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Old October 1, 2011, 11:58 PM   #1
Big Tom
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Are .22 magnums any good for self defense?

More and more I have been reading a lot of hate on .22 mag snub nose revolvers for self defense. Both those that want one and those that discard the idea need to be enlightened as to weather or not this is a round which is any good for defense. Most people think that due to the .22 Mags small size and lighter grain bullet that it is not going to stop and attacker. As we all know shot placement and a cool head are key to stopping an aggressor with a firearm.

Rest assured though that the .22 mag even out of a 2" barrel can do some serious damage to a person. I took a look at Brassfetcher's test on ballistics gel and with the proper load (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND CCI MAXI MAGS, FMJ VARIETY) the little .22 mag can serve the role for Concealed Carry for people who can't get a lot of range time in, are elderly, or are super recoil sensitive. It reached penetrations of 14" avg. in ballistics gel and from 3 1/2"-about 10" the bullet tumbled making a nasty, large, ripped channel wound. This makes it much more lethal than one would presume a 40 grain bullet to do.

Of course you should always carry the gun that you are most comfortable with. However I do sometimes carry a .22 mag snub around my neighborhood and I feel confident with it. If someone wanted one for home defense I would tell them to keep looking. Magnum rounds are louder and produce more flash than other calibers. Also I would recommend a short barrel pump shotgun over a handgun. I keep my mossy and 9mm within arms reach of where I sleep. Anyways I hope this clears a few things up and below is a link to the gel tests:

http://www.brassfetcher.com/index_files/Page1504.htm
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Old October 2, 2011, 12:53 AM   #2
peacefulgary
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While a .22 magnum is better than nothing at all, there's just no way that I would ever willingly rely upon a .22 magnum handgun for self defense.

Yes, shot placement is of the utmost importance.
But if caliber didn't matter then every cop and soldier around the world would be carrying .22 caliber pistols.

The purpose of a self defense handgun is to QUICKLY STOP a threat.
The .22 magnum does not have a good reputation for quickly stopping aggressive humans.
Sure, it might eventually kill the attacker, but it will not reliably STOP the attacker before the attacker can deliver life threatening damage.
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Old October 2, 2011, 01:14 AM   #3
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My wife was very resistant to the idea of carrying her own gun. That was until we got her a revolver in .22lr that also has a cylinder for .22mag. She has not been able to shoot it yet because it is a birthday present for the end of October, but she is already talking about carrying it. I am extremely surprised and excited by this. I think that her wanting to carry comes from it being a gun that she is more comfortable with. While .22mag is not my ideal choice for her carry gun, I definitely will not discourage her from carrying it. I too looked at Brassfetchers tests the other day and was also very surprised by what they recorded.
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Old October 2, 2011, 01:21 AM   #4
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Can we discuss "stopping power" without discussing how many shots it would take to kill the attacker? A CCW permit does not give you the authority to kill your attacker. You are only authorized to use the force necessary to stop a threat on your life. Whether the attacker dies or not is irrelevant. If he drops to the ground after 1 shot and is no longer an imminent threat to you, but he is still alive, so be it....and if he dies, so be it. The goal is to stop the attack...and if the attacker lives then he lives. We are not judge, jury, and executioner.
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Old October 2, 2011, 02:31 AM   #5
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AE, I am with you on this one. It seems like too many people forget the legal answer is to stop when the threat stops.

To the original point:

I've tested Winchester Dynapoint rounds in the Heritage Rough Rider 4.75". They will tumble through 12" of plastic juice bottles stuffed with paper and water. The first 3" are usually straight. Then the bullet goes end over end and exits the last bottle.

I have also tested CCI Maxi-Mags. They get the same depth as the Winchester, but the path of travel seems eratic. There is no promise the bullet will go where aimed after it enters water and paper. I doubt it would be much more predictable in flesh and bone.

I don't carry it any more. Before I could afford a .38 or a 9mm I did carry it. Now my wife uses it as a bed side gun. She loves the way it handles and is confident in her ability with the gun. It might not be the ideal gun but I wouldn't want her shooting it at me.
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Old October 2, 2011, 08:33 AM   #6
Daekar
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Also remember that Hornaday makes Critical Defense ammo in 22WMR too... and it performs well out of short barrels. I don't have one to test, or I would give reports on muzzle flash, blast, etc. The gelatin tests looked almost on part with .380, which surprised the heck out of me. If I can get my hands on a Kel-tec PMR-30 someday, I have a feeling it will be my wife's gun, and I'll be perfectly content for her to unload rapid fire 22 bullets into a perp. In fact... if the given performance is true, it might be one of the more powerful and controllable handguns ever. How fast do you think you can pull a trigger? Because I'm betting recoil is such that ever bullet goes where you want it, given decent trigger control of course.
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Old October 2, 2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Can we discuss "stopping power" without discussing how many shots it would take to kill the attacker? A CCW permit does not give you the authority to kill your attacker. You are only authorized to use the force necessary to stop a threat on your life. Whether the attacker dies or not is irrelevant. If he drops to the ground after 1 shot and is no longer an imminent threat to you, but he is still alive, so be it....and if he dies, so be it. The goal is to stop the attack...and if the attacker lives then he lives. We are not judge, jury, and executioner.
With that mindset, it begs the question: If the legal requirement is only to stop the attacker, why not only shoot to wound (leg, foot, arm, etc.), rather than center of mass which is a killing shot?

