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Best .22 LR Training Guns [Rifles, Handguns & Conversion Kits]

Ammo too pricey to train with? Why not switch to .22 LR? We got the deets on the best .22 LR rifles, pistols, and conversion kits to improve your skills.

Man, it’s been almost two years now, and ammo prices still suck. A lot of us have chewed through our stash and are faced with paying higher prices or seeking training alternatives. 

If only we had all this…

I mean, no one expects us to just stop shooting, right? Well, maybe we can turn to the old classic, .22 LR. While the price of .22 LR has risen, it hasn’t reached the crazy levels of 9mm and 5.56.

With that in mind, I’ve started searching out some of the better options for .22 LR trainers. These guns can replicate the feel and handling of a larger caliber firearm and offer you some training value without emptying your wallet. 

Popular .22LR Ammo

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best Optics Ready .22 LR

    FN 502 Tactical

    Optics ready, threaded barrel

  2. Best .22LR Revolver

    Smith & Wesson Model 317 Kit Gun

    Compact revolver, 8-round capacity

  3. Best .22 LR Bolt-Action Rifle

    Tikka T1X

    Bolt action, perfect for NRL22 competitions too

  4. Best AR-Style

    Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport

    Most AR-like, best for newbies

  5. Best Bang for Your Buck

    Taurus TX22

    Affordable, generic controls

  6. Best Lever Action

    Henry Classic Lever Action Rifle

    Lever gun style, fun at the range

  7. Best Pistol Conversion Kit

    CZ USA Kadet 22LR Conversion Kit

    Drop in kit for CZ pistols

  8. Best .22 LR Rifle Conversion Kit

    CMMG .22 LR AR Bravo Conversion Kit 

    Drop in kit for rifles

Best .22 LR Training Handguns

1. FN 502

The FN 502 hit the ground running and is part of FN’s 500 series pistols. It shrinks things down to rimfire size and goes from a striker-fired gun to a hammer-fired gun. 

FN 502 Tactical - Various Ammo
FN 502 Tactical – Various Ammo

The hammer-fired action is single action only, so it’s roughly similar to a striker-fired trigger. And it fits most of the FN 509 holsters and matches the look and feel of the FN 509. However, it replicates the feel of most striker-fired modern pistols. 

There isn’t much difference between models, and I believe the FN 502 could stand in for the Glock, S&W, Walther, etc. 

FN 502 - Shooting
FN 502 in action

One of the more interesting features is the weapon’s optics compatibility. Toss on whatever optic you want, and now you can effectively replicate a modern MRDS-equipped handgun. 

The sights are suppressor height sights, and the barrel is also threaded.

Best Optics Ready .22 LR
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

All in all, it’s one of the best rimfire handguns on the market. It comes with a flush 10-round magazine and an extended 15-round magazine. 

This is perfect for training for defensive handgun use. It also works well when it comes to some competition training. 

Set up a cardboard Steel Challenge course, and you can work your way through it with ease. The FN 502 allows you to work on your red dot presentation, your draw, and trigger control. 

FN 502 Tactical - With Suppressor
Toss on a suppressor for even more fun!

You can read more about the FN 502 in our full review here.

2. Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun 

Every little boy and girl needs a .22 LR revolver. Seriously, the S&W 317 Kit gun might be the best to double as both a training .22 LR and a practical gun. It’s also just a ton of fun.

This revolver is a double-action model with an exposed hammer, and it sits on a rather compact frame. 

S&W AirLite Model 317
S&W AirLite Model 317 (Photo: Major Pandemic)

Shooters get a nice 3-inch barrel and the 317 packs eight rounds of the little .22 LR. It’s a handy little gun that uses the J-frame, but don’t mistake it for a snub nose.

At 11.7 ounces, it’s not tough for younger shooters to handle.

The single-action hammer makes it a sweet shooter, especially when you factor in the Hi-Viz front sight and adjustable rear sight. 

S&W Model 317 Hi Viz front sight
S&W Model 317 Hi Viz front sight (Photo: Smith & Wesson)

The Kit gun is perfect for learning how to use a modern revolver. Its trigger design allows you to train for both a standard exposed hammer and an enclosed hammer. And the gun uses a modern swing-out cylinder.

Heck, they even make speed loaders for it. 

The 317 Kit gun gives you a handy little gun for hunting, fishing, and other tasks where you might want a portable pest remover. This gun is plenty robust and perfect for general purpose outdoorsy, plus it’s a lot of fun. 

Best .22LR Revolver
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. Tikka T1x 

The Tikka T1x brings the training rimfire rifle to a bolt-action design. Like all Tikka firearms, the 1X is a fantastic example of what a bolt gun should be.

Shooters get a well-built rifle with a medium contour barrel, a 10-round magazine, and a very smooth bolt-action system. 

The modular stock allows you to swap pistol grips at various angles, and you can attach a wider forend at the front of the gun for a better grip. 

Tikka T1x Build for NRL22 Base Class
Tikka T1x Build for NRL22 Base Class

Tikka utilizes a crossover-style barrel system that mixes the stability and accuracy of a heavy barrel without being unbalanced and heavy.

