But Graywolf, How could .22′s ever be the best home defense weapons?
To defend your home, you need to be able to stop an attacker. In order to stop him, you need to hit him or to make him want to leave. We’ve been told for years that you need to have a big gun with a big bullet that can pierce through armor in order to defend your home. Who are you defending yourself against, Spetsnaz? Let’s get real for a minute.
So I hear some of you saying:
But I’ve been told for years that you need to get a big gun with lots of stopping power and big bullets. One shot one kill. Armor. Mass and velocity. Lots of other buzzwords and statistics that sound pretty convincing
In some situations: yes. In most situations, no.
No, no, no. You need at least a 12-gauge shotgun or a .223. A .308 would even be better. You aren’t carrying a .22 with you over in Afghanistan right now, are you? Have you turned into one of those liberal anti-gun activists now?
Kiss my ass
Yeah, I have an M-16 and a 92FS on me here in Afghanistan at the moment but I’m not here trying to defend myself against a thug trying to break into my home. When I’m home I’m in the same boat as you.
The Army uses .50cal, .308. .556, 9mm, .45 and whatever else because they are the best against different targets with different defensive and offensive capabilities in different environments. I highly doubt the Taliban is gonna come in and steal your collection of Playboys. What you need to do is stop listening to everybody’s posturing and listen to what makes sense.
So let’s break this down military-style with a pseudo-Operations Order, or OPORD. I’m not gonna draft the whole thing up as an official-looking one because quite frankly, I don’t have the time and you don’t need it. There are plenty of books and websites that will tell you how to do a proper OPORD.
Basically, a miltary OPORD has five major sections:
- Service and Support
- Command and Signal
Situation normally breaks down into three sections:
The enemy in this case is most likely going to be a robber, murderer or a rapist. If you’re looking to defend yourself against anything else then this isn’t the article for you. Planning on defending your home with a weapon against an army with weapons and armor is an entirely different scenario. Go back to your fantasy world because you’re trying to prep for a scenario that is highly unlikely and one you’re woefully unprepared for. You don’t need to really worry about what kind of ammo you’ll be using, you’d need to figure out how to start an army of your own. This article is about defending your home against the most likely enemy.
Should you prepare yourself for a home invasion by an attacker with armor or a group of marauders hell-bent on taking your supplies in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario?
I believe you should. The problem that I see with most preppers, even advanced preppers, is that they focus primarily on the worst-case scenario at the expense of the most likely scenario. All you need to do is a quick Risk Assessment to know that your focus is out of whack. Once you’ve figured out how to defend yourself against the most likely scenario, you can move on.
The truth is that you are more likely to face an enemy in your home who isn’t all that prepared and isn’t all that well-trained. Whether they’ll be armed will depend highly on where you live. Your most likely assailant could either be an unarmed punk or a group of gangbangers. Plan accordingly.
So, in almost all cases, your enemy won’t have body armor.
Will a weapon that stops someone with body armor work against someone without? Yes, but strangely enough, not as well in some cases. A bullet that enters the body and expends all of its energy inside, without exiting, can actually be more effective at killing someone, especially if the round expands or the shock wave does enough damage to disrupt vital organs inside. A bullet that just goes in and out at full speed and takes all the energy with it doesn’t do any more damage than just poking a hole through someone the size of a pencil.
It’s absolutely true that a .22 won’t likely expand very far and won’t have a large shockwave to disrupt organs, but that’s not the only goal of shooting at someone.
Your enemy most likely won’t be well-trained in combat tactics.
Ok, I don’t have statistics to give you on this one but it probably wouldn’t be that difficult to research. Let me know what you find out. I’d say that most likely, the guy who breaks into your home has either little or no military experience and if they do, they probably aren’t very good at CQB.
What does this mean to you? Thugs who break into homes are usually expecting to find sheeple at home who will capitulate or will be easily subdued, especially if you live in a city with strict gun control laws. They don’t want to get killed so they’ll usually run off peeing themselves if rounds start flying. They probably won’t even know what caliber weapon you have anyway. All they know is they bit off more than they could chew and they gotta pop smoke.
This is where gotta do your own self assessment. Sun Tzu said:
It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
Ok, he didn’t say exactly that, he actually said,
So WTF does that mean? Sun Tzu said you have to know yourself as well as you know your enemy. In this case, the enemy above is an unknown, so you have to go with the most likely and most damaging scenarios to figure out what gun you want to use to protect your home. You also have to take inventory of your own capabilities and adjust accordingly.
How much training do you have? I’ve spent a lot of time at firing ranges and shoot-houses with people much more experienced at CQB than I am, and I’d still have a hard time hitting a target coming at me at 4am in the middle of the night at my house after I stayed up till 3am playing Call of Duty with my son and drinking a few Guiness Extra Stouts. I know from experience that when your adrenaline gets pumping that you lose your fine motor skills and you resort back to muscle memory.
In addition to gun range training, you should be looking into plans on how to protect your family. Books like Safe: How to Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Your Home can get you started.
So what does that have to do with choosing a .22 over another weapon?
In order to kill or disable an attacker with a gun, you have to hit him. That is, unless you can shoot the support rope holding up the chandalier above his head so it drops down on him, pinning his arms to his side. It’s quite difficult to get them to comply with where to stand to pull this off though. It takes a lot of shaping the battlefield and human engineering, plus a lot more shooting skill than I have.
To hit him, you have to point in the right direction. A large weapon may do more damage but it does nothing except scare them if you don’t hit them. If it were all about size, why wouldn’t you just lug around a .50 cal? Because as big as it makes your penis feel to carry that thing around (and it does do that, I assure you), it’s unwieldy around hallways and in stairwells.
You can get more effective shots, quicker with a .22
In order to hit him again, or adjust fire from your first miss, you have to reacquire the target before you fire. A weapon with a lot of kick takes a while to reacquire. A .22 will stay on target with every shot with very little practice. It’s also small enough to carry around a home with no problem and pulling it up to the correct point of aim is very quick due to the small amount of mass the weapon has.
A .22 will fire a bunch of rounds in rapid succession (rate of fire), whereas a bolt-action, pump action or other weapon won’t. Can it fire as many as an assault rifle? No, but most of the rounds of an assault rifle miss if on full auto, which is why they teach us to fire in three-round bursts because it’s a lot more effective than the ‘spray and pray’ method. The only rounds that count are effective rounds. That’s why they call them effective rounds. The more you use a weapon, the quicker you’ll be able to get back on target but physics is physics. If the gun moves less and has less mass for you to have to move back, you’ll get it back on target faster.
We’re not talking about accessories here but other units (people) on your side in a fight. In this case, you’re other units are going to be your other family members and responding police, that aren’t going to be there in enough time to protect you. That’s a whole other debate so we won’t go into it here in an article on what weapon you should choose to protect your home. Just take it as a given that you’re gonna have to defend yourself.
The mission in this case is to defend your home from an attacker who has a weapon or who can easily take you in unarmed combat. To decide exactly what you need to do to defend your home, you need to adjust this mission statement, which then goes outside of the scope of what I’m talking about.
To defend your home against an attacker, you need to successfully stop him from attacking. Remember; you are on the defensive here. To stop him, you need to either:
- kill him
- incapacitate him so he can’t continue to attack
- scare him off.
Concept of Operation: Well, here’s where the infantry and SPECOPS guys are gonna have a problem with my OPORD format. The concept of operation here is that you need to figure out a gun to buy to protect your home, you need to learn how to use it and you need to train your family to use it. You also have to come up with a plan for your family on what you’ll do in case someone tries to break into your house – or actually gets in. Again, not part of the scope of this article.
Service and Support
Again, I’m using an OPORD as a theme and not writing an actual OPORD so I’m gonna take a little poetic license here and fit things in as I need to.
A .22 requires very little maintenance. The Ruger 10/22 is one of the best weapons ever invented and has thousands of different accessories you can get to adapt it to what you need for home defense, hunting, SHTF, or whatever. I have a slightly modified one that I carry in my 72-hour bag.
A .22 is very easy to shoot and doesn’t have a lot (or any) kick, so girls won’t be scared to shoot it.
Ooh. I hear some feminists crying out that I went there. Whatever. If you’re a girl and you can shoot, then that statement doesn’t concern you. Care to debate the statistics of the number of male shooters vs female shooters? More women need to get out there and shoot. They’re finally coming around and learning but there just isn’t enough of them. I’ve served with enough females downrange to know that they can shoot well if they want to. Society just teaches them to have other interests growing up. You girls need to learn to defend yourselves and stop relying on a guy to do it for you because he’s not always gonna be around. If you are one of those girls then you should help others to be more self-sufficient.
If you have a girl in your family who’s afraid of guns, or a guy who’s never shot a gun and is afraid to try it, a .22 is a perfect gun to get them over that fear. It’s not all that loud and as I said, doesn’t have recoil. If you’re trying to defend yourself, the last thing you need to be worrying about is missing because you’re anticipating the recoil of the weapon or even worse, shutting your eyes because you’re scared of it.
Command and Signal
Not pertinent here. Have a good commo plan for your family in case of emergency and have some kind of codewords and hand signals to communicate with each other in case someone breaks in. Not relevant for choosing a gun to defend your home unless you need to convince your partner to let you buy one, in which case you have more problems than I can help you with.
Proof that a .22′s can be an effective home defense weapons
Greg Ellifritz wrote an excellent article for the Buckeye Firearms Association, on how effective a .22 is in real-life situations. I’m not gonna just copy his article here because that’s bad form but I will post a quote that speaks about how thorough his resarch was:
Over a 10-year period, I kept track of stopping power results from every shooting I could find. I talked to the participants of gunfights, read police reports, attended autopsies, and scoured the newspapers, magazines, and Internet for any reliable accounts of what happened to the human body when it was shot.
