Best of a Bad Situation: .22s for Self-Defense?

man shoots self with .22

Would you count on this little guy for self-defense? (Photo: Slowik)

Some people depend on .22 Long Rifle for self-defense. There’s just no ignoring that. Despite the near-universal recommendation to use modern centerfire ammo for protection, there are a few who will always flaunt this potentially life-saving, downright common-sense advice. Sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not.

There are a handful of reasons — or excuses — people have for counting on the small rimfire cartridge. Two big reasons people say .22 is adequate are that shot placement is key, not caliber, and more often than not, the display of a gun is enough to stop an attack. Naturally, both of these reasons ring of truth.

Remember the guy who shot himself with a .22 and didn’t notice for days? It’s safe to say that lucky shot placement played a part in things, but the .22-caliber bullet went unnoticed. And as it turns out, smartphones make really handy .22-catchers. From a self-defense perspective, if you can connect with a shot anywhere and it has no effect on your target, then the ammo should be scrutinized.

But the main reason people continue to use .22 for self-defense is … it works sometimes. A lot, actually. By the numbers, .22 is one of the most popular and arguably effective cartridges used in America. A few years back Richard Mann looked into the realities of .22 for self-defense and came to a surprising conclusion, and in the end, went so far as to set up a .22 rifle for home protection. (Not as a primary, but rather a rifle that anyone in the house can use for protection from smaller animals.)

“If by intention or misfortune you end up relying on the .22 LR for protection, here are some good rules to follow: Use reliable ammo, shoot straight and don’t stop shooting until the threat no longer exists,” wrote Mann for Shooting Illustrated. “That’s actually exceedingly good advice no matter what cartridge you choose.”

Then there’s the ever-relevant Greg Ellifritz shooting study that found, in the right light, that .22 might possibly out-perform more powerful centerfire cartridges. For instance, shootings involving .22 LR required fewer shots on target to incapacitate than 9mm Luger, the most popular duty cartridge for handguns in the world.

But on the flip side, .22 LR had one of the highest overall failure rates to incapacitate targets altogether, rolling in at just over 30 percent of shootings. According to the Ellifritz study, nearly one-third of people were not stopped by .22 LR no matter how many times they were shot.

“The results I got from the study lead me to believe that there really isn’t that much difference between most defensive handgun rounds and calibers,” wrote Ellifritz. “None is a death ray, but most work adequately … even the lowly .22s. I’ve stopped worrying about trying to find the ‘ultimate’ bullet. There isn’t one.”

It’s an interesting look from a hands-on perspective based on real-world shootings. If you haven’t read it, you should rectify that.

And then there’s one last reason to use a .22 for self-defense: it’s what you have. There are a lot of shooters, new and old, who picked up a trainer rifle to get into shooting with the intent on moving up from there later … and it’s still not later yet. For financial reasons or otherwise, sometimes .22 is the only option.

A person can become very proficient with a .22. Cheap to own and operate, these firearms shoot the cheapest ammo and are welcome at any gun range, indoors or out. With that in mind, there are some .22s that are … less bad … for self-defense than others.

Budget gun: Ruger 10/22

Proven, inexpensive, and ubiquitous, the Ruger 10/22 is popular and easy to get nation-wide. It has a lot of aftermarket support and good provisions for optics and improved sights. With a 10/22 you’ll get the most out of any power charge for the most effective shots.

Realistically, any proven semi-auto .22 will fit here, but the Ruger stands out for its reliable magazines. No matter what you pick, make sure it feeds reliably and in the case of a dud cartridge, you know how to clear it fast and get back on target.

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Better budget guns: Mossberg Maverick 88 and Hi-Point Carbine

Pump shotguns are harder to use, hold fewer rounds in general than most .22 rifles, and don’t benefit from self-loading, but for self-defense on the cheap, they can’t be beat. If you’re looking at .22s for self-defense solely because of budgetary constraints, stop now and start shopping for a cheap pump-action shotgun.

Alternatively, 10, 15 or 20 rounds of 9mm trump the same number of .22 LR every time. Hi-Point carbines aren’t pretty but they work. They’re easy to shoot, self-loading, and have an excellent warranty in case of any problems. One thing to keep an eye out with Hi-Points are the magazines, though. If the magazines are damaged or not in spec, they can cause reliability issues. But that’s an easy problem to solve with a little precaution and preventative maintenance.

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For a Little More: Smith & Wesson M&P15-22

The M&P15-22 series brings all the handling characteristics and features of an AR-15, just dedicated to the .22 LR cartridge. They have a lot of good magazine options and some come standard with 25-round magazines, considerably better than most other .22 LR options (though there are plenty of high-cap mags for the 10/22 and other less expensive .22s).

They’re available in a variety of configurations but they all come with nice sights and free-floating handguards. From a self-defense perspective, they’re easy to upgrade with lights and red dot sights and anything else that would be at home on a self-defense AR-15.

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Better For a Little More: A centerfire AR-15

Why settle for .22 when you can have .223? Assuming you can own an AR-15 it’s hard to make the case for .22. ARs chambered for .223 Remington/5.56 NATO are extremely affordable now with a lot of good budget options that don’t compromise on reliability. Too many, in fact, to list here.

Centerfire ARs have many inexpensive, reliable magazine options and for defense one AR-15 is better than a pile of .22s ready for New York reloads. The trade-offs are that they are a little more expensive to shoot regularly, and they are louder and have a little more recoil. If that’s a deal-breaker there are options. If 5.56 and .223 are too much for you subsonic 300 AAC Blackout and 9mm ARs might be better for you.

And for anyone “behind enemy lines,” so to speak, other .223/5.56 rifles are still on the table. A Ruger Mini-14 is hard from hard to shoot and just as effective as an AR-15.

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Handguns: A double-action revolver

If you’re looking for a .22-caliber handgun, I can’t recommend a semi-auto for this. Totally reliable self-loading .22 pistols are like the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot. Everyone’s heard about them, and some people swear they’ve seen them in the wild, but I don’t believe they exist. (Well, maybe Bigfoot. But not a dead-nuts reliable semi-auto .22 pistol.)

Even though the bulk of reliability problems .22 pistol shooters encounter are ammo-related, it’s a lot easier to resolve a failure-to-fire with a revolver than with a semi-auto pistol. You just pull the trigger again. Charter Arms, Ruger and Smith and Wesson have good .22 options at all price points.

Ideally, you want a handgun with a longer barrel to make the most of the .22 cartridge, but most .22 revolvers have short barrels. But this is making the best of a bad situation, and it’s true: the first rule of gun fighting is to bring a gun. And a snub-nosed .22 is definitely a gun.

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Better handguns: A big, heavy double-action centerfire revolver

One of the more common reasons people decide to get a .22-caliber handgun for protection is that they think they can’t handle a centerfire revolver. Short of a health problem, I don’t really believe that. But for the recoil-adverse, there can still be a mental hurdle shooting centerfire handguns.

Shooting low-power .38 Special loads from a full-size handgun is only marginally harder than shooting a smaller .22 revolver. From there it’s easy to step up into hotter loads or make the move to a semi-auto handgun. If you’re looking for a decent first gun for the recoil-sensitive, it’s hard to say no to something like a Ruger GP100, or any number of other decent options, especially used.

Ultimately the only good reason to go with .22 for self-defense is that it is your last, best, and only option. And the truth is that it’s rarely the only option — if you’re on a tight budget, there are still alternatives. If you’re worried about muzzle blast, there are also alternatives. You don’t have to jump straight to .22.

And if you ever do find yourself in a situation where all you have is a .22, no matter what, use premium ammo. Because when it comes to rimfire, the quality of the primer is even more important than the quality of the gun.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 62 comments… add one }
  • Sharky April 6, 2018, 9:06 pm

    The Loch Ness monster is real. At least it was before we killed them off by damming up the entrances to the Great Lakes and Loch Ness. There are still 2. 1 that enters near Vancouver, and one that enters near the SF bay. There are probably more, they just lay their eggs in places where humans haven’t wrecked their habitat yet.

