Should .22 Mag Be Used As A Defensive Caliber?
Depends on the Barrel Length
When 30 carbine was introduced during WW2, many called it inadequate. It became massively popular, and not just with the rear echelon troops. Far from the sheer power of the 30-06, it was more useful to a radio operator, a cook, or a typist. Likewise, 22WMR is nowhere near the power of 223Rem (already deemed inadequate by many), yet its ballistic cousins 5.7×28 and 4.6×30 are well regarded for certain niche uses. Until recently, 22WMR was mostly used in hunting guns, the occasional exception like Grendel carbine aside. But consider it in the Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) format: lightweight, accurate, nearly recoilless, and effective.
For the test, I used two CMR30’s updated to the production configuration. Both were reliable and well received by the numerous shooters who tried them.
While slow fire provides about 1.5MOA dispersion, we did rapid fire standing at 18-20 yards. The target was a 1/4″ hardened aluminum, diamond plate backed, with 2x4s. 9mm +P and .357Mag defensive ammunition shot through 4″ barrels left minimal impression on the plate. 22LR let just a tiny splatter. From the carbine barrel, 22WMR ball blew through the metal and the wood behind it. We tried CCI hollow point load with the same result.
The complete absence of recoil and minimal muzzle blast are a big deal to some people. For example, we had a shooter who had brain surgery two days prior and who couldn’t shoot a .223 rifle. She did very well with 22wmr. The old and the young and those who have shoulder injuries definitely benefit from a viable defensive weapon that’s half the weight of an AR15 rifle yet provides an adequate, if not overwhelming, impact. One might not end a fight but there’s thirty more where the first round came from.
CMR30 is a relatively simple gun and available at KeltecWeapons.com.
Story and Photos by Oleg Volk