I documented all of the data I could; tracking caliber, type of bullet (if known), where the bullet hit and whether or not the person was incapacitated. I also tracked fatalities, noting which bullets were more likely to kill and which were not. It was an exhaustive project, but I’m glad I did it and I’m happy to report the results of my study here.
I’d say this is exactly the kind of resarch I like to read. Real numbers and no posturing or penis-measuring contests. Basically from reading through his data, I see no appreciable difference in the effectiveness of using a .22 to stop an opponent. Any deficiency in stopping power is compensated by the facts I spoke about above such as ease of reacquiring the target etc.
The .22 took an average of 1.38 rounds to incapacitate the victim.
Think about that fact for a second.If you had a choice between a weapon that held 8 rounds but was harder to reacquire or one that held 30 rounds but was harder to maneuver around your house at night, do you think they’re still a better choice when you just need to hit them twice on average to incapacitate them with a .22? To be clear now, I’m writing about a .22 long rifle in a rifle and not pistol. The .22 pistol doesn’t have enough oomph to get out of its own way.
Let’s look at the numbers for what everyone considers to be “better weapons” for home defense. The ONLY weapon that took fewer rounds to incapacitate the enemy was the shotgun, which came in at 1.22 rounds. Better? Yes. Can you shoot 1.3 rounds into someone? If so, you’ll be better off with a shotgun than a .22. If not, it’s the same goddamn thing. It still takes two shots on average to ensure the guy is incapacitated, no matter what round you use, except for the .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9mm Luger, and the .25 ACP, which /GASP!/ all take more than two rounds on average to incapacitate the attacker.
Still think a Desert Eagle or tricked-out M4 are the best choices to defend your home?
As far as accuracy goes, the .22 was wll up there with the big dogs at 76% and I’d say that in a close-quarters battle, it would probably be higher. Think a shotgun has a better chance of hitting the guy? Think again. A 12-gauge shotgun with no choke has no appreciable spread at 10 feet. Sure, that’s bigger than a .22 but isn’t an appreciable difference. It’s not like you can just point a shotgun in the general direction of someone in a room and they’re gonna get hit. Plus, shotguns take longer to get a second round off (rate of fire).
If you’d like even more proof that .22′s can be used in home defense, check out Guns Save Lives. For further research, you can also use their Bullet Energy Calculator. Just keep in mind that it’s the energy that’s retained in the body that matters and not the energy as a whole if the bullet exits.
There many examples of when people have used nothing but a .22 to defend themeselves such as this one from GA and this guy who used .22 ratshot, this story, this one, this one, another, and another, still another, another, and so on, and so forth, and still more. I could easily fill this page with nothing but links to what even the anti-gun news reporting agencies have reported. Here’s a couple of videos concerning real-life examples of how people have used a .22 to defend themselves if you don’t want to read all the articles:
Well good luck with bringing a pea-shooter to a gunfight. Your .22 can’t stand up against my 1911
There goes your penis talking for you again. If you’re not armored, I guarantee you I’ll be getting my 2 rounds in your head before you even acquire your target and I’ll have a nice shiny new trophy to put in my break-in-case-of-SHTF cabinet. Don’t forget, we’re talking about going up against the most likely attacker here, which probably isn’t going to have armor on, and no matter how much they work out their face in the gym, it’s not gonna stop a .22 round when I hit it.
And don’t get me wrong, I think the 1911 is the best weapon ever invented. I love mine.
Before anyone decides to take anything I’ve written here out of context, let me get one thing straight. The .22 is NOT the best weapon to use against all assailants in all circumstances because it WON’T penetrate thick clothing very well or armor at all. In a small percentage of cases, the .25ACP, .22 and .32 did not stop the attacker at all. Why? Lots of reasons that the study didn’t have the granularity to uncover but it’s a fact.
There are most definitely cases where a shotgun, large caliber pistol or rifle would outperform a .22 and save someone’s life. What I’m saying is that since you don’t really know what attacker you’re going to be facing or what the exact scenario is, you have to go with most likely as well as worst-case scenarios to defend your home. You have to balance everything to come up with a good overall solution based on the criteria that you decide.
A weapon is just a tool and you need to use the best tool to suit the situation you’re in. If you’re planning on being up against an armored assailant, then go big but realize it has its negatives. If you’re planning on defending your home against an attacker, consider the .22 but realize it also has its negatives. I haven’t seen any hard facts on the effectiveness of pistol vs rifle when it comes to .22 but even though a larger gun doesn’t make much difference when hit, I’d opt for the rifle. Also, once you gain proficiency with shooting, I’d step up to something larger. Once you’ve learned how to control a weapon, the advantages to a .22 start falling away.
When it comes to defending your home against the normal would-be robber, I think the .22 edges out the competition for some people. Would I ONLY use a .22 to defend my home? Nope. I still have my Mossberg 500 in case I need it and other weapons if society changes drastically. Just remember: a gun is just a tool. What you do with it and how well it works is more affected by you than it. Guns don’t kill people; people do.