A good .22 LR is a staple of any firearm collection. They are fun to shoot and offer a great way to practice your marksmanship. From target pistols to tactical rifles, .22 LR firearms come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking for a .22 LR to mimic your personal defense firearm or just want something unique to shoot at the range, there’s a .22 LR out there for you.
Why own a .22?
There seems to be a subsect of shooters that often ask, “Why own a .22 LR firearm?” Well, there are plenty of reasons to love the classic .22 Long Rifle. One big reason is it’s fun! You can shoot all day with little fatigue from recoil or strain on your budget. This allows you to train more for your money. You can practice your firearm manipulation and marksmanship fundamentals to develop skills that will transfer over to your defensive firearms.
.22 LR Rifles
For many of us, the first gun we learned to shoot on was a .22 LR rifle. I learned on my father’s old Marlin lever-action. There are tons of dusty .22 LR rifles sitting in closets all across America. These handy little rifles are well worth the real estate as they can serve well in a number of roles. .22 LR rifles make excellent survival and training firearms, and are great for small game hunting, plinking, and more.
There are a ton of different .22 LR rifles to choose from, and there’s bound to be an option that appeals to you. Classic examples include lever-action rifles from brands such as Henry, Winchester, and Marlin. One of the most popular firearms, even today, is the Ruger 10/22. This semi-auto rifle is incredibly customizable. Shooters can upgrade and personalize virtually every part of the Ruger of the 10/22 and even set it in a new chassis that completely changes the look and feel of the gun.
Another popular modern option is the Smith and Wesson M&P15-22. This gives you the look and feel of a standard AR-15 so you can practice with the proper battery of arms. If you’re looking for something that’s simple or want a dependable rifle for small game hunting, Savage makes several versions of its bolt-action rifles chambered in .22 LR. This is also a great way to get started and learn the basics of shooting.
.22 LR Handguns
Handguns chambered in .22 LR are another great route to go. With the popularity of concealed carry on the rise, more people are taking to the handgun. .22 LR handguns are great for learning marksmanship fundamentals and practicing firearm manipulations.
When most think of .22 LR pistols, they picture some of the classic target guns such as the Ruger MKIV, S&W Victory, and Browning Buckmark. Volquartsen makes a high-end version for some serious tack driving. There are also .22 pistols modeled after common defensive pistols for training, such as the Smith and Wesson M&P22. There are even plenty of new .22 LR pistols such as the SIG P322, Glock 44, and Taurus TX22.
If capacity or specific manual of arms isn’t important to you, you may want to consider a .22 LR revolver. The inherent reliability of a revolver really shines with a rimfire firearm. If you have a bad round that doesn’t go off, simply pull the trigger again. There’s no fumbling with stacking your loads properly in the magazine to prevent rimlock. Whether it’s from Smith and Wesson, Ruger, or Colt, if you select a quality revolver it’s sure to last a lifetime.
.22 LR Conversions
There’s a third option for those who already have a pistol with which they would like to train. A .22 LR conversion can transform your favorite pistol into a cost-effective plinker. I have had good success with SIG Sauer’s .22 LR conversion slide for my P226. The slide comes complete with all the guts, sights, recoil spring, barrel, and replacement magazine. The unit glides in place, just like your standard pistol slide. .22 LR conversion units like these are available for a number of other pistols from popular brands such as Glock, S&W, CZ, and Beretta. There are also .22 LR conversions for AR-15 upper receivers. You can even get an adaptor to fire .22 LR out of a 12-gauge shotgun.
Conclusion: .22 LR Firearms
Every solid gun collection should include at least one .22 LR firearm. They’re so affordable and versatile, there’s no reason not to own one. Whether you go with a classic plinker or a modern trainer, you’re sure to get your money’s worth. If you haven’t considered a .22 before, I encourage you to give one a shot.