10/22 for Home Defense, the Potent Pipsqueak

I own a Ruger 10/22 rifle, as do hundreds of thousands of Americans. It’s a fun little gun and have been pushing the limits of what the rifle will do.

The Ruger 10/22 is a great home defense gun. It’s low power, but fast shooting, high capacity, and easy to manage recoil. besides being easy to aim, it’s a low recoil firearm, which buys you additional seconds in a dangerous situation

A 10/22 for self-defense is a hot topic. Most experts will never recommend a 22lr for defensive use. Some do.  It’s definitely a limiting option. Still, it can be okay. Here’s a video of mine on using the 10/22 for home-defense.

Why is the 10/22 Good Self Defense?

   There are some serious drawbacks of a 10/22, but let’s start with the good features first.  There are three requirements for a 22 rimfire gun to be considered applicable for defensive use. The first is high capacity.  Since the 22lr is such a low-power bullet, multiples are needed.

   The 10/22 comes with a 10-round magazine, but there are inexpensive and reliable 25 round magazines.  The 22lr. Isn’t much on its own but with 25 rounds, it’s something.  There are even 100 round drum magazines on the market.

   Besides capacity, the 10/22 has a long barrel. Well, it’s only 16 inches, but it’s long for a 22lr. The 22lr is a weak round and needs help.  The 16-inch barrel gives the 22 its maximum velocity and power. It needs all the help it can get. 

   The third thing the 10/22 has going for it is that it’s semi-auto.  A single shot from a 22 is highly unlikely to do much, at first. With the 10/22, you can keep pulling the trigger until it’s empty.

   Any dedicated defensive firearm needs to be semi-auto, high-capacity, and powerful. The 10/22 is good on the first two, and minimal on the third.  The 10/22 is absolutely the lowest power gun that should ever be depended on. Never consider a 22 rimfire handgun as a defensive tool, unless it’s an accident.

What Accessories for a defensive 10/22?

   There are countless accessories to be had for modern firearms.  There are more accessories for the 10/22 than probably any other gun on the market. There are way more accessories than you ever need.  A lot of them are simply extra, unnecessary gear.

   You can get dozens of different stocks, lights, lasers, and slings.  Let’s not forget about the endless options of optics.  But there are some very necessary and beneficial accessories.

   For starters, get a good Red Dot sight.  A red dot sight increases the speed of sight acquisition by lightyears. With a red dot, your focus is more on the target than on the sight.  With iron sights, you have to concentrate on both sights and the target.

   With a red dot, you only have one sighting point to look at, the red dot. Plus, the red dot is much quicker and clearer for the eye to focus on than iron sights. A red dot will get your shots on target much quicker and will give you a more open field of view.

   I’ve already touched on magazines, but It’s important.  The 10/22 comes standard with a 10-round magazine.  Ruger makes a 25-round magazine for it too. there are other companies, like Buttler Creek, that also make a 25-round magazine.  The Ruger brand 25-round magazine is the most reliable option.

   One final thing that you absolutely need on a long gun carried for defensive use.  Honestly, it’s probably more important than the other two.  You absolutely need a good defensive sling.  Any name-brand tactical or defensive style 2-point sling is what you need.

   During close-quarter combat, it’s very common for, someone, to grab your rifle.  If you have a good 2-point sling, you can remain in total control of the rifle relatively easily if someone tries to grab it. A regular hunting sling is not as strong as a tactical sling.  Tactical slings have stronger connections.

   Recap, get a Red Dot, a 25-round magazine, and a good 2-point sling.

How powerful is a Ruger 10/22?

   There isn’t a lot of power in the 22lr, but the full-sized barrel of a rifle at least gives us the full potential.  If you are thinking you might end up relying on the 22, you need the full potential. 

   The 22lr has between 100 and 140-foot pounds of energy at the muzzle with normal ammo. at best, that’s half of the energy of a 9mm pistol.  It’s really not a whole lot.  Not really that impressive. But there is one load that’s at least better than the rest.

