Ammunition > Handgun

The .22 Magnum for Self-Defense

Due to its light recoil, even a novice shooter can deliver six accurate shots in seconds from a lightweight, .22 WMR revolver.


A practical personal protection plan should include a handgun, but that handgun should, without question, be one you’re comfortable with. As you become more experienced you’ll have the opportunity to further evaluate the situation and trade-up as your comfort and skill levels increase. For some, a .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) might be the best place to start. It’s also affordable, readily available and relatively easy to shoot.

The .22 WMR is just one of many cartridges that comes in handguns sized for personal protection or concealed carry. A compact and light handgun like Ruger’s new 16-ounce LCR is a perfect example of a carry-size .22 WMR revolver. For those who want to carry the smallest handgun possible, North American Arms’ less-than-6-ounces Mini-Revolvers, with 1-inch barrels, are about as small as small gets.

Many consider the .22 WMR too small for self-defense, but what do the facts and some common sense tell us? To answer this question we need to keep things in perspective. Unlike hunters, those who use a handgun to thwart violence don’t primarily intend to kill. The goal is to make the bad guy stop doing bad things. Handguns stop a threat in three ways. One is by causing enough pain that the bad guy submits or voluntarily decides further violent action is a bad idea. Another way is through incapacitation, which is an involuntary reaction on the part of the bad guy in response to being shot. Incapacitation can be instant or it can take a long time.

The third way handguns stop evil intent is through fear. No one wants to get shot with any gun. Law enforcement personnel will tell you that they point guns at bad guys much more often than they shoot them, and the most common response when a gun is pointed at someone is that they stop being bad and put their hands up or run. This voluntary surrender is the most common and effective way handguns stop crime, whether in the hands of police officers or citizens.

What we want to explore here is how effective a .22 WMR handgun might be at triggering these three outcomes. If just pointing the gun at the bad guy is enough, then caliber or cartridge is of no consequence—score one for the WMR. If a shot is required, will the .22 WMR be capable of causing enough pain to make the bad guy submit or voluntarily stop, and is it even capable of causing swift, involuntary incapacitation?

Terminal ballistics testing in 10 percent ordnance gelatin is about the only way we can gauge the potential effectiveness of any cartridge. By comparing how various .22 WMR loads perform in ordnance gelatin with how other, more trusted, larger-caliber handgun loads perform, we can hypothesize on the fight-stopping potential of the .22 WMR.

Make no mistake, velocity matters when it comes to terminal performance. It’s why .357 Mag. is more effective at stopping bad guys than .38 Spl. With the .22 WMR, velocity is just as, if not more, important because of its relatively small bullet. Interestingly, many .22 WMR loads are made for use in rifles, and the longer barrels result in substantially more velocity than if the same loads were shot through handguns. With that in mind, I conducted a series of tests with various .22 WMR loads fired from barrels as short as 1 inch to as long as 22 inches. The results can be found in the accompanying table, but before you try to digest all those numbers, let’s consider what these tests actually tell us.

Admittedly, 10 percent ordnance gelatin, as often as it is used and referenced, is not the same as a bad guy. It is simply a ballistic test medium which is thought to offer the same resistance to a bullet as would muscle tissue. It does not replicate skin, ribs, cartilage or fat and, in fact, very often the way a bullet performs in living tissue is quite different than how it performs in gelatin. Ordnance gelatin is merely a test medium that offers comparisons between projectiles on an even playing field.

So what you see in these results is how these loads compare to each other and to more powerful defensive handgun loads such as the 9 mm Luger and the .45 ACP. With those cartridges you can generally expect penetration in the 13-inch range. Interestingly, if we average the penetration of the .22 WMR loads tested from handguns with barrels ranging from 1 inch to 4½ inches we find they penetrated to just over 12 inches. Not much difference.

The average 9 mm Luger velocity from defensive handguns with varying barrel lengths runs about 1,175 fps. From a .45 ACP the average muzzle velocity is almost 1,000 fps. Averaging all the .22 WMR loads tested in all the different handgun barrel lengths we find the muzzle velocity to be about 1,050 fps. From a numbers standpoint, the velocity and penetration of the .22 WMR, when compared to a 9 mm or a .45, is not all that different.

The difference in the terminal performance of a .22 WMR when compared to a 9 mm or a .45 is mostly in expansion and energy. Expansion is important because if you have two holes that are the same depth, the hole that has the largest diameter will also be the one that is likely to do the most tissue damage. The average frontal diameter of recovered .22 WMR bullets is about 0.27 inches. That is substantially less than the average for the 9 mm Luger, at 0.55 inches, and the .45 ACP at 0.61 inches.

So, on average, you can expect a .45 ACP to damage about 3.79 cubic inches of tissue and a 9 mm Luger to damage about 3 cubic inches of tissue. The best .22 WMR loadings will damage less than 1 cubic inch of tissue.

Actually, statistics—if you can trust statistics—support the hypothesis that it’s the fear of getting or having been shot that most often leads to a fight being stopped. Of course fear and even pain will most likely have little influence on someone high on meth, crack or even adrenalin. In those instances it’s the involuntary incapacitation that must be relied upon. Instant involuntary incapacitation with any handgun is rare and, with a .22 WMR damaging four times less tissue and hitting with about a fourth the energy of a 9 mm Luger or .45, I think it’s logical to assume involuntary incapacitation with a .22 WMR cartridge is four times less likely to happen.

But what if you can’t be concerned with such numbers? What if a .22 WMR is the most powerful handgun you can shoot effectively? What if a .22 WMR is all you have? What ammunition should you choose for a .22 WMR defensive handgun if that’s what you are going to carry?

Based on the testing I conducted, two things were obvious: Barrels of about an inch in length did not generate enough velocity for reliable expansion with most .22 WMR loads. Terminal performance from barrels between 2 inches (1.8 inches) and 5 inches (4.6 inches) was, for all practical purposes, identical. It was also clear from the results, with the exception of four loads; Hornady’s Critical Defense, Speer’s Gold Dot, Winchester’s PDX1 and the somewhat surprising CCI TNT load, no other .22 WMR load will expand from a handgun. The Hornady, Speer and Winchester loads, which performed well and even expanded through denim—except from the 1-inch barrel—seem to be the obvious choice, especially with penetration around the magic 13-inch mark. No surprise here; all of these loads were purpose-built for the defensive handgun. On the other hand, the 30-grain CCI TNT load was the only load that expanded from every firearm, in every test.

