Use That .22 to Train

One of my mentors in the shooting world that I took a class
from was an old school kind of guy. I
loved training with him and learning from him.
One of the things he said in a class I took about what kind of firearms
everyone should be looking to get really stuck with me. He said:

Everyone should have
that pistol that they get. Whether it is
a 9mm or whatever they decided. A solid
semi-automatic for self-defense. What
else should you get? A .38 special or
357 magnum revolver. Shooting with a
double action revolver will really help you focus on the fundamentals and get
some solid trigger control training. The
.38’s are pretty cheap, and revolvers are easy to handle. 
Another must is a .22. I highly recommend that you get at least one .22
to train with….”

I agree with his statement to this day. For your casual gun owner, the person that is
looking to buy their one and done firearm, okay, this may not be their
path. Not every gun owner becomes a gun
fanatic. But, many that do get that
first firearm get hooked, and hooked quickly.
Always looking for the next thing to try and buy. The purpose of any given firearm needs to be
considered when purchasing it, so take that into your own personal thought
process. If you find yourself being in
the latter of the two categories, do not be dismissive of getting a .22, they
are great firearms to train and practice with.

Why a .22? There are
many reasons for this.

First, .22 ammunition is generally inexpensive and easy to
obtain. Yes, there have been times in
history that even trying to obtain .22’s came with difficulty and a hefty price
tag, such as the present date, but generally speaking .22’s are inexpensive and
readily available.

The other two more important reasons to use a .22 to train
would be low recoil and low noise. No
matter how much training we do, our reflexes are our reflexes. We react to gunfire and our purpose when
shooting is to mitigate that. So
conditioning our bodies to ignore recoil and the sound of gunfire is much
easier to do when both are minimal. This
will give you an opportunity to really focus on the very important elements of
aiming and trigger control. Low recoil
will give you a chance so that when your surprise break happens, you’re not
being bombarded with the energy of a centerfire firearm. Take time to really concentrate on your
marksmanship fundamentals with your .22 caliber firearm.

Don’t know which one to get, that’s okay. Like getting any firearm it is recommended
that you get a chance to try as many as possible before purchase. The good news is that there are .22 versions
of many popular handguns out there that you can get. Also, there are some trustworthy conversion
kits that you can purchase for certain makes and models, just do a web search
for .22 conversion for said firearm. I
will note though it is important to read the reviews on different kits and some
firearm manufacturers will void your warranty if you use certain aftermarket
parts. Do your research on anything you
get or use.

A note on ammunition…Certain .22 semi-automatic firearms
require quality ammunition that could be double the price of the “cheap”
stuff. Always reference the manual to
make sure you are using what is recommended in your particular gun or with any
conversion kits. At the end of the day,
the “expensive” .22 rounds that one would practice with are still way cheaper
than a box of centerfire cartridges.

.22’s are a fun and inexpensive way to work on your shooting
skills and get some plinking time in.
They are the perfect introductory firearm for someone that is
apprehensive about shooting as well. Consider
adding one to your cache of arms if you do not already have one. Your investment in a quality .22 will pay you
dividends over time.

Stay safe out there and think before you do!

John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer,
author of “Decoding
Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use”
certified instructor, NRA certified pistol, rifle and shotgun instructor living
under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun
laws. You can find him on the web at
on twitter at @johnpetrolino
and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii