Why Shoot .22?

Someone said a .22 caliber is a “must have” for anyone who shoots. As a .22Colt Government 1911 A11 22 fan boy, how can I not agree? For me and many, many others, it was our first firearm. Because of the sheer affordability of the ammunition, it is also the caliber I’ve shot most.

You might think another consideration is the noise level. I thought so too but after thinking about it, even a .22 is loud enough to bother my dogs, not to mention my neighbors. Fortunately for me, my neighbors aren’t all that close and there’s plenty of shooting going on all around us. Unless I start shooting a bucket-o-bullets every day, I doubt if anyone will complain. Okay, the dogs will complain, but they whine about everything.

What about distance?

If you read my post on the range of .22 caliber firearms, it should be obvious lethality is not an issue. It shouldn’t be an issue anyway but, well, safety. ALL firearms should be treated as dangerous weapons. Then again, so shouldn’t all automobiles. Note that while one must pay a special tax to own a fully automatic firearm, you don’t even need to be able to drive to own a fully automatic automobile, but I digress.

So what IS important about distance? It depends on what your goals are. The greater the distance you want to shoot the more factors loom large for consideration. Sure, it would be great to have ready access to a 300 yard range but then most of us would need some pretty high-end equipment and ammo to even begin to hit the target. Even a 100 yard distance could present a challenge for a lot of us.

When it gets right down to brass tacks (or maybe spent shells?) I’m more into the having fun aspect than the serious shooting bit. I’m delving into this topic so I can get better at everyday shooting with what I already own – NOT with an aim to start collecting $2000+ precision rimfire rifles. My wife just spewed a huge sigh of relief.

After digging online for any reliable information about shooting .22s in competition, I found a few, mostly local, here and there. There are a couple of national organizations but they don’t seem all that organized to me. I’m pretty sure I came across a couple of competitive shooting  programs a couple of years ago but I can’t find them now. My goal was to get some idea of accepted parameters. Oi. What I found is, I guess, a 75 yard distance is okay for rifle shooting while a 25 yard is suitable for pistol. That said, If you’ve only got enough room to shoot at 25 yards, why not go for it? The important thing is to make sure your backstop is sufficient both in size and quality – (dirt is really, really good for stopping bullets) – and other safety factors are observed. Most states have regulations already published on ranges – whether they apply to your own private shooting space or not is more of a legal issue requiring a legal opinion so do seek legal advice. If you don’t have or have overcome any legal considerations, or, if you’ve found a local range or a shooting club to join then distance should no longer be an issue.

One More Distance Consideration

Let’s talk self-defense.  According to Chris Baker at Lucky Gunner who wrote a pretty extensive article on the subject, most self defense situations with a firearm are at a distance between 3-5 yards (9-15 feet).

If that’s the case then shouldn’t one’s self defense practice focus on that distance? Maybe and maybe not. Either way, I think it is wise to keep this in mind when practicing. My idea is to practice at twice the distance you would expect to encounter in real life. Why? Because if I can consistently shoot accurately at 30 feet, then 15 feet should never be a problem.

Plinking or Competing?

You already know my thoughts. I just wanna shoot. Granted I tend to be naturally competitive but when it comes to stuff like shooting, I don’t really care if the guy next to me can shoot holes in his holes. All I really want to do is shoot well. If I can be accurate and fast, all the better, but I’ll take accuracy over speed any day.