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With the slide off, and holding the hammer so it doesn't strike the area of the receiver directly in front of it, pull the trigger and release the hammer. Then push it back with your finger. Does it feel unusually stiff?

Are you using lube (light synthetic grease for me) on the slide rails and underside of the slide where the hammer travels? Does the underside of the slide show any marks, scrapes, or galling?

The most common damage to a PPQ22 is from the hammer striking the receiver with the slide removed - so be sure to ease the hammer forward when releasing the trigger.

I like to use Hornady One-Shot to clean and lube the hard to reach internal areas of the trigger mechanism. It sprays like a cleaner, lubricates and protects against corrosion, and ends up like a dry lube.

Also check that the recoil spring is not binding or getting hung up.
 

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I'm not seeing any obvious problems in the photos.

With the slide installed, does it require too much force to cycle it? When the hammer is in the cocked position, it should not require significant force to move the slide. Does it feel like the hammer is dragging and causing too much resistance?

After you pull the trigger to release the hammer, using a snap cap or empty case in the chamber, there should be significantly more force required to cycle the slide.

Is that happening?
 
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