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Around 6:40 p.m. in St. Pauls, N.C., a woman came home to some unexplained noises in her storage building. While armed, she walked into the building and saw James Dority, age 39, standing in the corner. The next thing she knew, he was “lunging at her” in “an aggressive manner.”

She shot him five times with, according to the one report, a .22-caliber gun. When deputies arrived, they found Dority lying on the ground with non-life-threatening wounds. He’s now recovering in a hospital.

The appropriateness of .22 calibers for self defense is a perpetually hot topic among gun owners. In this case, it appears that the woman succeeded in hitting her target each time, which may be the reason for her choice of caliber.

Should she have picked something with more “stopping power”? Possibly, although shot placement tends to trump caliber when it comes to stopping a threat. The important thing is that the job got done, and the woman came away from the situation unharmed.


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  1. It goes “bang” and puts holes in things…
    I wouldn’t want to bet my life on one when better is available, but for some folks it’s all they have.
    Hard to argue with results.

    • I carry a Walther P22 10shot. It’s loaded with Browning Fragmental LR. I tried them against reg 22LR hollow points cci brand. On 1 gal milk carton at 20yrds it’s like a bb to buck shot. Yes I said 20yrds I’ve surprised several people by dropping wooden bowling pens at 40yrds. I love the gun it’s light to carry in a belly band and dead on accurate. I’ve been offered $400 and turned it down. I’ve carried 38, 380s, and 9mm. I carry my 22.

      • I believe grams makes the level of impact. But it only takes one well placed round to end a threat. The more rounds down range the better to odds in shooters favor.

      • I believe grains makes the level of impact. But it only takes one well placed round to end a threat. The more rounds down range the better the odds in shooters favor.

    • I always say the best one is whatever you are comfortable carrying and train with

    • Real calibers start with a .4 and end in a 60 S&W Magnum and go up from there. Anything weaker than that just proves you’re not man enough to handle a man’s round. Only holds 5 you say? The other 4 are for later to celebrate how, as a real man, I don’t miss. People should carry the largest round they can handle and if you can’t handle mine, it’s just proof you’re a lesser person.

      My dad has a friend who used to say these things about his 1911 in the traditional .45ACP. I have overheard him do this many times. So when I knew my dad’s friend was gonna be over, I borrowed a friend’s .460 and a shoulder holster I wore under my sport coat and then brought up shooting my 9MM at the range. He went off about how the 9 was such a pussy round and I asked to see one of the bullets from his gun. Oh man, the look on his face when I drew that revolver and said “I agree, whoever has the weaker bullet is the weaker man.”

        • By ‘handle’ do you mean operate the weapon or catch the incoming 30mm round in your teeth. And then spit it out and grin about it.

          Which do you mean?

        • The recoil of the MK 7 isn’t the problem. It’s the muzzle blast. Messes my beard up something fierce.

      • An elderly woman used what she had and walked away unscathed. The badman, he had a bad day and it ain’t gonna’ be over for a long time. An acceptable outcome. Not perfect but it’ll do.

      • About 15 years ago I went shooting with a Friend named John Michael Plaxco. Perhaps you have heard of him. He is the only Man that holds all four World Champion Titles ( Rifle, Shot Gun, Pistol, and Revolver). I took my Light Weight Colt 1911 Commander that I have put about 5,000 rounds thru. I thought I was really a good shot with it. I was grouping in about a 5″ circle. Mike asked if he could run a clip thru it. I have never been one to bet on another man’s trick.
        He took my 1911, turned it up side down, pulling the trigger with his little finger and put 7 rounds into a 3″ group. Needless to say I have been rather humble since.

    • It’s still pretty shitty if you’re part of the 30% that got put the fuck down by said caliber.

  2. And there’s another story I heard long ago, a woman moved back in with her mother after her estranged husband threatened to kill her. He broke down the front door in the middle of the night with a large butcher knife in his hand and rushed her. She has a loaded .22lr rifle and shot him in the chest area at near point blank range with all 17 shots but he killed her and the mother, then walked towards the local hospital getting 3/4 of a mile before the loss of blood finally killed him. I’ll take my .45acp auto, thank you very much.

