This will be a quick post about how I have the rifle set up.
The Ruger 10/22 takedown is the base gun. It came with a drilled and tapped receiver, and a weaver mount. If you don’t have a mount, any of these rails should work. Let your budget be your guide. Don’t forget the blue locktite. Dr. Sherman H. of Revolver Science uses a Nodak Spud rail w/ onboard peep sight. This one is cool because it creates a longer sight radius and because peep sights are the heat.
This is the single most important ‘accessory’ for any firearm. In a rimfire caliber, it’s even more so. The hit and miss ignition and feeding of rimfire .22 is known far and wide as a great reason to not trust a .22 with your life. Right Reddit? So what is a guy to do? Buy better ammunition, silly. As The Tactical Professor pointed out, smallbore rifle shooters are the group to look at for ammunition. They demand a high reliability rate since failures to ignite cost time and could cost them a match. So for now, I’ve used Federal Premium HV Match ammunition. I’ve had 200 rounds go ‘pew!‘ with absolutely zero malfunctions with this ammo. Can you say that you’ve fired 200 rounds of your chosen defensive ammo through your gun? If not, then your argument against my choice is built on shaky ground. The other brand that the cognoscenti likes is CCI. You want High Velocity (for penetration) and high quality. Don’t use the 550 round bricks for bad guys. Use that stuff to practice! As an aside, in whatever firearm you use, make sure you test your chosen ammo in your gun in the magazines you intend to use with it.
Why an optic? I have been trying to get my wife used to iron sights on rifles for several years. My wife is blind as a bat without glasses (we keep an old pair of glasses rubber banded to the stock of the gun), is cross eye dominant, and can’t seem to build a good shoulder and cheek weld with the rifle. I have taught many people to shoulder a rifle, and for whatever reason, it’s not in her body mechanics. Her instinct is to try to see down the sights with her left eye when the rifle is shouldered on the right. I have fought this for 5 years to no avail. It’s a training and practice issue (which is why this project was started in the first place). The Red-dot is a Bushnell TRS-25 that I had living on a shotgun that wasn’t in use. Battery life is good enough for me to leave it on a 3 setting all the time, and change the battery every 6 months or so. I mounted it as far forward as I could to keep the dot smaller and hopefully buy a bit more precision.
It’s rugged enough and works well enough for me to trust it in this application. I’d love to put an Aimpoint Micro H-1 on it and change the battery once a year, but that’s not in the diaper budget. Since the optic doesn’t have a quick disconnect mount on it, I am working an ‘optic failure’ drill into my wives program. This will involve using the optic as a large ghost ring, and require her to make hits on a 10 inch circle at 5 yards. It’s a really bad day if the battery is dead and you’re using the rifle in a defense situation, but once you plan for an emergency, it ceases to be an emergency.
I bought several factory Ruger BX-25 magazines from CDNN for $20 a piece. They have proven totally reliable so far, though the rifle only has about 500 rounds down the pipe. For “GO” mags, I would only use these factory mags. An interesting note, the reason they hold 25 rounds is because that’s half of the usual box of 50 rounds of .22LR (tidbit from the Doc).
The Light and Mount
I mounted an old Nitecore single Lithium battery flashlight onto the barrel with a NEBO Long Gun Light Mount. The price was right. So far, it has proven sturdy enough for it’s purpose and would grip a variety of diameters of lights. I can index my pointer finger on the barrel band, and my thumb falls perfectly on the tail switch of the light. If I were doing it super cheap, I’d use hose clamps (I had an AK set up like this for years). As long as you have a white light on your rifle, do whatever works.
If you have a way to make holes in people, you should also be able to patch holes. Because I had real estate on the rifle, I decided to attach a (TK4) Tourniquet to the offside of the rifle stock. These TQ’s are great because they are so flat, are inexpensive, and can be applied one handed to yourself with a little practice. I wrapped Self-Adherent Bandage to secure it to the stock. This tape has held up pretty well for me when I have done this in the past. If it starts to fail, no big deal, I’ll replace it. Now we have on board medical in case we need to patch up a loved one. Like I’ve said before, get medical training if you haven’t. You’re more likely to save a life with that training than by saving the day in a mall shooting or whatever your super-hero gun fight looks like in your head.
I’d like to get a snag free two point sling on the rifle. One that is out of the way, but can be used drap over the neck to get two hands free. I’m on the prowl for that.
That’s it. Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe.
Stay Safe and Protect the Brood!
