some of that media coverage has been…less than accurate, to be polite.

I’ve written more than a couple of posts about the Walther, it’s accuracy, reliability and other features. I’ve fired it a lot, and carried it a lot, I am extremely familiar with this firearm. So, in the vein of one of my favorite TV shows (Mythbusters) today I’m going to bust some myths that have sprung up about the P22 in the media.

General Background
The Walther P22 is a semi-automatic pistol chambered for the common and low powered .22 Long Rifle Cartridge. It accepts 10 round magazines and can be had with a 3.4 inch barrel or a longer 5 inch barrel in the “target” model. A small accessory rail forward of the trigger guard is designed to accept Walther’s proprietary laser sight or a rail for mounting a scope or other optical sight. It comes with adjustable sights in the form of a windage adjustable rear sight and interchangeable front sight posts for elevation.

The P22 has a reputation as being notoriously finicky with ammo, generally it prefers higher quality .22 LR ammunition such as CCI Mini-Mags or Stingers. Additionally, the early runs from Walther had issues regarding the integral gun lock (another standard feature) accidentally engaging and shutting down the weapon. This appears to have been corrected in later models.

The Walther is operated in traditional Double Action/Single Action mode, which means that the first shot is fired with a long double action trigger pull (mine measures a neat 10 lbs), with the semi-automatic action cocking the pistol for single action shots for each subsequent trigger pull. In Single Action mode, the trigger on my Walther measures a pleasant 4.5 lbs, with noticeable creep before a clean break.

The Walther is about 75% the size of the larger 9mm Walther P99, and was originally introduced with the thought of being used as a training pistol for agencies which issued the P99. The P22 is sold on the civilian American market as a plinker, a target pistol, and a general “fun gun” in as much as burning up .22 rounds at the range is rather relaxing.

Myth #1

“The P22, chambered for .22 LR is an extremely dangerous close range weapon. Guns like this are designed to be concealed on the body, and their small caliber makes them too small for hunting or law enforcement use.”

I’m not really sure what point the speaker was trying to make about the .22 LR, but he sure did do a good job of making it sound scary and evil. For the record, the .22 Long Rifle is the most common firearm cartridge on the face of the planet. It’s commonly used for everything from target practice to small game hunting to casual plinking. Trying to demonize the .22 as some sort of “murderer’s special” would be laughable if I didn’t know that people are taking idiots like that seriously.

Myth #2

“Guns like the P22 are often referred to as “Saturday Night Specials”, cheap low powered guns that are easy to conceal.”

My little white ass it is. “Saturday Night Special” is nothing but a weasel word, a phrase used by the anti-gun crowd to essentially scare people. It generally refers to a cheap gun, which the Walther isn’t. Retail on them is usually in the $300 area for the 3.4 barrel model, and $325-350 for the 5 inch barrel model. Harrumph. Call my little gun cheap.

Myth #3

…(guns) like the Walther can be fired at extremely rapid rates, firing a bullet every time the operator pulls the trigger.

Well, uh yeah. That’s actually quite true. Of course, so can a double action revolver like a Ruger GP100, or a Smith & Wesson Model 10. In fact, every gun is designed to shoot every time you pull the trigger. Again, I’m not really sure what the person who said is trying to accomplish with their statement, other than to make my little gun sound scary.

I’ll stop here, because I had to change the channel lest I launch my remote through the television. While a part of me is darkly amused at the various attempts to make my little gun sound sooooo scary – I’m also slightly annoyed. Just because some little pismire decided to use a Walther P22 to kill a bunch of people doesn’t make the gun evil. Just because it’s black and plastic doesn’t make it bad, either.

If anyone has any questions about the Walther that I didn’t address in this blog entry, please ask in the comments section. I’d be happy to clear up and misconceptions, questions, etc.

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