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Old January 24, 2011, 12:19 PM   #1
cltinseattle
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.22 Mag for self-defense concealed carry

Hello. This question is not intended to start the age old "nothing smaller than a .380" or "nothing smaller than a .38 Spec" for self-defense question. What I'm actually wondering is what there is out there for decent .22 Mag concealable handguns these days. It seems like the manufacturers are making new handguns faster than I can keep up with them.

Just so you know, the person this will be for is a smaller female and I have had her try a .38 special (actually a .357 mag loaded with .38 special), a 9mm, and a .380 semi-auto. Of all of those she says the .380 is tolerable but she has arthritis and even the recoil of the .380 seems to be bothersome to her. She keeps asking about a .22 but I just don't feel comfortable recommending a .22LR for self-defense. I might feel better about a .22 Mag as long as it was comfortable for concealment but still had a long enough barrel to be accurate. Needs to have a good trigger too, some of the revolvers come with horrible triggers but a replacement trigger is not out of the question.

Oh - and if Crimson Trace makes sights for it then that's even better.

Gosh, that's not too much to ask for is it?
Thanks everyone.
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Old January 24, 2011, 12:28 PM   #2
Glenn E. Meyer
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Most 22 or 22 mag revolvers do have crappy triggers. Lighten them may or may not work, you are to find the right ammo.

How about a 38 with wad cutters, cowboy loads or something very lightly recoiling? That's easy to do.

Or there are the 32s as there are very lighly recoiling loads. A 32 revolver isn't that common but they do exist.
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Old January 24, 2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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Kel-Tec PMR-30 in .22WMR, 30-round capacity semi-auto pistol.

http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/pistols/pmr-30/

A couple random thoughts:

1) .22WMR is loud, yea it's a lot smaller than a lot of other rounds out there, but it's loud and in a different way than 9mm, .357, .45 ACP, etc. If you're in a self-defense situation and are firing a .22WMR, you're likely going to discharge a series of four, five, or more of them, which could result in some hearing loss, moreso than two rounds of 9 - .45. Peak amplitude isn't what typically causes hearing damange, it is an integration, i.e., overall impulse (area under the curve) over time.

2) Rimfire cartridges have a significantly higher failure rate compared to centerfire, it's inherent in the method of initiation. I would not personally trust a rimfire round to save my life for this reason alone. There are also concerns about reliable feeding of a long, skinny cartridge like the .22WMR in a semiauto.

3) Depending on your location and how people dress, 40gr .22WMR rounds may have difficultly penetrating clothing and skin with sufficient energy to damage structures of the central nervous system, assuming they are on-target. Hence, the .22WMR round will not reliably incapacitate an attacker as will a round that penetrates deeper and delivers greater energy.

4) One more.. you can't dry-fire a rimfire pistol like you can a centerfire pistol. Dry-fire is one of the most important types of practice, especially for somebody who can't shoot a lot of rounds at the range too frequently.

Hope it helps. I agree with Glenn, a .38 special (+P if she can work up to it, at least for "carry" ammo) with wadcutters out of a 3" barrel on a metal frame may be the ticket.

Last edited by booker_t; January 24, 2011 at 01:07 PM.
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Old January 24, 2011, 01:09 PM   #4
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I wouldnt recommend a .32 cal revolver. Ammo is hard to find. If you do find any it's .32 S&W Long, short @ $30 a box for round nose lead. Watered down cowboy action rounds


I wouldnt be afraid to carry a .22 mag for defense.
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Old January 24, 2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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The S&W 351 PD in .22mag is kinda cool... 7 rds. scandium aluminum 11 oz.

Here's an old related thread:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=193289

Other links:

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y
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Old January 24, 2011, 01:36 PM   #6
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I'm not saying you couldn't do the job with a .22 magnum, because I know a whole lot of people who could. I just don't like the rimfire cartridge for self defense. I've had enough of them spit on me to tell myself that I'll never trust rimfire weapons to save my life.

