Gun Review: Walther P22 QD

The first generation Walther P22 was my first pistol. I bought it on price and the Walther name. I shot thousands of rounds through the gun — when it worked. To say my P22 was unreliable would be like saying TTAG tells the truth about guns . . .

That P22 was picky about ammo. CCI mini mags were the most reliable, but still not flawless. I had to keep the pistol spotless; the slightest bit of carbon on the firing pin would cause light primer strikes. A tiny bit of carbon on the slide rails would cause ejection and feeding issues.

Even so, I loved my Gen1 Walther P22. It was comfortable and accurate. More importantly, it was my first.

When Walther announced the new P22 QD, I had to have one — even though the list of improvements to its predecessor’s 15-year-old design was short. Specifically, Walther . . .

Made the grip stippling more aggressive than the previous P22s.

Added a decocker safety.

Replaced the fly-across-the-room spring with a capture recoil spring. 

One thing that hasn’t changed: its low price. My local gun store had a P22 QD on sale for $229.88, some $70 off MSRP.

Smith, Springfield and GLOCK have all moved towards more hand-friendly designs. Meanwhile, Walther’s been carving a niche in the market with their ergonomic excellence. The budget-friendly P22 QD is no exception; it’s a remarkably comfortable gun to have and to hold.

Even in my large hands the pistol is comfortable. While the gun comes complete with a larger back strap, I didn’t feel the need to install it.

Like the original, the frame is polymer and includes a three-slot Picatinny rail.

The slide’s machining is top notch, featuring front snout serrations for your cocking and press check needs. The P22 QD’s even, non-slip finish is even more appreciated.

The Walther P22 QD’s ambidextrous thumb safety blocks the firing pin and decocks the pistol.

The hammer won’t stay cocked with the safety engaged even if you attempt to cock it manually or by racking the slide. Yes, the slide can still be manipulated with the safety on (for safe loading and unloading).

We haven’t dinged RF’s garage floor to test it, but an additional internal safety should prevent the pistol from firing if dropped.

The P22 QD wouldn’t be a Walther without a great trigger (another selling point vs. GLOCKs and GLOCK-a-likes).

The P22 QD’s unusually wide trigger has a typical Walther pull: short and smooth with a clean break. It takes 11 pounds of pressure to actuate the trigger in double action, four pounds in single action. The reset is short and well-defined.

The P22 QD’s trigger is head and shoulders above its price point peers.

Walther includes three polymer front sight posts of varying heights. As with my original P22, the sights literally snap into the slide.

If your point of impact is high, snap out the front sight and replace it with the taller front sight. If your shots are low, swap for the shorter sight.

As you’d expect, I had concerns about the sights popping off or coming loose. This never happened after thousands of rounds in my original P22, nor after I fed the P22 QD some 500+ rounds.

The traditional 2-dot sight setup at the rear is windage adjustable.

The pistol comes with two, 10-round magazines featuring a finger rest. Additional magazines run $33 each when purchased from Walther’s website (about $28 on Brownells).

The P22 QD’s magazines drop free via a trigger guard-mounted paddle release. There are naysayers but I really like the design. It’s ambidextrous and you can ditch mags without shifting your grip.

While the original P22 required high velocity ammo to run semi-reliably, the new model cycles subsonic ammo without complaint. A discovery that backs-up Walther’s claim that the new P22 is suppressor-ready. Speaking of which . . .

Walther P22 QD suppressor adapter

You need to buy a $20 adapter (like the factory one above or various ones on Brownells) to attach a suppressor to the P22 QD barrel’s M8x75 threads.

To access the barrel’s threaded portion, you have to remove the slide (the threads don’t extend past the slide). Using the wrench provided with the gun, you can then remove the thread protector.

You then reinstall the slide and screw on the factory adapter — which extends past the slide. Attach your can and go about your business quietly.

Disassembly is easy: eject the magazine and clear the pistol. Pull the takedown latch down.

Move the slide to the rear and lift up. Slowly move the slide forward and take the recoil spring out. Reverse this process to reassemble the pistol.

To remove the barrel, unscrew the thread protector and pull the tube off the barrel. Now you can slide the barrel to the rear and off the frame.


Accuracy? Let’s just say at this price point the Walther is accurate enough for plinking and training. I was happy enough with this five-round group of American Eagle at seven yards.

