Letter Re: .22 Handguns and Other Options For Self Defense

R.F.D. is spot on with the write-up, on .22 LR and to take this a step further,  everyone should do their own “field tests”. Most people (My estimation) can not or will not spend enough range time to be proactive in having the hands on experience to get not only the right weapon but equally important the right caliber for them and/also the first hand knowledge of what they can do to both living tissue or objects.  I have over my learning period of 50 plus years and hundreds of thousands of rounds shot, understood that I wanted several calibers and types of guns for my use. For distances under 50 yards, maybe a hyper-velocity .22,  under a 100 a .223, up to 200 yards a .30-06, over 200 yards  my caliber of choice is a .375 H&H magnum.  Again my choices. 
I differ in my opinion about the .22 rimfire round, be it a Short, Long, Long Rifle, or the hyper-velocity Long Rifle hollow point.   In first hand experience at a shooting range in Kansas City, Kansas years ago I saw first hand an accidental shooting where one shot to the chest with a standard 22 LR bullet that entered and exited a man’s chest killing him on the spot.  My years of outdoor shooting and hunting with most calibers and types of firearms allowed me to to make my own choices on what I determined worked for me.   As everybody has an opinion, the old adage “Do not believe anything you hear and half of what you see”  has worked for me.  As an example take a unopened Number 10 can of any type of food that has gone bad and use it for a target, lets say 20 to 30 yards,  using a .22 pistol or rifle (several barrel lengths in the same caliber would give you a hands on demo of velocity loss in short barrels)  and using a .22 LR CCI Stingers (which is considered to be a hyper-velocity hollow point)  watch what happens to the can when hit.  Its going to enter the front of the can with a pencil size hole but on the backside it will either split the can by exploding the contents or at the very least exit with a slightly larger hole (due to expansion of the hollow point bullet) with a bulging of the can due to energy transfer and a not so nice effect on the contents of the can.  Also try one-gallon plastic jugs filled with water, etc and you will get a  impressive result also.
In tests I have used .25 caliber, thru 9mm and .38, on junk yard autos in comparison to hyper-velocity 22LR ammo. Most automobiles are like tanks on the first round hits sometimes it will penetrate sometimes it will not.  I have been amazed that a standard 9mm and .38 Special round may not even penetrate the glass on the first round, though subsequent rounds may.  On metal and even plastic they can be even more limited.  But taking the same vehicle, and given it a hose down with CCI Stingers will be impressive.  I used to ask people if you had a situation where two combatants where only armed with pistols or were at a 100 yard distance shooting at each other one shooting a .22LR with Stingers versus the other armed with a 9mm or .38 Special, then who do you think is going to come out the winner?  My vote is for the person with the .22 LR every time. 
I have in my past poached deer at night for food, using a .22 LR hyper-velocity hollow point ammo. A double tap to the head at no more than 20 yards and I never had a deer that survived.  A body shot to the torso, might take one down, but as a hunter the only method is to humanely harvest the animal [with head shots].  In a worst case situation, I am not worried about being humane, just putting the threat down or out of action.   So my advice is make your determination through actual field testing in order to get it right for you. Bottom line, any gun that shoots is better than no gun. Furthermore, shot placement is also a big factor, with several rounds to ensure the outcome is on your side. 
Happy Trails, – John in Arizona