Popcop45

.22 LR Lethality

33 posts in this topic

i use a .22LR for home defense. but i know the limitations of that caliber. i practice head shots with high velocity round nose. high velocity HP may not penetrate thick skulled or overweight bad guys.

-a|ex

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Thanks for the link popcop, that was an interesting read!

:beer:

I moved this topic to the ammunition board, since it's not specific to the GSG.

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i use a .22LR for home defense. but i know the limitations of that caliber. i practice head shots with high velocity round nose. high velocity HP may not penetrate thick skulled or overweight bad guys.

-a|ex

What type of ammo are you using? Have you tested them on any type thick skull game? Reason why I am asking is I would like to equip my GSG-5P for home defense for my wife while I am at work. I hear that CCI Velocitor is pretty good expanding load and that CCI Segmented Hollow Point breaks into three pieces after penetration, but your are right, you need to penetrate bone and give the round at least a chance to ricochet off bone and do some more organ damage.   

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Hollow points work like a charm on small critters but solids are better for larger, 2 legged predators.

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By coincidence, someone just posted

Beretta 21A  Walther P22  Dickson revolver  Factory FPS Spec (16" test bbl)

velocities, in a nice little table on another forum.

http://www.hipointfirearmsforums.com/Forum/index.php/topic,32913.0.html

The 21A has some pretty slow velocities.  I don't recall exactly, but the .22 rimfires only need a very short barrel to reach max velocities.  Anybody know what that barrel length is?

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Isn't it about the same as the optimum twist? Around 1 in 15''. So my answer would be 15''.

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Ok, first off all ammo "CAN" be lethal.

But lets face it. .22 should be your last choice in a defensive caliber.

Yes, its capable of killing.

NO, its not capable of instant incapacitation. *(short of an extremely well placed shot, which is nearly impossible in a defensive situation)

In an attack, an attacker can close 7ft in less than a second. If you fire something at them, you want them to stop dead in their tracks. Hitting them with a .22 that might kill them an hour later isnt going to cut it. You need to put a round in them that will stop them right then and there.

If you dont, the attacker will likely still have the ability to inflict harm to you before he succumbs to the mini wound from a .22 - You might as well leave the firearm alone and go straight to hand-to-hand, because thats what you are gonna end up with anyway.

You've got to hit them hard, and fast. And that calls for a larger caliber with some umph and preferably some cavitation.

For self defense, in my opinion, nothing less than 9mm hollowpoints will do. Preferably .40 or larger hollowpoints.

I would never trust my life to a .22 round, and neither should you.

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i practice with my walther p22 routinely at the range. at 7 feet, the attacker's brain is swiss cheese. i'm slow with 9mm follow up shots and i also don't have time to put on ear protection during an attack. i can get more shots in with a .22 than a 9mm.

i prefer the penetrating mini mags over the explosive less penetrating stingers. both are high velocity. i'm not saying .22's are the best for self/home defense, i'm saying i train with it more than any other caliber because it's cheap to use which results in longer range time. we use up 2 boxes of federal value pack 550's each time we hit the range.

i don't feel confident with a 9mm during a panic situation. hitting the target is my goal, not one shot stopping power. i'm limited on how many rounds i can shoot my friends .40 and .380 at the range. i trust my life on my shooting skills other than the caliber size.

-a|ex

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Alex, I understand where you are coming from, and proficiency is certainly a BIG part in a successful self-defence plan, but I hope you never have to rely on that .22 to protect your life because you are going to be sadly mistaken if you think it will take down your assailant efficiently....even if you think you can get off a clean headshot at the shadow at the end of your bed in the middle of the night in a darkly lit bedroom while you are shaking off that 3am slumber.

There is not one single LE or Military person in the world that carries a .22 as their primary, and there is a reason for that. Its insufficient for performing the task.

If you dont feel proficient with a 9mm or larger caliber pistol, thats a deficiency that can be solved. Training can get you to that level of proficiency just as it did with the .22

...and hearing protection would be the last thing on my mind in that situation.

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I understand both bdavision and Alex's points are well taken. Where the .22 lacks the energy to stop the opponent, but people choose it for it's almost zero recoil, giving them the confidence to place multiple rounds into the threat target.

I practice home invasion scenarios in my house all the time. I own several weapons as you guys might imagine.

A shot gun has the most 'stop 'em dead in their tracks' power-HOWEVER, in the event an intruder entered a kids room; I could not bring myself to fire a shot gun anywhere near my kids. Whether it is buck (scattering bb's) or slug (lose wads). My Mini 14's .223 is way too penetrating for a house encounter (although I would use it of course). My M&P 45 would be ideal for an intruder coming in through a bedroom window; but I will tell you this from speaking with ER Surgeons; a few rapid fire heads shots with .22 and you are going down; no matter how high the perpetrator might be. In fact, one doctor saw a patient that was shot in the head with a .22 FMJ and the round made a W figure through the brain. The doctor stated the guy was dead before his knees hit the ground. Also .22's have been used in a couple of fatal school shootings most notably the Virgina Tech incident where the sick bastard use a Walther P22 & Glock 19 fired 170 rds killing 30.

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The .22LR is THE round that outperforms its "paper" ballistics.  Virtually every other handgun round is less effective in the real world than projected to be.

I just read about an officer shootout where the officer fired and hit a 300lb perp six times with 125gr. JHP .357 magnum loads and failed to "put him down".  During the altercation the perp fired at and hit the officer twice in his vest with a .22LR MINI revolver--those two the vest stopped.  A third round from what is basically the tiniest .22LR in production passed through the officer's upper arm, through the arm hole of his vest and struck the brachial artery; the officer collapsed moments later and subsequently died.  The .357 magnum 125gr JHP load was once the "gold standard" in defensive loads, outrageously over-rated at 97% one-shot stop...yet SIX failed to stop in this case.  The mini revolver is generally looked down upon as useless, pointless, worthless, and only carried by fools who fail to take self-defense seriously.  In this case it proved to be more than a match, effectively putting the officer down with ONE shot...yeah, maybe lucky, but by the same token, the other guy soaked up six heavy-caliber slugs, survived and went on to be tried and sentenced to life for murder of a police officer.

When John Hinkley ambushed President Reagan and his entire security team he did so with a pair of SHORT-barreled .22LR revolvers.  Within seconds he took down a D.C. police chief, a secret service agent (who can be seen reacting violently to an abdominal hit), put a bullet into James Brady's head (thank you very much for that one Hinkley - since that started the blood feud between Sarah Brady and gun owners), AND managed to pump one into Reagan that we later discovered was almost lethal.

The Mafia really DOES choose the ubiquitous .22LR for close range assassination and so too the Israelis use the .22LR for close-in counter hi-jacking duty...and they aren't known for losing or being foolish about their choice of weapons.

In my 20 year career as a trauma nurse I've seen an entire spectrum of gun-shot wounds including 9mm, .45 ACP, .22LR, and others and from the standpoint of how the person shot presented, the damage they presented with based on caliber and times hit, I realized many years ago the tiny .22LR is not only lethal, but also every bit as good at fight-stopping as any of the currently popular semiauto handgun rounds that deliver payloads in the subsonic-transonic speed range.  I have NO doubt many will choose to argue the point based on something someone said, they heard, or read, but I've SEEN--not one, not two, but more than I can count and if I had to choose to take a hit from a 9mm JHP, versus a hypervelocity .22LR "solid" fired from a long barreled pistol or rifle, I'd choose the 9mm.  The two accounts I detailed above involved SHORT barrel .22's and the outcome was still profound, but I have also personally seen and worked on persons shot with .22LR's fired from rifles and room distances and the person shot dropped fast, dropped hard--so much so in once case he was incapable of reaching out with his arms to brace on impact and landed smack on his face smashing out all his teeth...THAT my friends speaks to the presence of "shock effect", because anyone not completely incapacitated will always seek to brace or move so as to protect their face.