Federal Premium Hunter Match was also acceptable. All of the ammo I tried produced close to the same level of accuracy.

As for reliability, the new P22 QD is significantly more reliable than my first-gen version. That said . . .

Jeremy and I did run into some issues during the first 200 rounds, using CCI Mini-Mags. We experienced a few failures to feed. I wasn’t that concerned; some pistols need a bit of breaking in to run reliably, especially .22s.

But we also experienced an issue I hadn’t encountered before.

After pulling the trigger, the round fired and the slide would move all the way rearward. At which point it would come forward a few millimeters, then stop. Then, when the trigger was released, the slide would cycle forward, pick up another round, ready to fire.

This only happened five times during the first 200 rounds.

This was such an unusual malfunction we tested my gun against a TTAG T&E P22 QD. We couldn’t reproduce the malfunction. And after 500 rounds through both pistols, the failure-to-immediately-return-to-battery issue disappeared. I did, however, continue to experience occasional failure-to-feed issues with my P22 QD.

Again, the more I shot the pistol the more reliable it became. During my third range trip I saw two failures-to-feed out of about 100 rounds. It may improve further with additional rounds.

The new Walther P22 QD is an excellent handgun for shooters who want to master their trigger press. It’s a highly ergonomic suppressor host and a budget-friendly first gun. But I wouldn’t rely on the P22 QD for self-defense — until and unless Walther improves the gun and/or you can find ammunition it’ll run with complete reliability.

Specifications: Walther P22 QD

Caliber: .22 LR
Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel Length: 3.42 inches
Overall Length: 6.3 inches
Height: 4.5 inches
Width: 1.1 inches
Weight With Empty Magazine: 17 ounces
MSRP: $299

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style * * * *
It looks like every Walther except 2/3 the size.

Ergonomics * * * * *
Small pistols are rarely comfortable in my large hands, but the new P22 feels great.

Customization * * *
Several slide/frame combinations are available. Black, FDE and Tiffany Blue frames are available. Slides are either anodized black or nickel. Walther makes lasers specifically for the P22. Holsters and magazines are readily available.

Accuracy * * *
It’s accurate enough for a satisfying day’s plinking — and that’s it.

Reliability * *
The gun has issues.

Overall * * *
The new P22 QD has its sibs’ most excellent trigger and ergonomics. It’s an excellent plinker, but not reliable enough for self-defense.

comments

  1. avatar GS650G says:

    I was considering this versus the PPQ .22 and I think I made my choice. I’d rather pay a little more for a reliable gun.

    1. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      Just curious, what other .22 pistol are you considering?

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        I already have several. I wanted another walther in .22 and was considering the PPQ first but it’s rather pricey. It’s also a great gun! I have a PPQ in .45 and 9mm so it’s rather logical to get one in .22 as well.
        A big thing for me is the grip and how well it fits. The PPQ doesn’t come with large backstrap for some reason unlike it’ bigger brothers. The P22 is a large enough gun and has a large backstrap option.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          I reviewed the PPQ 22 (and purchased it) and loved it: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/08/jeremy-s/gun-review-walther-ppq-m2-22-lr/

    2. avatar TheUnspoken says:

      Does anyone know if the slide is aluminum on the new p22?

      I was also thinking of the PPQ 22 (with the threaded tactical barrel so no adapter needed) as it seems to be a higher quality gun compared to the original pot metal p22. Then this one came out but I think I still like the ppq being duty sized instead of compact. Otherwise I would probably go with the m&p compact 22 (not full-size m&p as it is also a cheaper quality gun).

    3. avatar The Rookie says:

      I have a PPQ .22, and it’s been a superb firearm. Eats every kind of ammo I feed it, very accurate, great trigger. You won’t be disappointed with one.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        I’m looking for someone near me with one so I can try it. I’d like to compare it’s feel to my .45 and 9mm PPQ guns. It’s hard to make decisions in gun stores.

      2. avatar Squiggy81 says:

        I also have the PPQ 22 and love it. Almost identical to my 45 version. Never had issues with any cheap ammo. I also like the fact that it holds 12 vs standard 10. A little spendy for a 22, but worth it due to the fact that it actually works. Will be even more fun when my can gets out of jail.

