A .22 handgun for home self defense?

If youre going to choose a 22, then choose your weapon of choice wisely.

Id choose this little lead hose. :)


Otherwise, Id go with something a bit more realistic.
The question of a .22 rimfire as a self defense firearm again, reminds me of an incident a few years back when I was a RSA at a large municipal range. A loud "expert" was berating an elderly customer about using a .22 RF for self defense. His opinion was that when a miscreant was shot with a .22, all it would do was to P--- him off and he would take the .22 away and shove it where the sun don't shine. After hearing all this, I offered to allow the "expert" to go downrange a few feet and I would shoot HIM with the elderly gentlemans .22 pistol & see just how P---ed off he would be and if he still wanted to implant the pistol where the sun don't shine. Surprisingly, he refused to take me up on my offer.
Couldn't imagine why????
Another truism, a hit with a .22 short is better than a miss with a .44 magnum.
If you're going to recommend a 22, or anything else for that matter, you need to be honest with both yourself and whoever youre recommending it to. Guns arent a talisman, regardless of the caliber, and if you arent willing to put in the hard work to be at least somewhat "realistically" proficient with it, then all you really have is hope and luck, and basically, a talisman.

The answer here isnt the gun, its whos shooting it (as with any of them). If all you can realistically handle is a 22, then your prep work (and you will have to work at it) is at the very least, the same as anything else, and you do need to put in the same amount of hard work, and understand that you may need more, especially if you choose something thats really not appropriate for the job at hand.
Ronald Reagan and Jim Brady had opposite reactions to being shot with a 22.
The bullets that John Hinckley used were exploding "Devastator" bullets.

The bullet that hit Brady in the head exploded, likely saving his life because the damage to his brain localized. Had it been a lead roundnose bullet it would've penetrated through his brain, killing him.

The bullet that hit Reagan didn't explode.

Another bullet also hit a D.C. policeman and didn't explode.
I suggest a .22 LR revolver because clearing a stoppage in a .22 autoloader usually takes more time and effort than clearing a stoppage in a centerfire autoloader.

.22 LR is a long, skinny cartridge with a soft lead bullet.
My Dad is 85. His Colt Huntsman is his HD firearm of choice, as it is what he knows (he has owned it 60-odd years) and he can handle and shoot it well. It is very reliable with CCI Blazer ammo.

In his situation, I am ok with it.
In mine, no. I use a CZ75 SP-01.

Rimfires are notorious for being finicky, and a feeding jam, non-fire or stovepipe are no bueno when the chips are down and it’s you or him. Since you are already handicapping yourself with a very low powered round, at least make sure you don’t have a jam-O-matic gun/ammo combo like my TP-22 was with Federal Auto Match ammo this past week.

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As the guys posted; if it is all you can afford, all you can handle, etc. a .22 is better than nothing at all.

Stay safe.
I see a lot of ammunition companies are coming out with .22LR rounds meant for self defense. Some of the ballistics are pretty impressive. Maybe they know something we don't like a lot of people are buying .22's for the express purpose of using them for self defense only. I would not although .22 LR handguns are very appealing to me. a 13 shot Glock 21 and a 12 Gauge pump for the house seems better to me than any .22, although the Ruger 10/22 with a 25 round magazine has some appeal to recoil sensitive people.
I see a lot of ammunition companies are coming out with .22LR rounds meant for self defense. Some of the ballistics are pretty impressive. Maybe they know something we don't like a lot of people are buying .22's for the express purpose of using them for self defense only.
Ammo companies and YouTubers are marketers. Marketers can make Joe Biden look like God’s gift to mankind. Do a lot of your own testing and/or talk to the people who shoot a lot of people and who see a lot of lot of people shot before relying on commercials.
I would feel well armed with a 22 at home defense ranges. 22 long rifle can do a lot of damage to a person without doing too much damage to your house if you miss first shot.
I would not feel well-armed at all with a 22, unless I am in a conflict with a rodent. As far as damage to my house, that is what insurance and Lowe's is for.
If you're deadset on carrying a small rimfire then carry lots of reliable ammo. If possible, apply to face and repeat as necessary.

I have better choices, good luck with yours.
I think a 22 LR pistol or revolver would make a good HD weapon if a larger caliber were unmanageable. My 81 year old hands have advanced arthritis, I recently had to step down from 9mm. I went to a Ruger Security 380. It is manageable for me now. But it might not be in the future. I considered a 22LR pistol, and passed on it when I tried the 380 and found it workable. My experience has Been that at close range I am more accurate wi that e 380 than I was with the 9mm. I expect the same would be tru e if I wen to 22LR. So I might not get in a stopping shot with a 9mm, bu with a 22 I almost can’t fail if I put several round in a perp’s face. I am not suggesting that 22 is the perfect solution. I am saying it can beget the job done at close quarters, particularly if you have the presence of mind to hit the face. I have that.
If I was going to use a .22lr pistol, I'd have it stoked with Federal Punch. However, I'd rather have something like a Ruger 10/22 Compact. It's a lot more formidable caliber coming out of a rifle barrel.
I had a friend who kept a 10-22 loaded with 50 rounds of mini-mags by his bed and by his recliner. He was an elderly gentleman who had arthritis issues and felt that was his best choice. He could also hit the head of a match at 25 yards with those same rifles so I know he can make accurate hits. He did have a Smith and Wesson K frame .38 in his car, kitchen, and bathroom but wasn't as good with them due to the arthritis. He passed a few years ago and his son had a time cleaning up the piles of .22 LR ammo stored in coffee cans and shoe boxes.

I would not want to resort to that type of armament but if it came to it "run what you brung" as another friend says.
Rimfire cartridges can also be notoriously unreliable.

This x’s a lot larger number than my wife might think. I don’t have any rimfires that are as reliable as my centerfire firearms. Even if there is nothing to jam, revolvers still go ”click” from time to time. Why they never really took off beyond the little calibers, despite having been offered, in more potent calibers.

I was part of a group that had a range session where we got familiar with all types of crappy guns. The really low dollar stuff.

As I was loading up a tiny no name .22lr auto pistol with pink pearl plastic grips a friend jokingly asked what could you do with that in a fight?

The look on his face when i put all 5 in a nickle sized group at 3 yards showed the surprise i felt. I wasn't shooting slowly, I shot all the guns that night fast to see if they would malfunction.

That made me rethink how I felt about mouse guns.

Extrapolating that into full size .22lr pistol with a light and optic I can see that being effective in the right hands. Not my first choice for sure, but as I age it might be.