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When A .22 is Better than a .380 or .32

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by LynnKCircle, Mar 29, 2004.

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  1. LynnKCircle

    LynnKCircle Member

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    I offer this for your consideration: with any handgun under .40, shot placement is as important (if not more so) than caliber. (The assumption is that a .45, for example, hitting in the center of a person's thigh might well break the bone and disable him, whereas a smaller caliber in the same area likely won't slow him down at all.)

    (Also note I am NOT suggesting carrying a mouse gun when you have the alternative of carrying a larger caliber. As a Texas CHL holder, I carry a .45 in an IWB holster whenever possible. But sometimes during really hot weather that becomes impractical, and so I need something far smaller and more concealable.)

    It is far more difficult to shoot a mouse gun accurately than it is a larger handgun. Therefore, it stands to reason that it will take far more practice to become proficient with a diminutive handgun than with a service pistol.

    If someone is flush with money, cost of ammunition is no issue, so of course he should buy the largest caliber he can comfortably shoot in a small gun. In that case there is no argument -- a larger bullet will generally beat a smaller one any day of the week, and someone with money to burn is limited only by his time available to practice.

    BUT, for the rest of us (like me), ammo costs is very much a consideration in how much we can practice. I can afford to practice for hours with .22 ammo, whereas the same amount of money burned might buy me half a box of .45 ammo. If the choice is between .22, .25, .32, or .380, I think it can be argued that it's better to hit what you aim at with a .22 than miss (or almost miss) what you're shooting at with a .380. Therefore, I think a reasonable case can be made for carrying a .22 as a pocket gun -- again, if and only if you cannot afford the large amount of center fire ammo needed to become proficient with it.

    A lot has been made of the greater reliability of centerfire ammo over rimfire. My own experience has been that high quality rimfire ammo such as CCI Stingers is as reliable as any centerfire ammo -- with one caution. Rimfire is more susceptible to oil contamination than centerfire ammo, so after cleaning and lubricating, you have to very careful to ensure there's no excess leaking into your magazine from a lubricated action. I've carried a magazine of .22 Stingers for three months in a Taurus PT22, then fired it off without a hitch at the range. With proper maintenance my Taurus PT22 was 100% reliable, too, at least for the first couple of hundred of rounds or so. Once it got pretty dirtied up, it tended to hiccup, but I cannot imagine ever shooting more than one mag in a defensive situation, so that's not an issue. (Either the bad guy will be down or have gone away, or I'll be dead and no longer have any care about reliability).

    But the Taurus PT22 couldn't be carried in a tight jeans pocket without seriously printing through the cloth, so I sold it and got an NAA Black Widow with .22lr/.22 magnum cylinders. That little gun limits me to five rounds in an emergency but again, I figure either those five will decide the situation in my favor or I won't be in a position to worry about it.

    With the .22lr cylinder, I've been able to spend hours practicing, until I am confident of my ability to hit what I'm aiming at, at ten yards. (Again, I figure if the threat is more than ten yards away, my best odds arer to avoid it entirely, so the furthest I practice is ten yards.) I've proven that the .22 magnums hit two inches higher at that distance so I know how to adjust the site picture.

    So again, this is the claim I'm tossing out for discussion: shot placement is more important than caliber in a tiny handgun. A well-placed .22 magnum beats an ill-placed .380. Of course, I expect a lot of disagreement, but that's the fun of it!
     
  2. pauli

    pauli Member

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    i agree completely with your last two paragraphs. there are a *lot* of sayinsg about the last one... "a .22 in the hand beats a .44 in the bush" or something like that. (oh my. it's a double entendre with a switched speaker... oops!)

    i also agree about running away from someone far enough away, though i'd lean towards 15 yards instead of 10 - someone heading towards you is going to cover either distance real quick.

    i think you'll get a LOT of disagreement about using .40 as the cut off though!
     
  3. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    Yup what you got is better than what you don't. That said I'd rather buy a 380 and a similar 22 (like say the bersa/firestorm guns), train with the 22 and carry the 380.
    Yup especially with statements like:
    Did you know that the likelihood of penetrating and damaging large solid structures (like bones) is dependent on kinetic energy not momentum? 9mm usually has more kinetic energy than .45 in its self-defense loadings. 9mm is actually more likely to break the guys leg if it hits bone. On the other hand soft tissue damage tends to scale better with momentum so I'd bet on .45 for wounding.
     
  4. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Agreed that 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 .22lr in the chest would stop all but the most determined/insane attacker, BUT- doesn't the 22lr suffer significantly from shorter barrel length? What would be the minimum barrel length for SD?
     
  5. Mr. Mysterious

    Mr. Mysterious Member

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    I like shooting .22's, but they won't be finding their way into a self-defense role for me anytime soon.

    Now, if you only own a .22 it is better than nothing for self defense.
     
