.22 Caliber - Self Defense or Target Shooting Only?

A .22 caliber pistol is often one of the first guns that new collectors purchase, which can mean there are lots of questions for gun store owners. Is a .22 only good for target shooting, or can it also be used for self-defense? It all depends on how you’re wanting to use the gun. For example, there’s a big difference between how a regular .22 pistol handles versus a .22 magnum. We have pulled together a list of pros and cons for carrying a .22 pistol for self-defense, along with some real-life, tactical .22 pistol tips.

Regular .22 Pistol Versus a .22 Magnum

Historically, firearms chambered in .22  have been used for things like hunting small game, pest control, plinking or training new shooters how to use a gun for the first time. The old rimmed cartridges have had a poor track record in terms of reliability and consistency, however ammunition technology keeps advancing. While we don’t quite yet recommend rimfire over centerfire platforms for personal defense, the quality in modern, semi-auto firearm designs has made a lot of shooters more confident in .22s.

Pros and Cons of Carrying a .22 Pistol for Self-defense

There are some pros and cons to carrying a .22 pistol for self-defense. For starters, it’s basic economics to consider a .22 caliber more cost-effective than a lot of centerfire options. Because of the small size and light weight of modern .22 pistols, they’re becoming easier to carry. Although we would never volunteer to stand in front of a .22 caliber bullet traveling at 1,200 feet per second, we certainly wouldn’t rely on its power (or lack thereof by comparison) to stop a deadly threat when split seconds matter. The last thing anyone should be worried about in a self-defense scenario is ammo cost or recoil, two factors that are widely considered before carrying a gun.

However, recoil fear is real and we understand. Everyone we've ever met starts out recoil shy – even the most professional shooters. There’s no shame here. For those that are recoil shy, we always suggest training more at the live-fire range. When your life or the lives of loved ones is on the line, the last thing you want to regret is a lack of serious training. A confident gun handler is a safe and proficient shooter. Don’t let recoil dictate what you carry. Learn to master it. 

Practical, Real-life, Tactical .22 Pistol Tips

Most of these are common sense but they’re important to mention. If you're one of those people that can only carry or choose to carry a .22lr or .22WMR firearm for personal defense, always make sure it's clean, properly lubed, properly loaded, and in reliable working order. Choosing the right ammunition is imperative. Rimmed cartridges were initially designed for bolt-action rifles. Manufacturers have designed semi-auto firearms around the modern rimmed cartridge options out there. Make sure the ammunition you choose for your .22 carry pistol is of excellent quality and works in your particular gun with little to no malfunctions. The ammunition is dirty by nature in this caliber, so making sure your .22 is always clean and lubed before it goes in the holster can be a matter of life & death. Those platforms are much less forgiving than their centerfire counterparts.

Finding the Ideal Gun for Your Needs

Here at KelTec, we reinvented the concealed carry market with our original P11 pistol. We make .22 pistols for personal and home defense, as well as simple plinking on the range. Regardless of what you need it for, every .22 pistol we engineer is built with the legacy of our original pistol in mind. If you have any more questions about .22s or .22 magnums, give us a shout. We're more than happy to talk. If you already know what you want, you can also skip the line and order or purchase your choice of  KelTec .22s  from your favorite dealer today.

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