Phoenix Arms HP22A .22 LR Compact Pistol Review

Phoenix Arms HP22A .22 LR Compact Pistol Review

How much does it take to get a decent .22 “plinker,” or whatever you’d like to call a .22 pistol for hunting fun in camp or on the trail? Can you get one for under $150? Or will you hold to spend many hundreds of dollars? The results may depend on your proposed use of the gun, but Tests limited the use to merely having low-cost fun with a semiauto handgun, the ground was laid for the current test.

Here’s what they said:

We came across a low-cost pistol at a local gun store, the Phoenix HP22A ($140 locally) & could not believe it would be any performer; our opinion is based mostly on its meager price.

Here’s what we found.

Phoenix HP22A .22 LR, $140
Inside the cardboard box, we found a compact, comfortable, beautiful little pistol with enough heft & size to give it a consistent feel. It came with a comprehensive owner’s manual, & because the actions of the gun were different from what we’re used to, our first step was to read that standard. Part of it bears repeating: “Do not put resources into this pistol… until you fully underst& all [its] functions….” We support all Phoenix buyers follow that advice not because the gun is dangerous, but because doing so will avoid frustration along the way.

The frame, slide & barrel housing of the single-action Phoenix is made of non-magnetic material, presumably zinc castings, but with steel inserts at appropriate locations, such as within the barrel, on the breech face, & where the slide presses against the hammer to cock it during ejection. Most internal parts are steel. Before you reject this gun out of hand, note that this is a similar concept to putting steel inserts into plastic guns, as done by Glock, Ruger hand, & a host of others. Is plastic stronger than zinc alloy?

The sight picture was perfect. The squared front blade was serrated or notched to cut glare, & the rear edge had adequate width to its notch to let the sights work well & quickly. A detented screw gave windage adjustment to the back blade. However, the gun was correctly sighted, & we moved the edge only to get a feel for how it worked. The finish was black paint, & the grip panels were checkered plastic. There was a vented rib on the top of the gun. The external hammer was simply cocked. The slide had good serrations that made it easy to operate.

There were what seemed to be two locks. However, the one on the slide, with its red dot, was only a firing-pin block. For maximum of our shooting, we put it into the firing position & ignored it. The real safety was at the top of the left grip panel & operated around normally. When it was in the Fire position, you could not push the phoenix hp22 magazine. Press it up to Safe, & the ten-round mag drops free. This safety switch could also be used to secure the slide back, though that didn’t happen when the magazine ran empty. With the switch in Safe, you could not rack the slide fully but could check the chamber quickly. Neither could you cock the hammer, nor drop it, with that button shoved upward. Once all the operations were fully understood, they all made perfect sense & became second nature to us. Our test shooters did not do any fumbling with the gun once its operations were all made clear. The instructions for the Phoenix recommended only st&ard-velocity ammunition. We wanted to follow that recommendation with one exception. We tested all three guns with three st&ard-velocity loads, Remington Rifle Target, Federal Match, CCI Pistol Match, & the high-velocity exception, Winchester Super-X Power Point hollow points.

On the range, we got it quite easy to load the first seven shots into the ten-round magazine, easier even than the Beretta. However, we had to work difficult to get in the last three rounds. In fact, we noticed a bit of wetness chambering the first round from a full magazine. We’d load only eight or nine shots if we owned the Phoenix, & our fingers would thank us. The Phoenix went right to work. The sights were on the money, & the little gun made decent groups dead center at 15 yards. In the course of our testing, the teams seemed to be getting smaller. The trigger pull was clean, reasonably light, & gave good control. The rounds all fed, clean from the start, just like they were supposed to. In all our limited testing we had no failures to feed, fire, or eject, other than becoming the help the slide go forward on occasion with ten rounds in the mag.Takedown was very easy, though reassembly was not quite so easy. The manual had first reassembly instructions. We had a harder time setting the Beretta back together.

Our Tests Report Card: With such a low price here, we anticipated many problems with this pistol. We had exactly none. We came to love the Phoenix. For only $140 locally priced, you get a compact, entirely accurate, well-fitted, adjustable-sighted (windage) pocketable, use little .22 auto that has a perfect trigger & some innovative features that got our attention. It has a lifetime warranty!

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