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SGT-MILLER 08-05-2009 12:09 AM

The .22LR
So everyone has accepted as common knowledge the following statement:

"A .22 makes for a poor choice as a self-defense weapon. This round is good for nothing but plinking and small varmint hunting."

Has anyone ever challenged that statement?

I will do that right here, right now.

I will not compare the .22LR round to any other caliber, because that is not my goal, and doing so would be counter-productive to learning. I want to share a few findings and thoughts with you, and you can make your own decision as to whether or not I have any validity to my statements, or if I'm just talking just for the sake of talking.

I will concentrate on the typical .22LR round, which is the 36 grain hollowpoint that travels at around 1280 FPS. This round is common in bulk, and is the most popular out there (at least in my area). If you want a step higher, you can go with the CCI Mini Mag, which is a 40 grain, solid projectile (better penetration, slightly heavier bullet).

Now the typical .22LR round (36 grain) has a pretty flat trajectory in typical self defense ranges (7-15 yards). This is a plus, because no matter the caliber, you want something that will fly where you want it to. You are responsible for 100% of the rounds you fire 100% of the time, and you don't want something that will fly off into neverland during a crucial moment.

The biggest argument is the stopping power of the .22LR round. There isn't much "punch" to the round at all, and a bad guy/gal may not know when he/she is shot, or will they? How does training figure into the effectiveness of such a small round such as the .22LR? Is it possible to drop someone before they maime/kill you with a .22LR firearm? Think about these questions carefully before you respond with an automatic answer, and while you are pondering these questions, resist the urge to compare the .22LR with a bigger SD round. Pretend for a second that the only round available is the .22LR round. What can you do to be effective with that round? We all know that the .22LR doesn't transmit energy like a 9x19mm or a .45 ACP would. The thing we always forget is the energy from a .22LR is sufficent to penetrate into the human center of mass, even when clothed. That means the .22LR does, in fact, have the ability to stop threats. There is sufficent evidence that the .22LR round will penetrate the chest cavity / skull with enough force to destroy live giving organs, rendering life impossible for the threat.

Another thing that many have overlooked is the lack of muzzle blast and mizzle rise from a typical .22LR firearm. Imagine being able to put all rounds into a tight center of mass grouping at 10 yards with minimal training. This, I believe, is the greatest advantage of the .22LR round. You can put follow up shots right behind the inital shot with very minimal effort on your part. No one will argue that 3 or more well placed shots into the breastbone of an attacker will have a negative impact on him, and a positive impact on you. If you are well trained, the use of the tried and true "2 to the chest, 1 to the head" can be performed with great ease, due to the lack of recoil.

Another positive factor is the availiability and low cost of the rounds. This is the greatest factor in the lack of firearms practice today. The more you practice, the better you are. Unfortunately, your disposable income determines how much you practice, not your willingness to be better.

I can go more in depth if any of you wish. I will state for the record that I am NOT claiming this round is any better than something like a 9x19mm, .45 ACP, etc.... I try to mirror the philosophy of Clint Smith, which is to train with what you have, not with what you wish you have. If all you can afford is a cheap .22LR handgun and some .22LR ammo, then you should be adopting a mindset of how you are going to use that combination to it's fullest potential. The person behind the weapon is the most deadly weapon system out there.

Here's a little setup I purchased for the total price of $75.00 out the door. It is a simple Jennings J22 (6 round capacity) with no frills. This weapon is known as a saturday night special, and has a horrible reputation, but it has preformed reasonably well for me (I fluffed and buffed it a little, so it runs near perfect with bulk ammo now - It runs 100% perfect with 40 grain loads).

Group at 10 yards from off-hand:

Size of the pistol in hand (it's almost funny to shoot because of it's

SGT-MILLER 08-05-2009 12:36 AM

A few more pictures:

Shotgun Shooter 08-05-2009 12:40 AM

Very nice post. Good job, SGT Miller.


IGETEVEN 08-05-2009 12:50 AM

Another good post SGT. What most people forget about a .22LR is that when it penetrates it does more internal tissue damage by bouncing around deflecting off bone. One could get shot in the chest and the round ends up behind your liver, or in it.


Shotgun Shooter 08-05-2009 12:51 AM

I'd personally take a hollow point for self defense purposes. But, I'd only use my 22 if it was closer to me than my 12ga.


SGT-MILLER 08-05-2009 12:55 AM

The one thing to remember with a .22LR is you MUST train to fire in multiple shot strings. Don't ever expect one round of .22LR to immediately stop an attack.

Train hard with a .22LR and be confident. If you put multiple rounds directly into center of mass, the threat WILL stop (physics and physiology will take over).

If you can do better than a .22LR, do so. If all you have is a .22LR don't feel under-gunned. Something is better than nothing, and if anyone wants additional information or training ideas, please let me know and I will make time to post up some good ideas for drills and such to maximize training with this little round.

c3shooter 08-05-2009 01:16 AM

Good post. I would note that the MV/ ME may be a bit enthusiastic- I usually see those numbers posted for a 22" test bbl.

A .22 would not be my first choice for a self defense arm. However, if my choice was between my Ruger Standard Auto, or my car keys held between my fingers, it would be Hello Sturm and Ruger!

When my kids (and later, my grandkids) first began shooting with me, they would have an early graphic lesson- a can of soda at 25 yds, and a HV hollow point. A FULL can of soda. Ripped apart by hydrostatic shock. With the reminder "Anyone that says 'its only a 22'- remember this- it IS a firearm, and can produce death or serious harm."

dunerunner 08-05-2009 01:24 AM

OK, but only if the perp shows up in a Speedo!! Heavy clothing will inhibit optimal penetration and therefore, shots to what you would normally think to be critical mass, are not!

I do not disagree, however; that the .22LR is a good self defense caliber, but you better have the control to put up a couple of good head shots or take up residence in Southern Florida Texas or California.

My Opinion based upon this thread

JohnnyLoco 08-05-2009 02:57 AM

That was a great topic and post.

The only problem I have with small 22 autos is the lack of ejector and lack of velocity with barrels under 4".

I've used a suppressed Ruger Mk-II (with suppressed 9mm as backup) to dispatch many of the worlds enemies.

I've found that CCI velocitor out of a rifle will drop Deer and Rottweilers with one shot to the chest.

I keep my 9422 LR loaded with 15 rounds of Velocitor for Ranch & Road for all critters two and four leg. You get shot with a Velocitor...You ain't gettin up!

OC357 08-05-2009 03:16 AM

I agree with SGT Miller. I shoot a lot of 22 and the GF likes to shoot 22 also. I always shoot CCI mini mags 99.9% of the time. I just buy the 100 round boxes. They are exiting the barrel at 1,600+fps or thereabouts. They are only 36 grain hp or 40 grain rn......not much lead.....but I know no one that thinks getting hit with even one is a joke.


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