The Armscor AL22M

Hailstorm of .22 Magnum

In this First Look, Special Projects Editor Roy Huntington takes a look at the AL22M from Armscor — an eight-shot .22 Magnum revolver he likens to a “Squirrel Howitzer.”

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Hi, friends! Welcome to another edition of First Look.

You know, today here in southwest Missouri it’s kind of hot and muggy, and forgive all the gnats that are flying around. In the September/October issue of American Handgunner magazine, I wrote the cover feature on a pair of new stainless steel Armscor revolvers — a .22 magnum, the 4-inch one, and a .38 357, the shorter barreled one.

Well, today, we’re going to take a look at the AL22M which is the .22 Magnum version and I think you’re going to find out you’re going to like it.

A lot of people say there’s a revolver renaissance right now, and frankly, I don’t think there’s ever not been a revolver renaissance if there’s such a thing. I think today’s manufacturing ability with CNC, and this cadre of design engineers they have around the world today, they just keep churning out these interesting, high-quality, accurate, practical revolvers that frankly are also usually a lot of fun to shoot.

The AL22M is actually imported from the Czech Republic. It was an established revolver design from an established company there and the Czech manufacturing ability is famous around the world for high quality and precision.

This gun is a .22 Magnum chambering. It’s got an eight-shot capacity, a four-inch barrel, it’s about nine-and-a-half inches overall, and about 1.4 inches wide.

Think K-Frame Smith & Wesson, although it’s slightly different.

It weighs 38 ounces — give or take — a little bit front sight is a fixed ramp site with an insert, fully adjustable rear. It comes with a really comfortable rubber grip. The gun’s all stainless steel is single/double action, of course. The trigger pull on this one is about 3.5 pounds single action and about 13 pounds double action.
MSRP is $794, I’m kind of seeing it in the $650 range in the real world.

There are a couple of other features on this gun which I think are actually pretty clever. I probably should have taken the grips off, but right on here on the side plate underneath the grips, there’s an open hole that you can actually fit a slotted screwdriver in. At first, I was stymied by it. I couldn’t figure out what that was for and what it is, and it’s darn clever. You can actually adjust the trigger return spring with the screwdriver. So, tighten it one way and it’s a little you know harder to pull, lighten it and it’s lighter to pull, which affects the double-action trigger pull. And, I suppose at some level this single-action trigger pull. I’m not sure. Probably.

Even in its lightest setting, I found the trigger to return reliably no matter what, no matter how fast you shot, so you’re pretty safe to play within those parameters. I think if you’re using the gun for defense you’d probably want to really test it, you know, to make sure you have it set in a lighter setting.

The little pinhole on the side of the frame also kind of had me confused until I popped the side plate off and then I realized you need a real thin like a pin-size probe, and what you do is you insert it in there to hold the part back while you reassemble the side plate. It’d pretty much be impossible to do it without that, and the reason I know that is because I tried to do it without doing it and it was impossible.

It’s got your kind of conventional side plate with screws holding it in, so
any pistol smith, even if he’s not familiar with this particular model, would really have no problems working on this gun if you want to slick the action up or something like that. Even though the trigger has very light serrations on it, they’re nice and smooth. That way your finger can kind of slide across it during the double-action press.

I was also actually impressed with the build quality of this gun. It’s actually a very good quality gun. It shows attention to detail, fit and finish, has a a really nice ergonomically contoured cylinder release.

I shot this gun quite a bit for the article that I wrote and I found it tobe really accurate. I mean like 1.5 inches at 25 yards if you take your time and find the right ammunition. I was getting around 1200 feet per second for most .22 Magnum loads. I had a lightweight kind of hot load, an old Federal load, that I got almost 1500 feet per second out of. This would it would be quite a squirrel Howitzer at that velocity I think.

If you’re familiar with the sort of the similar size gun from Taurus or Ruger, or Smith & Wesson or something, you have basically that kind of a platform so it’s a little on the heavy side, reliable, smooth, well-made, accurate … what’s not to like?

Speaking of liking, let’s shoot!

Okay, we’re set up at about 15 yards here, give or take a little bit. I’ve got eight shots of Armscor, uh it’s a 1,250 feet per second give or take a little bit over my chronograph from this gun, and we’re just going to shoot eight shots double-action offhand just to give you an idea of what it’s like. Let’s see what happens here.

Oh, this is an EyePal. I use this, it’s like a peep sight and it really helps when you’re shooting iron sights.

All right,  let’s get this done here.

Well, one of them rolled off a little bit … surprising. Let’s go see how terrible I did.
Well, it’s not anything I’m really proud of so I think this one caught me off guard. Really this gun shoots I mean like there or better than that, and I think let’s see my list of excuses — it’s hot, I’m sweaty, there’s gnats …

Anyway, that’s some idea. Let’s shoot a defensive target just to see what happens. We’re set up here at about five yards away and the reason why we’re doing this is I just want to show you, in something like this you’ve got a .22 Magnum, eight shots, a very safe double-action revolver, no safeties to fuss with, no magazine … is it loaded, is it unloaded? I don’t know … what do I do? So,  if you have a novice shooter, if you’re recoil shy, there’s a lot of advantages to this, and so and I’m going to show you what you can do. Let’s light up this target and see what happens here.

You can see it’s easy to shoot. There’s virtually no recoil and you can throw just like a hailstorm of .22 Magnum ammunition downrange.

Okay, well you’re nothing to write home about, but that’s not what this is about. And as a matter of fact, there’s a lot of people who would argue the point that having your pattern dispersed around a torso is a good idea.

You can see we’ve got really good center hits here, less than palm-sized, and I promise you nobody is going to stand around and say, “oh that’s only a .22 Magnum, I’m not afraid.” No, this is a real effective, viable option for you as a kind of a home defense or trail gun.

This is the awesome magnificence hydrostatic stopping power of the .22 Magnum, so let’s see what happens here, all right? I may get wet, I’m not sure.

All right, well, that wasn’t too bad actually. I mean, I expected a little less than that so I don’t know what it proves other than it proves it’s okay to have fun with fun little guns like this.

A .22 revolver especially .22 Magnum is versatile, accurate, controllable, and fun. I think it checks off a lot of categories. You can even put it to use as a defensive gun should the need arise.

Armscor is the parent company, Rock Island is the one who brings this in from the
Czech Republic, and I think if you’re looking for a .22 Magnum sort of you know
trail pistol do everything gun, this new model from Rock Island is probably something you should take a peek at. Around $600-$650 in the real world and I think that about wraps it up. I really like this gun and it’s really behaved itself in the time that I’ve had it and probably will continue to.

Hey, remember the four firearm safety rules. Subscribe. If you have any questions or comments, please post them. I love to chat with you guys and I’ll keep an eye on what you have to say. And until the next time, take a new shooter shooting, would you?