A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, April 01, 2006

.22 Long Rifle for Self Defense

In a previous post I may have given the impression that I advocate .22 Long rifle as a defensive caliber. If that was the case, I wish to correct that impression. In a rifle or a handgun, a well aimed .22 bullet is adequate for taking squirrels and other small game. It is true that a face full of .22 ammo will cause most attackers to cease their activities. It is also true that the .22 has taken more lives than any other caliber.

I am against .22 ammo for self defense for several reasons. It's incapacitation record is low. The .22 is on record as having caused more deaths than any other caliber. The deaths all to often occur long after the gun was fired, and the statistics are skewed by the sheer volume of .22 caliber weapons in existence however. Most of these deaths are due to accidents, not attacks. The argument for "a faceful of .22" holds just as true as the argument for a faceful of .40S&W.

What is lost on many novices is the actual dynamics of self defense. With a .22 pistol, it would take seven well aimed shots to inject the same lead volume of one bullet of .45ACP. Those seven shots take time, and the cumulative effect may not be reached until minutes or even hours later. People have been shot in the face with a .22 and lived. While you are squeezing off your second and third shot, your attacker will not be just standing there waiting for more. They will be continuing the attack, or making it a lot more difficult to shoot them again.

Before a jury, seven shots to the face with a 22 caliber weapon has a much greater impact than one shot to the face with a 45. When one must defend their actions in a court of law, the number of shots often hold great significance with jury members who do not understand the dynamics of self defense. To a jury, seven shots of anything to the face is horrible overkill. One 12 gauge blast to center mass with a duck gun is restraint. Never mind the ballistics or other facts involved, it's the impression the attorneys are able to exploit and the jury develops that affects the verdict. To survive a lethal encounter intact, a person must also survive the legal entanglements afterwards.

The first shot in a gunfight is often the defining shot of a gunfight. When that shot is made in self defense, it needs to have maximum impact on the aggressor. That is why I advocate the 12 gauge shotgun for the home and the .45ACP or .40S&W for carry. None of my preferred self defense weapons force the defender to shoot the attacker in the face multiple times to increase the chances of survival. All have the capability of stopping an attacker with a center of mass shot. Of course, as shown in the George Temple incident, multiple COM hits of .45ACP may not be enough. There are many articles written by men more knowledgeable than I on the various aspects of ammo and caliber selection. I will defer to their expertise when it comes to muzzle energy and other variables such as Relative Incapacitation Index.

.22 Long Rifle ammunition is notorious for it's inconsistency in ignition, as is any rimfire cartridge. This inconsistency in ignition is as unacceptable in a defensive gun as having tires that may not stay inflated on your car. When a life is on the line, any history of ammunition failure is unacceptable.

All guns depend on one variable for stopping a determined attacker. That variable is user input, the willingness to use the weapon and the capability the shooter possesses for hitting their target. If the defender refuses to shoot, or is a poor marksman, a grenade launcher will not have any impact. The .22 handgun is better than a pointy stick if one needs a tool to defend one's life. A larger caliber is better than the .22 though. The .22 pistol is a fantastic tool to get acquainted with firearms and learn marksmanship with. The Ruger MKII and Browning Buckmark are accurate, and inexpensive to buy and shoot. That allows a person to shoot them a lot. The volume of shooting with an accurate, low recoil gun is what allows a person to develop into a superior marksman the fastest. At least that is what I have seen.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember the video a few years back of the lawyer in Los Angeles getting shot multiple times. And he walks away under his own power?

He was shot with a .22.

Good thing for the lawyer the crazy guy shooting didn't know diddly about ballistics.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is the story with video.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Firearms Instructor for 20 years I completely disagree with everything your wrote. .22 LR pistols are small, easily concealed, have a speed of 900 to 1300 fps, more then any .45, are easy to aim, have quick target aquisition, a quick and accuate grip, and are perfect for self defense. 3 to 5 rounds of 22 lr in the chest of any attacker will ruin an attack. You miss diagnose all of the data written. Almost all gun deaths occur days later, not just the .22. In self defense one must teach confidence, peace of mind, ways to carry and conceal, grip, target acquistion, and so on. Take a poll. How many cops nationwide carry a 45 or 9 off duty? many, perhaps even most grab a .22, .380. .38 and stuff in in the waist band or pocket. I know of no documented attack that continued after several rounds of a .22 were sent center mass. I suggest you deeply research then write and document.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I have researched it anonymous. You are free to disagree. I happen to believe you are wrong. Here's a link for you. Enjoy.


8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to my fellow gun boys and girls a .22 is a good stopper just read the book street justice i believe is the name the .22 kills more people every year than any other caliber in the world good target acqusition i can put 10 rounds in center mass in seconds without worrying about recoil or excessive muzzle blast do i want to be shot with any gun of course not but believe me if its your time to go its your time bo,carry well

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would take about 500 well placed rounds with a .45 to match that of a bazooka! Why not carry a bazooka? Get real Ill continue to carry my 21a and be safe out and about. You walk around gunless but if you get in a jam just tell the perp that you have a macho .45 at home. That outa scare em.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people need to read Smokey Taylor's story.


5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who beleives that a .45 is a lejit CCW is crazy as a Sh%t House rat.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes that a .22 is a lejit CCW is crazy as a Shet House rat.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone want to volunteer to take 7 .22 stingers to the chest to prove they're point?

