22LR as a Defensive Round?

22lrSeasoned Prepper – by Rourke

This post was originally published over at ModernSurvivalOnline quite a while ago. I believe its contents are still viable and really needs to be updated. Let me emphasize something here – I am not endorsing the 22LR as a defensive round. What I am saying is that if it is what you have, and what you can afford – it is better than a mean stare.

Via my previous blog before it was moved here – slightly updated: In today’s tight economic conditions – there are many preparedness-minded folks out there looking to their Defense Budget and trying to get money to stretch as far as possible. One must consider what type of scenario the Defensive Budget is being prepared for and considered. Obviously – a collapse of society and having to defend yourself and family against motorcycle-riding roving gangs of marauders is quite different than localized power outages from severe thunderstorms. With that said – I believe in preparing for the worst. With THAT said – decisions have to sometimes be made when funds are limited.

The question as to what firearms can be purchased for the least amount of money and used effectively to defend yourself has been discussed more times than can be counted. I am also not going to argue with anyone that says that the .22LR is by far not the best round to have in a defensive weapon. It is not. With that in mind – I believe a .22LR can fill a spot as a defensive firearm if your budget is limiting.

There have been thousands of deer taken by the lowly .22LR. Numerous people have been fatally shot by the .22LR. Shot placement is of paramount importance – more so with the .22LR than probably with any other round. Beyond injuring – follow up shots may be required to end a skirmish permanently. This must be remembered when considering arming yourself with a .22LR and potentially entering a firefight.

We all know that the .22LR has limited range, limited ability to penetrate, limited stopping power, as well as limited potential firearms to choose from. What positives does the .22LR bring to the table? Let’s take a look:

  • Expense – The most obvious positive factor – there are many .22LR firearms that can be purchased for just a couple of hundred dollars. The cost of .22LR ammunition, although higher recently, is still much cheaper than it’s centerfire siblings.
  • Recoil – The lack of recoil assist the shooter in two ways. First – quick follow up shots can be performed as the sights generally stay on target through the shot – even multiple shots. Second – those shooters that generally may be fearful of a full-sized rifle can become comfortable shooting the .22LR quickly.
  • Noise – The .22LR is not nearly as loud as a typical centerfire rifle. This helps conceal the shooters position as well as protect the shooters hearing so it can be used later. The “hearing” factor is often discounted and discussed little – however the ability to hear for days after the use of a firearm would be pretty important – don’t you think? Of course hearing protection can and should be used – however you never know when something might happen. Hearing protection might not be an option.

To consider the .22LR – you must first look at what firearms are available. To consider any .22LR as a defensive weapon – it has to possess a few qualities. First, it must be reliable. Second, it must be accurate out to 50-75 yards – if not more. Third – I believe it must be semi-automatic so as to provide effective and quick follow up shots. This narrows down the field quite a bit:

  1. Ruger 10/22 – The Ruger 10/22 is probably the most popular .22LR ever made. It takes a factory 10-rd magazine, accuracy is decent, and is extremely reliable with the factory magazine. There are lots of accessories to outfit the 10/22 with different stocks, sights, and more. Be careful with the high capacity magazines – none work nearly as well as the factory 10 shot. Price is around $200.
  2. Marlin Semi-Auto .22′s – Marlin has been making .22LR semi-auto rifles for a very long time. They possess many of the same qualities as the 10/22 – except the ability to customize with lots of options. Price again is similar to the 10/22 depending upon exact model chosen – generally cheaper.
  3. Smith and Wesson just introduced a .22LR version of the AR-15. An absolute beautiful firearm – it is pictured here in the blog and accepts 25-rd magazines. This firearm also accepts most all accessories that would adapt to the standard AR-15 – such as scopes, lasers, lights, grips, etc. Priced at a retail price of $499 – I am looking forward to getting one soon.
  4. Remington makes a nice synthetic .22LR called the Model 597. Very handy – the gun takes a 10-rd magazine and easily mounts a scope. High capacity magazines are available – however reliability is questionable.
  5. American Tactical Imports GSG-5 Semi-Auto .22 LR Carbine – a very interesting weapon in that it is a very close replica of a HK MP5 9mm sub-machine gun. Never handling one – I have heard that reliability is good with high quality ammunition. Magazine capacity is 22 rounds. Typical price range is between $500-550 – not cheap.

There are lots of other semi-auto .22LR carbines and rifles from other manufacturers. In my mind the ones listed above are the leaders of the pack.

Ruger 10-22 Tactical

Once choosing a firearm – next you need to look at stockpiling ammunition. I am a firm believer in stockpiling quality .22LR ammunition. Obviously you should stock that ammunition which performs well in your particular firearm. For me – that means CCI. CCI makes a very high quality bullet. Clean shooting, copper clad – this is truly beautiful ammo. From standard velocity to super fast CCI Stingers – it is not the cheapest – but well worth the price.

Accessories to personalize your new .22LR firearm: Typically most people can get by with a stock firearm. Accessorizing your .22LR defensive firearm with optics to your liking is often beneficial – especially when shooting at farther distances. Red dot sights can get you on target very quickly. Extra magazines are an absolute must as reloading during a tense situation will not be very easy. Slings can be wonderful when trekking through the woods on recon. Those accessories that enhance the usability and performance for your firearm should be emphasized.

The reality is that I would rather have a semi-auto .22LR that I am comfortable shooting in case of trouble – than have nothing at all. But it would never replace my Stag AR.

The choice is yours………..

Good luck all –



20 thoughts on “22LR as a Defensive Round?