Even though these loads did expand, they did not expand much; 0.19 inches of expansion was the most recorded from any handgun, and bear in mind that is slightly more than 3/16 inches. The .22 WMR is drastically handicapped by power and energy—energy that’s needed to push through clothing, ribs and muscle. It might make just as much sense to use loads with non-expanding projectiles such as the 40-grain full metal jacket or common hollow point, which should penetrate slightly deeper.

Here’s another consideration. The Hornady, Speer and Winchester loads utilize flash-retarding propellants. That means that if you have to shoot in near darkness, you won’t be blinded by the light—muzzle flash. Even though the CCI TNT load expanded well in every test, the muzzle flash from it and the other loads was like a fireball. That might scare your attacker more, but it does nothing for your night vision.

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76 Responses to The .22 Magnum for Self-Defense

Jack wrote:
November 03, 2014

The 22LR has a 42[%] knock down rate. I'm not sure about the 22WMR but I know it's higher. When I carry it's a S & W MP 9 or a Taurus .38 revolver but I would also feel secure with my 22 or 22 mag revolver (love those 22's). I had one friend dropped dead by a scumbag with a single shot from a 22 and another that lived after taking six in the torso. He later drank himself to death no doubt pertaining to issues with being shot so in reality it was a very slow death. I don't have first hand knowledge but read every week in the Boston area papers of thugs shooting each other with 380's, 38's and 9's 3-4-5 times and living. Getting shot is getting shot. Not to many carry cannons around. I'd gladly carry a 22 and wouldn't want to be shot with one.

Bruce wrote:
October 20, 2014

I've worked security, been in the military in combat, and have law enforcement and medical people in the family. I have carried a 9mm for many years, over two decades. Then due to certain reasons, I began to carry a 22mag for a lighter gun. I've seen people shot with large caliber guns and 22 cal guns. They all agreed on one thing, reguardless of the cal. they wished they hadn't been shot at all. More deaths are caused from 22cal gunshot wounds than all others. I don't carry a badge or wear a uniform so if I feel the need to shoot, I'll shoot where it will do the most damage. Shoot to kill or don't shoot at all. A gun is either a deterent or a device for termination. In either case, if you know your limits and the limits of your gun, a 22 mag cal. will do just fine.

ron nelson wrote:
October 20, 2014

22 mag in 2 in. barrel revolvers, forget it. 4 in. or up, maybe. 6 up, well all right!! 30 rds. w/6 in. barrel. I use it..

Mark wrote:
October 17, 2014

As a kid we lived on a farm in rural Indiana. My Dad worked nights. We had a home invasion and my Mom pulled her little Beretta out of her robe pocket and emptied the clip of 22 SHORTS into the guy... all he was interested in was getting to a hospital. I'm not sure I would even be alive today as he came in with a hunting knife.. ANY gun trumps NO gun...

MSgt White wrote:
October 13, 2014

Good comments overall, but there are several points being missed here. Street defense & home defense have little relevance to combat, where the other guy is almost certainly armed & trained, and his primary job is to kill you. In street or home situations, the bad guy is probably not even armed or trained at all, and is going to be really surprise & scared if he encounters ANY gun. With ANY gun, therefore, you immediately have a huge edge -- hardly the case in any combat zone. Also, the mugger or burgler can, and usually will, run away if he encounters a gun. An enemy soldier knows he's likely to be shot if he runs from combat. Is the .22mag ideal against a mugger? No. I carry my .357mag Ruger, period, though if I'm mowing or working outside in the yard wearing only shorts, I slip my .22mag Davis Derringer in my pocket, not much carrying about scratches or sweat stains on an old, worn belly gun that cost me 30-odd bucks back in the 80s. Myy own not-very-scientific test of .22mag penetration leads me to believe it may be better than their research indicates. I had a 10' diameter elm tree stump that I nailed targets to, and when I finally cut it down into logs for the fireplace I could see that the relatively tiny .22 bullets penetrated nearly to the other side, much further than the larger .38 & .357 bullets, which averaged 4' or so. It may not be a wide wound channel, but it certainly appears to predict a much LONGER one.

Christine wrote:
September 14, 2014

BigFoot...You're obviously a troll who simply likes to argue with people, or you always have to be right...Which you're not! A person who anticipates muzzle-filp or recoil probably (even after extensive practice) isn't going to hit their target very often, especially under stress. In that case 9mm or .45 centerfire is LESS reliable then a rimfire gun that person CAN handle. I guarantee you would have a very bad day coming into my house if all I had was a PMR-30 with two 30 round mags! .22 mag is what I'm comfortable with; can shoot accurately, and is the caliber I feel is my best option for putting rounds on target.

Dayne wrote:
August 13, 2014

Essentially Richard is stating that if an individual can better manage a .22 WMR than a higher caliber, it has value for self-defense carry. We can 'what if' until last call. Sure, anything can happen. But we don't live our entire life assuming worst case scenarios. Possibility versus probabilty is how we plan our day and our lives. Cars and planes crash and kill people all the time. But we still get in and on them. Older people, injured people, small people, yes, they could all shoot a couple of rounds with a .357 at the range. But what's their actual comfort level? For someone to carry a gun they need to be confident in their ability to carry the gun, access the gun, fire the gun. That confidence is part of the self-defense scenario. Would I encourage someone to carry at least a .380? Sure. But if their confidence was overwhelmingly in favor of a .22 WMR, then that means it's a gun they can practice with, carry, and use. Check out the results of Greg Ellifritz' personal 10-year study of 'stopping power' comparisons of various ammo from actual events. Surprisingly, he reports .22 is on a par with 9mm in real-world situations, both in one-shot stop and number of shots to incapacitation. Average incapacitation for any round is 3 or less (assuming a hit). It's been said again and again, shot placement wins the day. We can theorize all day, but actual results show the .22 is reasonable and effective for carry. Oh wait - Richard already said that.

Bill wrote:
August 09, 2014

If anyone doesn't believe that the .22 or the .22wmr is non effective as a p.d. cartridge. they are wrong, I have put down a 2 1/2 yr. old steer with one (1) shot with just the .22, he dropped like a rock , so I suppose a wmf will do the job as just well. (YOU THINK)

JohnOzark wrote:
July 15, 2014

the 15' rule applies. If you think a 22mag won't stop or kill you, then by all means stand 15' in front of one and let someone take a shot. Especially with the latest defense rounds available from Hornaday. I have the cheapest new 22mag handgun I think there is available being a Heritage Mfg. revolver. Out of the thousands of rounds I've never had a single misfire. Even with the standard .22lr cylinder in it I've never had a misfire. Maybe if you're using old uber-cheap ammo I guess. Even my PMR auto has never misfired aside from having to be repaired once. No fault of the ammo. Rimfire misfires are nearly legend these days unless you neglect your weapon. Same goes for center fire. Take care of your weapon and keep it in good working order and you won't have misfires.

BigFoot wrote:
May 24, 2014

FOR DM: Good story but why would any sane person with a .22 wade into a shootout with three armed bad guys? Not only is the .22 a little wimpy but there is always the worry that the rimfire priming will fail. Your hero had to be the luckiest guy in the world because nobody made a hit on him, ending the fight in favor of the bad guys. The following article is about the .22 LR but in short-barreled guns there isn't much difference between it and the .22 Magnum. WHY NOT ANY CALIBER BY PAUL RACKLEY (American Rifleman) 'Quite often I’m asked my opinion on the best gun and caliber for self-defense. My standard answer is: “Whatever gun you have on you.” The person usually then asks if that means it is OK to carry a .22 LR. To which I reply no, and I’m about to tell you why. The .22 LR is a very deadly round. Many emergency room doctors will tell you that a .22 caliber gunshot is one of the worst to come in, because, quite often, a .22 LR will ricochet inside the body causing many small, hard-to-find wound channels. The surgeries for these wounds can take hours and as often as not, the victims bleed out and die. Now, if a .22 LR is such a deadly round, then why am I so against it? It’s because there is a good chance that a .22 LR will not stop an attack. Who cares if the guy dies after he has beaten you to death? The only ones who should carry a .22 are those who can handle nothing else, and even then I would still recommend carrying a larger caliber. A .22 caliber handgun will stop the assailant that would flee from any gun. But, it will not, under most circumstances, stop a determined attacker. And yes, I do know that .22s have stopped attackers intent on killing, but it doesn’t change the fact that I wouldn’t bet my life on one. Now, would I get some morbid satisfaction from knowing that I took my attacker with me? Probably, but I would get much more knowing he didn’t take me with him.'

dm wrote:
May 23, 2014

Instead of fictitious arguments look up the article about a guy who left the 45 home while in a tux. He comes home to3 armed attackers. Gun fight 3 on 1. He had an naa pug. He killed 1 and severely wounded 1 who fled like a baby and he won. Pug in 22 mag 5 shots against 3 men and 3 guns. End of argument.

Joseph C. wrote:
May 16, 2014

The comment about a 200 lb. deer compared to a man is ironicly amazing, as in our state you can use a .22 magnum for deer, and I have brought many nice bucks down with one shot from my sidearm! Just blew out their hearts - 0ne Shot!

BigFoot wrote:
May 04, 2014

JIMBO: A few more details please. Did you boss fall down at the shot or was he capable of returning fire?

jimbo wrote:
May 03, 2014

My boss years ago was shot in the face with a .22lr pistol, the round went in his cheek, through his tongue, bounced off his teeth, and went out the back right side of his neck. He lost a lot of blood but lived and was out of the hospital in three days. Do not under estimate a tiny pistol, it will get the job done .

Sliide wrote:
April 27, 2014

At home, next to the bed, 22WMR in a PMR will do just fine in home field advantage with a flurry of blinding fire to the eyes. Great for the young and inexperienced who are going to need the advantages against adjusting to noise, flash, recoil, and fear of the arm itself and will need quick follow up as they miss on the first shot out of fear. In a revolver.? No way. Power has to be on demand. 30 Rounds will wake the neighbors in the suburbs. CC... Sure! Why not? Anyone who is going to go that far with a Gun is going to work for some level of competency. In that case a revolver could be acceptable.

BigFoot wrote:
April 07, 2014

Christine: Since you are so willing to risk your life on a rimfire, you obviously haven't read enough articles on why the rimfires are prone to misfires and therefore not suitable for self-defense. First, here are the highlights from the American Rifleman: 'On a good day, the ignition potential of the .22 rimfire priming system is weak. Ignition begins on the side of the case where the rim is crushed by the firing pin; there is no flash hole to focus the ignition gasses into the center of the powder charge. Failure to press the priming compound reliably and evenly inside the annular rim cavity can lead to misfires and high variations in muzzle velocity. Centrifugal force is used to push the priming compound into the hollow rim of the cartridge case. This is accomplished by dropping a wet pellet of priming compound into the bottom of the cartridge case, inserting a closely fitting steel pin, then using the pin to spin the case at speeds of approximately 10,000 rpm for a few seconds. This is a tenuous process at best and frequently fails to completely fill the rim with priming compound.' Next we have the highlights of the Gun Review of the Kel-Tec PMR-30: ”The second downside is the nature of rimfire ammo. Rimfire primers aren’t as reliable as centerfire primers and I have come to expect a dud relatively often.' From Understanding Rimfire and Centerfire Cartridges: 'Rimfire cartridges are considered to be less reliable than centerfire cartridges. This is but one reason that many experts do not recommend reliance upon a rimfire for self-defense.' So Christine, how about using your .22 for practice and buying a centerfire for defending your home? The .38 Special and 9mm are considered minimum for self-defense. But maybe you aren't willing to bet your life on minimum, perhaps you are one of those people that want all the help you can get when it comes to putting the bad guy on the floor. Good luck!

Christine wrote:
April 07, 2014

BigFoot ...Bubba comes after me he's getting 30 rounds of .22 mag to the head and center mass. I can pull the trigger on my PMR30 6 or 7 times before Bubby can fire once from his .45. By the time Bubba figures out he's in a gunfight, the fight is over. You see, Bubba is high on drugs and isn't expecting his victim to be armed, and an armed Bubba probably isn't going to be very accurate. You see, my PMR30 has next to no muzzel-flip, so most of my shots are going to be grouped pretty close together...If Bubby lives, he will be wishing he stayed home that day!

