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Harwood Loomis
27th April 2021, 00:17
RIA Imports AL22M Revolver Review

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You asked ó RIA delivered

Reviewed for M1911.ORG by Harwood Loomis


Background

Revolvers are no longer the mainstream choice as a self-defense handgun, but they still do the job and there are still significant numbers of people who prefer revolvers over semi-automatics. And there are some people who, as a result of physical or medical conditions, simply find that a revolver is easier for them to handle and to shoot. Several years ago (2012), we reviewed a pair of very solid revolvers from Armscor, the M200 and M206 https://ezine.m1911.org/showthread.php?140-Armscor-M200-Series-Revolver-Review . We liked them, and we concluded that they were a genuine bargain.

That said, there were two things about the M200 series that needed to be addressed. On my part, especially knowing that the predecessor M100 series had included a .22 rimfire model, I was disappointed that the M200 series did not include a version in .22LR. Many readers who are fans of the .357 Magnum cartridge bemoaned the fact that the M200 series is only available in .38 Special. Unfortunately, the M200 chassis is simply too small to upsize to .357 Magnum, so that didnít seem to be in the cards. And things remained unchanged from 2012 until this year.

Armscor (Arms Corporation of the Philippines), under the Rock Island banner, recently created a new affiliate, RIA Imports. And RIA Imports has come out with a comprehensive line of revolvers that are manufactured for them in the Czech Republic. The new revolvers are in the RIA Imports AL series, which includes both stainless steel and blued models offered in .357 magnum, 9mm, .22LR, and .22WMR (Magnum). As soon as we learned of these new revolvers M1911.org signed up to test one. Our test gun actually arrived late in 2020 but, due to restrictions on shooting ranges in my state as a result of COVID-19, I didnít even get to see or handle the gun until late winter of 2021. Now that we have had an opportunity to see it, handle it, and shoot it, we can give you a report.


First looks

The AL22M comes in a plastic, clamshell type pistol case with an eggcrate foam interior for protection. Since it is a revolver, there is no magazine to worry about.


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Workmanship appears to be very good. The exterior surfaces are uniform in machining and in finish. The side plate on the right-hand side is tightly fitted, with no gaps or any indications is misalignment.


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Details, details

Because I have a soft spot in my heart (some people say itís in my head) for the .22 Magnum cartridge, I asked for a test sample of the AL22M revolver, and thatís what we received. Armscor was also kind enough to send us 100 rounds of their .22 Magnum ammunition to use in the testing, which was a tremendous help at a time when ammunition can be difficult to find at any price. The revolver we received for testing was one of the stainless steel models, with molded hard rubber grips. Itís not a small gun. It appears that all the AL series revolvers are built on the same chassis, from the .357 Magnum right down to the .22LR, so the chassis is built like a tank and is probably overkill even for the .22 Magnum cartridge.

The AL22M comes with a 4-inch barrel, an adjustable rear sight, a front sight with a small fiber optic insert, and a fully shrouded barrel with a full-length rib on the top. (No, itís not a vented rib like a Colt Python or Diamondback, but I guess you canít have everything.) In the AL22M the cylinder has a capacity of 8 rounds; the .22LR version holds 9 rounds. The AL22M weighs 2.42 pounds (39 ounces, or 1.1 kgs.). The finish is a matte stainless treatment all over, appearing to be some sort of bead-blasted application rather than a brushed finish.


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Mechanically, the AL series take a different direction than the older Armscor M200 series. The M200 series cylinders rotate clockwise and the cylinder release pulls back to release, like the Colt Police Positive and Detective Special. The AL22M cylinder rotates counter-clockwise and the cylinder release pushes forward, like Smith & Wesson revolvers. Lockup on the test gun was tight, with almost no end shake. The specifications on the Armscor web site list the trigger pull as 4 to 6.5 pounds in single action mode, and 11.5 to 13 pounds in double action. Tested with an RCBS analog trigger pull scale, the trigger pull on our test gun measured 4.25 pounds in single action. The RCBS scale only goes up to 8 pounds and the double action pull was off the scale, but my best guess is that it was probably around 12 pounds, which would be within the published specifications. The single action trigger is very close to my M200 and M206 revolvers, and the double action trigger is just a bit heavier.


