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Can .22LR Really Be A Self-Defense Caliber?

Can .22LR Really Be A Self-Defense Caliber?

The caliber debate. This is a debate that likely will never go away completely, but even among those who want to keep arguing for or against a particular caliber for self-defense, most generally say that the smallest caliber that you want to use for self-protection is .380.

Still, some people are arguing for the usefulness of even smaller calibers than that, but can a smaller caliber, such as a .22LR, actually be effective as a self-defense caliber?

Kevin Creighton has some thoughts on this subject:

Let’s begin with the obvious: 22LR is not a powerful cartridge. At the muzzle, a typical 22LR round will have a 40 grain bullet that leaves the barrel of your gun at around 1100 feet per second and delivers just over 100 foot/pounds of energy. Compare that to a round of 9mm, with a bullet weighing almost three times as much, traveling at over 1100 fps and punching out over 320 foot pounds of energy, and you begin to see the problem with using 22 for self defense. 

However, the power of the cartridge is just one part of the self defense equation. The most powerful handgun in the world does you absolutely no good if it’s not nearby when you need it. In addition to this, a powerful handgun that you can’t shoot well might be comforting to you, but it will have little impact on the bad guy trying to ruin your life. Turns out there might be something to the idea of using a 22 for self defense after all. 

Creighton goes on to say that, generally speaking, most people will want to choose a larger caliber for their self-protection needs, but, because accuracy is vital to a gun being useful at all for self-protection, a .22LR firearm can effectively be used for self-protection because it allows even a physically weaker person to effectively hit the shots that they need to hit when your life is on the line.

What do you think: is .22LR a legitimate self-defense caliber? Tell us below.


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