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Handguns Personal Defense Rim Fire

Taurus’ “Get Off Me” Gun

by Scott E. Mayer   |  June 3rd, 2011 107

Small caliber semi-autos are effective last resort guns if sensible defensive tactics are used.

by Scott E. Mayer

Taurus recently announced that it updated the construction of its diminutive, American-made PT-22 and PT-25 pistols by replacing the lightweight alloy frames with even lighter and corrosion-proof polymer frames. The result is a 10 percent weight reduction in a pistol that is popular as a back-up or third gun option for people who take their personal defense seriously.

While certainly not the best choice if you know you’re walking into a gun fight, these little .22 Long Rifle- or .25 ACP-chambered pocket autos do serve an effective role in personal defense if proper tactics are used. Perhaps the most effective tactic with such a little gun is to use it for “dynamic cover.” That is simply returning gunfire to get your assailant to stop an attack sufficiently enough for you to escape.

Little pistols can provide "dynamic cover" as you escape an attack.

It’s a tactic to employ if your primary gun is disabled or you are completely out of ammunition for it and have to shift gears from stopping an attack to escaping an attack. It is not an excuse to randomly spray bullets while running away, but rather acceptance that a little .22 is not the right tool for standing your ground.

Sights are milled directly into the slide and barrel.

Since precision accuracy while fleeing for your life isn’t exactly your greatest concern at that moment, a crisp, light trigger pull and fine, adjustable target sights are, in my opinion, just short of superfluous on a third gun. You won’t find either on the PT-22 Poly sample I received on loan. Instead, it has a smooth double-action-only trigger with a consistent 8 3/4 pounds pull and simple, yet bullet-proof fixed sights.

The smooth double-action-only trigger is attached to the hammer by a transfer bar (arrow).

The Taurus PT line of pistols has been criticized because they’re double-action-only, so you can’t cock the hammer for a light, single-action trigger pull. They do, however, have second-strike capability. The thinking behind the single-action ability is that in single-action mode you’re better able to take a precise shot. I agree. I also hate to break it to you, but a tiny .22- or .25-caliber pistol is simply not the right tool for taking a precise head shot at a hostage taker. And if you’re down to your back-up gun and you’re stopping your escape to try and take a precision shot, you’re probably wasting valuable time needed to create space between you and your attacker. Distance more than anything is your best defensive tactic when you’re in escape mode. As for the second-strike–rimfire, more than any other type of ammunition I have ever used–tends to have a disproportionate number of misfires that do go off on the second strike.

Sights on the PT-22 consist of a ramped front milled as part of the stainless steel barrel, and a fixed, square-notch rear milled into the stainless steel slide. Neither will ever be knocked out of alignment, and with a 3 3/4-inch sight radius, won’t be providing 50-meter Olympic Pistol event accuracy, either. That said, the sample was capable of producing one-inch nine-shot groups fired offhand at 7 yards using Winchester Super-X ammunition. Sight regulation sent shots exactly to point of aim, so a fairly precise shot–even with the double-action trigger pull and short sight radius–is possible.

The tip-up design allows loading without having to rack the slide.

Something these little Taurus pistols have been praised for is the tip-up barrel design. What looks something like a slide release on the left side of the gun is actually a barrel release. Press it forward and the rear of the barrel pops up for loading a round directly into the chamber. To load the PT-22, then, simply load the magazine with cartridges, fully insert the magazine into the butt of the gun until it catches, pop up the barrel, insert a cartridge, and snap the barrel back down into the closed position.  There is no need to rack the slide, which is a benefit to those who, because of arthritis or other hand weakness, are unable to operate conventional auto pistols.

Bullet penetration and expansion were compared in wet, shredded paper.

Though there are more ammunition choices for the .22 Long Rifle than perhaps any other cartridge, the PT-22’s manual specifies using 40-grain bullets at 1,280 fps (Note that velocity figure is as fired from a rifle). For the PT-25, the specified load calls for 50-grain bullets at 760 fps. Those specs translate into standard velocity, round nose .22 ammo, and FMJ or Ball ammo for the .25 ACP.  That doesn’t mean you can’t use other loads, it just means don’t go crying to Taurus if your gun wears out sooner than later, or your pet 60-grain subsonic Aguila load doesn’t function the gun reliably. These guns are designed without extractors, relying instead on a standard level of gas blowback to fully work the slide at a specific velocity for the empty cases to pop out against the fixed ejector. Stray from the recommended loads, and you may sacrifice reliability.

With rimfire pistols, don't count on expansion, but instead rely on penetration.

Whether to choose the .22 Long Rifle- or .25 ACP-chambered PT is cause for a spirited debate and the subject of an upcoming blog by Dan Johnson. The PT-22 is 8+1 capacity while the PT-25 is 9+1. Rimfire is less expensive to practice with and more readily available, but centerfire .25 ACP is subject to fewer misfires. Its semi-rimmed design may also lend itself to increased feeding reliability.

With these little guns, the primary terminal ballistic characteristic you want is penetration.  A well placed shot and textbook expansion does no good if the bullet stops in an attacker’s outer jacket. So which is better–.22 or .25?

To compare penetration and expansion, I made a simple rig using wetted paper pulp. Cross-shredded white paper was soaked overnight in water, and then used to fill Ziplock sandwich baggies.  Filled, those baggies were a uniform 2 inches thick, and I stacked them in a scope shipping box for a total depth of 16 inches. By simply firing into the end of the box from a distance of three feet, I was able to comparatively judge penetration and expansion for various loads. Please recognize that in no way am I suggesting that paper pulp replicates flesh.  It’s simply a convenient medium for comparing one load to another.

Disassembly step 1: Remove the magazine and clear the chamber.

Observation Number 1–from a handgun, no .22 load reliably expands.  I tried standard, high, and hyper velocity hollow-point loads, and while they all penetrated a consistent five to six baggies of paper pulp, none–even hyper velocity, lightweight, hollow-points–expand reliably. In fact, the only hollow-point .22 load that showed any expansion at all was a single standard velocity, hollow-point cartridge. With a little rimfire pistol, cross bullet expansion off your wish list.  It isn’t going to happen.

Disassembly step 2: Push the barrel release.

Observation Number 2–hyper velocity, truncated solids penetrate the most, but not so much more than standard velocity .22 round nose as to make it worth the added wear and tear on the pistol. In my comparison, those truncated, hyper velocity loads would penetrate as many as seven bags, while the standard round nose would penetrate six. Personally, I’d would definitely opt for the standard velocity, .22 round nose specified in the manual. Sure I may be giving up two inches of penetration, but the standard loads are already at a foot of penetration, and I’ll take the potentially increased reliability over those two extra inches of penetration.

Disassembly step 3: With the barrel tipped up, double check the chamber.

As long as I had the paper pulp box set up, I used the opportunity to try some .25 ACP loads from a little “Baby Browning” knock-off I own.  As with the .22 loads, both hollow-point and FMJ .25 ACP loads consistently penetrated 5 to 6 baggies of paper pulp.  The one .25 ACP hollow-point I tried expanded beautifully to 0.386-inch diameter and penetrated five bags for a total of 10 inches. Again, penetration from a .25 ACP was only 10 to 12 inches, just like with the .22 loads.

Disassembly step 4: Lift the slide up and forward to remove.

Essentially, as far as penetration is concerned, it’s a wash between .22- and  .25-caliber bullets. So is bullet energy, as those 1,280 fps .22 loads are really only going between 800 and 850 fps from the short-barreled pistol. Even though I’m in my 40s and fat, I can still run pretty fast–especially when I am frightened.  I can also shoot better than most folks and it’s because I practice shooting a lot. So for me, all other considerations being equal the choice is the .22 because I can afford to practice with it more. Your circumstances may differ.

Ultimately, though, don’t scoff at little .22- or .25-caliber pistols. They do have a defensive role to play.

  • robert38-55

    Well Scott another good article! I am fat and in my middle 50's and I can't run fast,,, In a previous article/blog someone stated that some gun is better than no gun in some situations.. I tend to agree… It seems like to me that the trend now for several years is make hand guns smaller, more compact, smaller calibers, more easily concealed, etc. etc. You know Beretta had the Tomcat series that used the pop-up style barrel, I had a .25, .32 and a .22 in the Tomcat series a while back, neat little pistols, now I see that Taurus has followed suite in the pop-up barrel design, which eliminates the need for "racking' the small slide, which for some might be rather diffucult……

    • smayer

      Robert, Taurus has had these for as long as I can remember. The polymer frame is new. As guns get smaller, training has to get more specific and a person has to practice more. George was taught dynamic cover I believe while he was an Air Marshal, and I saw the technique applied to tiny pistols while working with Tiger McGee at Shootrite for PDTV. NOT a gun I want to stand there and fight with, but if I can get him to duck long enough to get away, then the tiny pistol has done its job well.

