This review is to cover the pro’s and con’s of the S&W 317 Air-lite 22 revolver. The thing weighs less than 11 oz, it holds 8 rounds, the trigger is a bit heavy double action and not what you’d expect from a Smith 357 in the single action either. A bit rough and heavy. It also has an aluminum alloy frame with a 1 7/8 inch barrel and NON adjustable sites. The sites are part of the frame and NOT removable or replaceable that I can see anyway.
The good: It’s light and easy to carry and the finish is tough and durable. It goes bang every time you pull the trigger, no light strike misfires common in some rim-fires. The grip is small and excellent for smaller handed people. This is an ok choice when you take a new shooter to the range, it’s not intimidating, it’s light and recoil free as well as simple. Just pull the trigger. It would make a decent little trail/snake gun for trappers or trail walkers, NOT with big, mean animals obviously, it’s a 22. I would never choose it myself but for a close range, totally panic proof defense gun for say my Mom or Gram?? Yes, I would feel fine handing this over loaded with something fast like CCI stingers or Aguila Super Maximum. Yes, the 317 Airlite is a .22 but I don’t want to get shot with it.
The not so good: I won’t say bad, nothing really wrong with it, it’s just if you are going to buy this make sure it’s for the right reason. I talked in the last paragraph what it might be good for. This is what it’s NOT good for. It’s NOT a target gun, the sights leave a lot to be desired and are not replaceable. It does not have the smoothest target trigger either. The barrel is short for that anyway. It does NOT shoot point of aim with any of the numerous ammo I have tried, sights being what they are at 20 yards it’s “Kentucky windage” all the way. It costs WAY too much for what you get, I think that is my biggest complaint, for over 5 bills and it won’t shoot point of aim past 10 yards?? C’mon, at least put some adjustable sites on it. I was disappointed about that.
So to wrap up: Does it work 100%? Yes, mine has definitely. Tough and well made? For sure. Is it my first choice in 22’s? Absolutely not. Again nothing really wrong with it, not like it’s broken, just not worth what you will pay for it. So review my pro’s and con’s, if it fits your needs have at it. If not, look for something different.
Thanks for reading and happy shooting.
By: Cary Kieffer