Colt 1911-22 Beginner Gun Review

Angle

With a family tree worthy of any Daytime Soap Opera, this particular gun which is sold as a Colt 1911-22…is manufactured by Walther…which is owned by Smith & Wesson and is based off of a specialized 1911 frame designed by Umarex, which is known for Airsoft guns.

In the dog world, this would be called a “mutt.”  Don’t let its odd pedigree fool you; this gun is as awesome of a pet as your faithful Schnoodle.

Let’s start from the very beginning here: Umarex manufactures and sells a Replica Colt Government 1911 pistol that is made to shoot 9mm blanks.

Walther then takes that gun and works it over so that it will fire .22LR.  They ship it off to Colt, via Umarex who throws it into one of their branded boxes and then sends it out to distributors.

Due to the lack of recoil produced by blanks, to make a gun shoot them you have to lighten every aspect of the gun as much as possible.

Coincidentally, that’s the exact same thing you have to do with .22 conversions as well!

In this case, they lightened the slide just enough to support the rimfire cartridges but added some heft to the handle to compensate.  The end result is a gun that weighs almost the same as a normal 1911.

Colt 1911 22
Colt 1911 22

This is an all metal gun that handles just like a Government 1911 for about $450+/- and you can get 10 or 12 round magazines for it.  The controls, the trigger, the safety– they all work just like a 1911.  T

he only difference is that while the recoil is significantly lighter, your wallet won’t be!

Enough gushing.  Let’s see how this gun fares against…the tests!

Ease to Breakdown

piecesB

This is an area where this gun and an authentic 1911 differ greatly.

Oh sure, it starts out similarly, but once you get the slide off you see that this gun is an entirely different beast.

The process: push the button on the front, twist the bushing to the left and remove the button and spring.  Then twist the bushing in the other direction and remove it.  Push the slide back a bit and remove the slide lock lever.

Lift the slide and move it forward then remove the guide rod.  Not too bad.  There are some little nuances to it though.  In more than one spot, if you’re holding the gun at the wrong angle, stuff slides around and you’re not going to be able to break it down until you shake it around and get everything back in place.

Compared to the most widely used .22LR pistol out there, however, it’s a breeze.  Compared to some other .22s, not so much.

In the end, breakdown gets a 3.5 out of 5

35

Maintenance

There are 2 main flaws with .22LR ammo.

One is that they’re not that reliable.  The second is that it is a dirty round.

My goodness, this ammo is disgusting!

Everything around it is going to be caked in soot and lead, and it is a pain to clean.  If it’s a .22, it doesn’t matter what gun it is, you’re going to want some extra cleaning patches.

Lots of them, actually.

For a gun with so few surfaces that need to be cleaned, this thing gets filthy.  Usually I’m left with a big pile of dirty patches and cotton swabs when all is said and done.  Keep in mind, I am borderline obsessive when it comes to cleaning my guns.

The bright side is that even though it gets coated, there aren’t any spots that are difficult to get into.  It’s not that the gun is difficult to clean, but that it gets so dirty because of the ammo.

For the difficult task of keeping a .22LR pistol clean, the Colt 1911-22 (and any .22LR gun for that matter) gets a 3 out of 5.

33

Reliability

There is an inherent problem with .22 pistols: the .22LR ammo is terrible.

Granted, you could spend big bucks and get super premium ammo and it’ll run great.  That’s not why you get a .22LR though.

You’re (probably) not going to use it for home defense.  You can, but you shouldn’t.

Pretty much everyone gets a .22 for the purpose of practice and, barring that, raw fun.  With that, you’re going to want to get some cheap ammo.  If there are problems with this gun, the only ones I’ve run into were 100% the fault of the ammo.

Every now and then I get a bullet with the wrong amount of powder leading to a noticeably weak shot.  When that happens, the bullet doesn’t cycle correctly.  However, this is quite easy to fix– just tap and rack and you’re back in business.

The other problem is that, in every couple hundred bullets, you get one with a bad casing.  It might expand when fired and won’t eject from the barrel.  For that, you have to unload the gun, break it down, and pry the casing out.  Thank goodness I keep a tiny knife with a thin blade on my key chain.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how to judge this one.

This gun has worked flawlessly on its own.  There was no need for a break-in period and it’s fired perfectly from day one.  With the only problems being a direct result of the ammo, I can’t really blame it on the gun.  Considering the fact that the only ammo this gun can shoot is unreliable, should the whole package be punished with a low score?