      • hhv

        Majority of Taurus semi auto pistol are copies Beretta's design. Jetfire/Tomcat where around way before taurus was around with this pop barrel. Beretta came out with the 380 pop up barrel cheetah 86 model. This so call new micro pistol is old new with only being that someone finally decide to uses a polymer frame. Taurus isn't being innovating, just cutting cost productions to their already cheaper alternative price cheap guns. I guess some of the author for Guns And ammo needs some history lesson of their guns. See this article makes me wonder how much is the manufacture is investing in these writers to get them to sell.

        • Scott E. Mayer

          "I guess some of the author for Guns And ammo needs some history lesson of their guns."

          hhv, I don't mind saying you're taking a cheap shot considering this article has nothing to do with the history of Taurus or tip up guns. Oh, and you left out the Beretta Minx.

  • Dan Johnson

    I notice the shooting being done in your photos is one-handed. I too find the little mouse guns are not two-handed weapons. If I shoot one-handed with my arm completely extended at eye level I can chew up the head of a silhouette target pretty well in rapid fire at 10-feet or so. Yea, these guns are definitely better than no gun.

    • hhv

      You should try shooting 2 hands, by having the non trigger hand palm under the trigger hand. It's a more steadier shot. And for even more control try gripping the trigger hand wrist.

  • LMLarsen

    I still prefer my Kel-Tec .32 over a .22 or .25 for a pocket-sized "get off me" gun. Dan, I also practice with it one-handed; the sights are so tiny it's essentially a point-shooting short-range pistol.

  • Gary Chenett

    Buy a hammer for 7 or 8 bucks instead of wasting your $300 to 500 dollars or more on a weapon that is not going to be adequate defense when you need it!!!!

    If you are going to carry , why not carry for Real Self Defense?

    I know more people than I can count on with a piece of marble over their grave that tried to bluff their way out of a situation that had they been properly prepared for they would still be alive had they not wasted their money on a 22 or 25 or 32 and hundreds of attackers I have meet that were shot at but not hit or barely injured or hit with these plinkers laughing about these incidents

    • smayer

      Gary, you're missing the purpose of these guns. They are not, nor are they intended to be primary guns. They're back up guns or third guns. In real gun fights, the guns often get hit because that is what the shooter is so focused on. Carry any gun you want, but like Clint Smith says, "one is none, two is one, three is better."

    • Curtis


      The article specifically states that these are for backup situations only and also state that these are also for cover fire. You are right a .22 or .25 will not provide enough of anything to do real damage but if my primary firearm jams or I run out of ammo, then I would much rather have something to keep the distance between the attacker and myself.

      • Mike Tobias

        I am not being ghoulish here, but my 14 year old son killed himself ten months ago with a .22 magnum. I am a first hand witness to the damage a well placed .22 can do and I would seriously consider one of those as a backup to my Taurus PT1911 .45. I miss my son everyday of my life, but if carrying a mouse gun can save someone's life, then I'm all for it.

        • captglock

          sorry for your loss. god bless you.

          • Mike Tobias

            Thank you. I appreciate that.

        • smayer

          Very sorry to hear this. Said a prayer for you and your son just now.

          • Mike Tobias

            Thanks for the prayers.

        • sean

          I'm sorry for your loss, Mike. I just put a prayer in for you and yours. God bless.

    • JackB

      You're blowing smoke, friend!

      • Jack B

        That "blowing smoke" was meant for Gary. Where do you live?

    • Randy

      It seems to me that you know an awfully lot of victims and criminals. Life choices are also important.

  • robert38-55

    In a lot of case and scenerios in real life its "Better to have it and not need it, as opposed to need it and not have it" I think that over the years the little small compact .22's, 25's .32's and .380's have lost some interest as compared to the bigger more powerful hand cannons that are avaiable now.. never the less, I must agree with Scott, when one needs a back up gun then these little jewels are certainly worth considering, and I dare say if the situation arrives, and one needs the little back up and has it, then that little .22, .25, .32, is worth its weight in gold!!!!!!!!!

  • Stopthe BS

    "hundreds of attackers I have meet that were shot at but not hit or barely injured or hit with these plinkers laughing about these incidents"? I've only been involved in 2 shootings (with hits) and observed several who have been "hit" – none laughing. Misses or "barely injured or hit" are just that. Shotgun hits work best (real world observation). Try tucking one into your pocket discreetly in New York and then go out in public. Nice real world article Scott.

