View Full Version : don't laugh please - 22 self defense ammo?

September 8, 2011, 12:26 PM
girlfriend refuses to use anything but 22. she works with sex offenders. she has caught a few trying to follow her home. got her a walther p22. i figure my best bet is getting her some stinger rounds for it. assuming she can put a couple center mass or head shot, is this going to be enough to stop an attacker (without a heavy leather jacket)? i know something is better than nothing, but is this at all viable?

September 8, 2011, 12:52 PM
Two .22's would definitely make me reconsider my attack... Two more after that... I'd surely lose interest in that particular endeavor.

If she's comfortable with the .22 and I was in your shoes, I wouldn't press the issue. There are worse alternatives. She likely has a strong moral imperative about not killing if it can at all be helped. ANY gun is a pretty strong deterrent so I'd take a lot of comfort in the fact that she's packing a generally reliable automatic.

September 8, 2011, 12:56 PM
I wouldn't want to get hit with a 22.

If she's comfortable and proficient with it, I think it's great!

September 8, 2011, 12:57 PM
I won't laugh, there is some good .22 ammo out there. Personally I'd go with Super-X SS 37gr JHP (also available in 40gr FMJ). IMO Stingers are too light. For a bit more money, Velocitor are top of the pack in my book (but I still like the Super-X SS best, less than $6 per 100).

tim s
September 8, 2011, 01:00 PM
Look, I'd really really try and sit your GF down and explain to her that being able to precisely place a shot when under extreme fear is likely a fantasy and you want to avoid some hyped up psycho spending his last moments on earth[maybe] taking her life out of revenge. At a minimum a compact .380 or 9mm gives her a margin of safety and you should bend over backwards to prevent a bad choice, especially since she seems to have been threatened.

September 8, 2011, 01:04 PM
new to guns so I could be wrong.... but...

I remember being told or read somewhere that .22 cal rounds are one of a few rounds that will actually penetrate a bullet proof vest. Something to do with the mass vs. velocity or something like that.

My wife shoots and uses a 22 for self defense. They are highly accurate and have very little recoil making them perfect for a personal defense weapon not to mention they are small enough to hide anywhere...

As for the ammo itself... Just grabbed the below from: http://www.chuckhawks.com/ammo_by_anonymous.htm

"22 Long Rifle

You should really be using something bigger than a .22 for self-defense, but even a .22 beats nothing. There are some really nice .22 pocket autos, and they make a lot of sense for women reluctant to tote a bigger gun around. Choose any Federal, Remington, Winchester or CCI copper-plated 37 grain (or lighter) high velocity hollowpoint round. I recommend CCI "Stinger" 32-gr. or Remington "Yellow Jacket" 33-gr. hollowpoints, as they have been very reliable in my Beretta 21A and Walther TPH pistols and have the highest stopping power ratings.

Shoot a lot of rounds through your self-defense .22, the ammo is cheap and you want to be sure to pick a reliable round. If high-velocity solids don't cycle reliably try standard-velocity. There is little difference in power but it may improve your gun's reliability (e.g. Jennings J-22 pistols are more reliable with standard-velocity solids). Marksmanship is crucial with such a tiny gun, so practice drawing your .22 and firing it rapidly into a melon at ten feet or so. Also keep your .22 autoloader meticulously clean - these tiny guns cannot function reliably with much gunk in them. If you carry your .22 in a pocket, purse or ankle holster inspect it daily and brush off any dust or grit with an old toothbrush. Lubricate it properly, too. This is very important."

Bill DeShivs
September 8, 2011, 01:42 PM
Caliber does not replace marksmanship.
Those that think their .45 will put someone down with a bad shot are wrong.

September 8, 2011, 01:57 PM
I think I'd stick to a lead round nose bullet for adequate penetration. While the .22 short was invented as a self defense cartridge, times have changed.

September 8, 2011, 01:58 PM
An ex-G/F of mine was deadly accurate with her S&W Mod.63. She didn't like the noise or recoil of a .38 , but could hit golf balls at 25yds all day long with that Kit Gun. I'd stick with the most accurate 40gr solid. Penetration to the vitals is what does the job with a .22. Too many people have been killed with it to make light of it. Have read quite a few articles in the NRAs American Rifleman's Armed Citizen of an intruder or attacker being killed by a single .22 solid to the chest.

September 8, 2011, 02:16 PM
40gr CCI Minimags is my recommendation.

