Firearms chambered in .22 Long Rifle have been around for a long time (since the black powder era) and are still used today for good reason. Not only are .22LR cartridges cheap and easy to produce, they are widely available across different makes and models of handguns/rifles.
22LR pistols and revolvers are some of the easiest handguns to control (while still being effective for practical use) and serve a valuable purpose within the gun community. Let’s see what makes the .22 LR cartridge so unique and then check out the best 22 handguns used for target shooting, training, and concealed carry.
A Brief History of the .22 LR Rimfire Cartridge
The .22 Long Rifle was most likely introduced in 1884 by small arms ammunition manufacturer, Union Metallic Cartridge Company, during an era of innovative cartridge design. Based in part on the .22 BB Cap and .22 Short of 1857, the .22 LR was a direct evolution of the .22 Long of 1871 that gave it a longer length, higher muzzle velocity, and better performance than the .22 Long (i.e., same case with a 45-grain bullet instead).
As a result, the .22 Long became obsolete and the .22 Long Rifle became the superior choice for hunting and target shooting.
Designed to use a heeled bullet (same diameter as its case), the 22LR rimfire became a popular cartridge for a wide variety of handguns and rifles. These included the famous Henry rifles and Winchester 1866.
What Makes .22 Cal Handguns Popular & Unique
The .22 LR cartridge is popular for a number of reasons owing to its minimal recoil, low noise, wide variety, and affordable price. This is why 22 LR firearms are ideally used for plinking, competition shooting, small-game hunting, or training purposes. And since these firearms tend to be smaller in size (and easier to shoot ), they are often used by first-time gun owners as concealed carry handguns for self-defense.
The low recoil of .22 caliber handguns is probably the #1 reason why people consider them a perfect option for introductory lessons and novice shooters. High recoil energy and loud noise tend to make beginners flinch and develop poor habits. Moreover, being able to better control a firearm increases confidence and allows the newbie to focus on other aspects of shooting.
These types of firearms are considerably lighter than comparable handguns that are chambered in larger calibers, making it easier for gun owners to practice firing rounds for longer periods of time, and still making the firearm be very easy to control. Recoil and muzzle rise tends to decrease as handguns get heavier, although some .22LR handguns have shorter barrel lengths which may worsen the recoil effect.
.22 LR handguns are also highly popular with casual shooting (called ‘plinking’) and professional competition. Ammo is cheap and .22 LR cartridges can be purchased in bulk specifically for these uses. These handguns are also popular with pest control and hunting small game that don’t require more powerful rounds to take down.
Although .22LR is not considered an optimal choice for serious threat situations such as those encountered in military or law enforcement operations, many gun owners still accept the cartridge as a fairly proficient option for personal protection (when discretion is necessary) or quick home defense. Because the ammo is affordable, and the firearm can be used for target practice, a skilled operator may be sufficiently confident to deploy a .22 LR handgun in these types of scenarios for economical reasons.
The Best 22 Handguns On The Market
The Ruger Wrangler is a great choice for undemanding first-time gun owners who just want a reliable and effective full-sized, single-action .22 revolver from a highly trusted manufacturer. It could be an ideal choice for teenagers wanting to learn how to shoot with a revolver. The Wrangler wasn’t designed to be a state-of-the-art revolver. In fact, its components and manufacturing process were chosen for cost reduction.
Having said that, the Ruger Wrangler is still a quality piece for anyone wanting an affordable option that can stand up to higher-priced alternatives in its class. It has an aluminum alloy frame and a cold hammer-forged 4.6” barrel (with an overall length of 10.25”). It weighs approximately 30 oz. and has a synthetic checkered grip with a Cerakote finish.
It has built-in security features with a loading gate interlock and transfer bar mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. It also features notch rear/blade front sights. Overall, this six-shooter offers accuracy and durability in an affordable package.
Taurus TX22 Competition SCR
The full-sized Taurus TX22 Competition SCR (Steel Challenge Ready) is the latest evolution of the award-winning Taurux TX22 sporting pistol platform that captured the industry’s attention with its outstanding design, competition-ready performance, and price.
This really is one of the most advanced (and affordable) SAO striker-fired, 22LR rimfire target pistols on the market for competition shooters. It’s been redesigned with a skeletonized, high-grade aluminum slide (with enlarged ejection port) and a threaded bull barrel that can support a top-mounted red dot optical sight for increased accuracy (4 mounting positions in total).
