.22 WMR Pistols


.22 WMR Pistols for sale

Shop our DEGuns inventory of .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire for the best 22 WMR pistols available. Browse the top .22 WMR handgun manufacturers like Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Heritage Arms, and Colt.




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.22 WMR Pistols: A Buyers Guide to 22WMR vs 22LR

The .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR), often called .22 Magnum or simply .22 Mag, is a rimfire cartridge that has become a staple among firearm enthusiasts and hunters. The cartridge, which originated as a rifle round, eventually found its way into the world of handguns. DEGuns delves into the history of the .22 WMR and examines the benefits of .22 WMR handguns over their .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR) counterparts.

History of the .22 WMR

The .22 WMR was introduced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1959. The company aimed to provide a rimfire cartridge with enhanced ballistics and improved terminal performance over the .22 Long Rifle, which had been a favorite among shooters since its introduction in the late 19th century.

The .22 Magnum is essentially a lengthened version of the older .22 LR, but with a larger case to handle higher pressures. The cartridge was initially loaded with a 40-grain bullet, delivering velocities around 2,000 feet per second (fps) from a rifle barrel, a significant improvement over the standard .22 LR.

The introduction of the .22 Magnum was timely. In the years following World War II, there was a significant surge in interest in sport shooting and hunting. Many firearm enthusiasts, especially varmint hunters, were looking for a cartridge that could provide longer effective range and more energy than the .22 LR. The .22 Magnum fit the bill.

It didn't take long before the .22 WMR transitioned from rifles to handguns. Several firearms manufacturers saw potential in the cartridge as a suitable round for revolvers and, later on, semi-automatic pistols.

The ability of a .22 Magnum pistol to provide increased energy and better ballistics made it a popular choice for those who wanted a handgun for small game hunting, pest control, and even self-defense.

Benefits of .22 WMR Handguns over .22 LR Handguns

Increased Velocity and Energy

The most apparent advantage of the .22 WMR over the .22 LR is the increased velocity and energy. With its larger case and higher pressures, the .22 Magnum can propel bullets at significantly higher velocities, leading to better terminal ballistics. This makes the .22 WMR more effective for hunting small game and provides better stopping power in self-defense situations.

Longer Effective Range

Due to its superior ballistics, the .22 Magnum offers a longer effective range compared to the .22 LR. This makes it more versatile for hunting in open spaces, where the target might be further away.

Better Performance in Short Barrels

While both .22 LR and .22 WMR lose velocity when fired from short-barreled handguns, the .22 Magnum retains more of its performance characteristics. This is especially important for those who use compact or snub-nosed revolvers.

Variety of Ammunition

Over the years, ammunition manufacturers have developed a wide range of loads for the .22 WMR, including hollow points, full metal jackets, and even shotshells. This versatility allows users to select the perfect ammunition for their specific needs, whether it's hunting, target shooting, or self-defense.

Less Noise and Recoil

While the .22 WMR is more potent than the .22 LR, it still offers reduced noise and recoil compared to centerfire cartridges. This makes it an excellent choice for new shooters, those who are recoil-sensitive, or situations where noise can be a concern.


The .22 Magnum's performance characteristics make it suitable for various tasks, from hunting to self-defense to recreational shooting. For individuals looking for a single handgun to serve multiple purposes, a .22 WMR can be an excellent choice.

While the .22 Long Rifle will always have its place in the world of firearms due to its affordability, availability, and history, a .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire handgun offers undeniable advantages for specific applications. Its enhanced ballistics, versatility in ammunition choices, and suitability for a variety of tasks make it a worthy addition to any firearm enthusiast's collection.

For those in the market for a rimfire handgun that offers a bit more punch than the traditional .22 LR, the .22 WMR is worth considering. Its blend of performance and versatility, combined with the rich history of the cartridge, makes it a standout in the realm of rimfire ammunition.