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HP25A Review

Not a family heirloom because it won't last that long. But at $150, what do you expect? It shoots straight and easy and is a fun plinker. Definitely not a self-defense gun, and not just because of the light caliber--you just can't depend on it to feed or eject ammo reliably. I've had mine about 6 years and have been tempted to crush it many times. The little pistol requires a lot of "fluff and buff" on a regular basis to make it shoot reliably. The feed ramp gets scored easy and bullets hang up on it, which requires you to file it down lightly with a small round file and polish it smooth again. Eventually it'll be too worn to file any more. It doesn't always eject reliably and you get "stovepipe" jams. The metal around the top of the magazine well CRACKS! It's about as thick and strong as the skin of a soda can. On the other hand, it doesn't appear to have any structural significance and the gun still shoots if you cut out the cracked metal. Supposedly you can take the pistol apart without any tools, but the finger-operated release is so tight that I've never been able to do it without a tool. Then the return spring doesn't have a rod or anything else to hold it in place once you take the barrel off, so unless you're careful, it goes flying out, never to be found again (lock the slide back first before you remove the barrel). Get some spare springs (Phoenix Arms will send some in the mail for free if you lose [or say you lost] yours). Putting it back together without losing or bending the spring is an art form. Then there's the silly double safety that makes routine operations extremely frustrating. There's a magazine safety and a hammer safety. The magazine safety is redundant and easily bypassed.
So, if you want a good reliable .22 semi-auto, don't get this one. If you've only got $150 (or less sometimes) to spend, just be prepared to do some work on it. That's not necessarily a bad thing--you learn how to deal with jams (a valuable skill) and how to do some basic gunsmithing (also a valuable skill).

UPDATE: I finally gave in and sent this little pistol back to Phoenix Arms. They sent me a brand new HP-22A. I had to pay shipping back to California (less than $12) and they paid the shipping back to me. Turn-around was about 14 days. The new pistol shoots beautifully and reminds me why I liked it in the first place.