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, after you take seven .45 JHP to the chest........

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not split the difference and both of you take three 9mm to the head.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that if I could own only one handgun , my choise would be .22LR revolver ! First ammo is cheap ! I can get more practice than with costly center-fire ammo ! For self-defence I would use the CCI Stinger ammo , and the cheap 500 round Walmart or K-mart ammo for practice !

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

.22lr stops attacks. Trust me, unlike all the assumtions here, I speak from personal expirience. If you own a gun, you need to train and train often. It's not about caliber, it's about shot placement. I got rid of my .40 and 9mms' and now I only own .22lr. I recomend Aguila Interceptor ammunition, which is the fastest and hardest hitting 40 grain solid bullet, with eley prime so ignition is flawless. If you can not place a clean head shot under presure, then you better go to the range until you can. The good news is, that with the price of .22lr bullets, you can afford to practice much more than the other guys. By the way, did I mention that it only takes one .22lr round to the noggin? Be safe and try not to shoot anybody, for crying out loud!

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 22 LR will work just fine. Of the 200+ homicides I investigated since 1984 about 25% were shot with one to three 40gr round nose bullets fired from .22 LR cartridges. All died with in 2 minutes and about 20% dropped dead.

I have also had several cases where victim's were hit with several .45 ACP bullets (RN, HP, and one with Tallon rounds) and were not even aware they were hit. None died.

Handgun rounds are all low in power and not the best at stopping an aggressive attacker.

Gun magazine writers who have never been involved in a shooting or investigated a homicide or suicide have no clue. Many listen to so called experts who fire rounds into gelatin for what that is worth.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there are a lot of armchair experts out there.

One question: Why do most intelligence services use a .22 lr?

Answer: Because it simply works, period.

Anyone can improperly use a tool. People often think they can buy something deadly, and in doing so, become deadly. If you train with a weapon, and can actually place the shot, you will kill.

If most people would actually take the time to get to know their gun, rather than buying the 'next big thing', they would find they would become proficient with the pistol. Being worried about ballistics and technical material that most people don't understand, WILL get you killed, knowing how to shoot under a wide range of conditions won't.

It sounds like one guy in this forum actually has some 'trigger time'. Lets all quit trying to lean on our own understanding and look around, the government has more time and money to waste than we do, THEY USE A .22 LR!

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok anonymous poster who likes to dub other people "armchair experts", how many people have you killed with the .22 long rifle?

Don't try to hide behind some super-duper top secret govment assasian acronym agency. You aren't fooling anyone. If the .22 is so great, then why do militaries and police forces fail to use it? Oh yeah, they don't have your superior training in killing multiple moving assailants under fire. Yeah right. Go back to school. Your reading skills suck.

How about reading about Smokey Taylor? He is the real thing. He used a .22 caliber handgun with well placed marksmanship. Between the eyes. The round failed to penetrate. "That boy had the hardest head I’ve ever seen," Taylor said after his trial. "The bullet bounced right off."

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a former member of the Canadian armed forces. I have worked with my American counterparts and found them to be well trained and 'switched on'.

The .22 lr High Standard has been in use since the 1940's. An American pilot, Gary Powers (the U-2 incident), was shot down over the former Soviet union. It was at this time that the 'world' new about the U.S.'s suppressed pistol (made by high standard). The pistols were used a lot after that, especially during the Vietnam era.

During the CIA's "air-america" operations, the pistol was affectionately referred to as a "hush-puppy". You probably know this but, there were Canadians in the Vietnam war, along with every other war since then that our American cousins have needed support in.

Recently, the CIA has sent a (~250) number of the high standard pistols back to be refurbished. I am sure they just want to 'hang out' in Virginia and have 'really quiet' marksmanship competitions while the kids play in the background at 'company' picnics. BUT...maybe, just maybe, they want/need them for something else?

P.S. I respect and care about my American friends and would gladly work along side them again. I am sorry that whoever is running his/her mouth and trying to publicly ridicule me is making good Americans look bad. Please educate yourself my friend.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and Delta Force.

The High Standard HDM suppressed .22 pistol was known among troops as a hush puppy. It was used and is still used to silence guard dogs. The Ruger .22 pistol is also used for this purpose.

That is all.

Thank you for your service.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

".22lr stops attacks. Trust me, unlike all the assumtions here, I speak from personal expirience."

why would anyone trust their life to anonymous inteternet advice?

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No person who was both sane and gun-savvy would recommend the .22 for anything much bigger than a fox. The .22 is at its best on rabbits and squirrels, and of course, on the shooting range....However, it is sadly lacking in power when any aggressive living thing of any substantial size has to be neutralized by gunfire.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, all I know for a fact is that my uncle told me about a neighbor who hunted deer with a .22 l.r. during the depression. It worked then on deer sized game, it's VALID TODAY.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that my uncle told me about a neighbor that died from thirty six abdominal stab wounds with a butcher knife because a dinky 22 pistol didn't stop the murderer.

A deer running and bedding down for two or three hours while bleeding out isn't trying to kill you.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in a real gun fight, a bigger caliber would definitely stop an agressor with the 1st shot especially with hollowpoints of both 40 &45. while .22pistol would be the best choice as a silencer platform used for assasinations and other form of murders. 22 can reach out up to 50 yards and it solunds like a co2 gun silencer on.