The TX22 Competition SCR target pistol feels like a customized semi-auto engineered with versatility in mind. It features a patented indexing and recoil management pad, MIL-STD-1913 rail, fully adjustable rear sight, and three safeties (striker block, manual, trigger). It’s available with a 10 or 16-round capacity.
Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory
The SW22 Victory is a single-action, enclosed hammer-fired, blowback operated .22LR pistol designed for hunting, recreation, and target practice. It’s a functional and affordable semi-automatic pistol that comes with plenty of modern features to satisfy the average weekend hunter or entry-level shooter.
The Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory is not a 22 LR that anyone would choose for self-protection or everyday carry. It’s simply too long (9.2”) and heavy (36 oz. loaded) for those functionalities. However, the affordable SW22 Victory is a modern, reliable, and easy to maintain (e.g., one-screw takedown design, stainless steel finishes) single-action .22 from a very reputable manufacturer. This makes it a great choice for beginners either on the range or in the field.
It has a low recoil, smooth trigger pull, and won’t make you deaf when firing it without ear protection. It has great accuracy and features a (removable) match-grade barrel with a fiber optic front sight, adjustable fiber optic rear sight, thumb safety, adjustable trigger stop, and textured grip panels with finger cuts. Everything is stainless steel except the polymer grip and thumb safety. It comes with a 10+1 magazine capacity.
Heritage Barkeep Boot
This small bore, single-action “boot carry” revolver is a unique little piece that looks great hanging on your wall as a decorative piece (or stored in a concealment shelf) when it’s not wrapped around your ankle as a backup firearm. Based on the Rough Rider series of western-style single action revolvers, the Barkeep Boot has a 1.68” barrel and is designed for concealability in a portable package.
One of its standout features is a smooth and comfortable birdshead grip with a beautiful wood black finish. It’s a robust grip that will give you a positive handle in case you need to pull it out in a jiffy during a bar brawl or something.
Other notable features include a “Hammer-block” thumb safety, a frame-mounted firing pin for lighter trigger pulls and increased reliability for those who like dry firing, and a short trigger distance.
Beretta U22 Neos
The U22 Neos is a modern, single-action trigger, .22LR pistol made for entry-level shooters. It is designed for backyard plinking and training. It also has a modular design to accommodate a range of accessories (e.g. ergonomic grips, barrel configurations, Weaver-style integration) for more experienced users (while still being an affordable option as a base training/plinking semi-auto).
The Beretta U22 Neos was clearly designed for easy operation during recreational use. It features a very durable, ergonomic polymer grip with non-slip inserts and has a slender frame for small to medium-sized hands. Its 10-round magazine is extremely quick and easy to load and an ambidextrous manual safety can be activated with the firing pin cocked/uncocked.
This .22LR pistol may not have the best trigger characteristics or sights, but it’s reliable and accurate. Some might think it has a fun and attractive design too, thus making it a popular and affordable choice for youngsters who are eager for some casual plinking.
The Colt Woodsman is a classic semi automatic sporting pistol made from 1915 to 1977. It was designed by John Browning and has undergone three design changes involving longer, heavier frames and slight modifications to the grips (hand fitted), adjustable sights, and markings.
Overall, the Woodsman is one of the first successful .22 rimfire pistols in the 20th century (and became one of the most popular too). Its three distinct models (Target, Sport, Match Target) are ideal outdoorsman semi auto pistols for hiking, camping, and casual/formal shooting.
Up to 4000 Match Target models were sent to the U.S. Government during WWII and this great gun is now considered a collector’s piece in the surplus market. Some Colt Woodsman models can sell for thousands of dollars.
The Ruger LCR (“Light Compact Revolver”) is a double-action only, hammerless, rimfire revolver that’s ideal for concealed carry (the hamner is concealed in the fire control housing). It’s all in the name.
An aluminum alloy frame, fluted cylinder, and polymer grip help make this subcompact rimfire revolver up to 50% lighter than similar stainless steel alternatives. Despite being DAO, it features a friction-reducing cam to create a smooth, lighter, non-stacking pull of its constant force trigger. This is a durable little self-defense piece with a perfectly snag-free design.
