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“The newest addition to the Gold Dot Short Barrel family is a .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire self defense round,” Speer announces like a proud papa. “These hollow points provide reliable expansion, deep penetration and low recoil. Personal protection and home security scenarios require accuracy and reliability.” Expansion, penetration, accuracy, reliability and . . . stopping power. Which, it must be said, is not the first thing you think of when you think of a .22 caliber bullet . . .

In fact, “inexpensive” is the word one hears most often from shooters talking about .22 cal. Which, I’m thinking, this round will not be. Relative to “normal” .22s. But then if you’re shooting someone with a .22 you’re going to need all the help you can get.

Help is on the way! According to Speer, the new round offers “consistent feeding and functioning when users need it most.” Roger that. That whole non-firing ammo thing can really hum up the works duyring an armed self-defense.

All kidding aside (as if), we should also point out (and so we will) that there are recoil intolerant shooters amongst us who can only handle a .22: the young, old and infirm. Why should they be denied the best possible odds of stopping a perp from perping?

Plenty of people have been killed by .22s; some of them on purpose. More by other calibers, obviously. But shooting the Bad Guy with a .22’s better than throwing a table lamp. Although I’ve yet to see the table lamp self-defense stats . . .

LEWISTON, Idaho – April 13, 2011 – Speer® introduces a new Gold Dot® Short Barrel® Personal Protection offering. The .22 Win. Mag. hollow point rounds provide reliable expansion and penetration for use in self defense situations. These new rimfire options are now available.

Gold Dot Standard of Personal Protection
Speer Gold Dot has gained a reputation for high-performance ammunition and brings Personal Protection rounds to the rimfire platform for the first time. The Gold Dot’s reliable expansion and toughness make it suitable for the smaller 22 Win Mag. Those carrying popular handguns chambered in this make-sense caliber now have a go-to option for self defense situations.

Short Barrel, Strong Performance
These loads are designed for compact rimfire handguns and specific self defense applications. A large cavity ensures maximum expansion and terminal ballistics at reduced velocities. Consistent 10 to 11-inch penetration was achieved in factory testing–in barrels as short as two inches.

“We wanted to design a self defense option that catered to the rimfire platform,” said Brand Director Rick Stoeckel. “We engineered these rounds for effective expansion and consistent functioning in close-quarter situations–where performance is absolutely critical.”

To learn more about the new rounds, view other Gold Dot® offerings, or check out the entire lineup of Speer ammunition, visit

Part No. and Description
0954 22 WMR 40-grain Gold Dot Short Barrel hollow point 1050 fps

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    • Ive seen 22 mags rip open 200 pound hogs heads. Now im sure a slightly larger head like a human skull would not turn out too good with a 22 mag maybe tey a 6 inch barrel for more fps. Lbs

    • Why not? That’s one of the things I love about firearms…All the many different calibers and options. Don’t be one of those guys who thinks there is only one solution to everything. What might work for you may not work for someone else. Not everyone can handle or enjoy shooting larger calibers. I personally carry 38 spl. and 9 mm. My brother carries 45 acp and 10 mm I don’t enjoy shooting those calibers but I don’t criticize his choice because it works for him.

  1. Is this just for Kel Tec PMR-30 owners? I mean I personally wouldn’t want to get shot with it, but seriously the words “self defense round” and .22, even with WMR after it, are kind of mutually exclusive.

    • I would love to see TTAG do a gun test on the PMR-30, and a .22lr pistol. Maybe with a ballistic gelatin test on several different .22lr and .22 wmr rounds. You could even use a target .22 pistol to see how much difference it makes.

  2. For CCW in the deep South, where spring-time temps hit the mid-90’s and summer breaks triple digits with near-as-damn-total humidity, you wear as little as possible and you need a very small piece to avoid printing. Such as the North American Arms .22WMR mini-revolver. Which I’ve carried on many occasions.

    Sorry to break it to you big-bore lovers, but small caliber carry pieces are common. I luv me a good .45 acp too, but sometimes it just ain’t practical.

  3. I’ve never considered any 22 to have stopping power (I guess it may stop a small rodent pretty quick). A 22 will eventually kill you, but I don’t want to take all day to take out the badguy. If you shoot some crackhead with a 22 you’re really going to piss him off, so I think you’re better off spending a few extra dollars and buy some real bullets that will get the job done ASAP.

  4. I want to see something exciting in .22LR self defense ammo, not Win Mag. An incendiary round, for example. Kill it and grill it.

  5. The .22WMR is a hot little round and the snubbie is a super contact weapon. Put them both together and they are very effective for ruining a BG’s whole day. I’ve seen what the little magnum can do to coyotes and, believe me, it ain’t pretty. Unfortunately, the .22WMR can’t be fired by pistols chambered for the .22LR, and .22LR revolvers will either have to be “convertible” models or need a new cylinder.

