Handguns > Semi-Auto

Browning 1911-22 Review

At seven-eighths the size of its famous grandfather, Browning’s new 1911-22 is hard to resist.


"Isn't it just so cuuuuute?!" That was a lot of folk's reaction to the Browning 1911-22 introduced at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January. It was pretty much my reaction, too. When I picked it up it felt more like a 1903 Colt, but its look and operation were pure 1911. I am more than just a fan of the 1911. After nearly 40 years of owning and carrying several versions of it, I can attest that I am a true devotee of the pistol. So it's understandable how my interest was piqued when Browning announced this diminutive rimfire.

Over the years, there have been many attempts to produce a rimfire version of John Moses' most famous pistol. Those attempts have resulted in mixed success—that is to say, a lot of guys want one for a cost-effective trainer, but few are willing to tote the note for one. Unfortunately, that may be the fate of this one, if the chatter I have seen on several Internet forums is accurate. Here again, guys pine for a U.S.-built, all-steel, 1911-style .22 that groups less than an inch at 25 yards, has a 3 1/2-pound trigger pull and weighs around a pound—all for about 150 bucks or less. Dream on.

Browning did produce an accurate, scaled-down rendition of the 1911A1 that is made in the USA, weighs a hair less than a pound and is accurate enough for most rimfire chores. But its frame and slide are made from aluminum alloy, and it will set you back significantly more than a C-note and a half with an MSRP of $600. I don't have a problem with aluminum alloy in a pistol of this type, although I'd like to see a better finish than raw casting for the money.

Standard barrel length is 4 1/4 inches—the same as on a Commander, but the scaling accurately replicates a full-size 1911—and a 3.6-inch barreled compact version is planned. The pistol comes with one 10-round magazine. Made of pressed steel with a plastic follower, thumb piece and base plate, it also has a stiff spring. Grip panels are checkered plastic. The safeties replicate the GI ones in form. The manual safety—with its small, nub-like thumb piece—is more like an original 1911 than an A1, so it rests deeper in the thumb if you ride the safety while shooting. It's a mild distraction since the rimfire recoil is minimal, but it did bring back some unpleasant memories of my early shooting with full-size, as-issued .45s.The grip safety is a short-tang type, so guys with fleshy hands and those who grip it high will have to watch out for hammer bite. Operation is straight blowback, and the recoil spring is pretty substantial. That's not too surprising given that the slide is lightweight alloy and smaller.

At the range, the shorter barrel trimmed about 200 fps off what a 6-inch revolver would produce, which is to be expected. Happily, especially for plinkers, my best groups came from Federal American Eagle budget ammo. Groups averaged 1 1/4 inches at 20 yards, but Winchester Power Points were right behind it at 1 3/8 inches. Like the rest of the pistol, the sights are a scaled-down replica of the GI sights. Younger eyes might be able to cut them a bit finer and get better groups. In addition, the trigger pull was a rather stiff 8 pounds, 2 ounces. The 1911-22 isn't intended as a sophisticated target pistol, but again, for the money, I'd like to see a more reasonable trigger pull. After all, the pistol weighs 15 1/2 ounces empty.

Takedown is exactly like any other 1911. The stainless-steel barrel is slightly belled toward the muzzle to accommodate the barrel bushing. It does not appear to be fitted, as there was a very small amount of play between it and the barrel.

To date, the 1911-22 is expected to hit dealer's shelves in August. The original availability date was the first quarter of this year, but the brass at Browning decided to include a magazine safety at the last minute. So all of the pistols built are undergoing that modification.

As a devotee of the 1911, I really like this scaled-down version of my favorite semi-auto. It's a fine little plinker, and with a bit of tuning and the right ammunition, could be an excellent small-game pistol. There are a few things I think Browning will need to address to maximize the chances of its success at this price point, as previously mentioned. First, it should come with two magazines, and spares need to be readily available. Also, wood grip panels and a little better attention to the metal finish are more appropriate for a pistol of this quality. And finally, take at least 3 pounds off of that trigger.


800-333-3288, browning.com
Single-action, semi-auto pistol
.22 LR
4 1/4 (tested), 3.6 inches; 1:16 RH
8 lbs., 2 oz.
Detachable box; 10-round capacity
Fixed iron
Manual sear block; grip safety
Checkered plastic
Overall Length:
7 1/16 inches
15.5 oz.
Metal Finish:
Black anodized
: Comes with Browning zippered case

Shooting Results:
Measured average velocity for 10 rounds from a 4.25" barrel. Range temperature: 58 degrees. Humidity: 42 percent. Accuracy for five consecutive, five-shot groups at 20 yards from sandbags. Abbreviations: LR (Long Rifle), Cu (Copper), JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point), TCHP (Truncated Cone Hollow Point), Sd (standard deviation).


.22 LR Vel. @ 15' (f.p.s.)



Group Size

(in inches)









Federal American Eagle; 38-gr. Cu-plated lead

1,059 Avg.
15 Sd

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43 Responses to Browning 1911-22 Review

bob wrote:
April 13, 2014

Great lttle gun.but uable to find a high qualiyy holster eithrr bisnchi or galco ( on the belt ) any recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you bob

Craig wrote:
December 05, 2013

Spotted one last weekend at a gun show, it was love at first sight! Paid $510. Got it home and immediately put 200 rounds thru it. Functions lawlessly. The reduced size makes it a very good pocket gun. On the down side, the magazine base is plastic. Dropped mine on the floor (which is ceramic tile). The corner chipped off but I found the chip and super glued it back on. Replacement mags need to be made readily available. I still rate the gun a solid A+. I will buying at least one more of these.

Randy wrote:
October 25, 2013

@Reiner - Where did you find it for $407? I'm thinking about this for my wife for a carry. Would you all recommend the regular size 1911-22(A1) or the compact 1911-22?

Reiner wrote:
September 17, 2013

Picked up the 22lr a couple of months ago, NEW for $407. (great price) Have put appx 500 rounds thru it with no problems. cci and Federal. Fun gun to plink with and easy to carry.

Andy B wrote:
September 11, 2013

This is a great little pistol and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quality pistol that's extremely reliable and fun (and cheap) to shoot in a 1911 format. The pistol performed flawlessly at the range. I put 250 rounds of Federal and Colt 40 grain round nose through it without a single FTF or FTE, so the gun is not picky. I consistently grouped rounds of 10 that touched at 25', with several dead center bullseyes. The grips are wood, not plastic as some reviewers have stated. My only complaint is that the front sight is all black, which, when coupled with its small size and narrowly-spaced blades on the rear sight, makes it a little difficult to acquire your aiming point. I'm going to paint a white dot on the front sight. After a little practice, I think that will fix the issue. This is a very well-made firearm and I think Browning did a great job with it.

Paul wrote:
May 31, 2013

Picked one up a few weeks ago. Wife absolutely loves it. Finally found a gun she enjoys shooting, so it seems to be serving it's purpose in getting her excited about the range.

frank m. sanchez wrote:
February 17, 2013

I have bought the 100th commemorative. beautiful work. now I will sell my compact. the compact has performed flawlessly.it is accurate with practice.

Sam-CA wrote:
February 02, 2013

I bought this pistol mid-2012, and love it. Experienced about 5% FTF/FTE problems for the first 200 rounds, but have put 1,800+ rounds through it since, without any problems. I Trained my wife on this pistol, and she absolutely loves it for weight, size and light recoil. She subsequently chose it for her PD weapon; and with CCI Velocitor HPs, it's a decent option for her purse/nightstand.

Darby wrote:
January 27, 2013

Followup: Next time at the range using four different ammos, no problems. Fired and ejected everytime. Note some negative comments, and they may well be right. But it is still a fun little piece for an old .45 shooter.

ugly wrote:
January 19, 2013

stay away from this pistol only way to get parts is ship it back to them pay for shipping both ways + parts cost not a good investment unless you are a IDIOT

dano' wrote:
January 16, 2013

Pot metal gun ! No way, how embarrassing for browning to stoop to those levels what is happened to integrity and manufacturing credibility ? Say it ain't so browning, say it ain't so...

Darby wrote:
January 12, 2013

I have long been a fan of the Government model 1911 .45 ACP. Recently discovering the Browning, down sized replica, I had to have one. Love it. Good replica, fun to shoot, very accurate. Only negative: several failure to feed, using two different ammos. Next time I will use two or three others and report back. The FF is slightly irritating, but acually no big deal as this will not be my home defense or carry weapon. Perhaps more shooting will change the problem. Still, it is a lot of fun.

Joey Bolz wrote:
December 24, 2012

Just bought the short version. Shoots great! Had a GSG and an Ace II. Neither were great. Actually the GSG was fine, just couldn't wrap my head around a gun made of pot metal. Probably will have to pick up an old Llama and a Star FR eventually too.

frank wrote:
December 07, 2012

i just bought one with the short barrel.so far it has not failed me.rapid fire and slow fier it responds oncommand.the only thing i donot like is the plastic spring guide.browning needs to make out of metal like old faithful 1911.

