.22 for Home Defense

I am curious on other peoples takes about having .22 firearms for home defense, specifically for women.

I have been researching tons, having mental debates about how I should go about having my home equipped with firearms specifically for the women under my roof. They are currently more comfortable with .22, due to inexperience. They currently feel better picking up a .22 than a 9mm pistol, or such.

I understand the best route would be to have them go to try out different firearms at the range…and to also take classes. But those options aren’t the easiest for the time being. These potential laws coming up have me sort of panicky, which is leading me to want to buy something before it’s too late.

I am just wanting to pick the brains of other people with info on .22 for home defense, and hear peoples stories that have experience with what I have described.

For home defense, if the .22 caliber is chosen. would the women be better off with a .22 rifle, or a .22 pistol…& why?
If an AR platform it chosen, what about 9mm… or .45 instead of .22? Considering sound differences, recoil, impact, etc etc

Thank you for your time.


I bet this topic will receive many helpful tips. I’m a pair of brown shoes amongst tuxedos. I consider myself a newbie. I did experiment with a .22, and still have in my collection, a .22 revolver and .22 rifle.

.22’s are also not as loud in an emergency, but at the range - always wear ear & eye protection.

Rifles can be more accurate but slower to handle when one might be in a hurry. If they are semi automatic and can hold a lot of rounds, as many as your state allows for a .22 caliber, great.

I’ve heard that .22 semi auto (pistols) can be unreliable, and the best ammo can at times be harder to find and cost more, but I think still affordable due to the caliber and I think inventory. Semi autos can come in more higher capacity loads, again - check with your local laws too, to ensure you are within legal capacity limits for that caliber.

In your case, I wonder if a revolver might be a good start, but barrel length of 3 to 4 inches, for more accuracy, as you also have more of a gun to look down onto as you point. In the heat of such a moment, the mind might not easily focus on the front sight, I think.

I know the .22 has little to no recoil, but when I changed to a better grip, it was so much more comfortable and easier to shoot, especially since revolver triggers have a fairly heavy trigger pull.

For .22 caliber ammo, I prefer CCI brand, full copper bullet or at least copper plated. I did like the Federal Punch brand .22 ammo as my second choice. They seemed cleaner which is important to keeping the cylinder clean. Always clean the firearm after a day’s practice. For ammo, I prefer the “.22LR” (long rifle), which fits in most hand guns also.I do not prefer the .22 Long or the .22 short ammo. .22LR is common.

As others have shared in other posts, what’s also important is that the person, your housemates feel comfortable and they get to choose what they want, the type, model, and or caliber they like best; It can differ per individual. Then they can experiment, try out different ones and work their way up from there over time, and take their time. Best regards.

Already, you’re on fire. Have fun.


If you go 22, I say for the rifle. The longer barrel = more velocity. It’ll be easy to shoot accurately. If you go 22, I agree with the post above about CCI ammo. You want to function test he ammo you choose thoroughly. 22s can be amp picky. I’ve seen a 10/22s fail with certain ammo, even had a part break over it.

I would recommend looking into the Rugar PC 9. They can be hard to find, but they are a 9mm rifle set up like a rugar 10/22 and they take Glock mags. I don’t think it would get much easier than that to operate.

I would lean twards a center fire cartridge for reliability, but like the post above said, you can find reliable .22 ammo that functions decent. Just make sure you test it thoroughly. I agree if I was to have a pistol in .22 it would be a revolver. I have a single action .22 that I have never had an issue with. That being said, I would still lean twards the rifle in .22.

You could try a bit of a compromise and go with a .380 pistol like the G42 or Shield EZ (I’d research the EZ. They had a bad recall awhile back, but it’s a very popular gun. Many people on this forum have one).


.22 LR is typically discouraged for self defense due to it being a rimfire cartridge. The design of rimfire versus centerfire makes rimfire less reliable. If you want a .22LR and you are concerned about reliabilty, I’d suggest a revolver as they will strike harder. I have had .22 LR fail to fire in 3 or 4 rounds out of a ten round magazine in a Walther P22. I have had this repeat mutliple times–especially with run of the mill ammo. My Ruger Single 6 has never failed to make the cartridge go bang when that heavy hamer falls. I’ve taken misfired ammo out of semi auto firearms, put them in the Single Six and they fire. (I am not suggesting a single action revolver for personal defense.)