  6. Majic

    Majic Member

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    The hit ratio with the .22lr makes it viable. Faster shots can gotten off accurately due to the extremely low recoil. In the case of you Black Widow the .22mag would be the best choice as you will have the advantage of a jacketed bullet at a higher velocity.

    With the .45acp having somewhere around twice the weight of the 9mm don't rule out it's mass to not break bones.
     
  7. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    Mass doesn't break bones. Mass sits on a scale. Momentum, force, energy, etc break bones. In any case I didn't say that .45 wouldn't break a bone, just that despite what you may think, 9mm may actually be better at it. I've done enough hard structure analyses to back this assertion up.
     
  8. arinvolvo

    arinvolvo Member

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    22 is the perfect SD caliber, when being attacked by tin cans.:neener:
     
  9. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    There's a big case to be made for training with a .22 in the same form factor as your larger-caliber carry guns. For example, I often carry a Glock 23, and I've bought an Advantage Arms .22LR kit for it, which I use often for extended training. This duplicates the sights, trigger pull, handling, etc. of the carry gun, and means that I don't have to use as much .40 ammo - just enough to remain comfortable with the sight picture, recoil, etc.

    Similarly, my BUG is usually a .38 snubnose revolver - either a Colt Cobra or a S&W 442/642. The S&W 317 is a J-frame .22LR revolver which effectively duplicates the 442/642 for training purposes. For those carrying a Taurus 85/605 snubby, the Taurus 94 does the same thing.

    However, one does have to shoot enough with full-power ammo to remain comfortable with its accuracy, recoil, etc.
     
  10. Penforhire

    Penforhire Member

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    I follow some of your logic but the practice-price incentive is slight if compared to 9 mm. I can get 9 mm FMJ's for between 5.5 and 7 cents a round on sale, not just Wolf either. Seems to me I can shoot 9 mm until my hand blisters almost as cheaply as shooting Stingers or MiniMags.

    Now I know you're not comparing to 9 mm. So back on topic, just how many rounds is necessary for training? Unless you're shooting for fun the price of ammo should not be a big deal. Many of those mouse guns have a limited life anyway. And for self-defense the price of ammo should be last on the list of priorities.
     
  11. LynnKCircle

    LynnKCircle Member

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    First, thanks to all who responded. It's been a great learning experience. A couple of comments to things which were mentioned: In Houston I can buy CCI Blazer 9mm for five bucks a box of 50. That's cheaper than anything else I've seen advertised on the web or in Shotgun news. But it's still five times the cost of good (not target or Stinger grade) .22 lr which I can buy for ten bucks a brick of 500 (Remington Gold Bullet solids.)

    Although family and home repairs have kept me off the firing range for a month, I usually like to go every week when possible and every other week if not. I usually fire something on the order of 200-300 rounds each session. So, if I fire one box of Wolf or CCI Blazer 9mm and 5 boxes of .22 LR, I've spend about ten bucks on ammo each session. If I'd fired all CF, I would have been looking at something closer to thirty bucks. When you have a wife, a teenage daughter, and a dog depending on your income, that makes the difference between really getting in practice or not.

    As to how much practice is enough -- as far as I'm concerned it's never enough. That's one of the reason I bought the Marvel conversion unit for my .45 (and that IS one great unit!). It's been great , especially when shooting at 25 yards.

    Now, I didn't keep track of how many rounds I put through the Taurus PT22, though I'd guess it around 1000 before I parted with it. At that time it still looked and functioned as if brand new. I am certain I could shoot the NAA Stainless Black Widow for a couple of hours a day for the rest of my life and the gun will still be going strong when I'm in my grave (OK, the retaining pin on the cylinder pin might go, but NAA will replace that for freebies if it ever happens.)

    BUT the choices which are right for me might not be for you. That's what's great about the United States -- we each really ARE free to make different choices about a lot of things.

    Good shooting, all.
     
  12. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    I have trained and worked with many shooters who are disabled and/or handicapped. Many of them have significantly reduced arm and upper body strength/mobility, which makes a "normal" recoiling handgun a serious problem for them. Most autopistols are also out, because they can't help "limp-wristing" them.

    I've found that for many, a .22LR snubby or "kit gun" is an ideal weapon. I teach them slowly and carefully, and make sure that the gun gets an action job so that the trigger pull is as smooth as possible. I try to get them to shoot at least 5,000 rounds (yes, five thousand!) before they consider themselves "good" with it. The last thousand are spent in a fun way... I take ping-pong balls and roll them along the ground, 5-10 yards in front of them. I tell them that when they can hit a rolling ping-pong ball at that distance, nine times out of ten, they're ready to rely on a .22 for defence. I also teach them to use a round that will penetrate (e.g. the CCI Velocitor), which means weight is important: and I teach them to shoot for the facial area, ideally between the upper lip and the eyebrows.

