Monday, July 9, 2012

The best back-up gun you ever bought...

A guy who took my NRA Basic Pistol/Ohio Concealed Carry course a while back recently asked me about my recommendation for a back-up gun.  His Smith & Wesson M&P9 9mm is currently his only handgun and some folks might think I should recommend a S&W M&P9 Compact... or maybe a Shield or Bodyguard.

Well, I told him that the best back-up gun for him might be a .22 pistol... and in his particular case... a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 would be a good choice if the budget isn't too tight.  Yeah, I know some of you think I've lost my mind... or maybe you think I just don't know jack.  Well, I do know Jack... he lives up the road a piece.

This particular fella I'm speakin' about took my class almost two years ago and probably hasn't put two boxes of ammo through his carry gun since because money is tight... which in his particular case really means I'd rather spend my money on something else.  He's married to a nice gal who doesn't even want a gun in the house or around the kids.  In situations like this, a good recommendation is a .22 pistol.

Here's some reasons why:

Inexpensive to shoot:  A .22 pistol is easy on the budget when it comes to ammo costs.  That means you'll hopefully practice more and eventually save enough for that back-up gun in a larger caliber... but by then, you're other half will likely want their own gun.

Let's you focus on the fundamentals:  Many folks need to practice and work on the fundamentals of shooting, and you can do that with a .22...  Keepin' your sight alignment and your sight picture while you're squeezin' the trigger.

Similar operation: These days, it's very easy to find a .22 pistol that is similar, if not the same, as your regular carry gun.  The Ruger LCR can be had in .38 Special +P and .22, the M&P also offers a .22, and you can get 1911 conversion kits or 1911s in .22.

Introducing new shooters: You will find relatives, friends, kids, and even your better half will have a much more pleasant and successful shooting experience which will encourage them to try it again.

Now I know this doesn't apply to everyone's situation, but if you've only got one handgun and your budget is tight or your family isn't too accepting... I'd encourage you to consider a .22... may be... The best back-up gun you ever bought...

So what do you think?


  1. Nothing quite says back off like a face full of 40 grain .22 pills blowing through your nostrils at 1200+ feet per second.

  2. We have a .22 that we're babysitting for my sister-n-law while they're still stationed out of country. We've got their permission to use it, and that has been the BEST gun for introducing new shooters to the world of firearms. Its a little Walther P22, and has the digital pink/grey cammo color scheme to the lower parts, but we've had as many guys shoot the thing as women (especially when they find out that I shoot it and enjoy it). So even if a .22 is not your go-to carry firearm, its still a great caliber to own. And its a pleasure to shoot for all of the reasons you've listed above. I think we can pick up a brick of 100 rounds for something like $6 at Wallyworld.

  3. You make some good points and I concur with your assessment.

  4. I'm surprised you don't mention the Ruger 22/45 you show a photo of. It is an excellent pistol.

    Also, for anyone owning a Glock, an excellent .22 conversion kit can be had for under $300 and they are available for most models of Glock: the Advantage Arms kit. They are also available for anyone who owns a 1911 pattern pistol, but I have not used one of those kits, so I cannot confirm that they are as good as the Glock versions (I have two - one for a G30 and one for a G23).

    1. @RegT... good points... I probably didn't mention the Ruger 22/45 specifically as most folks who follow the blog know I'm hopelessly in the tank for Ruger...

      Thanks for the reminder on the Glock .22 conversion kit... I've not had any experience with those kits, but here is the link for those who might be interested:

      Dann in Ohio

  5. My wifes favorite pistol is a 1957 model 948 Beretta 22 with the 6 inch barrel. We both enjoy shooting this very accurate lil thing. Been with the family since bought new in 58.

  6. I guess this all depends on your definition of a back up gun. I mean I agree with just about everything you said up there about .22's, I love mine and i shoot it every time I'm at the range. But would i trust my life with it? No way. I mean if its what i had yeah I'd fire it at a bad guy and yeah with a well placed shot or two i could take him down. But there are just too many better choices for .22 to be a viable defense option.