Colt Government Model 1911 22 Long Rifle Semi-Automatic Pistol from Umarex USA


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 11th, 2011


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Colt Government Model 1911 22 Long Rifle pistol.



Controls are familiar in function and location to users of the 1911 pistol (top to bottom): slide lock, magazine release, thumb safety, grip safety.



Accuracy was very good with most ammunition tested.






The 1911 auto pistol is more popular today than at any time in its one hundred year history, and for good reason. The 1911 design is solid, reliable, ergonomic, and easy for most people to learn to shoot very well, very quickly. For at least half of its lifetime, 22 Long Rifle conversion units have been available for the 1911, to allow shooters the look, heft, and feel of a centerfire 1911, but using the much less expensive 22 Long Rifle ammunition. Another advantage to shooting the 22 LR cartridge from a 1911 is that it makes for an excellent trainer, to get to know the operation and feel of the 1911, with hardly any felt recoil at all. Besides the 22 conversion units that are now available for the 1911, there are also a few dedicated 22 LR pistols on the market of 1911 design, and one of the best is this Colt-branded Government Model from Umarex featured here.

The Colt Government Model 22 is built by Carl Walther in Germany, and imported into the US by Umarex USA of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Umarex imports quite a few different 22 caliber replicas, including several variants of the AR-15, along with a line of air guns.

The Government Model 22 is blowback operated, having the barrel rigidly attached to the frame. Like the centerfire 1911, the Colt Government Model 22 has a thumb safety, grip safety, magazine release, and slide lock that operate just like the centerfire 1911. This makes this Colt 22 particularly a great trainer or understudy to the centerfire 1911, as it has the same solid feel of its big brother, with a crisp trigger pull, identical trigger reach, and the same manual-of-arms as the centerfire 1911.

The Umarex Colt is finished in an overall matte black, and has a long 1911 style trigger, but with some 1911-A1 features as well. The front and rear sights are dovetailed into the frame, to allow for windage adjustment, and many aftermarket sights are available, should a different style than the plain black sights be desired. Like the centerfire 1911, the slide locks open on an empty magazine. The Colt 1911 22 magazine holds twelve rounds of 22 LR ammunition. The thumb safety is on the left side for right-handed use, and the grip safety works just like on a standard 1911. The slide lock is also identical in operation to the centerfire 1911, as is the magazine release, so operating this 22 LR Colt will be familiar to anyone who knows how to run a centerfire 1911. Only the disassembly procedure is different, due to the fixed-position barrel of the blowback design.

Critical specifications for the Umarex Colt 22 are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements in inches. The weight includes an empty magazine. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest points. The maximum width is measured across the grip panels. The height includes the sights and magazine base. The single action pull is very crisp but on the heavy side, with a smooth release and no overtravel. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance.

Weight 32.01 oz.
Height 5.4"
Length 8.6"
Slide Width 0.91"
Maximum Grip Width 1.26"
Frame Width 0.762"
Maximum Width 1.26"
Trigger Pull 6.4 lbs.
Trigger Reach 2.73"
Barrel Length 5.03"
Magazine Capacity 12
Magazines Supplied 1

I tested the Colt 22 with several brands of ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the 76 percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the Colt. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Bulk HP 36 997
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 967
PMC Match Solid 40 803
Wolf Match Solid 40 811
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 993
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 998
CCI Velocitor HP 40 1125
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 1158
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 1050
American Eagle HP 36 822
PMC Zapper HP 38 901

Functioning of the Colt 22 was very good, with all high-velocity ammunition tested running perfectly. Only with low-velocity target ammo did the Colt bobble. That ammo just does not have enough power to reliably cycle the slide. However, with most ammo, even the cheap bulk Federal ammo from Wal-Mart, as well as everything from CCI and Remington that I tried, worked perfectly. The PMC Match ammo worked perfectly also.

Accuracy was excellent with most loads tested, with five-shot groups running between one and one-quarter to two and one-half inches at twenty-five yards, fired from my Ransom Master Series machine rest. With the PMC Match ammo, accuracy was outstanding, with the Colt 22 grouping five shots into less than one-half inch, every time. The CCI Mini-Mag HP and the Winchester Dynapoints did very well also, and would be a better choice for hunting than would the PMC load.

The Colt 22 proved to be accurate, reliable, and a lot of fun to shoot, replicating the feel and function of a centerfire 1911, without the recoil. It also cost a lot less to buy, and a lot less to shoot.

Check out the Colt 22 online at

For the location of a Umarex dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the Colt Government Model 22 online, go to

To order quality 22 ammo at good prices, go to

Jeff Quinn

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You can shoot at least ten 22 Long Rifle cartridges for the price of one 45 ACP cartridge.







Fixed barrel is secured with wrench.





Twelve-shot magazine.