Our bodies are amazing, wonderful machines that are designed to operate under the most unique of conditions.
They SHOULDN'T fall down because of a little hole punched in them. They shouldn't even fall down with a BIG hole punched in them, and often they don't.
I've read countless stories of people being involved in a combination of everything from handgun and rifle bullets, shrapnel, explosions, natural disasters and dismemberment and they are still here today.
A kid in my home town tried to kill himself by putting a shotgun under his chin.
He's blind, disfigured, suffers from SEVER speech impediment, chronic migraines and his sinuses barely function but he's alive and depressed enough about failing in his suicide attempt that my brother-in-law helped transfer him to a mental hospital where he will probably live out the rest of his life. But the boy is fully aware and undoubtedly still alive even with the majority of the front of his head missing.
My point is that there is no assurance that anything you throw at a determined attacker is going to stop them. Not in 2, 7, 10 or 20 shots.
The human body is designed to stay alive, no matter what it takes. It protects itself from the extremest of conditions and we are always finding ourself amazed at what it can live through.
My own brother took a 12GA slug to the side and blew out four inches of flesh on his left side.
He took off his shirt, wrapped it around his wound, walked over a mile to his vehicle, drove five more miles to our home, took a shower and after finally realizing he couldn't stop the bleeding on his own, went down stairs and asked my father to take him to the hospital.
He was about as pale as a laundry basket full of whites and his eyes were very glazed and he looked extremely tired, but he didn't even need a transfusion. Just orange juice, a tetanus shot and an embarrassing talk with a police officer about his little hunting accident.
It's already been well established that a .22 can kill someone. It very well could be instantaneous. But it also could take days. Whether it be instant, from damage from the bullet, slow internal blood loss or infection days after the incident, a .22 is certainly nothing to scoff at.
However, it's also a very well established fact that there is no magic caliber and you are not guaranteed any sort of results.
The best we can hope for is a) that the sight of our firearm is enough to convince a bad guy he no longer wants to mess with us b) that if need be, our bullets hit something disabling enough to bring them down quickly (the heart, a vital part of the brain, a lung or two) or c) that we cause enough wound tract damage to make it physically impossible for them to continue their attack (their hand no longer works because tendons and muscles have been shredded by our expanding hollow points; they can no longer run because a knee is blown out; and so on).
If a hand grenade can fail to do that.. If a shotgun can fail to do that.. If a rifle can fail to do that.. If a .45 or a 9mm.. or a 10mm or any other caliber can fail to do that.. what makes you think a .22 is going to take that cake?
However, even though there are no guarantees, you do have a better chance with one choice over another. Yeah, if asked, I'd take a shotgun over a handgun in self defense ANY DAY, but I can't carry a shotgun so I stick with a handgun. I carry a .45ACP most of the time, but have no problem with and sometimes carry everything from .40S&W to .357Mag to 9mm and .380. I won't, however, go any lower than .380. I'm already taking a chance with only defending myself with a handgun, I'm not going to lower my chances further by picking a smaller caliber.
And because I know I still have no guarantees I also carry pepper spray, a knife or two or three, spare magazines or speed loaders, a phone and I'm not above begging God for a break or an edge either.
The other day I was considering a hypothetical scenario about being attacked, close quarters, by three men. I looked at it from a couple possible angles, thought up how I would try to respond and then I bowed my head and prayed.
My exact words were, "God, I don't want to hurt anyone and I pray I never have to. Please, give me the knowledge and foresight to stay away from questionable situations. But if I can't avoid them all, give me the wisdom to know when to act and what to do, the steady hands to do what must be done, and guide my bullets true."
A good firearms instructor of mine said, "Never rely on a magic caliber to save your life. EXPECT it to take all the ammo in your gun, all the ammo in your spare mag, for you to have to beat the guy to death with your empty gun and then cut off his head with your pocket knife. That way, if it ends before all that, you can be glad it ended early."
My faith isn't in my caliber, it isn't even in my gun alone, it's in my will to do whatever it takes to stay alive and my willingness to use whatever tool is at hand (be it a gun, a stick, a remote control or a toy poodle) to come home to my family.