  6. ‘Tis a shame no revolvers are available that fire THREE .22 magnum rounds per trigger pull. Think about the stopping potential of 3 rounds of .22 mag. striking at the same time.
    The legal definition of MACHINE GUN / FULL AUTO fire would have to be changed to allow three chamber fire with a single trigger pull / three firing pin hammer fall. So I guess we are stuck using .410 revolvers firing THREE .35 caliber OOO Buckshot per trigger pull.

    • Actually, my understanding is that if all three rounds were fired at once this would count as one “shot” so it would not technically be a machine gun. Design away!

  7. The fact that the .22 has been considered a toy for so long really hampers its ability to be taken seriously as a defense round. This is too bad. It was designed as a rifle cartridge and ballisticlly hits like a .38 special when shot though a rifle. It really is a phenomenal cartridge – Especially in the current offerings.

    You put that round in a short barreled pistol and it does significantly hamper performance, but it bellows deep like a much larger gun, spits out a huge fireball, and is very much louder than a .22 lr. Part of getting shot is psychological, and again the .22 magnum performs like a much larger round in that respect.

    Shoot this round though a boot pistol or derringer. You might change many opinions of it being next to useless as many commenters are suggesting.

  8. I never go anywhere without my NAA mini mag. Buy a coconut and shoot it with one, it may change your mind about the effectiveness of the cartridge.

  9. That looks like a pint-sized version of Speer’s old .45 ACP 200-grain ‘Flying Ashtray’ JHPs.

  10. I have a Single-Six that I would like to try this ammo in.

    If the ammo is designed for a 2″ barrel, I wonder what it will do with a longer handgun barrel.

  11. From a Ruger .22 LR pistol, I can put 10 rounds in a six-inch circle at 30 feet in something like ten or twelve seconds. The minimal recoil makes quick & accurate follow-up shots easy.

    With a .22 WMR, I’m guessing there would be a little more recoil, a lot more noise, and I might only get five rounds in that same circle in that same time frame.

    While it’s true that your average crack-head may require a rifle round to stop him, the most likely encounters will be people who just plain don’t want to be shot. Adrenaline will overcome a certain amount of pain and blood loss, but it seems to me that even a small caliber will get your attention.

    I’d conjecture that the .22 WMR would outperform the .25 ACP, and likely even the .32 ACP.

    I could be wrong. Maybe the bad guy would just stand there and laugh. Somehow, under most circumstances, I don’t think so. I’m thinkin’ that a man shot with one of those is gonna light out of there with all haste.

    Good probability that he won’t get far.

    Of course, in my own preferences, I’m partial to using a light carbine for home defense. I like my chances with the .22 WMR out of a light carbine.

    Still, I think I’d be willing to stand firm with a PMR-30 or a Single Six in that chambering.

    • Well, all the conjecture is fine but I looked up the penetration of the .22 WMR as measured in ballistic gel at well over 20 inches with its hollow head expanded way over .45 and at 1900 fps. It’s just nasty, just like a steel rod punching through without the remaining object plugging the bleed… My friend bought a .22 WMR as a varmint gun. But I have been reading about ranchers out west taking down coyotes….They are rare here as of yet, but I have seen 2…

  12. I have always been a rim fire fan ever since my dad gave me my first Marlin Mod. 60 and over the years I have seen the end results of the kind of damage a 40gr. slug can inflict. The Speer 22 wrm will be going into my NAA 22 mag. I just bought a S&W Bodyguard .380 so I guess I’ll carry both. I do have 4 pockets!!!

  13. I would like to point out that by overwhelming numbers the predominant killer caliber among civilians (military and their traditional 9mm excepted) is .22. I know it is not thought of as a killer, but the numbers are there. Of course, if the perp has time to kill you before he dies it’s a bit academic, but I’m just saying.

  14. I usually carry a glock 27 but on my motorcycle it isn’t very practical so I got a NAA 22 magnum to put in my pocket. In my very humble opinion its much better than nothing and since its a revolver it doesn’t jam and missfeed all the time like pocket three eighties I’ve owned. I’ll probably end up trying this ammo too.

  15. Why did they make it? Simple…shot placement disables (or kills), not the size of the bullet, velocity, FBI penetration results, etc. I love my .45 and .40 but you could hit someone with a whole magazine of .45’s in a non-vital area and they will still be able to fight. The recoil of the.40 (and even the .45 to some) is too much and not everyone can handle it and shoot on target. A solid hit with a .22m round and they will be down pretty quick and with very little recoil, on target follow up shots are super quick. Shot placement (and speed on follow up shots as needed) is far more critical that the size of the caliber or anything else. Ok, the exception MAY be a .50 caliber which has some major hydrostatic shock effect on it’s side (depending on the round) but how many carry one of those?

