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Focus on the ballistics all you want, but for me it’s the huge failure rate.


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  1. Watching one hit someone in the head up close convinced me of two things.

    It’s not self defense round that I’d personally choose but if someone’s not really intent to hurt you, it will very likely dissuade them from continuing their current path in life if you shoot them in the head with it.

    • Oh, and I guess one other thing:

      I also learned that there were, in fact, people stupid enough to risk catching a body over a rust-bucket Old’s Eight-Eight in 2007.

        • Autocowrecked? And seen a few corpses from 22 re head and upper chest shots. Wouldn’t be my first choice but beats most melee options I can fit in a pocket.

    • If someone’s not really intent on hurting you, you have no business shooting him in the head. Or at all.

  2. Lots of folks been killed by the .22. Is it perfect? No. But it is what’s available in large numbers all over this country. And quantity has a quality all its own.

      • Why didn’t Germany win WW2? They certainly had quality weapons.

        There were times in my life that the only firearm I owned was a .22. That was just the way it was at that time. I never felt helpless or like a victim.

        • You may recall me mentioning in the past that a very good friend of mine died immediately upon being shot with a single .22LR to the head.

          Say what you want, Jeremy, but some of us know the real facts in life.

        • If you are going to use a .22lr, a rifle is a lot better than a handgun. The added velocity, expansion, and shootability add up.

          Then again, I am kinda foolish, and have occasionally carried my Ruger SR22 when I had better options (G19, 642, CZ82 etc) but have never carried my Marlin 60 or 795. 😉

          If I knew I had to be in a gun fight, I’d almost prefer my Marlin 60 or 795 to the Glock 19. I know I shoot the rifles a lot better, and could make many more hits in rapid succession.

          Of course the AR, the AK, and the shotguns are all vastly better options than the 22 rifles.

        • Art. If I knew I was go9ing to be in a gunfight I’d charter a helicopter and get the hell outta dodge. 🙂

        • @jwm—depends on the helo. Little Bird, Apache, or Super Cobra (now Viper) are all great options.

    • Lots of folks have been killed by tetanus too, but I wouldn’t consider using a rusty nail as my self defense weapon.

      .22LR for stealthy assassination on an unwitting target? That sounds reasonable.
      .22LR to stop a charging enraged high school football player from ripping your arms off? Good luck with that one.

      • but I wouldn’t consider using a rusty nail as my self defense weapon.

        Maybe not as a defensive weapon but if you really want someone to suffer it IS one of several weapons to consider… Depending of course on how much time and effort you are willing to contribute to their demise…

      • Tex, Dean W’s articles on bear defense over at Ammoland (I feel like I am starting to sound like Debbie with all my referencing of that series of articles, but I do think EVERYONE should read them) contain many true examples of .22 LR being used successfully against bears. Should be good for high school football players unless they are wearing their gear.

        To paraphrase others, I do not carry a .22 for self defense. But if that is all I had, it beats a sharp stick or rusty nail.

    • Works great when your target is kneeling in front of you and you’re holding that .22 revolver 2 inches away aiming at the brain stem… 130 contract killers agree…

      • I have a shipmate who was buried in 1980, thanks to a .22LR. His killer enjoyed either decent skill, or plain dumb luck. The bullet hit the spleen, and Carlos bled out before an ambulance could get to him.

        Shot to the head sounds sexy, but the skull is a tough nut to crack. Spleen, heart, liver, and other vital organs are much easier to penetrate.

        • Funny enough the one 22 headshot I saw didn’t penetrate but still caused a coma leading to death from impact deformation. Chest shots seemed to penetrate fine but were not immediately fatal. With that said would still begin my choices at 32acp and work up (typically starting at 9 but dress code can be a factor)

        • The 1992 Interstate 70, mass murderer killed ever one (6) of his victims with a 22lr and by the way he was never caught. So law enforcement doesn’t know if he quit, died or just changed his MO.

  3. Personally, I will not volunteer to take one for the team.
    Two to the base of the skull at point blank range is usually effective, and with a silencer, will not disturb the other prisoners. Very little clean up after.

      • Has anyone told Dacian about Gunkid?

        It’s an older code, sir, but it checks out.

  4. i saw it once like 5 years ago or so
    and ive been unable to find it ever since
    there was a study by somebody
    john lott seems to be stuck in my mind
    after looking through like 50 thousand cases
    going back like 50 years or so
    no instance could be found
    where a person
    lost his or her life defending it
    while armed with a .22lr caliber firearm
    during a home invasion/burglary/robbery
    when my hand are too old and weak to run anything else
    my nightstand gun will be a semi auto .22lr with a light on it
    a 15 round mag in it
    loaded with the most reliable ammo i can find
    and i wont lose a seconds sleep over it

  5. Hmm…I thought .380 was too weak & got rid of my little gat. I guess if you get shot in the eye 22 works🙄. It’s great for starting kids off shooting. I did when I was 10 or 11.

  6. 22 lr is for people too weak to even handle 9mm. Despite the current fashion, people over estimate the number of rounds needed and underestimate the power needed.

  7. Not my preferred round for defense by a long shot.

    If I had only the option, it would be a revolver with at least 8 shots.

    And I would consider those shots to be “one round” in most cases.

  8. If I had a 10/22 I don’t know that I’d feel as if I had the best HD arsenal in the world, but I really don’t think I’d want to be on the other end of it with a BX25 jammed in it. It’s not just that you have something of power, but that you can sling a lot of it out fairly accurately fairly quickly.