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I’m a fairly pragmatic person. I’m an engineer by schooling and like to base my decisions on statistics, facts, research, personal experience, and sometimes a sprinkling of intuition. I’m no different when it comes to the self defense game. I’m going to write an ongoing series of posts about my decision to outfit a Ruger 10/22 for my wife for home defense. I’ll try to make my case about choosing this rifle by noting some case studies on actual defensive gun uses, terminal ballistics, ease of training with the rifle, advantages of the .22LR for a muzzle-blast sensitive shooter, financial reasons to choose .22LR, methodology for training my wife and family in it’s use, and I will document the ongoing process of developing a training program around this rifle.
The Mission: Find and outfit a firearm for my wife which is reliable, chambered in an empirically effective caliber, will allow her to pass basic shooting standards, with which she can build competence and confidence to protect our family.
Why not a ‘real’ caliber like 5.56mm, 12 gauge, or a 9mm pistol?
Don’t get me wrong. My wife can shoot her Glock19 very well. She has taken a two day, 1000+ round Fighting Pistol class with Tactical Response, and plenty of follow up practice sessions, including a few with Claude Werner (The Tactical Professor). She shoots it well, but I think she would be the first to admit that shooting the 9mm isn’t a totally pleasant experience for her. I realize some of you are married to women who shoot .357mag in an airlite Smith for 150 rounds in a day and laugh about it. Well my wife can’t. In fact, in my experience, not many people can stand up to extended range sessions in any full-house caliber. She is good for maybe 25-50 rounds of practice before her flinch and trigger jerking starts to get the better of her. Many people, and women in particular, seem to be very sensitive to the over-pressure concussion of gun shots. My wife is noticeably rattled after a short time in an indoor range. So what? So, she doesn’t want to practice, doesn’t want to go to the range, and doesn’t want to maintain what is absolutely a perishable skill. These are all bad things, especially with the chance that she’ll have to make a shot on the home invader while I’m actively fighting them. The need to make a ‘downrange friendly’ shot is a very real possibility. It is a more likely shot for average Joe Gunowner than the ‘hostage shot’ we see in all of the paper targets and cop movies.
The fight between the two men broke the dining room table and chairs but, as they tussled, Miss Brown produced her pink gun from her bedside table.
‘I had my gun drawn, focused in on him – as he moved, my gun moved. I waited for my shot and when I saw an opening, I fired,’ she told the newspaper.
I’ll admit that it’s a little selfish of me, but I want to give my wife every chance to make her shot if this situation arises. To do this, she needs to enjoy practice and be able to make these kinds of low probability shots cold and on demand. I decided that a Ruger 10/22 rifle could be a good choice based on the advice of my friends and mentors. Let’s talk further about why.
Can the .22LR be effective against human targets?
About four years ago I started getting turned on to the idea of .22lr as a pocket gun caliber when The Tactical Professor was writing his Old Man Gun series of posts on a popular self-defense forum, followed by my watching some ballistics gelatin tests of varied .22lr ammo at the Mid-Atlantic Tactical Conference in 2010. Then I read Greg Ellifritz’s An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power research article. Here’s an excerpt from this data collection:
.22 (short, long and long rifle)# of people shot – 154 # of hits – 213, % of hits that were fatal – 34%, Average number of rounds until incapacitation – 1.38, % of people who were not incapacitated – 31%, One-shot-stop % – 31%, Accuracy (head and torso hits) – 76% %, actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit) – 60%
He goes on to say:
Some people will look at this data and say “He’s telling us all to carry .22s”. That’s not true. Although this study showed that the percentages of people stopped with one shot are similar between almost all handgun cartridges, there’s more to the story. Take a look at two numbers: the percentage of people who did not stop (no matter how many rounds were fired into them) and the one-shot-stop percentage. The lower caliber rounds (.22, .25, .32) had a failure rate that was roughly double that of the higher caliber rounds. The one-shot-stop percentage (where I considered all hits, anywhere on the body) trended generally higher as the round gets more powerful.
So, we have to try to consider all aspects of Greg’s data. We can see that we have an approximate need for 1.4 rounds of .22LR before the attacker stops pressing the attack and a 34% chance of a fatality resulting from quality shot placement. The Ruger 10/22 factory 25 round magazines hold more than 1.4 rounds, so we’re looking good so far. Rifles, in general, are easier to shoot, hold more ammunition, and allow a greater degree of accuracy due to four points of contact with the body, instead of two with the pistol.
