The Benefits of .22 LR

By , June 22, 2009 3:52 pm

The .22 LR handgun is often looked down upon. Many people claim that the .22 LR cartridge, a least in a handgun, is “pointless”, “ineffective”, or “a waste”. Still more believe that a .22 LR pistol has only very limited use for training purposes.

In reality, .22 LR handguns have much more versatility and use. For starters, a .22 LR handgun is close to perfection for training. Due to the low recoil and noise, a new shooter will not develop a flinch, or other bad behaviors, if they start off with a .22. These bad habits are extremely difficult to get rid of — it is much better to prevent them from developing in the first place.

But that is only the beginning of the benefits of a .22 LR handgun. One of the most compelling reasons why every shooter should own a .22 LR handgun is the extremely low cost of ammunition. For the price of 50 rounds of larger caliber ammunition (9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, etc.), you can buy 200-250 rounds of high-quality .22 LR ammunition. These extreme savings can easily pay for the cost of an accurate and reliable .22 LR handgun in just a few thousand rounds. And you will have had four to five times the amount of live-fire practice, which will help improve your shooting skills immensely even if you are already an experienced shooter.

The huge cost savings for .22 LR ammunition is even more important due to the rapid overall rise in cost for all ammunition we have seen recently. Too many people are not heading to the shooting range as often as they would like because it simply costs far too much to run more than a couple dozen rounds through their larger-caliber handguns. I have a hunch that the sales and popularity of .22 LR handguns will skyrocket in the near future. Being able to shoot hundreds of rounds for just a few bucks is a very strong driving force.

So we’ve established that a .22 LR handgun is a wonderful training aid for shooters of all skill levels, and that .22 LR ammunition is dirt cheap. What else is a .22 good for? Loads of fun! Shooting a .22 LR handgun, be it for informal plinking or more serious target practice at the range, is simply a great time.

If you are coming to realize the benefits that owning a good, accurate, and reliable .22 LR handgun offers, you may be wondering which models are the best in your price range. That’s where comes in — to let you know what is out there, and what is good or not so good. Here you’ll find information, reviews, links to articles, and much more about the best (and not so best) .22 LR handguns out on the market. You’ll also find a public forum where you can talk directly to others about their thoughts and experiences with .22 LR handguns.

91 Responses to “The Benefits of .22 LR”

  1. Joe Hollinger says:

    I am new to your website. What I have seen on this visit is quite impressive and I am sure that I will return frequently. I used a Walther P22 on the range when I was in training for my concealed carry permit.

    The Walther P22 really impressed me. It is light in weight, small in size, and shoots consistently. At the time I took CCW training I hadn’t fired a handgun for many years. I took to this gun like I had been shooting it for a long time.

    I have not heard, or read, of many folks using this type of weapon for concealed carry. I wonder why this is?

    Keep up the good work.

    Joe Hollinger
    God Bless America

  2. CoachRick says:

    Joe, you will come across folks who believe anything smaller than a Desert Eagle 50 cal just won’t do. There is a lively discussion in the Beretta U22 Neos section regarding various calibers for CC. I don’t foresee carrying my P22 since I have a Taurus TCP 380 and a Glock 26 9mm for that purpose(The TCP is a fair bit smaller than the P22). Having said that, I would certainly choose the P22 with appropriate ‘defense’ rounds rather than run bare.

  3. Whaya "Wolf" says:

    As far as fear of shooting a .22 is not the gun a new user should go with. My first time shooting was a Remington 870 12 ga mag. had a 21 inch slug bbl. That took the fear of recoil out for good. the second gun I shot was a Taurus .357 had a 2 inch bbl. and the 3rd was a Colt .45lc then I went to a .22 I can pick up any firearm and shoot with out fear and shakes.

  4. Whaya "Wolf" says:

    As far as using one for ccw it would prevent robbery as long as it makes a pop your good. But if someone is trying to kill you or if there on meth it wont do a thing. I live in the heart of Missouri basically meth capital of America. I own a Mosin Nagant rifle a 12 ga bolt. My Mom keeps a 357 mag on her. and my dad has a 12 ga mag and we still get robbed anything from gas getting stole to tools. But that’s what we get for having a ranch by a trailer park.

