Practicing with a .22lr...Does it really help?


April 27, 2005, 02:53 PM
Will shooting with a .22lr pistol or rifle help you be a better shot with your other firearms?

I know lots of people believe this, and I have always subscribed to this as well, but I have heard conflicting opinions on it.

So does it actually help, or does it just teach you to expect a smaller recoil and suprise you when you shoot a larger one?


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April 27, 2005, 02:59 PM
In my experience, shooting a .22 reinforces the basics. Grip, trigger squeeze, sight alignment, etc. Of course, it does nothing to help with recoil control, rapid fire of a heavier caliber, etc.

Plus, it's so darn much fun, how can you pass it up?

April 27, 2005, 03:03 PM
Shooting accurately involves getting the sights on the target and keeping them there as you pull the trigger. No difference in any gun. Recoil is greater in centerfires, but that comes after the bullet fires. Advancing to shooting heavy recoiling guns will require that you learn to accept the recoil without letting it bother as you align the sights and pull the trigger. .22 practice is great practice even after you are an accomplished centerfire shooter. Those that don't think .22 has a place in practice are misinformed and are missing a lot of inexpensive fun. My current holy grail is to find an ammo for my CZ 452 that will shoot a single hole consistently at 50 yds. It is a great challenge, and lots of fun. I can still shoot the big ones about as well as most, and don't suffer when I switch.

Ohen Cepel
April 27, 2005, 03:06 PM
I think it is a huge help vs not shooting, or vs shooting less.

Also, it's very helpful in that it doesn't give you a flinch that will last for years.

I can't see a downside to it myself.

April 27, 2005, 03:41 PM
Helps...a lot.

I take my .22's when I want to practice cheaply with less noise & recoil.

M2 Carbine
April 27, 2005, 03:41 PM
Shooting is shooting.
It all helps.

April 27, 2005, 03:42 PM
You bet it helps! Shooting involves basic skills. Those skills apply to any weapon you shoot. Shooting .22lr lets you develop those skills into habits that you will automatically apply. The loud noise and recoil aren't necessary elements of those skills. They don't happen until after you shoot. Also it's cheaper to learn with .22lr.

Of course you do need to develop a tolerance for the noise and recoil when you move up in power. But that's easy once you have mastered the basics.

April 27, 2005, 03:51 PM
Yup, it's a great help. I shot mostly .22 pistol in school (had a range on campus), and I found my centerfire rifle shooting improving even though I didn't get much trigger time behind those guns. Like everyone else has said, shooting .22s helps you refine the fundamentals (sights and trigger), and those are by far the most important skills when shooting anything else.

April 27, 2005, 03:59 PM
Practicing with a .22 will help build and reinforce sound fundamental shooting skills. In many respects, it's a better exercise than shooting a larger caliber because without the recoil, you will have a hard time developing bad habits such as jerking the trigger or flinching (and it will help you correct those issues if you have developed them).

The only lessons you cannot learn with a .22 are skills that are somewhat specialized to one shooting discipline or another such as building a recoil-proof rapid fire position.


April 27, 2005, 04:22 PM
I used to practice for pin matches with a .22 caliber Colt Conversion Unit on my old .45ACP. It helped a lot and was cheaper than practicing with my .45 reloads.

I have also done double-action practice with my Smith & Wesson Model 18, a .22 that is almost exactly the same as the .38 or .357 Smith M15 or M19.

April 27, 2005, 04:33 PM
Trigger time is trigger time. :D

Texian Pistolero
April 27, 2005, 04:52 PM
Great for intro to the "fun"damentals!

But, while I LOVE my .22 pistols,

I've found that if I shoot them too much,

my grip starts to relax,

and when I return to centerfire handgun,

recoil surprises me again.

Takes me a box or two of centerfire to regain my groove.

Train as you live,

live as you train.

Not that big of a problem with .22 rifles, since kick in 5.56 and 7.62 X 39 is niegligible.

Jim Diver
April 27, 2005, 05:10 PM
Even practice with airsoft guns is good.

There is a asian kid who shoots competitions in the US. WHen in Japan he practices only with an airsoft then comes over to the US, practices with a .22 then clean house at the competition.

Standing Wolf
April 27, 2005, 06:32 PM
Part of the reason my bullseye scores have improved during the past year is that I shoot my air pistol daily. As long as you're practicing the right techniques, more is better.