As for the "myths" surrounding instant incapacitation with slow-to-medium speed handgun bullets, unless the hit interdicts the central nervous system there is no such thing as "instant" exclusive of a variety of external factors related to how the person shot reacts.

FACE shots with any handgun round are problematic at best due to the convoluted structure of the human skull.  For example, who doesn't remember the movie and book "Serpico" where Al Pacino to a 9mm to the cheek point blank and survived...a true account.  I once had a patient arrive shot directly through the bridge of his nose at close range - non-contact.  He presented with an exit would-- small slit just to the right side of the cervical vertebrae and below the occipital lobe of the skull...very little bleeding, easily stopped.  Xray and CT showed no internal damage, neurologically the man was tip-top other than still being intoxicated and was discharged home the very next morning with a band-aid on his nose and neck.  The bullet basically entered the ethmoid sinus, glanced along the base of the cranial vault, deflected downward and laterally to exit the neck.  The slit-like exit wound points to the bullet having been a round nose which it turns out was a .38 caliber.  Sure in these cases the single shot ended the fight, but a .22LR would very likely have done so as well, but neither delivered the damage or mortal insult I'm sure the shooter's intended and expected.  I just remembered one man who WALKED into the ER one morning with a fresh GSW to the hip.  On xray one could clearly see a .45ACP FMJ slug inside the bladder.  The bullet impact had absolutely no affect on the man other than he KNEW he's just be shot at.  There was very little external bleeding, the man was hemodynamically stable, conscious, alert, and not even experiencing pain.  Remember another young man who came in by ambulance shot 7 times with 9mm hollow points (you can tell by the exit wounds).  He had a total of 14 holes...all bullets passed completely through the chest cavity and neck.  he had a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) which was easily expanded with the insertion of a chest tube.  Bleeding was minimal, he was completely conscious, alert, and eager to go home...and did within a few days.  The man took SEVEN 9mm JHP"s through and through and was minimally impaired.  Unlike another perp who kicked down someone's front door only to receive 3 quick .22LR shots to the stomach from a rifle and dropped like a stone....required major surgery, and a lengthy recovery.

The problem with ballistic gelatin testing is it simply isn't the same as passing a bullet into a human body.  Skin is amazingly elastic and tough and will stretch quite a bit before being pierced by a bullet.  Internal organs are really quite "floppy' and have virtually no resistance to being moved aside...hence the reason one cannot place too much reliance on temporary expansion cavities, because at handgun bullet speeds temporary expansion causes no permanent damage.  Arteries are tough and elastic, and just as willing to move aside as a bullet passes...hence the current theory that only the permanent crush cavity "counts" hence the shift toward the large bore .45 ACP over the 9mm because the former creates a larger channel of tissue damage--all things being equal.  The move AWAY from light-weight, violently expanding hollowpoints such as the aforementioned .357 load is because they fail the consistent depth of penetration test when used on what is essentially "large game animals".  The current "gold standard" is the biggest bullet that will consistently penetrate to a depth of 12 " or more.  Guess what....even from handgun barrels, using calibrated gelatin, even garden variety bulk pack .22LR will penetrate to depths over 10"....remember this is the SAME gelatin (by calibration) that shows 9mm, .40S&W, 10mm "FBI", and .45ACP generally achieving similar penetration, so by extrapolation whatever general penetration the larger calibers will achieve in real tissue, to too will the .22LR.  Fired from rifle barrels...or long handgun barrels, modern hypervelocity .22's are astoundingly effective and destructive.

Having said all this does it mean I've tossed out all my big caliber pistols and gone strictly .22LR?  No because like most who are "into" guns I enjoy owning a variety, and I also appreciate that whereas the .22LR is probably every bit as effective in a street encounter as my Taurus PT-111 9mm, or my 1911 .45ACP, or my 1911 .400 Corbon (well, maybe not that one), I FEEL better armed with the bigger calibers, plus they provide the additional ability to defeat barricade material if needed, but there are times I'll carry my little Walther P22 stoked with Aguila 30 grain supermax round nose ammo and feel quite "adequately armed" for any close up encounter should such ever happen.