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The action exposed


Live Fire

For testing, I have found that the targets Chris offers for sale at the range donít work well for me. This is because he favors targets with colored centers, and I have fairly severe red-green weak color vision. (In other words, Iím basically color blind.) Consequently, I have begun bringing my own targets. For this test I came up with some NRA official 50-foot timed and rapid fire competition targets. Since the targets are intended to be shot at a distance of 50 feet and the range as a row of lights at the 50-foot mark Ö this test was shot at a distance of 50 feet. In addition to the ammunition provided by Armscor with the test gun, I was also able to find on my shelves partial boxes of CCI MaxiMag +V HP, Winchester Dynapoint 40-grain HP, and Fiocchi 40-grain TMJ. I would have preferred to have one or two more brands or types of ammunition but, under todayís conditions, I considered myself fortunate to be able to bring four choices to the range for testing.

Although the capacity is 8 rounds, for the accuracy testing we fired groups of 5 rounds each. Shooting was from a seated position, firing off an MTM pistol rest.


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The results:


RIA Imports AL22M Accuracy
Ammo Avg. Group (inches) Avg. Group (mm) Best Group (inches) Best Group (mm)
Winchester Dynapoint 40-gr HP
2.00"
51
2.00"
51

CCI MaxiMag +V HP
2.13"
54
1.75"
44

Fiocchi 40-gr TMJ
1.75"
44
1.50"
38

Armscor 40-gr HP
1.69"
43
1.50"
38



All accuracy testing was fired in single action mode. We found that the sights were properly regulated and the AL22M shot to point of aim with all four ammunition types we had available to us. We found that the trigger was very clean, with no perceptible creep or grittiness. All the chambers seemed tight, but not overly tight. There were no problems in either loading or extracting.

We also did some freehand (two handed) shooting from a standing position in double action mode. Although the double action trigger was heavy, it was consistent and didnít exhibit significant stacking. This round of testing involved several cylinders. When I started out, I had no problem keeping everything in the 5.5-inch black of an NRA 25-yard timed pistol target. As I progressed, I tried to speed up my shooting and the result was that my group opened up and moved to the left and down, which means that I was ďpullingĒ the trigger. Thatís not a firearm problem; thatís what happens with a shooter who doesnít train much with a double action revolver in rapid fire.


The Bottom Line

After putting the RIA Imports AL22M through its paces, I was impressed. The action was smooth and it shot to point of aim with all the ammunition I ran through it. Although I could wish that the double action trigger was a bit lighter, the reality is that itís not much different from most other double action revolvers straight out of the box. More shooting it might lighten it some, and some judicious stoning and polishing of internal parts might also make a difference. Even without the benefit of any gunsmithing, the AL22M felt good when I was shooting it. Having seen, handled, and shot the .22 Magnum version, I would very much like to have an opportunity to work with the 9mm or .357 Magnum version for awhile.


Acknowledgments

Our thanks to Armscor for the opportunity to review this pistol, and for providing much of the ammunition expended in our testing.

As always, we want to acknowledge Chris Dogolo, owner of Chrisí Indoor Shooting Range, for his unfailing support and assistance in allowing us to conduct our testing at his range.


Please go to this thread on the M1911 Pistols Organization discussion forum to discuss this pistol and this review: https://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?111891-Review-of-RIA-Imports-AL22M-revolver&p=1007452#post1007452

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Specifications


Armscor AL22M
Caliber .22 Magnum
Height 4.09" (104 mm)
Width 1.46" (37 mm)
Length 9.57" (243 mm)
Barrel Length 4" (102 mm)
Weight (empty) 2.42 lbs. (1.1 kg)
Sights Adjustable rear, front fixed blade
Sight Radius 6.6 inches / 168 mm
Capacity 8 rounds
Grips Molded hard rubber
Finish Stainless steel
MSRP As tested - AL22M - $799
. . . .22 Mag (Blued) - AL22MB - $589
, , , 9mm - AL9.0 (92318) - $599
. . . .357 Mag (Blued) - AL3.0 (3520B) - $599
. . . .357 Mag (SS) - AL3.1 (3520S) - $749
. . . .22 LR (Blued) - AL22B - $549
. . . .22 Mag (SS) - AL22 - $749



Sources

Pistol

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Armscor International, Inc.
150 North Smart Way
Pahrump, NV 89060
USA
Tel: 1-702-461-9469
Web site: http://www.armscor.com


Range Facilities

http://www.chrisindoorrange.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/.pond/range.jpg.w300h225.jpg
Chrisí Indoor Shooting Range
2458 Boston Post Road
Guilford, CT 06437
Tel: 203-453-1570
E-mail: chrisgunshop@aol.com
Web: http://www.chrisindoorrange.net/index.html