Browning Buck Mark Contour URX
You can’t go wrong with Browning-quality pistols such as the Browning Buckmark Standard URX (referring to the rugged ‘Ultragrip RX’ grip for durability and comfort). The Buckmark series is a very well-respected family of sporting, rimfire, semi auto pistols designed for plinking, competition shooting, and small-game hunting.
You get a little bit of everything with a Browning Buckmark .22 Long Rifle pistol: experienced design quality, accuracy, reliability, and ergonomics. The Buckmark Standard is a single-action, blowback operated pistol with a fine-tuned, tapered bull barrel for superb balance, plus a hand reamed chamber and recessed muzzle crown for increased accuracy. A light and crisp trigger break (with barely any overtravel), highly contoured URX grip with instinctual finger grooves and wave stylings also add to the Buckmark’s excellent accuracy out of the box.
Being made from a solid aluminum alloy frame, some range shooters might like how the Browning Buckmark Contour URX is a bit heavier than other 22 LR pistols at 28 ounces. It has a 5.5” barrel length, 8” sight radius, narrow grip profile, Pro-Target front/rear sights, and single-stack 10 round magazine. Definitely a comfortable and accurate .22 handgun for target shooting or hunting.
Keep in mind, the Browning Buck Mark line is discontinued so grab this great gun today.
Trailblazer Firearms LifeCard
The Trailblazer LifeCard is unique in several ways. First, it’s the only single-shot pistol on this list. Second, it’s the only “folding” pistol on this list. And lastly, it’s shaped like a small cellphone or credit card holder. At just 0.5” thick (and weighing 7 oz.), it’s probably the most concealable .22 caliber pistol you’ll find on the market today.
Incredibly discreet, with a sleek design, this ambidextrous pistol unfolds to have a full-sized handle with storage space for 3 additional rounds. It also comes with built-in safety features (e.g, cannot fire when folded). The Trailblazer Firearms LifeCard is a remarkable little piece you can wear around your neck that may be ideal for those who need protection all day, every day (at least I hope that’s the only reason why). Just make sure you practice with it a lot because you only get a single shot before needing to reload.
The Walther P22 was introduced in 2002 and was the first polymer-framed semiautomatic rimfire pistol on the market. As usual, you can expect a superb blend of quality, performance, and ergonomics out of the Walther P22.
This DA/SA, blowback-operated, tactical rimfire pistol is known for its comfortable ergonomics (especially grip design) and interchangeable barrel system (3.43” or 5”). Being an affordable, full-sized semi automatic .22LR pistol that is lightweight (16 oz. unloaded) with low recoil and a short trigger travel, the P22 is a great option for target practice or as a training pistol. The Walther P22 comes with a 10-round mag capacity.
Other design features of the Walther P22 include interchangeable backstraps, ambidextrous controls, excellent sights (adjustable rear sights and white dot front), captured recoil spring, and threaded barrel for muzzle devices. It has a 11 lb. trigger pull in double-action mode and 4 lb. in single-action.
SIG Sauer P322
The P322 is a high capacity, compact SAO semi automatic 22 pistol. It is one of the most advanced 22 handguns you will find today. It is made of stainless steel and polymer components including a hard coat anodized slide finish, compact polymer grip module, and two 20-round polymer magazines (among the highest capacity on our list). It has an enclosed hammer even though it appears like a striker-fired pistol.
Due to its higher price tag, this SIG Sauer P322 is better suited for experienced gun owners who desire the latest accessories and know how to disassemble a pistol. The P322 is extremely fast, accurate, and reliable. Experienced shooters can unload thousands of quick shots on target with no issues.
This tactical pistol comes with a 1913 rail and integrated magwell supports an extended 25-round magazine. A fiver optic front sight and fully adjustable target sights gives a clean picture. A threaded barrel adapter makes the P322 suppressor-ready. Front and rear slide serrations, fully ambidextrous controls, and reversible mag catch make this pistol easy-to-handle and quick to load.
Ruger 22 Charger
If you’ve never seen a pistol like this, you’re probably wondering what the heck it is. Well, believe it or not, the Ruger 22 Charger is a semi-automatic plinking pistol designed after the highly popular Ruger 10/22 series of semi-automatic .22 LR rimfire rifles (which were similar in style to the .30 caliber M1 carbine). It’s for shooters who want the look and feel of a small rifle and the ability to upgrade it with 10/22 aftermarket accessories (e.g., trigger) or AR-15 style grip handle. It comes with a bipod and Weaver-style scope integration for highly accurate shot placement.
