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Recommend a .22LR pistol for defensive purposes (I know, I know).

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by benEzra, Sep 4, 2007.

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  1. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 25, 2002
    Down East in NC
    I live in North Carolina, which sometimes tries hard to be the Massachusetts of the South. NC has a wierd regulation regarding its forests; if the forest is designated a "Game Land" (as many are), then the following idiotic rule applies:

    So if I'm in a designated "camping area," I can have my 9mm on my person (concealed or not; I have a CHL) and the AK in the tent or in the trunk and be legal, but if I take my kids out hiking or stargazing, I'm stuck with a .22LR pistol. (I'm assuming they meant "pistol" to mean "handgun," rather than "non-revolver handgun," but given the overall stupidity of the law, who knows.) I guess the reasoning is, I don't even bother to hunt during hunting season, but if I'm allowed to carry a 3913 Ladysmith compact 9mm while stargazing with my kids out in the national forest, I will presumably be overcome with the temptation to go deer hunting with it in the middle of the night.


    OK, to the problem at hand. If they still made Calico pistols, then a Calico .22LR with a 7" barrel would be the obvious choice, but since those are now hyper-expensive collectors' items, that's out of the question. An Intratec Tec-22 would be an option, if they actually worked, but reliability is important.

    So here's my question--what's an accurate, RELIABLE defensive pistol in .22LR? How are the Ruger .22 pistols as far as reliability goes? The Walther P22 with the 5" barrel looks like a nice choice as well; how is reliability for these pistols?

    Does anybody (other than Calico and Intratec) make a .22LR pistol or revolver that holds more than 10 rounds? Given that I am stuck with a short-barreled .22, the more the better.

    Size is not an issue; I don't care if it's as big as an S&W X-frame or an MP5 as long as it is a ".22-caliber pistol with barrel not greater than 7.5 inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition."

    Thanks for all the help.
  2. jeepmor

    jeepmor Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    Beretta tomcat for small stature.
  3. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    I think there are a few 7-10 shot da revolvers out there, s&w 617 with a 6" barrel and 10 shot cylinder. That would be my choice so that if you get one of those famous rim fire rounds that doesn't go off, another pull gets you a new one.
  4. Action_Can_Do

    Action_Can_Do Member

    May 28, 2005
    The Ruger mark 3s are very accurate and dependable. They're also a pain in the a** to take apart and clean.
  5. markmc753

    markmc753 Member In Memoriam

    Jul 3, 2006
    Firestorm: accurate, light, durable, easy to clean
  6. earplug

    earplug Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Colorado Springs
    If size and weight is not A issue, the Ruger would be my choice.
  7. Mr. Designer

    Mr. Designer Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    I have a S&W 617 ten shot and would recommend it to anyone. I don’t use it for self-defense but if you need a .22 for defense this would be a good, reliable choice.
  8. rchernandez

    rchernandez Member

    Aug 31, 2005
    Memphis, TN
  9. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Member

    Jul 15, 2007
    South-Western North Carolina
    I'll take my Taurus 94 loaded w/Velocitors. 9 shots of that is gonna do some damage.
  10. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    Taurus 94 if you can get it to be reliable. Lots of folks have success with these, although mine had warranty issues right out of the box. The chief benefit to these is they are j-frame sized and hold 9 shots. They are lightweight, and easy to shhot and carry. I'd load with stingers, velocitors, aguila super maximums, or similar. Use a 4 or 5 inch barrelled model to get as much velocity as possible. A S&W 617 is nice but heavy as a brick. S&W's new j-frame kit gun has a 3 inch barrel, and gives velocities about like a snub nose. Also S&W does not recommend hyper velocity for this aluminum gun. Their older steel models have only six shots. So that brings us back to the Taurus, despite the chances you may get at a lemon. At least you'll know it right out of the box and can address it then.
    Good luck,

  11. RandyB

    RandyB Member

    May 1, 2003
    Ruger Mark II or III,
    Browning Buckmark

    Both 10 rounders and shoot great.
  12. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    This is what I'd do, and for that exact reason. It isn't that .22 semiautos are unreliable- there's a large number that are VERY reliable. The problem is that rimfire rounds are themselves unreliable. Some just don't go off, and it takes longer to rack the slide than it does to just pull the trigger again. As accurate and reliable as a good .22 semiauto can be, I just won't trust one defensively because of that ammo unreliability.