I’m going to split the difference and rate this one at a very difficult 4 out of 5.

44

Safety

You’ve got a frame-mounted, manual safety on the side and you’ve got the traditional grip safety that all 1911s have.

Anyone who uses a 1911 will tell you that’s all you need.  I don’t really disagree with that.  This gun isn’t going to fire easily unless your hand is on it.  The thing about 1911s that has always made me a bit uncomfortable is that the safety can only be engaged when the hammer is cocked.

Thousands of 1911 owners and our military for over 100 years can’t be wrong, though.  Just make sure you brush up on your trigger discipline. For safety, this gun gets a 4 out of 5.

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Poor Technique

As I said before, the only problems with this gun have been from the ammo.  Short of holding this thing with 2 fingers, I haven’t been able to get it to mess up.  The almost complete lack of recoil makes it nearly impossible to limp wrist it.  The dovetail sights on it were spot on from the factory and that short, 6lb 1911 single-action only trigger pull makes it very difficult to jerk the trigger.  This right here is why people love 1911s of any sort.

For its saint-like forgiveness, this gun gets a 5 out of 5.

55

Starter Kit

The kit was a bit sparse….and mysterious.

I’ll get to the mystery in a moment.  You get a plastic clam shell case with the Colt logo on it.  You get the gun, of course, and a magazine.  You get the obligatory gun lock and a wrench.  Not an Allen wrench, an actual wrench.  No indication of what it’s for…until you take a very close look at the gun and the parts diagram in the manual.  You see, the tip of the barrel is removable.

Why?  I’ll cover that in the next section.

In the meantime, the barren box gives this gun a 2 out of 5.  Is it too much to ask for 2 magazines?

22

Accessories/Upgrades

This is a 1911.  Most of the parts are interchangeable with the real 1911s.

From what I can tell, the thumb and grip safeties, the hammer, the trigger, sights, and the grips can all be updated with any 1911 parts you want.  What does that mean?  That means that you can trick this gun out with a multitude of “bling.”

Don’t believe me?  Check out our 1911 Upgrades section.

On top of that, there’s that mysterious wrench I mentioned earlier.

As I said, the tip of the barrel can be removed.  You can then pop on a threaded barrel tip that comes with the Walther Replica Silencer kit.  From that point you can look cool with the replica silencer or you can jump through the flaming hoops necessary to get a real one.

If you wind up going the authentic route, you’re still going to need that threaded tip from the fake silencer kit as I’ve yet to find it sold separately.  It’s only $50 or thereabouts so why not?

The plethora of upgrades available gets this gun a solid 5 out of 5.  Those toys!  Where does he get those wonderful toys?!

55

Final Word

Side

I have always said that I would never recommend a 1911 for a first gun.

I stand by that statement as long as we’re talking about the .45 caliber 1911.  This one, on the other hand, should be in your collection.  It’s not a perfect gun, but it is one of the most fun guns I’ve ever shot.

There’s also an added bonus to it: There’s no denying that the most popular of the .22LR pistols, the Ruger Mark series, are a bit…ugly.

They’re all great to introduce someone with but when you hand them that gun, you can see in their face that they’re a bit disappointed.

Why?

Because it looks like a toy.

Everyone else is shooting Berettas and Sigs and HKs and you hand them a Star Trek Phaser?  This gun, however, looks and feels like a “real” gun.  They’re going to be a lot more excited about shooting it.  In the end, excitement is what it’s all about (second only to safety, of course).  This is a fun gun that doesn’t feel like a toy.

More importantly, it’s a gun that looks, feels, and behaves like a normal gun.  Learning the fundamentals on this one will translate better to the bigger ones and ultimately make you a better shooter.

The Colt 1911-22 gets a solid 4 out of 5.  Give them your money…

44

 

Previous Comments:

Posted @ 6/21/2012 5:00 PM by Robbie

Robbie's avatar

Hi, I purchased a new Colt LR 22 Government by Walther the first time I took it to the range it jammed one every magazine round. I tried two different types of ammo also . I was very disappointed. I notice the bullets did not smoothly line up in the magazine. Do you have any suggestions. Thanks

Posted @ 6/21/2012 5:00 PM by Robbie

Robbie's avatar

Hi, I purchased a new Colt LR 22 Government by Walther the first time I took it to the range it jammed one every magazine round. I tried two different types of ammo also . I was very disappointed. I notice the bullets did not smoothly line up in the magazine. Do you have any suggestions. Thanks

Posted @ 7/28/2012 10:21 AM by Teh Noob

Teh Noob's avatar

My first thought it is sounds like there might be a problem with the magazine itself. I’d see if you can get your hands on a 2nd mag.