  2. avatar JDH says:

    I have a High Standard Supermatic Trophy that’s never jammed. I think I’ll keep it.

  3. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

    Can you get the new recoil sping and put it on an older model?

  4. avatar Geoff PR says:

    What’s that indent in the inside front of the trigger guard? A forward finger rest?

    If that’s what it is, to me, that’s not a wise move, it’s training you to keep your finger *inside* the trigger guard when you don’t intend to fire the weapon.

    Captured springs are a good thing, at the downside of the expense of keeping specific spares around…

    1. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      I do not known what the indent is for. I wouldn’t use it as a finger rest. I doubt that’s what it’s designed for, but I don’t know.

      1. avatar Laserbeam says:

        My guess it’s to facilitate access by a gloved finger.

  5. avatar Madcapp says:

    The Ruger SR22 is the better variant of that design. It always has been. The normal mag release is better on the Ruger, and safety is not mounted on the slide. Plus you have different grip sizes. Its no contest.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      You had me at “Ruger”.
      Suppressor-ready variants also available and Ruger makes their own line of cans to boot.
      What’s not to like?
      🤠

      1. avatar KCK says:

        Me too I have the SR22.
        I also have a PK380 that is similar in form and especially the grip.
        The Ruger and Walther have essentially the same grip and would love it for every pistol I own.

  6. avatar JeffR says:

    I am a huge Walther fan but after trying quite a few .22 pistols, none seem to compare the CZ Kadet conversion kit that I acquired several years back. Reliable as the day is long, and it works on a variety of CZ pistols. Love it and will never let it go.

    1. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      I got to shoot Jeremy’s Cz Kadet. I loved it and will eventually pick one up. Gotta love CZ

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      It definitely makes for one of the highest quality, most reliable .22 pistols available and has advantages like using the same frame (and therefore grips, trigger, weight, etc) as your “primary” centerfire gun, but it’s expensive.

      Reviewed here: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/03/jeremy-s/gear-review-cz-75-kadet-adapter/

  7. avatar Michael says:

    I will stick to my buckmarks and rugers…good review!

  8. avatar TommyJay says:

    Thanks for the review and TTAG’s support for us .22LR fanboys.

    If I remember correctly the P22 was designed as an 85% scale down of the P99. A 2/3 size would be quite small.

    I completely agree with the excellent comfort and ergonomics of the P22. It took a bit of practicing, but the paddle release is far superior to the button release, IMHO.

    My Walther is a two year old P22 CA. If you read the manual or notices in the box, Walther is clear that you should only use .22LR HV ammo, and give three recommended types: CCI MiniMag, Rem Golden, and Fiocchi HV. My polished & well broken in P22 is very reliable with the first two; haven’t tried the Fiocchi yet. It absolutely will not reliably cycle with Aguila HV. But other reviews I’ve read had excellent cycling with a variety of ammo in the new P22 QD.

    The Q/A of mine was not great out of the box. The hammer was a bit crooked and gouged the breech block a bit on one side. The barrel was a bit crooked and can’t be removed or adjusted on the CA version. I could zero the sight with the windage adjust, with the rear sight hanging way over to one side of the slide. I send it back to Walther and they fixed the barrel.

    Carefully using 400 & 600 grit wet-or-dry, I took down the high spot on the hammer and polished the face of the hammer where it contacts the breech block. Also, the feed ramp had machining marks that could hamper proper feeding and I polished that smooth.

    When new, the first one or two rounds did not strip out of a full mag reliably. That’s a long story, but I think the main problem is that the feed lips have a bit too much friction (or the new spring was extra stiff) and need breaking in or polishing. Also, check the mag followers for mold flashing, polish and lube.

    A couple thousand rounds later, I’d say mine is better than 99% reliable, and I can shoot 80 to 90% scores on a timed fire target (B-8) at 25 yds. For its size I think it is very accurate, though it can’t hold a candle to a BuckMark.

    PS: When sorting out some mods on a Ruger 10/22, the pro at Brownells told me that CCI MiniMags have some the hardest brass on the market, and are most likely to have failure to ignite probs. if the pin is delivering lighter strikes.

    1. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      Thanks for the input and advice. The new P22QD is specifically designed to feed subsonic ammo.