All of the peripheral debate about circumstances and situations have no bearing on terminal effectiveness of bullets.  Back before I entered a career field that brought me into such intimate contact with an endless variety of gunshot wounds I would have believed as so many others clearly do, but I don't need to conjecture about that which I have personally experienced....a .22LR ain't no joke...it's lethal and it WILL put someone down.

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Excellent comment- well put.....thanks!!! :beer:

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Kilibreaux, your experiences sounds like my aunt's who works as a nurse in miami, FL.

-a|ex

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Thank you Kilibreaux for that tremendous wealth of information and experience supplied. I too, have seen my share of gun shot wounds in my 11 years of street patrol in South Florida, as well as personal experiences. 

In 1989 a friend and co-worker was shot 9 times in a botched armored car robbery. He was skinny at 5 foot 10 and around 150lbs. He was struck 5 times in the torso once in the hand (blew off his pinky) once in the arm, and twice in the thigh. All 9mm JHP within 5 yards.

The following night I went to visit him at the hospital, and to my amazement, he looked perfectly fine. Aside from all the bandaging around his body he was awake, alert, talking like he was there for a flu shot. His partner was not as fortunate, as he took a single .223 to the head at point blank range.

Anyone living in NYC in '89 would remember the massive manhunt for these killers in Queens.

Even after being shot 9 times, my buddy managed to empty his .38 revolver into the suspects fleeing vehicle striking one (non-fatal) and blowing out a tire and back window; forcing the suspects to abandon the car and flee on foot. This was the incident that drove me out of NYC.

This is why I become a cop. In another incident I had a 83 y/o shot himself in the mouth with a .38 snub nose 10 feet from me and my partner. It blew a small piece of the back of his skull off. He lived.

In my training, I have seen video of officer involved shootings in which a single .22 LR shot has dropped and killed officers. President Reagan's bullet missed his heart by my less than an inch.

In closing, yes the .22 ain't no joke, and I also pack my magazines with Aguila Super Max!   

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this is an awesome thread the 22lr is prob my favorite round for sheer enjoyment shooting, cost, noise(get a sub sonic in a rifle you dont even need ear protection) i know that generally yes bigger is better and more likely to put someone down quicker, but i do not understand why everyone treats the 22lr as a joke... it is still a powder fired projectile that with some of these new loads that will def make a decent hole with a good wound channel... i was working the ER (i am a paramedic student) a couple weeks ago and had two victims of a gang shooting that had been shot with a 9mm come in, one vic had been shot in the left side of his neck narrowly missing his arteries and trachea it stayed lodged right in front of his vertebrea, second victim had been shot in the left upper chest bullet had gone straight though him. he stated "it felt like a cell phone buzzing" when he got hit neither one of them was in very much pain neither one had been knocked down and both had been driven in by friends. can't say about the 22lr yet havent seen anyone shoot with that yet, but ill bet it would have done just as much damage...

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Popcorn45:  Sounds like you have experiences that are worth retelling!

My comments aren't intended to put a damper on other perceptions...or maybe they are.  I spent 8 years in the Army and saw combat.  I thought I'd "seen it all" until I became a trauma nurse.  Within the first year of being a trauma nurse I realized that any handgun producing less than rifle-like ballistics was pretty much the same as ANY handgun wound.  A bigger bullet makes a bigger hole...it's that simple...but maybe not.  .45ACP's tend to penetrate less than 9mm's due to sectional density and so often fail to produce the sort of wound expected.  On the other hand, 22's tend to tear up everything and cause amazing damage and incapacitation.

The bigger (meaning more powerful) calibers are "needed" primarily for barricade penetration, but for stopping humans a puny .22LR will do the job every time.  The FACT is the only REAL thing that creates an instant stop is direct interdiction of the nervous system...everything else is purely problematic.