However, that's ME. If you've had good experiences with them, and you buy good quality ammunition, then I'd say go for it. Chances are just pulling it out will diffuse a situation anyway. Personally, if I HAD to choose to use a .22 Magnum for self defense, I'd make it a revolver, so if I did have a mis-fire, I could just pull the trigger on a new cartridge instead of running a clearing drill.

Stay safe.

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Old January 24, 2011, 01:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Kel-Tec PMR-30 in .22WMR, 30-round capacity semi-auto pistol.
I've had the opportunity to shoot one, and I cannot in any way recommend it for self-defense on the basis of unreliability. I don't blame Kel-Tec so much as I blame the loading. The long case and slow powder burn of the .22 Magnum don't seem to cycle the action on an automatic very well. I had the same issues with an Automag II back in the Wang Chung days.

As a self-defense loading in general, you could do worse. It certainly dumps a significant amount of energy. That's not the whole equation, but a couple of those will do enough damage to discourage most attackers.

I second the S&W 351. It's a light gun with good sights that's easy to control.
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Old January 24, 2011, 02:05 PM   #8
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The .22 mag is really loud and not much on the receiving end. Not much better than the .22 LR - Here are results from Brass Fetcher and Walther P22 and I would get the Walther better than nothing. http://www.brassfetcher.com/WaltherP22test.html
12" plus of penetration and no expansion.
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Old January 24, 2011, 02:35 PM   #9
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Taurus has a number of .22 WMR revolvers. Given the rate of incidence of duds with rimfire, I would very much suggest a double action revolver with .22 Magnum.

http://www.taurususa.com/gun-selector-results.cfm



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Old January 24, 2011, 02:46 PM   #10
booker_t
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Practically speaking, if I were to carry a .22WMR for SD, it would be one of those revolvers, and it would be a 'gut gun.' Wouldn't really consider using it beyond contact distance, unless absolutely necessary.

Is she prepared for that, mentally?
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Old January 24, 2011, 03:35 PM   #11
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There's been several new 22Mag guns introduced of late, including a 10-shooter by Taurus built on the Tracker frame, more J-class guns by S&W and Taurus and of course the Kel-tec 30rd "redneck cheapo clone of the FN 5.7" in 22Magnum . (That latter apparently works pretty good...)

All these new guns have attracted the ammo makers. Up until now ALL 22Mag ammo has been optimized for rifle use, which is why the notorious fireballs. Speer and Hornady are each looking to correct that:

http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/short_brl.aspx

http://www.hornady.com/store/22-WMR-...itical-Defense

Of the two I think the Speer is more interesting. Speer owns CCI, so these are almost certainly CCI shells and primers...and CCI rimfire ignition is by far, without question the best in the world. Add a good Speer Gold Dot projectile and yeah, we maybe got ourselves a winner.

Seems very likely to me that both these rounds will top 32ACP, 32S&W/Long family and quite possibly 32H&RMag effectiveness. The 327Federal will curb-stomp them of course, but...that's a damned potent round, deep into 9mm and even low-end 357 territory.

The Kel-Tec 30rd monster has real potential as a "granny gun", something for the very recoil shy. Ditto any of the steel-framed revolvers in 22Mag.

And this new ammo might help.
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Old January 24, 2011, 03:37 PM   #12
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^^^^^^

This is why I read message boards, for experts like Mr. March who give their experience and knowledge away.
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Old January 24, 2011, 03:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
I wouldnt recommend a .32 cal revolver. Ammo is hard to find. If you do find any it's .32 S&W Long, short @ $30 a box for round nose lead. Watered down cowboy action rounds
I disagree.

1) .32 Long is quite popular outside the USA and can be readily mail-ordered online for ~$15-$17/50rds in quantity. Like other relatively unpopular small-caliber cartridges such as .25ACP, it's expensive only because local gun stores overcharge for it since it's a slow seller.

