Let's talk .22 training pistols.  Until recently .22 ammunition was easy to get and not that expensive and I'm sure things will return to normal once supply catches up to demand so let's pretend it did for the purposes of this discussion.


.22's make awesome training weapons from first timers to the the experienced shooter.  With the noise and recoil so low they allow you to better concentrate on your fundamentals such as stance, grip, trigger control, and sight picture.  And lets face it, saving on ammo when 9mm's are approaching $20 for a box of 50 rounds (practice ammo) is a priority for most of us.


The manufacturers have recognized this need and brought new models to market to meet these needs.  Traditional .22's like the Ruger Mark II's and III's and the Browning Buckmark though wonderful weapons have fallen out of favor as consumers fancy models which more closely resemble their carry weapons.  Models such as the Ruger SR22, Sig Sauer Mosquito, and the Smith and Wesson MP .22 are popular examples.  They look, feel, are controlled the same as their center fire counterparts.  Some such as the S&W MP .22 even fit in the same holsters.  Great news right?


 

The manufacturers have recognized this need and brought new models to market to meet these needs.  Traditional .22's like the Ruger Mark II's and III's and the Browning Buckmark though wonderful weapons have fallen out of favor as consumers fancy models which more closely resemble their carry weapons.  Models such as the Ruger SR22, Sig Sauer Mosquito, and the Smith and Wesson MP .22 are popular examples.  They look, feel, are controlled the same as their center fire counterparts.  Some such as the S&W MP .22 even fit in the same holsters.  Great news right?

 




In most cases yes.  But keep in mind these pistols carry a heavy slide and the diminutive .22 long rifle just doesn't have any extra 'umppfff' to spare, so functioning issues can sometimes rear their ugly heads.  To circumvent such issues Ruger and SIg make their pistols 7/8's the normal size to try and have the best of both worlds.  S&W with their MP .22 came up with a winning combination which maintains the full size footprint through the use of high quality aluminum construction.


Because their use is so widespread with CCW and defensive gun use we'll do our best to keep track of the trends in these columns, and when something significant comes to our attention I'll talk about it.  Like now for instance.


 

Because their use is so widespread with CCW and defensive gun use we'll do our best to keep track of the trends in these columns, and when something significant comes to our attention I'll talk about it.  Like now for instance.

 




The other day student from one of last months classes contacted me with a request if I could repair his Sig Sauer Mosquito because he was experiencing many failures to feed (FTE) and failures to extract (FTE) severely limiting his enjoyment of his new mosquito.  I said I'd have a look at it.


The next day the both of us and his wife are standing in front of my bench as we look over his Mosquito,.  Immediately I can see it's really dirty, but unless this is a really finicky model that won't be it.  I broke it down and examination of the feed ramp revealed a 1/16th "ledge" providing a 'stumble' to the feeding round.  How much issue this would be would depend on the power of the round (speed of slide), ogive if the bullet head, hardness of the bullet head, and more.  But it could definitely be an issue.

I lightly polished the offending ramp but purposely didn't remove much metal or change the shape/angle of the ramp because in my experience it's easy to take metal off, and damn hard to put it back on.  So it's best to exercise caution and go slowly until you learn a new weapon.


That didn't work.  There was a 'slight' improvement but it wasn't fixed by any means.  Research revealed this was a VERY common issue with the Sig Mosquitos and there were many unhappy customers with a large vocabulary of swear words ready to tell anyone who would listen all about it.  Very unusual with Sig  I've carried at least three different Sig models on various duties where my life depended on it and until now had nothing bad to say about Sig's.


To be frank this Mosquito didn't appear to be made by Sig at all.  The fit and finish, horrid gritty and hard trigger pull, ultra soft metal (barrel and locking mechanism) and the rest wasn't up to park.  It reeked of some no name third world country manufacturer.   I actually felt insulted.  And bad for my student because it was his gun and I didn't want to rub it in.



When I'd had enough research I made my plan based on what I'd observed.  I need to slightly change the angle of the feed ramp, extend the ramp further into the chamber and past the 1/16th ledge, making the ledge "blend" from the ramp into the chamber.  and on the top of the chamber I needed to grind and polish a small relief in the event an errant feed made the tip of the round head skywards.


Look at the provided photos.  The first photo from left to right shows the ramp after the first cautious polishing.  Before it had several areas on it that would catch a nail, now it was smooth.  In the next photograph you can see how I slightly widened the ramp and blended it into the chamber, and in the next photography where I added the top relief.   This should do it!  But would it..



 

Look at the provided photos.  The first photo from left to right shows the ramp after the first cautious polishing.  Before it had several areas on it that would catch a nail, now it was smooth.  In the next photograph you can see how I slightly widened the ramp and blended it into the chamber, and in the next photography where I added the top relief.   This should do it!  But would it..

 




The next day we made a trip to the range armed with 10 odd types of ammo ranging from the good stuff (CCI) to the really bad stuff (Thunderbolts)that was 2-3 decades old.


Immediately I could feel a difference and I went ahead and installed the light spring Sig provides with the gun.  Sig provides two, one for fast high velocity loads and the other for slower velocity rounds.  I installed the light spring and function improved further.   With the students ammo FTF and FTE's never happened.  With my worst ammo I only had a single FTF.   Definite improvement!


But alas new issues presented themselves.  With the lower quality ammo we had several failures to fire.  The round would feed, it would extract if you manually manipulated the slide, but it didn't fire.   Until you pulled the trigger a second time, something you can do with a DA/SA fire control system. 


I suspect either the owner, or customers in the gun store, didn't know Sig recommends NOT pulling the trigger on an empty chamber, common knowledge for rimfire weapons.  Still, Sig provided a dry fire chamber insert with each Mosquito so an owner can take advantage of the very useful practice of dry firing.  I suspect the firing pin needs to be replaced along with the firing pin spring.   The customer will pick up his Mosquito and see what improvements have been realized before giving the go ahead.   A sound choice for sure.   It's possible further breaking in will smooth out the issues.


In summary I need to caution people NOT to purchase a Sig Mosquito until Sig works out these issues.  Buy a Ruger SR22 or a S&W MP.22 instead.  Our brace of MP .22's see very heavy duty use in our classes and are great.. I love them.


 

In summary I need to caution people NOT to purchase a Sig Mosquito until Sig works out these issues.  Buy a Ruger SR22 or a S&W MP.22 instead.  Our brace of MP .22's see very heavy duty use in our classes and are great.. I love them.

 

Until next time..