  • Old Fart with a gun March 26, 2018, 11:31 am

    Yet another “gotta use a cannon to kill a cockroach” post. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a .22 pistol for self defense. It’s small, easy to shoot and easy to reacquire the target with. Missing your target with a .45 because you’re scared and the gun is jumping around in your hand like a kangaroo doesn’t help you in a bad guy situation. I’ve had to pull my little Taurus pea shooter three times. All three times the bad guy slowly backed away. Maybe it was because I was aiming at their testicles and deliberately letting my hand shake just a little bit. People keep repeating the same old nonsense; go to the range and practice, practice, practice. Got news for ya; unless you practice with somebody shooting back at you, it’s a waste of time. When I was in the military, I had a bad guy empty the entire magazine of a rifle at me from about 20 yards. Not a single round was even close. My buddy put him down with one shot. Having a gun in a gun fight is NOT the first priority; being able to keep your mind calm enough to use it is.

    • HD April 4, 2019, 8:21 am

      Great post. I hate going to a indoor range. All these overweight men bragging about stopping power, how tough they are, how bigger is the best. Why?

      I have been in three shooting situations, twice Wirh a 12 ga pump, once with a 22 LR. My cousin and I were confronted, it was a robbery set up, I pointed and pulled when I saw 4 armed guys in the shadows, the 12 ga hit one robber, pumping the damn thing after that and shooting, I missed everything , but I was running backwards getting shot at. It was a blur. The next time my business partner and Uncle dropped a mugger with a 22 LR revolver, 5 shots in the face and neck, it was winter and the guy was wearing leather. My uncle was a 23 yr veteran in the Soviet army with a lot of combat experience. The muggers 45cal fired once, the kick had him messed up and My uncle dropped Iā€™m.

      We had a car repo business and he was a bail bondsman. Very dangerous professions.

  • Chris June 30, 2017, 12:52 pm

    I have a Ruger SR 22 and I love it. It is the perfect training firearm for my sons, and winter and camping trips or an extended Time spent outdoors, I carry in my vehicle with the idea being that If the shit hit the fan, then my children could use it easily.

    I personally Cary the Ruger American – but sometimes (formal occasions with dressy clothes) I will carry the SR 22 concealed because of it smaller frame.

  • Jon Shaw Sr. May 25, 2017, 12:17 am

    We generally have an assortment of pistols and rifles. I usually carry a M&P.40 with a M&P .380 backup and my wife a Glock 17.
    We do have 2 different .22 revolvers that, push come to shove, we allow the 2 younger grandkids (11 & 12) to handle for them to learn some firearm safety and training becais of the diminished recoil.

  • Joe Benally May 4, 2017, 6:01 pm

    While I believe that a .45 ACP will always trump a .22 I know that in a last ditch situation my little sister will be able to shoot accurately and safely while a .45 will have too much recoil for her. Just my two cents.

  • ED H. March 9, 2017, 12:28 am

    Myself I don’t think they are many guns that I haven’t shot. Just like anyone else I have my favorite weapons. From knifes on up. Taking in consideration of the situation from target practice to a real life self-defense situation each to their own. Don’t have a weapon that you are not 100 percent confident in. When it comes to any situation. Myself my handgun of choice is the Ruger 22/45 10 22 long rifle . Please excuse the choice of words but I am a firm believer if you kill the head the body will go with it every time. As a shotgun I believe in a assault 12 gauge just like the law enforcement would use you have several options to go with. When it comes to hunting depending on what animal am hunting for squirrels Marlin 22 and even or a very good pellet gun. As for larger game in the bush my choices would be between a 30-30 and a 308. as for hunting game and considering long yard age I would have to go with a 300 Weatherby mag set up perfectly we’ll see Creek cartridge and ammo which for me would be Hornady and there you have it and that’s just coming from a good old country boys headshot as I said before a little of everything and I find it a little of everything and I don’t like missing and I do believe in a precise shot I do believe in ethical shooting when it comes to all of God’s creatures thank you and may God bless you all safe hunting and practicing God bless !!!

    • Old Fart with a gun March 26, 2018, 11:38 am

      In Florida, that head shot better be the only round you fired. Otherwise, they will likely arrest you and do everything within their power to prove that it was an execution on the grounds that your other shots incapacitated the attacker. And if forensics can prove the head shot came from a different angle and had impact damage indicative of a close up shot, you will be tried and probably end up in prison. You are only allowed to shot to incapacitate or eliminate the threat. If the attacker is down and bleeding, that’s as far as you can legally go. And don’t even think about shooting them in the back as they flee. At that point, you become the criminal.

