View Full Version : .22's the most dangerous?

March 24, 2005, 11:43 PM
Ok so I am talking to a customer today at work, answers his phone and starts talking to his friend, and then he's like" Beretta 9mm?? Yeah well they are Italian made, doesnt mean they are any good. You should carry a .22 like I do, they will do more damage than anything."

The customer not knowing I also carry, I didnt want to insult him. You know how some people think they know everything, and you dont want to wake them out of their sleep into reality?

So he begins to tell me, "two of my family members are E.R. nurses, .22's kill more people than anything. They will go right through your head. One shot to the head...boom, you are dead."

I just smiled, knowing the gun on my hip is not a .22 and I really didnt want to explain to him why he was wrong. But anyway, anyone else hear this argument before? Ive had a friend of mine shot point blank with a .22 and walk away. Not saying a .22 head shot isnt lethal, if placed right Im sure it is, but Id like to see body shots with a .22 stop a large attacker.

March 24, 2005, 11:47 PM
I don't know about a .22 doing more damage than anything, but, .22's have killed more than any other caliber.

March 24, 2005, 11:47 PM
.22 are pretty dangerous. I'm pretty sure that unlike other heavier pistol calibers they change direction at a change in tissue density and can knocked around inside a bit.

March 24, 2005, 11:50 PM
There are more .22s out there than anything else. Law of averages means that there are going to be more accidents with .22s than anything else, especially since there are a lot of .22s out there that were handed down from relatives to people who aren't shooters and don't know how to store or handle them safely.

March 24, 2005, 11:50 PM
I've heard this arguement also. I wouldn't doubt .22's kill more folks than anything else, just because they are more common than anything else. As far as head shots go, I've heard they are more lethal because they don't go completely though, they richochet off the opposite side of the skull and go back into the brain and do even more damage. Don't know if that's true, but it sorta makes sense.

March 24, 2005, 11:57 PM
More common, not more effective.

Another case of statistics being terribly misused.

chris in va
March 25, 2005, 01:33 AM
That recent MN shooting involved a .22 initially. He shot his grandfather with one as I understand it. We've had a couple murders here locally with .22's, one in broad daylight on a sidewalk.

Sir William
March 25, 2005, 01:42 AM
In my experience, 22s ARE seen more often in ERs. IOWs, 22s don't often kill immediately. The fact is, 12 bore shotuns do not always kill immediately. 22s are dangerous and deadly if the right hit occurs. I once saw a guy airlifted by the Maryland State Police who shot himself and decapitated himself. He was alive and had to be restrained. I think the 22 as a CCW weapon is not a good choice. 25 years ago a elderly widower came into the ER complaining of a ringing in his ears. X-rays were ordered. A 22 fell out of his ear while the X-rays were being made. He had shot himself in the mouth, the round went up and careened around his skull and had lodged in his right ear canal. He went for a 72 hour psych eval and then to a nursing home. There are high velocity 22 hollowpoints that are effective on small game. They could cause some fatal damage by perforating internal organs. A 22 is not what I would consider for a CCW or BUG. A 22 Magnum is a different matter. Do people die from 22s? Yes. If it is all you have, it is better than a harsh word. I agreed with you again Snactrack!

March 25, 2005, 01:53 AM
I have ran EMS for over 20 years and I cann tell you this from all the head shots that I have seen from a .22 I was never able to find a exit wound in any of them trying to count back the years but I would say about 9 total that I have seen but I saw more body exit wounds from a .22
Wraith is right they like to bounce around ....
Had a lady once that was shot with 5 arrows to the head (WAS STILL ALIVE WHEN WE ROLLED IN) with two going stright though but thats another story...just my 2c..

March 25, 2005, 02:03 AM
Heck, I use .22LR CCI stingers out of my Beretta 87. Those suckers fragment.

A .22LR sure aint no .45, but DONT under estamate a .22 LR.

March 25, 2005, 02:48 AM
A BB gun could kill someone under the right circumstances, does not mean thats what I want to carry for self-defense. Not don't get me wrong, I respect ANY gun no matter the caliber, but some people need to be a little more in depth about what they tell people. Yes the .22 has caused more deaths than other calibers, but everyone and there brother has one.

March 25, 2005, 04:13 AM
Tell your customer that if the .22 caliber is so deadly then the army would use it.
Hey - wait - isn't that what,,,,,,,

Anyhow, it's not the same .22...

.22's are lethal. They aren't a stopper though.

Cancer is lethal but nowhere near the stopper anthrax is.

