Another look at the .22LR round

(Survival Manual/Prepper articles/Another look at the .22 LR round)

Ruger 10/22 .22LR shown below in several configurations

22lr configurations

A.  Ask Foghorn: Is .22lr The Best for Self Defense?
4 Jun 2012, TheTruthAboutGuns.com,  by Nick Leghorn
Excerpt pasted from: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/06/foghorn/ask-foghorn-22l-for-self-defense/

About a year ago Greg Ellifritz over at Buckeye Firearms concluded a pretty darn impressive analysis of gunfight data recorded over a 10 year period, the total count of incidents included in his analysis topping 1,800. It doesn’t give us a statistically significant look at murders in the United States, but the data is sufficiently large and normal to give us the ability to use his results to compare the effectiveness of different calibers.

22lr total observations

Admittedly 9mm does take up a disproportionate percentage of the observations and .32 data is a little skimpy, but its good enough for our purposes. So, using his data, let’s take a look at how well the lowly .22 round does compared to other handgun calibers (and shotguns, just for comparison sake).

First things first, let’s see what percentage of observed gunfights ended in a fatality for the person on the receiving end.

22lr percent of gunfights

The graph is pretty clear on this: .22 caliber firearms are just as deadly in a gunfight as any other handgun caliber. In fact, it beat the average (far right). Surprisingly, every caliber that begins with a 4 (.40 S&W, .45, .44 Mag…) performed worse than the .22 caliber firearms in terms of putting the opponent in the dirt for good.

The next thing I thought was interesting was the metric about how many rounds it took to incapacitate the opponent.

22lr avg rounds to incapacitate

In case you were wondering, the smaller the bar in this example the better the round performed. And, in terms of performance in putting the opponent down, only a shotgun beats the .22 round. I get the feeling that in reality you can chop a round off the 9mm’s numbers, as the double tap has been trained into almost every shooter these days and probably means the numbers are artificially high.

Greg also includes something about a “one shot stop” percentage, but I don’t agree with his methodology on it and is not presented here. Go read up on it at the original site if you’re interested.

There’s a small fly in the ointment: the percentage of incidents where the opponent was not incapacitated.

22lr percent of shootings

Another chart where large bars are bad, and here the mouse guns aren’t doing so hot compared to the big boys. However, I get the feeling that this chart is somewhat deceptive with its results. Newer shooters have a tendency to get the smaller guns with smaller calibers, and also have a tendency to not be as well trained as those carrying the larger rounds. So, instead of this chart being an argument against the lowly .22 round I see it as an argument against poor training. As we saw with the last chart, IF you can hit the guy there’s a great chance he’s going down. But the issue is hitting him, and incorporating some of the accuracy results from the original study seems to back up my suspicions.

So, in short, what’s the answer? Is a .22 a good self defense round? According to the numbers, it looks to be among the best in terms of stopping the threat. Add in the fact that it’s lightweight, low recoil and uses firearms that are ridiculously easy to conceal and you can see where a .22 caliber firearm for concealed carry might be a winner.
.

B.  Comments about the .22LR round from shooting forums around the Internet
> Take that pain, and quadruple it, at the minimum. In fact, most .22LR rounds generate 100+ foot-pounds of energy, so multiply the pain by somewhere around 20 times. Then couple that with the fact that it isn’t just a surface wound, so you’re going to have to deal with bleeding, which may cause lightheadedness at the least, and passing out or death at the worst. That’s only if you got shot somewhere that there are no vital organs. If you get shot in the chest, you could die within a few minutes. A nick to the aorta would cause you to bleed out fairly quickly. For that matter, being shot in the leg could kill you in a matter of seconds as well; a cut femoral artery would likewise empty your blood quickly.

> You ever seen swamp wars? yeah, them  gators died with one shot to the dome…an alligator! I’d imagine it would feel like being shot by a firearm.

> Well it damn near killed President Reagan.

> Robert F Kennedy was killed with a cheap .22LR revolver.

22lr 22 vs lge caliber> Look at one shooting – Hinckley shooting Reagan in 1981. Hink gets off 6 shots of 22lr. One hits Macarthy in the belly (Secret service guy, stepped in front of Reagan); another hits DC cop Delahanty in neck. One hits Brady in forehead; 2 miss; last one hits Reagan under arm, goes thru lung.