April 27, 2005, 07:28 PM
Does anyone carry a 22 auto for CCW? I'm not looking for a comparison to larger calibers....just wondering if anyone does, and if they care to comment.

April 27, 2005, 08:25 PM
Absolutely. I'm employed as a JROTC instructor at a high school, we have a rifle team and I'll most likely be the coach next year. While watching/supervising the team practicing if there is an empty lane I'll get a rifle and join in. These are souped up .177 pellet guns, run close to 750-800 fps, at the 30' target distance are effective. Sometimes I'll shoot three-four hours a week. I have noticed an improvement in my shooting. As mentioned, work on the basics. Do it right every time and it will hit, doesn't matter if its 30'or 300 yds.


M2 Carbine
April 27, 2005, 08:36 PM
Does anyone carry a 22 auto for CCW? I'm not looking for a comparison to larger calibers....just wondering if anyone does, and if they care to comment.

I used to carry a Beretta 22 before I got a Kel Tec 32 and .380.

April 27, 2005, 08:41 PM
I agree that shooting is shooting. If it didn't work the military wouldn't spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars on "video games," beam hit ( a laser trainer), and various other techniques that don't spit rounds down range.
Even the dime drill will help with your techniques. Place a dime on the end of your barrell, get a good sight pic, a good breathing pattern, and squeeze the trigger. If you are doing everything right the dime should not drop to the ground.

April 27, 2005, 08:48 PM
What I teach is based on my personal experience. The more I practice to reinforce my fundamentals with a .22LR, the better I shoot with my 9mm and .45 because the key benefit is the ingraining and reinforcement of the skills. Shooting is an unnatural act. Repetition helps make it natural. Just shooting--blasting--only spends bullets. Practicing by thinking through each shot--making sure you have a good sight picture and sight alignment, making sure you're controlling your breathing, makng sure you squeeze the trigger so you're surprised when the round goes off, and making sure you follow through on each shot--all of those help ingrain the skills you need to shoot anything well.

April 27, 2005, 10:01 PM
Since February last year, when I suffered a serious back injury at the prison where I work, my doctor has banned me from shooting anything centerfire, because recoil is apparently transmitted through the skeleton to the back, and this might aggravate the injury. I've only been allowed to shoot rimfire guns. I don't know how well it's helped me retain my centerfire skills, but at least it's kept me shooting when nothing else would do!

I'll find out about centerfire shooting in May or June, when I hit the range after spinal fusion surgery in March. :D

Ky Larry
April 27, 2005, 10:13 PM
When I was in high school many years ago, some friends and I would spend available Saturday's at the local dump. Many bricks of .22 lr's and a lot of dead rats made us all better shots. Proper tecnique and concentration with a .22 will make you a better shot with any firearm, plus it's a lot of fun. :D

April 28, 2005, 07:49 AM
it's hard to beat a also learn the basics like sight picture, trigger control, breathing...not to mention how cheap it is to blast away for hours.


cracked butt
April 28, 2005, 08:35 AM
Will shooting with a .22lr pistol or rifle help you be a better shot with your other firearms?

If you can't hit an object at 100 yards with a good fitting 'adult' .22, you certainly won't be able to hit it with a centerfire. Conversely, if you can hit something with a .22, you can hit it with a bigbore.

R.H. Lee
April 28, 2005, 09:37 AM
Yes. I regularly pop golfballs at various distances with a Ruger MKII. It's good practice for sight alignment and trigger control. Plus it's way fun. :)

April 28, 2005, 03:22 PM
Yes. When I use to shoot my 44mag, I'd start developing a flinch. Lots of trigger time with my Ruger MKII has really helped.


April 28, 2005, 08:37 PM
Does anyone carry a 22 auto for CCW? I'm not looking for a comparison to larger calibers....just wondering if anyone does, and if they care to comment. I carried a Taurus PT-22 for a while when I wanted something tiny. Then along came the Keltec P32. It's even tinier. But the PT-22 is still a blast to shoot for fun, and as the cliche goes: I'd rather have it with me than no gun. :D It has also NEVER failed.

.22s are a great inexpensive tool to keep yourself sharp with the basics, as was said. For me they also let you relax your nerves over recoil. When I shoot a heavier recoiling weapon later, I find I have no trouble holding the grip more forcefully, yet I flinch less.

