If you are preparing for any contingency, whether simply surviving a disaster or getting ready for the collapse of civilization, there is one ammo you need above all others.
It is the .22 long rifle (.22 LR).
I discovered the .22 rather late in my shooting career. Growing up in New York City did not afford me the simple pleasure of going into the woods with a .22 like millions of other youngsters. Our first firearms as teenagers were the M16A2, M249 SAW and M1911, courtesy of the US Marine Corps.
We dismissed the .22 LR as something a child would shoot. We were content with center-fire cartridges in both rifle and pistol until it was pointed out how cheap and available .22s were. That may not always be the case these days, but in the mid-1990s it was true enough.
Admittedly, the .22 LR is not the best choice for a self-defense scenario. This is due in part to the finicky nature of certain brands of ammunition as well as certain firearms chambered in .22 LR and its marginal ballistics.
However, in a true survival situation you often need a firearm for more than self-defense or big-game hunting.
One of the things we saw after Hurricane Sandy was that the flooding drove rats, mice, possums and other vermin from their lairs and into the habitats of people. For this reason alone, a .22 LR pistol or rifle is a necessity.
Hunting big game animals with a rim fire round is illegal throughout most of the US because the round typically lacks the power to kill a large animal humanely when shot at a distance. Rounds that miss the intended target or penetrate can pose a hazard to others for up to a mile.
In all actuality, a .22 LR is effective on big game with proper shot placement. More than one poacher has been caught using a .22 LR since its invention, and ranchers routinely slaughter their cattle for butchering with a single shot.
Likewise, .22 can be suitable for self-defense, particularly when fired from a rifle yielding greater accuracy and improved velocity.
In a genuine survival scenario, many people will take refuge outside the cities and rely on nature for food. This has the potential to severely decimate local deer herds. Stockpiles of full-sized rifle calibers will be useless to hunt smaller sources of food, such as squirrels.
Speaking of stockpiles, the small size and weight of the round allows them to be stored more easily than center-fire ammunition. For example, 1,000 rounds weigh less than three loaded AR-15 magazines.
Above all else, the .22 LR is quiet and can be easily suppressed with a silencer if you have one available to you (and if it’s legal where you live).
Keep in mind that when choosing a firearm you should consider the user’s abilities. For example, we find the various Ruger target pistols to be accurate and reliable, but we are terrible at getting them back together (tearing them down is the easy part). So I would not not include one in my preps.
On the other hand, I prefer the Ruger 10/22 rifle and have found a Beretta Model 71, Smith & Wesson Model 41 and Smith & Wesson Model 17 to be my personal favorites from an accuracy, reliability and maintenance standpoint.
If you have a few .22s in your possession, you are way ahead of the curve. If you have not considered the full scope of their utility, you may want to revisit them.
Are you a .22 long rifle fan? Or is there a different gun you’d prefer? Share your thoughts on the .22 LR in the section below: