In defense of the 22 LR

This is a discussion on In defense of the 22 LR within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Let me first state im not at all advocating the 22 LR as being the primo choice of defensive calibers. However having been shot in ...

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Thread: In defense of the 22 LR

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    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    In defense of the 22 LR

    Let me first state im not at all advocating the 22 LR as being the primo choice of defensive calibers.
    However having been shot in the sternum with one I have a slightly different perspective on the issue than most .
    No another person didnt shoot me thank goodness. While raccoon hunting several years ago our dogs treed one of the little corn eating bandits. Climbing up on a cliff we were almost level with the limb the critter was in and I attempted to shoot it with a colt 22 frontier scout. The gun cracked and something hit me square in the chest then began to burn like a hot steel rod stuck in my chest.
    The bullet had hit a knot on the limb right below the critter and ricocheted almost straight back coming in about three inches low and left of the end of the muzzle.
    After pulling open my heavy coat and shirt the bullet fell out and hit the leaves. Looking at my chest it had penetrated a heavy hunting coat, flannel shirt long underwear shirt and t shirt went thru the skin and hit my sternum. The heat of bullet cauterized the wound itself so only a drop or two of blood came out. This mind you was after being shot a good thirty yards at the critter and then glancing back losing energy im sure.
    One of the two hunting partners I was with made me stand stock still until he found the bullet and asked if I wanted it. I replied that no I had had all I wanted to do with that particular bullet thank you. He kept it and wore in on a chain around his neck until he passed away saying hed never seen such a thing and probably never would again.


    My point being that even with that shallow wound caused by a glancing bullet the pain was intense, in the form of burning.
    Fired from a rifle or even a pistol capable of delivering 10 to 17 rounds in rapid succession it would take a very determined attacker to keep coming with each round just causing that much pain not counting the likelihood that those bullets would be going deeper than a ricochet did.
    As I said im not advocating the 22 lr use as a primary defensive round. Or that some one very intent or high wouldnt make it thru a hail of the little buggers. But I also dont discount a 22 semi auto rife packing 14 rounds as secondary HD weapon either. They may not be big and loud and blow holes like coffee cups but they hurt like the dickens
    Last edited by Ghost1958; January 2nd, 2013 at 05:59 AM. Reason: compostion

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    Member Array lordofwyr's Avatar
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    At up to 200 to 300 yards a good hit with a decent length barrel .22 LR will kill most medium sized game with a head shot. It is just not the first choice because you have to be spot on with the targeting and with hogs or anything with very thick skin or cartilage plates it will not penetrate. That said, I have seen light weight .223 rounds explode on the surface of a hog's gristle plate and never penetrate the chest wall, and there are few that would call a .223 a poor stopper.

    I keep several for small game, survival, and if it is a SHTF situation, self defense.

    I would rather have a solid hit with a .22 LR than a miss with a .458 belted magnum......
    Fortune Favors the Bold!

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    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    But were you high on meth and intent on killing someone? Because that's the person I want to be able to stop.
    I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
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    Member Array lordofwyr's Avatar
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    I have seen the results of people being high on meth, bath salts, cocaine...you name it.

    Only a solid head shot with something that will vaporize said skull is a sure bet. I have seen a guy in Jail that took five .45 cal rounds to the mid section and still had to be tackled to take him down. Another was a drug dealer that was shot point blank with a shotgun to the belly. Had about a 4" exit wound to the back, and lived, though it really looked like it hurt. Those were some of the ones that God didn't want and Satan was afraid to let in the door I guess.

    So, as I said, I would rather be sending .22 LR down range than nothing at all. I agree it is not the optimal round, but better than a stick or a knife.

    It is not a show stopper, but it will kill. However, once you add meth or some other extreme hallucinogen or pain killer, well, several .22 LR to the skull can and will do the job of you can do that under stress, and even hitting a man sized target with a rifle in close quarters combat can be difficult unless you train and train and train under realistic situations.
    Fortune Favors the Bold!

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    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofwyr View Post
    I have seen the results of people being high on meth, bath salts, cocaine...you name it.

    Only a solid head shot with something that will vaporize said skull is a sure bet. I have seen a guy in Jail that took five .45 cal rounds to the mid section and still had to be tackled to take him down. Another was a drug dealer that was shot point blank with a shotgun to the belly. Had about a 4" exit wound to the back, and lived, though it really looked like it hurt. Those were some of the ones that God didn't want and Satan was afraid to let in the door I guess.

    So, as I said, I would rather be sending .22 LR down range than nothing at all. I agree it is not the optimal round, but better than a stick or a knife.

    It is not a show stopper, but it will kill.
    However, once you add meth or some other extreme hallucinogen or pain killer, well, several .22 LR to the skull can and will do the job of you can do that under stress, and even hitting a man sized target with a rifle in close quarters combat can be difficult unless you train and train and train under realistic situations.
    I agree I would rather have a .22 than nothing, but as I have said before my goal isn't to kill it's to STOP the bad action as quickly as possible. So while the BG may very well die of his wounds if I shoot him with a .22, it may be hours after he has beaten me to death. If I am going to shoot I want a show stopper.
    I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
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    Member Array OldCorps's Avatar
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    I guess it's because I'm from a different place and time, but I cannot embrace the philosophy that espouses "not wanting to kill the bad guy". I hope I'm never in the situation where I need to draw my weapon in self-defense or defense of others, but I train with full intent that, if I ever unholster my piece, it will be because I truly fear for my life, or for the life of other innocents. If that event should occur, the furthest thing from my mind will be not wanting to kill the assailant. I will certainly attempt to have a clear shot, so that I do not endanger bystanders, however, sometimes there will be collateral damage in a combat situation, and in some circumstances one innocent bystander down is much to be preferred than many killed by the BG while I was only trying to wound him/her (Not to sound sexist). Had I been in the Connecticut school, and had I the opportunity to kill the shooter, rather than merely trying to wound him, but a stray bullet had, unfortunately, hit one of the children, I would have been devastated, but not nearly so devastated as I was when I heard that 20 little children had been killed because no one was armed and able to attempt to defend them. Not only that, but, why wound a BG and give him the chance to turn around sue you, knowing pretty much full well that some idiot, liberal judge and jury will find in his favor, or if not that, that we taxpayers will be saddled with paying for his bed, board, cable TV, etc. for twenty-years or so?

    As to the humble .22 LR, my wife was, for many years, a nurse in a major city hospital, during which time I had the opportunity to meet and have many conversations with ER docs and surgeons. Often I would lead the conversations around to GSWs and, invariably I was told that, of the gun-shot-wounds they had seen, the lowly .22 produced some of the most devastating damage—especially those to the head. Often the big guns tend to over penetrate, or isolate their damage to only portions of the body or brain, yet allow the recipient to live. The lowly .22 tends to do some very erratic stuff after entering the human body, like ricocheting off bone, cartilage, tissue of different densities, etc. Inside the skull, the little projectile seems to fly around all over the place before coming to a stop. Ten of the little rascals entering in a matter of a few seconds? Just step aside as the BG falls past you.

    Not my first choice, but definitely better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I'll still stick with my 1911, 'cause it's just silly to have to shoot twice.
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    "Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves." D.H. Lawrence

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    I just have to ask, did you say, "Hey, watch this!" before you pulled the trigger?
    Ghost1958 likes this.
    Retired USAF E-8. Remember: You're being watched!
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    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldCorps View Post
    I guess it's because I'm from a different place and time, but I cannot embrace the philosophy that espouses "not wanting to kill the bad guy". I hope I'm never in the situation where I need to draw my weapon in self-defense or defense of others, but I train with full intent that, if I ever unholster my piece, it will be because I truly fear for my life, or for the life of other innocents. If that event should occur, the furthest thing from my mind will be not wanting to kill the assailant. I will certainly attempt to have a clear shot, so that I do not endanger bystanders, however, sometimes there will be collateral damage in a combat situation, and in some circumstances one innocent bystander down is much to be preferred than many killed by the BG while I was only trying to wound him/her (Not to sound sexist). Had I been in the Connecticut school, and had I the opportunity to kill the shooter, rather than merely trying to wound him, but a stray bullet had, unfortunately, hit one of the children, I would have been devastated, but not nearly so devastated as I was when I heard that 20 little children had been killed because no one was armed and able to attempt to defend them. Not only that, but, why wound a BG and give him the chance to turn around sue you, knowing pretty much full well that some idiot, liberal judge and jury will find in his favor, or if not that, that we taxpayers will be saddled with paying for his bed, board, cable TV, etc. for twenty-years or so?

    As to the humble .22 LR, my wife was, for many years, a nurse in a major city hospital, during which time I had the opportunity to meet and have many conversations with ER docs and surgeons. Often I would lead the conversations around to GSWs and, invariably I was told that, of the gun-shot-wounds they had seen, the lowly .22 produced some of the most devastating damage—especially those to the head. Often the big guns tend to over penetrate, or isolate their damage to only portions of the body or brain, yet allow the recipient to live. The lowly .22 tends to do some very erratic stuff after entering the human body, like ricocheting off bone, cartilage, tissue of different densities, etc. Inside the skull, the little projectile seems to fly around all over the place before coming to a stop. Ten of the little rascals entering in a matter of a few seconds? Just step aside as the BG falls past you.