  • Daryl James February 7, 2017, 12:48 pm

    My pocket back up is a late 1960’s, made in Italy, Beretta .22 short Minx. The round goes in, and doesn’t come out.

  • Popcorn December 13, 2016, 5:45 pm

    I do hear alot of people dismiss the 22 LR and 22 Magnum as self defense capable rounds,I however am not one of them.True the 22 cal round is not a 380,38,or 40 cal it is certainly is smaller and leaves a smaller entrance wound, but on penetration it is very similar.The bottom line is no one wants to be shot and just the sight of a gun will deter someone or a few people for that matter from doing bad things.I’m quite certain that if I put 5 22 Magnum rounds into the torso or upper chest area it is absolutely going to put someone down quickly.

  • Dee December 12, 2016, 8:20 am

    When someone says to me that a 22 LR is not effective I ask them how theymight react if they were shanked in the chest 8 or 10 times with a 14 inch phillips screwdriver.
    It gets the point across to most non- believers

  • Mr Wolf November 27, 2016, 7:01 pm

    I used to carry a Ruger P90 45 acp. or a Glock 19 9mm. The Ruger was a great gun but believe it or not the Glock had some reliability issues. I changed the mag, the ammo, changed the recoil spring. It would only do it like 1 in 20 or so but still to me that’s unexceptable. I even double checked my own grip to make sure I wasn’t limp wristing. The best balance of Power and Precision for me has been my 7 shot 357 magnum Taurus Tracker. I carry 2 speed loaders just in case. Although I doubt I will ever need to reload as 7 357,s should take care of most anything. If it dont then chances are you needed more than a hand cannon. I do on occasion carry a cheap 22 6 shot revolver, either for back up or primary somewhere that I’m not supposed to carry such as church or work or places like that. I don’t feel super safe w it but Hey….. It’s a gun and it’s a revolver. It fires everytime. It’s just a belly gun. You have to realize that you don’t have to murder the other guy lol. Just either neutralize the threat or stop him long enough where you can get away

  • D October 24, 2016, 3:08 pm

    I’m a firm believer in the adage that says the best caliber for self defense is the one you shoot best. You don’t have to spend much time at a public range to see that some people can drill a hole with a .22 but can’t keep rounds inside the building with a 9mm. Those people shouldn’t be trying to defend themselves with a 9mm. The .22LR is not anything resembling the ideal defensive round. Having said that, rounds on target count towards your odds of survival. Rounds into the door facing, dresser or through the window do not.

  • john hemeyer October 2, 2016, 9:35 pm

    After 40 years in LE, 28 as police firearms instructor, now retired to my farm I carry a Taurus PT-22 as my best buddy. Bought just for fun, I’ve grown to like the little gun very much. I’ve seen firsthand what the .22 will do (and won’t do) to humans and animals. Hot .22 hollowpoints expand reliably. FMJ of any caliber do not, nor does every semi-auto feed defense rounds well.
    What a person chooses is his/her own business. Failure to master that choice is foolish. A hit with a .22 is far better than six misses with a .45. My little gun as a rule is in a pocket. Bib overalls or business suit, it is always concealed and accessible.
    If I have reason to think I will be engaging in a serious encounter (trespasser, suspicious person around the house, etc.), much better-suited arms are in hand. If you are going to a gunfight, take a long gun and invite all your friends to bring their long guns.

  • Medic August 25, 2016, 9:51 pm

    I am a Trauma nurse and I’ve seen patients with terrible, almost non-survivable wounds and internal cavities caused by .22LR projectile.
    There’s no denying that this is a lethal cartridge and it is very effective against soft tissue target. Its is a viable self-defense caliber and should not be discounted as puny or ineffective.

  • Marcus Fry August 23, 2016, 1:36 am

    Had a H.S. friend who about 30 years ago was working at a convenience store. He was robbed and the scum bag shot him once with a .22. The .22 hit his collar bone and zagged down to somewhere on his spine. He was paralyzed for life from the waist down.

  • Tom Horn August 21, 2016, 9:26 pm

    A final thought.

    Yeah, you can kill a hog, or probably any other mammal on the planet with a .22, if it was a well placed shot, if it pierces the bone, if it tumbles/ricochets through vital organs right.