Also, with the magazines for this particular gun (and most .22LR pistols, now that I think about it), there’s a little quirk to loading. This one, however, is especially funky in that you have that knob that lets you just pull the spring down and drop in a bunch of rounds. This can actually cause a big problem. Make sure that the rim on the loaded round is in front of the round below it. Essentially, if it has to hop over the next round’s rim before it goes into the chamber, it’s going to have problems.

Posted @ 1/18/2013 3:16 AM by Sam

Sam's avatar

It’s a piece of crap.

Posted @ 1/18/2013 3:16 AM by Sam

Sam's avatar

Piece of junk

Posted @ 2/6/2013 8:25 AM by Jon

Jon's avatar

I purchased this gun a few days ago for most of the reasons you mentioned above. This is my first handgun and I wanted something I felt comfortable with in terms of caliber and size. Furthermore, the gun feels good and secure in my hand. I took it to the range yesterday and put 50 rounds through it and didn’t have a problem (note I was shooting the range’s junk ammo). Nevertheless, I’m satisfied my purchase so far. Nice blog by the way!

Posted @ 3/2/2013 7:56 AM by Loren

Loren's avatar

Hello, I just purchased a colt rail gun .22, and I love it. The only problem so far is that I cannot remove the barrel tip. Am I a moron, or is there a trick to this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Posted @ 4/8/2013 3:12 PM by nick

nick's avatar

Purchased a new 1911/22 colt today and within an hour the thumb safety {failed locked} up returned it for my money back

Posted @ 4/10/2013 6:42 PM by Midnightpromises

Midnightpromises's avatar

Comments like “piece of….” and “piece of…..” must be from Ruger salesmen.
I have this gun, the rail version, and it shoots like a champ, is accurate, and is the best looking of the half dozen others in this niche. After a hundred rounds or so it operates like a well oiled sewing machine and spat out ANY and ALL .22LRs. with barely a hick up. Get one, you will LOVE it!

Posted @ 4/21/2013 10:50 AM by gus

gus's avatar

Bought this colt22 for 400.00, put 350 rds through it the first day. Cleaned it twice, worked Great ! Mixed ammo.Accurate!!!

Posted @ 4/25/2013 1:45 PM by Rudy

Rudy's avatar

I’ve had one since December. It shoots well with Remington Golden but I can’t find anything else to try. Lots of fun and feels good. Should have come with two magazines. You won’t be disapointed.

Posted @ 5/5/2013 6:57 PM by fish

fish's avatar

I have been doing research for a few months on 1911-22 style pistols…and finally chose the Colt…purchased yeaterday.
After a good cleaning (inside and out) … I was on my way to the range for a Sunday afternoon shoot…
My biggest dissapointment was…I didn’t bring several hundred rounds…This pistol is great fun to shoot, accurate out of the box…not one failure to feed or failure to fire…
Maintenance was simple, easy to break down and found it to be realiable. Over the next feww weeks…there will be several hundred plus rounds sent down range…
As for accessories, I had a left over set of rubber combat grips from another pistol customization…and they fitted perfectly. I will do the trigger next along with top quality sights…and several more magazines…
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Posted @ 6/9/2013 6:10 PM by JS

JS's avatar

Mine works fine. My Wife is very accurate with it. Use jacketed ammo for best results.

Posted @ 6/14/2013 11:35 AM by Carlos B

Carlos B's avatar

Bought my rail gun in January, and had problems with jams/failure to feed till I read this site. I was holding the knob down on the magazine and just piling the ammo in. Once I started loading the magazines slowly and making sure the cartridges stacked evenly it has performed flawlessly with every type of ammo I have used. Definitely a “fun” weapon to fire, and very pleased with the purchase. If you are looking for a fun 22, this is it.