    PS: even .38's can glance off skull between skin and bone with frontal shot and exit back of head – promise you.

    • HWM

      Yep I have a friend that it happened to when he was working as a bouncer. There is also Phineas P. Gage the man that lived after a rail road spike went through his head ( spud bar) that being said I still don't want to be shot with a 22

  • Palo

    The conceal/carry I have is the little .22mag North American Black Widow which has very good penetration and very good conceal-ability. As much as enjoy this little pistol, I've been looking at the small 9mm Berretta or a more expensive Kimber Solo, which are more of an attention getter.

    • RedBaron

      Hello Palo, take a look at the Kahr pistols ( no I don't work for them). Carry one every and love'em. Especially the new CM 9!!!

      • jimonthebeach

        Palo and RedBaron, I have a NA .22mag and a Kahr PM9. I like both, but my favorite concealed carry weapon is my Sig P238 which is a .380 and looks like a tiny 1911. It has great sights and a very good trigger. I looked at the Kimber Solo. It's a nice little 9mm, but IMHO it has a terrible trigger.

  • Bill K

    You can put down the lowly .22rf all you want, but in my years as a police officer, I worked more homicides where the deceased was killed by just that caliber, more than any of the others. Mainly, at the time, everyone had a .22. Dead is dead and any bullet in the right place can kill. For a back up and extra gun a .22 is way better than being without.

    • Steve Munday

      Excellent point! I refer to my little .22 and .25 autos as my "eyes, nose and ear" guns for up close work.

  • Paul Cragle

    Sorry, I had a bad experience with Turaus PT-140 with it blowing out the firing pin back cover twice, put that with their lack of customer service, I would not buy another one of their autos.

    • John

      I had just the opposite experience with Taurus customer service.. I had a problem with my PT 140 dropping the mag without hitting the mag release.. they were very courteos and helpful i had a very fast repair and turnaround time .. never had another issue with this gun since.. i give Taurus A+ for there customer service..

  • Pplaza

    Well folks to each it's own my glock 29 is a little bulky but had to get used to it I add a beretta 70s 380 single stack and always tha handy naa 22 mag. I like that little Taurus but I only buy one if they make it in 22 mag

  • klesb

    Texas Ranger Frank Hamer had the best comment on a .25 acp pistol that I've heard. He said to a friend who had shown him his .25 carry gun "If you ever shoot me with this, and I find out about it…."

  • Ernie

    I'm 59 1/2 years old and my primary carry is a full size 1911A1. I also have a Taurus PT-22 as a backup and I totally agree with Scott and my experience is on par with his. I use either an IWB holster for the PT-22 or a pocket holster. The DAO trigger is great with the .22lr because he is right, the second strike capability is well worth it. If it doesn't go bang the first time, 95% of the time it will go bang the second time.

  • Caligula

    Why carry a .22 pistol when there are so many other better carry options available in .380 and 9mm? As for a back up gun, I don't have the luxury of being Rambo; it's challenging enough to carry a small J-frame or Ruger LCP as a civilian in work clothes, especially in a hot and humid environment like Florida.

    I'm sure .22 caliber kills more people than any other caliber. But how long it takes to stop a threat prior to the kill can be the difference between your life or death as well. When I was a kid, I was shot through the hand with a .22 pellet pump rifle – it went straight through between my index and middle finger. It bled a lot, hurt like hell, and scared the crap out of me, but within a week I was back to normal. I didn't even need stitches. A 9mm or .380 hollow point at close range would have been a different story.

    Finally, I would never trust my life with a Taurus in any caliber. Ruger, Kel-Tec, and others make better weapons for just a few dollars more, and they are made in America – not Brazil. Why gamble with your life over a few bucks?

    • smayer

      Err, Caligula, the PT-22 Taurus pistols are made in the US.

    • Lawrence Husby

      1. The Taurus .22 PLY is made in America. That doesn't make it any better.Taurus make fine guns. It's a forge industry and produces from the screw to the plate in the plant in Brazil. Is there any other gun manufacturer here in AMERICA that does it? Go google it and find ties between Taurus, S&W and Beretta.
      2. I assume that you have fired Taurus before. Or you are just repeating what you heard from someone else?

      3. Ruger LCP did not work for me. Too many FTF and FTE and a trip to Ruger.

      4. I have XD's, Glocks, S&W, NAA and Taurus. Do you want to know what's my favorite handgun? Taurus 24/7 Pro. Why? Shoot one and you will know why.