However, you should try all high velocity rounds (no sub sonics - not enough 'oomph' for reliable penetration, no hypers - not enough mass for reliable penetration) and find out which is the most reliable.

Shoot it w/ the ejection port up, down, upside down - every which way you can think of (safely, of course). .22's can be very ammo sensitive when it comes to reliability so try out everything you can get your hands on.

Personally, if I couldn't get at least three failure-free mags from a clean gun (and clean mags!), I discounted that particular round from the competition.

September 8, 2011, 02:23 PM
I am a huge 22lr fan, the best 22 round I can think of would be the "yellow jacket" those things are nice :) they may not be the best out there but as I said :)I I love them.

The silver lining in your gf situation is that practice is cheap. And if her choice of caliber is 22lrthat then she needs lots and lots of practice.

Bulk federal 550 round bricks of supposed "hollow points" which where for the most part filled it has killed alot of things in my hometown :)

Onward Allusion
September 8, 2011, 02:28 PM
don't laugh please - 22 self defense ammo?
girlfriend refuses to use anything but 22. she works with sex offenders. she has caught a few trying to follow her home. got her a walther p22. i figure my best bet is getting her some stinger rounds for it. assuming she can put a couple center mass or head shot, is this going to be enough to stop an attacker (without a heavy leather jacket)? i know something is better than nothing, but is this at all viable?

A 22LR round might be decent out of a rifle barrel but much of the power is sapped by short pistol barrels. If she has to use 22LR, I would recommend a 9 shot revolver. Load it with Aguila SSS 60 gr.

September 8, 2011, 02:31 PM
:D more people have been killed with .22 than with any other caliber , that is a cold hard fact , so I think your g/f is pretty safe , I would only advise that you take her to the range often , especially since .22 bullets are so cheap.:D

September 8, 2011, 02:42 PM
Be thankful she is willing to carry at all and let it go. If you push too hard she may just start leaving the .22 behind to avoid the irritation altogether.

At the ranges that she would be using it at for, let's say defending against sexual assault, I would say that it's a valid round provided that she fires the thing straight into a vital area.

September 8, 2011, 02:43 PM
Agreed with others. It obviously doesn't have the one hit stopping power of bigger rounds but with practically no recoil you could put 10 shots on a dime in a couple seconds. That sounds better to me then blowing a police whistle.

September 8, 2011, 02:47 PM
Stingers and MiniMags are good, as .22LR goes, but the question is what rounds will reliably cycle the Walther? Not owning one, I have no idea. I know my parents had to do some testing to find rounds that worked well in their SIG Mosquito.

The P22 Owner's manual should specify recommended bullet weights and energy; go from there.

September 8, 2011, 02:51 PM
+1 on a solid lead round- better penetration. Buy a box of a few different brands, loads, etc...and see which one her gun likes the best.
.22 is fine for self defense- beats zero caliber everyday!

September 8, 2011, 02:53 PM
As a surgeon of some 40 years experience - lots of gun shot wounds - and seeing the frequency of failure of 22 LR shots creating adequate damage other than increasing the anger of the "victim" of those shots, I believe the use of a good pepper spray - such as Fox - would provide more effective defense than any 22 LR caliber shot.

September 8, 2011, 02:56 PM
If I were to use .22 as a defensive round (I wouldn't personally), I would stick to a revolver. I love semi's, but every semi rimfire I've fired has had it's share of failures. Never had a problem with a rimfire revolver.

September 8, 2011, 03:04 PM
+5 what mleak said. I owned a walther p22 for a couple years and it loved cci stingers.

Oj man I know you are like a genius and all but seriously...pepper spray vs 22lr

I fear you underestimate the 22lr..I fear you underestimate it greatly. ( replace 22lr with nautilus and you have a cool capt nemo quote ) :)

September 8, 2011, 03:37 PM
If a .22 is what she's comfortable with, let her carry it.

While I more trust .22 mag, I'd still pick a .22lr over pepper spray or nothing at all.

September 8, 2011, 03:55 PM
...this is what I found about 22LR performances:

1) CCI Stinger C-p HP - 32grs - 1149 ft/sec - 93 ft.lbs - 127 joule
2) REMINGTON Viper TCS - 36grs - 1018 ft/sec - 82 ft.lbs - 112 joule
3) FIOCCHI High Velocity Cpsp - 40grs - 956 ft/sec - 81 ft.lbs - 110 joule
4) WINCHESTER Super X T22 Target lead - 40grs - 917 ft/sec - 74 ft.lbs - 101 joule

(above performances are referred to a 104mm lenght of barrel, that is to say about 4 inches)

As far as it concerns the possible use of a 22LR pistol for defense a friend of mine uses to say:

"it's always better than crying for help..."