    • Or 9 mm or .40 because with today’s modern ammo they have the same clinical effects on humans assuming same shot placement.

    • People have been shot to pieces with larger caliber weapons and continued to fight.

      Outliers going to outlie.

    • Rocketman,

      There are also verified accounts of attackers who stayed in the fight after taking more than 12 hits from .45 ACP at close. The fact of the matter is that .22 LR and common handgun calibers do NOT realiably stop extremely determined and/or drugged attackers. Saying it another way, “light” caliber firearms are not magic talismans.

      If you want a guaranteed platform that reliably stops extremely determined and/or drugged attackers, you need an intermediate caliber (or greater) rifle with appropriate bullet construction — or a shotgun (20, 16, or 12 gauge) with appropriate slugs or buckshot.

      Or you better be able to score head shots if using common handgun platforms or varmint rifles.

      • In Jim Cirillo’s book about the stakeout squad he has a story of a robber that they shot 10+ times in the face and head with a 357 magnum, who walked himself to the ambulance and was apparently fine. As perfectly said above, outliers gonna outlie.

        • Saw a guy take about a magazine of 556 and keep going(for a few min). Poor bastard was dead walking but still able to sling some lead back. They brought in some CAS to finish him off. When they checked the body they identified at least 12 central nervous system and head shots that were fatal.

  3. I wouldn’t pick .22LR as my defensive caliber in the current United States.

    There are way, way too many fat fucks basically wearing body armor against light rounds. Will .22LR penitrate through 6″ or more of fat to make it to organs and do serious damage? I have my doubts.

    Fortunately it’s not a big deal for me really. I can walk backwards faster than the vast majority of those people can run. Just do a lap around the Wally World parking lot at they’ll drop from a heart attack/lack of cheap soda.

    • They have an motorized infantry division, all pimped out in electric carts. They mean business. Best to aim for the motor for an M-kill, then back off and reassess.

    • Strych9,

      A woman who is on the small side for starters, lacks muscle tone (as many do at age 68), and may even have an injury of some sort: may be physically limited to a handgun or rifle chambered in .22 LR.

      The key to using a .22 LR firearm effectively for self-defense is to either score head shots or put multiple rounds center mass. According to the story she managed to put five rounds into an attacker who was rushing her. I would say that was pretty fantastic. Even more fantastic, the attacker stopped.

  4. Wonder what SEAL Team she operated with?

    The .22 is available and cheap. Maybe a 68 yo woman is living on a fixed income and can’t afford bigger and better.

  5. 17 shots of long rifle was common in the older tube fed .22s. The older model 60 marlin held that many and something like 21 shorts. And it would work just fine with shorts. Longs. Long rifles.

    This reply was to a comment that vanished. Or maybe I’m having a senior moment.

  6. A hundred years from now, our great-grandkids are going to be in here arguing whether the forty watt range is still satisfactory for a phased plasma rifle.

    • We all know it’s gonna be the “Optimal watt ratings start with a ‘4’” crowd vs everyone else… 😀

  7. IIRC, .22 kills more people than any other caliber.

    While I prefer larger calibers, who am I to criticize a GGWAG (Good gal with a gun)?

    • No. I want to know who the hell made up that “fact” I’ve heard it multiple times and its obviously false. You really think it has killed more than 7.62×39 or 9mm? By what logic?

  8. President Reagan was put down with a .22, as well as a couple of Secret Service agents. Hinckley fired a Röhm RG-14 .22 LR blue steel revolver six times in 1.7 seconds and finally made contact with the President off a ricochet of the armoring of his car.

    • Reagan didn’t go down.
      He didn’t even know he’d been shot until after he was sitting in the back of the limo.
      Brady went down instantly, as did the cop who was shot in the neck.
      I don’t know about the SS agent who got hit.