    Many of them get good enough that they can empty an 8- or 9-round cylinder into such a target at 10 yards in less than 2 seconds. I would NOT like to be a mugger attacking one of them... :uhoh:
     
  13. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    In regards to 'cheaper to shoot more', shooting more does not necessarily make good training. Practicing smart is the key, something I read somewhere said said to make every bullet have a purpose even when practicing.

    Besides, it's your life... should be worth a case or two of ammo ;-).

    That being said, any gun is certainly better than nothing.
     
  14. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    i know this is an old tired worn out saying but it hasnt met its match yet so here goes..................

    better to be missed by a .45 than hit with a .22
     
  15. Penforhire

    Penforhire Member

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    The flaw is the assumption a .45 will miss when a .22 wouldn't. But the gun in your hand is worth your entire armory back home...
     
  16. nemesis

    nemesis Member

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    I live in an area where it remains hot and humid year round. We are on the same latitude as Mazatlan, Mexico.

    I never, ever leave home without a gun and I carry everywhere, including work and Church.

    I carry a .45 ACP.



    I don't buy the argument that its sometimes too hot to carry a gun and I do not seek the tactical coolness of carrying twenty-two's in my pocket. The only place that may be too hot to carry a gun is at the nude beach on South Padre Island and there's only one place I can think of where you can put your twenty-two and have it out of sight.

    Many seek to strengthen arguments justifying their choice of marginal weapons and unusual methods of carry for defensive purposes but hoping that your .22 will save your life is not a viable defense strategy.
     
  17. LynnKCircle

    LynnKCircle Member

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    Good for you! I assume that unlike a lot of us other folks, you don't risk losing your job by carrying a gun.
     
  18. oldgold

    oldgold Member

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    Shheeess, the old '.45 rules' argument. Doesn't anyone ever read Evan Marshal's books? The best pistol round for one shot stops is the 125gr .357 period. Now it doesn't have to be from a revolver since we have the .357 sig and 9x23 auto rounds that are the same or similar velocities. In stopping power the .45acp is way down the list. Velocity seams to be the key to massive destruction/disruption of tissue.

    That being said, a handgun is really a poor stopper in most any portable caliber. When your in the soup it's very hard to hit with compared to a long gun like say a short shotgun, but it is definately better than a sharp stick!

    It's a shame that SAAMI specs for the 9mm are set so low. Originally the nine was a HOT round that would easily match the .357. It was downloaded in the us after WW2 because of all the Italian junk Gislenti's that were brought back by the G.I.'s.

    Not only my humble opinion, but also supported by experts.

    Thanks for letting me vent, Mean no disrespect for the old .45 warhorse.
    Just like the real facts to be known...

    Goldy
     
  19. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    OF course we do.
    Most of us can really appreciate a good work of fiction. :)


    Oh I guess that would explain the mad dash of Police Departments and Military Agencies flocking to re-arm themselves. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Majic

    Majic Member

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    If everyone is to believe all the so call reports then why are so many companies still producing handguns chambered in .45acp?
    ....And what agency today still has .357 magnums in the holsters? How many companies chamber their handguns in 9x23? Why hasn't the .357sig over taken the .40SW?
    Crunching numbers is fine, but just don't think everyone will buy into the idea. If all these books were right then we should have only 3 or 4 defensive handguns firing just 2 or 3 calibers instead of all the choices we have on the market today.
     
  21. LynnKCircle

    LynnKCircle Member

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    "In stopping power the .45acp is way down the list"
    -----------------

    That's true if you stick to fmj. But .45 hollowpoints such as Remington Golden Sabers are listed as 96% one-shot-stops. Even so the differences between 9mm and .45 are so close there really are none for practical purposes. However, there are a couple of reasons why others and myself have returned to 1911 .45's after years of shooting and carrying other guns and calibers.

    1) The 1911 .45's shape makes it one of the largest handguns which can comfortably be carried concealed. I used to carry a Taurus PT99, which is simply an improved Beretta 92 with precisely the same size and outline. It was never very comfortable even when I was much thinner, and became impossible once I'd become a fat man. Yet, I can still comfortably carry a 1911 .45 in an IWB holster.

    2) The 1911 .45's trigger remains the one which for most people may be fired most rapidly and accurately, even when under stress. Yes, there are smaller 9mm guns out there which carry as many rounds as the maximum 9 for a single-stack .45. But they are far more difficult to shoot rapidly and accurately.

    It the end, of course, it becomes a matter of personal preference. For many others and myself, that choice remains a 1911-style .45.

    Now, having said all of that, I still think an NAA Black Widow with five rounds of .22 magnum beats nothing by a country mile. When it is simply impossible to carry anything else with any degree of comfort, then the NAA Black Widow is a true ace in the hole.
     
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