Also, if you chose .22 LR, load your firearms with quality ammunition. I’ve never had CCI mini mags malfunction. Others on this forum will likely have other ammo recommendations.

With the right .22 firearm and ammunition, I personally wouldn’t be opposed to using it for the role you’ve stated. Ruger makes the LCR (Lightweight Carry Revolver) in .22 LR. Better yet, they make it in .22 magnum. No difference in felt recoil, but slightly better ballistics out of a snub nose revolver.

if the zombies come, i have enough .22 LR long guns and handguns to arm each member of the family. =)

In all seriousness, my personal epxerience and training has centered on handguns. I own long guns, but would personally go to my pistol in a home defense scenario due to my training. Your mileage may vary. And my opinion is likely to be in the minority. It’s simply a matter of what I’ve trained with. There are plenty of good arguments for a long gun for home defense.

I applaud your concern for you and your family’s safety.


As always, bigger caliber - better results… but of course sometimes 9mm may be too much for somebody.

However before starting using .22LR for home defense I’d suggest to try Smith&Wesson M&P9 EZ. This is the smoothest and lightest 9mm semi auto. If this one is too much then .22LR would be a good choice.

I’m far away from telling .22LR is not reliable… not anymore. If you take care of tools… they take care of you.
I’ve been using M&P22C and after few hundreds rounds found all weak points of small caliber.
First - shoot at the range as many rounds as you can to feel the pistol and learn how to operate this baby-tool. Yes - “baby-tool” because it feels like toy gun and it’s not easy to convert from 9mm to .22LR pistol keeping skills on the same level…
Second - use reliable ammo, in my case - CCI and Aguila are the ones I trust. Both “high velocity” version. This way you minimize chances of firearm malfunctions.

So far I’m OK with 9mm, but I realize that one day I will have to lower expectations due to age limitations…and .22LR will be my defense caliber. And I have no problem with it.

With good shot placement you are OK with .22LR.
6 rd of .22LR can be shot within same time as 3 of 9mm. Result will be the same.


My wife can handle a 9mm just fine despite limited practice. However she hates the noise and recoil so doesn’t like practicing with them. So one option would be to get a 9mm pistol for home defense and a similar 22 for practice. Like a Glock 19, and Glock 44. They function exactly the same and with the adrenaline of a self defense situation you might not notice the added recoil??

And/or you could go with @Scoutbob ‘s excellent suggestion of a the Ruger PC Carbine that takes the same mags as the Glock. A rifle is easier to shoot than a handgun and the recoil from a 9mm rifle will be negligible. The disadvantage being that rifles are a little harder to handle in tight spaces and it is harder to scoop up kids to bring them to safety when carrying one if that is an issue.

If you must go with a 22. I would recommend a revolver or the most reliable pistol or semi auto rifle you could find. Back when I was budget constrained I had a ruger 10/22 that I considered my backup defense weapon. I had it loaded with CCI Velicitors. They seem to have the best penetration of the .22 rounds I have seen tested and as others have noted CCI seem more reliable than a lot of other 22 ammo.


@DeeB I have commented on other posts about the .22 LR. for hunting and defense. My wife Nancy8 on here carries a Beretta Bobcat .22 loaded with CCI 40 grain solids w/8 round mag w/ 1 in the barrel and I set up a Ruger 10-22 with 25 round mags AR stock and a red dot loaded with CCI Stingers 36 grain and or CCI Velocitor 40 grain hollow points have been 100% reliable as others have said. She loves it. SHOOT UNTILL THE THREAT STOPS!!! I teach Nancy to shoot for the chest and if the person is still advancing to work her aim to the throat, face and then the head. (An ugly thought for sure) but you do what you need to do. :us:


Go with whatever your wife will shoot. Tell her to shoot until the threat stops. My wife has a 20-gauge and she’ll use it. However, since it is a “short range” weapon, I got here a 10/22 with a red-dot. She carries her Glock 43 when she is out and about, but it is difficult to get her to go practice with it. In the end, whatever she will pick up to shoot is better than nothing.