Results: Macarthy drops to ground (probably can’t believe he just stepped in front of a bullet);  Delahanty goes down;  Brady goes down – central nervous system hit;  Reagan thinks his SS guy broke his ribs pushing him into the car.
One true ‘stop’ from CNS hit; 2 stops from ? (pain, psychological?) 1 no stop (although Reagan was probably closer to death than the other 3 guys)

> While the 22LR has no stopping power it DOES have killing power . In fact it has a reputation of being worse than some bigger cartridges because when it enters the body it is very easily deflected. So the person may not even be aware of being hit but die a day or two later

> Well, FWIW in my 20+ year’s as a former LEO I’ve seen more people killed from a .22 LR Hollow Point; than I have any other caliber, bar none!
One case that stands out in my mind is where my partner and I answered a “person down” call. When we arrived on the scene, one victim was laying in the drive-way shot in the stomach (belly button) with a .32 S&W Long; the other victim (and perp) was on the front porch shot under his right arm with a .22 LR Hollow Point.
The victim shot with the .32 S&W Long survived the shooting to live another day; the victim and or perp shot with the .22 LR Hollow Point was declared D.O.S. by the county corner.
So to answer your question, YES the .22 LR Hollow Point can be very deadly; especially when a vital organ* is struck.

> I’ve been shot with a .22 LR–trust me, it ain’t no picnic. You don’t want it. There’s no glory and no background music there when they’re messing around with your bones and that drain tube.

> …As to how lethal the .22LR is–although illegal for whitetail deer hunting, it has killed as many deer as many centerfires. THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT TOYS, AND SHOULD BE TREATED WITH GREAT RESPECT.

> … have NO doubts about its lethality.. it lacks STOPPING power, but pure killing power, it’s actually very good at.

> A .22lr round to the head is exceptionally lethal – the bullet typically has enough energy to penetrate one side of the skull but not the other, resulting in it ricocheting around inside the skull and shredding brain tissue almost as badly as a larger caliber hollow point would.

> There are countless stories of people who get hit with a .22 bullet and never notice that they were hit until someone points out the blood. Of course, shot placement remedies many of those complaints, but in combat incapacitation is as good as a kill, and sometimes better because then his buddy has to drag him away.

> I find it hard to believe that a person would be hit by a .22 hollow-point and not notice. The effects on animal flesh, from what I’ve seen, are startling (and horrific). The hole going in is tiny, but the hole coming out is – gross. If it did that to a porcupine, would it not do the same to a person?

> …a .22 (especially a hollow point) won’t have any useful penetration. It’ll be stopped by the lightest body armor, or a thin wall, or the multiple layers of sheet metal in a car door.

> .22 is one of the most feared rounds to get shot with according to policemen. The explanation given to me was that a .22 has the velocity to enter the body but slow quickly and if it meets with resistance, like a bone, it will ricochet around inside of you making it difficult for a surgeon to repair the damage. A 9mm on the other hand will often travel right through you in a straight line and be far less dangerous than a .22.

 

C.  Using the .22 for Self Defense
12 Aug 2013, ActiveResponseTraining.com, by Greg Ellifritz
Pasted from: http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/using-the-22-for-self-defense Since my handgun stopping power study was published last month in American Handgunner Magazine, I’ve received several questions from readers about my data.  I expected to be castigated by all the big bullet aficionados for reporting honest data about the “mouse gun” calibers.  That wasn’t what I received.

All the email that I got was from .22 advocates telling me that I misinterpreted my data and that the .22 is the best defensive cartridge ever invented.  Really?  I’m open to an honest discussion about the relative merits of carrying a .22 in certain situations, but I promise you that if I was to grab a gun right now, knowing that I would be getting into a gunfight, my .22s would be VERY low on the list.

