ISSC M22 Pistol Review
If one thing is constant in shooting these days, it’s that ammo isn’t getting any cheaper. In just the last few years we seen prices for almost all calibers rise substantially, so a lot of us have turned to using the .22 lr for a cheap alternative for allowing us to practice the fundamentals of shooting at a cheaper price. A lot of gun manufacturers have taken notice to this trend and have started to produce a lot of popular firearms in .22lr. Sig has made the mosquito which mimics their popular handguns and they’ve also made the 522 which pretty much is a .22 lr replica of their popular 556 rifle. Kimber makes a .22 lr kit that will fit most 1911s, Smith and Wesson makes a .22lr AR-15, and the list goes on and on.
Well one company has taken notice that one of the most popular handguns in the world, Glock, does not have a .22 lr version (although other companies supply conversion kits), so people over at ISSC made the M22. Interestingly enough, the same person who created the barrels for the ISSC M22 was also responsible for the barrels on the popular Whalter P22. So, I was excited to get my hands on the ISSC M22 since I do own a few Glocks, and I would be able to train on a platform with almost identical ergonomics for a much cheaper price. While at first glance people would be right to say this is a Glock trainer, but there are some key differences ( other than simple mechanics) with the ISSC M22 and a Glock that make them a world apart, and ultimately led to some very disappointing findings.
The ISSC M22 at first glance does mimic a Glock (as it was intended to be a Glock trainer). The frame is almost exactly identical to a Gen 3 Glock, with the magazine release, take down levers, and slide release all pretty much in the exact location as it would be on a Glock 19. If I gripped the pistol with my eyes closed, I would swear that I was holding a Glock until I actually start to feel the slide.
The ISSC M22 differs from a Glock mechanically with its action—all Glocks are striker fire pistols while the ISSC M22 is a single-action pistol. The M22 also have quite a few more safety features than a Glock. While it has the same trigger safety as a Glock, it also features a safety/decocker at the rear of the slide, and a trigger lock safety—which is actuated by the supplied key.
ISSC shipped us a version of the M22 that featured a longer, compensated barrel (most models I’ve seen before this have the shorter barrel). It also sports adjustable rear sights, and also comes with a screwdriver to adjust those rear sights. The front sight is adjustable by replacing it with taller or shorter front sight posts which are also supplied—and luckily so, from my experience with my second range visit.
Overall the ISSC M22 seems to be a constructed with great quality (except for a front sight problem that I’ll get into later). The polymer appears to be as strong as a Glock and the overall feel of the gun is rugged and doesn’t resemble its affordable price tag at all. This version of the ISSC M22’s MSRP is $399; however, I’ve seen the price anywhere between the high 200s to mid 300s.
Just like all .22lr pistols, the ISSC demands quality ammo. We used a wide spectrum of different .22lr ammo with the ISSC M22 and seem to have consistent problems with most of the ammo we used. Also, another attribute that the ISSC M22 shares with other .22lr pistols is that they get dirty fast, and when they get dirty, they don’t like to work. It’s imperative that you maintain your ISSC M22 after every range visit—something I do religiously with all my firearms—but with the M22 it’s especially important. After about 300 rounds at the range, which is very easy/fast to do with a .22lr, we would experience a dramatic degradation in performance.
As noted before, the ISSC M22 is very particular with its taste in ammunition. Rather than go through a list of ammunition it doesn’t like, it would be easier for me to tell you the few brands it would actually spit out reliably. Those brands are the CCI Mini Mags (which most .22lr pistols seem to love) and Blazer (if those brands aren’t available I would suggest someone use high velocity coated rounds). I had some luck with the Federal bulk packs, and Federal Match bulk packs, but when the gun started to get dirty, the ammo became less reliable; whereas with the Blazer and the CCI Mini Mags, it would function most of the time but would still malfunction sometimes, but less than the Federal. Some ammo would just flat out refuse to work, leading to stubborn and frustrating malfunctions such as failure to feeds and a bunch of failure to ejects. Some failure to eject malfunctions necessitated the need to pry the shell out with the screwdriver that was supplied with the gun. And as the time at the range continued on, and the pistol got dirtier, I started to experience some failures to battery as well.
Well while first visit to the range gave me a general idea of what type of ammo the M22 likes, the second trip to the range gave me a real surprise. While firing my first magazine, the front sight post decided to pop off and could not be retrieved. This, to say the least, was a real nuisance. Luckily, the ISSC M22 came with those extra front sight posts for fine tuning your sight picture, but in this case, they were used as a replacement front sight.
The trigger is actually much better than a Glock’s; it has a very smooth pull and clean break, which logically, also assisted in its accuracy performance. I would say its pull is roughly 4.5-5.5 lb, and doesn’t have that “tank” feeling that a lot of Glock factory triggers seem to have. The trigger reset seemed to be a bit longer than a Glocks but it wasn’t really too much of a factor when rapid shooting.
The attribute with the M22 that impressed me the most was its reliable accuracy. The sight picture is almost identical of that with a Glock; except for the front sight post is a tad bit wider. That allowed me to obtain a very familiar sight picture and I believe that facilitated the accuracy I was achieving at the range. I typically shot 1-2” inch groups at 10 yards consistently, and I had no problem keeping my groups under 5”-6” at 15 yards—these results are what I typically get with most of my firearms, so I would have to say the ISSC M22’s accuracy is on par with any handgun I’ve owned or shot.
Well, my Glocks will spit out anything I put in it, and the ISSC M22, won’t; but I feel that’s to be somewhat expected with a .22lr handgun. Most .22lr handguns I’ve fired are finicky about the type of ammo they’ll function with, and the M22 is no different. I would say, that it’s extremely important to maintain your M22 vigorously, another attribute that differs from a Glock, because if you don’t, it’ll disappoint you greatly.
In all fairness, ISSC sent us this M22 to review, so I don’t know if it’s a brand new gun, or if it’s been around the block a few times. If it has been to other media outlets before it got to us, it might explain some of the problems I experienced with if it had 20,000 rounds put through it. Also, I’ve seen the M22 regular version come with different recoil springs for different loads of .22lr ammo, which would also explain the ammo problems I experienced since using a different type of spring could eliminate some of those malfunctions. However, with that being said, this .22lr firearm seemed to be the most particular one I’ve shot with so far in regards to which ammo it likes.
The one aspect I like about a .22lr handgun the most is being able to train on the fundamentals of shooting without having to worry about the cost of ammo. The .22lr is also, in my personal opinion, one of the most fun cartridges to shoot since it is so cheap, and you can just unload magazines all day—something that I’m quite reluctant to do with my Glock 21C since in my frugal head after ever shot I hear, 40 cents, 80 cents, $1.20, $1.40, $1.60… and so on. So, in that respect, the M22 was sort of a disappointment (granted if I had a known new gun with different springs, my experience could have been very different). It was just hard to enjoy the true pleasures of .22lr handgun when I couldn’t go two or three straight magazines without a failure of some sort, and I was limited to about 250 rounds of somewhat reliability before I had to pack it up and go home. But if those issues were rectified, the M22 would be a solid Glock trainer that would have been a blast at the range.