Why the K-22?
Could you please enlighten me as to what makes the K-22 so special? All I see - in my ignorance, no doubt - is a terribly overpriced .22 revolver."
Well, at one time, I would have asked the same question. I was shooting 9mm wonder guns back then, and had an aversion for any rotisserie guns. They were old man specials, and I eschewed them with relish.
Then, one day at a gun show, I purchased a Smith & Wesson Model 49. The barrier was broken. Before I knew what had me, I trawling pawn shops for more polished, blued, pinned & recessed Smith & Wesson iron. Being able to pick up a hand fitted revolver for under $200 made these guns as irresistible to me as pork chops to a bull terrier.
A gun is worthless if you cannot reliably hit what you are shooting at. Marksmanship is founded on trigger control and sight alignment. Being able to hold one's sights on target while pulling back a revolver's double action trigger to the point of sear release is a marksmanship skill that is the epitome of trigger control. Shooting a .357 magnum or .38 special revolver well in double action is the zenith of handgun marksmanship. Many simply toss in the towel and claim it is a skill that cannot be mastered by mortals. Analyzing the problem however, reveals the trouble is not the inherent accuracy of the gun, but the shooter's inability to harness that accuracy. The act of pulling the double action trigger often pulls the sights out of alignment.
So, how does one correct this? By training the hands. Muscle memory is built by many many trigger pulls. Of course, dry firing can provide that benefit, right? It does, but with one exception......dry firing only yields subjective feedback to the shooter. Shooting a .22 pistol at a target yields solid undeniable feedback, and in so doing, gives faster results towards building skills. I use a .22 pistol to build trigger skills on semi autos. The double action revolver trigger is significantly different from a .22 pistol though. So, why not a S&W revolver to build trigger skills for the K frame?
The Smith & Wesson revolver trigger is unique. It's long, firm double action pull demands dedication and diligence to master, then regular shooting to maintain proficiency. A Smith & Wesson revolver has the ability to shoot one hole groups double action IF the shooter is up to the task. One thing is almost certain, if a man can shoot a double action revolver well, he will shoot almost any handgun well.
The Smith & Wesson K-22 has exactly the same feel and trigger pull as a K frame .38 special, or a K frame .357magnum. Thus, a shooter can train on the double action S&W trigger while shooting ammo that is very inexpensive, often shooting until they are exhausted.
So, what is that kind of trigger control worth to you? $500? $350? To build the skill, you can shoot thousands of rounds of .38 special. The cheapest .38 special I can find is about $16 per 100 rounds, thus $500 buys roughly three thousand rounds of training. The other alternative is to use that same $500 to buy another gun, with the same trigger, weight and feel, that shoots a less expensive caliber. If you find a decent used gun for $350 (my price limit) the $150 difference buys 7500 rounds of .22LR ammo. Thus, $500 can buy 3000 shots from your .38 special revolver, or $500 can buy another gun, with the same trigger, and 7500 shots through it. Which is the better investment towards building skills? Is the K-22 overpriced?
The K-22 and the Model 17 command a princely sum on the open market because they are desirable guns. That is why shooters desire them. The price is what the market will bear.