BigFoot wrote:
April 02, 2014

MP: You make a good point if we assume that your theory about limited penetration is true and will therefore improve the safety factor for your children who are sleeping a wall or two away. At least when it comes to the rounds YOU are firing. So, you hear something go bump in the night, quickly grab your .22, and head for the sound. And there, just inside the front door, stands Bubba. Bubba is 300 pounds of solid muscle, is wearing his thick leather coat over winter clothing, and is in a very good mood because he is high on drugs. Bet you were planning on an anemic teenager in a T-shirt, right? You let loose with your.22 but Bubba is not impressed. Slightly irritated, he raises his something with a 4 in front of it and sprays you and the walls behind you. Were the kid's bedrooms behind you? Too bad! But at least it wasn't your rounds that endangered the children. That was scenario number one. Scenario number two has you showing up at the front door with your Bubba Buster. Two powerful rounds later Bubba is on the floor and there are no holes in the wall behind you. Your choice, scenario one or two? As to your utterance '..hasn't been shot by one,' it is a fact that a lot of people are killed every year with a .22. In fact, both the FBI and the military have acknowledged this but also state unequivocally that the .22 is no combat round for obvious reasons. The FBI spent millions of dollars in their meticulous search for the best-available combat round to replace the .38 Special and the 9mm, then the issue round for their Agents. Their first choice was the full-powered 10mm but the big 10 proved too much of a good thing for some of the agents so it was watered-down to the .40 S&W. In all their years of shooting bad guys, the FBI had learned one thing: the number one requirement for a combat round is penetration and their new round would provide it. Next on the list of requirements was a big hole so that instead of barely missing important parts of the bad guy's anatomy with a small-diameter bullet, they would be hit by a larger-diameter bullet. If you want, I can post their report on 'The Myth of Over-Penetration' if it will make you feel better.

MP wrote:
March 31, 2014

This was just fun,reading all of these comments. Currently I have 2 pistols in my drawer. Taurus Tracker revolver, and a PMR 30 with a laser sight, both in 22 mag. Why ? Several reasons. They both go bang, really loud. The 22 mag is hyper destructive, not to mention 30 rounds (my PMR 30's nickname is hornet's nest) But most importantly, is what's on the other side of walls, my children ! I've already considered purchasing the Taurus tracker in 17 hmr instead of the 22 mag. Talk about hyper destructive ! But two walls away, your children are safe in their beds ! Try that with your something with a 4 in front of it bigfoot. Why do you think they are testing silica rounds (yes, pure sand) for close quarters combat ? Have you ever seen a grapefruit after a 17hmr ?Simply put, the only person who doesn't think a 22mag or 17hmr isn't a good home defense round, hasn't been shot by one.

JA wrote:
March 29, 2014

Please refer the the 22 WMR Ballistics Table: 1. At the top of the table, 'VEL' is defined as 'Impact Velocity' (not 'Muzzle Velocity'). 2. At the bottom of the table, the 'NOTES' specify that 'All loads tested from handguns were fired into 10[%] ordinance gelatin from a distance of 24' (24 inches not 24 feet or 24 yards).' whereas... 'Rifle loads were fired in gelatin at a range of 50 yds.' Questions: If 'VEL' is 'Impact Velocity' (not Muzzle Velocity), why were the handgun velocities measured so close to the muzzle at only 24 inches whereas the rifle velocities were measured at 50 yards from the muzzle? Wouldn't a handgun personal defense distance of 5-7 yards be more suitable? Please respond to my questions. Thank you.

JA wrote:
March 28, 2014

Please refer to the .22 WMR Ballistics Table: 1. At the top of the table,'VEL' is defined as'Impact Velocity'. 2. At the bottom of the table, it is noted that

RDNK wrote:
March 08, 2014

22 mag is one of my favorite rounds but not for self defense or conceal carry.I carry 45 ACP exclusive. Yall take care and dont insult each other.

Bob wrote:
March 03, 2014

A little over 100 years ago our rich uncle Sam chose the .45 ACP to replace the .38 caliber revolver as the standard military sidearm. Legend has it that the reason was that the .38 wouldn't reliably stop a large man bent on inflicting bodily harm. The legend further suggests that the official requirement for the .38 replacement was that it had to be powerful enough to stop a horse (cavalry charges were still fashionable then). Will a .22 WMR take the fight out of an attacker? Probably. Will it instantly knock him to the ground? Probably not. If you carry to protect your 'phone and wallet from a mugger, a pellet gun will probably do. If you need to protect your life, the biggest cartridge you can comfortably handle is probably the right choice.

101nomad wrote:
February 21, 2014

.22 is a sticky wicket. I feel comfortable with one. Not everybody will. My primary is a .380, my other firearm is a 12 gauge, I will get another .22. Magnum this time. My original .22 and .38 snub I had since about 1966, were stolen from the house while I was at work. With .380 and 12 gauge I practice center mass, with .22, I dial that down some. A shot thru the eye with a .22 is very effective, from what I have heard.

Will wrote:
February 10, 2014

I am never without my NAA Black Widow loaded with Hornady 22 WMR Critical defense. It is easy to carry so it isn't sitting at home or in the car. A couple of well placed shots with a 22 WMR should allow me a chance to get out of a bad situation. I have a 38+P, a 357 Mag, a 40 S&W, a couple of rifles and several shot guns. If I can get to one these larger caliber weapons I will, but they are to big to carry every where I go.