Posted @ 7/7/2013 6:17 PM by Minhster

Minhster's avatar

The gun handle very well, feel just like regular Colt 1911 /45 but handle 22LR ammo . The only thing i don’t like it ,is cheap gun case and no second magazine and that is only weak point

Posted @ 9/15/2013 10:03 AM by Joca

Joca's avatar

I enjoyed your review. I have been shooting .22 rim fire since 1959 and even owning other calibers, this caliber is my favorite. I own a Ruger Mark 2 Comp, Several Ruger Single 6’s, Rifles and a CZ. I acquired a SIG 1911 22 back in 2012 and it has become my favorite range gun. Two of my friends own the Colt Gold Cup 22 . I notice with the 1911 22’s I have shot it appears that they need to be broken in before functioning reliably. CCI mini mag’s, though expensive, work best. CCI Blazer, Federal or Winchester bulk pack works also though I find ejection problems with the first round on occasion. Either way, being a 45 auto lover but hating the higher cost of this panic price increase these neat little guns fill the bill nicely.
Either way, enjoy and be safe.

Posted @ 11/16/2013 12:01 PM by Do-Do

Do-Do's avatar

If you have ever shot any nib fire arm you,ll find her to be like a new girl friend.With this being said. I find mine a sexy kinky dirty little piece,that makes me feel like i’m cheating on my 45.I love my new 22 on the side

Posted @ 2/22/2014 6:06 PM by DomC

DomC's avatar

I purchased the Colt 1911 22 LR. I love it. However, this week I put around 40 rounds through it when the slide began sticking on the empty magazine. I stopped firing and went home. I stated to clean the barrel but the brush stuck half way down. I eventually got it out. Looking at the barell it was full of lead. So much that I cannot pass a .22 cleaning rod done it. Called Umerex and was advised this gun can only handle FMJ type ammo – I used Remmington Thunderbolt and that is all I can obtain today. I was advised that this ammo should not be used in any semi-auto. I have never had any issues like this with my M&P 22 nor my Ruger Mk lll.

I am using a .17 brush for now. I would like to remove the barrel but I am struggling to find the appropriate wrench.

Posted @ 2/22/2014 11:31 PM by Midnightpromises

Midnightpromises's avatar

Yes, it does not like dirty old Remington Thunderbolt ammo. Soak the inside of that barrel with some breakfree, why remove it.
I assume it was brand new? After a few hundred rounds it might lossen up and cycle with that cheap dirty stuff, but it will still get dirty. I use CCI AR in mine and also thru my M15 w/.22 adapter. Works great.

Posted @ 11/25/2014 4:49 PM by Swinger

Swinger's avatar

I have been studying the Colt as for a possible replacement for my Sig which was a replacement for my Chiappa because both did not always cycle my HP ammo in the bulk variety. I have read reviews on the Colt from persons who used high priced CCI to Walmart Federal bulk with no problems. That’s the fun gun I want. This forum points out that the culprit may just be the ammo and I may search for the rest of my life and not be lucky enough to find the dream performer at any price. I must admit that I also load my magazines with my thumb on the spring ball. I will stop that. I think I have tried all the polishing enhancement on the Sig with not the ammo eater I want. Any advice woulg be greatly appreaciated……….

Posted @ 12/30/2014 7:10 PM by Vik

Vik's avatar

I bought a 1911 a1 recently (my 1st handgun) and took it to the range last weekend and noticed the same issue as mentioned by a couple of people in the comments. It was jamming (about 1 every magazine).

I also noticed that the bullets don’t align nicely in a factory magazine. I also have the 2nd factory mag and saw the same issue with the bullets not aligning correctly on that one as well.

I am going to take it to the range again this weekend to see if loading bullets slowly makes any difference but having bullets not aligned in a magazine is kind of weird and I have shot other handguns (owned by my family) and have never seen that before.

Does anyone know what’s going on

Posted @ 12/31/2014 3:11 AM by Midnightpromises

Midnightpromises's avatar

What ammo are you using? This gun needs something with some power to cycle properly, especially when brand new. Make sure you are not “limp wristing” it, I do notice that when I relax my grip the jams occur.

Posted @ 12/31/2014 1:41 PM by Vik

Vik's avatar

Hi Midnightpromises,

Thanks for the reply. I used 3 or 4 different types of ammo. I used 36 GR CCI mini-mag, CCI stinger, CCI segmented HP and wichester blazer I think.

I will look into ‘limp wristing’ next time I go to the range so thanks for that information. I am fairly new into shooting sport and its possible that was the issue and nothing with the gun; a few more visits to the range will give me a good idea

Thanks

Posted @ 12/31/2014 3:39 PM by Midnightpromises

Midnightpromises's avatar

I rarely have issues with mine after the break in. But when I first took my son to shoot it he had a failure to feed every magazine……..I watched close and saw the entire gun recoiling a lot for just a .22 I told him to firm up and no more issues.