2) Commercial .22WMR rounds are loaded with bullets that are ill-suited for SD against humans; they either won't expand at pistol velocities or will violently disintegrate without penetrating adequately. You're better off going the non-expanding route, and that said, a larger hole usually beats a smaller hole.

3) It's designed to work from a short barrel and lacks the .22WMR's tendency towards ear-splitting noise and blinding muzzle flash from a pistol-length barrel.

4) It's centerfire and therefore more reliable. It's also less dependent on a heavy mainspring- and therefore a heavy DA trigger pull- for consistent ignition in a revolver.

5) It lacks the .22WMR's reputation for fouling revolver cylinders.

That said, .32 Long still comes up short versus cartridges in the .380ACP or .38Spl class, but I'd take a .32 Long revolver over a .22WMR revolver any day of the week.
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Old January 24, 2011, 03:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Jim March
<SNIP>
All these new guns have attracted the ammo makers. Up until now ALL 22Mag ammo has been optimized for rifle use, which is why the notorious fireballs. Speer and Hornady are each looking to correct that:
http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/short_brl.aspx
http://www.hornady.com/store/22-WMR-...itical-Defense
Of the two I think the Speer is more interesting. Speer owns CCI, so these are almost certainly CCI shells and primers...and CCI rimfire ignition is by far, without question the best in the world. Add a good Speer Gold Dot projectile and yeah, we maybe got ourselves a winner.


^^^^^
This is VERY good to know. Thank you!
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Old January 24, 2011, 05:21 PM   #15
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim March
Seems very likely to me that both these rounds will top 32ACP, 32S&W/Long family and quite possibly 32H&RMag effectiveness.
Yeah, yeah. But will it top the potent .25 Auto as the "go to" self defense round of choice?
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Old January 24, 2011, 05:55 PM   #16
Jim March
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carguychris: you didn't see my post, did you? We now have two sources of 22Mag designed for handgun barrels. If they work, and both are from VERY reputable sources, then more or less all of your complaints should be fixed.
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Old January 24, 2011, 07:28 PM   #17
Glenn E. Meyer
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Still for someone with arthritis - check the trigger pull on the DA revolvers. They may not work.
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Old January 24, 2011, 09:15 PM   #18
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"Seems very likely to me that both these rounds will top 32ACP, 32S&W/Long family and quite possibly 32H&RMag effectiveness"With approximately 100 ft lbs neither of the dedicated .22 mag handgun rounds will come close to the 32 H&R mag. Let's not get carried away. The H&R .32 mag is way more gun. Even the .32 ACP is "more gun."
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Old January 24, 2011, 09:34 PM   #19
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.22 mag for self defense:

Sure it will work for self defense if that is what you choose to use for that purpose. Especially if loaded with the newer Federal 50 grain hollow points. Tested them and they are awesome for a small .22 caliber handgun. I have a .22 mag revolver myself (S&W model 51 w/4" barrel) and it is very accurate and reliable with nice trigger pull as well.
Main thing is, if you have confidence in it and practice shooting it on a regular basis it will do the job. Having a .38 or .357 that you don't want to shoot or practice with will do you not much good when things go south. Personally, I like a .45acp but that is another story. However, I would still feel okay with a .22 magnum if I was familiar with it and practiced shooting it regularly. But that goes for any handgun for that matter. Good luck
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Old January 24, 2011, 09:56 PM   #20
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Jmortimer: take another look. Start with the Speer - 100ft/lbs of energy all right, but look at the test barrel: 1.9", and almost 1,200fps.

22Mag from a handgun gains close to 100fps per inch of barrel. Shoot them out of a 4.5" Kel-tec or a 5.5" Ruger Single Six and the performance does indeed start to run into 32H&R territory, fast - 174ft/lbs energy from 1,400fps, and that's *conservative* out of a 4.5" tube. It'll probably do better than that.

And then there's effectiveness. At those speeds, expansion of a quality hollowpoint is virtually certain. So is decent penetration.