Ala Dan
March 25, 2005, 07:03 AM
Well for FWIW, in my 20+ years as a LEO, I've seen more folks shot and
killed in action (KIA) with the .22 caliber L.R., than any other round. Mainly
cuz this is whats readily available to "street punks" and snot nosed kids.

Best Wishes,

March 25, 2005, 07:14 AM
The average 22 is much cheaper firearm to purchase. Many are on the used market also. I think like many items in used markets that forces the price down. The so called supply and demand econ issues. The ammunition for 22's is a a drop in a bucket compared to say even low cost 9mm ammo. I think it might well be those 2 big reasons why more 22's are used by many folks. As far as ballistics go, the 22 has some serious velocity true but the weight of the actual bullet is very light. 22's have and will continue to injure and kill many each year. The person you heard talking to his friend is likely very ignorant of ballistics and so called stopping power. As many mention the 22 will surely kill but will it stop attacker quickly and end his advance toward me........ I wouldn't ever want to bet my life on it..........NEVER ;)

March 25, 2005, 09:22 AM
Well the thing about the .22 is they usually enter the body, break up, and start bouncing all over the place. This means you have some serious tissue and organ damage and you are probably not saveable. However, it also means that this person is likely to die a few hours later in the ER and not while they are still a threat to you. This is why it is more logical to carry a caliber that will stop the guy instantly instead of tearing him up piece by piece.

March 25, 2005, 09:38 AM
FWIW, . . . one of my very best friends I ever had was shot in the head by a youthful friend of his with a .22 when he was not quite a teenager.

Old doc got ahold of the bullet with a pair of doctor's pliers (whatever they are called) and yanked it out, . . . stiched it up.

John went on to seminary school, got his masters, his phd, . . . was a well known and well respected Ohio State University professor who also cut a swath in cattle showing, horse showing, dog showing, . . . and a few other things.

Moral: shot placement. The kid shot him at point blank range, but the bullet was off to the right side of his head, . . . buried itself in the large bony part of the skull between his right ear and right eye, . . . just above eye level. If you had never heard the story, . . . you would never have connected that little white scar with a bullet.

Page 2: the shot came from a rifle also.

May God bless,

March 25, 2005, 10:22 AM
Moral: shot placement. The kid shot him at point blank range, but the bullet was off to the right side of his head, .
THats exactly what happened to my friend's brother. He was car jacked, and shot him from the back seat at an angle. Bullet got lodged in, and didnt do any damage. The crazy thing is, my friend's dad was also shot in the head with a .22 and walked away. I sure wouldnt want to be my friend, cause his number might be next.

Anyway, I think you have a whole lot more leeway for perfect shot placement with a beefier round. Even if you managed to hit the corner of someone's head with a .45 I would think it would take off the whole corner. I am no ballistic expert.

The theory about the .22 causing more complications and therefore making all the victims die in the ER makes alot of sense to me. I didnt think about it that way. I was just thinking about the sheer amount of .22's out there and thats why so many people end up in the ER with a .22 gunshot. The law of probabilities.

I just figured I would let him keep thinking what he has is best, he has to carry it, and I dont want to come off sounding like a know it all, cause I dont know it all.

March 25, 2005, 11:20 AM
Hi All,
If a new member can chime in, I agree the .22 is the most common, cheapest, and often underestimated rifle/handgun caliber around. So it follows there will most likely be more shootings involving this caliber. Also think John said it right, gross misuse of statistics by person described in original post. I once saw a neighbor empty a 10 round magazine from .22 pistol into the air just to show his son how "harmless" the 22 is. What a FOOL!

But if compared on a round to round basis, it is obvious there are many more powerful/deadly cartridges. I like to shoot .22 in Marvel conversion kit or S&W M41 but I use a .45 ACP or .44 Mag with field loads (250 gr bullet at 1100 fps) for home protection and target shooting.

Good shooting and be safe.

March 25, 2005, 11:56 AM
A big danger of the 22 is that it's deflected easily.It goes into the body and you never know where it will end up. A perfect example - when Pres Reagan was shot with a 22 the bullet entered the chest cavity bounced off a rib and punctured a lung . A larger cartridge probably wouldn't have bounced of the rib.

March 25, 2005, 12:16 PM
It is important to remember all firearms are deadly, that being stated I have to agree with the previous posts which state it is the sheer number of 22's out there that account for the large amount of fatalities out there. The first riffle that almost EVERYONE I know fired/owded was the 22 long riffle. Ammunition is dirt cheap and more readily availible. I feel there is also a fundemental lack of respect for the 22 cartridge as opposed to other calibers out there with that people assume a 22 is harmless except for rabbits and squirels.
I have also been told that the 22 is favorite weapon of most professinal hits. A 22 pistol is easy to conceal, it's relatively quiet compared to most other firearms, a person could get shot a few times in the head and not have to worry about exit wounds, the bullets tend to fragment easily or become to compromised to run balistics on. I don't know how true all of this information is but I've heard it more than once, and it does seem very logical.