The O.P. did not ask for moral, legal advice, or the interpretation of different States CCW laws. In that light, if attacked I would and will shoot at least two or more shots, and on the stand will insist that, "...I was so terrified for my life that I could not stop shooting (after one shot), until he/they fell...that is my story and I'm sticking to it."

That being said, if a .22 Mag. is all I had, that is what I would carry and not worry about it. However, I have a choice of many different, and more powerful, as do most of the posters here. And, having seen a wounded black bear shot out of a tree with one in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with one, I would not worry too awful much about it not being effective enough for CCW.
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Old October 2, 2011, 09:26 AM   #8
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My primary objection to the .22 WMR for self-defense is that it's a rimfire cartridge, and you will get failures to fire from time to time with it.
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Old October 2, 2011, 09:29 AM   #9
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The reason to shoot centre of mass is not to kill but rather to maximise the chance of hitting the opponent. Misses do nothing to protect your life and may endanger innocent bystanders.
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Old October 2, 2011, 10:11 AM   #10
Big Tom
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First off idk where everyone presumes that I said anything about shooting to kill. I did not. I said the round was lethal and so it can kill, just like any other handgun cartridge. Its not up to me but to the person carrying to know their state laws. Furthermore I said that I carry a .22 mag around my NEIGHBORHOOD. I never said it was my main carry weapon. I pointed out that it was good for elderly and those that cant get to a range very much. Police officers use a .40 because they want to have 18" of penetration. They also want to effectively be able to shoot into cars. But a civilian has no business with doing this. Once the felon tries to get away you are not to pursue them. Leave that for LE. When I use small calibers I like to go for the head, neck, and chest...this DOES increase the chance of killing my aggressor fast but also stops the attack. I like 9mm the most and I do have other guns to use as well for carry.
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Old October 2, 2011, 10:12 AM   #11
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A .22 mag is not my first choice, but if the recoil or weight of a larger caliber weapon kept me from quickly putting multiple rounds on target, I would use one with confidence.

Quote:
If the legal requirement is only to stop the attacker, why not only shoot to wound (leg, foot, arm, etc.), rather than center of mass which is a killing shot?
The purpose of a self defense weapon (and the legal requirement for use of one) is defense; stopping an attack when death or serious harm is imminent. We are taught to target center of mass because that gives us the best chance of stopping the attack immediately. I do not have or carry weapons to kill other human beings. I have them to prevent evil men from doing that to me or mine.
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Old October 2, 2011, 10:19 AM   #12
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i throw this little bugger in my pocket every now and then, i think it comes in around 8oz. loaded.



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Old October 2, 2011, 10:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
With that mindset, it begs the question: If the legal requirement is only to stop the attacker, why not only shoot to wound (leg, foot, arm, etc.), rather than center of mass which is a killing shot?
Center mass is not necessarily a killing shot. Besides, who ever said that a shot to the leg, foot, arm, etc. would produce a stop. How many arms, feet, and legs do you think you would have to hit to produce a stop?

There are two types of stop. You have a psychological stop and a physiological stop. A psychological stop is one where the person mentally stops for whatever reason, reasons including but not limited to injury or fear of further injury. Physiological stops are stops where the person's biological body ceases to function sufficiently to allow them to press on the attack, regardless of what their mind wants to do.

.22 mag from a pistol? That means getting basically .22 lr rifle performance from a pistol.
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Old October 2, 2011, 01:04 PM   #14
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I carry an NAA Pug .22 mag occasionally. If someone who rates deadly force doesn't mind 5 rounds of it comin at em, who am I to disappoint.
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Old October 2, 2011, 01:31 PM   #15
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I think that the .22 Magnum fills a very particular niche in that it's probably about the best cartridge available in extremely tiny guns (NAA Mini-Revolvers and the like) and that it also may be a good option for extremely recoil-sensitive shooters.

I, personally, would only trust a rimfire cartridge in a revolver due to the increased risk of misfires. Among the common rimfire cartridges (.22 Short, .22 Long, .22 Long Rifle, .22 Magnum, .17 Mach 2, and .17HMR), I think .22 Magnum is probably about the best one. I would also feel better armed with a .22 Magnum than I would with a .25 ACP provided that the .22 Mag is in a revolver.