      1. avatar Patrick (No...the other one) says:

        I have an older P22 with the launch-o-matic recoil spring (patent pending). It is a story of extremes with the thing. It will eat absolutely nothing reliably, not even one magazine full, EXCEPT Remington 40gr Golden Bullets. I have yet to have it choke on those. Not even once. Weird. Fortunately, Golden Bullets are easy to come by, and my youngest son loves the thing. So it gets to stay.

        1. avatar James says:

          I had the same problem and had tried everything. I tried MiniMags and Stingers, nothing but stove pipes. I had a box of the 40gr Remington Golden bullets I shoot in a rifle so I tried those, runs perfect, no issues. I’m glad because I love the pistol.

  9. avatar MIO says:

    Ruger SR22 is much better and not finicky at all

  10. avatar Nigel the Expat says:

    I picked up an original P22 years ago (pre-obama) for use with little hands. I had a MKIII, but didn’t want the boys to learn on that odd grip angle, then get flubbed when transitioning to a full-size pistol.

    Worked fine for what I wanted it to do. A bit finicky at first, not terribly accurate, but not terrible. Hate the mag release. Works peachy with a TacSol .22 suppressor. Hasn’t been out of the safe in many years now. Probably give it to one of the boys when they have small children to teach (someone a million moms cry out in terror…).

  11. avatar David says:

    Keep in mind that Walther firearms are built at two very different plants.

    A number of years ago, the original Walther Firearms was acquired by Umarex. Umarex is, I believe, noted primarily for making airguns.

    The higher end Walthers (P99, PPS, PPQ, PPK, etc) are made at the original Ulm plant and have excellent reputations for quality and reliability. I have a PPQ, P99c, and PPS that are all flawless.

    The economy end and 22 caliber Walthers are actually manufactured at Umarex’s plant in Arnsberg. These include the PK380, Creed, CCP, and all 22 caliber pistols. Firearms made in this plant seem to have a more “iffy” reputation. Certainly still good guns; but not to the level of the Ulm manufactured weapons.

    Great review though. Enjoy your new toy!!!

  12. avatar Parnell says:

    Went from an SR 22 to a PPQ 22. Like the full-size gun much better than the tinker-toy SR. Also, it’s more reliable.

  13. avatar Tori S says:

    You couldn’t pay me enough to buy another P22, regardless of the number of changes. Worst gun I’ve ever owned, by far.

  14. avatar Mark N. says:

    I still haven’t gotten over the fact that my Sig Mosquito was not produced by Sig but GSG. I’d like one of the new Rugers instead; I want a .22 that is actually accurate.

  15. avatar Rincoln says:

    I have a Walter P22 (Gen1, I guess?) that I bought at a gun show back in ’05 or ’06. It was my first handgun that I bought on my own dime. I went with the 5″ target model, and it’s every bit as accurate as most any .22 I’ve ever fired, but certainly doesn’t have the best trigger. The rails are worn out now, and the slide has a little too much play, but I’ve never had a problem cycling any type of ammo.

    One thing I wanted to mention is that the thread adapter (or factory thread protector) is a tension device for the barrel. The sleeved barrel system allows for “tuning” the barrel with tension. Maybe experiment a bit and see if you can “tighten” those groups 😉

  16. avatar Wally1 says:

    I had one of these Walther P22’s, worst firearm I have ever owned. I can’t believe they are actually allowed to sell these. Not sure about the new ones but the older ones had a zinc slide that would fracture at the ejection port, a common problem. Yes, a slide made out of ZINC! The only reason to have one of these is to practice malfunction drills. Total junk!.

  17. avatar TommyJay says:

    There are a few different zinc alloys that are perfectly good high-quality engineering alloys, if used within proper design limits. I believe that the P22 slide is cast from one of these zinc alloys and not “pot metal.” Many .22LR enthusiasts like to put quantities of Stinger, Velocitor, Interceptor, or other hot beyond-HV rounds through their P22. Walther explicitly recommends HV ammo only (on the old versions).

    To Chris Heuss: I found two sources (AmRifleman & Wikipedia) that say the P22 is a 75% scale down. Can’t remember the original article that I read. Since barrels come in different lengths, I looked at the height of the P99 and P22, and the P22 is exactly 85% in height.

