Not long ago I posted my experience of carrying my concealed .22 handgun for the first time. Nearly every reader was encouraging and positive. Several, however, encouraged me to trade my .22 in for something in a larger caliber. They rightly pointed out that a larger caliber has greater “stopping power” if I ever have to defend myself. That’s a valid point, and I’m still carrying my Walther P22. Here are my reasons.
- It’s small, lightweight and was reasonably priced. My Walther P22 was a Christmas gift last year from my husband and cost a little over $300. It came with a laser site, which has turned into a terrific cat toy.
- I pray that I am never in a situation that calls for the use of lethal force. However, if that should happen, I have every intention of firing my gun more than once. No, a .22 doesn’t have the stopping power of a .357 or .45, but there’s no law I’m aware of that says you can fire your gun at a bad guy only once. Hey, if you add .22 + .22 + .22 + .22, you end up with a pretty impressive number. ;o)
- Over the years, .22lr ammo has become more expensive and, at times, hard to find. However, if you were smart enough to stock up a few years back, you got a great deal and a brick of that ammo provides hours of shooting practice.
- The old saying, “Practice makes perfect,” doesn’t apply when it comes to refining your shooting skills. Repeatedly firing a gun incorrectly just reinforces bad habits and wastes good ammo. Since .22 ammo is cheap, I can practice my shooting skills without any guilt about wasting money or worry that I won’t be able to find ammo to replace what I use. I’d rather be extremely skillful with a smaller caliber handgun than so-so with a larger caliber that uses more expensive and possibly hard to find ammo.
- Many professional assassins use .22 pistols.
- A .22 is quiet-ish and has very little recoil.
- If it were lost or confiscated, I wouldn’t weep the same amount of tears as I would upon losing my .40 SigSauer. That’s one sweet firearm. I told my husband it was my new boyfriend. It’s just too big for me to carry.
- Since my .22 is small, it’s easier to find outfits that conceal it completely.
- This particular handgun has made it easy to get used to the feel of concealed carry.
Now, having said all that, I have been looking at and trying small guns in higher calibers. At the range a few weeks ago I tried out a .380 sub-compact revolver. Man! Did that thing pack a punch. To my hand, that is. It’s no fun dreading the aftermath of a powerful recoil when you go to pull a trigger. In a sticky situation, I sure don’t want to think twice about firing because I’m afraid of the recoil. I’m still searching for the right combination of concealability, affordability, comfort, and a higher caliber. Until I find something just right for me, I’ll stick with my .22.
UPDATE: I still like the .22 very much and have heard from a number of readers who carry one, either exclusively or on occasion. Since writing this article, I have fallen in love with the Baby Glock 9mm and passed my Walther P22 on to a family member.