  • lilwoody

    My father had a Barrette Bobcat (my brother has it now) and now I have a Tomcat. In the world of mouse guns why not just get a cat and be done with it, their about 100 bucks more. They have the same tip up barrel and are SA/DA making them much easier to handle, are just as concealable and they actually work when they are needed and I'm not talking out of school here. My son bought one of these in some sort of metal frame for his wife and in my book there not even much good as a paper weight. It jammed with every ammo we used in it, the trigger was horrid and the slide look like a Pakistani tribesman made it with a file and a chisel.

  • sincentral

    I own over 50 guns, I have 9 beretta 950bs .25 automatics, 7 are nickel and 2 are stainless steel. They are in my opinion the best POCKET automatic ever made.GARY , a dead brain doesn't know the difference between a .25 and a 44 magnum. The 25 will kill, let me repeat that so it will sink in to your thick skull , THE 25 AUTOMATIC WILL KILL!. The mafia contractors use 22's most of the time, in canada a 22lr is used to kill moose, and they are 1500 pounds, they shoot them between the eyes. When you underestimate the 25 you are making a big mistake.I have been shooting beretta 25's for 31 years and NEVER EVER one hiccup, jam,ffe or fte. totally reliable and totally deadly. You would not want to be standing in front of a loaded one. gary ,i'll take my 25 and you take your hammer and we'll see who wins. IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!

  • steve

    "But how long it takes to stop a threat prior to the kill can be the difference between yor life or death as well." The article effectively communicates these smaller guns/calibers fill a niche regarding "dynamic cover" – out of ammo, you're disabled, primary weapon (possibly primary back up) unavailable, etc. and you want to get the hell out the situation.

  • opar5

    I'm having trouble understanding why ANYONE would choose a .22LR or .25ACP when .32 & .380ACP can be had in the same sizes and relative weights for about the same prices – and lasers are available for most. The Strausborg tests, dispatching 125 pound mountain goats found the well placed .380 frangible put down those goats more consistently than any non-frangible round up to and including .45ACP with equal placement.

    Seecamp began the trend, Kel-Tec modernized it with polamar frames that everyone has since copied (not as well in my view, and I own a few other "me too" copies).

    Crimson Trace enables mastering trigger control and "instinctive" shooting (without ammo) in your living room. Practice, peactice, practice – and prevail.

  • Sivispace

    With the Ruger LCP being not much bigger I wouldn't go below a .380. The .22 can certainly kill. However, there is a more important role for the defensive firearm and that is to stop an attack. With the questionable value of 9mm in FMJ is impossibility in a .22 caliber lead slug. The point is, the assailant may die from blood loss or sepsis from a .22 shot but a good quality .380 gives so level of actual stopping power.

  • Norm

    As always, there are a lot of personal opinions in the matter of self defense, and firearm preference.

    Of the police officers I know, most carry a back up, but I don't know any that has a third option. I have 30 years of concealed carry experience, and rarely have carried a backup. Nothing can cover every possible contingency, and IMHO evasive action is the FIRST, not third option regardless of what you're totin'.

    If you must have a backup, I would consider carrying two compact pistols in your preferred effective caliber. That way the ammo from the primary might be loaded into the secondary, and no need to be competent with more than one weapon. There are .40 and .45s not a whole lot more difficult to conceal than the mouse guns.

    Another alternative would be a compact pistol from the same manufacturer as the primary which will load the magazines of the primary.

    I just can't see the ordinary guy getting dressed every day, and stashing three pistols somewhere on his person. I know, better safe than sorry, but I'd be sorry every day carrying all that hardware around.

    If you believe that a mouse gun is adequate, and for many scenarios it may well be, due to the fact that flight has to be your first option in most States. For many people carrying a full size semi auto in any caliber is to much to tolerate daily, by all means better to have something than nothing.

    To the cop who cited the killings with .22s, these weren't defensive. Probably most of the victims didn't know someone was going to shoot them. In most defensive scenarios I don't see the opportunity to walk up and place the shot into the temple at point black range.

    I don't think I'll be buying one of the mouse guns.