    Are you sure you can place that round as accurately as you say you can, in a combat situation, when the adrenaline is pumping, bystanders are running past your peripheral vision, you can no longer hear, your knees are shaking, and piss is running down your leg.

    A SWAT officer from a large U.S. city police dept told me of a close range shoot out (25 yds) with an armed robbery suspect. Of the 74 shots fired by seven highly trained officers, only 6 rounds hit the suspect. Only 12.333% hit there mark (none fatally).

    In a gun fight you want every advantage you can get. When you care to send the very best, send flying ashtrays.

  • Wayne August 20, 2016, 7:13 pm

    No one realizes how LOUD a firearm is discharged indoors,.223/.556-Shotguns,any 9mm and up if fired indoors for self defense will leave you near deaf at best. You are not going to grab your self defense firearm and put your ears on like you would at the range. .22,.25 .380 Not so bad on the ears and are effective tools inside the home,Keep shooting until the threat is stopped. Some studies have shown that when a .223/.556 is fired in the home the concussion from this round is so loud that your brain will not let you fire another round protecting your hearing.I have heard others say,Ya if someone breaks into my house my .44 Mag.will blow them right out of the door. It will also blow your ear drums out the door as well. Aim small,Shoot big! Wayne

  • Gil August 20, 2016, 5:10 pm

    I carry a 1911 MS in .22TCM, which is a over looked is a heck of a round in HP

  • RUSSELL DAVIS August 20, 2016, 4:05 am


    • Wayne August 20, 2016, 7:16 pm

      You must call 911 and request the police and an Ambulance.

    • M1A-Hole August 21, 2016, 11:11 am

      Please stop yelling at us.
      And proofread also, please, doc.

      • dolly January 25, 2017, 12:15 pm

        what, are you a teacher? is this person taking your class?
        who put you in charge of comments on the internet?
        for god’s sake, just get over yourself

    • Chris Baker January 20, 2017, 7:19 am

      To add to the constructive criticism here, please use correct terminology. A 10/22 does not use a clip of any kind. It does however, have a MAGAZINE. From Dictionary dot com:
      Magazine: a metal receptacle for a number of cartridges, inserted into certain types of automatic weapons and when empty removed and replaced by a full receptacle in order to continue firing.

  • RayJN August 20, 2016, 2:17 am

    When I was in AK they interviewed a native and ask him why he was hunting polar bears with a .22
    He said,”sure beats a sharp stick!”

  • cisco kid August 19, 2016, 9:43 pm

    Take a look at the President Reagan shooting. Three very large men all put out of action with 3 shots. You have got to admit Hinckley knew that bullet placement and penetration would put the hurt on them and it did. The Body Guard hit the cement as if he had been hit by lightening. Brady came close to dying and the bullet that hit Reagan just narrowly missed the heart which would have killed him. So next time some know it all Gun Writer bad mouths your .22 pocket pistol tell him to watch a real shooting not a fantasy diatribe on bullistics.

    Several years ago in Ohio a poaching operation was caught that for years had been using nothing more than the .22 rimfire to kill Ohio White Tail Deer which are the largest Whitetail Deer in the world some weighing live at 180 lbs. Again a real life example not baloney from ballistic tables.

    Remember a .22 rimfire solid will go right through some ones head and many of the hollow points will too. When the weather gets to hot to carry even a medium size auto a .22 or .25 acp is way better than nothing in your pocket. Even in colder weather the inconvenience and uncomfort of carrying the big pistols often results in many people only carrying some of the time but the man who carries the small pistol usually carries it all the time.

    • 13605 August 22, 2016, 7:06 pm

      If 180lbs live whitetail is largest in the world, you may want to Google that like you did on the Reagan shooting. I’ve personally harvested a whitetail weighing in at 191lbs DRESSED (ya know, gutted and hanging) and that wasn’t ohio ;)…. Just saying

      • Keith A January 5, 2017, 7:45 am

        I got a 317 pound whitetail in 04′ up here in Canada. šŸ˜‰

  • JD August 19, 2016, 8:55 pm

    I think the main problem with depending on a .22LR for self defense is the primer. Not so much the bullet itself. The .22LR is a economical round made without the expense of a center fire primer. How many of you have ever had a mis fire from a .22LR? I have had several over the years. I think if you shoot a lot of .22 rim fire you may have several per year. How many of you have had mis-fires from center fire pistol/rifle cartridges? I have never had one. My wife had one once from her deer rifle. (The deer lived for another day) The primer function is just cheap with a .22 rim fire. At the range no big deal. Eject the shell after waiting 20 seconds and try to shoot again. A .22LR revolver is better yet. Rotate the cylinder and try the next shell. But in a life and death situation I think I would rather depend on a center fire cartridge. I carried a Beretta .25ACP for years because it worked every time and it was small enough to always be with me. I was not impressed with the cartridges power but it always went bang. I now carry a pocket 9mm. A little bigger and not much heavier than the Beretta.