      • True , but he damn near died in the operating room from blood loss . If you want em dead , you want to make em bleed and in a way that surgeon can’t fix . Best caliber for this is small and fast ……………. they call em bouncers .
        If you want them to go down the absolute fastest and not be in the fight ……….. head shot …………. best caliber for this is the one that you can best hit the head with .
        If you want dead and fast ………. well now , that is arguably a heart shot with a big fast bullet ………. good luck

        • If you “want them dead”, then you’re not a defender, you’re a murderer. Intent counts.

        • @texted, when I shoot, I want them dead. Because if they are still alive, they can always pull a short 38 and unload on me. So yes. Somebody breaking into my house, I want dead. And in TN, that’s legal.

    • Hinkley used an exploding type of .22LR, one that hit the car and then Reagan didn’t explode. Surgeons used body armor during the surgery. I think the one that hit Brady exploded.

  9. As far as stopping power goes, don’t most attackers lose interest in the attack when you start punching holes in them, regardless of the size of the holes?

  10. As to the woman who was killed by her husband, we call that failure to stop.
    Failure to stop means of he don’t you’ll with thoracic shots, you go to the ocular cranial cavity. As thin as the bone is there, even a .22LR can get the job done.

  11. Well good for her! Shoot whut U brung. Sadly left him breathing which opens up a lawsuit(I hope not!)

    • Thirty-nine year old thug versus everybody’s grandmother? If he were fool enough to try, I’ll bet the jury would find for the defendant as soon as they could take a vote.

  12. The real question is, “What is meant by ‘stopping power’?” In this case, the threat was effectively stopped. Or is “stopping power” actually code for “one hit, one kill” in all circumstances?

  13. Good for her. It’s still downright silly to call .22 an appropriate round for self defense. If you believe so, then by all means, carry a .22. It’s your life. I suppose now that .45 vs 9mm is “over” (I wouldn’t agree), the next caliber war will be 9mm vs .22? The old, outdated, fat, slow, FUDD 9mm fanbois vs the new, slim, fast, ultra capacity .22 fanbois. Then it’ll be fat old .22 fan bois vs the .17 fanbois. And so on until energy weapons come along.

  14. 5 x .22 = 1.10

    That’s more than two .50 caliber shots. Enough to kill an elephant, for sure. Somebody want to check my math?

    • The math does not work like that. The size of wound channel is determined by bullet design and velocity, among other things. Even just looking at the channel assuming no expansion, the size of the channel is Pi x r squared. .50 cal gives you (0.50/2) x (0.50/2) x 3.14 = 0.20 square inch. 5 of 22 caliber bullets gives you 5 x (0.22/2) x (0.22/2) x 3.14 = 0.19 square inch. Single 50 cal wins even when discounting expansion and kinetic energy.

    • If it worked like that then you could claim 5 .45 rounds would equal 225 caliber or 57.15mm. So then 5 shots from a .45 is the equivalent of a light artillery round.

  15. If I were to use a 22 lr use CCI 36 gr HP won’t expand but penetration is up to FBI standards I also use CCI Velocitors in my self defense firearms check out shoot the bull on YouTube for his testing on 22lr and other calibers

  16. The .22 in your hand beats the shotgun in your closet. Kudos to the old gal for having a gun and using it successfully, regardless of caliber.

  17. I declare this story fake news! The media will tell us that a gun is never used in self defense! And the gun snobs will tell us that a .22 can never be used for self defense, unless it’s a Wilson Combat .22! There is no way a elderly lady could afford a Wilson Combat and still afford to eat! Therefore fake news!!!

  18. When I go to the indoor range I cannot help but notice that many of the women have difficulty with the larger caliber handguns. In contrast, they obliterate the center of the target with .22’s. Some of the most impressive center obliteration I have seen at 10 – 15 yards was a guy with a .22 semi auto and a young lady with a full-size .22 revolver – one of those 8 round revolvers. Yes they were small caliber but there was nothing left of the 9 and 10 rings. If the target had been an intruder, there would have been nothing left of his head or heart.