The 22 Charger is a very large pistol at just under 20” in overall length. Clearly it’s not designed for everyday carry or self-defense. Instead, it’s a plinking pistol or even a hunting firearm for small to medium-sized game (granted you’re a good shot). The AR-15 style grip and ergonomics of the Ruger 22 Charger make it a highly accurate and sturdy target gun to fire and control. Its low recoil really makes it a plinker’s dream come true. It comes standard with a 15-round magazine (with extended options).
Keep in mind, this Ruger pistol may not be available in every state due to its magazine being located outside the grip handle like a rifle.
Browning 1911-22 Black Label
The Browning 1911-22 Black Label was modeled after the vintage Model 1911 that was chambered in .45 ACP, except it’s been slightly redesigned for the .22 LR caliber because engineers determined the original model’s size was actually very suitable for the smaller 22 cartridge. That sounds exciting for recreational shooting enthusiasts.
The 1911-22 has many of the design features of the original .45 caliber model. It still has a lightweight alloy frame (or polymer-framed variant) and comfortable, narrow grip. And it still boasts that wonderfully crisp, clean single-action trigger pull of the original Model 1911. It comes with a grip safety and manual thumb safety for added safety.
Its 10-round steel magazine, along with its polymer follower and base pad, have been heat-tested to provide long life, low maintenance, and smooth feeding. The firing pin and extractor are enclosed within a steel slide block. With the Browning 1911-22 Black Label, you don’t have to own the original Model 1911 to know exactly how it feels.
Ruger Mark IV Target
The Ruger MK IV is the 4th iteration of the original Ruger Standard (introduced in 1949) and part of the most successful product line of .22LR pistols in history.
Designed for target shooting and plinking (or even camping/hiking), the Ruger Mark IV Target is a popular and widely used rimfire pistol in the gun community. The most significant change between its predecessor (Ruger Mark III) is a one-button takedown between upper receiver and grip frame letting the user disassemble the barrel-receiver assembly with ease.
Rugers are known for their reliability and functional designs. The Ruger Mark IV Target is no different and new shooters will appreciate being able to shoot hundreds of rounds without experiencing feed failure or needing maintenance. But clearing any jammed round is easy with the Ruger Mark IV. It also has a close trigger placement and a slim, textured grip. It is slightly heavy with an aluminum grip frame (36 oz.), but still easy for a novice to stay on target with accuracy at medium range.
The G44 is about as lightweight (16 oz. loaded) and easy-to-fire as you’ll find in a subcompact size semi-automatic pistol. Of course, it comes standard with the usual Glock design features such as the Marksman Barrel (for increased accuracy/precision) and innovative hybrid steel-polymer slide.
Incredibly fast firing, with low recoil and interchangeable backstraps for every hand size, the Glock G44 is perfect for novice shooters wanting an accurate and precise pistol with optimal control. This Glock also comes with two unique “load-assist” magazines (10 rounds) for stress-free loading of .22 caliber cartridges.
Smith & Wesson Model 41
The S&W Model 41 is a high performance, single-action, competition rimfire pistol used by professional shooters that was introduced in 1957 and praised for its supreme accuracy ever since. It’s basically the ultimate .22 LR plinkster (or at least one of the best target guns you’ll find on this list) and its price reflects that belief. Ten years of research and design went into perfecting the Model 41 before its debut.
It has a switch-barrel design to accommodate a 5.5” or 7” barrel on its carbon steel frame. Obviously designed for serious target shooters in mind, the Model 41 comes standard with a micrometer adjustable rear sight, removable Patridge front fight, user adjustable trigger stop, Picatinny rail, and Custom Wood Target grip (which is quite big). The 5.5” model weighs a hefty 42.6 ounces and has a 10+1 round capacity. It has a very light, crisp trigger and virtually no recoil. Not much needs to be said about the Model 41 other than it’s probably one of the most precise 22 rimfire pistols ever created.
Heritage Rough Rider 4.75”
If you want a cheap Western-style revolver for casual shooting and backyard plinking, the single-action Heritage Rough Rider is right up your alley. This simple yet effective rimfire revolver gives you the classic profile and pinpoint accuracy of bigger bore handguns with a two-cylinder option for firing 22 LR or 22 WMR rounds.