    Also wouldn’t say I have had a MK-II I’ve carried for SD. No not a .357 mag but 10 mini mags is better than nothing.

  9. Get shot with a 22LR and chances are good Husomeone will be calling 911 quick, better hope dispatch takes it more serious than some people.

  10. I used to work with an older gentleman that one day, decided he was going to check out.
    He put the barrel of a .22 pistol up against the roof of his mouth and pulled the trigger.

    He was transported to the hospital, and an X-ray showed the bullet lodged in the opposite side of his skull from the entry point.

    He was back to work in two months, with the bullet still inside his skull, and almost no neurological deficits.

  11. Back in the 50’s & 60’s, the 22LR was widely used by the various Mob families in the New England/New York area. Not very loud, and easy to conceal, a 22LR pistol was capable of cracking someone’s skull. (Many family members were LEOs back then.) Even in the 50’s a 22LR target pistol was accurate enough that a decent shot could pick which eye to hit at 10 paces. Me, I feel that the 380 ACP is marginal for self-defense. However, as a grumpy old shooter. I can understand the appeal of a 22LR target pistol when the arthritis is acting up. Too bad that the 22WMR round is about the same cost as a 9mm, as a 22WMR DA revolver would be so much better than a typical 22LR pistol if that was all one could handle.

  12. I’ve seen it work both ways. A single shot to the temple caused near instant death. Next one caught a .22 in the face and got away with a small scar and messed up sinuses.
    I’ve seen a .22 glance off a rib and run under the skin. Next victim the round penetrated and punched his ticket. Just luck of the draw. Will it contact bone or at a slight angle and do superficial damage? Or will it penetrate and shred vital organs?
    Yes, a .22 weapon is likely better than bare hands or a sharp stick. But, not my first, or even second choice as a defensive weapon.

  13. When I was a teen there was an area neighbor teen that had a friend who had just gotten a motorcycle and invited him to go riding with him on a three mile stretch of road that didn’t go anywhere.

    The road didn’t really go anywhere yet. It was a road project that was started but never completed and had been there for years. It was originally intended to provide a more direct route for a community to the shopping areas in the city. it didn’t connect to the highway yet at the community, just stopped in an open ground semi-wooded field about 200 yards from the highway at that community. To get to it you traveled down a county road where its only connection to another road existed. But the federal government decided they were going to build part of an interstate there so they got the land and the state road project was stopped. The road made a good spot for the locals to race their cars and motorcycles. I still remember the story in the news paper and talking to his devastated parents (his mom later committed suicide by overdose, her son was everything to her)

    So he goes riding with his friend, he’s a passenger. On this fateful day …. “going about 80 MPH” (said the news paper quoting the police) …. “a small rock just a little bit smaller than a .22 bullet penetrated the skull. He was dead before he hit the ground” (said the news paper quoting the coroners office) … “thrown up, probably, by the car passing in the other lane going the opposite direction” (said the news paper quoting the police).

  14. I don’t carry a .22. If it was all I had, however, I suppose I would. I have to wonder how many posters here have ever used one, personally, in their own defense and encountered failure?

    • Outside of the LEOs I would have to think very few have had to use their gat in self defense period, .22 or not, excluding just brandishing

    • When I was 16 I got cornered by a pack of dogs in the woods. Strays or ferals? Who knows. Killed the most aggressive one with a .22. The rest left.

      Does that count as self defense?

      • Had that happen about a year ago. No shots fired, but it was close. Had the gun about 3 years, first and only unfriendly unholster.

        Better to have and not need…

      • I’m thinking 2 legged vermin over 150 lbs. I’ve killed foxes, coyotes, raccoons, even a couple deer with .22 rim fire. I’m also thinking in the majority of cases when any gun is produced before said vermin can get a hold of the carrier, the cretin will turn tail, especially if he/she/it isn’t similarly armed.

        I’m not advocating a .22 rf as EDC and not trying to be Dacian. Just seems to me that a lot of expert advice is being parroted around by people who have never had the experience in the first place. Opinions are another matter.

        • Never said I preferred the .22. But it works if that is what you do have. I’m thinking a lot of these commenters have already lost the fight in their minds just because they haven’t got the latest and greatest on them.

          If all I have when the shtf is a .22, i’m going to run a .22.

  15. Are you going to trust your life to a rimfire round that fails to fire 10% of the time?

    • Seriously, 10% of the time? You need to find better ammo. My failure rate is more like 1 or 2 rounds in a brick, if that. Mini-Mags 1 round ever for 1000’s of rounds fired.

      • “My failure rate is more like 1 or 2 rounds in a brick, if that.”

        Also my experience. 10% would be a full box per brick…

      • The CCI stuff (Minimags and even cheap Blazer) almost never seems to misfire. The Remington golden bullet stuff has tons of duds. It sucks. The Federal is also good, not quite as good as the CCI.

        If I had to run 22lr for defensive use, it would be CCI Velocitor or Minimag.

  16. I have killed a lot of deer shooting them in the head using a .22 caliber Long Rifle.
    A fellow on you tube demonstrates the lethality of his silenced and night sighted .22 rifle shooting feral swine.
    Shot placement.

    • A lot of old packing plants dispatched all their big steers with .22s. Friend’s joint used an old Remington Model 6 Improved. If you don’t know what that is , look it up…

      • For those who won’t look it up, it’s a rolling block introduced in 1901. It was chambered in 22s, l, lr and 32 short and 32 long.

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