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Ruger Wrangler .22 LR Revolver: Best Gun To Teach New Shooters? [Review]


It seems like every new gun out there only exists in hopes of being the next big thing. The next military-issued, high-speed, low-drag, world-champion, tip-of-the-spear, can’t lose gun. Yet still, most of us learned to shoot on the humble .22 LR.

The Ruger Wrangler isn’t here to win championships, win battles, or get adopted by the FBI. Instead, this is a simple .22 LR that does everything it can really well, while not costing you a fortune. 


  • Grips: Checkered Synthetic
  • Front Sight: Blade
  • Rear Sight: Integral
  • Barrel Length: 4.62″
  • Overall Length: 10.25″
  • Weight: 30 oz.
  • Capacity: 6
  • Cylinder Frame Finish: Cerakote, multiple options
  • Cylinder Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Twist: 1:14″ RH 
  • Available in CA: Yes
  • Available in MA: Yes
  • Available in MN: No
  • Suggested Retail: $269.00


You might not think that features on a single-action-army-style .22 LR pistol are important, and maybe they aren’t. But they are nice to have.

First off, the transfer bar safety. To make this safe to carry and use with a full cylinder of rounds, the hammer has a transfer bar that rises only when the trigger is pulled, and the hammer cocked.

Just before the hammer falls, the transfer bar slips into place. The hammer hits the bar, the bar transfers the energy to the firing pin, and the pin strikes the cartridge rim.

This system keeps the Wrangler safe from drops or blows to the hammer.

A cold hammer-forged barrel is actually the same type used in the much more expensive Ruger Single-Six. To keep costs down, Ruger uses the same barrel in both to simplify manufacturing. 

Awesome barrel, lower cost, what’s not to love?

That’s Not A Feature, It’s A Bug 

Two bad things about the Wrangler: fixed sights and a low melting point.

The fixed sights are… okay-ish. They aren’t target sights, and you can’t upgrade them, but they are good enough not to be terrible. They are a little hard to pick up, but once you get used to them they aren’t the end of the world. They do fit the classic theme of the Wrangler, and I’m sure they help keep the MSRP down.

Secondly, the Wrangler has a low melting point. That doesn’t really matter for most people since the melting point is still way, way higher than you’ll ever get it. But if you live in a somewhere that has a “melting-point law” the Wrangler is prohibited in those states.

If you’re not sure what that law means, you likely don’t live in a state that has it. If you’re just wondering, it was a way for states to attempt to ban super-scary crime guns. Ultra-cheap pistols that were super inexpensive and often used in crime. Since they were commonly made from lower-tier aluminum or zinc, they had low melting points. Wrap them up with some “think of the children” safety talk, and politicians were able to pass laws requiring guns to have higher melting points. 

No, it did not lower crime rates.


I love this gun. It doesn’t cost much, it’s fun, and it’s super reliable. I actually own two of them, one has seen about 300 rounds, and the other over 1,000 rounds. 

I don’t take them out as often as I should, but they are always with me when I shoot with friends. 

They are accurate enough. The sights aren’t really helpful for fine accuracy, but the gun itself does okay. I can hit soda cans at 25 yards pretty regularly. You need to aim high, but otherwise, it’s not hard to get on target.

Where the Wrangler shines is at about 10 yards. I love to set up small steel targets designed for .22 LR and just plink away, often while I’m waiting for my long guns to cool. 


If you’ve ever tried to teach someone new to shooting how to shoot, you may have run into the problem that, for a lot of people – guns are a little scary. Maybe it’s the loud noise, the recoil, the overpressure, or the smell, but a first-timer’s first-time shooting can start off intimidating. 

Or maybe that intimidation is what prevents someone interested in guns from actually trying them.

Either way, a .22 LR single-action revolver is one of the best ways of introducing someone to firearms. The ammo is cheap, so you can afford their range trip. .22 LR doesn’t have a ton of noise, almost zero recoil, and no abrasive concussion in the air. 

And my favorite feature: single-action revolvers are extra safe for a new shooter. In my experience, a new shooter might double-tap on a semi-auto because they aren’t expecting the trigger pull to be what it is. Or worse, the recoil and their poor form will cause a double-tap. That can’t happen when you have to cock the hammer between shots.

The Wrangler’s transfer bar safety also gives me a lot of peace of mind that if a new shooter drops it, it won’t go off.

Plus, the Wrangler is cheap enough that almost anyone that ends up wanting one of their own can afford it.

Bottom line, when I teach a new shooter – I always bring my Wrangler.


Not every single gun ever made needs to be 100-percent practical, captain kill joy!

Really though, the Wrangler does have some good uses. See above about teaching new shooters. From friends and family to kids and strangers, the Wrangler is a great first-timer gun.

If you got a rabbit or rat problem, this could be your problem solver.

While I wouldn’t recommend this as a self or home-defense gun, there are worse options on the market. For what it is worth, I’ve used Federal .22 LR self-defense ammo in my Wrangler, and it runs well. I still wouldn’t recommend it.

Beyond that, it’s just really fun. It’s an inexpensive, fun, range gun. And that’s a practical application in my book.


The Wrangler isn’t the prettiest gun ever made. It’s no collector’s item. There is no grand battle it fought in or famous person that owned one (except me, of course). What it is is a simple gun that runs, is safe, fun, and accessible to own.

While there are some upgrades I would like to make to it, it is perfect for what it is.

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