The Rough Rider gives you the look and feel of the classic Single Action Army revolver. It is designed with a micro-threaded barrel with an optimal cylinder to barrel gap to get the most out of your .22 rimfire ammo. It has a quick-pull trigger and also comes with various grip options. Overall, it’s a solid piece for target shooting or small-game hunting that won’t break the bank.
The Kel-Tec CP33 is the highest capacity, semi-automatic .22 target pistol on our list holding an astounding 33 rounds per mag. It could be mistaken for a race gun, or perhaps some high-tech firearm used in a futuristic criminal underworld, but it’s really just a highly accurate competition pistol (i.e., ‘CP’) designed by American military veterans to be innovative and exciting to use.
The CP33 has a 9″ sight radius and is built to support accessories, such as fiber optics and suppressors (threaded barrel), with its Picatinny-style top rail and MAGPUL M-LOK slot. Everything you need to train, compete, or just have some fun. It’s an ambidextrous pistol with safety levers on both sides, a heel catch mag release, and charging handle on the back of the receiver.
Of course, there’s the innovative Quad Stack 33 magazine that holds four rows of .22LR caliber rounds. You get two of these mags, so that’s 66 rounds of firepower available to you on the fly.
The Ruger SR22 is a lightweight, polymer-framed, DA/SA .22LR pistol with 10+1 capacity. In terms of design features, it has everything you need in a target practice or training pistol such as a standard three-dot sight system, ambidextrous controls, and interchangeable grips. It’s very easy to handle and shoot. Ideal for smaller or weaker hands. These characteristics, along with having low recoil and being quick to get on target, make the SR22 a viable home defense option for new gun owners.
Despite claims that it has relatively light and crisp trigger pulls, some operators feel the trigger is the SR22’s weakest component. Having said that, it’s still an accurate and reliable semi-automatic pistol without that much to complain about. It has a slim frame (0.97” width) and interchangeable rubber grips with angled serrations (plus magazine bump extension) to support larger hands that need a wider palm swell. It feels robust and well-balanced. It also has an external hammer with a bobbed spur.
Additional features include an underside MIL-STD-1913 rail, front/rear slide serrations (aluminum alloy), a visual inspection port, and ambidextrous safety/magazine release/decocking lever.
Walther PPQ 22 M2 SD
The striker-fired PPQ 22 M2 provides all of the best features of the highly effective PPQ series in a .22 rimfire caliber format. Remarkably comfortable and proficient for training, the PPQ 22 design even lets operators use a 9mm holster for practice.
Like other PPQ semi auto pistols, this variant features an outstanding trigger action and is designed for right or left-hand shooters with a cross directional non-slip grip. It also comes with an ambidextrous slide stop and reversible mag release. Adjustable sights and suppressor integration come standard. Its high performance capability and ergonomics makes for a practical self-defense option for skilled shooters if necessary.
Beretta 21 A Bobcat
The Bobcat is a highly concealable, DA/SA pocket gun with a tip-up barrel that comes with the renowned design quality of Beretta firearms. The Beretta 21 A Bobcat can be characterized by its simple, safe, and practical use.
Engineered for durability and accuracy, this .22LR pistol weighs just under 12 oz. unloaded and has a stainless steel frame, slide, and barrel (2.4” in length). It has a textured grip that can accommodate most hand sizes and a contoured profile that makes it easy to conceal and safe to draw. A serrated rear slide provides simple racking even for big fingers. It’s really an ideal mouse gun for someone who needs a quick and reliable personal protection option without fancy add-ons.
Ruger LCP II Lite
The Ruger LCP II Lite Rack is a great training and backup pistol. It is based on the Ruger LCP .380 variant but chambered in .22LR so it holds 10+1 rounds instead of 7. It’s also slightly bigger and heavier at 11.2 ounces.
There’s no doubt that Ruger makes accurate and reliable pistols. The LCP II Lite provides that guarantee in a subcompact, low-recoil pistol that’s easy to manipulate and shoot. In fact, it’s named after its “Lite Rack system” which includes refined slide serrations and a lighter recoil spring. The trigger is fairly smooth, short, and crisp with about a half-inch of slack and positive reset. The LCP II Lite also has a textured grip and larger rugged frame build, making it feel comfortable and secure in your hands when you practice shooting with high velocity rounds (which is what the pistol is optimized for).