    Not my first choice, but definitely better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I'll still stick with my 1911, 'cause it's just silly to have to shoot twice.
    In fairness I didn't say I didn't WANT to, I said it wasn't my goal. I understand that "stopping" them may very well mean the BG dies.
    I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
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    Member Array TSKnight's Avatar
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    Yep, .22lr will do the job if I don't have anything else, but I'm going with something bigger if at all possible.

    Two personal experiences with .22lr:

    First one was rabbit hunting and had a ricochet (40-45yds shot) that went through the leather shaft of my work boot and penetrated just under the skin of my leg. Hurt like heck for a few minutes, but managed to walk the 1/2 mile or so back to the truck with very little trouble.

    Second was a 120+lb Rottweiler that tried to take my 3yr old. The first SEVEN rounds of 22lr from my Beretta 21A got his attention and the 8th was a contact shot while he had hold of my pants leg. He was still growling and trying to get to me with a broken neck from the last shot.

    The .380 that I carry now still isn't an "Optimum" defensive round, but is a step up from the 22lr in a package small enough to keep in my pocket at all times. The rifle or shotgun is always available, but difficult to keep with me at all times around the farm.

    Oh, just for fun...shot placement is EVERYTHING!
    I shot a rabbit with a 44special one time. He jumped straight up and dropped right there. When I went to pick him up, he started kicking and ran off. My shot went through both ears and must have put him in shock! LOL That rabbit was around for two or three years with the holes in his ears.
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    Once again, no one should question the lethality of the .22 rimfire.

    However, as a fight stopper, it's way down the list. Better than a police whistle, but there are far, far better choices.
    Brad426 and DefConGun like this.
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    Member Array lilmule's Avatar
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    Im 130 lbs,in summer shorts and a shirt cant hide much,it is my preferred cc weapon at those times,later with additional clothing it is a second or backup in a left hand jacket pocket and if I needed a gun most likly it would be the first to go off not the primary as left hand is on it when walking,im right handed but wee caliber makes no difference.They wont exit you will need surgery,and if my attempt fails on primary they are at least marked.
    Primary is a 32 acp llama ,or a recent purchase pa63-9x18 mak(love the gun).But it takes me about 2 1/2-3 seconds to pull and shoot once,carried iwb sob,that 22 will go off in 1/2 second or less whatever my old mans response time is,hole in pocket as a result,and one in them ,hopefully giving me time for the right hand to get that mak out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TSKnight View Post
    Oh, just for fun...shot placement is EVERYTHING!
    I shot a rabbit with a 44special one time. He jumped straight up and dropped right there. When I went to pick him up, he started kicking and ran off. My shot went through both ears and must have put him in shock! LOL That rabbit was around for two or three years with the holes in his ears.
    Along thoses lines:
    Buddy of mine way back bought a nice Winc .270 w/scope and all, nice bundle of cash involved. First day of first deer hunt he pops a really nice buck. Beginner's luck! So proud of himself. Propped up the buck's head, laid his rifle in the deer rack, and stepped back to take a photo. At that point the buck jumped up and ran off with the rifle slung in its antlers, never to be seen again.

    I couldn't figure out what was funnier, the guy's story or the look on the next hunter's face when saw an armed buck wandering through the woods.
    DefConGun, gasmitty, KBSR and 5 others like this.
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    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I just have to ask, did you say, "Hey, watch this!" before you pulled the trigger?
    I just knew that was going to be in here someplace LOL. No actually it was more like "Can you guys get the lights on him better?"
    DefConGun likes this.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I'll say this; a 22 out of a rifle is a big difference than one fired from a handgun. I would not hesitate to use a 22 rifle in self defense, and would be very optimistic about the outcome.

    My choice would be a jacketed HP, or a lead solid for these purposes.
    Aiming points would be the soft tissue of the neck, or mouth and eyes.

    I would expect several shots fired in quick volley at the chest area to work well also.

    A Henry lever is your friend. If for some reason you would get a dud, a quick down-up motion and you are right back in there without ever losing your sight picture.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Speaking of the Henry, in there 22 mag version, if we look at current velocities, some 22 mag rounds reach over 2000 fps.

    If you look at the standard 5.56, out of a 20 inch barrel, you are getting about 3100fps.
    Now, the AR, with the M4 version that is the current fad, as a 16 inch barrel, and dome have even less using the muzzle compensator to make legal limit. This cuts down on that 3100 fps into the 2700-2800 fps range.

    At some point in that light, you have to scratch your head and wonder if 600 fps makes enough difference to justify the now thousands of dollar difference in the rifles and ammo.

    Give me a 30 caliber, or give me a 300 dollar 22 mag and 50 rounds of ammo at 10 bucks.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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