Courtesy CCI.
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Nobody has ever said that the .22 Long Rifle makes a man-stopper defensive cartridge. However people still carry it for self-defense purposes. Maybe people have disabilities that preclude a more traditional centerfire cartridge for defensive purposes. Others prefer the ultra-petite size and weight of some small pocket pistols. Or there may be budgetary or availability considerations in a person’s life.

No matter the reason, I know plenty of normal people who carry a .22 everyday. When I ask them about it, they remind me that a .22 in the pocket beats a .45 in the safe at home. Scoring hits with a .22 might not put a bad guy down, but they’ll give him reason to reconsider how badly he wants to dance. And they will reduce an attacker’s combat effectiveness.

Personally, for those who opt for a .22 for self-defense, I’ve always steered them toward the CCI Stinger cartridge. Before now.

CCI has a new round out called the CCI Uppercut.

Image by Boch. Base image via CCI.

The manufacturer says it’s engineered for reliability in short-barreled pistols. It fires a 32-grain projectile at about 950 fps from a short barrel. With an MSRP of $12.99 for 50 rounds, it’s not cheap, but it’s not stupid expensive either.

What impressed me in some videos I’ve watched is the consistent expansion of the bullets thanks to a new design. Even when fired through barriers like denim, they still expand every time. Every. Single. Time. Better than any .22 I’ve seen in 40-plus years of following this stuff.  Here’s one of those:

Here’s CCI’s press release

LEWISTON, Idaho – January 19, 2023 – CCI Ammunition has recently released Uppercut Defense 22 LR which is designed for short-barreled, self-defense handguns. The new offering is the company’s first product that falls in the personal protection ammo category.

“We recognized that there are a growing number of people that have chosen 22 LR for their defense pistol for various reasons,” said Jason Slinkard, CCI’s Rimfire Product Director. “We felt it was the right time to produce the best round for those consumers to use for protection.”

New CCI Uppercut answers the call for defensive 22 LR ammunition with power and performance traditional 22 LR loads have never been able to deliver. The difference lies in its exclusive 32-grain projectile. Unlike simple lead round-nose bullets or copper-plated hollow points typical of most rimfire ammunition, Uppercut’s jacketed hollow point bullet features nose skiving that initiates full and reliable expansion through semi-automatic handguns with 2.5- to 4-inch barrels, while retaining the weight needed to hit critical penetration depths. Plus, CCI ’s legendary priming ensures it will be ready when needed.

“What makes this product stand out is its plating thickness. Typically, our 22 LR bullets, such as our popular Mini-Mag line, have a thin flash plate that requires wax to keep the barrel from leading,” explained Slinkard. “The heavy copper plating on Uppercut measures six thousandths of an inch. This design feature is a key to its overall effectiveness as a self-defense bullet.”

CCI Uppercut Defense 22 LR, 32-grain Jacketed Hollow Point (Part No. 960CC) ammunition is packaged in 50-count boxes. MSRP is $12.99.

The bottom line: If you or someone you know carry a .22 Long Rifle for defensive purposes, you might look into the Uppercut. It certainly outperforms your average hollow-point .22.

I’m looking forward to getting a few boxes for myself, quite frankly.

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    • Every gel test on Youtube that isn’t sponsored by CCI is showing that this round doesn’t expand at all from a pistol. And it doesn’t have effective penetration, either.

      Anyone wanting a solid defensive .22lr load should stick to Federal Punch or Aguila Interceptor. Go with penetration and don’t worry about expansion. Size of a hole doesn’t matter if you don’t have a good hit.

  1. A person shot with a .22 may or may not continue to fight.

    But if you’re a women a pervert shot with a .22 will not continue to attempt to rape you. Especially not if you shoot them in the balls.

    • I train all female clients that insist on carrying a 22lr pistol (usually ^50yrs old) how to do point of aim mag dumps at the crotch/groin. 1) they get good at printing a palm sized group, 2) they ALWAYS laugh.
      Guaranteed to take the fight out of any attacker but the most determined, trained operator. But i teach them to count rounds fired & always have them put the last two in the attacker’s noggin.

      “If you find yourself in a fair fight then you’re doing something wrong.”
      – Col. Jeff Cooper

      • My sister is one of those 50+ women who carry a 22lr. My main objection to 22lr is simply the unreliable ignition, but she’s had surgery on both wrists & can’t handle much recoil. This is a good option.

  2. yeah
    but will it run in my walther p22
    which heretofore has only been personal protection reliable with cci mini mags

  3. And a .45 in my pocket beats a .22 in my pocket. What kind of idiot leaves a better option at home if they have one?

    • Iron Cat Beast,

      Some people cannot handle the size, weight, and recoil of a semi-auto pistol chambered in .45 ACP. For those people, a smaller caliber firearm is far better than no firearm.