  • POP

    To everyone on here that says a larger caliber is better, you're right. But the point here is, EVEN A .22 IS BETTER THAN NOTHING! I have a Glock 26, a Ruger LC9, and a Diamondback .380, and I ALWAYS carry a tactical folding knife (even in my swim trunks), but if a little .22 is all I've got left, are you really going to tell me I'm better off with a hammer? I think any cover fire in a retreating situation is a welcome thing. And to those of you who have a problem with Taurus, I bought my first one back around 1979 and my most recent one in 2009, and I've never had a single problem out of the company or their products.

  • sincentral

    You are only outgunned if you miss.

  • modbuilder

    good article. great discussion.

  • tincan

    I'm on the market and partial to a .25 or .32 for carry. I want to separate fact from self-defense fantasy (which often prevails on these forums): can anyone point to a real world example (ie, one we can read about somewhere) where an attacker kept coming after being shot with a .22, .25, or .32? If Patton and carried a .32, it seems good enough to me. Mostly because even 3-4 rounds of .22 in an attacker's chest would seem to me to give enough time for you to escape.

    in my thinking, there's a risk with a bigger caliber for a victim to be less wary of conflict than they would be if they're unarmed or carrying a purely defensive mouse gun.

  • Sheepdog

    You just can't knock the value of a "tip up" if you have weak, arthritic hands. Even opening the cylinder of a revolver can be a daunting task at times. Given that I am still blessed with decent hands and cannot get comfortable carrying my Kimber .45 with a 4" bbl I opt for the NAA Guardian in both .32 and .380. You can't get much smaller than the .32 and they're both faultless performers.

  • sincentral

    In the american rifleman 5 or 6 issues back , in the armed citizen section of the mag a home owner but 3 .25 shots in an intruders chest and he died on the way to the hospital. For what its worth, from 1865 to 1941 in the united states more people were killed with the 32 revolver cartridge than any other cartridge. No matter how old I get my trigger finger is forever young.

  • arky34

    Carrying a larger pistol is a LOT easier IF you have a decent holster. LIke a Kramer or Milt Sparks. I know they cost over $100 bucks, but, I carry a 4 inch barrel .45 every day and it doesn't show. I live in Arkansas (gets HOT and Sweaty) and usually wear shorts and a tee-shirt. NO problem.

  • Dale Bailey

    About 40 years ago my wife,an R.N.,worked the ER in a center city hospital. A patient was brought in with multiple gunshot wounds.She was rather obese,she had been caught "flagrenti delecto"by her husband,who shot her ,FIVE TIMES. All hit her in the back side.The attending surgeon removed the .25 cal. bullets with a short forceps as they penetrated only about two inches,never reaching muscle tissue!

    Her husband went to jail,and no one knew where the newsboy ran away to hide.

    No, the .25 is more for morale than effect.

  • george edward grove

    anybody that buys this junk, gets what they deserve.

  • DeputyDawg

    Great article, making great points. It's sad to see so many replies that stray so far off topic as to be almost stupid. Additionally, some of you are of the mindset that your offered opinion somehow morphed into fact. You want to understand the potential of a .22LR? Refresh your self about the Reagan assasination attempt. Also, removing a threat does not necessarily mean killing. As a former Paramedic with a large metro FD, the .22LR and .25 kept us in business much more than any other caliber. Personally, I carry a PT 740 IWB and a second PT 740 on my ankle. In my EDC bag is a PT 840 & in my bedside holster is another PT 840, fitted with a Laser/Light combo, sighted in for 15 feet. The running theme for me is one caliber for all of my handguns that may or may not play an offensive/defensive role for me. That is my caliber of choice. However, I grew up toting an H&R 9 shot .22LR revolver that was the most accurate and deadly pistol I ever owned. I guarantee you that if you are the receipient of a .22LR in the Ocular/Thoracic Triangle, the first thing to cross your mind, if it isn't the slug itself, will be to withdraw from the engagement, if able. Too many 'comment-section' Rambo's are clueless to a real world shooting. With the exception of one crazy Army bud of mine, I've never heard anyone laugh after being shot. Impress me, the first time you are confronted by an assailant with .22LR or .25 ACP, go ahead and engage him. Go ahead and walk into him and share with him how wrong his caliber choice is and how ineffective his Taurus or Diamondback or Hi-Point is. The BEST weapon is the one in your hand going 'bang' the moment you need it to. I've seriously considered adding a Bersa .22LR to my EDC bag, or in a visor holster in the car.

    Great article about two fine calibers, produced by two capable manufacturers. It is a subject matter I have not previously given great thought to, particularly in those two calibers, but now may consider it. Thanks again!

