Concealed Carry & Home Defense

Choose one for home defense: A rifle in .22 rimfire or a handgun in .32 ACP

Mike Piccione Editor, Guns & Gear
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Hypothetical situation; you have just been sent to some brutal, Stalinist, dictatorial place where you can’t bring your gun. Think Uganda, Somalia or Illinois.

Upon arrival your host properly adheres to good gun owner-guest protocol and offers you your choice of one of his two guns for your bedside piece.  Those guns are a Ruger 10/22 in .22 rimfire or a Walther PP in .32 ACP.

Which do you choose?

Now you know what a bedside piece is designed to do and that’s keep you and your patch safe against bad guys. It could be inside the home or outside on the property.

The 10/22 is loaded with Stingers and the Walther is loaded with .32 ACP jacketed hollow point rounds. You are assured that both guns are reliable and dependable.

The Guns

The Ruger 10/22 has sold over 5,000,000 guns and has been produced since 1964. I’ve had mine for 36 years and it has worked wonderfully in the Nevada desert to the humid South Carolina swamps and in the icy Adirondack Mountains. It has never failed me.

The standard magazine holds 10 rounds. The gun has an easy to use safety. The bolt release is a bit awkward for a quick deployment but you probably won’t have the bolt back anyway if you plan on using the gun for defense.

The Walther PP – Police Pistol – has been around since 1929 and is also in the 5,000,000 made club. It is considered to be the first example of a reliable double-action pistol. The gun is just large enough to fit most hands nicely and by that I mean your little finger has a place to stay on the grip, but just barely. There is enough weight for a nice balance and heft which is rare in a .32.

The magazine holds 8 rounds and you can stoke an extra in the chamber for this exercise. The safety will lower the hammer if cocked and keep the trigger from being pulled if the hammer is down. Trigger pull is a stout 12 lbs or so with the hammer down and cocked runs 4 lbs.

The Rounds

Stingers are a hyper-velocity .22 rimfire with a muzzle velocity of 1640 feet-per-second, 191 ft-lbs of energy out of its 32 grain bullet. At 50 yards you are pulling 1300 fps and getting 120 ft-lbs of energy tops.

The .32 ACP finally has a few rounds to choose from that aren’t as anemic as the original loading from years ago. Buffalo Bore has a load that shoots a 75 grain bullet at 1150 fps with 220ft-lbs of energy. Otherwise a .32 will produce as little as 120 ft-lbs of energy with a 70 grain bullet. Let’s split the difference and use Fiocci jacketed hollow points weighing 60 grains, travelling at 1,100 fps with 161 ft-lbs of energy.

The Choice

Rifle – greater range, better accuracy and two extra rounds.

Pistol – it is easier to handle making it easier for you to move and it is designed for one-hand operation.

The Answer

My first thought is to take the Walther. Only because when there is a bump in the night it is easier to grab a handgun for me and move with it towards the problem. However, after consideration past the first thought, I’d take the Ruger because of the fast-fire accuracy. At close range both guns are similar in power and at a range past 10/15 yards there is a distinct advantage with the Ruger. You can shoot with surgical precision with a 10/22 and with a pistol you are limited to general body shots. When dealing with a small round you need to put as many bullets in the target as quickly as possible and the Ruger does that at any range you would be forced to use this gun in a home defense situation.

In the battle of the mouse guns the decision goes to the smaller round in the larger gun.

Now you can have your say in the matter.