Marine2541 wrote:
January 19, 2014

I would like to diviate slightly from the topic and make some observations about our Second Amendment Rights Community. We need to discontinue using old, wornout, clichees

BigFoot wrote:
January 09, 2014

Sure, a .22 Magnum will 'kill' but that's not the point. If you put a round or two in the bad guy's chest he might eventually die but until then he could continue the attack and shoot/stab you and then it's a tie: you both could die. So instead of choosing cartridges that can kill, concentrate your search on cartridges that have the best chance of STOPPING the bad guy, putting him on the ground RIGHT NOW! While no cartridge can guarantee that level of performance, there are attributes that can increase the odds in your favor. You would need deep penetration so that your bullet goes through all obstacles like outstretched arms, heavy winter clothing, skin/fat/bone/muscle, and completes the trip through the thorax cavity. Taking out the spinal column on exit would be a big plus. You also need the largest hole possible when your bullet penetrates because besides destroying more tissue, a larger-diameter bullet will destroy the organs, veins/arteries, and nerve trunks that a smaller-diameter bullet would just graze. If it helps, pretend that you are choosing a handgun for hunting 200-pound deer. Now, I realize that my opinion will not convince you to go out and buy something bigger than a .22 Magnum so I will give you a link to somebody that has walked the walk. Read this and get back to me:[%]20Ballistics[%]20as[%]20viewed[%]20in[%]20a[%]20morgue.htm

Its not possible wrote:
January 07, 2014

I don't believe that .22 magnum is not enough for self defense. You people trust bigger things but everything is made smaller now a days. Guns are made to kill for one bullet shot. There is no other use of them. Target shooting? give me a break. If one bullet of this can not kill a human, why did they invent it in the first place?

Wishbone wrote:
December 03, 2013

I have owned several 22 Mag handguns and carbines over the years.. as with all cartridges placement is # 1 penetration #2and then the ability to accurately place follow up shots...I myself would rater have a 38sol. or larger more powerful round for self defense ...I still feel well armed with my single action 22 mag..I shoot it accurately and I'm very proficient with follow up shots..and now with the new ammo its a even better option...

SSN679 wrote:
November 23, 2013

The most disturbing element of this article is the posts and the venom and insults that are hurled at people for just stating an opinion someone disagrees with on a subject that is not settled science or fact. Why not just state your opinion and let others do the same. Insulting others tends to undermine the strength of your views, ad hominem attacks don't add anything to the validity of your argument, they in fact tend to frame your view as weak. Please be civil especially with an audience of generally like-minded people who you probably have a lot in common with it puts our shooting community in a much more favorable light with those outside who know little or nothing about firearms.

Papabrid wrote:
October 30, 2013

A .22 Mag is HALF of a .44 Mag, so...I'll just shoot the bad guy twice!

PRM wrote:
October 06, 2013

I carry a NAA (North American Arms) Black Widow in .22 Magnum daily. It drops in my pocket and carries with the ease pocket knife. I bought the .22 Mag/.22 LR model, and the .22LR cylinder provides for cheap shooting. With the Black Widow, there is never a reason to be unarmed. The two inch heavy barrel, larger magnum frame, enhanced sights, and over sized grips make this little gun a real performer. Sometimes less really is more...

Terry wrote:
October 03, 2013

Bryan J., I trust your data more than anything else I've read so far. Brad and others also made good arguments. I think I'd rather have a shotgun for home defense but if CC was the issue, I don't think I'd count out the 22 mag. Especially on my budget.

Bob J wrote:
October 01, 2013

'Better learn how to shoot something that starts with a 4.' People like you are such a detriment to the shooting public. You have no ability to see any opinion other than your own.

Brandon Gillman wrote:
September 30, 2013

Very unscientific study loaded to make .22 wmr look bad. Your selection of barrel lengths is proof. Why not try longer barrels like my 6.5 in Heritage Rough Rider? These guns are out there and get over looked by people like you because you are afraid of what you'll find. Try again and come back once you've done real testing.

Bill Miller wrote:
September 28, 2013

My home defense pistol is an H&R Model 676, 22wmr. I shot an adult armadillo from 25 yds. The bullet entered the left shoulder, exited the right hip. The exit wound was the size of a tennis ball. I was told .22s 'Would bounce off Possum on the half shell'?

Rosario Villari wrote:
September 17, 2013

We are being robbed on prices as it is, why can't these manufacturers produce ammo to handle orders! I can't find .22 magnum ammo for my rifle.

Dr John O'Connor PhD wrote:
September 04, 2013

.22 mag ammo is difficult to find these days. I have 22LR ammo is stock and listed at our web site.But we sold out of the 22 wmr ammo.

BigFoot wrote:
August 26, 2013

Welcome to the site Joe, you will find a wealth of information and opinions here. The problem I have with many of the opinions voiced here is that folks that could easily master a more powerful weapon have rationalized away reality and think that any gun, no matter how small, will save their life. In their imagination they envision that all bad guys will be unarmed, weigh 125 pounds, and dress in T-shirts. Too bad when their bad guy shows up wearing heavy winter clothing, weighs 300 pounds, is high on drugs, and has a weapon way more powerful than yours. If a person took self defense seriously enough to invest the time needed to truly understand 'stopping power' and the underlying terminal ballistics required to accomplish it, they would be carrying larger weapons. Your daughter is fortunate to have a father so interested in her safety, you are to be congratulated. Since she has the 20 gauge at home, I assume the .22 will be carried. And since any revolver that 'fits' her hand should be eligible for consideration, the only mitigating factors are size and recoil. Size will depend on how she carries it. But recoil, the scariest word on this website, can be easily overcome by increasing gun weight and getting the right grip. Anybody that can't carry a 28-ounce gun instead of a 12-ounce gun, for instance, could just lose a pound of body weight. But the greatest factor is the grip. Most shooters will acknowledge that a .357 Mag stings with wood grips but becomes a pussy cat with rubber. And some rubber grips are better than others. The Taurus Ribber Grip can easily tame recoil, even in the .41 and .44 Mags. And Ruger uses the Hogue grip on their .454 Alaskan so that it can be comfortable to shoot. My point is that you should choose the largest caliber she can adapt to and then work backward to make it work. If your daughter had to save her life with one shot, Joe, no matter which bad guy showed up, would you rather she had a .22 Mag in her hand or something bigger?

JoeBknotadummy wrote:
August 24, 2013

@bigfoot-7/29 I arrived at this site to find a good recommendation for a small, powerful self-defense hand gun for my 90 lb. daughter to take to school this fall. I think a 22 mag is easier for her to handle and practice with. She will have a 20 ga wheatherby semi-auto in her appt. for home protection, so I don't find any of your comments helpful on the subject, I could get her a .44 mag Dessert Eagle, but being a practical father who is looking to cover my daughters bases, no thanks to you or your comments.