Better to have a 22 than no gun at all. In my experience as a firearms examiner I have shot a lot of 22 cal rifles and handguns. They may not be the best home defense weapons but if that’s what they feel comfortable with it’s a start. I wouldn’t want to get shot with a 22 cal. But there are some manufacturers out there that make decent 22s. Glock, Ruger, Beretta, Smith&Wesson, just to name a few. I agree with going with the longer barrel just for accuracy purposes. In the mean time they can practice with different calibers and maybe they can change up later on. Point being if my wife only wanted a 22 for home defense I would not discourage her at all if that was all she can shoot. I would get her some decent ammo and make sure she becomes proficient with it.


Any platform/round you can hit a target with is better than a platform/round that you miss with.


I have an older Ruger Single Six Convertible .22/.22 magnum. It came with 2 cylinders for .22 long rifle and .22 Magnum. The disadvantage is that it’s single action, having to be cocked for each shot. The possible advantage for you is that your family seems concerned with recoil and noise. This revolver can possibly help to transition to a higher caliber in that the .22 Magnum is more powerful and noisier than the .22 LR. This is NOT a carry gun, but could help in that transition. One other disadvantage, however. The gun and .22 Magnum cartridges are both pricey.


A .22LR pistol or rifle is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Are there more effective caliber choices? Yes… but you use the “best” you can for your specific situation.

I think you should dig a little bit into the “why” they prefer a .22LR over a 9mm. Is it the way that particular pistol handles? The weight, grip angle, ease of controls, etc may all contribute. Smaller hands may not grip a double-stack 9mm very well and that leads to not feeling in control and not being able to handle recoil very well. If the 9mm was a small snappy CCW that can also be very unpleasant, especially for novice shooters.

You may be able to find a “duty caliber” that they can handle well in a different platform. Maybe an all steel frame 9mm, or something like the S&W EZ (in .380 or 9mm) for example.

As others have mentioned, a pistol caliber carbine (PCC) may also be a good choice. Anything you can shoulder will be notably easier to control and you will have improved accuracy. PCCs are generally fairly lightweight with very mild recoil. An AR pistol (ATF shenanigans notwithstanding) is also a very good choice with many of the same benefits of the PCC but with a more effective caliber and still with very mild recoil, although the noise out of a shorter (don’t go shorter than 10") barrel can be quite concussive indoors.

At the other end, something like a Ruger 10/22 has amazingly low recoil, super lightweight and easy to handle, and loaded up with the 25round mags can pepper an intruder pretty good.

As others mentioned, .22LR is notorious for being unreliable. Even "good: ammo will jam occasionally. So get the best ammo you can, that your pistol/rifle likes and then shoot it… a lot… so you learn how to clear an occasional jam.


If going .22, I say rifle. Specifically, a Ruger 10/22. The BX-25 magazine from Ruger works great. Load it with something like a CCI Mini-Mag, or the new Federal 22 Punch, and have at it.


Does anyone have any experience with the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22? I have read reviews online and seen vids on YouTube…just wanted to pick peoples brains.

Thank you for your time.


& what about 22 mags?


How about a 22WMR??


Semantics, love 'em


Why did Ruger stop making the 10/22 Magnum?

The official answer from Ruger was lackluster sales. It was manufactured for 9 years and only about 50,000 units sold. Compare this to over 5,000,000 sold of the 22 LR version. Then there is the other assumed answer that the 22WMR was discontinued due to extraction issues and breaking bolts.

Savage makes an A22Mag, I am sure its a fine rifle but in the end its not a 10/22. :us:


Thinking a little further on it, i’m really digging the 10/22 option. You can “tacticalize” your Ruger 10/22 to support lights, red dots, etc etc if you want tohttps://gunmagwarehouse.com/blog/tacticalize-your-22-fab-defense-ruger-10-22-stock/

But even a bone-stock 10/22 with irons on it can be a solid choice for recoil sensitive shooters.