...I agree with him.



September 8, 2011, 04:15 PM
just an fyi - after searching the google machine, i found this. he seems a little cci-biased, but he was specifically testing with a p22.


September 8, 2011, 04:19 PM
When teaching my daughter to shoot, I let her try my 1911a1 too soon and she was afraid of it for years. One day we were out shooting and I was pretty sure she was old enough to handle it. So I told her that if she fired one round and didn't like it, I would never bring it up again. She shot almost 4 boxes of .45 ACP that day. On the other hand, she had been shooting .380 and 9mm for a few years...

I'm not saying your GF would go that way right off but if you took the intimidation out of firing a larger caliber with light loads. Over time it's possible to get her into something more serious. A .38 revolver would be a good way to go since there's no worry about getting it to cycle with light loads like with an auto...

If this doesn't work, take her out shooting often so that she is very familiar with her .22 so that she doesn't have to stop and think, just point and shoot. I would think that any .22 high velocity .22 Rf will do but not stingers since they use a lighter bullet...


September 8, 2011, 04:23 PM
she has shot it all her whole life. her dad and both her brothers are cops. she grew up on 40s. when i told her i wanted her to have a gun, she said it was 22 or nothing.

September 8, 2011, 04:24 PM
I would trade the p22 for a nice double action revolver if she is dead set on .22lr. As I am sure others have stated, .22lr malfunctions are frequently due to their rimfire ignition system- a DA wheel gun deals with that by simply pulling the trigger again.

That being said, I would invest in a good OC spray as well. I bet you'd hard pressed to find a determined enough attacker to continue an assault without being able to see or breath, skin on fire, and being peppered with .22 rounds.

Still... a compact .380 ACP like the Browning BDA doesnt have much more recoil than the .22, with better performance, and gobs more reliability.

September 8, 2011, 04:27 PM
While it wouldn't be my first choice, a .22 beats banking on the mercy of your attacker. My father carried one of those little mini revolvers for many years as a back-up. He carried stingers FWIW.
All the recommended ammo is useless if it doesn't feed in her gun. Find the most reliable ammo for that gun and use it for carry. In my experience, CCI products seem to be a very good starting point.

September 8, 2011, 09:15 PM
I concur on the CCI products, I've put about 2000 rounds of minimags through my sig recently, and had ~5 duds(wouldn't fire even on second strike, had clear good firing pin impressions). From that stand point the CCI stuff has been way more reliable than other .22 ammo's I've used.

September 8, 2011, 09:28 PM
CCI Minimags go bang! every time ('cept for those 5 that Sig just mentioned) That's by far the most important thing with rimfire ammo.

The Aguila 60 grain subsonics look interesting. They are heavy enough to penetrate well, and long enough that they might tumble when they hit. If you can get them to do both at the same time you've got a real winner -- if they have reliable primers.

Get R Done Guns
September 8, 2011, 10:35 PM
Yes, CCI will more than likely be the best choice for reliability. Maybe talk her into a PMR 30 and get her up to the 22 mag? Give is a bit more horsepower and also round count. Just a suggestion but the first time that flame thrower goes off dude will be running like HELL!!! :)

Joe the Redneck
September 8, 2011, 10:51 PM
I really like the idea of looking for a 9 shot revolver. If it has to be a 22 I would like her to have as many as she can.

I like the remington subsonics. So far I haven't had any ftf and I have gone through a lot of them. I don't expect them to do anything other than make a 22 caliber hole.

That is my biggest issue with the 22. I've had too many ftf to really trust them.

Frankly, I'm not sure that MACE idea is a bad one. No harm in having both.

Hopefully she will never need either. :)

Bill DeShivs
September 8, 2011, 11:01 PM
The Aguila 60 gr. ammunition was designed to use a different rifling twist than standard .22 LR. They won't stabilize in standard rifling.

September 8, 2011, 11:02 PM
My wife carries a P22 with an extra mag. She can shoot my larger autos in larger calibers but can't stand smaller snapper ones. She has hers loaded up with CCI Stingers, but we are looking for a more potent 22 round as well.