That being said, I'd put just about any other cartridge for .32 ACP on up ahead of the .22 Magnum in my list of preferences. Other than the NAA Mini's and their clones like the Charter Arms Dixie Derringer (which I have little-to-no interest in) the smallest guns available in .22 Magnum are S&W J-Frames and similarly-sized guns from Taurus. In that size gun, there are many more substantial cartridges such as .32 H&R Magnum, .327 Federal Magnum, 9x19, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum available. The only really good reasons that I can think of for someone to carry a J-Frame size gun or larger in .22 Magnum is because that is the only gun they have or because they are so sensitive to recoil that they cannot handle a more substantial cartridge.
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Old October 2, 2011, 01:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
I, personally, would only trust a rimfire cartridge in a revolver due to the increased risk of misfires.
It never occurred to me that .22 mag comes in a semiauto. I would not use one one for the above reason.
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Old October 2, 2011, 02:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Center mass is not necessarily a killing shot. Besides, who ever said that a shot to the leg, foot, arm, etc. would produce a stop. How many arms, feet, and legs do you think you would have to hit to produce a stop?
It was a rhetorical question because a poster brought up the point that the law does not consider the shooter attempting to kill the attacker, only stop him. I can envision a lawyer asking, "...if you only wanted to stop him and not kill him, why did you not shoot for a less lethal area?" And of course, people pointed out that shooting for center of mass has merits other than a kill shot.

Other than the above, it has occurred to me that when I practice with a hand gun despite thinking I shoot for center of mass, I have actually been practicing by aiming slightly above the center of mass...It has become apparent to me that I have been practicing heart shots all along. Well, too old to change now, or give up rapid second follow-up shots.
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Old October 2, 2011, 03:21 PM   #18
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I'm thinking one of those 30shot Grendels wouldn't be so bad. Especially with these 'flash mobs' of kids.
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Old October 2, 2011, 03:29 PM   #19
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I think anything you carry will be a comfort and a detriment to attack. Just ask anyone shot with a 25,380 or 22. I think you will find the guns did what they were supposed to do. Don't get caught up in the stopping power or ideal discussions. Just carry whatever you want and feel secure.
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Old October 2, 2011, 03:43 PM   #20
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my carry gun is a 22 magnum snubbie.at the range it goes bang every time....i dont worry about misfires
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Old October 2, 2011, 04:06 PM   #21
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While not my first choice, I would not feel insecure carrying it. Other factors other than "killing power" make the difference in carrying or not carrying sometimes.

I sometimes carried a Beretta .25 until the Kel Tec P32 came along. Now the gun I carry most is a KT P3AT, and I have several excellent handguns including LW 1911s, snubs, and 9MMs.

I do not feel that I am taking a risk, and carry when I might not otherwise, as pocket carry.

I say go for the .22 mag.
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Old October 2, 2011, 04:40 PM   #22
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What's with the "flash mob" fears? Did I miss a news story where one of these required a citizen to use deadly force?

Maybe I'm behind on the news or something....somebody feel free give me a clue.
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Old October 2, 2011, 04:55 PM   #23
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In No Second Place Winner Bill Jordan said the 22 Magnum in an S&W airweight J frame would be his ideal concealed carry gun. Like the 22LR, not my first choice, but beats fists, foul language, etc.
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Old October 2, 2011, 05:36 PM   #24
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Why stop at the .22 Mag? Why not go for the .22 CB short?

Because you are betting your life, and the lives of your loved ones.

As for your neighborhood, is there some magic that keeps real bad guys out of your neighborhood? Please, please share it with us.
We just had a bloody double murder in a patrolled, gated area, very high rent. The two mopes used knives to kill a mid thirties man & woman, so they could steal their high end cars - a Hummer and a sports car.

And a friend went back to his 'nice' neighborhood in CA (where only the good guys have guns), and witnessed a murder 2 doors down from his house.

So, you have a duty to share this magic with the rest of us!
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Old October 2, 2011, 05:38 PM   #25
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Many times I've been the first one to defend the lethality of the .22 Mag and the .22 LR for that matter. As a matter of practicality though, I can't see the reason to intentionally arm yourself with one for defense. I will give it credit for being the best mini-revolver round, but I would only use a mini-revolver as a second, or third gun.

All the rounds that are commonly maligned here as ineffective; such as the .38 Sp with the 158 gr lead round nose, the 9mm with FMJ, .32 ACP, .32 S&W Long, etc would all be more effective than a .22 Magnum. If you can't handle recoil in a snub revolver for instance. The .38 SP with 148 grain WC would certainly make a bigger hole and penetrate better than a .22 Mag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
I would also feel better armed with a .22 Magnum than I would with a .25 ACP provided that the .22 Mag is in a revolver.
So would I. However when you really think about it, being able to say a cartridge is slightly better than a .25 ACP, well...
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