March 25, 2005, 12:27 PM
What JohnKSA said. It's truly amazing how much misinformation is spread as gospel about guns. There ARE more injuries and fatalities with .22s, IIRC. But that's because (a) they are very very very common, and (b) people may tend to sometimes be more careless with them, since they're not all that powerful - people forget they are plenty deadly, and the utmost care (4 rules) must be followed with .22s. Your 9x19 is far more deadly in borderline hits than a .22, as you know.

March 25, 2005, 01:38 PM
when Pres Reagan was shot with a 22 the bullet entered the chest cavity bounced off a rib and punctured a lung
However, President Reagan is still alive ! :D

Whatever they used in the President Kennedy assassination was a little more impressive to me. ANyone know what was used by the way?

March 25, 2005, 02:05 PM
Uh, President Reagan survived the shooting, but he died last summer.

March 25, 2005, 02:16 PM
However, President Reagan is still alive !

Are you sure about that, did you get that piece yet?

March 25, 2005, 03:08 PM
Uh, President Reagan survived the shooting, but he died last summer.
lol, my bad. now i have made myself look like an idiot. what i meant to say is that he survived. :o
yes, i was aware he passed away.

oh, and azmax, trust me the day i get my 1911pd there will be pics on here. i called again about it yesterday, and S&W is saying they are going to ship any day :confused:

March 25, 2005, 03:22 PM
What I've heard about .22's is that the bullets will go inside and "bounce around" causing more internal damage/bleeding. Its not the entry wound that awful... its what happens once the bullet is inside.
This is just what I was told... any truth to that?

March 25, 2005, 04:11 PM
I tend to agree that more deaths may come from the .22 because people think them as a "toy".

And, allot of "information" comes from mob movies where everyone is killed with a .22 / silencer to the temple.

All guns are dangerous and any gun can kill you. One being more dangerous then another really doesn't make sense :).


March 25, 2005, 04:18 PM
That is often true, Carrie. Being such a light, high-velocity bullet, I think the best word to describe the behavior of a .22 in a soft target is unpredictable. They may be deflected by bone, cartilage, or even softer tissues depending on their velocity.

I friend of mine from Junior High was shot through the throat with a .22 back then. It cleanly severed his spine, and he is now a quadripalegic. An inch to the right or left and the bullet may have severed an artery or his jugular vein and caused him to bleed to death. Or it may have passed through the neck, striking nothing but muscle, and he might have no repercussions today.

Being such a small bullet, and so susceptible to deflection, there's just no telling what a .22 might do when fired into an object as complicated and varying as the human body. A .22 shot to the head from angle A may lodge in the skull or deflect off causing little damage. If the shooter takes a step to the side and fires at the same point, it may penetrate to the brain and kill the target instantly. No telling. But what anyone should get out of this is that the round does not cause reliable, consistent effects, which are very important for a self-defense weapon.

March 25, 2005, 04:36 PM
.22's are most used in crimes 'cause they aren't very loud, the guns can be had for under $50 on the streets, and the ammo is dirt cheap. If the gun is used, the crook can afford to toss it.

March 25, 2005, 04:44 PM
I beleive it was a cheap 6mm fired from a catalouged ordered Mannlicher bolt action rifle that killed kennedy. I beleive oswald paid somthing like 10 or 20 dollars for it.

March 25, 2005, 04:57 PM
Two officers down, shot with .22


March 25, 2005, 05:50 PM
(or wrong angle?). I have seen and treated several wounds over the years from many pistol calibers, .22, .25, .38, .45 etc.
.22s do TEND to penetrate and not exit but bounce around, whereas larger calibers TEND to enter and follow a more predictable path, from what I've seen. But the important word is "tend".
I have seen 45 acp fmj penetrate the skin, glance off a rib, track under the skin for several inches and come to rest without exiting. Still have a copy of the CT scan films from one case and you can track the path of the bullet from start to finish. It's amazing what bullets will do once they hit. Nothing is certain, so I carry the biggest, heaviest and fastest bullet I can handle. I want to leave as little to chance as possible.

Like everyone has said above, shot placement is key with and firearm/caliber.

March 25, 2005, 06:14 PM
The police officers pursued him and as they neared on the suspect, he turned and fired multiple rounds from a .22 caliber revolver and knocking both officers to the ground.
Garcia and Otzenberger returned fire multiple times and killed the man.

Notice the officers were able to return fire after being shot, while their .22 toting friend was killed with the police officer's return fire, from what it seems from the article rather quickly.

March 25, 2005, 06:43 PM
I recently had a gunshop "expert" telling me how "them cops fear 22's above all else, cause they bounce around inside you and do all kinds of damage". HOGWASH. Would anybody hear actually prefer being shot with a hp 9mm, 40 S&W, 45acp, etc. over a 22 LR??? I don't want shot with anything, but I'd much prefer a 22LR over anything bigger.

March 25, 2005, 06:53 PM
The only way a .22 bullet can "bounce around" inside an object is if the object is hollow. This is another old wive's tale often repeated until some people believe it. It is absolutely amazing how many of these false beliefs are floating around. However, it is true that .22 bullets, being so small and light, are easily "deflected" inside a solid target whereas a larger, heavier bullet may continue on a straighter course. But this is a far cry from "bouncing around" inside a human or other solid target.

Good shooting and be safe.

March 25, 2005, 07:13 PM
My friend tried to break up a neighbor who was beating on his wife in the front lawn. Some other guy came out of that house and shot him with a 10/22. My friend of course got really pissed off and took the rifle away and started to beat the two guys sensless with it. :eek:

March 26, 2005, 02:16 AM
personally treated a GSW to the head 3 years ago. The .22 bullet penetrated the skull behind the right ear at an angle, and instead of exiting the far skull, it deflected off the inner surface of the skull and caused more damage, transecting the brainstem. The angle of entry was such that had the bullet exited instead of deflecting, the wound may not have been lethal. That's my point, the .22 has enough energy to penetrate, but not exit in some cases, resulting in a more serious wound.
Could we all agree, to paraphrase Orwell, that all bullets are lethal, some are just more lethal than others?
Or is there such a thing as "more lethal" like "more pregnant"?

March 26, 2005, 03:35 PM
But this is a far cry from "bouncing around" inside a human or other solid target.

the term "bouncing around" isn't to be taken literally of course! I'm no doctor, but I don't imagine a bullet looking like a ball in a pinball machine by any means!!!

March 26, 2005, 04:35 PM
About friggin time people who know what the hell they are talking about chimed in. .22 bullets bouncing around inside the body... what hogwash. Think of how much energy, or should I say how little energy a .22 has. It can be deflected easily but losses a lot of energy after it enters. If you got hit in the ribs in a straight on shot, a .22 could get deflected upwards and change trajectories. WHat you need to remember is that the .22 is a small bullet and makes small holes in things. A full size round such a a .40 or .45 will do far greater tissues damage, especially with hollow points. Besides, if I shoot someone in the chest where their heart and lungs are, I want the bullet going trough them, and not getting deflected out the bg's weewee. :eek: :D :p

March 26, 2005, 06:17 PM
Killing folks is one thing, stopping an attack is something else. I believe most of us carry a handgun to stop an attack. For that purpose, I think you need something more than a .22 LR. Yes, they can kill, but they are NOT fight stoppers.
Course folks can carry what they darn well please, and I know what is said in BBS does not change preconcieved notions.

March 26, 2005, 10:47 PM
The Kennedy rifle was a 6.5 Carcano carbine, sold at that time for 10-14 dollars.
The issue bullet was a 140gr full jacket roundnose at about 2300fps
Don :)

March 29, 2005, 10:29 PM
As with everything there are statistics and there are statistics. Historically the 22LR has killed more people. HISTORICALLY. Remember though in going back to 1900 nearly every farmhouse in a much more rural society had a .22 stashed around somewhere if only to take care of the marauding fox in the henhouse. Until WWII we also didn't have the miracle drugs to fight infections which was often what killed someone weeks after a shooting incident. Little pieces of dirty cloth carried into a wound often killed long after a bullet was removed. Till the mid-30's the choices in a handgun were very limited. Small 38's, 22's, 38Spl, 45ACP, 44Spl, 45 Colt and not much else. The big calibers were very expensive to shoot and much less common than in today's affluent society.

Incidently, the Italian 6.5 Carcano cartridge was a respectable military cartridge in it's day. The $14 rifle plus $5 shipping compared against a $32 for a Surplus 1917 Remington or a $39 Springfield 30-06 at that time shows they also were above the Zipgun status. Probably akin to todays Mosin 38 in a price comparison. While a person today may not like a bolt action battle rifle which was the norm for it's day they certainly weren't dangerous junk.

Lawyer Daggit
March 30, 2005, 07:17 PM
I understand more people die from 22's than any other calibre because of two factors-

1. They are more prevalent- certainly in Australia than centrefires hence more often used in shootings.
2. The external lubrication leads to a dirty wound that can be hard to treat, leading to a higher incidence of death in the week post injury.

I'm not a Doctor or a Statistician and am only passing on what I have read so 'no flack' please.

March 30, 2005, 10:33 PM
My nephew was shot in the left eye with a .22 derringer. He was instantly incapacitated. He died 2 hours later.

My cousin shot his self in the leg with a .22. He looked down at his leg and said "$&[email protected]!!!He walked into the emergency room.

A friend shot his self in the leg with a .22. He didn't know he was shot untill somebody said "Hey man i think you shot yourself".

My niece was shot in the forearm with a .22. It lodged in her soulder. She said "It hurt like hell". but she never lost consciousness.

March 30, 2005, 10:38 PM
Hey Magsnubby,

I think your family needs a gun safety class, jeeezzzz!

March 30, 2005, 10:59 PM
Getting shot's no laughing matter... but really... the gun safety class is a funny reply there!

Spotted Owl
March 31, 2005, 04:11 PM
The Kennedy rifle was a 6.5 Carcano carbine
His brother, Bobby, was killed by a .22 revolver.

March 31, 2005, 05:43 PM
Remind me to stay waaayy the f$&% far away from you! :eek:

March 31, 2005, 11:47 PM
As I sit here typing this I am looking at my .22 and wondering why my left leg is bleeding... [email protected]*^ - Now I have to go to the emergency room...

April 1, 2005, 03:36 AM
If you read into history every president who was assasinated was done so my a madman armed with a cheap firearm firing a mediocore cartridge. The kennedy rifle round was weak in comparison to a typical bolt action hunting rifle of the time.

April 1, 2005, 06:33 PM
Years ago, I was standing talking to a guy for about fifteen minutes after an armed robbery where we worked. The robbers had fired a few shots before leaving, but nobody in the building thought they were hit. Suddenly the guy next to me started looking kinda weak, and fell to the floor. He had been shot in the back with a .22 and didn't even know it. He was rushed to the hospital and survived.

April 2, 2005, 08:24 AM
I still don't know how people get shot and don't know about it. I'm not saying I don't believe you or that it didn't happen. I guess it must have been the whole heat of the moment and the adrenaline coursing through his system. I mean, even getting hit by a rock would hurt, imagine getting shot! :eek:

April 2, 2005, 10:04 PM
My nepew was murdered by a total stranger. It appeared to be an attempted robbery. No gun safety class could have helped him.

My cousin, a 2 tour Viet Nam combat Marine (without a scratch) just smiled and said "I guess i had my finger on the trigger" while he was practicing his fast draw, and my friend...well i'll give you those.

My niece was shot by her dumb ass boyfriend. Accidently. With an unloaded .22 rifle. They broke up a little while later. I don't understand why. Something about it wasn't an appropriate way of showing his undying love.

April 3, 2005, 03:24 PM
the 22 lr kills more people these days for a very simple reason.

People shot with 22s, especially those lower on the socio-economic scale, tend to ignore the wound. They die of gangrene or blood poisoning some days later. 22s do kill a lot of people.

They are not the greatest fight stopper.

Strictly as a matter of opinion, I think the '...hitman with a .22...' entity lives primarily in the writings of Raymond Chandler and the other 'hard-boiled' detective writers. I've read many accounts of contract killings committed with larger centerfire rounds, primarily .45 ACP and .38 Special.

April 3, 2005, 10:07 PM
Without medical attention, a .22LR to the heart will kill within minutes. A head shot would probably be quicker (although you would be suprised how long people actually stay conscience after being shot in the head, even by fairly large calibers).

I still dont see how someone could get shot and not notice it. I know adrenalin may play a big part in it, but still, ITS A GUNSHOT WOUND. Even a .22 can cause a LOT of pain.

Ol' M&P
April 8, 2005, 03:48 PM
This thread got me thinking. So, I went to Marshal & Sanow's "Stopping Power" book and added up all shootings that made it into their compilation. One shot only in chest, I think. A "STOP" is that the person stops the aggression but not necessary dies. .22's are 30% to 40% (QuikShot) the .25 acp is a bit worse. OK. There are MORE shootings for .22 & .25 than all others combined. I am not sure why. But I guess that little cheap guns get carried by folk at risk.

Kleck's study found that 92% of the time the presence of a gun stopped the aggression. Though a dinky .22 barrel is not as "Present" as a BIG .45, it must work.

I like the recoil test of Gila Hayes:
"The rule of 5... 5 shots in a 5" circle in 5 seconds at 5 yards."
If you can't do it, the recoil is too much. This is easy with a .22. HARD with a .357 Centennial.