  5. Dharma says:

    Whaya, I couldn’t disagree more. i tried starting a friend (who has small hands and had never fired a gun before) out with a 9mm Glock. The experience was so unpleasant I wasn’t sure I’d ever get her to the range again. Now after several sessions starting with a .22 and then bulding to a .380 she is now in the market for a 9mm that fits her hand and loves to shoot. It sounds like you come from an environment where shooting is relatively common and started at a realatively young age so that may be a factor in your experience.

  6. Kiki says:

    I need help with selecting a .22. I am a federal officer and would like to practice more but the $$$ bullets is just to high.
    We carry the PK 2000. My dad told me today to get a .22 which is a great gun to practice. PLEASE help.

  7. Dharma says:

    @ Kiki,
    I can find no reference to this model of firearm. You might want to recheck that.

  8. Kiki says:


    I meant the HK P2000

  9. Dharma says:

    The .22 that best mirrors the form factor, controls and ergonomics of you HK would be the Sig Mosquito. It’s about 90% the size of a P226 and has a standard tactical rail like your HK and should handle about the same. I’ve fired a few rounds through one of these and found it quite a nice shooter and a good mimic of a full size polymer frame auto. MSRP is $390.00 so a street cost of $350.00 should be an easy find with it possibly going as low as 310-325 at a gun show.

  10. Kiki says:

    that is such a big help…thanks so much.

  11. Dharma says:

    No problem.

  12. Brion says:

    Good Day,
    I’ve just purchased my mosquito 22 and just love it. I’m shocked to how loud it is for a 22…My question is can I convert this base 22 to a 9mm,40,45 cal,or 357 and add a supressor or is it the other way around? Im just learning more about guns. I hear I can get a conversion kit to shoot stronger ammo or even add a suppresor with an adaptor attached. My gun was on sale for $269. I prefer the cheapest route to add a supressor.

  13. Dharma says:

    @Brion If I’m understanding you wright it’s the other way round. You can get conversion kits to change a heavier caliber to .22 to make for cheaper live training but changing a .22 to a heavier caliber (other than .22 magnum) ain’t gonna happen. as to adding a suppressor that’s completely doable. Thing is it’s a royal pain as suppressors are ATF regulated so the federal paperwork is a pain. I’d also add that there is no “cheap” rout to adding suppressors as a low cost one (of good quality) is going to run you around $500 for a low end model.

  14. Brion says:

    ok….Well thats no problem on price….Im just curious to see what brand or type of supressor can I attach to the base model Sig sauer mosquito 22…I’ve been told I have to get the threaded barrel but wanted to see if I can avoid buying that conversion kit and just buy a supressor that will attach to the mosquito base model? I didnt buy the threaded barrel version of the Mosquito b/c it didnt look right if I wanted to carry it around without a silencer…

  15. Anglo says:

    Stay away from the SIG Mosquito. Many malfunctions and as I have posted previously, the safety is not a good training safety as is the 1911 frame. Balance is good and accuracy is good. WE us 22 pistols for training of new comers to the shooting world or those who own center fire and can’t afford ammunition. As far as the 22LR for defense, doesn’t bother me one bit. Using CCI Stingers, they are deadly. I do however, like the SIG 522 rifle. I have two and they are the best of the 22LR tactical types. Very accurate and shoot 100 yards at cocanuts which are excellent 100 yard targets with open sights. I Use Aim point III red dots on my SIG 522’S. Just thought that I would throw that in as I do not like the Mosquito and would like to get rid of it.

  16. pat says:

    Didn’t the nightstalker kill all of his victims with a 22 handgun. sounds pretty lethal to me.

  17. matt aronson says:

    I used to own a S&W 22A with a red dote scope; it was extremely easy to shoot, little recoil and lots of fun; also had large caliber hand guns but since sold everthing except an old Winchester ’94(1911 vintage)32-40 caliber.
    think I’ll go back to a 22, either the S&W or Walther p22; incidentally, do not underestimate the fire power of a 22 hollow point for close range protection; I wouldn’t want one of those babies floating around by brain.

  18. mitch says:

    A .22 is not the most powerful gun in the world. But as far as ccw .shot placement is all that really matters.If someone were to fire a large caliber gun @ me and miss. I could shoot them several times all about the head,neck,chest area.

