If you are into plinking and recreational shooting, Chiappa Firearms has had for quite a while a pair of perfect choices for you: .22 rimfire derivatives of the Colt 1911 and the Beretta M92-FS, the most famous military pistols of the 20th Century
For a considerable portion of gun owners and shooters worldwide, a vast majority of their trigger time will consist in sessions of standard target shooting from a standing, static position, either indoors or outdoors. Other shooters may be more active, or dedicated to differend disciplines, but may sometimes feel the itch for some easier, recrational plinking; some others may want to keep a good trainer handy to introduce new generations of future shooters to the basics of marksmanship and safe handling of firearms.
For all the aforementioned needs, Chiappa Firearms has a perfect solution in the form of the M9-22 and 1911-22 semi-automatic pistols, almost perfect reproductions of a pair of two of the most famous modern service and defensive handguns – the Beretta M92-FS and the Colt M1911-A1, respectively – with the advantage of a rimfire chambering (.22 Long Rifle), making them perfect for training and for first-time shooters.
If you buy a new rimfire semi-automatic firearm and start witnessing stoppages or malfunctions the first time you bring it to the range, you don't need to rush to conclusions and blame the gun itself or the ammunition. Small-caliber firearms – .22 Long Rifle and other rimfires specifically – are more likely to experience various types of malfunctions easier than larger-bore firearms.
Aside from potential manufacturing defects – inadequate firing pin or return springs being the most common – generally speaking malfunctions on rimfire firearms can be attributed to two main causes, both of which can be solved by the user via proper maintenance and through the use of adequate products.
One of the potential causes consists in the protective chemicals applied to any and all firearms before they're boxed and shipped out. Should a firearm sit for too long before being sold and used, the protective chemicals could harden or create crystals, thus hindering the reloading cycle. Always thoroughly clean your new firearm, removing the original protective patina, before you bring it out to the range for the first time.
The other main cause for malfunctions on rimfire semi-automatic firearms can simply be chalked up to insufficient maintenance, wrong maintenance procedures, or total lack thereof: all firearms shall periodically be inspected and thorougly cleaned. How frequently that should be done, depends on the kind of firearm, on the caliber, and the number of rounds it has had through it so far, but definitely a thorough cleaning after each shooting session will set the stage for a more reliable operation the next time you bring it out.
Additionally, due to the low pressure levels generated by rimfire ammunition, semi-automatic firearms chambered in .22 Long Rifle are, once again, potentially prone to a higher level of malfunctions. That's particularly true with pistols, giving the slide mass, as dirt or dried lubricants could easily create issues and hinder proper cycling.
So, if you buy a new .22 Long Rifle semi-automatic pistol, clean it thoroughly before bringing it out to the range for the first time. Proper cleaning and maintenance of rimfire semi-automatic firearms is even more important than it is for centerfire firearms; and, when cleaning your rimfire, you are better off sticking to quality cleaning and maintenance products. There are so many around.
Introduced respectively in 2009 and 2012, at the onset of the "new course" that brought a thorough renovation to the Chiappa Firearms catalogue, the 1911-22 and M9-22 are simple straight blowback pistols whose differences from the centerfire models they were inspired by are due chiefly to the small caliber: most features and manufacturing features of the original centerfire versions would become redundant in their rimfire counterparts, particularly if those were to be affordable on the market.
Both the Chiappa 1911-22 and the M9-22 are mostly made out of lightweight alloy, with a great deal of injection molded components and some black painted steel parts – chiefly the barrels, which are fixed for both models. Some parts, such as the grip panels, are manufactured out of black polymer or walnut; both pistols feed through 10-rounds proprietary single-stack polymer magazines, not interchangeable among the two models.
Under almost all other aspects, the Chiappa Firearms M9-22 and 1911-22 pistols are basically identical to their centerfire counterparts, particularly in terms of handling, controls, and safeties: the field-stripping procedures for both models is identical to those of the centerfire pistols they replicate, and same goes for the safeties, with the M9-22 featuring a slide-mounted manual safety and decocking lever and the 1911-22 featuring a grip safety and a frame-mounted manual safety.
A key difference on the 1911-22 comes in form of an additional safety feature: a slot on the right side of the slide allows the pistol to be made inert through a factory-issued key for long-term storage or transportation.
The Chiappa Firearms M9-22 features a SA/DA trigger, while the 1911-22 features a classic single-action only trigger. Both models are available with a plethora of different fixed or adjustable dovetailed sights, including target sights or fiber-optic sights.
The Chiappa Firearms M9-22 pistol is available in two basic variants, with walnut or black polymer grips.
The Chiappa Firearms 1911-22 pistol is instead available in six variants: a Standard model with a 5" barrel; a Custom model with a Picatinny rail machined on to the frame, a metal magazine, a set of fiber-optic sights, a skeletonized hammer and trigger, and front and rear slide serrations; a Compact model, with a 4-inch barrel: a Target model, essentially a Coimpact with Custom model features such as adjustable sights and a railed frame; and the OD and Tan models, variants of the Standard model with an olive drab green or desert tan frame.
The Chiappa Firearms M9-22 and 1911-22 are quite enticing alternatives for those who are out for, essentially, nothing more and nothing less than basic leisure plinking instruments. The manufacturer's suggested retail price for both models ranges between 246 € and 388 € in Europe, and between $244.00 and $334.00 in the United States, depending on the variant.