  18. avatar JS says:

    After owning the first gen P22 CA I would definitely like the Ruger SR22 for a .22LR handgun. Mind you, the kids are completely comfortable with the idea of clearing a jammed handgun during a high stress shooting setup. I can thank that P22 for an absolutely miserable shooting experience. Thank you Walther.

    The bummer is the Ruger is not sold in CA but I have my ways….

  19. avatar TommyJay says:

    Riddle me this batman…

    My P22 CA has a manual safety that is a simple hammer block and can be engaged in all firearm conditions. I like this. Though unfortunately, the lever rotates in the direction opposite to that in a 1911.

    If I understand correctly, the new P22 QD has a manual safety that automatically decocks when engaged. So the only time the safety is on, is when the gun is already in DA mode?

    When I got my CZ 75B, I was surprised to see that the safety can only be engaged when the hammer is cocked. CZ claims this is a feature, ’cause who wants to engage a manual safety when the gun is already in DA mode?

    The P99 AS is a rare SA/DA striker fired gun with a decocker button; no safety. Logical, ’cause you still have the DA protection.

    Can we conclude there is no consensus whatsoever in the firearm industry? I think both the P22 QD and CZ 75B safeties are dumb, with the QD being the dumbest. Can I just safe my gun in whatever condition I want to?

  20. avatar SDH says:

    I bought my P22 in 2002. I had reliability issues until I sorted out the ammo. Remington Thunderbolt simply did not work. CCI, Federal Spitfire and Aguila all work well, though I occasionally have a failure to feed that seems to have no particular source. I bought the longer barrel for it, too. It’s a pain to install and the fake compensator is pointless. I shoot it with the same accuracy regardless of barrel. I can bounce golf balls at 10 – 15 meters, no problem. I was also whacking wasps that visited a puddle of spilled soda, at 5 to 6 meters, hand-held. That’s about all I require of it.

    1. avatar Patrick (No...the other one) says:

      I’ve had very good luck with the 40 grain Remington golden bullet. Not the 36 grain, the 40. Mine chokes on everything as well, but it’s been completely reliable with the 40gr, GB.

  21. avatar Brandi says:

    I’ve had my Gen 1 P22 (a cute little pink camo version) for around 5 years, maybe a few more than that and it’s been a great little pistol. It’s run every kind of cheap .22LR ammo available (it’s the only kind I ever buy lol) without a problem. The first trip out it ran great but the accuracy wasn’t impressive and I was second guessing my choice. The second trip out the accuracy was very good using the same cheap ammo so I guess it just needed a little break in time. It’s never been finicky about the ammo I feed it which I love about the little gun.

    I do remember the first time that I began having several failures to feed and the slide not closing completely. I thought to myself “Uh oh” and stopped to take a good look at it before trying to shoot anymore. I looked inside and realized it was insanely dirty. I also realized that I had owned the gun for over a year and I had never cleaned it lol. When I got home from the range I gave it a good cleaning and an application of Frog Lube. The next trip to the range it ran perfectly once again.

    To this day it still runs like a top until it gets too dirty to physically cycle and after a good cleaning it’s as good as new. It’s too bad that some other folks have had problems with theirs but I can promise you that it’s not all of them because mine runs great!

  22. avatar Charles Bates says:

    Best pistol I have ever owned. For the price you can’t get a better weapon. My family used to deal weapons and I have shot a lot of different weapons. Even the best quality guns I have fired have had some issues. I bought mine in 2015 and still own it. I have thrown it and dropped and it has never broke. I have ran 2000 rounds thru it and never had any issues at all. Every bullet has fed and fired great. I have always ran Remington golden bullets only. The gun went thru 500 rounds once without cleaning and no issues. Also its great for concealed carry. I forget it is on me so much I have walked into banks with it in my waistband. Very comfortable and safe.Some of the older models did have issues I have heard but if this happens Walther will fix the issue no charge if you can prove you recently bought the gun new.

  23. avatar Scotez says:

    I hav a bunch of 22’s and decided to go ahead and get the P22 QD in spite of some bad reviews. So far I have been pleasantly surprised. Personally I like the decocker and my wife loves it. It did take a bit of getting used to since I’m basically a 911 guy. I had a couple of stovepipes but it turned out to be a problem with one of the magazines. I do keep it very clean. For the money it’s been a nice little gun. My wife now considers it hers.

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