    I'd find a 8 or 10 shot revolver with a 4-6" barrel.
  13. Gord

    Gord Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Behind enemy lines
    I'd go with a revolver also.

    My High Standard Sentinel cost me $50 and is freaky accurate out to 50 yards. 9-round cylinder, DA/SA, a little funky looking but it works. :)
  14. Sniper X

    Sniper X Member

    Jan 3, 2007
    New Mexico
    That is such a stupid law. Here in New Mexico as long as you aren't hunting with an illegal weapon for the hunt, or not hunting if you have no license, then you can carry any weapon you want in the forest. I carry a 1911 while bow hunting, or a .357 mag, and while camping. I sometimes carry an AR if I am hunting in an area where there are Coyotes. As long as it is OK to hunt/shoot in an area, I have a Gun there!

    On the .22. Any quality .22 like Ruger, or Beretta, or High Standard is great.
  15. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears

    I am quite familiar with this type of restriction.
    I work with physically limited folks, that have no other choice, than to use a
    .22 rim-fire for defensive purposes.
    Some do not have weak side hands/arms, some are under Doctors orders for NO recoil (but .22 rim-fire the exception) due to detached retina, neck/ back surgeries.

    -Is there a minimum barrel length in this restriction?
    Some places have a minimum of 4" barrel length, along with maximum (arrgghh! )
    If not, then the Beretta 21 A, simple matte finish is best for a BUG, or Deep Conceal.
    I/we do not recommend Stingers, instead for reliability the CCI high velocity loads in LRN .

    -Stay away from new MKIIIs. The top end is different and every one has caused problems. I, gun person, and these folks do not trust these.

    -OLDer guns, such as the Ruger MKI and MKII, are still best.
    We prefer for CCW, and the folks we deal with, and introducing new shooters"
    Standard Model.
    Easy to tote, conceal, plenty accurate, and once the loading is found, the fixed sights are rugged.
    CCI loads again and Win X22LR , are two loads that run the gun, and while not always the most accurate, accurate.

    Kids : let us hope it never comes to be, still one your kids might have to use this gun. Me being me, and others like me, consider the smallest person that might have to use the gun.
    Smallest not in a derogatory sense, just these Standard Models do not tire out someone as fast, and easier to shoot.

    -Buckmarks, are great! Triggers are better out of box.
    Again, the simple, 4" and something inch barrel.

    -Colt Woodsmans, High Standards, are two other very reliable and accurate guns.
    Even the "plinker" High Standard Dura-Matic, is very accurate.
    This one has thumbscrew, and real easy to take down.

    -Smith & Wesson 422, blue, 622 Steel.
    Older steel and alloy guns.
    The ones I prefer are the 4" model.
    It is kind of odd, seeing the barrel "underneath".
    Guns are extremely light, almost too light. Still one can forget they are CCW-ing these.
    These are accurate, and super easy to take down as well.
    This one was a Super great teaching tool, especially for kids .
    It became real popular for physically limited folks for CCW.
    Even those with hip surgeries, had no problem.

    I have taken lots of squirrels , rabbits with one. I do not handgun hunt with optics/glass. Just irons.

    -Revolvers : Model 18, (K frame) and the Jframe one 34, are proven!
    Might be hard to find, still be easier than a Colt .22 revolver.

    The 617 is a great gun, just it is big, and heavy. For CCW, and again smaller persons, the K and J frame are suggested.

    -NAA Mini Revolver, is always good.
    Last ditch effort with a dope head in the woods.

    With a NAA, 21A for backups to whatever other choice, one can easily have 3 guns in the woods, concealed.