With some training, we can improve our chances to make quality hits and affect the desired outcome (for the invader to leave us alone). We have to also be fair and acknowledge the fact that there is a higher probability of non-stops when using small calibers in defensive situations. Their lack of intermediate barrier penetration, their small permanent wound cavity, reliability issues, and all of the other issues with small and light projectiles need to be considered. I personally believe the statistic about failed stops is a shot placement issue and therefor can be trained to be improved (high center chest, ocular cavity hits being key). I don’t have any proof of this, so take that for what it’s worth. Our training needs to address putting a volley of rounds into these areas in a constrained time-frame, which we will talk about soon.
Another issue might be the dedication level of the attackers. Against an opportunistic bad guy, it’s very probable that shooting won’t even be necessary (it often isn’t), just showing the intent and ability to use deadly force will make him remember he has somewhere better to be. Against a home invader, however, it’s possible that you’ll be facing a dedicated attacker who is after you. This is the sort of bad guy that you will have to shoot until you incapacitate them. You will have to make enough holes in the pump works or computer to shut down the attack. The .22LR can help you to this end by allowing rapid followup shots through minimal recoil, high capacity, and minimal muzzle flash. It can be a poor choice based on it’s lack of muzzle energy and occasional poor ignition.
While Greg’s stats are a compilation of actual events (a whole lot of them, in fact) it’s still useful to read a few examples to illustrate some points. Let’s run through a few.
“She was telling him not to hurt her, that she had money in the house. He then forced her into the bedroom where it’s believed he was going to sexually assault her with the threat of the knife. The victim was able to retrieve her .22 cal. pistol and responded to his deadly threat with deadly force and shot the suspect multiple times,” said Ritter.
Ritter says the man fled out the back door and then he collapsed in the backyard. The suspect died at Gwinnett Medical Center.
The notable issue here was the percentage of hits she achieved. As I recall it was 8/9 or 9/10 shots that found their mark. A very good hit ratio. She had done her practice. He was dead as she shot him, but he didn’t realize it until he made it out into the yard. The .22LR has several great benefits that allow one to become proficient, which we will talk about in a later installment.
According to the release, Newman came to the home, threatened to kill Richard Green and began punching him. After Newman placed him in a chokehold, Green’s 15-year-old son got a .22-caliber rifle and threatened to shoot if he didn’t release the hold, the statement said.
When Newman didn’t let go, Green’s son fired once, striking Newman in the back, the statement said.
I chose this situation to show that a young man (or even child with proper training) can wield a .22 and make a low probability shot with a friendly downrange. Stories like this made me consider long-guns over pistols.
hen she heard the glass break. The 72-year-old told police that’s when she rushed to her bedroom to retrieve her revolver, and began yelling, “leave me alone” and “get out of here!”
The homeowner says she feared for her life and pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired. The woman says she then pulled the trigger of the gun a second time and a shot was fired.
That’s when she called 911, and held the intruder at gunpoint.
She can be heard on the 911 tape telling the 26-year-old male suspect, “You better sit down! You better sit.” Then she asks 911 operators if they can hurry and get a police officer to help her.
This one shows that an old woman can wield a .22 revolver and hold down the fort. It also shows the well known fact that rimfire ammo is prone to misfires. Which just stresses the importance of using high quality ammunition to ensure ignition when it matters. Here’s a cool interview Greg Ellifritz had with an older fellow about his use of the .22 revolvers for defense.
The .22LR and ease of practice and training
Even though finding .22LR in stock in today’s market is like finding hen’s teeth, it still is an affordable caliber when you can find it. It can be had in very reliable loads. While these loadings are more expensive than the 550 round bricks, they are not prohibitively expensive. A reliable .22LR rifle will not break the bank. A new Ruger 10/22, for example, can be had for about $200. Add to this the required white light and mount, and possibly a red dot optic, and you’re into a budget home defense rifle for $300-$400. This allows inexpensive practice on an inexpensive rifle that is enjoyable to shoot, not abusive in recoil or noise, reliable with the right ammunition, light weight, and has proven effective in actual situations.
So hopefully you’re following my train of thought on why the .22LR can be used for home defense. I hope I’ve given enough logical evidence to make my point. The next articles in this series will discuss how I’ve outfitted my wife’s rifle, the training program I’m developing with her, and her ongoing training.
Stay Safe and Protect the Brood,
References and Notes:
I want to thank Dr. Sherman of http://revolverscience.wordpress.com/ and Claude Werner of http://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/ for the inspiration to begin this project. Getting this project off the ground has been paying off tremendously in easing my mind when it comes to setting up a firearm for my wife and my mother to use in the event of an emergency if they’re home alone, or in the event that something happens to me during a home invasion and they are the last line of defense between the bad guys and my son.