  • Rod Johnson August 19, 2016, 6:14 pm

    I have guns at bed side,first is my Taurus 9 shot revolver in 22mag. With self-defense tnt rounds.(PS,22cal. Has been used by military for assign rounds since ww2.)Second is my Ruger gp100 ,357 with tnt deadly rounds and always double tap.A dead man tells no lies.can not sue you or come back and kill you or your Family.

  • Spartacus1239 August 19, 2016, 5:30 pm

    I would have NO issue carrying my SR22 4.5″ it is hands down the most accurate handgun I have ever fired. Eats anything I feed it. I can put round after round into a dinner plate at 75 yards. I would have no fear of hurting a by stander. but I can 100% put any shot where I want it to go.

  • Steven August 19, 2016, 4:10 pm

    CCI subsonic segmented hollow points, Quick-Shock segmented hollow points, or Stingers are excellent choices for personal defense ammo, if you’re going with 22lr as personal defense.

  • Mike Watkins August 19, 2016, 3:14 pm

    I doubt anyone who reads this is in the category of the extremely loud noise/recoil sensitive. However, there are plenty of people who are, any age or gender. For them a .22 is about the most they can muster the courage to pull the trigger on.

    I would much rather my wife or mother, neither of whom have more than a smidgen of shooting experience (because of their own distaste for firearms) has a .22 double action revolver handy to defend against an intruder, than nothing but what they could grab from the kitchen knife drawer.

    I’ve told my wife ” pick it up, point it. If it’s necessary to pull the trigger (because some idiot thug just keeps advancing) PULL that trigger and keep pulling it until said thug is down or running away.” No safety to manipulate, no need to cock the hammer.

    Fact is, in vast majority of defensive uses of a firearm, simply pointing or showing a firearm–ANY firearm–is enough to make the perp decide he is urgently needed elsewhere, or cry and wet his pants and plead for mercy.

  • Frank G August 19, 2016, 2:24 pm

    I have carried a Walther P22 for 6 years now. Sure more lead down range is better, but handling one off hand, one handed, left hand can be a challenge and in a car doubly so. Self defense is 0 to 10 yards (up close and personal as it were). Unless it is a 300 pound meth, coke, or pcp head ………. a couple of rounds in the knee cap will slow them down enough to place the remaining 8 right in the NOSE! Will no question spin him enough to do the “Mafia” thing ………. in the ear canal, swim with the fishies you SOB. If that doesn’t work the 4000# Ford Raptor will end it. HA!!

  • BRASS August 19, 2016, 1:27 pm

    I would never recommend any .22 rimfire cartridge as a primary self defense caliber. That said, I have a Ruger 10/22 and a Ruger 22/45 that were both modified for open sights timed competition. Both are tuned, superbly accurate, easy to fire accurately and control with great sight pictures. Thousands of rounds fired in practice and competition make their manipulation and operation almost reflex. I built a specially modified try-mag set up for rapid fire/rapid reload for the 10/22 and specially modified 10 round mags for the 22/45 and modified mag well on the grip frame for lightening fast mag changes including fast drop free mags and a huge mag well, positive lock up.
    I believe in an emergency if forced to used them, and again they would never be my first choice, I could put 10, 20 or even 30 rounds on target in a matter of seconds at any self defense distance, far more accurately than the other long and handguns I train with. I can easily make a precision shot at up to 50 yards with either.
    Not my first choice, but a hell of a lot better than many others.

  • Dan C August 19, 2016, 1:09 pm

    You missed the Marlin Model 60. Not as sexy as the Ruger 10/22, but a little cheaper and definitely a good gun. I’ve had one for years, hold 14 rounds and if kept clean, lets face it the 22 is a dirty round, will function without any problems. For defensive work in the home a rifle is un-weldly, but if it is all you have, use it.

