Last updated on May 12th, 2018
While the HP22A & HP25 is one of the best rock-bottom priced .22lr pistols out there, its safety features are awful. Though I’ll admit that isn’t too surprising for a pistol designed in California. However, the excessive safety features can pretty much make this firearm unsafe to handle. At least in the opinion of gun-enthusiasts like me. Thankfully, it’s a pretty easy problem to solve. With a Phoenix Arms HP22A/HP25A upgraded safety (Ebay) you can quickly and easily make your firearm work like the majority of firearms out there. Plus, it will also work on other weapons in the family like the Phoenix Arms HP22, HP22A, HP25, HP25A, and possibly more. If you want to see what the part does and how to install it, keep reading.
With this modification, you can remove the magazine while the gun is on “Safe”, as well as check the chamber without a magazine in the weapon. It’s ironic to think that in its original form, that isn’t possible. Many owners hold the opinion that this mod makes the firearm safer, as it allows them to manipulate, load, and prepare the firearm at the range while on “safe”. That way they only have the need to put it on “Fire” when they are pointing it in a secure direction. Furthermore, installation is extremely simple and virtually anyone can perform it with ease. No expensive gunsmithing required.
While modifying the original safety to allow this functionality is viable, buying the part pre-made guarantees correct functioning as well as allowing the user to keep the original safety in case the firearm is ever sold or sent in for repair. It is also cheaper once you factor in the cost of the tools necessary to make the modification, your time, or the risk of damaging the part or the firearm in the process.
Note: This component is an original Phoenix Arms Safety, Part Number #208, which has been modified by a competent gunsmith/machinist. Neither this part, tutorial or practice has been endorsed in any way, shape of form by Phoenix Arms. Users should only attempt this under their own responsibility.
Phoenix Arms HP22A/HP25A Upgraded Safety Compatibility
This upgraded safety for the HP22A/HP25A works for all of the following Phoenix Arms pistol models:
- HP22 .22 LR Pistol
- HP22A .22 LR Pistol
- HP25 .25 ACP Pistol
- HP25A .25 ACP Pistol
- This part may also be compatible with other models.
What you’ll need
To perform this upgrade, the Phoenix Arms pistol aside, you only need the following basic things.
- Modified Phoenix Arms HP22A/HP25A Upgraded Safety for the HP22, HP25, HP22A, HP25A… – Ebay
- Flat Screwdriver
- Blue Threadlocker
Phoenix Arms HP22A/HP25A Upgraded Safety Installation
Step 1 – Clear the weapon
The first step of this how-to is to clear the weapon of all ammunition, preferably placing any live ammunition in another room. Remove the magazine and inspect the chamber to confirm the weapon is safe.
Step 2 – Remove the slide
Next, remove the slide by pressing the tabs in front of the trigger guard forward while simultaneously lifting the front end of the barrel. Sometimes it’s a bit stiff. If you can’t move the tabs by hand, try using a blunt, non-marring tool to disengage the barrel lock.
Step 3 – Remove the left side grip
Using a flat screwdriver, remove both the top and bottom screws holding the left side grip in place. It shouldn’t take much effort, just make sure you use the right-size screwdriver. Put the screws somewhere secure (I normally use the Real Avid Universal Smart Mat) to make sure you don’t lose them.
Step 4 – Remove the original safety
Remove the original safety by lifting it up while simultaneously pulling it towards the top of the frame. Be careful to clear the magazine release button, the safety retention spring and the magazine safety lock. By the way, now would probably be a good time to give the pistol a thorough cleaning, as well as apply a good gun lubricant. Personally, I use Break CLP.
Step 5 – Disengage the magazine safety lock (Optional)
Should you want to do so, during this step you can disable the magazine safety lock. Its sole function is to impede the user from putting the weapon on “Fire” (and thus acting on the slide) when the magazine isn’t inserted. In my humble opinion, there is virtually no benefit to this. To boot, in its original condition this impedes the user from properly checking the chamber for a round when a magazine is not available. I still struggle to see how that is considered “safer”.
Should you wish to disable this safety mechanism, under your own risk and responsibility, you can easily do so bending the tab away from the gun frame as shown in the image. That way the tab will clear the safety regardless of there being a magazine in the firearm or not. Personally I prefer this type of operation a lot more.
Step 6 – Install the upgraded safety and reassemble
Install the new upgraded safety in to the same position as the original safety. During installation, you can use a small blunt object to move the safety retention spring away from the safety if necessary. Then reinstall the grip using the original screws. If available, use Blue Loctite or any other equivalent threadlocker to make sure they don’t come lose in the future. Lastly, Reinstall the barrel inserting the rear end first until it engages the barrel lock, and then press the front of the barrel down towards the frame. It should lock in place securely.
Step 7 – Function-check the weapon
Now that you’ve put everything back together, take a moment to check that everything is working correctly. Make sure that the new safety switch works properly in both conditions. Verify that the safety works as intended with the magazine both in and out of the weapon. Try actuating the slide. Try dry-firing (always use snap-caps for this to avoid damaging the gun) and checking that the firing pin falls properly.
Once you’ve checked that it’s working properly, you’re done! The only thing left is to take ‘er for a spin at the local range.
Can’t I just modify the original safety?
Sure. If you’re a hardcore DIYer and would rather modify a replacement safety, feel free to do so. You can even modify your gun’s original safety, though I wouldn’t do that. It’s a much better idea to do the modification on a spare in case you mess up or ever have to send the firearm back for warranty work.
To modify the OEM safety for it to work like the HP22A upgraded safety above, you’ll need the following:
- Genuine Phoenix Arms Original Safety – Part #208 – This is the part that needs modification.
- Precision Needle File Set – The upgraded safety above was modified on a precision milling machine. However you can also complete the job with some manual files, though it will take a lot longer and be much less precise.
- Birchwood Casey Gun Blue – A must have for any firearm owner. With this you’ll be able to recolor the filed off section, as well as keep corrosion to a minimum.
What you need to do is file off the protruding point, and then make a recess in the corner to avoid interference. Round off any sharp edges with sandpaper and then re-blue the safety with Gun Blue (note: while it’s called “Gun blue”, it’s what anybody would call black). Finally you just have to reinstall it as pictured above.
All in all, as far as I am concerned, the Phoenix Arms HP22A/HP25A Upgraded Safety is a must-have for any HP22A owner. It makes the pistol a lot easier to handle as well as safety check. To boot, it’s extremely easy to install.
In any case, I hope this tutorial was helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a question below. And while you’re here, consider checking out my free “How to Teach a Friend to Shoot” PDF Guide. It’s definitely worth a read if you like taking new friends to the range.
Disclaimer: Firearms are dangerous items in the hands of those that are either negligent or incompetent in their handling. Please treat all firearms as loaded whenever possible and practical. Any operations or instructions detailed in this how-to are to be executed under the full and complete responsibility of the user. The author assumes no responsibility whatsoever, neither explicit nor implicit, regarding any modification detailed here within.