September 8, 2011, 11:27 PM
Well, this keeps coming up - I practiced surgery nearly 40 years - having spent my internship and surgery residency training at what was the county hospital for the Detroit area. About 23% of our surgery there was trauma surgery - most of which were GSWs ( gun shot wounds) - so I can speak from a fair amount of experience.

There is no question but that th .22LR can be lethal - granted, it may take several days from shot to death but, in my experience, easily 90%+ of 22LR wounds failed to produce significant injury.

I did see one man who was caught out with another man's wife and was shot with a 22 about half way between belly button and sternum - and was permanently paralyzed for life below th waist - but, it was 22 Magnum and a freak shot the went between vertebral bodies to sever th spinal cord.

Early in my private practice (about 1965) I was on call for one of our ERs (we rotated call then). A young man - about 5'8" tall and about 220# of muscle and bone - was just released from active duty with the USMC and out with his girl friend. A car full of no-goodniks ran him off the road so the Marine got out of his car to explain the folly of the other driver's actions in a very personal way.

That driver was well over 6' tall and well over 200# of mostly muscle (tell you later how I know that). H pulled the revolver loaded with 22 LR ammo and emptied it at the Marine - hitting him 5 of th 6 shots - all solid body wounds. The Marine then proceeded to express his feelings about the big guy's actions with his fists and then came into the ER.

X-Rays showed none had gone beyond muscle so no operation was needed (we learned long ago trying to remove bullets from muscle caused more damage than good) - so we just treated those by observation for possible infection.

When I said we would admit him over night for observation, he was understandably very opposed to that action - reminding me he had just come in to get a tetanus shot and some band-aids since he had serious plans for the evening. I had to agree with his requests and gave him follow up in my office. He never had any problem and enjoyed his night as planned.

About that time, I was called from the other hospital across town to consult with the surgeon on call there who had less experience with trauma than he knew I had. It seemed there was this big guy who was "attacked by a gang" and, in addition to multiple facial injuries, had possible internal injuries - specifically possible ruptured spleen or other internal organs. I decided on observation and he spent the next five days in the intensive care unit under close observation. Didn't have internal injuries but needed repair of his facial wounds.

One might hope he got some religion also.

Bottom line – to me, at least, gun caliber ammo needs to have stopping power right now much more that just ammo that can be eventually lethal – or not.

Over the years, I saw more serious and lethal wounds from 38 special caliber than any other.

OTOH, I showed English Mastiffs in dog shows for over 2 1/2 decades and had need for Fox pepper spray on aggressive dogs and the Fox spray never failed - and dogs have furry faces for more protection than humans -eyes and nasopharynx filled with Fox stops agression RIGHT NOW. costs more than other brands but, it's worth it.

September 8, 2011, 11:51 PM
Check out videos on .22 lethality.... There's good info out there.

September 9, 2011, 12:01 AM
+1 for having at least a pepper spray back up. I've used fox, red saber, and freeze +p. None of them have anything on vexor. Vexor is ghost pepper based and rates in at 15 millio shu. Red saber is second highest at 2.5 mill. I'm not saying its better than a gun in any caliber in any way just that if in a high stress situation if you empty your gun at an attacker and don't get your desired results... Spray the crap out of them and run/reload.

September 9, 2011, 12:10 AM
I find it hard to believe that a face full of pepper spray is more debilitating than a face full of .22 LR hits.

September 9, 2011, 12:46 AM
You'd be surprised how much easier it is (for most people) to aim a can of pepper-spray, and hit someone in the face as opposed to a handgun of any caliber.

"Nearly" missing is also less of an issue...

September 9, 2011, 03:05 AM
My Beretta 71 is small and absolutely reliable with a wide range of ammunition.

It feeds just about everything, solids, HP, lead, copper wash, standard velocity, high velocity.

It's a great little pistol.

September 9, 2011, 08:17 AM
+1 for velocitors. you have two options, fast and light or slow and heavy but since a 22 does not have that much speed or weight no matter what you get I'd go with go with speed. no matter the speed a BG cant outrun any bullet and if the sight of a gun doesn't stop him a loud bang usually does the trick and if that still doesn't a 22 can still do a lot of damage. I dont buy into the whole FBI standard where you need 12-16 inches of penetration unless you are looking at a morbidly obese BG. 4-6 inches of penetration in an average build adult will reach the heart and lungs even from federal bulk box so you really cant go wrong no matter what.

September 9, 2011, 08:21 AM
geologist, the issue isn't with the .22 guns, in general, but with the rimfire ammo itself. I have failures to fire in my Model 18 revolver. Good pin indentations, just bad ammo.