    • bill kuhlmann August 19, 2016, 2:21 pm

      I agree dan. I’ve never had a 10/22 but I have had 4 different mod 60s and all were as reliable as any of my friends 10/22s and considerably cheaper. at least half the price of the rugers. if wanting a great self defense .22 get the keltec pmc 30. 30 rounds of 22 magnum. as I live in the peoples republic of Kommiefornia I can’t own one of these. a friend in montana has one and I got to shoot it. at 20 yards I kept all 30 rounds in the body mass target as fast as I could pull the trigger and I shot pistols at minute of barn.

  • Jeb August 19, 2016, 12:13 pm

    I would grap my keltec pmr30 which has a 20 round mag full of 50gr. Hollow points of 22magnum and they are all in trouble.

    This pistol is awesome for the in a pinch and 20 rounds, its the next best thing to my fnx 45 that has a 15 round mag…

    Honestly I would not be afraid of anything or anyone with either of these in my hand.

    • JT August 21, 2016, 11:40 pm

      I evaluated the PMR-30 for concealed carry primarily due to it’s light weight and high capacity. It’s a very innovative and fun gun to shoot, but I can’t recommend it for concealed carry for the same reason I wouldn’t recommend it for personal defense: It’s way too unreliable even when running ONLY the recommended brands of ammo. It was rare for me to make it through a whole mag without a failure to feed, EVEN when I only loaded 25 rounds instead of the maximum 30 (which definitely helps feeding reliability). In the end, I’m willing to give up capacity for reliability and stick to larger center fire cartridges for self defense.

  • Pale Rider August 19, 2016, 11:45 am

    Question for all of you shoot them in the face types, how many gunfights have you been in? If every person put the bullets where they are aiming, there would be a lot fewer criminals. They average hit ratio in gunfights according to most studies is south of 25%, but you are going to put your rounds in the small areas where a .22 is effective? Sounds like a day dream to me.

    • Mr Wolf November 27, 2016, 6:41 pm

      I agree. Center mass is your best shot

  • Pale rider August 19, 2016, 11:39 am

    I am so tired of seeing “authors” quoting that idiotic “study” of Greg Ellifritz. Try to wrap your little mind around this, it does not matter how many people die from .22lr rounds. It’s kind of like shooting a Grizzly Bear with a .44, yes, it will die a few minutes later, after it has torn your head off. The same is true off the .22, I do not care how many people it eventually kills. I want the gun I carry to end the fight with proper shot placement and the .22 is a poor, poor choice for rapid incapacitation.

  • Dale Kayser August 19, 2016, 11:32 am

    My wife asked why I always keep my Ruger Mark III .22 handy – I told her it’s in case of the Decepticons! She laughed, the toaster laughed – I shot the toaster….it was a good day!

  • john August 19, 2016, 10:47 am
  • Dave Anderson August 19, 2016, 9:40 am

    I live in Southern California and the hardest part about shooting a .22 is finding ammo.

  • Mongo August 19, 2016, 9:39 am

    If you have the option, a .22 magnum is the best choice, especially in a revolver. Either way, shot placement is key. One of the best self-defense shooting “advice” I saw is aiming about 2-3 inches above where the ribs meet in the chest (sternum area). There is more opportunity to hit vital organs not only in the chest, but the neck and face; as well, you are not looking the perp’s face, you focus on that part of the chest. If you need to shoot, send a volley, you get struck with 5-6 rounds in the upper chest/neck/face, that is a deterrent for them to stop doing what they are doing; killing is not the point of a .22, getting the bad guy to cease aggression is. A small revolver loaded with rat-shot increases your chance of causing enough pain, especially in the face/neck area. I carry a NAA .22amg as a last resort gun, laugh if you want, it’s better than nothing. Hornady makes quality .22mag rounds for defense. Research the phrase “every Jew a .22”, and you will see the mentality behind the .22 for defense.
    Stay aware, stay armed, stay safe

    • Jim B. August 19, 2016, 12:55 pm

      I have a NAA .22 in the drawer next to the bed, I also have a Para .45 dbl. stk. in a bed holster. Either will stop an intruder. Difference is how much farther the ACP will travel. I don’t want to hurt anything beyond the Perp..

