What’s the first thing to do after buying a carry pistol? A range trip, of course! For many new shooters, this is the trying time when they discover that the nearest range isn’t near enough, and the price of centerfire ammunition isn’t close enough to free. They also discover the wear on the hands from the recoil of the lightweight carry guns. What’s a newly minted responsible citizen to do? Many get a .22 upper or a rimfire trainer mimicking the centerfire gun. That’s great, but the critics are right in saying that a rimfire substitute doesn’t teach the recoil control afforded by using the real thing. Compared to firing a lightweight 380 or an airweight 38 revolver, shooting its rimfire clone is uneventful.
So learning recoil control is right out. Can you learn sight alignment? Yes. Breath control? Sure. Trigger control? Of course. Safety and mag catch manipulation? Definitely. Drawing safely and efficiently from a holster? Yep, you can learn that with a .22 just fine. They even work for teaching kids the basics of marksmanship.
You also get to enjoy spending $10 on ammunition for a range trip instead of $50 or more, wearing muffs or plugs but not both, not having an imprint of the pistol grip in your palm after firing off a magazine. Ammunition cost aside, the human endurance is a factor with many subcompact weapons. Rimfire trainers allow practicing in the basics for pennies on the dollar. The practice isn’t new — rimfire Martini rifles are nearly as old as the .45-577 model and so are the rimfire equivalents of .455 Webley. Even the navies used to have rifle cartridge adapters for small and medium caliber artillery pieces, both to reduce the cost of practice and stave off barrel wear. Another consideration is that in many areas, centerfire rifles are banished from indoor ranges but not their rimfire clones. Rimfire trainers: fun and useful.