Roy T. Bynum, Jr. wrote:
August 19, 2013

Gentlemen, i fail to see the value of being a 45 year vet retired Master Sgt. when it comes to the evaluation of a revamped technology as the .22 WMR. I bring no disprespect to those in service to this nation, but i'd sooner give a pack of fairly young men PMR 30s Autoag II, and maybe a rifle or two each one gets a case of each ammo and give them a month or two... I have been a .22 mag (WMR) fan since my boyhood, hunting rabbits and whatever all over my uncle's ranch west of Beeville. We were raised to be absolutely loyal to gun safety rules and common sense and lovingly taught how to put a .22 short bullet through a cottaon tail's head. We did things hunting out of educated common sense and developed our economy of use.the .20 ga. bolt action if we had to kill the jack rabbit or scare the fudge out of a nasty coyote. The .22 short to kill our game, including quail in the brush, dove up in the foilage and the cotton tail and such. In this economy of use...the .22 mag blew up the rattler so one maybe two shots eliminated the threat...the shotgun was major overkill and the .22 just never made sure. When the jack rabbit stayed out range the .22 mag was in its element. Now I am drawn into this 'new world'of high velocity everything, critical defense and whatever and I am a 60+ I google everything study and talk to folks who know and ...well I am now a strong proponent for the .22 mag for self defense. PERIOD. 1. Excellent downrange destruction for what you invest. Hornady has reinvented the ammo and it has spread to the .32 ACP, .25 ACP and appears to be be doing exceptionally well as you NEVER hardly ever see it on the shelf anymore. 2. Testing that produces numbers is much like a politician... it should produce results of the positive kind. Thus God creates You shot no more pumpkin, gourd, watermelon...PMR 30 and AMT Auto Mag II produce the same basic effects...which I find very desirable...accuracy off handed over one hundred yards using the neon orange and green sights. Cannot wait to get it with a good scope Lastly...this is a niche weapon that i believe is developing as we speak...with Mitchell's Mauser building up an extremely successful .22 mag semi auto rifle that kicks butt, Magnum Research now seems to have caught the bug and the .22 mag market in general taking off like a short fused M80 and the demand extremely outrunning the supply... wonder why? As a very powerful sidenote...when used in the inner cities by police forces collateral damage (neighbors shot too...)would be greatly decreased if not eliminated as to this reason. Cheaper to train on, lighter , time on target increased exponentially and ease of use saving lives. The Fear Factor is not lost on this either, especially the PMR30. Loud, big flash and 30 round clips...and one question with a built in observation....which end of this scenario would you want to be on...1911 .45 ACP approaching an enemy using the PMR 30 with the high speed polymer tipped Hornady round. It really sounds ridiculous right??? Both use open sights and to be honest any really tight shooting with the standard sights on the 1911 just is not possible...given that in my testing i was able to consistently , with open sights, hit a 12' target shooting off handed . sighting the gun through the very nice fiber optic sights standard on the PMR 30 was a breeze and with some practice I'll take the PMR 30 and let's see if you can get closer than 50 yards to me....oh and did I mention the pistol comes with a second 30 round clip...

John wrote:
July 30, 2013

In my time as a paramedic I have seen more than my share of shootings. Of the nearly 2 dozen in the last 5 years all but 2 where sub 40 cal pistols and not one of the shot persons continued to put up a fight. Of the half dozen suicide by 22 pistols I've made not one left the position they where in when they shot themselves. I have also witnessed people stabbed with small knives in the chest not make it 10 steps. A close range 22 does more damage than a 5 inch steak knife. Is it the best round, no. Is it useable, yes. When I can't carry a 40 I carry a 22mag. First rule of a gunfight, bring a gun.

BigFoot wrote:
July 29, 2013

Anybody that chooses ANY .22 for self defense is completely ignorant when it comes to terminal ballistics and history. These naive gun slingers assume they will plink the bad guy with one of their famous 'well placed shots' and the bad guy will fall down immediately. What really happens is that the bad guy, now slightly irritated, returns fire and puts a magazine full of .45s into their body because he wasn't STOPPED with the first shot. Any guesses on who wins that fight? Too many of our members must be getting old and weak or just plain lazy. They would rather carry a girly gun because it is small, light, and doesn't hurt their little hand when it goes bang. Carrying a gun that can actually stop the bad guy with one shot isn't in their mindset. They would rather carry a 'feel-good' gun, that's a gun that gives you a false sense of security because it's a 'gun' but is actually worthless when it comes to saving your life. I know, better to have a .22 in your pocket than a .45 at home, right? If that's your plan then you need to pause and find a way to carry a gun that is actually capable of saving your butt. As the FBI and the Army have said, just because the .22 kills more people than any other round that doesn't make it a good combat round. And they gave a thumbs down on the .38 and 9mm too. Better learn how to shoot something that starts with a 4.

Jabe wrote:
July 17, 2013

One point, less thru and thru holes. Less of a chance of hitting and potentially killing innocence. I will have to stick with what I have. But for the wife maybe.

Nevik wrote:
July 14, 2013

Gotta say,reading thru the comments scares me. A Lot of of wanna be ballistics experts with just a smattering of knowledge pasted over a whole lot of ignorance and opinion. Not suprising the anti's think we're a bunch of un-educated knobs. Seems only one or two out of ten can actually stay on topic and contribute anything intelligent about it. speaking of the topic, 22 mag for PD? Why not. Much better deterrent than a pocket knife or PS. Most of the time that's all that's needed. Easy to handle and master for those who may need it most, women. If they do have to pull the trigger, doing it with increased confidence and competence will help to offset any of the rounds shortcomings. Training with a low recoil round may also allow them to place quick follow up shots on target. I think the 22 mag is a great place to start if one chooses to go armed.

Steve wrote:
July 12, 2013

Lot's of dead people with .22 bullets in them. My wife is new and not savey. A .22 pistol is perfect for her.I'm proficient with a larger caliber semi. I've shot thousands of rounds out of my High Power and can hit a sillouet at 25 yds. without using sights. I had someone at a show tell me the 9mm was useless? The results of readinjg and not shooting. What you're proficient with is what is best for you. Anything else? I prefer you have a gun too big for you if your trying to kill me.