  19. I have a 22 mag pistol (Name ?) Made by Kel Tec, weighs nothing, has a 30 round magazine. Never had a misfire. Unlike 22lr with primer strikes not working.

    In fact, the hugeness of the report would send most criminals running. Sounds like a much larger calibre. A 44?

  20. A .22 in the hand beats that .45 in the safe every time.
    Getting shot isn’t fun despite the caliber and the noise is attention getting.

  21. That six shot Heritage Revolver is pretty effective. If that is what she used. For $150 that is a good self defense weapon.

  22. Greg Ellifritz ( writes about a 91 year old man who lives by himself on a mountaintop in rural Tennessee. The old guy’s self defense weapons are a pair of S&W model 317 .22 LR revolvers he carries in the front pockets of his jeans. He figures 16 shots to the chest, neck and face in three or four seconds will ruin any bad guy’s day.

    • Here on ttag we heard of a man that was about 90. He heard people breaking in, got his .22 rifle and waited in his easy chair. When confronted by a young, healthy bad guy he shot him once. Bad guy died.

      Caliber wars are bogus. Folks trying to convince you that you need to pay lots of money and time training under a gun guru are bogus.

      Make up your mind to not be a victim. The rest ain’t that complicated.

  23. Caliber is a hedge against poor shot placement. Capacity is a hedge against poor shot placement.

    Place them shots.

  24. What matters is she stopped the threat. I really don’t care what caliber she uses as long as it does the job. My only complaint is she didn’t kill the sorry bastard.

  25. Read an obituary for a drug dealer in Fresno CA back in seventies. Three deputy sheriffs, four city officers, and two detectives unloaded on him while attempting warrant service. 38spec, 9mm, 357mag- in all if memory serves 63 rounds total expended with more than forty hits. Five 357mag to cranium. 312 pound bad guy continued to advance firing a variety of handguns. Three officers hit. Detective White brought bad guy to his knees with five 12ga slugs to the thoracic. Lived two hours after an ambulance ride. A human’s (even a bad human) will to live is very often extremely strong- especially if jacked on opiates like nearly pure heroin. None of the cranial shots actually penetrated skull bone including two which struck cranio-ocular area. The guy was EXTREMELY tough. Yeah, run whatcha brung, just be aware it might not be enough! Bad guy’s name was Armand Blecher if my memory serves me. 312 lbs of pure t mean.

  26. GRANNY could have fired two more rounds and took dingus out of the gene pool, but she probably figgured that he had enough..granny probably practices with shooting the heads of of flys..

  27. If that’s all she has ??
    Is it what she comfortable with !!
    Was it the only caliber handy !!
    I load my Google friends 22Mag with first shot Rat Shot !!
    I told her and practices face shot !!
    Told her shoot and if possible run !
    If not but the last 4 Hollow points Center Mass
    It was all the was comfortable with !!
    The important part of this is the lady is safe !!

  28. Good for her,she’s 68 for Pete’s sake…she prolly can’t handle much more than a 22.
    Anything bigger in caliper,she may have missed totally…she got done what needed to be done… Thank you Jesus!!!

  29. Google Joseph Christopher aka .22 Killer. Never underestimate what a .22 can do whem placed correctly.
    Professional hit men have put two of those rounds in the backs of heads for years.

  30. yea but to be real nasty… fill the hollow point with mercury and drip wax over the top. bullet might stop them, but no cure for mercury poisoning. loooog slow death

  31. I can’t help but notice all the arguing over caliber. Caliber really isn’t all that important. Where you place your shot is the most critical. I have a Bersa .380 or 9mm short if you are in Germany. It isn’t the most powerful round but if I ever have to shoot any aggressor I will be aiming to put the round through his eye. If I have to shoot someone I want him dead. Dead men don’t come back to sue you.

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