I am grieved by the fact that what the ammo makers have ordained has become what the average person believes they must carry.  The fact is, a LEAD SWC bullet impacting at supersonic velocity has amazing "stopping power" (witnessed).  This does not reap profits for ammo companies and they promote newer and better expanding jacketed ammo.

For anyone who cares or takes the science of ballistics seriously, velocity - SPEED is everything!  Rifle bullets prove this, but somehow when we enter the realm of pistol calibers everyone reverts to the nonsense of "momentum" and big bullets at slow speed get the job done.  Einstein wasn't wrong...despite what laypeople think.  Double velocity - quadruple energy, double mass - double energy.  The terminal effects of bullet wounds are obvious...bullets impacting at high speed cause massive damage, those at low speed do not.  The problem is complicated by the bullet's "style" or composition.  Ammo makers want us to believe we MUST HAVE high tech jacketed designed for low speed expanion, combined with the semi-auto pistol notion that one MUST use jacketed bullets.  The fact is, hard cast LEAD bullets are often "harder" than jacketed, and properly designed semi-autos will chamber SWC styles quite well.

If you were in bear country would you prefer a JHP or a SWC in a given caliber--say .44 magnum.  The SWC is likely to punch clean through the bear versus the JHP which might expand violently on bone and fail to reach the vitals.

Look at modern TANK rounds...do they favor mass or speed?  SPEED clearly...the modern tank gun fires a HyperVelocityDiscardingSabot round at over a mile per second...a depleted uranium or tungsten carbide round that relies PURELY on impact kinetic energy to bore through armor.

A .223 is effective because it pushes a .22 bullet to velocities BEYOND hypervelocity which causes massive tissue destruction.  A 7.62x51mm impacting a human joint such as the knee will blow the lower extremity clean off...because the "temporary" expansion cavity is larger than the entire knee!

The problem with handgun ballistics has been the "reversion" to big bullet, suck-slow speed versus lighter bullet going "mighty-fast"!  A .357 Magnum at 1400+ FPS with a SWC, FMJ, or JSP will punch clean through a human and create massive ancillary trauma.  A 9mm TC design loaded to PROPER 9mm speeds will punch clean through a human and do massive destruction.  A .45 185 gr. TC design will bust clean through  human when loaded to PROPER velocities, yet the ammo makers have made the public believe they need the slow-moving 230 grain at 830 fps(if you're lucky).

The .400 Corbon is an ideal conversion for t he .45ACP because it pushes much lighter bullets to supersonic speeds producing much higher kinetic energies than stock .45ACP loads.

It doesn't take a genius to observe the impact of a .400 Corbon 135 gr. versus the .45 230 gr. to know which is transferring greater energy, but the ammo companies have done a masterful job of convincing the shooting public that everything they thought (know) is true...is wrong.

But I wax philosophic...the .22LR PROVES that tiny, light bullets as high speed do amazing damage!

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If faced with a charging grizzly bear, or a raging bull moose, which would you rather have? A .22 or a .44 mag?

Nuff said.

Why would a drugged up criminal be any different?

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^^^ yes and i dont think anyone is saying the 22lr is better or more powerful than the bigger calibers but rather just how lethal the 22lr is compared to everyones opinion that the 22lr is a "joke" or a "toy round" i have a decent amount of big calibers handguns and rifles but prob the most fun i have is with the 22s... it allows you to really work on basics, marksmanship, trigger control, etc etc and you can practice all day for pennies and almost no one minds where you shooting a 22 anywhere

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Shot placement is paramount. I've seen a single BB gun shot permanently paralyze a kid. My skinny co-worker shot 9 times with a 9mm and walked out of the hospital a few days later. I've seen a guy on PCP take a .44 mag in the back and keep walking like a wasp just stung him. Eventually he died of course. Y'all remember 'SCARFACE' the Tony Montana scene where her taking all kinds of fire, while he's coked up? That's Hollywood but not far from the truth.

Shot placement and quality ammo is what is all about. Just today I was shooting a 5 gallon bucket with Aguila Super Max HP were making 1" entry holes. Remember, practice, train hard, train safe.   