BestefarJohn wrote:
June 22, 2013

I'm 80 and am limited by body shape/size when I CCW. Sure, I'd like to carry my G23 or something bigger. But when push comes to shove, my NAA .22 Mag is quick and easy to always have in my pocket holster. Until I find a better way to carry something larger the NAA is always with me,

SneakyPete wrote:
June 19, 2013

30yr ret. 1sgt. After its all said & done its all about putting ordnance on target. Taurus .22WMR 8 round-empty the cylinder under 2 seconds in a 6' pie plate 7 mtrs away--- practice-practice-practice

Art wrote:
June 12, 2013

In my life I have shot everything from 4oz. Red squirrels to 1400 holstein bulls with a .22. If shot placement is correct they all drop like they've been hit by lightning. I've spent the last forty years in and around law enforcement and been asked many times, usually right after the B&E or some other crime, 'What kinda' gun should I buy.' Some homes don't need guns so I would suggest a baseball bat. For almost all others, a dao .22 revolver. Never once in those forty years was I listened to. When I would check back it would be 'the guy at the gun store told me' and a hundred pound lady would have a gun that really should have had wheels on it and a team of mules. Having known both shooters and shootees heres what I know: None off the shootees stopped to check the caliber of the hot lead coming their way. None of them wanted to shot twice. Shooters lose fine motor skills and get tunnel vision. Small, weak, arthritic or aging hands get slide bite, can't clear a jam, don't like recoil, have trouble with saftetys and magazine releases. The list goes on. SIMPLE is the key word in almost every case. Before Obama these people could get ammo cheaply and learn to shoot. Someday in a better world it may happen again.

Larry d wrote:
June 04, 2013

I just saw a vid on the 32 h&R mag in a Smith snubbie... looked cool and you can carry 6 rounds.

Bob wrote:
June 04, 2013

I'd like to own this Kruger 22mag. I carry a LC9

Gary wrote:
June 02, 2013

I was very disappointed with this article. What are the firearms used? Try my Keltec PMR 30; extreme accuracy, range and quiet with handgun ammo. Why confuse the test with all the rifle ammo? Stick to the four ammos that actually work in a handgun. The most vicious .22LR ammo out there is Aguila SubSonic Sniper .22LR compatible 60gr. And it will cycle semi-autos. Try a .22; (Walther P22/5" barrel or Keltec Pmr30/4.3" barrel) ;reach out and touch someone.

duane dixon wrote:
June 01, 2013

I seen a big 6 plus foot 250 lb muscle head get shot square in the chest with a 22 mag pistol. It dropped him instantly and he was done doing anything at all but wait on the ambulance. I sure as heck wouldnt want shot with a 22 mag. I think people severely underestimate what this round is capable of. I use CCI maxi mag plus V. They are very noticably louder, faster, and cary much longer range in both rifle and pistol.

Rich wrote:
May 31, 2013

Is this a sales pitch for the 22mag from Ruger? Conversely, no one looks at the business end of a hand gun and says "that's only a .22". From the movie, "Cowboys and Aliens"...."get yourself a handgun, and learn how to use it!"

I. Mckee wrote:
May 30, 2013

I have ALWAYS been a fan of the .22 cal. whether it's in a rifle or a hand gun, and I believe that a .22 is a very formidable weapon! It's not a toy! In fact, I KNOW that a couple of well-placed rounds out of a .22 will give ANYONE second thoughts about taking that next advancing step! The ballistic data and "number crunching" is very informative, but I'll have to agree with ALOT of the comments that I have read and MOST of the studies that I have read and personally conducted.....A .22 cal. pistol (or rifle) is as affective a firearm for home defense as anything else out there!

frankie Joe wrote:
May 30, 2013

One must also consider that rim-fire cartridges are not nearly as reliable as center-fire. This is a dumb concept. Buy a .32 at least it will actually fire when the chips are down.

Scott C wrote:
May 30, 2013

Nice. If their was ammo available to load in it?? I haven't seen a 22 round for months on the shelves of any stores!

Neill wrote:
May 30, 2013

All you nay Sayers above need to re read the article. The basic premiss of the article was '22 WMR is possible good place to start for the beginner' and which one of you pessimist's are willing to take a live test?, no one I would guess. Therefore, , I'd rather have my 74 year old Mother and or kid sister be able place 4 in the chest easier, than hoping 2 .38's somewhere in the torso area. Working within the LE Community I can tell you that you would be amazed at how many go down with a small caliber round and how many misses occur with a large caliber round (even by trained professionals). Jeff Cooper said ' I'd rather have a hit with a 22, than a miss with a .45' I have many weapons and carry several different weapons CCW depending n my circumstances of the day and the one thing I've found is that I am going to use the weapon I can get my hands on first and then let the chips fall where they may land.

clark thompson wrote:
May 30, 2013

It may be small but it is effective I have shot many a ground hog with rifle and handgun and the never ran off that is with CCI hollow points the new ballistic tips are even better. I dont recommend a 22 for CCW but if thats all you can afford or handle its better that a rock

Peter M. wrote:
May 30, 2013

For Tom C - I may have overstated my recollection about Stinger velocity (the box says 1640fps), but it was faster than a 22mag through the same length barrel. I did some backyard ballistics on a 2x6 with 5 in barrel revolvers: 22mag V-Max with plastic tip barely left an exit hole >22, while the Stinger blew out >1/2 inch hole. The 22 mag is a great rifle cartridge but it's a waste of powder in a short barrel gun. For camping, my 357 is a bit much, so we usually take along the 9 shot Revolver with Stingers. My central issue is that the 22 Mag is not any better than a hot LR in a short barreled handgun.

Alan wrote:
May 29, 2013

I'm sorry this is incredibly bad advice for any one. The only reason you are using deadly force is to stop a person period that is going to in flick deadly harm on another. You need to be justified legally in your shoot. Shooting to wound or maim is opening you to a whole slew of legal questions. Plus are you going to empty the entire gun to stop them? The .22m does not have the mass Asa .9 .40 .45 or .38. Granted this is better then no gun but get real . And remember there is no second place winner in a gun fight.

Cdr p w prawl, usn ret wrote:
May 29, 2013

I am like chuck, old & bad knees.i have a hipoint 9mm pistol & carbing, interchangable mags. For serious home defense, I have .45 bl powder pistol & carbine. All cost around $100 each. Thats 42 rounds.

cory wrote:
May 29, 2013

a 22 mag to the head will disable most attackers. in other words shot placement.