Here’s a summary of the data I reported and the heart of the controversy:

Caliber

%   stopped after 1 shot

How   many shots to stop

%   that did not stop

.22 (short, long, long rifle)

60%

1.38

31%

.25 acp

49%

2.2

35%

.32 (acp and long)

72%

1.52

24%

.380 acp

62%

1.76

16%

9mm Luger

47%

2.45

13%

.38 spl

55%

1.87

17%

.357 magnum

61%

1.7

9%

.40 S&W

52%

2.36

13%

.45 acp

51%

2.08

14%

The .22 required the least number of shots to stop an attacker as compared to the other cartridges.  Some folks used that number to bolster their choice of the .22 as the best defensive sidearm available and criticized me when I stated that I don’t believe that’s true.  Here is one of the emails I received:

“I am surprised that you did not accept the “fact” evident in the data that the lowly .22 is actually more effective than the high power cartridges: 9mm, 40sw and 45 acp! Your statement “those are likely psychological stops rather than physical incapacitations” is not supported by any data you offer. Rather, it appears to be a purely prejudicial statement which spoils your excellent efforts at conclusions based upon data. In fact it is very counter-intuitive. You are proposing that “mouse gun” is more intimidating than a 45 ACP so it scares more people off than the very big opening in a 45 barrel!

If you have data supporting this counterintuitive conclusion, please share.  My conclusion is that you are doing a disservice by not acknowledging that average folks are much better off carrying .22’s for their own personnel safety. Inaccurate shot placement of high power cartridges might just get us Joe average citizens injured during an attack.”

First, let me make myself perfectly clear.  Shot placement is vitally important.  If you can’t hit with your chosen carry gun, pick something else.  You should certainly be able to pass Gila Hayes’ five rounds, five seconds, into a five inch circle, at five yards test cold, every time you shoot.  I would prefer even better performance than that.

If you can’t meet that standard with one of the common service calibers and can do it with a .22, I would prefer that you carry the .22.  No problem at all with that decision.  But most of us don’t have a physical limitation and can learn to handle a bigger caliber with a minimal amount of training.

The reader asked me to explain why I considered the .22 stops to be more likely “psychological stops” as opposed to physical incapacitations.  That’s easy to explain…and it doesn’t have anything to do with the size of the muzzle.

There are only two mechanisms for physically incapacitating someone with a handgun.  The first is a shot to the central nervous system (CNS).  A bullet placed into the brain or the upper spinal cord will usually stop someone instantly.  Can the .22 do that?  Certainly, but I think a brain or CNS shot is less likely with the .22 than with a larger caliber.

Arguably, the .22 is more accurate and controllable than a centerfire pistol.  That would make brain and CNS hits more likely (if one was aiming there).  The problem is the historic lack of penetration in the .22 round.  They are notorious for failing to be able to penetrate the skull.  I had a doctor in my class last weekend who told me about a patient he treated who had eight .22 bullets under his scalp and none had penetrated into his brain!  The patient was conscious, alert, and asking for a beer!

Most .22 rounds also lack the ability to penetrate deep enough to reach the spinal cord on a front to back shot on an average human male.  It’s for these reasons that I doubt the .22 stops were the result of brain or CNS hits.

The only other mechanism for physical incapacitation is through blood loss.  On average, a bullet that penetrates deeper and/or makes a larger hole will create more blood loss.  We already established that the .22 doesn’t penetrate very deeply and it certainly doesn’t make a big hole.  That takes blood loss out of the equation.

22lr pocket pistolIf the .22 bullet doesn’t cause CNS disruption or extensive blood loss, it won’t physically incapacitate an attacker.  That’s why I commented that the .22 stops are likely to be more psychological in nature.

The data is what it is.  I can’t change that.  My study showed that people were stopped with fewer shots from the .22 than with any other caliber.  Does that mean the .22 is the best choice?  Not necessarily.  There could be other factors that caused the smaller number of shots until incapacitation…

I’m just pulling numbers out of thin air, but let’s just postulate that it takes five seconds after a person is shot for him to realize he is hit and abort the attack.  The average number could be higher or lower, but it doesn’t matter.  It will still take a few seconds for the bad guy to process the fact that he is shot and decide it’s in his best interest to escape before being shot again (a psychological stop).

If we are dealing with psychological stops and not physical incapacitations, firing additional rounds at the attacker during this five second time frame isn’t likely to influence his behavior quicker.  The processing takes the time that it takes.  Anything that will slow the rate of fire will reduce the number of rounds that the attacker soaks up before he aborts his attack.  In other words, the small number of rounds until incapacitation could be more the result of slower firing rate than superior cartridge performance.