April 28, 2005, 10:18 PM

April 28, 2005, 11:20 PM
Does it help?

Sure it does! Shooting my CO2 pistol in the basement helps. Some months that's the only range time I get.

April 29, 2005, 12:24 AM
Can't speak for any particular individual but for myself I have two (2) Service Ace conversions which I believe helpful. I'd say the Service Ace is most helpful but other choices are better than none.

Looking at the record there are many both famous and infamous who certainly had the trigger time with a .22 and think or at least said it helped them.

April 29, 2005, 01:36 AM
Does it help?

Sure it does! Shooting my CO2 pistol in the basement helps.

Yep I agree - as much as 22 shooting has helped my marksmanship with larger calibers - practicing with air rifles and pistols has helped my 22 shooting!

Shooting my Beeman P3 air pistol and R7 air rifle for most of last winter has definitely made my 22 shooting that much better. The slow muzzle velocities of the air guns really teach you to stay on target!

April 29, 2005, 10:17 AM
Yes, it does help with trigger control and aiming, plus it's cheap and easy on your bod.

As far as controlling the flinch when firing more punishing weapons, I find it helps to remind myself that there will be plenty of time to flinch after I pull the trigger. :p

May 1, 2005, 10:30 PM
Thanks everyone.

I thought that would be the case, but I had heard some anectdotal evidence to the contrary.

I was mainly asking because of how rarely I can afford to shoot. I no longer belong to a range, and I have to drive well over an hour to get to the national forest where I normally shoot, so I only get out maybe 6-7 times a year. I don't like that arrangment because I do carry everyday, but I just can't afford to shoot more than that, since I would run out of ammo too quickly.

So I usually shoot quite a bit of .22lr when I shoot, trying to get as much trigger time as possible to make up for the lack of opportunities I have to shoot.

Ofcourse, I also do a bunch of dry fire at a small target on my wall when I am in my office.

Thanks again.


May 2, 2005, 11:13 PM
To get the most out of .22 time, get a gun that closely matches your C/F guns. I shoot a BuckMark a lot, but the single-action trigger doesn't help for the long trigger pull of a DA auto. I recently bought a Smith & Wesson model 34 revolver, and it has been a great help for cheap DA shooting. With the original grips, it also provides the same economical practice for a J-frame snub. There are also .22 conversions for most popular semi-autos, so you can shoot the actual lockwork you may carry at a much lower cost.

Jon Coppenbarger
May 2, 2005, 11:38 PM
I do not use it but I do know allot of others that use a 22 for small bore in the winter to keep up their skills for the summer highpower season.

Does going to a larger center fire round cause problems.
Yes it can and does. The most common effect you will experience is in a off hand position. Anticipation of recoil and noise has to be over come.
Some folks like myself feel that the noise increase along with the more powerfull recoil in a more or less unstable position is one of the leading causes for good shooter to have poor off hand scores on a consitant basis.
It really shows on some small bore shooters that convert to highpower for their off hand.
What myself and a few others feel to combat this you need or can try a few things.
#1The use of better ear protection to muffle out more noise will help overcome allot of this.
#2 Also the use of lighter bullets can also help with recoil that will also help this.
#3 After you have used either or both of the above and even if you do not. Try the ball and dummy practice in your off hand till you get that flinch out.
Take 5 dummie rounds and mix them in with 15 loaded rounds. have a friend put them in your rifle in a random order as you shoot off hand loading 1 shot at a time. you will see your self flinch or any other bad habits that you may have that you do not notice in practice.
It is a problem I see on allot of even experienced shooters.
Can it be cured? YES if you have the will power and knowlage to over come it.

May 3, 2005, 01:31 PM
I would recommend that you get a good gas operated airsoft pistol and then you can practice in your house with a "firearm" that actually recoils. This requires you to regain the front sight and reset the trigger as you come back on target for the next shot. They are accurate enough that you can shoot dime sized groups at 21 feet if all your basics are in order.

Alternatively you can use your carry piece, unloaded of course, with a laser system (I recommend BeamHit). You don't get the recoil but everything else is there. There are other laser systems, a thread is ongoing somewhere at the moment.

I use laser equipted firearms and air softs in my classes to prepare new students for the range experience.

NRA Training Coordinator

May 3, 2005, 02:32 PM
reinforce the fundamentals and this will lead to better shooting. but you have to practice good habits.

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