Browning 1911-22 A1 (.22 LR) Pistol

By Randy Wakeman

Browning 1911-22 A1 (.22 LR) Pistol
Photo by Randy Wakeman.

One of the big hits of the 2011 Shot Show was Browning's .22 Long Rifle version of the Model 1911 pistol, released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1911 pistol. On March 18, 2011, the state of Utah adopted the M1911 pistol as the "official firearm of Utah."


Following the flawed 1904 Thompson-LaGarde handgun cartridge effectiveness tests, Colonel John T. Thompson stated that the new pistol "should not be of less than .45 caliber" and would preferably be semi-automatic in operation. This led to the 1906 trials of pistols from six different firearms manufacturing companies. In the end, it was decided during a series of field tests from 1907-1911 that the Browning designed Colt offering was the winner.


The Colt pistol was formally adopted by the Army on March 29, 1911, as the M1911, and was adopted by the Navy and Marine Corps in 1913. The rest is history, tradition and patriotism, spiced with a touch of nostalgia for good measure. The specifications of the new Browning rimfire homage to the Model 1911 are as follows.


        Model 1911-22 A1

        Item Number - 051802490

        UPC - 023614072003

        Caliber - 22 LR

        Magazine Capacity - 10

        Barrel Length - 4 1/4"

        Nominal Overall Length - 7 1/16"

        Frame - Alloy, Matte blued finish

        Slide - Machined aluminum, Matte blued finish

        Barrel - Stainless steel, Matte blued finish, Target Crown

        Operation - Blowback

        Trigger - Single-action

        Grips - Brown composite

        Sights - Fixed

        Safeties - Thumb, Grip

        2011 MSRP - $600


The new Browning is scaled to eighty-five percent of the full-size 1911. It is made in Utah, USA and the MSRP is $600. It is nicely presented, with a plush lockable soft case and a single 10-round magazine.


Most of my test shooting was with Federal American Eagle cartridges. I had no failures to feed or fire and the ejection was positive and robust. There isn't much not to like about this downsized 1911 pistol. The 1911-22 is exactly what Browning promised it would be.


My only quibble isn't functional. It is that it would have been more generous to include a second ten round magazine with the pistol. Every autoloader should be shipped with at least two magazines.


I found the magazine design interesting. The top few rounds are staggered, while the lowermost cartridges are single-stack. Ostensibly, this was done to achieve a (politically correct) ten round capacity while retaining the eighty-five percent scaling of the pistol. It's clever design and it works like a charm. Too bad Browning didn't see fit to increase the magazine capacity by staggering all of the cartridges.


The 1911-22 A1 looks great, feels great in the hand and functions perfectly. Browning should have no problem selling as many of these as they can make. If you are interested in the 1911 platform, you will have to buy one. The Browning 1911-22 strikes me as a fun pistol that should find general favor for plinking and pest control. It should also be a big hit with firearm instructors.

Note: A complete review of the Browning 1911-22 A1 pistol can be found on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2012, 2015 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.