EDIT 11/27/2010: From what I have gleaned from different internet sites, Colt originally had plans to market this pistol as the “Colt Cadet.” Another gun company claimed rights to the name “Cadet,” so Colt settled for the name “Colt .22 Automatic.” Strangely, I find more information on this pistol by searching “Colt Cadet” than I do by searching “Colt .22 Automatic,” including sources for replacement magazines.
This may be the Colt pistol that, someday, nobody will remember. Searching for it on the web today brings up very few hits. The usually rabid die-hard collectors of Colt handguns have yet to consider this pistol worthy of pursuit.
When this pistol was introduced in 1993 Colt’s marketing department seemingly put no effort into a name, simply calling it the Colt .22 Automatic. The upper portion of the pistol is stainless steel while the lower part is some sort of synthetic; some sources say it is a hard rubber made by Pachmayr. There were two variants of this pistol, both with 10-round magazines. From 1994 – 1998 the original design had fixed sights, a 4 ½’’ vented rib bull barrel, and weighed in around 33-ounces. Colt offered a target model from 1995 - 1999 with adjustable sights, a 6’’ vented rib bull barrel, and it weighed in at around 40-ounces; in 1995 this version was named "Handgun of the Year" by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. Both variants are decent shooters. Someone out there in the wide world of guns knows why Colt gave up on this pistol; so far, the truth has not been shared. It may simply be that big sales numbers never materialized.
Two things with this pistol were very bad ideas. The first major irritation is the location of the magazine release; it is on the right hand side, just above the trigger guard, exactly where I habitually put my trigger finger until I am on target. On occasion, I have accidently dropped the mag because of this. I would have preferred a butt mag release than to have it where it is on this pistol. The second major irritation is that Colt decided to make this pistol with mags similar too, but not quite like the magazines used by the Colt Woodsman. The Woodsman mags fit this pistol, but they will not actuate the slide stop. A minor problem with the mags made for this pistol is that the mag-spring doesn’t put enough oomph on the follower to lock in the slide-stop solidly after the last round. The slide does lock reliably, but the stop usually is barely in the slot; eventually this will wear the slide stop notch.
Everyone should have access to a good .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol; they are great for tuning up our shooting skills and they use ammo that most of us can still find and afford. Most of all, semi-auto .22 pistols are fun fun fun! If you are in the market for a good .22 semi-auto and you run across one of these, you may want to consider that, while it may take many thousand rounds of ammunition, eventually all guns have some part that will break. When a manufacturer quits making a given gun model, the parts that are available for repairs dwindles with each passing year. I don’t know if Colt still services this pistol or carries parts. If I keep shooting it as often as I do, someday I will find out for sure.
CLICK HERE for using Beretta Neos magazines in the Colt .22