   The CCI Velocitor is a 40-grain hollow point bullet that goes over 1,400 feet per second. It has a muzzle energy of a hair over 180 foot-pounds. 180 foot-pounds is on par with the 308 ACP.  Or, a bit under where the modern +p 380 will do.

the Aguilla Intercepter is the only other 22lr cartridge loaded that hot. it has identical velocity and bullet weight.

consider that standard velocity (1200 fps) 22 rimfire ammo is about equal in power to a single pellet of 00 buckshot. The Velocitor and Interceptor will create a wound similar to 000 buckshot.

It also holds its power at distance much better than any buckshot. At 50 yards, a 1200 fps 22 rimfire hits much harder than a pellet of magnum oo buckshot, even though the buckshot weighs 15-12 grains more.

Is the 22lr Enough for Self Defense?

   Well, it’s not a perfect choice by any means. The 22 is small.  No doubt about it.  can it be enough? Yes it can.  Can it get the job done? yes it can.  I wouldn’t bet on one to protect my family. It doesn’t have a good track record for ending a violent attack quickly.

   Some while ago, I read a report of gunshot incidents, I think from the FBI. There was one very interesting number there. The report compared the number of shots needed to incapacitate a violent attacker. It said that the 22lr will stop a violent attacker at a rate of about 10 percent per bullet.

   Compared to the 9mm with a percentage of 30 percent per bullet.  The 22lr. rifle showed to be 1/3 as effective as a 9mm pistol.  That’s not good. That’s why you need a lot of bullets in the magazine.  However, it takes time to shoot that many bullets.

   You may not have enough time to shoot nine or ten bullets into the upper torso of a violent attacker in your home. If you ever can, choose a more powerful option. 

At what distance is a 10/22 lethal?

  A 22lr is potentially lethal out to 450 yards when fired in a rifle. That would require a perfect headshot to a thin part of the sull like the temple, or to vulnerable areas of the neck. Generally, the 22lr is perfectly capable of killing small animals out to 100 yards with a body shot to the torso.

During the Vietnam war, the US military came up with a method to test the maximum lethal distance of a bullet. They decided that penetrating a 1/2 inch pine board indicated at least a minimum level of lethality.  

The 10/22 will pass the board test at 440 yards.  That’s the furthest I’ve seen anyone do it with a 22lr.  however, that doesn’t mean it’s that good.  I’ve shot hundreds of raccoons and opossums in the chest with a 22lr. and had to keep my distance for several minutes until they bled out.

I recently shot a small pig in the head with a 22lr.  It was a 40-grain bullet going about 100 feet per second at impact (the Velocitor has about 1,000 fps at 110 yards).  My gun cracked and the pig fell with a bullet to the forehead, but before I grabbed it, it got back up.

   I put a second and third bullet in its head from 3 yards before it went down for good.  I inspected the first shot to the forehead (the other two were to the side of the head). The first bullet cracked the skull, but got stuck in the skull and didn’t go through.  It knocked the pig out for a minute.

   The second shot was in the head, but an inch low of the brain.  The third bullet went into the brain near the ear canal and killed it. just saying, I made a perfect headshot first, but it didn’t kill a 60-pound hog.  Things happen. That’s why experts urge you to use the most powerful gun you can handle.

   Sure, I got my 60-pound hog with 3 shots, but if I were trying to stop a 200-pound wild pig from tearing me up, I highly doubt it would have had any deterring effect whatsoever. People aren’t hogs, but if the headshot wasn’t enough for a 60-pound pig, I don’t trust it for a full-sized man.

   Now, at close range, the CCI Velocitor ammo I mentioned has a lot more energy than the bullets that I used on the pig.  If you are going to use a 10/22 or any other 22 rifles for defensive uses, get the most powerful ammo you can, the 40 grain, hollow point CCI Velocitor. 

Jordan Buck

Jordan Buck is an outdoor writer, a man of faith, and a family man. He grew up hunting, fishing, and trapping. Jordan has taught marksmanship, woodsmanship, and self-defense classes. He has earned black belts in four martial arts and is a certified Krav Maga instructor. He also runs his own Gun Blog and YouTube Channel. Jordan enjoys giving his time and resources to help others and has spent 15 years volunteering in a boy's mentoring program He is and will always be an American Patriot. MOLON LABE

Recent Posts