This happens much more often with bulk ammo, particularly the Remington yellow box UMC.

I don't remember the last time a Stinger or Mini-Mag went dud in my revolver.

Centerfire rounds are generally more reliable, which is one of the two main reasons (power being the other one) that I don't usually recommend .22 for SD.

In the OP's case, I'd go with whatever ammo works best in that particular gun, but I'd also try, over time, to get the lady to work with some bigger caliber guns at the range, and see if she could get comfortable with something a bit more suitable.

If she likes the P22, then she might eventually go for a PK380, for instance.

September 9, 2011, 08:28 AM
I've done some light varmint hunting out of a .22 pistol over the years. Stinger is ok. A quick double tap takes down fox, bobcats, and smaller coyotes. I like the Super X for the bigger coyote, armadillo, and wild dogs (well, I usually shoot coyote with whatever is on my hip, mostly a .40). I'd tell you my favorite turkey load, but it really wouldn't be helpful in this context.

Onward Allusion
September 9, 2011, 09:09 AM
Bill DeShivs
The Aguila 60 gr. ammunition was designed to use a different rifling twist than standard .22 LR. They won't stabilize in standard rifling.

Yes, this is absolutely true. However, out of a short barrel of a 2" revolver it doesn't make a difference. I have standard 40gr, 38gr rounds tumble and keyhole from these guns. In a way it's kind of a good thing that it does tumble because the only way I would use a 22LR in a pistol for personal defense out of a pistol is up close and personal.

September 9, 2011, 10:38 AM
I shot a 180lb feral hog with a .22 from about thirty yards. The 40gr LRN bullet penetrated the skull behind the ear and the pig went down like a switch had been thrown. For insurance, I shot the pig in the front of the skull just above the eyes from a few yards away. That round also penetrated the skull. I don't know if a light weight hollow point would have given me the penetration I needed. The standard velocity 40LRN did.

Here is an interesting link. (http://www.brassfetcher.com/WaltherP22test.html) Maybe one of these cartridges would be reliable in your GF's gun.

September 9, 2011, 10:45 AM
I often carry a .22 as my SD weapon de jour,,,
My carry ammo is the CCI Mini-Mag round nose.

I want penetration,,,
Not expansion.

I have never had a fail-to-fire with Mini-Mags,,,
I have ran many thousands of rounds through my two carry 22's.

Both my Bersa Thunder 22 (http://www.bersa.com/bersa-firearms/thunder-22.html) and my Taurus .22 PLY (http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=695&category=Pistol&breadcrumbseries=&search=ply),,,
Have been flawless performers with round nose Mini-Mags.

Just my experience,,,
Yours may vary.


September 20, 2011, 03:41 PM
Get her the best ammo you can and then just help her warm up to the possibility of a larger caliber. Maybe jump to something like a 32 or a 380 in a larger size which helps with recoil. Then later, maybe move up to something like a 327 Federal or a 38 Special, and then maybe to 9mm. Once you get to 380, 38, 9mm, I feel like that's as good as it's going to get for most folks. Just be careful not to push her away from it by being too pushy. Women don't like to be told what to do just because you know and they don't. They like to be a part of the decision making process. Trust me on this one.

September 20, 2011, 04:06 PM
In terms of expertise, I'll readily defer to the surgeons and their "hands-on" experience with gunshot wounds. The problem in my house is a spouse who cannot make any of my Sigs (P6/225; 220, 228 & 229) or the S&W revolver (686) function in DA; she simply doesn't have the muscular strength (and we have spent many range hours working on that issue). The solution we came up involves a Mosquito I had bought as a trainer for the centerfires. Granted, it's not a perfect solution, in fact it may not even be a very good solution. We still work on the centerfires each range session but we also do a drill with the Mosquito: empty the magazine as quickly as possible with points awarded based on group size. Basically, we use a 5-inch Shoot'N'See; anything within the target itself scores. Object is to bring a mass of fire on target in hope something does more than P.O. the BG. Second part of the drill is speed magazine changes. I've also got her doing what we call "finger crunches" to build some strength there.

September 20, 2011, 05:13 PM
.22 will kill you dead !!! Enough said. ;)

hardhat harry
September 20, 2011, 07:25 PM
OJ, you are smart, with lots of experience, so I'll leave it to you to tell the VA Tech kids killed by Cho with a Walther P22 that they are not dead.

A meth-head sprayed with OC spray, probably not going to stop 'em.