  16. Dead is dead, doesn’t really matter which round someone or something gets shot with. I personally love the idea of having 30 of these in my Kel-Tec.

  17. The first thing I thought of with this article is my old, unused Taurus nine-shooter small-frame three-inch revolver. If it could be rechambered for .22WMR (which I doubt), it would indeed be a good senior’s house gun.
    We run a women’s intro class, one or two a week. We get lots of mature women. They can shoot really well in the controlled environment but don’t practice and don’t always retain much.
    Honestly, a small revolver with sufficient capacity is worth some thought for so many of these deserving folks.
    I’d like to see some real-world results, of course, and I’m still not perfectly comfortable with middle calibers anyway- a .45 weights down my nightstand- but a gun’s a gun, too, and having taught hundreds of women their first shot (well, 100 shots, actually), I might be able to be convinced about a nine- or ten-shot revo with a somewhat effective Gold Dot available and realistically useable.

  18. Sigh. Too many replies featuring boasts from overly macho dipwads. Hey, I’ve owned, and still own, everything from rim-fire rat-shot, to brown-bear stompers in my own hand-cannons. The 22 mag in a pocket-pistol is NOT what I’d take TO a big fight, BUT, take this from a guy with real-world experience, start shooting at me,(or 99 % of the population) with one, and you’ll see a rapidly receding rear.

  19. Not everyone wants to be a gunslinger. For someone who is not a large person, or a particularly strong person or a regular visitor to the range, 8 rounds of controllable Gold Dot .22 WMR in a 2″ Taurus Ultralite would be the good way to provide for their own defense. Smaller caliber ammunition has just as much pucker-factor as larger ammunition. When it’s pointed toward you, the hole in a barrel looks pretty big. I think most people would just as soon not be shot at all. This is just as true of smaller calibers as it is for larger ones.

  20. The 22lr or magnum should not be underestimated! I know so many idiots with no real world experience who knock both. I wouldn’t want to stand in front of either! Use and practice with anything you are comfortable with and you will be served well in the event you need it. High powered pellet guns have been known to disable or kill too often.

  21. Practice….practice…practice…Shot placement…shot placement…shot placement. If you hit what you are aiming at with this round it’s…down and out for the “bad guy/gal” Don’t practice body shots…practice head shots between the eyebrow and point of noise (if you can do this consistently a “center mass” shot will present no problem”). This is a “deep brain” hit. If hit here the bad goes downs immediately…He will stop…pass jail, pass hospital, just a long ride in the coroner’s wagon. Oh yeah…if you are carrying a small 2nd handgun like a NAA mini mag and you don’t get powder burns on the assailant you are to far away. This bring up another point…read Massad Ayoob’s books, articles, etc. on the laws on when and when not to fire in self defense…it may help keep you out of jail and save you a lot of money.

  22. I love the .22 and .22 Mag rounds. It’s affordable to practice with and fun to shoot. I had a dear friend killed with one shot from a .22LR and saw a lady shot and killed in a park while playing with her granddaughter by some punk that wanted to see what it was like to shot someone. That was a single shot .22LR as well from over 100 yards.

  23. I have personally known , so called “crack heads” , my daughter and her several men friends and husbands were all pill heads , crack heads , heroin users , and all around social leaches and I guarantee they would all grab the area of bullet penetration and try to reach for the burn of an internal cavity wound , i.e.. , source of the pain , and then beg you to stop pulling the trigger of a PMR 30 , or run from the cannon sound and fire belching end of a Kel Tec PMR if it came down to it , and advances in ammo technology is changing the world of conceal carry . Keep up . Why do people think that drug users are terminators . Drunks are more stupid when their drunk . What do I know . Just remember to practice with your carry gun of choice . Shot placement folks .

  24. Things are changing pretty fast. At the time of this writing the Speer Gold Dot short barrel Is The Best (22 mag) for a two inch or shorter barrel. But for the PMR-30 the 45 grain FTX Hornady Critical Defense can not be beat. The Winchester Defender 40 grain PDX1 is a very close second. For more information go The American Rifleman. Good luck on finding any of them right now. For me, engagement range for a pocket pistol is five to six feet. A PMR-30 might be as much as 20 feet, 90 shots in 25 seconds is possible. (Youtube)

  25. It’s been 8+ years since the introduction of these cartridges. Has anyone collected real world data regarding the effectiveness of these rounds used in actual self-defense situations? If so, how does it compare to more traditional self-defense chamberings?

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