The .22 Carbine For Home Defense?

Matt over at the Jerking The Trigger blog recently posted an article on the use of a .22 LR carbine (like the Ruger 10/22) as a home defense tool (link). In the article he points out several reasons why it might not be a bad choice. Those included:

-The low cost of acquisition and ammo

-Low recoil and ease of use, especially for non-gun folks and younger family members

To be honest, when we were first married Wonderful Wife and I did not have a lot. We didn’t really worry about being robbed because we were the poorest folks in the neighborhood. Just about everything in our home was a hand me down or freebie of some sort or another. We had so little to worry about losing in those days we didn’t even lock the door when we left the house about half the time.

The one thing I could not countenance losing was my wife and kids. Those I would do everything within my power to protect and the old Louisville slugger that protected me when I was single was demoted to “option two.”

Given our finances, “option one” was a Marlin Model 989 that I picked up used for maybe $50 (which was still a stretch for us).

Marlin Model 989 m2

Because of the low cost of ammo, I could afford to practice fairly regularly and I was pretty good with that little gun. Loaded with CCI Mini-Mags in a 20 or 25 round magazine it served the family well. It was brought out on any number of occasions when something went “bump” in the night. During the big flood in the mid-1990’s the little carbine came out of the closet and stayed on my shoulder most nights as the gun battles between looters and the sheriff’s department could be heard throughout the night.

On the many occasions when I had to work nights I knew that Wonderful Wife and each of of the kids were well protected because each one was able to operate it quite well. Each one of the kids had been taught safety as well as the operation of the little carbine, by the way.

The little carbine remained our defensive tool of choice until just a few years ago when it was retired in favor of more capable tools. At that point it was just Wonderful Wife and I at home and we were both well versed in more potent weapons.

Is a .22 LR carbine the best choice ballistically? Of course not.

Is it the most reliable choice? Probably not but they are better than some higher priced alternatives.

Will it do the job if need be? Dang skippy, as long as you can do your part.

God bless

12 thoughts on “The .22 Carbine For Home Defense?

  1. I have always thought about this option for the family. Not sure if there are legal implications with using it over a more potent weapon. I guess as long as it’s your story against the dead guy then you will be fine. In today’s legal system there is no telling what could happen if the survived


    1. I have never heard or read of any legal implications of using a less powerful round. There have been a number of instances where some choices have or could have hurt folks legal situations. The engraving on the cop’s dust cover recently was probably the most publicized example but Masaad Ayoob tells of stories where, in gun unfriendly areas, tactical weapons are more likely to draw the attention of prosecutors. I thought about adding a Bible verse like Psalm 144 or a cross to a firearm but then I worry that I would have an armed encounter with a non-Christian and that would be used against me.
      God bless and Merry Christmas.


  2. .22LR is a good little round, provided you can place the lead in the right place.
    But so many ex-spurts have a hang up on stopping power, high velocity, and plenty of ‘BOOM’.
    Yet 38, 9mm, and beyond aren’t always man stoppers are they?

    As you said, it’s a children upwards round.
    Accurate, low recoil, and with the availability of lightweight large capacity magazines, they can just keep going until the click. Which is partially why it’s so successful.
    Loads of repeated strikes can do a lot more damage than a single hard ball ‘fullbore’ round.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Add a good moderator in an ambush mode, and out to 80-100 yards, the good shooter will take your eyes and neck out and never come off target.

    Best bit about it?
    You’ll be hard pressed to locate the weapon with it’s diffused low sound value report and no muzzle flash.


    1. Great insights, as usual sir.
      Greg Ellifritz’ research on firearm stopping percentages showed some interesting data. For example 34% of hits with a .22 LR resulted in fatality. The only other pistol caliber cartridge that matched that number was .357 Magnum and the average for pistol caliber rounds was 28%. The lowly .22 also returned an average number of rounds to stop an attack of 1.38 versus the handgun average of 1.90.
      Compared to rifle cartridges and shotgun rounds the .22 didn’t fare as well however a 12 Gauge is a lot of weapon for most folks unless they are very serious about training.
      God bless and Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. A 40 grain solid point .22 LR fired from a Ruger 10/22 at a range of 8 feet will do the following:

    -Penetrate the sternum; then,
    -Go through 2 chambers of the heart; then,
    -After being redirected by the pericardial wall, make a 2-inch tear in the aorta; then,
    -Penetrate a lobe of the lung; then,
    -Penetrate the 9th rib, 2-inches from the spine; then,
    -Lodge into a back muscle.

    The guy fell back, ran 7 paces, then collapsed dead in the kitchen of my rental on July 16, 2009. Bad guy kicked in the door and chased my 16 year old son from one end of the house to another in less than 10 seconds.

    The Holy Spirit strongly prompted (screamed in my ear) to do home-invasion drills the day before.

    Prepare, and listen to the spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

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