Is the .22 likely to have a slower firing rate?  In handguns carried for defensive purposes, yes.  Most .22 defensive handguns are of relatively low quality.  They are extremely small and difficult to shoot quickly.  Compare the rate of fire between a NAA Mini revolver in .22 and a 9mm Glock.  Which do you think you could shoot faster?

How quickly could you shoot this tiny single action revolver? Data that you assume means a superior cartridge could be attributed to a slower rate of fire.

The .22 rimfire round is also more prone to malfunctions than any centerfire round.  A malfunction will also decrease the rate of fire.  Rate of fire wasn’t factored into my study and could have caused the low numbers for the .22.

Another fact that many people haven’t considered is the difference between police and armed citizen gunfights.  My friend Claude Werner often points out that when a criminal is involved in a gunfight with the police, the stakes are higher.  The criminal knows that the cops won’t stop until he’s dead or in jail.  That’s not true with a gunfight against an armed citizen.  The armed citizen just wants a break in the fight.  If he can cause the criminal to flee, he wins and stops shooting.

When criminals fight the police, they are likely to fight harder and take more rounds before giving up, because they know giving up equals a long prison sentence.  Giving up and running away when fighting an armed citizen has no such negative consequences.

Many of the gunfights involving 9mm, .40, and .45 calibers in my study were police gunfights.  Very few of the .22 data was from  police gunfights.  The very nature of the differences between the victim characteristics in the different gunfights could also account for the smaller number of rounds taken by those hit with the .22.

Here’s the good news for the .22 carriers…

In Claude’s lifetime study of defensive gun uses, he has yet to find a single case where an armed citizen was  killed by a criminal after the criminal had taken at least one .22 round.  In the case of civilian defensive gun usage, the criminal almost always flees after the first hit.  I have been unable to find any gunfights that prove Claude wrong.

But take a look at the third column in the table above…

That’s the statistic that most .22 advocates choose to ignore.  It’s the percentage of people who were not physically incapacitated after any number of rounds.  It’s roughly three times higher with the .22 as compared to the service caliber cartridges.

Yes, the criminals fled, but they were not incapacitated.  They could continue to fight back if they choose to.  If you were to face the rare motivated criminal who presses the fight, would you want a .22 or something else?  Encountering the motivated criminal who presses the fight against an armed citizen is exceedingly rare, but it is a possibility. Should you prepare for the statistical norm or the statistical anomaly?  In my view, I think it’s best to prepare for the worst possible outcome, rather than the most likely.  Statistically, you are unlikely to ever need a gun at all, yet most of my readers want to prepare for the worst, so they carry a gun.  Why wouldn’t you use the same logic when choosing an appropriate defensive sidearm?

My best advice to you is to carry a gun that is reliable and shoots well.  If your preference is a .22, it will probably serve you well.  My preference is to carry something a little larger whenever it’s convenient.

D.  YouTube video: SHTF: 10 reasons for a 22LR Firearm
See at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-radX2VMWgY

 

E.  The Crossbow: a Terrible SHTF Weapon Choice (Comparing the .22LR with a crossbow)
Unless you’re fighting zombies, skip the crossbow.
December 2013, AllOutdoor.com, by  Dr. John
Excerpt pasted from: http://www.alloutdoor.com/2013/12/03/crossbows-viable-shtf-option/

…The Crossbow vs. the .22LR So what is the consequential impact (pun intended) of a crossbow bolt in theory? Ponder this: Most crossbows today send a bolt flying at from 300-400 feet per second velocity. By comparison, a .22 Long Rifle flies out the muzzle at 1200-1400 feet per second. A 40 grain .22 bullet produces roughly 130-170 foot pounds of killing energy. Though a field point usually weighs 100 grains and a typical crossbow bolt broadhead weighs 100-125 grains, because of the low velocity they can produce less terminal energy than a .22 LR round. You have probably commonly seen hunting shows depicting arrows sailing right through a deer. It is unlikely that a field point would do so unless only soft tissue was penetrated. Translate all of that into a SHTF event where a human might be the target. What it means in terms of electing to use a crossbow for a SHTF defensive weapon is to aim for areas of the target where penetration would be realistically anticipated. If the threat is wearing a heavy coat or armor, then good luck with that. So if you’re determined to use a crossbow post-SHTF, then you’d better start stocking up on those expensive broadheads, as the killing impact of a broadhead is in the cutting capability

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