    Proven, by me and others.
  16. Tiny in Ohio

    Tiny in Ohio Member

    Feb 12, 2006
    Why not look at a Ruger Single Six Convertable, with the .22LR and .22MAG cylinders? A quick cylindar swap, and you go from a plinking gun to a moderate self defense round. .22 caliber does not exclude the magnum, as far as I can tell. And I would rather have 6 magnums than 10 long rifles.
  17. ceetee

    ceetee Member

    Sep 7, 2003
    I can't add much to the discussion except to say, "Don't forget the New York reload." Spare magazines are all well and good, but some .22 ammo has inconsistant recoil that can lead to stovepipe stoppages. A spare pistol on the belt of a friend may make all the difference. This can be negated by carrying a brace of revolvers...
  18. dhoomonyou

    dhoomonyou Member

    Mar 12, 2003
    S&W 317 kit gun
    8 shots of 22LR, 3 inch barrel.
  19. woad_yurt

    woad_yurt Member

    Aug 23, 2007
    36° 31' 47.1742" X -87° 21' 34.0301"
    Have you thought about a DA H&R revolver, like the 949 or 922 series? They're cheap, reliable and accurate. I have 923 (nickeled 922) with a 6" barrel that loves Velocitors and is very, very accurate. If you browse online auction sites, you can find one for $100-$150. For $150-$200, you could have one that is in like-new condition. After shooting thousands of rounds with them, I've never had a malfunction. They have a 9 round cylinder, too. My friend has a Walther .22 semi-auto and it jams enough to be a bother, no matter what ammo we've tried. Check out the old H&R revolvers. I wish they'd make them again.
  20. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Deep in the Ozarks
    I gather from the wording of the law, you don't need a concealed weapon -- you can carry openly. So I'd say forget about concealment. A Ruger or Browning would do just fine.

    If you're worried about the reliability of rimfire ammo, then a revolver would be the ideal choice -- mine is a Colt Officer's Model Target.
  21. arkangel06

    arkangel06 Member

    May 2, 2007
    south O.N. canada
    i sudgest a rugar mk 2 or 3 the only problem with then is miss fires happen some times maby 20% of the time so like vern said a revolver would be nice a rugar doubble action or somthing like that
  22. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    I love my neos. But I have to agree on the revolver statement. Get a Smith 617 with a 6" barrel 10 shot and a nice holster. Then get the fastest ammo you can find out there to put in it. CCI Stinger or Rem Yellow Jackets.


    Jul 10, 2007
    try out a Berret Neos 10 rounds , 4"6"or 8" barrel ambi safety , sweet shooter
  24. Snapping Twig

    Snapping Twig Member

    Jul 7, 2007
    Ruger or S&W revolver, defense being your need. I have and absolutey love, a Mk II in SS with a 5.5" bull barrel, but on the odd chance you get a dud, you'd need to train to clear it under pressure. If you train, which you should since this is a defense exercise, then a Mk II would be a good selection.

    Ammo selection should be a heavy bullet and TC shape if possible. You'll lose velocity in a handgun, so the ultra light hollow points might not be as effective. A flat faced slug of some weight would penetrate best.
  25. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 25, 2002
    Down East in NC

    No minimum length, just 7" maximum. Good point about having more than one.

    Tiny in Ohio--unfortunately the laws specifies short, long, or long rifle only, which rules out .22 mag. Otherwise, that'd be the logical choice.

    Good point about revolvers and ammo issues, all. I was thinking in terms of pistol reliability, but I'm a centerfire guy so I wasn't even thinking about the ammunition side of things.

    I think I'm going to get clarification in writing that "pistol" means "handgun" for the purpose of the law, to ensure that a revolver would be OK.

    I'm also going to be writing my representatives about the silliness of this law. If the goal is to prevent poaching, a "no discharge of firearms" rule would be a lot more enforceable than a possession ban on non-pistols or non-.22's. Gunshots and/or dead deer in the back of the truck are a LOT more conspicuous than a 9mm carried concealed, as well.


    Thanks to everyone for the helpful replies. I am familiar with the Ruger, and have shot a stranger's S&W .22LR revolver once at the range (awesome little gun), but had never heard of a lot of the others. The Taurus certainly sits at a better price point than the S&W, judging by what they're both going for on Gunbroker. :eek:
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