Chuck wrote:
May 29, 2013

To paraphrase Donald Dumsfeld, "You go into a gunfight with the gun you have, not the gun you would like to have." Even a 1" .22 is better than than an index finger in your pants pocket. I am old and fat and have bad knees but I bet I can still run faster than you can if I have blown out both of your kneecaps. As someone else said, it isn't the size of the hole so much as it is where the hole is located.

Hydski wrote:
May 29, 2013

Please not the old my caliber is better argument again! It's getting old. Never once in my lifetime has anyone ever said they wouldn't mind getting shot in the forehead with a .22 LR let alone a .22 Magnum.

John V wrote:
May 29, 2013

I see a lot of crime shows (real stories not dramas) where people were shot dead with a .22 - sure a 1911 with a 5" barrel and a 230 grain hollow point would stop someone almost instantaneously but a .22 is still very lethal.

John K. wrote:
May 29, 2013

Better would be .32 H&R magnum. This year Hornady began offering a FTX Critical Defense load in this caliber. Hopefully, Ruger or S&W will offer an alloy 6-shot hammerless revolver in that caliber.

John M. wrote:
May 29, 2013

Compare a .22 LR rimfire and a .22 magnum rimfire in a handgun with the same barrel lengths, that would be interesting to find out how close the performance would be.

David wrote:
May 29, 2013

I look at it this way, if you pay attention you will see people every day carrying edged weapons for personal protection, instead of a handgun. It is nothing here in Oklahoma to see men [& women] with the metal clip of a folding knife on the outside of a pants pocket. I'd much rather have a .22LR or .22WMR revolver where I could maintain a little distance between myself and a attacker.. than to have to get up close hands-on with a attacker using my knife. If you are not gonna carry a large caliber handgun, then carry something you can eat if a bad guy takes it away from you after you've given him your best shot... and I'd rather eat a small empty handgun than a sharp edged knife. Personally, I usually open carry a .40 cal Glock 23 w/ CT laser. The smallest I carry is a Ruger .380 LCP w/ CT laser. Both loaded with Hornady Critical Defense rounds. There are lots of great ammo rounds on the market, but I have had the most reliable feeding from the Hornady ammo.

Tom C. wrote:
May 28, 2013

Peter M., I do not doubt that that CCI Stinger is a good choice if one is limited to a .22 LR pistol, in fact, it would be my choice if I had to carry a .22 for defense. But to be honest, I've never been able to get anything even approaching 1600 fps from this round fired from a pistol. Are you sure about that number? Even factory data suggests that the stingers should run at least 400 fps slower than that from a handgun. Just asking...

Bryan J. wrote:
May 28, 2013

I use a .22 WMR with a 6.5" barrel for slaughter. I put a couple hundred rounds through it per month. It also has a cylinder for 22lr. The .22 WMR has no problem penetrating the cows skull (I use the CCI 40 grain FMJ), but will not exit. I'm confident that my .22 WMR will have the same effect upon anything that I shoot. The .22 LR is good for sheep but will not consistently knock down pigs or beef with 1 shot. And should you miss with the 22 Mag ... the sound will scare the crap out of them.

Brian A. wrote:
May 28, 2013

I would never use a rimfire for self defense. There are way too many better centerfire options out there to justify buying this.

Dan wrote:
May 28, 2013

Wrong idea to only maim your the attacker, if you intend to shoot someone you must know when, how and be prepared to use deadly force, for your own saftey and to avoid legal backlash.

Peter M. wrote:
May 27, 2013

There is almost no earthly reason to chamber a revolver in 22 WMR. Before you discount this comment, try this: I have 2 revolvers with 5 inch barrels: one 22 LR and one 22 WMR. I chronographed both with 33 gr bullets: CCI Stingers in the LR and CCI 22 WMR in the other. I wanted to see how close the Stinger was to the WMR. What I found was that the Stinger was slightly faster, somewhere in the 1600 fps range. I was surprised. Your velocity data in the article was quite good, but it’s what I expected: The 22 WMR is a formidable load in a rifle at 2326 fps for the CCI 30 gr. But barrel length is everything - a 1 in revolver barrel is on a par with an air pistol and the 4.6 in barrel produced 1637 fps - not terrible, but only 2/3 of its potential for velocity and energy. And the Stinger LR is in the ballpark. The problem with the 22 WMR in a pistol is the case rather than the bullet. It’s optimized for a rifle barrel. The pressure would peak after the bullet has already left the short barrel - I like to say that the extra powder is transformed to noise rather than bullet energy. So can the 22 WMR cartridge be optimized to achieve a pressure peak in a short barrel? Giving maybe >2000fps?. First of all it’s a rimfire, so ignition is not as vigorous as a centerfire. Secondly, the case length is very long with respect to the small cross section, so burning powder quickly and uniformly is a problem. Can manufactures find a magic powder to optimize the WMR for a short barrel? I don’t know - that’s why I said that there was almost no earthly reason to chamber a revolver for 22 WMR. I’ll carry my LR revolver camping with 9 Stingers in the cylinder, thank you.

Brad wrote:
May 27, 2013

I have a NAA mini revolver in .22 mag among my larger group of carry weapons. The fact is that I can carry this gun in ways I simply cannot carry the others. So when it comes to taking the .22 mag or leaving the gun in the car in the parking lot, I will take the .22 mag anytime.

Vegetius Sycophant wrote:
May 24, 2013

Any info available from any source on ballistic tests with the Kel Tec PMR 30? ... longer barrel ... 30 rounds from jump ... any TAC info on the .22 WIN MAG terminal effects from field experience ... hits on animal or human targets... lets not be queasy here ... we are talking about PERSEC ... Personal Security as in live or die ... Reagans Sec Svc agent was poleaxed by one center body mass hit from a .22 exploder round that did not explode ... just saying ... any replies good bad or insulting will be appreciated ... OBTW (oh by the way)the location of the hole is generally more important then the size ... except for a .50 caliber ... between the bottom of the nose and the cleft of the chin is the ideal fine touch front focus targeting spot ... if you can do it under the stress of a gunfight will take out the medulla ... no medulla everything shuts down ... body drops cross legged straight down ... it is what it is ... Veg Syco