1911 junkee wrote:
November 19, 2012

To set the record straight about the Chiappa "Puma" It is not made in USA! Period! It is a miserable piece of crap, a paperweight at best. I bought it thinking it would be a great practice piece, it was nothing but trouble! FTF's, FTE's, stovepipes on every other shot, any malfunction you can come up with, the Chiappa does it! I dumped this gun on day one, bought a Colt Government 1911 22 Cal., it performs flawlessly! I also tried a Sig 1911-22, it is OK, but it always comes back to the Colt. Again, do not get sucked in by the lower price of the Chiappa, they are nothing but a headache!

Rod wrote:
October 26, 2012

Bob A, I have the Colt/Umarex Model-Gold Cup and love it. I am also thinking getting this new browning 1911-22. Sounds like it would be good practice for my Colt Govern. .380.

bugman dan wrote:
June 16, 2012

Went back out on the range today with my Browning 1911-.22. The more I shoot it the sweeter it gets. I'm amazed at how accurate this little tack driver is If you enjoy plinking this is the perfect gun for it

AJ wrote:
June 15, 2012

I shot my Browning 1911-22 today for the first time and here is the bottom line: I put close to 400 rounds of Federal 36 grain hollow points and not one failure to feed/eject/cycling problems/etc. Accuracy was the one aspect I was weary about before shooting it. I'm not generally a fan of standard 1911 sights, but the evidence put me at ease: at about 35 yards, two-handed/unsupported, I was consistently hitting the 10 and 9 rings of my paper targets (9 ring = 3 1/4" across and 10 ring = 1 9/16" across). Magazines are easy to load and function well. For a very light weight pistol, it has a solid feel when cycling through the action. One word of warning: because it is about 7/8th the size of a 1911 .45, be careful when you sling shot the slide to make ready. I caught the webbing of my hand in between the hammer and beavertail once or twice. I don't blame the weapon for this, I just have large hands and should have known better. Lastly, disassembling and reassembling is exactly like a 1911A1 (but easier because of the lighter spring). Many other 1911-22's have a fixed barrel attached to the receiver. Not the Browning, and I'm thankful for it. Overall an enjoyable, accurate, and properly functioning pistol that I will be enjoying for many years.

bugman dan wrote:
June 15, 2012

A little pricy but fun to shoot. So far, this little gem spits out everything its fed with no malfunctions.? (About a thousand rounds so far)

secret 2 be wrote:
April 23, 2012

just bought this little guy and have to say it is an absolute blast to shoot. great plinker and trainer as well as inexpensive solution to shooting a 45 cal for a couple hours. only complaint is that for the money...545 all in...it should have had AT LEAST another magazine with it. had to buy those form the browning site at about 45 per. i also customized it a bit too. took some plasti-dip black spray to the grips. it looks great and now has rubberized grips instead of the cheaper looking brown ones. seems to love just about any kind of ammo so far...but dont limp wrist it...the slide has a tendency to close upon last shot out of the mag with a not-so-tight grip. on the ammo front as well, the truncated cone style like the yellow jackets did produce 2 FTF's out of 200 put through it, but like i said, it ate everything else. good luck and enjoy!

Bob A wrote:
April 09, 2012

About that Chiapa .45/22, had one, didn't like it at all! Soft metal (zinc?) soft finish (easily scratched, marred). Feeding problems and ejection problems with cheap ammo. More reliable with CCI premium 40 grain bullet weight, but still, slide lock open after last shot from magazine was intermittent. Resold this pistol right away. Now using Kimber conversion kit, but will take a close look at the Umarex and Browning.

gb shooter wrote:
March 25, 2012

I just bought one and love it. Not sure what Dave meant about the poor finish; mine is super. Much, much better that the "Colt" ie: Umarex zinc-cast pistol...

Rudy wrote:
March 20, 2012

Purchased the gun and after firing three clips through it, the clip ejector button fell out. I've returned the gun to my dealer. Anyone else experience this problem

Ken wrote:
March 09, 2012

Great idea - but . . . Why build a .22 pistol WITH a terrible trigger and WITHOUT adjustable sights?

GWOT wrote:
February 14, 2012

My Colt Service ACE .22 LR is a full-size 1911, is all-steel, weighs about the same as my 1911 .38 Super, and the 2-piece chamber serves to replicate the recoil of a .45ACP (it really does to a great extent). Not the most accurate pistol, bur good enough for plinkingand sometimes a pain to clean due to the 2-piece chamber. It is best to use luballoy ammo as the cheaper ammo tends to dirty up the chamber making cleaning tougher.

jeff wrote:
February 12, 2012

Very reliable,a lot of fun to shoot

jeff wrote:
February 11, 2012

Very reliable,a lot of fun to shoot

Arizona Shorty wrote:
January 27, 2012

Regarding comments by "With3Kids", the Chiappa is made in Italy, not Dayton, Ohio. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as quite a few very nice weapons are made in Italy, especially replicas.

F-105 wrote:
January 20, 2012

In the American Riflemam, January 2012,there is an artical on Browning's Mini M1911-22. When I red the artical, I was reading about a gun i have had for 60 years. A Llama .22 semiautomatic. It is my opinion that the 1911-22 is an exact copy of my Llama .22, except the 1911-22 doesn't have the metal that mine has. I have never had another firearm as reliable as my Llama .22...

F150 wrote:
January 04, 2012

I purchased one today mainly for my wife to shoot and partly because I like the idea of a small version of the 1911. I will shoot it tomorrow for the first time. Accuracy is not a major concern for me since it will shoot much more accurately than I can aim. I'm 70 years old and can't hold it steady enough to group 2" at 25 yards so why blame the pistol.

jaypee wrote:
December 21, 2011

$600 is just 3 times more than it will be worth. My Star SS .380 wil shoot circles around this pee shooter.

With3Kids wrote:
November 22, 2011

Guy's come on do some research... Check out Chiappa Firearms Ltd. 1911-22 made right here in the U.S.A. (Dayton, OH ) By FAR the most cost effective solution to the subject at hand. God bless us all Semper phi

Rex wrote:
September 14, 2011

All those other 1911 .22s are full size. for me the appeal is that it's a true 80% 1911. No one else makes one. The only thing close was the Llama (RIP). There is no reason that a .22 has to be the same size as a .45 ACP, except for training. I have a full-size 1911 in .22 already. As good as a 1911 fits the hand, the scaled-down variants fit a bit better. try on a Golt 380 Govt or even a Star SS and see what I mean. So yes, I'll be buying one as soon as they hit the floor.

Jonathanmill wrote:
September 12, 2011

I just made this compensator for the 1911 .22 it is similar to the one on punisher. Let me know what you think. http://i1125.photobucket.com/albums/l595/jonathanmill/327694_2058428017883_1160103241_3069944_1779985179_o.jpg

Jim Cracken wrote:
September 06, 2011

Keep it at $600.00 that way Democrats cannot get them he he. Love mine shoots great.

deerhunter wrote:
July 28, 2011

what a terrific idea to make a 1911-22 dont have one yet but working for one

motermate wrote:
July 01, 2011

seems like the colt by walther is a better buy according to the write up by the 1911 org.check it out on the unamrex site

John Ciccone wrote:
June 28, 2011

Very disappointing. 8.5 Lb trigger, and 1 3/8 group at 20 yards...I conclude that this gun is a cheap way of exploiting the 100th anniversary of the 1911 pistol. For me to be interested in it, he question is, can the gun be accurized and can it be turned into a target gun of comparable accuracy and durability to the various editions of the Marvel conversions?

Les Sharf wrote:
June 23, 2011

I've been using a Marvel conversion for Bulls eye and training students for 4yrs. .75 gps. at 50yds.in a rest with CCI STD. Vel.ammo. A better way to go, a lot less $ if you own a 1911

James Dulin wrote:
June 17, 2011

$600??? One more less than impressive offering that is being sold for twice what it's worth because of the name. No thanks, I'm not a victim of "brand snobbery"

John P. wrote:
June 17, 2011

I have a number of Browning products, but when I wanted a 1911-22, I picked up an ATI GSG 1911-22. This sucker is fantastic. It has all the nice features, good trigger, beavertail, good sights and about 30-40 pcs are interchangeable with a real 1911! Tack on a reasonable price (way less than $600) and you are ready to go.

Gerald wrote:
June 16, 2011

Sure seems like adjusable sights should be standard or is a Gold Cup version on the way? I will consider buying when a GC is available.

Pat wrote:
June 15, 2011

hey, come down on the price and make it affordable. Thanks!!