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a ruger sp101 in 357 mag. And a beretta 21a in 22. I have my ccw in Michigan and find that it is easy to carry the magnum in winter and the .22 in the summer months. I practice point shooting with both because the sights are basically useless on both. I have to admit that the magnum is hard to even keep double taps close on target and follow up shots are slow. I hate to admit it, but I feel safer with the beretta because my shots are pinpoint accurate, and because it's single action, I can pump all 8 rounds right where I want them, reload, then shoot another full magazine of seven before I can shoot 5 rounds of my .357 snubby. I use green tag high velocity competition ammo by CCI and never have a problem with ammo failing to feed or fire.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased a 6 lb pork roast set it on my picnic table and shot it with cci stinger from about 12 feet.A 1 inch hole through 8 inches of pork was good enough for me

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the pork roast trying to kill you?

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to handguns, it's not the size of the caliber or even speed for that matter, it's all about AMMO. I'll shoot defense 38 special jacketed hollow points out of my .357 magnum to stop an attacker before I would ever put my .357 magnum hunting ammo in it to protect myself. Some may ask "Why would I do that"? The answer is very easy, the energy dump and wound channel provided by the JHP 38 bullet is actually much larger than the .357 magnum hunting ammo which has zero expansion and usually punches right through a human sized attacker wasting much of the energy. This is the very reason why the .44 magnum has much lower one shot stop rate than the .357 magnum, virtually all the .44 bullets are for large game and do not produce convincing ballistics in human sized targets. What's even weirder than that? The exact opposite stands true for .22lr. The hollow point .22's are worse for protection than lead round nose bullets. Most of these bullets will completely open up and stop in side of squirrel sized game many of these rounds will only travel a few inches in ballistic gelatin or the human body, while solid round tip bullets not only go much further but the tumbling effect actually creates a larger wound channel than the hollow points. This tumbling effect is the reason why our US military went with the .223 remington rifle round as opposed to larger diameter choices, it was their answer to not being allowed to use expanding ammo. With the right ammo a .22 long rifle round will bounce around like a pin ball in the human body, this has been proven time and time again with forensic evidence. As for the .22lr "not being able to penetrate a man's skull". Not entirely true, with the right ammo it's possible. farmers used to slaughter cows on massive scale with a single shot to the head with .22 long rifle because it was cheep and effective.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pig muscle has been proven closest to human and ballistics in this manner have been used for over a hundred years. pigs and sheep were used to develop the .45acp when .38's were getting phased out.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NRA says that brandishing a handgun of any caliber stops the vast majority of attacks and without a single shot being fired. SO a .22 and some street smarts will keep you alive the majority of the time. If you're more likely to carry a .22 every single day but a bigger gun only part of the time then do what works for you and carry the .22

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO a .22 and some street smarts will keep you alive the majority of the time.

What about the minority of the time?

3:04 PM  
Blogger Sam Ruger said...

It's interesting to see how people can use true facts to reach incorrect conclusions. Most everyone states their facts correctly but then uses those facts to justify an incorrect conclusion. Most of the required facts have been posted. The most important being AMMUNITION:

As a rule, 22 ammunition fired from a pistol loses its velocity much faster than a rifle due to the shorter barrel. A .22 rifle can kill at about a maximum of 130-140 yards, a carbine about 100 yards, and a pistol at about 50 yards. The point here is that you need to consider the length of your pistol barrel if you're going to use a .22 pistol for "self defense". Without sufficient velocity (barrel length), the odds of the bullet being deflected by bone are high. Some 22 rounds are high velocity by design but this is achieved by reducing projectile weight. This increases penetration but reduces impact.

Most store bought 22 ammo would probably be considered a poor defensive choice. But there are several deadly brands out there, the Aguila Interceptor ammunition was mentioned here. You don't want to get hit by this stuff and its not the only dangerous 22 ammo out there (Oddly enough, 22 "exploding" ammo is pretty harmless.). Cheap ammo is pretty useless. One person hit 15 times by a carbine walked for help and even raccoons can take many rounds.

There are about 8 different brands of "high impact", dangerous 22 rounds out there (They can be Googled but usually have high price tags). A knowledgeable .22 shooter will buy them all, test fire them, and then match the ammo to his pistol that produces the tightest pattern. He might also test their damage where accuracy is similar.

At this point, if you have 6" barrel pistol with a matched, "designed to be dangerous" round, you have a point of beginning. But if you're armed with a Raven and firing Blazers, you don't.

Next, you need to recognize that even a "dangerous" .22 round is still very limited. I once killed a coyote with a .22 CCI "Stinger" with a single shot through the lungs. However, the point where I shot him and the point where he died were two different places. He went quite a ways. It was pointed out, correctly, that you can kill a deer with a .22 and this is true, but it's also done with a headshot. If you want to shoot something in the torso and drop it in one shot with a 22, the target size drops significantly down (as one poster put it, to a "fox"). Thus, even the poster who cited using the highly effective Aguila Interceptor ammunition against humans still mentioned "3-5 rounds in the body" and not just one (Even though the one eventually might prove fatal.).

And now we come to the fatal flaw of why no one could get their facts to justify their argument. Pistols and ammunition were not originally designed to meet "self defense" laws as defined by courts. They were intended to get the "other guy" before "he gets you". IOW, you don't want him to return fire. Here is where half the people in this debate reached their conclusion. It's really quite simple. If you engage an opponent from 8 feet away with your .22LR and he with his .40ACP, and you both use body shots, it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll stop firing before he does. This is not a fair exchange. Maybe your opponent dies later, but you're not walking away - guaranteed. To half the people here, this is evidence the 22 is not a self defense weapon. We can reveal the flaw in that argument by reversing the situation. Now you have the 40ACP and he has the 22LR and you both draw at 8 feet. You aim for the body. He aims for your head. Game over. You're dead. He kills you with one shot. He's on the way to ER and you're on the way to the morgue.

The person operating under the fallacy is the person with the 40ACP. He's drawing a slower, heavier, clumsier weapon difficult (and expensive)to train on. As a result, he's going for a body shot (And the reason he wants to make the distance 8 feet because he's not using his sights.). Historically, large caliber pistols have always been the favorite of "poor shots" as they hope their ammunition will compensate for their lack of aim. The heavier ammo is expected to disable the opponent and prevent him from shooting back. This actually seldom happens exactly as intended (The opponent hit usually has at least 10 seconds to return fire.). Thus, if you draw on your opponent from 8 feet with a 40ACP and he also has a 40ACP, the odds are you'll both be hit. Do you consider that a win?

Notice that, in all three examples, both shooters were hit. But the only guaranteed fatality and which actually limited return fire was inflicted by the .22LR using a headshot.

Thus, given a proper weapon and ammunition, a 22LR can defend - or not - depending upon where you aim. To disable your opponent, aim for the throat. To kill him, aim between the eyes. To be killed or disabled yourself, just aim anywhere else.

There are two other variables under which a 22LR can be used defensively with proper shot placement - where the attacker is welding a knife or a club or where the distance increases. Unless your 40ACP opponent is well trained, his accuracy rapidly falls off as the distance increases. I can still hit my opponent in the head at 50 yards with my "low light" Ruger. He is also probably limited to the ammo in his weapon (due to bulky ammo) whereas I carry two extra boxes of ammo with me in my shirt pocket.

Anyway, I didn't think anyone's answer was wrong but I didn't think anyone's answer was right either. I carry a 22 for self defense but it has a proper barrel and matched ammo and I know where I'm going to aim - And if the guy's 8 feet away with a 44 Magnum and wants my wallet, I'm giving it to him.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is no 40 ACP.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be safe to say that sure, a larger caliber would cause more damage and stopping power, but also you need to be more experienced. Sure, if there are 2 well trained marksmen, one with a 9mm and one with a 22LR, I would rather have the 9mm. But you can also say that there are many many people that do not have that training and the 22LR is not as intimidating, much easier for the 2nd shot (and 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th) among the little trained home owner who does not get to the range often. Many inexperienced people with a large caliber gun will freeze after the first shot and because of the inexperience, they probably will miss the first shot. Bottom line, there are allot of people that are more comfortable with the 22LR and its much easier to train them on. The same people who are to intimidated by the larger calibers. I feel much better knowing my wife is more comfortable (Finally) firing the 22LR. She has gotten to the point of not being afraid and can put out 6 well placed shots. I will never get her to a larger caliber, she doesn’t like guns, but I feel better knowing there is a at least a 22LR in the house she can use and not be afraid of it. I for one would not like to get hit by a 22.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The purpose of self defense ammo is to force an end to the threat in short order either by neurological damage or rapid blood loss. There are some who can pinpoint shoot during times of high stress and achieve the ideal shot to a softer part of the skull with a small caliber. Then there are the rest of us who cannot. Training for center of mass provides a larger, more stable target easier to acquire with your heart throbbing and your hands shaking and has the greatest probability of penetrating part of a vital organ. The larger that penetration the greater the rate of blood loss and the faster the incapacitation. Second, you should do the best you can to train and learn how to increase your chances of surviving an encounter but if you attacker is also armed who later lives or dies may be a secondary concern if it is not only you but your family, friends, or the innocent relying on your actions. So again you try to equip yourself with what near immediately will stop the threat with higher percentage of probability. I respect others disagree but I don't see the .22 a good choice.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Sam Ruger said...

The "big gun" theory originally rose from a low powder charge. Virtually all weapons had to be approximately .40 caliber due to low velocity propellants and often short barrels. Neither were these early pistols particularly accurate. Many were not rifled or used black powder, the smoke of your own first shot often disrupting your aim for your second. Alcohol also played a part in many private engagements, disrupting aim even further. Under these conditions, a large caliber round, aimed for center of mass, was required for successful defense.

This theory precludes the 22 as a defense weapon. Even with modern powder, the standard 22 still suffers from a low velocity propellant as demonstrated by the 22 short and 22 long rounds, suitable only for suicide or for “killing” tin cans. To get any velocity out of it at all, manufacturers had to go to 22LR and add HP rounds for impact. The results being that one could now kill a rabbit with a single “center of mass” shot. What this means is, if you have a 22 pistol like the revolver shown at the top of this page and loaded with Wal-Mart ammunition, you stand a pretty good chance, if attacked by a rabbit, of stopping him on the first shot before the rabbit can return fire. If the rabbits in your neighborhood are particularly mean spirited and armed, the 22 in the picture meets the test of a “center of mass” self defense weapon. Otherwise, it does not.

