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...
...it may be... The best back-up gun you ever bought...
So what do you think?