  19. mitch says:

    I’m a big guy that can handle large caliber handguns. However I prefer 9mm or .380. I’m big on second shot recovery.

  20. Ber Smith Browning says:

    I have been using .22’s most of my life. Starting shooting with my Dad and Uncles in 1959 with a single shot .22 rifle and a Ruger Single Six pistol. Still have them both and fire them on a regular basis. Have always enjoyed the .22 on the range and in the wild and own other .22’s as well. Very versatile gun. LIke your web site too!

  21. john says:

    what most people don’t know is if you ever played pinball once you pull the handle back and the ball strikes an object it goes every where. The same goes for the see when you hit the ribs the small bullet bonces around much like pin ball and destroy all major organs

  22. Frank M Darden says:

    I have been a big caliber handguner for many years (.45 ACP, .357 Mag., .44 Mag. etc.) but started out in my preteens with a .22 rifle. Recently, due to a desire for shooting practice several times a week, I have put my 50-year-old Remington .22 LR bolt action back into action. I have purchased a S & W pistol, S & W MP 15-22, and a Ruger.22 Security Six. I shoot hundreds of inexpensive .22 Cal. rounds per range visit, and then shoot a few rounds through my bigger caliber handguns and long guns. The transfer of skill is great. I just have to remember to not get sloppy on my grip when changing from .22 to higher calibers with much more recoil. .22s will become more and more popular with the dramatic increase in ammo prices and as baby boomers who grew up shooting retire and have to watch our budgets.

  23. Clay says:

    I live in the state of Maine.I don’t see myself ever shooting at another person.If I needed to in my home,I think my 870 with a load of turkey shot would do the trick at 20 feet!I want a 22. auto handgun to carry deer hunting,so if I see a rabbit I can pop it, and still have some thing for the pot,rather than blasting it with my .308!These guys that think they need a small mortar hanging off their hip watch too many action movies.Trust me,if anyone points a gun… ANY gun at me it would be like,HEY MAN IT’S YOUR WORLD!!

  24. lohman says:

    Hello I belive obama does not want this site so you will all be convucted of felony and obama will rule. Obama will rule every budy e lse is going to die ha ha ha hah

  25. jimbo says:

    This is a great site. I shoot mostly .22’s and have a few pistols and rifles and will buy more .22’s. They are enjoyable and affordable. I have 2 larger caliber pistols and will probably trade 1 in. I like to remind people at the range when they comment on the “Stopping” power that we are not all training for an assault.Shooting can be a hobby.But unlike the movies the appearance of ANY firearm in a situation is met with the same reaction-Get the hell outta there! So shoot for fun don’t practice killing.

  26. tambo says:

    .22lr kill big freakin gators as seen on the history channel. if it can kill these beasts, it surely can kill us softies.

  27. cheyenne says:

    I think my 22cal calico semi-auto with 100 round capacity would do just fine against any intruder

  28. Honestd says:

    Placement is still the key. Practice, practice,practice A group of .22 stingers will do the job. Be good enough so that if he hears the shot, he wasn’t the target.

  29. Thomas says:

    Have a Walther .22 and can get off 10 rounds in 2 seconds.Stingers are the only way to go.

  30. Warren says:

    Hi Cheyenne, I didn’t even know of such a gun till you mentioned it, where did you get that? Is it still available? (Doesn’t look like it online.)

  31. justin says:

    Warren, Calicos can be very difficult to locate. You can search for Calico dealers at the Calico website. Another option would be to search on GunBroker.

  32. Don says:

    I work in executive protection and have always worked with a 22. I found out early that problems come within 15 to 25 feet and a double tap to the head beats a 9 mm to the arm anytime.

  33. mraldnyt says:

    Hello just wanna share my first ever 22 caliber pistol called tanfoglio 22 pocket. You could say that I am a convert. After using 45, 40 and 9 for many years I ended up having a 22. Fun shooting, cheap ammo very reliable as long as you used high velocity ammo. My ammo of choice the cci stinger. No matter what anyone says its a good self defense weapon.

  34. 111Pete says:

    I have a Ruger MK111 10/45 Hunter which is pricey but one great pistol and a lot of fun to shoot. While not a CCW it is a very accurate weapon have and have shot all grades of 22LR through it with no issues. However, my preference is cci ammo from a cleanliness perspective.