While the proponents of the “big gun” theory are undoubtedly smiling, their theory has problems of its own. Long ago, police noted that the “bad guys” were still returning fire after being hit by .38 S&W. To counter this, police went to the 9mm with a bigger magazine, firing three quick shots in succession to disable or seven rounds to kill (Emptying the clip is an invitation to lawsuit.). So, in reality, the “big gun” theory is actually the “big gun and 3-7 hits” theory. The idea of instantly stopping your assailant with one shot is a fantasy promoted by Hollywood.

Meanwhile, the proponent of the 22 does not have to arm himself with “junk” like the revolver shown above. On this same page is a photo of two Ruger 22 pistols which have killed a lot of people and very few by “accident”. Shown in the same picture is a tin can hit by them. Imagine that tin can as somebody’s forehead and you can get an idea of just how deadly this pistol is. You can buy it equipped with “low light” sights to shoot like this even in the dark – And they didn’t include that feature for shooting at tin cans.

As I mentioned in my previous post there have been advancements in 22 ammunition. There are now high velocity and super high velocity ammo which can be used to propel either a heavier bullet or a smaller one faster. The result is much more deadly. I invite anyone to fill a pop can full of water and fire a single CCI “Stinger” through it and post the result here. There are a number of other brands available on order that will do similar serious damage, using varying charges and bullet weights. You still have to use a headshot but, one shot, and he’s not returning fire. Meanwhile, the “big gun” enthusiast is still firing and, if his opponent is at any distance or in low lighting conditions, probably missing. And even if he hits once, there’s no guarantee of no return fire.

I am only correcting faulty conclusions and not advocating anyone actually use a 22LR for self defense (The police don’t.). Nor do I use mine for “home defense”. As Xavier pointed out, that’s better left to shotguns (or deadbolts). I carry mine. I carry a proper weapon with matched ammunition and I know its limitations (For example, I wouldn’t want to get in a “shoot out” with the police but that’s not self defense either.). I am confident I can handle an assailant with a knife or a club, and even possibly a large handgun (as I have the lighter to draw, quicker to aim, weapon), but will I be inclined to do it? No. At 8 feet, he’s unlikely to miss (But then again, that’s a problem we all face, no matter what we’re carrying.).

In addition, a highly accurate 22LR is not only easy to conceal but can also double as a “survival” pistol as its something very easy to stockpile ammunition for (The “big caliber” pistol is a failure at this.).

Anyone currently using a 22LR for self defense or considering it; should be careful to avoid amateur decisions or you risk amateur results.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And certainly don't base any decision on what Sam Ruger has added to this forum.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If smaller is better or just as good why not use a .177 pellet? No flash and virtually no recoil so by some logic posted here you could get off several shots before the larger, heavier .22LR armed foe could squeeze off one. Top quality air pistols can shoot over 700 fps and a rifle over 1,000 fps. I have personally shot pellets through milk jugs, tin cans, and killed a squirrel with one at 10 feet after he found his way into my basement. Heck, some nail guns can shoot a small nail over 1,000 feet per second which could easily penetrate any part of the human body though the bulk and noise of the required compressor presents other problems.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Sam Ruger said...

There seems to be misconception over the .22 round. A 22 Short is suitable for suicide and is, in fact, one of the most certain methods of commiting suicide. Autopsies show that the round has sufficient velocity to penetrate the skull but then has insufficent velocity to exit the other side of the head. Instead, the round deflects off the other side of the skull and back into the brain. In effect, the bullet bounces around inside the head. The damage is quite excessive.

It has been correctly pointed out here that the 22 round loses velocity. Thus, after a certain distance, the 22 Short would not penetrate the outer skull at all but be deflected. But, at that same distance, the 22 Long would still penetrate the skull, then fail to penetrate and exit the other side and "bounce around in the brain", making an identical, fatal wound as the .22 Short.
The 22 Long Rifle HP will mushroom on impact to the skull, thereby reducing its velocity to the point of, again, not exiting the other side of the head. Again, "bouncing" occurs but now with a mushroomed bullet. Having a bullet bounce around in one's head is quite lethal and a .22 is pretty much guaranteed to do it.
Anyone who wants can Google how James Brady survived a 22 round to the head. His successful survival was based on two things. First, he was in the ER in less than 5 minutes from being shot. Second, the 22 round used was an "exploding" round versus an HP round. "Exploding" ammo explodes on contact with the skull, expending most of its energy in order to create a larger entry wound (In Brady's case, about the size of a dime.). With so much energy lost, it failed to penetrate very far and there was no "bounce". He lived because the shooter chose the wrong ammunition. But the shooter still put James Brady down with one shot just as RFK was put down with one shot by a 22 (by a shooter using the wrong weapon). Thus, even a complete amateur (wrong ammunition and wrong pistol) can disable and kill an opponent with a 22. It's not a question of luck by the shooter. "Luck" is James Brady surviving it.
I am still not claiming a 22 is "as good or better" than a large caliber pistol for self defense as aiming for "center of mass" demonstrates, but it would be if you hit opponent in the forehead and the round was not deflected (Which goes back to pistol and ammunition again.). This is not a secret to the medical world.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most interesting comments about the .22 rimfire for self-defence , I wonder how many individuals have ever used the .17 HMR for self-defence and what was the outcome ? North American Arms made a .17 HMR mini-revolver and several other companies including S&W made .17HMR calibered revolvers ! I know the American Arms mini-revolver in the .22 short rimfire is a rather pathetic joke for self-defence , almost like using an airgun for self-defence , too low powered except to use on mice !