It has plenty of safety features such as a mag disconnect, protected internal hammer, hammer catch for added protection, bladed safety trigger, and manual thumb safety.
Bersa Thunder 22
The Bersa Thunder 22 is a subcompact, blowback operated pistol that has a classic James Bond-style look and feel (it’s quite similar to the Walther PP/PPK but cheaper). It’s a DA/SA semi-automatic 22LR pistol that can be used for training, plinking, or concealed carry.
At just under 19 ounces, the Thunder 22 (thanks to its aluminum alloy frame and aggressively textured grip) feels just right in the hand. Durable and not too heavy, it provides the right amount of heft to handle .22 rounds with minimal recoil. It features a front blade sight with an integral slide, dovetail rear sight, extended slide release, and extended finger rest for bigger hands. It comes with 8+1 capacity. Overall, an exquisite and economical sidepiece that feels great to hold and is easy for concealed carry application (due to a user-friendly design).
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Compact
The Smith & Wesson M&P line of semi automatic service pistols are definitely known for being accurate, reliable, and durable – the three characteristics any shooter wants for their gun, especially one they intended on training with using countless rounds.
The single-action Smith & Wesson M&P22 Compact comes standard with 10+1 capacity and is well-suited for training and target practice. It’s actually a concealed carry version of the full-sized M&P model, and comes with the same design features too, including a Picatinny-style rail, reversible mag catch, threaded barrel, ambidextrous manual safety, magazine safety, and captured recoil guide rod/spring. The Smith & Wesson M&P22 has a polymer frame, carbon steel barrel, and aluminum alloy slide. Very durable and comfortable.
The M9A1-22LR is the rimfire variant of the M9 tactical pistol adopted by the U.S. Army in 1985 (based on the A1 upgrades), also known as the Beretta 92FS. It features all of the same controls, operation, and takedown of its 9mm or .45 ACP counterparts and comes with 10 or 15-round mag capacity, removable sights, interchangeable grips, and 1913 Picatinny rail.
The DA/SA M9 has always been one of the best tactical pistols for military/service use in the world. It’s the complete package of style, functionality, precision, and durability. It has an open-slide, delayed locking-block system (short recoil operation) providing fast, flawless cycling of thousands of rounds without error. The M9A1 is supremely accurate (surpassing U.S. military shot placement standards), even with the larger bore models, so you can imagine how effortless it must feel to practice on the range with .22 Long Rifle rounds.
Taurus PT-22 Subcompact
The Taurus PT-22 POLY is the literal definition of a pocket gun. It’s a small bore, tip-up barrel, semi automatic pistol that you can just drop in your pocket without a holster. Some people need the type of discretion offered by the PT-22 while still being easy to shoot.
This DAO, blowback operated mouse gun has a simple and sleek design with a lightweight polymer frame (11 ounces). It’s 2.3” tip-up barrel means anyone can easily load the first round without having to rack the tiny slide. In a way, this makes the Taurus PT-22 an ideal option for new shooters, people with physical disabilities, or older women who want to carry a lightweight gun in a concealed carry purse.
Walther PPK/s 22
A replica of James Bond’s PPK/s .380 chambered in .22LR, the Walther PPK/s 22 is a perfect 22LR pistol for casual shooting or concealed carry that comes with Walther’s tried and tested accuracy, reliability, and timeless design (plus you get a lifetime warranty).
It’s equipped with a DA/SA trigger, safety/decocker, and vintage black checkered grip that will fit snugly in your hand. The original PPK was designed over 80 years ago and its stylish elegance is reflected in this .22 variant. Although not suitable for military or law enforcement use in this caliber, it still has the same design features of its big-bore counterparts and is a durable, high-performing rimfire firearm for range shooting or self-defense. It even comes with a threaded barrel for suppressors in case you’re actually a secret agent.
Just because 22LR pistols and revolvers fire some of the cheapest and most widely available ammo on the market today doesn’t mean these handguns should be taken lightly. Responsible gun owners always practice gun safety and know that a firearm is never safe while there’s a round in the chamber.
Having said that, 22LR pistols have earned their place as excellent target and training guns due to their low recoil and relatively short effective range. If you want to spend the day at the range to work on your aiming and control, or simply to have fun, then there’s no point wasting a lot of money on more expensive ammo (or even handguns) unless there’s a practical reason to do so or specific ammo is all your firearm can use.