For making those accurate shots, the barrel is cold hammer-forged and threaded, and ready for a suppressor. 

The Tikka T1x provides a rimfire stand-in for the already awesome Tikka T3x rifles. Tikka uses the same bedding surfaces and inlay footprint as the centerfire T3x.

Besides being a stand-in for the T3x, it’s also just a great stand-in for any bolt action rifle. 

Tikka T1x in MDT ACC Chassis
Tikka T1x in MDT ACC Chassis

Bolt-action rifles are known for their accuracy, and the Tikka T1x is plenty accurate. It might not provide the range of a centerfire rifle; however, with a reduced-sized target and some good glass, you can work your accuracy skills well. 

Beyond that, the Tikka T1x is just a great general-purpose training tool for new shooters. 

As a bolt-action, shooters aren’t tempted to rapid-fire. New shooters can safely and easily learn accuracy fundamentals and gun safety. 

Best .22 LR Bolt-Action Rifle
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

4. Smith & Wesson M&P 15-2

Lots of .22 LR AR rifles exist, but it’s tough to find a better, more affordable option that matches the look, feel, and controls of a real AR-15 than the M&P 15-22 at a great price point. 

Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport in Khaki
Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport in Khaki

S&W also makes various models with handguard options including quad rails and M-LOK rails. The magazines are as close as you get to the real thing and hold up to 25 rounds. 

The S&W M&P 15-22 keeps the price point low by using hefty amounts of polymer in their design. It’s clearly not as heavy as an actual AR-15 but tries its best to match the real thing.

The gun uses a blowback action, which you come to expect from .22 LR rifles.  

S&W M&P Sport II smoky
It’s like this but in .22 LR

The presence of a last-round bolt hold open makes reloads accurate, and it’s a great feature to have for training purposes.

You can toss on a cheaper red dot and even light to replicate your actual gun at a lower price. An S&W M&P 15-22 makes your AR-15 training efficient and cheap. 

On top of that, the S&W M&P 15-22 can be used at indoor ranges, which often prohibit the use of rifle rounds, but allow the humble .22 LR. Plus, it’s also a lot of fun to shoot and perfect for plinking cans and squirrel hunting. 

Best AR-Style
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

5. Taurus TX22 

The Taurus TX22 might be my favorite .22 LR pistol on the market. 

This striker-fired, polymer frame wonder 9 is the generic of generic pistols, and the Taurus TX22 replicates that generic pistol well enough to be a training pistol for nearly anything. 

A shooter with a TX22 can easily replicate their Glock, their FN, their SIG, or beyond with the TX22. 

Taurus TX22
Taurus TX22 (Photo: Taurus)

Its simple controls make using the TX22 in place of any other gun easy. The TX22 did find a way to implement 16 rounds in a flush fighting magazine, which again brings the capacity up to a realistic count. 

With a rock-solid price point, the TX22 provides a great training pistol that not only replicates your basic 9mm handgun but makes generalized training easy.

The Taurus TX22 is a decent little starter pistol in .22 LR.
The Taurus TX22 is a decent little starter pistol in .22 LR.

The TX22 is well suited for new shooters learning the art of the handgun without the recoil of a 9mm. It’s much cheaper to train with, and the TX22 has proven itself to be reliable and frustration-free. 

Taurus’ latest model incorporates a red dot, but it’s a little less traditional. However, you can still train that valuable red dot presentation and learn to effectively use a red dot.

Plus, the TX22 comes in at a fantastic price. 

Best Bang for Your Buck
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What do you think of the Taurus TX22? Rate it below!

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (354)

Your Rating?

6. Henry Classic .22 LR Lever Gun 

If you are a fan of the classics and use a lever gun, you know the ammo is expensive. Lever guns don’t come in 9mm-friendly price points. .44 Mag, .45 Colt, .357 Mag, and more cost a pretty penny. 

If you shoot SASS, then you are familiar with the high cost of ammunition. The Henry Classic Lever-Action .22 LR brings you all the fun of a lever gun without the cost. 

Henry .45-70 Case Hardened
We love lever guns…but the ammo…well that can get pricey.

It’s perfect for learning to run the lever gun fast and hard. Working that smooth action and sending a pile of .22 LR downrange is both a ton of fun and a big challenge. Pair it with a shot timer, and you will both effectively train and have the time of your life. 

The Classic lever gun doesn’t implement some crazy manual safeties or other features that detract from the classic lever gun. 

Henry Classic Lever Action
Henry Classic Lever Action (Photo: Picanox)

The only downside is that it’s tube-loaded, and it doesn’t utilize a side gate. Side gates are tough with .22 LR because the projectiles don’t take pressure well without bending, which will cause feeding issues. 

Luckily, even with this slight issue, the Henry Classic lever gun gives you all the feeling and joy of a standard lever gun without the high price of lever gun ammo. 

Best Lever Action
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Need more Henry? Check out our list of Henry rifles you might want to know.

7. CZ Kadet Kits 

The CZ Kadet kits are not firearms. Instead, they are conversion kits for CZ series pistols.