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living here in Sedona I always take a small pocket .22 revolver with me when ever I hike on any of the local trails , my favorite weapon is the 8 shot S&W model 617 airlite , the biggest worry I have while hiking is the possibility of encountering an animal with rabies or a rattle snake , if I should go into a more remote area I do take a larger pistol with me as there are mountain lions here ! As a side note , I was at one of our larger Arizona swap meets (Prescott Valley) last week ,and an older man there had decieded to sell some of his rifles , he forgot to see that all his guns were empty of bullets ! One gun was still loaded , he put the weapon on a card table to sell and an individual (a would be buyer) not checking to see if it was loaded picked up the gun and fired it ! The gun fired ! Fortunately not hitting anyone but put a bullet thru an automobile ! Always check any weapon to make sure it is empty before you ever handle it !

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always check any weapon to make sure it is empty before you ever handle it !


12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have rephased what I said about not handling a weapon until you are certain it is unloaded ! I was referring to picking up weapons at the gun shows or swap meets , I would have the seller show me first that the gun was empty before I handled the weapon unless there was a plastic tie thur the bore so no bullet was in the chamber . I once at a swap meet picked up a .22 rifle that was for sale that was loaded with a bullet in the chamber !

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam Ruger said: "A .22 rifle can kill at about a maximum of 130-140 yards"

I would add a couple of hundreds yards to that and maybe more.

See: http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504301&fpart=1

Interesting test to say the least. I think the 22LR can be lethal at 300 yards +

11:07 AM  
Blogger Sam Ruger said...

The article on a .22LR being lethal at 300 yards was a fascinating read. It also includes a sub-article on Palestinians being killed by Israeli soldiers using .22LR for crowd control. Two points however, first the rifle used at 300 yards was an Olympic style target rifle using target ammunition. This matches low velocity ammo with a long barrel. This combination provides a heavy bullet traveling at near, but less than, the speed of sound (1100 FPS). This bullet fails to contact the "sound barrier" which a high velocity .22LR does twice - once while accelerating through it and once while de-accelerating back through it. A high velocity .22LR is significantly impaired by this effect. Thus, a .22LR traveling at 1099 FPS will shoot further, and straighter, than an identical weight round fired at 1101 FPS. Had the same rifle been loaded with CCI "Stinger" rounds, the posted result would not have been achieved. Two trips through the sound barrier would render the "Stinger" the slower (and lighter) bullet at 300 yards. For example, a "Stinger" loses 500 FPS in velocity at 100 yards compared to only 180 FPS for a target round (And that's with the Stinger not having crossed the sound barrier a second time.). The impact of the sound barrier on .22LR velocity is why I posted "130-40 yards" as the maximum kill range for .22LR (Unless you happen to be packing an Olympic target rifle with target ammunition.). The second point I'd like to make is that the article doesn't address self defense at all. It simply states that an Olympic target rifle, with target ammunition, can kill a 12 pound turkey at 300 yards. There's nothing about how long it takes for the turkey to die or whether it can shoot back or not.

Still, it was a fascinating read and I appreciate your sharing it. But we're looking at extreme opposites. The Olympic rifle uses an extremely long barrel. A pistol uses an extremely short one. The Olympic rifle uses low velocity target ammunition. The pistol owner will probably not use target ammunition for self defense.

Those using/considering .22LR's for self defense need to recognize that throat or head shots are required. In the case of head shots, you want your round traveling at about 900 FPS. This pretty much assures the skull will not deflect the bullet. Almost all .22LR ammo meets this rating BUT the ratings are based on being fired from a 22 inch barrel and not a 2.5 inch barrel (The longer the barrel, the higher the velocity. Likewise, the shorter the barrel, the lower the velocity.). If you pull out some short barreled pea shooter, you're almost guaranteed you don't have 900 FPS. It's also extremely likely that your hollow point ammunition (HP) will NOT mushroom/expand when fired from your pistol due to (1) insufficient velocity and 2) poor manufacturer design. Thus, you're firing "target" ammunition whether you know it or not. I personally only know of two HP rounds that will expand when fired from a pistol. And - Yes - "Stinger" is one of them. But those of you who carry "Stingers" may have noticed something when target shooting with your pistol. You often miss the target. That's because the round is not matched to the rifling twists of a standard pistol. If you have this problem, switch to CCI's Velocitors. This round is not only more accurate, but more deadly, having patented mushrooming ballistics.

Last, but not least, given a proper barrel length and proper ammuniton, you still need a proper attitude. You need the confidence in your abilities to aim for the head. If you're carrying a .40 Glock you probably have more confidence in the weapon then you have in your aim. If you're carrying a .22LR, you probably have more confidence in your aim than you have in your weapon. This is a very important point for women's self defense. I think a 22LR would be a poor choice of weapons for you to buy your wife. Who knows where's she's going to aim? Buy her a Colt .38 snubnose.

I still find it fascinating how everyone here has their facts right but not necessarily their conclusions.

