Browning 1911-22 A1 Semi-Automatic 22 Long Rifle Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

March 25th, 2012



Click pictures for a larger version.





1911-22 comes with a zippered, padded pistol rug...



...detailed instruction manual and certificate of authenticity...



...and cable lock.



Checkered brown plastic grips.



Top to bottom: magazine release, thumb safety, spur hammer, grip safety, slide lock.



Ten-shot steel magazine.



Accuracy was very good with all ammo tested.



The 1911-22 even fed cartridges with the bullets modified using Paco Kelly's AccuRZR bullet tool.



The only failure of any kind was this dud cartridge that would not fire after repeated strikes upon its rim.



Browning got it right. There are other 1911-style pistols on the market that are made to shoot the 22 Long Rifle cartridge, but Browning has done something different; they scaled the little 1911-22 to fit the cartridge. Smaller in every dimension than a full-sized centerfire 1911, the little Browning is a delightful little pistol.

Browning also did the design right. Instead of just making a blowback pistol that mimicked the exterior aesthetics of a 1911, Browning built this little jewel to operate, handle, and disassemble just like a true 1911. Built to accommodate the 22 LR cartridge, it does not use the Browning Short Recoil lockup, being a blowback operation, but the barrel is not attached to the frame. The 1911-22 uses the slide lock to hold the barrel in place, just like on a true 1911 centerfire pistol. There is also a removable barrel bushing, and recoil spring plug. The muzzle is slightly flared to fit the bushing consistently, shot after shot. The mainspring housing is arched, and the 1911-22 uses a curved trigger with a trigger bow that surrounds the magazine inside the mag well, just as it should. The grip safety is also true 1911 style, as is the magazine release and thumb safety. The aluminum frame and slide are finished in a matte black, and the grips are checked brown plastic. This pistol looks for all the world like a shrunken 1911. Browning got it right.

Inside, there is a steel insert in the slide to house the firing pin and extractor. The ejector is also 1911 style, pinned to the frame right where it should be. The extractor is not external, but is fully contained within the steel slide insert. This is good, as an external extractor on a rimfire pistol could cause an accidental discharge if the pistol was dropped onto a hard surface against the extractor. The sights are true GI style, scaled down to fit, with the front staked in and the rear set into a dovetail.

The pistol has an overall matte black exterior, with the barrel hood being left in its natural stainless steel finish. The ten-shot magazine is made of blued steel, and the 1911-22 does include a magazine safety, to prevent the trigger from being pulled with the magazine removed. The 1911-22 pistol came packed in a really good-looking and functional padded cloth pistol rug, adorned with leather accents that are embossed with a replica of John Browning’s signature, and a commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the legendary 1911 pistol. Also included is a certificate of authenticity, instruction manual, and other literature.

Critical specifications for the Browning 1911-22 A1 are listed in the chart below. The weight is listed in ounces, and linear measurements in inches. Weight includes an empty magazine. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest parts. The maximum width is measured across the grips. The height includes the sights and magazine base. The trigger pull on the 1911-22 is single action, with a crisp release. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance, as measured on my Lyman digital trigger scale.

Weight 15.5 oz.
Height 4.6"
Length 7.3"
Slide Width 0.784"
Maximum Grip Width 1.1"
Frame Width 0.65"
Maximum Width 1.1"
Trigger Pull 5.06 lbs.
Trigger Reach 2.14"
Barrel Length 4.31"
Magazine Capacity 10
Magazines Supplied 1

I tested the little Browning 1911-22 A1 pistol with several brands of 22 Long Rifle ammunition for velocity and function. The velocity 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 66 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the fifty-nine percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the 1911-22 pistol. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Bulk HP 36 982
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 938
PMC Match Solid 40 940
Wolf Match Solid 40 948
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 1081
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 1022
CCI Velocitor HP 40 999
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 1132
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 1037
American Eagle HP 36 971
PMC Zapper HP 38 1034
Winchester XPert HP 36 1038
Hansen Solid 40 931
Remington Bulk Solid 37 995
CCI Blazer Solid 40 996
CCI Stinger HP 32 1165

Accuracy was very good, with all ammo tested grouping between one and one-quarter and two and three-quarters (1.25 to 2.75) inches at twenty-five yards, with the pistol secured into my Ransom Master Series machine rest. Ransom has no insert for the little Browning yet, but I modified another insert to fit the 1911-22, to better ascertain the pistol’s accuracy than I could do hand-held, given the pistol’s small sights. The trigger pull was pretty much typical 1911, breaking consistently at just over five pounds. I have read complaints of a heavy trigger and crude castings in the American Rifleman review from about nine months ago, but this production pistol is well-finished with a decent trigger pull. There are no visible casting marks at all, and the black anodized finish looks great.

The little Browning feels very good in my hand. I love the size and feel of this little pistol. It is just right for a 22 pistol. Being left-handed, I would love to have an ambidextrous safety, but for a right-handed shooter, that is not a concern. The slide locks open on an empty magazine, and the magazine ejects briskly upon pushing the release. Perfect.

Functioning of the Browning 1911-22 A1 pistol was flawless. During firing hundreds of rounds of various 22 LR ammunition, the only malfunction was one dud cartridge, which apparently had no priming mixture in the rim. It was certainly no fault of the pistol, as it did its part by putting a solid hit upon the rim with its firing pin, repeatedly. Every other round fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. The magazine was easy to load, using the buttons on the side of the follower. The magazine holds ten rounds, for a loaded capacity of eleven total. The slide lock performs exactly like that on a full-sized 1911, locking the slide open on an empty magazine, and releasing the slide to go forward after a loaded magazine is inserted into the magazine well.

The American Rifleman review was also critical of the Browning’s price. The suggested retail price as of this writing is $599 US, which is more than some 22 caliber pistols, but is not very much more than the Buckmark line of Browning rimfire pistols. Also keep in mind that this is pistol is a Browning, and is as close to a true miniature 1911 as has ever been built. Browning certainly could have cut some corners and produced a cheaper pistol, but then it would not be the pistol that it is. Looking at the price of anything these days that is purchased with the dollar, I don’t think that this little Browning is overpriced at all. If someone wants a cheaper pistol, they are certainly available, but for a reliable little rimfire 1911 that is made in the USA, this Browning is a dandy little pistol, and I highly recommend it. The only problem that I have concerning this Browning 1911-22 A1 pistol is that everyone who has seen it, wants it, and they are trying to take it from me. At I stated at the beginning of this review, Browning got it right.

Check out the entire line of Browning firearms and other products online at

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To order quality rimfire ammunition at a good price, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Browning 1911-22 compared to full-sized 1911 to show scale.







Sights are original 1911 style.





Disassembly procedure is pretty much identical to a full-sized centerfire 1911.