  35. Vincent Carpenter says:

    Nagant 7.62 gas-seal, PA-63 9×18, M1911A1 .45. Just bought a .22 LR phoenix. Cheap? yes. But NO recoil, can clear a 10-round clip in 3 seconds and hit the target

  36. Big Jim says:

    I own a walter p22 which I don’t carry for protection having a 38 snub nose and a kel-tech for that but wouldn’t hesitate to go against armed opponent with the walther. Accurate, reliable, and shot placement is what counts. Any self defense handgun has to be something you are comfortable with.

  37. jason says:

    i own a 22lr bobcat beretta. i lvowe this gun so much because of its uniquness, very cheap to fire, accurate and i think it could still take someone down especially after seeing the bottles that i shoot at the outdoor range with. my other 22lr gun is a ruger mark2 target pistol which i also love. i have a 45acp 1911 colt which is my bay but i dont even fire it because its costing alot of cash to fire just 50 rounds when i could be outside all day with the 22lr ammo.

  38. Noel says:

    you guys don’t know use are living!! I am from Northern Ireland and gun laws are so strict its getting to the stage people are being put off shooting. id love to live somewhere were i could just shoot all the time.

  39. gmaine says:

    i got a 38 special revolver and it shoots nice, very good bullet cartridge, AND i have a 9mm automatic Mac 11, very powerfull gun!!! plus i got 4 clips for it and i have over 400 bullets from 1 year supply, guns are great!

  40. women@arms says:

    i am looking for a .22 to use in my training classes, not just for adult beginners, but for a youth as well. Which .22 would best fit in a youths hand?

  41. OperatorJoe says:

    A few months back I purchased the XD 9mm. First time ever shooting a hand gun. I wasn’t that accurate on it. Then I purchased a Phoenix Arms 22 which I shoot and liked the recoil on it. Traded my 22 with my Dad for a Ruger 22/45. Shot it today at the range and boy am I happy I have it. This gun is accurate as ever. I could hit targets way out. My patterns were pretty tight as well. Has very little recoil or sound from it. I like the larger size of it. I’m seriously thinking about trading my XD 9mm for another 22 that is full sized. At home I don’t need the 9mm for home protection that is what my pistol grip shotgun is for.

  42. Mitch Slap says:

    I’m what you would call your typical bad ass giant. I’m about 7’3″, all muscle (mostly in the gut area). I used to prefer carrying two 12 ga autos; mostly because they fit perfectly in my giant hands and they were large and dangerous like me, however I have switched to two .25 pistols. My trigger fingers barely fit in the trigger guards, but the ammo is so cheap and I’m so deadly accurate with them that there’s no need to lug around anything larger. Plus I’m big on 2nd, 3rd and 4th shot recovery.
    I enjoy .22’s as an appetizer before eating 50 cal. BMG’s for breakfast. Oh….what were we talking about? The benefits of .22LR?? Well, I’m sure everyone reading this appreciates my two cents anyway.
    Thanks you little Mitch!

  43. Alejandro says:

    I have a glock 22, I live in Chile and like many others, because of the cost of ammo (here the prices is a madness) I am looking for a .22 cal handgun that wieght and feels in my hand like my glock. would you help me. Thanks.

  44. capgun says:

    To women@arms, I would recommend the Beretta U22 Neos. It is only 31 ozs, great style and the right size grips. It is a little barrel heavy so it compensates for smaller wrists.
    It is the third one at the top of the page.

  45. Veegee says:

    is it true that the .22 short will eventually be phased out and no one will manufacture .22 short ammo soon?

  46. Mark says:

    I reciently purchased the S&W M&P .22 pistol, and after @ 500 rnds, I can say it is a great pistol to start or continue training with. Not as small in the handel as the walther p22, with all the look and feel as the M&P 9. I love to shoot it.

  47. karl says:

    noticed no one has brough up the new colt 1911 22 bought one love it over a thousand rounds so far not missed a beat

  48. billynauert says:

    hi iv been looking for a new 22lr semi automatic that is in a $300-$400 price range reliable,accurate,and easy to clean any suggestoins but not a walther p22 ive had bad experianses and no glocks those are all plastic

  49. billynauert says:

    im considering a standard ruger mark 3 or a 1911 22 whitch do you recomend

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