Back before the “Great Ammo Shortage” I toyed with the idea of using .22 Long Rifle versions of my primary firearms for training purposes. Once .22 LR disappeared from the shelves this idea fell by the wayside. Well, the venerable .22 Long Rifle is back on store shelves and while it is not as cheap as it once was it is pretty reasonably priced once again.
So, why train with .22 LR?
The primary reason for training with .22 LR is cost. With lower priced ammunition the cost of training goes down which means more training for the same money. Bulk .22 LR costs about 2.8 cents per round and even premium rounds like the CCI MiniMags come in around 5.9 cents/round. Even premium rounds cost less than bulk 9mm (11.7 cents per round). For rifle cartridges the difference is even greater. Super cheap 7.62×39 comes in at 16.2 cents per round and 5.56 tops that at 26.7 cents per round.
Until recently, I carried a revolver for my every day carry (EDC). Specifically, I carried a Ruger LCR in .38 Special. Back before the Great Ammo Shortage I also purchased a version chambered in .22 LR. It is identical in almost every way to the .38 Special except the caliber, 8 vs. 5 shots and the trigger pull. Like most rimfire revolvers the trigger pull is significantly heavier than the centerfire counterpart. I am OK with that. Even though I now carry a semi-auto I still train much of the
time with small, lightweight revolvers. Why? For the same reason that batters take a few practice swings with a weight on their bat. Swinging the heavier bat makes it easier to swing the lighter. Maintaining a proper sight picture (especially with simple gutter sights) while managing a 6-8 pound trigger pull on an ultralight snubby is darned tough. It is even tougher with the heavier trigger pull on the rimfire version. A couple dozen rounds with a snubby and my speed an accuracy with the semi-auto are both noticeably improved.
The bottom line if that the key components of gun handling trigger control, sight alignment and sight picture can all be practiced as effectively with a rimfire as with centerfire…more cost effectively.
This doesn’t mean you should never train with centerfire rounds. No since.22 LR will give you any practice with recoil management.
One more caveat, it is important to train with rimfire weapons that are as similar as practical to the centerfire firearms you use for defense or hunting. As I mentioned I have a .22 LR version of the LCR I used to carry as my EDC. I also have a .22 LR version of my primary hunting rifle (Ruger American Predator). I just picked up a Glock 44 which is the .22 LR version of my bedside gun, the Glock 19 (range review to come). I may even pick up the new .22 LR version of the LCP II that I occasionally carry.
That’s where the analysis of your own budget needs to come into play. Do you shoot/train often enough for the ammo cost savings to make up for the purchase of the .22 LR version? If you invested in the rimfire version would you be able to train more. As a gun guy, I like guns and shooting so the cost/benefit works out. You need to do your own math.
Hope this gives some food for thought.
Take care and God bless.