    • http://? Zachariah ("Zac

      This Taurus .25 is very similar to the old Beretta Jetfire .25 which I own and which saved my life in an armed robbery 21Jul1981 in Austin, Texas, after I had already given up the cash in my register and the armed robber indicated his intention to kill me in order to eliminate any witness. I figured that I was a walking dead man; I remember being really angry, and I just wanted to take him with me. I had my Beretta Jetfire in my left hip pocket hammer down on a chambered round—well, on "half-cock"—and I had practiced drawing and cocking in one motion. My assailant was so surprised he never got off a shot; he died with his gun in his hand. I shot three times, hitting him twice in the chest and once in his side. His last words were "Oh shit!". He turned and ran thru the door, breaking it off the hinges—it was left hanging by the pneumatic door closer at the top—and was found dead 100 yards away by the dogs when the police responded to my call. The grand jury "no billed" me for justifiable homicide; the guy was already on probation for armed robbery in San Antonio, about 80 miles south of Austin. The police were very supportive when they gave me back my Beretta several weeks later, and after they had connected the felon to several other recent robbery homicides in Austin. It does take a toll, though. For several years afterwards I had an anger management problem and a drinking problem, which contributed to a subsequent divorce. I recognize now that it was probably post traumatic stress, but that diagnosis didn't exist in 1981. I was simply told that I had "long term depression". Years before, I used to keep cans dancing with that .25 on the farm.

    • sean

      Great point! Hinkley had a $50 garbage .22 pistol, and missed the president with every shot from 15 feet. He almost killed Reagan with a riccochet, permanently disabled a police officer and Brady, and took down a secret service agent who was very much out of the fight.

      Bobby Kennedy was also assasinated with a .22

      • biffula

        More people die from .22 cal rounds a year than any other. Ask those people if a .22 will kill!

  • http://google Ralph De La Huerta

    For all you NAY sayers, why is the preferred gun of assasins a .22? Because of the damage done in penetration, bouncing around inside and not exiting.

  • http://google Ralph De La Huerta

    DeputyDawg is most correct in his assessment. It must be nice to be verbally gifted.

  • http://google Ralph De La Huerta

    To George………..BOO HOO! Hope you never find yourself needing a gun……any gun.

  • http://google Ralph De La Huerta

    To all gun gurus……….nobody is telling you what to carry, but any gun is better than NO gun.


    Most of the "bad street idiots" do not expect their "prey" to be armed. Present a weapon, even the PT22, which is one of my carries, and they will have a second thought about they need to be somewhere else. I have purchased 5 different Taraus weapons, and not ever experienced a problem. The fact that a conceled carry weapon is the main source of defense no matter what you prefer to carry.

  • doug walker

    I would much rather have a PT22 or any good .22 pistol/revolver than a ball point pen or stick in case of a holdup or assault.

  • bobbyjupiter

    I have always been a fan of "bigger is better"…when it comes to trucks ,tools, tires, guns …I'm guilty of overkill…I admit it…but my Redhawk doesnt conceal very well or my 1911 or my XD ……or my Desert Eagle….or my Glocks ….or my Python…….hmmmmmm……….lets be honest here…….or another way to put it….Ask that raccoon that got in my garbage the other day what a well placed small caliber………no wait a minute………he won't be any help.

  • wigon

    A good friend of mine took a shot to the chest with a .22LR revolver at a nightclub from a drunk who was fondling his girlfriend (and who he shoved away) about 10 years ago. It penetrated the right side of his chest just below the collar-bone and partially collapsed his lung cavity before bouncing off his shoulder blade stopping near his lower back ribs. After staggering back a bit and coughing up blood he passed out from shock and woke up in the emergency room after losing alot of blood and getting limited oxygen and nearly suffering cardiac arrest in the ER. He survived but he said it felt like someone hitting him in the chest with a hammer when he first got shot. He still had the scars on his chest where he got shot and on his back where they removed the bullet. After hearing his experience and seeing the physical dammange on him I have renewed respect for the little .22LR round and now look at my Ruger Mk3 target pistol in a new light as a potential backup pistol to my SKS (my primary home defense weapon). I'm still however hoping to aquire a good Remington 870 shotgon soon (and then probably a Kal-Tec 9mm), but I would not hestitate on using my little Ruger target pistol in a pinch with some confidence that any home invader is going to feel the fear of mortality and some serious pain with only a thought of escaping on his mind after I put some little 22LR CCI Stingers on him. So for now it sits on my bedstand until replaced by something more powerful. (I also keep a level II kevlar vest nearby as well for extra insurance…something often overlooked by home owners looking for home defense options).