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Crime lab background here.

One of the best things I can say for .22 letality - .25 cal, .32 cal, even .380 from a 2" barrel - had nothing over the high velocity, lead bullet mess a .22 puts on meat. I would even rather get shot with a .38 than a high velocity .22 - at least it will be one slug to dig out, not a shotgun pattern of lead bits.

Terminal ballistics favors high velocity over bullet weight anytime. It creates a temporary cavity, and hydrostatic shock. The fact the .22 bullet breaks up almost everytime, made it a favorite bullet for assasins - no rifling marks or bullet striations to compare - made it harder to match bullets to a gun.

Funny thing about people and dying - some die easy, some will run for miles with no heartbeat. Go figure.

For those who will experience combat - it is all psychological - he who has the stronger will will survive. Your body will suffer the "golden hour' - no pain during trauma - most victims were overcome by weak psychological reasons - "I should be dying!". Train to fight through.

Medical background and more crime lab - your body can function for 10 full seconds without a heartbeat. Case in fact  - people with their hearts blown out were still able to run and fight for up to 10 seconds. Again, proves that its the will to fight, not physical.

Bad thing is - yes I wonder, if a person is decapitated, they could very well veiw their body stumbling around for a full 10 seconds too.  I wished I did not know stuff like this..

-DNR

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Also Props to Bda - he recommends that the .22 not be your first choice for home defense.

He is right, I would consider the .22 lr a decent choice - if I did not have a 12 gauge or .45.

For fight bad guys, again - you, the victim are at disavantage - you are being ambushed, attacked at close range, with little or no preparation. At best - you might only get off one shot, and it might not be aimed. I would hope that shot would be a 12 gauge or .45 - as Bda points out - those bullets are capable of incapitating a bad guy with a off center shot. The .22 needs a well placed shot., the .22 needs to keep firing until the bad guy is down.

Bad guys are pumped up, angry, jumping you in the dark and so stealthlike - you need every advantage to survive - I would not bet it all on a .22. The .22 is only a part of your tool kit, and perhaps this is not the best function of a .22 - home defense.

I would use the .22 to practise tactical training, so it is still very valuable.

-DNR

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The question of whether the .22LR is "better" than larger caliber centerfire rounds is somewhat moot.  The .22LR will kill, and it will incapacitate.  Should someone opt to leave their 12 gauge in the closet and select their .22LR for home defense?  I have not said that and do not advocate such.  All I have said is the .22LR is a lethal round capable of inflicting mortal injury and should NOT be viewed as inconsequential in the spectrum of choices related to choices.

A .22LR will punch to the vitals...a .22LR will "do someone" quite efficiently.

Anything that suggests otherwise is pure hogwash and bullshit.

Humans by their nature must justify the choices they make regardless of reality, and despite empiric evidence to the contrary.  A LONG time ago during the age of swords we discovered a through and through puncture was superior to a slashing cut by a sword.  The same holds true with the ballistics of small caliber rounds.  We think we need more "power" yet the brutal fact is small, penetrating wounds do a masterful job of putting a relatively large human down.

While it would seem preposterous to advise anyone to carry a .22LR for self-defense, the tiny round delivers far beyond what its paper ballistics suggest.

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doesn't matter what caliber, just hit your target... shotguns don't automatically hit their targets either. bad guys don't just stand in the open. when they see you with a gun, they will react. if they shoot first and hit, it doesn't matter what gun you have.

pistols are more maneuverable than rifles/shotguns but are much harder to aim with. for home defense, the range isn't much and a pistol is preferred unless you have a very short barrel shotgun. i frequently do CQB airsoft games and rifle muzzles are easy to grab coming around a corner. shooting at the stairs is not as easy. even with a shotgun.

if the firefight lasts longer than 5 minutes, then you will need more ammo.

hitting the target is more important than caliber size. whatever you train with will work best. there are more concerns in home defense than just caliber size.

-a|ex

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