    • hey August 21, 2016, 9:33 pm

      Why would you taunt someone to shoot back at you???? Rat shot?? Your ultimate goal should be to disable the threat and save the tax payers money as well as the next generation from the scum bags’s cultural influence.

  • Tom Horn August 19, 2016, 8:39 am

    If you can handle the recoil of a center fire round, why take a chance with rim fire. I would relegate it to the elderly and young shooters who have recoil issues.

    Exception being a Ruger 10/22 for cheap suppressive fire (in certain situations). Most attackers wouldn’t know it was not a center fire round, or chance being hit with a .22, if they knew. It is certainly not a round to stop a Meth or PCP fueled psycho.

    • JoeUSooner August 19, 2016, 1:38 pm

      I’m one of those “elderly,” who (at 67) has a problem with arthritis in my shoulder. Standard (non-+p) 9mm ammo in a 4″ barrel pistol is the upper limit of my ability to absorb recoil… and that’s what I carry every day.

      I also have a very nice little Ruger SR22 pistol, which will someday become the upper limit of recoil tolerance (Betty Davis once quipped – correctly – that “Aging ain’t for sissies!”). Additionally, that SR22 currently serves as the perfect pistol for my 10-year-old granddaughter’s private lessons at the local range, so it is being “broken in” quite well…

      I fully agree that, regardless of caliber, shot placement is THE most important factor (it is virtually everything, in fact) in self defense shooting situations.

  • Tim Pearce August 19, 2016, 7:40 am

    If you put 5 in him he ain’t gonna keep coming.

  • LUCIAN BABB August 19, 2016, 7:27 am

    Me ex girlfriends brother accidentally killed himself with a .22. Pop! One shot to the chest and there was nothing they could do.

  • LUCIAN BABB August 19, 2016, 7:24 am

    Still better than a sharp stick.

  • Mike Davidson August 19, 2016, 7:20 am

    My ruger 10/22 setup with archangel kit,lights,lasers,forward grip & 50 round drums with light any sob up,daylight ir dark. Even if you’re missing them which I strongly doubt, its gonna scare the pee water out of them. If they’re still moving after one drum keep slapping them in until all movement stops.

    • hey August 21, 2016, 9:37 pm

      What drum are you using? Can you leave it loaded for a long time and stll function flawlessly? I am nervous about trusting my life to a drum.

  • Ric August 19, 2016, 7:14 am

    I keep hearing this about the lowly .22 LR. My father always used a .22 short to slaughter hogs….one shot. I know it is shot placement…but the fact is a 22 is lethal. For light weight I carry an NAA with a 1.5″ bbl that I can hit a can with consistantly @15′,1st shot is shotshell next 3 are .22 CCI Stingers. Hammer on empty chamber. I feel as safe as if I had a .45

    • Mike Davidson August 19, 2016, 7:29 am

      You’re right as rain Ric,I love my S&W 1911 22,built by Carl Walther, 15 round mags & it will eat the trashyest ammo made barring a misfire. And like I said earlier a 50 round drum of cci through my ruger 10/22 will scare the pee water out of the baddest of the creepy crawleys,if not stop him dead in his tracks,pardon the pun.

  • Ron Stidham August 19, 2016, 6:41 am

    22 caliber is a great cartridge. I have a Marlin 22 that I use for hunting squirrel and rabbit with, it does the job. But that is shot placement 101. A home invader is entirely a different thing, will you have time to aim for the eye, or just get lucky. In some places 22 is the hardest ammo to find-period. Large bore is more expensive and may penetrate walls, but you can go to almost any shop and pick some up. Don’t get me wrong, I love my 22, but for now Ill stick with my 45 1911 full of hollow point stopping power.

  • carl August 5, 2016, 2:14 pm

    I say if you shoot an intruder in the face with a .22 Mag. shot shell, they will drop, no matter how big they are!

    • shawn August 19, 2016, 10:16 am

      A person that is high on drugs, drunk, psychotic, enraged, or driven by sheer determination may not react as you would expect a rational person would. When that happens, then what?

      • scotty b August 20, 2016, 12:37 am

        Apply double taps until they quit kicking.

    • hey August 21, 2016, 9:42 pm

      They may decide to return fire within in that second

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