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People, no one is saying a .22 is better than a .45 when it comes to stopping power. What we are trying to get across is that a .22 is suitable for a self defense caliber. And in some situations more practical to carry than a larger caliber gun. E.g. a berretta 21a may be better in shorts pocket than a 1911 or even a .38snub for that matter. What is so hard about this concept? Carry something as opposed to nothing. When I can’t carry my guns I carry my sure fire e1 flashlight (it’s seriously blinding even during the day, and you could “brain” someone with one “hammer fist” with it). Listen, I’d much rather have a shotgun than a 1911 in most situations. But because I can’t really carry one outside its: Rem 870 for the house, ruger sp101 or berretta 21a for everyday carry depending on what I’m wearing. And while I’m on my soap box. Get real if you think that just because you have your gun you’re 100% safe. In the real world someone may just run up on you and shoot you in the back of the head then get your money. Your best weapon? Your street smarts, try to avoid trouble before it happens, be aware of your surroundings. You may also want to know some simple close quarters self defense, just the basics is better than nothing. I guarantee every one of you that any criminal that is already within 10 feet of you can reach you before you can even get your hand on your gun, . . then what? And if they have a knife you’ll already be disemboweled or have a sliced throat before you can unholster your weapon. Suppose you do get the drop on them, what if your gun of any caliber goes click, not BANG? Some basic self defense may save your life, but nothing guarantees you’ll be safe in every situation, the more prepared you are, the better. One last note, discharge your firearm without ear protection a few times a year to get used to the shock of the sound, trust me your instinctive flinches could make you literally throw your handgun down, this helps prevent that.

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the Phoenix gun show this past weekend and I seen a rather unusual weapon which I almost purchased . The weapon was a Taurus 9 shot revolver with a 2" barrel chambered for the .17 Mach II , but I decieded against buying this gun as the ammo was $5-$6 a box and is .17 Mach II that much better than .22 LR. ? And in a short 2" barrelled gun ? .17 Mach II a great cartridge in a rifle but not so good in a short barrelled revolver with fixed sights , a 20 grain bullet is rather small in a handgun for self-protection so I passed up this little gun !

10:07 PM  
Blogger Sam Ruger said...

Some ammunition comments on .22 seld defense. CCI, the manufacturers of the "Stinger" list in on their site as suitable for "pest control". Although it leaves fantastic damage, it is designed for rifles and not pistols. Pistol rifling is inadequate for accuracy and the barrel length inadequate for velocity. Although you'd have to be nuts to volunteer to stand in front of one, CCI does not suggest they are adequate for self defense.

The only "small game" round listed by CCI of interest to this group is the "Velocitor" as it should mushroom (maybe) when fired from a pistol using HP ammo. The velocitor is CCI approved for taking down coyotes, a 20 plus pound animal (Most .22 rounds are for 7 pound animals.).

The Aguila .22 round appears to be designed for shooting from pistols as it reaches maximum velocity in a 10 inch barrel. A standard .22 rifle would actually slow the round down. In addition, the round is slightly out of balance relative to the charge. That is to say it is slightly underpowered. This appears to be deliberate in order to prevent the round from shooting clear through a human body. Thus, 100% of the bullet energy would be transferred to the human body. Firing tests have produced bullets with yaw (keyholes). If this bullet tumbles on impact as these tests indicate, the wound damage would be similar to that of a .308 rifle. There is at least one story that this round was designed as an assassination round but found no government takers. The story has basis in that whoever designed this round had shooting people in mind, using a pistol. I would say the poster who adopted Aguila ammo knows what he's talking about.

Finally, the .17 round is a high velocity "critter" bullet designed for rifles. It has far less bullet drop out past 100 yards than a .22LR, making long range critter shots more accurate. It, too, can kill a coyote. Fired from a pistol, much of this velocity would be lost and, with a lighter bullet, fewer foot pounds of energy produced. The muzzle velocity of a .17 fired from a 2 inch barrel is not known to me but I suspect it's "not much". In that event, a .17 pistol for self defense using body shots would be a gamble.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a semi-auto .22 LR with a 20 round clip. Lets say that I hear some guy break a window into my house. I get up.. get out my .22 a put 10 rounds into him. I dont care how bad a shot you are but just from the sight of the gun and the first bullet going in him, most intruders will run away. If he is armed... well then most likely your screwed. unless you can get a few rounds off before he takes one. Even then, If you DO have someone breaking into your house who is armed... then you need to move to a better neighborhood. i wouldn't even need to take 10 shots. i take one good shot to the head...they are down.

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is true that the .22 rimfire is a very poor choose for self-defence but in an emergency a .22 is better than nothing !I have noted the penetration of .22 short rimfire bullets fired from revolvers such as the North American Arms mini-revolver and the Beretta Minx , the bullet penetration is much greater with the automatic pistols than with revolvers ! So if my back was against the wall and I had to choose between say a .22 mini-revolver or the Beretta Minx , I would take the Beretta Minx any day

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the Phoenix gun show this past weekend and I have never seen so many people go to a gun show in my life , a line over a mile long with thousands ! Ammo prices as well as gun prices were shocking ! Old H&R revolvers that could once be had for $70-$90 were $160 , and junk guns like the RG going for $100 ! People were buying not just one or two boxes of ammo but whole cases of ammo and spending hundreds of dollars ! The Federal .22LR ammo that was once $9 for a box of 500 rounds now was going for $24 ! Total insanity ! I will not go to any of the gun shows again at the Phoenix Arizona fair grounds the gun show during the month of July or the gun show in September , with waiting lines of over an hour long and temperatures over 110 plus degrees , it would be a good way to pass out and die from the ungodly heat !

10:50 PM  
Blogger Sam Ruger said...