      Case in point: I recently introduced a 65 year-old woman to handguns and she really struggled when the weight of the handgun was over 35 ounces. (For various reasons a revolver is a superior choice for her rather than a semi-auto handgun.) In her case I am optimistic that I can identify a medium-frame revolver model chambered in .38 Special that will come close to her weight limit. (She wants a medium frame revolver so she can partake in a lot of recreational target shooting–and does not plan to carry it for self-defense although she would use it in her home for self-defense if needed.) If I cannot identify a medium-frame .38 Special revolver under 35 ounces, I may have to scale down to a revolver chambered in .22 LR. And if she is going to keep it ready at home for self-defense, she is going to need a cartridge with the best possible self-defense terminal performance. And that may very well be the cartridge in this article.

      • Uncommon:
        A while back I got into some .38 Special ammunition which had a really light recoil. I’m sorry that I can’t remember what it was now, but I think it might fill the bill with an S&W Air Weight J frame (like my 642).

      • The Rock Island/ Armscorp M200 is a mid sized 6 shot 4″ .38sp, weighs in at 28oz, and can be had for around $225. I bought one last year and it’s alright. My heavier Security Six .357 is nicer, and the lightweight 642 is better for carry, but the M200 is alright.

        I wonder if a Ruger Security .380 auto loader might work for this lady.

  4. If I’m ever down to one handgun it will be a quality 1911 .45 ACP. If I can add a second it would be a quality.22 LR of some discription. Likely to have a outdoor/woods slant to the.22.

  5. I would definitely think about a secondary blade if I carried a 22lr for defense. As said better than nothing, and I don’t know if I’d want reliable expansion but would probably trade it off for penetration in this case.

    That does look really decent though for a small round. Pretty soon they’ll be trying to make something like this for 25 auto or 32 auto, although 32 auto needs that semi rimmed case fixed.

    • Like 30sc? Seriously though 32acp with improved bullets should be fine as is and may even get some full/compact sized development in modern firearms that has been largely lacking.

    • “…although 32 auto needs that semi rimmed case fixed.”

      That is part of the .32 Auto spec. If you “fixed” that it wouldn’t be .32 Auto and would probably cause malfunctions in many guns expecting a (semi)rim that matches the specs.

  6. I’ve seen some videos where this ammo was tested, and it doesn’t quite carry the load CCI claims. Doesn’t always expand, too light to run in some firearms. I’m not sold.

  7. i have also tried the 22lr Punch by Federal and was quite impressed with it out of my Beretta 21A Bobcat and my S&W M&P. Will try this Uppercut and see how it does, especially since the Federal Punch is so hard to find anywhere. I alos have used the Stinger and the Velocitor in my 22lr pistols and had very good luck with very few if any failures, unlike the standard fare from other manufacturers, especially Remington in the Thunderbolt, that I don’t even shoot in any semi auto, but keep it for my revolvers for students.

    • I hate the Thunderbolt (but still have some). I never seem to have problems with any CCI or Federal 22lr, even the cheap Blaser and bulk packs, but do with the Thunderbolt.

  8. So you’re reviewing, and recommending, a particular .22lr ammo based on a manufacturer’s press release and watching YouTube videos. Seriously?

    With lazy crap like this…its no wonder this sight is going to hell in a hand-basket

    • Good point. This article is crap. I was hoping for actual gel tests using weapons with different barrel lengths. Apparently, YouTube not TTAG is the place to look. 👍

  9. I bought a variety of ammo for my LCPII and the only load I could get a whole mag through without a malfunction was the Mini-mags, so if you carry one for self defense, the first and foremost interest is that it goes bang every time. After that, I’m not sure you really want any expansion because it comes at the expense of the already limited penetration.

    BTW I chronoed the Miin-mags (875fps, 68ft/lbs) shooting at a 12″ target at 25 yards. Even though I wasn’t really trying to hit the target, just shoot through the rods, I managed to hit with 6 of the 10 rounds. My FFL had told me he and his son had taken a .380 LCP and couldn’t hit a full size silhouette at 25 yards, so you could make the argument that if you’re going to carry a mouse gun it’s better to carry a weaker one that can hit the target than a more potent one that’s guaranteed to miss.

    • Mini-Mags are high on my list after watching STB410’s ‘Ammo Quest’ a few years back, where it took top honors…

  10. Just saw a video from Buffalo Outdoors yesterday where he used a Keltek P17 (3.8″ barrel) and a 10% gell block with a double jean overlay at 10yds. Not a single uppercut round expanded in the the block. One, just one had a damaged petal. That was it.
    He decided he’d use them anyway because his gun functions better with those.

    • He released a second video to use up the remaining rounds from the box. He shot a couple into water jugs to see if water would open them up, but no joy. He had to run the last 5 through a rifle to get sufficient velocity for expansion, but they wouldn’t cycle the action reliably (that was in clear gel).

      I may get a box to try in my 22s if I ever see them on sale, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

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