Posted @ 2/1/2015 1:00 PM by Sandman

Sandman's avatar

Got mine yesterday and immediately took one to a range. Got multiple issues with failure to feed, failure to eject almost every other round. Was using Federal American Eagle 40g high velocity rounds. I was making sure not to “limp wrist” and keep my fingers of the slide.

Any suggestions ?

Posted @ 2/1/2015 5:32 PM by WFBrit

WFBrit's avatar

I purchased a Colt 1911 22LR. First time I fired it I used Remington Thunderbolt. When I returned home and started to clean the barrel the .22 brush got stuck in the barrel. I called “Colt” but ended up with Umarex customer service rep. He was brusk, rude and arrogant. He advised that the barrel was of match standard and that only clean ammo should we used.

I also had a problem with the slide catching on the magazine. He agreed this was a warranty issue and I returned the gun for repair. The gun was returned and, using coated CCI ammunition it has operated satisfactorily.

Posted @ 2/6/2015 9:56 PM by ken

ken's avatar

Love mine. Only had one range trip but fired over 300 rds. of mixed ammo.
Started off with 100 Mini-Mags with rest being Rem. Bulk G.B. , Federal Bulk.

No problems at all.
wanted extra 12 rd. mags but everyone was out of them but had some 10 rd. ones.
Got them and decided to see what the difference was between the 10 and 12’s.
The 10 rd. mags have a spacer at the bottom and can be removed easily and then you have a 12 rd. one.

The followers and springs are the same on both.

Posted @ 9/14/2015 8:42 PM by Maxxx

Maxxx's avatar

The metal spacer appears to be glued on to the spring plate. The spring plate is identical to the spring plate on the 12 round mag.

Posted @ 9/14/2015 8:43 PM by Maxxx

Maxxx's avatar

The metal spacer appears to be glued on to the spring plate. The spring plate is identical to the spring plate on the 12 round mag.

Posted @ 9/14/2015 8:43 PM by Maxxx

Maxxx's avatar

The metal spacer appears to be glued on to the spring plate. The spring plate is identical to the spring plate on the 12 round mag.

Posted @ 10/18/2015 11:27 AM by Ray

Ray's avatar

Well, A group of fellow guys at work purchase a bunch of these 1911 (rail type) have change grips. These pistols shoot any kind of 22 round we thru in the pistol. Only thing we done is clean them before we shot the first round thru them and oil them with Lucas gun oil that’s it.Everyone like to shoot these pistol a lot but, you need to clean them first ( that’s with any new weapon)

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7 Comments on "Colt 1911-22 Beginner Gun Review"

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William Updike
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Just bought mine today. 250 rounds put through it. All CCI Mini Mags work great. No problems at all. Cleaned and lightly oiled it and fell in love with it. This gun just feels right !

Frank Carvell
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I’ve had mine for nearly two years. My one and only problem has to do with ammunition…any brand of 36gr and 38gr hollow points run flawlessly but 40gr solid bullets won’t run without stove-piping, failures to eject or failures to feed. Any input?

Rogerio Esteves
Guest

Bought this gun a month ago. Yesterday was the first time I took it to the range. Worked perfectly for 50 rounds and it would not eject the cartridges. Had to manually ejected them after every shot. I was using Federal HV 22lr. I starting to think this is a piece of garbage! Already put in an email to Walther. Hope I can get my money back!

Eric Hung
Admin

Oh man that sucks! Let us know how it goes.

Dexter
Guest
Two years ago I purchased the Colt Gold Cup 22. First time I took it out I fired around 100 rounds. Had some trouble with the slid release coming out of alignment. The bigger problem started, however, when I got home and started to clean the barrel the brush stuck in the barrel! It took over an hour remove it. Looking down the barrel it was full of crud. I had to purchase a .17 brush and plenty of soaking and Chore Boy metal cleaning mesh. It took days. I was using Remigton Thunderbolt ammo. Big big mistake. Now I… Read more »
Eric Hung
Admin

Thanks for the insight, Dexter!

ken
Guest
Love mine. Only had one range trip but fired over 300 rds. of mixed ammo. <br /> Started off with 100 Mini-Mags with rest being Rem. Bulk G.B. , Federal Bulk. <br /> <br /> No problems at all. <br /> wanted extra 12 rd. mags but everyone was out of them but had some 10 rd. ones. <br /> Got them and decided to see what the difference was between the 10 and 12's. <br /> The 10 rd. mags have a spacer at the bottom and can be removed easily and then you have a 12 rd. one.… Read more »
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