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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Humble .22

NFO started it today with a post concerning training guns. I observed the comment thread and thought about it. Here are my thoughts on his post. I may be kicking over a hornets nest, but hey, it's my blog, your mileage may vary.

You know the drill, click to enbiggen the pics.

On any given month I teach at least 30 new shooters. I mean NEW. Never touched one, never shot one. So what do you think I am going to hand them after four hours in the classroom, this?

Uh, no. It will more likely be this:

Or maybe even this: 

The S&W Model 34-1 Kit Gun revolver in .22LR or the Colt 1911 in the same. I also use a Ruger MKIII. 

Why? Less recoil to be sure and minimal muzzle flash as well. 

NFO showed his first rifle and I have to say that for many of us, the .22 caliber firearm was a right of passage to adulthood. Here is my first rifle:

Winchester Model 290 in .22 S, L, LR. Mine, like NFO's is about wore out. It still has a place in the safe though. 

My first pistol? Guess what. A .22LR.

A Colt Woodsman. 

So now you may be thinking "OK old dude, you have old stuff, you know them and you shoot them. Big deal." 

Well it is a big deal. Some comment on "train with what you carry." I agree to a point. Believe it or not, some that take the Concealed Carry class can't throw 400 rounds down range every month in a defensive caliber. The humble .22 brings home the same lessons I consider paramount and is cheaper to do as well. I would rather have a newly minted CCH holder at the range with a .22 at least once a month instead of them qualifying for the certificate and never firing ANYTHING again. Believe it or not some do.

Sight picture, sight alignment, and most importantly to me trigger control are the keys to getting that first accurate shot off. For those that lament the lack of recoil in a "non defensive caliber" for fast multiple shots, I disagree. The .22 will force you to reacquire the sights and reassess the threat before taking the next shot, just like the .44 Magnum. If you have any weakness in your grip, it will become obvious as well. 

As to defensive justified use of deadly force incidents, stance, breath control, and other factors for being a good target shooter go out the window. I don't worry about them so much. I am really worried about safe presentation from concealment and time to first (ACCURATE) hit with all due speed. Remember rule 4, be sure of your target. In a self defense incident I throw a corollary out of this rule. "What is the penalty for a miss?" I would rather have complete mastery of presentation and first shot placement with any Firearm before I go any further in my training. Hey, a .35 diameter hole in the right place may make the whole second shot thing go away. It might not, but why not try to make that first one really count before doing the Ted Nugent "Double Tap"? 

All of this can be practiced with a .22 caliber of your carry Handgun or rifle.

Here is a M-4 in .22 caliber:

Guess what? Every thing works the same on this .22 as it does on the other one. 

Let's face it. I have read many words here on the Interwebz about almost every Firearm related topic you could think of. Some pearls of wisdom, much background noise.

I tell my students there is a 99.9 percent chance they will never have to present from concealment. If however they fall into the .1 percent, mistakes made then are usually severe and permanent. Placed in that context I believe the training guns have a prominent place. 

Ok, I will get off the soap box now!


  1. I agree 100%, a 22 is what I shoot most now days. I love the 22 adapter in my AR15. I also say never underestimate a 22's potential.
    BTW, love the 3 screw at top.

    1. Duke, the .22 should never be underestimated. As for the 3 screw, thanks! You should see the custom Western rig and knife it came in so long ago.

  2. I'd start them with the Ruger! Love the Woodsman, I shot a LOT of .22 rounds through one of those! And I'm gonna go edit my post to put this in as a link!

    1. NFO- I love the Woodsman's here. You should know I have more than that one!

      You don't have to do that!

  3. The first training class my wife went to used the Ruger 22 semi-auto. The *only* thing she didn't like about it was that the front blade and rear notch sights are black, and she couldn't see them. A little White-Out took care of that, and she did really well. We then rented a lot of different guns for her to shoot, and she did best with a revolver, but only because she has a very hard time loading magazines.
    I guess I might be a special case, as I started shooting a 1911 when I was very young, and dear old Dad knocked any bad habits I developed right out of me!
    BUT....since I've never had any formal rifle training, I bought a Marlin 60 in 22LR to take to Appleseed so I can get the basics down with an easy to shoot, almost no recoil, rifle.
    And as OldNFO agreed with me, I'll bet my 30-30 shooting greatly improves after I've had some proper instruction with that sweet little 22!

  4. drjim- I just had two Marlin 60's here and one got to stay with me for work performed. Nice rifle!

    I am going to Appleseed in March and I look forward to comparing notes with you. When are you going?

  5. I haven't decided yet. We're going out on a launch that's scheduled for May 18th, and it'll get REEEEAL nuts about the middle of April, so I suppose I should go in March while I have some breathing room.
    They have it two places out here, in Piru, and out in Corona.
    I'll have to look at the schedule and see when the best time will be.
    My wife wants to go, even though she won't be shooting. She wants to go for all the American History that's taught at Appleseed.
    *I* want to learn to be a rifleman!

    1. Give me your AAR and I will too! Mine is coming in March.

    2. Sorry! I use a lot of TLA's(Three Letter Acronyms). You're After Action Report (AAR) from Appleseed!

    3. Absolutely!
      I'll decide which one to go to after our schedule at work solidifies a bit.

  6. As a fellow instructor... AMEN...

    Dann in Ohio

  7. What in the sweet name of Vishnu could possibly be "kicking over a hornet's nest" about rimfire training guns? That's about as controversial ad mom and apple pie!

    Seriously, is there someone out there who doesn't believe in the utility of getting trigger time in on a rimfire?

    1. Tam- I see that you and several others tackled this one over at ToddG's last year.

      Yes, I do occasionally hear less than complementary comments at the range when I whip out a .22. I can only assume they are disciples of Gecko45.

    2. I knew Gecko45. I worked with Gecko45 at CCA. Trust me when I say that Gecko45 has no problems with .22's.

      (And how much fun was it that day when I came into work after a night of web surfing and looked at my co-worker and said "You... you are Gecko45!" :D )

    3. Tam- I am stunned. You met greatness and worked side by side with this man among men?

      That revelation and conversation had to be priceless! I can only hope we have not compromised his OPSEC.

  8. I agree. The little .22 is an all around perfect round. Good post. Appleseed is fun, and work, but worth the effort.

    1. Stephen, I am looking forward to Appleseed in a little over a month.

  9. You guys are killing me with this. First NFO, now you. I'm trying to fight the urge to blow money on a .22 handgun right now and you're making it harder. Enablers, the lot of you!

    1. do it..... do it.....When I count to three you will remember nothing but this, LOL!

  10. Loved Stretch's Woodsman. And now that ML has my H&K up and running again it feels great. And 50 rounds of .22 is WAY cheaper than 50 of .32, so I foresee it getting more use once I get past this making up for hours lost at work thing getting by.