Just an update on what I've been able to learn since my last post. Although the 60 grain bullet is considered sufficient to kill a deer (size unstated), which somewhat equates to the Aguila .22 "sniper" round, for a one shot, "sure kill", to the chest (heart/lungs), most sources that have formulas for calculating bullet injuries, identify the weight of the victim/target of a .22 as 5-7 pounds (The velocitor rated 7 pounds). This excludes shots to the head/neck. So, unless your attacker weighs 7 pounds or under, the odds of you defending yourself successfully against a 200 pound attacker with a baseball bat using a .22 and torso shots are next to none.

Most agree these formulas don't work for .22's because the .22 doesn't penetrate both sides of the attacker, meaning he absorbs 100% of the energy. Also, the bullet will traverse the path of least resistance, meaning there's no way of knowing where it might end up in the body (I read of one fatal shot to the arm that ended up in the heart.). This is what kills more .22 torso victims than anything else - often 24 hours after the fact. But I also found one case of a person surviving seventeen .22 LR rounds to the torso. So the odds of a single bullet being fatal to the torso are very low, probably something like 5%. By comparison, head shot fatalities are probably closer to 98%. Neck shot fatalities are much lower but highly incapacitating. So those contemplating .22's for self defense need an accurate pistol (aim for the forehead above the eyes), a steady hand ("Take your time in a hurry"), and fire the minimal number of shots necessary (Emptying the weapon into someone's head in "self defense" is contrary to the claim of Self Defense.).

The subject of using a .17 HMR pistol for self defense was raised here. This round is fast enough that even a 2.5" barrel will allow it to penetrate an attacker. However, the ammunition available has a wide degree of mushrooming ability, ranging from 100% to 0% - And both extremes are considered pretty useless against an attacker. From what I can tell, a .17 HMR pistol would have a "one shot" kill rate on a 3 pound target using the formulas I mentioned. This is about half a .22 LR.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seen a very interesting article in a book by Massad F. Ayoob ,about handguns used for self-defence a storey about an individual on limited funds , purchased an H&R model 926 .22 revolver for self-defence while he was working as a pizza delievery driver in the city of Detroit , this cheap .22 saved his life when four individuals once tryed to rob him , the delievery man was able to wound all four of his attackers , he was able to stop the robbery , unfortunately he did not kill any of his attackers , but as a side note he fired the .22 so fast that his attackers thought he was shooting at them with a machine gun ! Massad F. Ayood does say a 22 is a good weapon for self-defence especially for older women who are fearful of larger calibers the recoil and noise . Just make sure you make the right shot in a vital point , head , or the heart area ! As a side note in Alaska many native Americas live on very limited income , these individuals use .22 rimfire to hunt big game ,a storey I read , a young Indian girl in a rual area of Alaska shot and killed one of the largest grizzly bears in recorded history using only a .22 rim fire rifle ! Shot placement is most important !

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a rather good laugh the other day when I came accross a web site that presented the question , "Can a person use an air-gun to defend themselves ?" The average air-gun , gas , pump or spring operated fires a pellet with less energy that a .22 cb cap ! I guess an air-gun would be great for self-defence if a person had a .45 or a .357 as a backup weapon ! As a side note the web site for using an air-gun for self-defence was located in Canada ! One of those ultra liberal contries like the U.K. where buying a firearm to defend ones self is out ot the question due to their liberal laws !

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seen an article once that in some of the third world countries mainly in Africa the governments issue their border guards the Ruger model 10/22 rifle to guard their borders ! I found this rather hard to believe as the .22LR is a rather low powered bullet to issue border guards , but I guess the quality and reliability of the Ruger 10/22 makeup for the poor performing .22 rimfire !

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seen an article once in Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers by Hatcher in which there was a young boy who was accidently shot and killed by by a .22 short rimfire bullet fired from a distance of 500 yards ! That is yards not feet ! Hard to believe! I even read once that an elephant was killed with a .22 rimfire , must have been an extremely rare shot probably thru the eye of the elephant . And as a side note during the racial riots of the 1960's it was not uncommon for many big city policeman to have a backup pistol in their patrol car a .22 revolver and a "brick" of .22 bullets the 500 round box incase their issused service revolver went empty !

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that if there ever becomes a time that I have to give up every weapon I own except for one gun , the one gun I would keep would be my stainless steel Ruger single six with it's 6 inch barrel and inter-changable cylinders for 22 LR and .22 magnum ! A great little gun for small game hunting and with the .22 magnum cylinder reasonably powerful for self-defence and accurate with it's adjustable sights .

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of you who are interested in the .22 rimfire there is a very interesting magazine by Guns and Ammo which is out this month , June 2009 called "Complete book of rimfires" articles about the S&W K-22 , the HI-Standard , Ruger Single six , Mk-III and the Brownings and numerous popular .22 rifles ! A very intresting article about the first S&W .22 rimfire revolver the model No.1 , which was very popular as a backup weapon during the Civil War , but was terribly underpowered about the same power as a .22 cb cartridge made today ! A most interesting magazine ! More and more people are buying .22's for self-defence , as the cost of center fire ammo is becoming unbelievably expensive , if you can even find a gun store that has any in stock !

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the record, air service men are given a pistol not to protect themselves but to hunt with in a survival situation, the .22 is given for its compact size, light weight and you can carry more ammo. Believe me, if shot down, protocol is to hide and not become captured by EF's.

9:31 PM  

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