  1. If stuck with a choice between the lowly .22 and club, I’ll opt for the .22.
    The key point not mentioned in this article is to keep shooting. This applies to all calibers. The more holes in your opponant the lower his blood pressure is going to drop, eventually he will drop due to low BP.

  2. It sounds kind of funny but I have seen some realy powerful pellet guns. they are also very quiet and it will easily take out someones eyes if you are a good shot. Like Henry said on The Word yesterday – they would work as a cheap way to hunt small game like rabbits squirls and maybe birds. if nothing else. And they are also legal to own if you are a felon. Nothing will beat a good high powerd rifle but if nothing else is affordale or available I would not have a problem with a 22 or the pellet gun.

    1. An article this week had a video with an air rifle homemade “armor piercing round” It has the punch to make holes, just smaller than I want when facing an enemy! However, for silent hunting terrific!

      1. Oh yea. A old freind of mine has a one pump pellet gun rifle and it is powerful for what it is. He was squirel hunting with it and was acurate at 125 – 150 ft. . He would almost always have a easy kill with one shot. Same with rabbits and birds. They do have some high velocity pellet that are powerful for what they are ya know.

  3. One round everyone seems to forget is the .22 mag.A more powerful round and i know they work well as i have droped coyotes at 100 yards with mine.The Gammo big cat air rifle with gold pellets will shoot at 1200 ft per sec but the range is far less than a .22.But if you are after small game you can get closer and they are very quiet.

    1. I watched a friend in Alberta drop a moose with one shot with a 22 magnum bolt action to the heart lungs. It took 20 seconds to die.

      The KelTec PMR-30 is an awesome defensive weapon.

  4. well this guy says he is a hoarder and times that by ten million and you can see why there is no 22 ammo to be found so what good is the article

        1. Same here digs.Around here it’s .45,9mm,.223, and .308, 30-06 (if I had a 25-06 I’d be stocking up on these readily available shells) and 12 gauge are hard but not impossible to get. I just keep coming up short in the cash dept.
          I have found that the local dealers have ammo where the chains like Wal-stan or Gander Mountain have empty shelves. However, in the chains I see lots of .22 ammo.
          As I have said in the past, these may only be baby teeth but a resourceful determined patriot can (and many will!) earn their fangs honorably!

          1. Yep rhumstruck, Fleet Farm and farm and Fleet – two good supply stores , if your are familare with those two stores – up here also has a good supply of ammo, guns, cross bows, etc. they have lots of goodies there. Fleet Farm had that article here on FTTWR about 2 weeks ago about their fireing range and different classes they have.

    1. uka, I’ve seen CASES of 22 ammo, the last two weekends in a row. First at the firing range, then at the gun show.

      So what good is your lame @ss comment, bozo?

  5. I just bought another 500 round “brick” a week or two ago. Just keep looking. The popular hi-velocity stuff like Stingers are pretty much gone, but regular velocity is still out there. If you’re willing to pay more, a lot of the target ammo is still available, too.

    Go online. Try Cabelas, Midway, J&G, etc. I’m still buying.

  6. UKA why don’t you get off you’re butt and go to the store instead of google and see what’s on the shelf.All the stores i’ve been to seem to have .22 ammo in stock.

  7. Just so everyone knows. It’s beginning. I have been to Walmart and Academy of sports and outdoors. They are limiting ammo purchases to 3 boxes per day for Walmart and 3 boxes per month for Academy of Sports and Outdoors. The rationing of ammo has now begun. So far the smaller gun shops are still not doing the rationing thing but the AR and AK rifles are soaring through the roof. People are even waiting at 2am for the truck to arrive at Academy of Sports and Outdoors in order to purchase 9mm bullets. Just giving everyone a heads up.

  8. I figure it this way…If and when I have to protect my family at all costs in ANY scenario, and I only have a .22….one well-placed bullet is going to get me another firearm thats more powerful. I’m thinking it will probably be a .40 with hollowpoints.

    I’d hate for it to have to come to that, but it looks like it is going to…and make no mistake, even though I do not wish for it to get that bad, when it DOES— I am NOT holding back, except for that well-placed shot…..I’m gonna make sure it hits where it needs to.
    (That would be true if it was a Marlin .22, or a M107 .50 cal.)

    .22’s are also good for starvation situations.(there’s going to be alot of that in a shtf situation..unfortunate) Cheap, and you don’t have to use the more powerful ammo…it can be saved for other purposes.

    I will stop here with two thoughts that are paramount, in my honest opinion….

    1) “Gun-Control” means…using both hands. Responsibly and effectively of course. PERIOD! No further discussion needed or wanted.

    2) ANY law/mandate/ordinance/code/bill/amendment/other that has anything to do with what a person can have as a firearm, or has to do with possessing a firearm, is absolutely ILLEGAL…and will be treated as such.

    The only other thing I would like to point-out is… this ‘gun control’ BS that is going on at the moment are a MAJOR distraction from alot of other just as, if not MORE, important BS that is going on, that needs to be tended to.
    I gues what I’m saying is…please stay focused on what needs to be done, rather than just “going-off” when and if the time comes. (I say ‘if’ because I want to have hope in there…although I do NOT see anything that is possibly going to deter some major violence to get things done/restored/restructured/alleviated/etc.)

    ~Blessed Be to all~

  9. In 1981 Hinckley attempted to assassinate President Reagan with a 22. 1 shot in the stomach dropped a secret service agent like a rock. 1 shot to the back of the neck dropped a police officer like a rock. Neither got up. 1 shot hit James Brady in the head, dropped him too. Did not get up. 1 bullet RICOCHETED off the car and hit Reagan on the left side under his arm in the chest. It hit a rib and went almost completely through his lung. The underestimated 22 will work for self defense very well.

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