22Mag from a serious barrel length (usually a Ruger Single Six) has long been viewed as "damned effective medicine". These loads take that to a whole new level.
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Old January 24, 2011, 10:11 PM   #21
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I understand your point but will the dedicated handgun .22 mags pick up steam like a "regular .22 mag? There are examples of ammunition slowing down in longer barrels. There is not much difference between the FN 5.7 and the same round in the FN "Five Seven" pistol and the P90 Carbine. No one likes the .22 mag more than I do but I would like to see ballistics of the new .22 mag ammunition in longer tubes. Buffalo Bore 75 grain hard cast FN .32 ACP in a 2" barrel gets 850 fps and 120 ft lbs. A 3" barrel gets you 1,000 fps http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_detail&p=132
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Old January 25, 2011, 04:04 AM   #22
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If the lady has arthritis in her fingers, then she may not be able to operate the trigger of a revolver or some double action semi-auto's.
It's important that she likes shooting it enough to become good with it. And no other round promotes fun and enjoyable practice like the .22LR.
There's so many different .22 pistols to choose from verses the .22 mag. that the .22LR might be the best way to go.
Find her what she likes and then teach her how to shoot it well.
Most .22's can be fired as fast as one can pull the trigger.
And proficiency helps to develop accuracy.
No one wants to spend a lot of money to buy .22 magnum ammo for practice which is quit pricey. Just stick with the .22LR and then let her shoot reliable hyper-velocity rounds for self-defense.
Meanwhile there's standard velocity type rounds for practice.
And if she ever needs to use it a .22LR pistol can be really loud when fired indoors, especially some of the hot .22LR rounds when fired from a short barrel.
I listened to a guy shoot some Aguila Maximum ammo from a Walther P22 short barrel and there was some seriously loud blasting. I would have hated to not have had any ear protection on. Plus they come in different pink patterns that appeal to many ladies. And they can also be easily outfitted with a laser sight on their accessory rail.

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/...believes-was-/

Last edited by arcticap; January 25, 2011 at 04:25 AM.
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Old January 25, 2011, 02:50 PM   #23
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"That said, .32 Long still comes up short versus cartridges in the .380ACP or .38Spl class, but I'd take a .32 Long revolver over a .22WMR revolver any day of the week."

Different strokes for different folks. Where do you find .32 S&W Long for $15? Pray tell...

And If anybody has a link as where to find .32 H&R Magnums "IN STOCK". I surely would appreciate it. I can see it now. Federal Premiums aka Not In Stock, Sold out, No Backorders.
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Old January 25, 2011, 04:06 PM   #24
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carguychris: you didn't see my post, did you? We now have two sources of 22Mag designed for handgun barrels. If they work, and both are from VERY reputable sources, then more or less all of your complaints should be fixed.
True, I did not check the links before posting, my bad. I'm curious about this too; the loads seem effective on paper, but I wonder if they'll solve the fouling problems.
Quote:
Where do you find .32 S&W Long for $15? Pray tell...
$13.95 actually. AIM usually has several brands but they must have sold out of everything but Prvi Partizan.

http://www.aimsurplus.com/catalog.as....32+S%26W+Long

I paid $12.95/50rds locally for Aguila in early 2009 before I sold the last .32 Long revolver I owned. You just need to know where to look. As I mentioned earlier, some gun stores overcharge for the obscure stuff because it sells slowly. OTOH other gun stores charge low prices because they want customers who like old guns to come back.

In my experience, if the odor is cosmoline is strong and there are lots of rusty vintage lever-action, rolling-block, and muzzleloading rifles hung on the walls, the store is more likely to sell it cheap.
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Old January 26, 2011, 11:31 AM   #25
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I have a standing order for 7 kel-tec PMR30's. Five of these from family members who hunt. Seems the 22mag is considered ideal for dispatching wild hogs wounded or bayed up by the dogs. I know hogs are alot tougher than a human. So maybe this round will prove effective on the streets. Time will tell.

P.S. One of them is destined for my safe.
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