Five exist, and they allow you to outfit your CZ 75, your P09, your P07, your SP01, and your CZ Shadow with a new complete slide and .22 LR magazines. 

CZ Shadow II Kadet Conversion Kit

These kits vary in price but offer an affordable way to convert the gun you already have to a .22 LR pistol. 

The Kadet kits are drop-in designs and make the conversion absolutely painless. Heck, it’s easy enough to swap at the range and warm up with .22 LR and start training with 9mm.

CZ Shadow 2 back lit
CZ Shadow 2…just toss on one of the kits and you can run .22 LR

If you’ve already joined the CZ master race, why not turn your 9mm into a .22 LR for training purposes? CZ firearms are well represented in the fields of defensive use and competition, both of which require a ton of practice to be sufficient. 

Tossing a Kadet Kit on your favorite CZ allows you to use the same trigger, controls, and everything else, but with a different slide and maybe different sights. 

Hammer-fired CZs are a natural and easy conversion to .22 LR. The kits will pay for themselves quite quickly. 

Best Pistol Conversion Kit
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

8. CMMG .22 LR AR Conversion Kit 

The CMMG .22 LR AR Conversion Kit is exactly what it sounds like. This drop-in bolt conversion kit allows you to take any 5.56 caliber AR-15 and chamber it in .22 LR.

It’s one of the most affordable ways to train with rimfire in your AR 15 rifle. 

Bridesmaids Poor

It’s a drop-in kit that utilizes an integral everything, including a buffer. The magazines are proprietary, 25-round magazines that work almost flawlessly. They tend to prefer jacketed ammunition over bare lead. 

CMMG .22 LR Bravo AR Conversion Kit
CMMG .22 LR Bravo AR Conversion Kit (Photo: CMMG)

This kit allows you to use your optic, your handguard, your stock, your trigger, etc. 

Drop it in, and go!

There are a few downsides, mostly that the zero won’t be the same as your 5.56, and the .22 LR through a 5.56 barrel won’t be the most accurate thing. 

CMMG .22 LR Mk57 AR Conversion Kit
CMMG .22 LR Mk57 AR Conversion Kit (Photo: CMMG)

Mine shows that the gun’s about 4 MOA with good ammunition. That’s still good enough to train, especially at close range. 

It’s an affordable option that’s tough to beat, and the magazines are cheap and perfect for working reloads and getting in your training. 

Best .22 LR Rifle Conversion Kit
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Final Thoughts

.22 LR training firearms offer you the opportunity to utilize much cheaper ammunition to build and maintain skills.

The industry has acknowledged this and has provided us with a rock-solid selection of awesome firearms perfect for both training and plinking. 

I’ve picked my favorites, but what are yours? Let me know in the comments below. Check out the Best .22 LR Ammo to feed your training gun.

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13 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    W P

    This is the part of your day when the Walther hard-heads recommend the P22 as a good trainer. You're welcome.

    June 6, 2022 12:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Alex K

    I've used Advantage Arms conversion kit for Glock 19 for training. It works great plus easy on the wallet. The next try will be Walther P22. It overcomes one of the largest issue with .22 guns - it supports dry fire. Hopefully, that will become my go to gun for .22 practice.

    June 5, 2022 10:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bemused Berserker

    I've 5 different .22LR Handguns, so picking up one that mimics my CC Weapon, a SIG P365, isn't a need. I will say, that the CMMG Bravo .22LR Adaptor for my AR, is one of the best things I've spent money on, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a dedicated .22LR AR. 80% of my shooting is at an indoor range where we're caliber restricted. No Center Fire Rifle. The CMMG Bravo allows me to fire both my AR Carbine and my AR Pistol. CCI, Winchester, and Federal .22 LR works flawlessly. I've had a couple of misdeeds with Aquila (it misdeeds in my pistols too), so I avoid buying it.

    June 5, 2022 6:43 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    George Bravo

    No mention of the Ruger Mark IV series? One should be in everyone’s collection. Especially the IV which is no so easy to clean.

    June 5, 2022 6:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John McDowell

    Beretta M9-22. How many M9 variants are out there… Hammer fired, manual safety, 15 round steel magazine, under $400….

    June 5, 2022 5:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sir Lawrence Pastor

    Ruger 22SR, a reliable, ergonomic, fun 22 semi-automatic!!

    June 5, 2022 4:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Couldn’t agree more Larry! Easy to field strip too!

      June 6, 2022 6:31 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Walther PPK/S .22LR, currently on sale at Sportsman's Warehouse for only $269.
    Mine is on order.

    June 5, 2022 4:14 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Why no mention of the Sig P322? Optics-ready slide? Threaded barrel? 20 rd mags? $399 price? Those qualities aren't enough to be included in your survey?

    June 5, 2022 2:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      100% agree- hard to find them too but it’s a great gun, maybe they bare holding back b/c it’s so new?

      June 5, 2022 3:32 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Lakey

      Please don't remind them about the Sig until I can get one. Lol

      June 5, 2022 3:42 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        My bad

        June 5, 2022 5:40 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          Ruger Mark IV is more accurate by far. But I guess it is what you are looking for.

          June 6, 2022 4:32 am
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