.22 LR For Self Defense: Ammunition Test & Comparison

Jan 8, 2022

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.22 LR For Self Defense: Ammunition Test Comparison American Rifleman ^ | January 8, 2022 | NA

Posted on 1/8/2022, 4:11:26 PM by DoodleBob

It’s a question those of us in the gun writing business often get asked. “What’s the best caliber for a self-defense handgun?” Those expecting a one-to-three digit answer from me will be disappointed. I respond to their simple question with a complex one. “What is the most powerful cartridge that you can shoot accurately and proficiently that comes in a handgun which is comfortable enough to carry that you’ll carry it all the time?” Depending on the person asking, the answer will vary. For some, it’s a full-sized .357 Mag. or 10 mm Auto. For others, it’s one of the current .380 ACPs offered in a 9 mm-sized handgun. And in certain cases, it’s the .22 LR.


Civilians who carry a firearm for self-defense are considering many of the same factors, including ammunition cost and availability, but their most important consideration should be using a firearm that is reliable and that they can consistently hit their target with at self-defense distances. Ballistic advantages goes out the window when your bullet doesn’t connect. Five .22 LRs in the bullseye beat one .44 Mag. that missed completely. To paraphrase famed lawman Bill Jordan, ballistics are fine, but accuracy is final.

Recoil is one factor that can hamper accuracy. Even cartridges on the lower end of the power spectrum, like the .380 ACP, can produce a lot of recoil when paired with one of today’s ultralight, micro-compact handguns. Lack of recoil is the .22 LR’s main advantage when it comes to shooting accurately. The topic of the .22 LR as a self-defense cartridge has been fought over and over in digital and print forums.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Education ; Reference ; Society KEYWORDS: banglist ; selfdefense Navigation: use the links below to view more comments. first 1-20 , 21 next last

1 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:11:26 PM by DoodleBob

To: DoodleBob

Shot placement. Just like most other rounds.

2 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:12:42 PM by qaz123

To: qaz123

Hit a man in the heart with a .22 and he’s still shooting, stabbing and fighting.

He might even live.

Stepping up to .380 (minimum) completely changes that calculus.

3 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:17:47 PM by Mariner (War criminal #18)

To: qaz123

I didn’t read the WHOLE article, but the thing that has always concerned me is the number or click and no bangs I get with .22 rimfire. Even with new CCI mini-mags.

I would be nervous to rely on those.

4 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:18:09 PM by Sarcazmo

To: DoodleBob

“What’s the best caliber for a self-defense handgun?”

The one you have with you.


5 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:20:15 PM by Lurker (Peaceful coexistence with the Left is not possible. Stop pretending that it is. )

To: qaz123

Jeff Cooper wrote with his customary lucidity on this topic decades ago.

Personally, my current carry choice is the venerable .45 ACP, but any pistol is just a tool to fight your way back to that rifle you so foolishly left in the truck.

6 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:20:43 PM by absalom01 (You should do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, and you should never wish to do less.)

To: Mariner

I have the Ruger LCP .380 with a 6+1 magazine. Love it due to its size, but wanted it for the deterrent value plus caliber size.

7 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:21:27 PM by Mean Daddy (Every time Hillary lies, a demon gets its wings. - Windflier)

To: Mariner

Haha, I would tend to agree. A guy I used to be friends with always carried a .22 pistol and another of our friends actually witnessed him shoot some guy with it, someone who was hassling him in a parking lot one night - the victim was hit and cried out, then ran away screeching and yelling. He was bleeding but full of pep. My friend was rather relieved and took off quickly. You might think “Oh BS that guy probably went to the cops right away” - nah, it’s pretty clear he never did. He was trying to rob my friend, so he probably just slunk off to his lair. If the cops were ever notified we never heard anything about it. (It was right next to Colfax Avenue on a busy, busy night.)

On the other hand, I would not want to get shot with a .22.

8 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:22:39 PM by Scarlett156 (Don't take it personally. I just get bored really easily. )

To: DoodleBob

An eye shot is an eye shot.

9 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:22:47 PM by ComputerGuy (Heavily-medicated for your protection)

To: Lurker

I would like one of each, please!

10 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:23:13 PM by Scarlett156 (Don't take it personally. I just get bored really easily. )

To: qaz123

I agree.

Where I have a slight departure from this .22 discussion, is that my ability to place shots at higher calibers rises with range time.

I don't doubt that shot placement is key. I also agree that for some people, a .22 is all they can handle. Fair enough.

But, if a .22 is someone's go-to self-defense firearm BECAUSE they don't go to the range and don't build up their skills, that could leave a false sense of security.

11 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:23:37 PM by DoodleBob (Gravity's waiting period is about 9.8 m/s^2)

To: DoodleBob

Hollow points. Aim for the face. A .410 works, too.

12 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:24:17 PM by dynachrome ("I will not be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.")

To: Scarlett156

A .22 in your hand beats the 9mm you left at home every single time.


13 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:24:39 PM by Lurker (Peaceful coexistence with the Left is not possible. Stop pretending that it is. )

To: DoodleBob

for many years I carried concealed. I chose a .22lr in a PPK clone or a small frame 9mm. I shot thousands of rounds through these so I counted on accuracy. I also own M1911 and 357 but those are open carry only so they are limited for wandering through the streets of Seattle.

14 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:26:06 PM by rellic

To: Lurker

The one you have with you.

Yep. Gun beats no gun.

15 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:26:18 PM by broken_clock (Go Trump! Still praying.)

To: Lurker

The 9 is my favorite and that’s what I have right now a Walther CCP. It’s always with me.

I shot a .45 derringer once. That was an experience. I wish I had that gun right now - my friend used to carry it in his boot.

16 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:26:51 PM by Scarlett156 (Don't take it personally. I just get bored really easily. )

To: DoodleBob

SW Shield…. 380. I’ve twice hit a snake in the head while in the creek with it. Crazy small and easy to conceal. Don’t leave home without it…..

17 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:27:38 PM by kjam22

To: DoodleBob

Although caliber is not mentioned, this story makes the point that one needs the right weapon for the situation.

I would guess that a .22 would have been about as effective as a fly swatter.

18 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:27:44 PM by old curmudgeon (There is no situation so bad that the federal government can not make worse.)

To: Sarcazmo

I had a Mark II that would frequently not cycle.

19 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:27:50 PM by LukeL

To: Mariner

Your calculus doesn’t take into account what this article points out prominently, which is that if you miss, all that extra firepower did you no good. Hence, a caliber which increases your hit/miss ratio is a better caliber.

20 posted on 1/8/2022, 4:29:49 PM by Kevmo (I’m immune from Covid since I don’t watch TV.🤗)

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