  • Jim Mullin

    With a belly band holster you can conceal a full sized Glock,M1911,S&W M&P,XD,in other words a service pistol. When i found this out i put away my P3AT,PF9 and G33,they are now in the safe.Tonite i'll have a Glock model 31 under a TEE SHIRT!!!!!!!!

  • Jim Mullin

    Six MS 13 guys approach you on the street. You see a machete and a crowbar. Four of them have no weapon that you can see.They yell for you to stop right are 50+ years old and have a spare tire,with high blood pressure and slight asthma.You know you can't out run them.You feel like your life is in danger so you pull out your 22 mousegun.The criminals kind of look at each other,kind of grinning. " You want to fight us gringo?" One of them pulls out a Kimber 45 and another draws a desert Eagle. So,one machete,one crowbar,one Kimber 45 and one 44 mag Desert Eagle.Now don't you wish you had a least 18 shots in a Glock 17? There is not always just one assailant armed with an inferior weapon to yours.Carry a big gun with lots of ammo.Why do you think most cops carry about 45 rounds,or more, of ammunition on duty? Life is not fair,plan for the worst. The badguy will not engage you on your terms.

    • Travis Buck Kingsley

      Even with a larger capacity and caliber you’re still pretty screwed in that situation. I’d prefer an AR-15 or something similar, but just the same I’ll take a little .22 over nothing, that’s for sure. Not everyone can carry a full size pistol with 6 extra mags everywhere they go. I have to settle for a ballpoint pen when on the clock at work. :P

    • dcrasta

      Hopefully training will allow you to drop the guys with the guns first.
      Training and practice goes a long way.

    • Everitt Mickey

      better yet ride around town with a swat team in an MRAP.

  • Jim Mullin

    PS people complain about guns weighing too much or how they are too big to conceal. Just to demonstrate a point,to friends who are gun salesmen,i showed them what can be concealed with a shoulder holster under a long loose flannel shirt. None of them noticed the guns. One time it was a Ruger Super Redhawk SS 7.5" barrelled 44 mag and two speedloaders in pouches. Another time it was a Super Redhawk Gray 9.5" barrelled 454 Casull and two speedloaders again. Then there was the Magnum Research BFR 7.5" Barrelled 500 S&W magnum ( it has 500 special ammo in it ). All of these guns weigh around 3 to 4 pounds. None of my gun salemen friends noticed any of them,even when i said the guns were under the shirt. Someone is making extra money on tiny guns, but do they themselves carry the tiny guns? Weight? Concealment? It depends on what you are wearing. If you really want to go to an extreme,there is the Kel Tec PLR 16 223 pistol that takes AR mags. In most states with a handgun permit it is legal to carry because it is legally a pistol. Who can argue with 20 to 30 ss109s? It would make a nice Police gun for inside the cruiser.

  • Michael Tofanelli

    WHY? Carry anything smaller than 9mm?

    I carry a Paraordnance P-1345,(concealed) 13+1

    IF i carry a "back up", it would be my interarms "firestar" 9mm. If i can't get out of a gun fight with 14 rds of .45 ACP, + a second mag, i'm in deep s**t!

    I can carry the P-13 wearing a tank top & shorts.

    Fanny pack?

    I could carry My P-13 on one hip & my Tac four on the other, I have a permit, maybe they will "print" on my shirt, but who cares, I'm legal!

  • Mossy

    I had an older model PT 22. Now that they have the Poly version. I might trade in my Kel Tec P32 (jammomatic) on one.

  • Nick

    .22 WMR works for me in a NAA Pug Mini-Revolver. Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection load. Good luck.

  • Buford

    What part of "last ditch" don't some of you understand? As a cop I was limited to a revolver and 2 reloads (dump pouches and later speedloaders). I carried a .38 snub as a NY reload, a .22 mag derringer and a boot knife. I didn't pull the derringer or the knife first, but if I had run everything else dry, they were there and I'd have used them before quietly ending up like Ian Campbell.

    Now hide and watch. Some gunstore commando will tell us about the custom concealment holster in which he carries his Thompson with a 50-round drum at the beach.

  • gbb

    My wife's grandmother had some feral gentlemen attempt to break into her home. She heard the commotion and met them at the front door with her PT22.. They waited, patiently, for the Sheriff to pick them up.

    Now, the reason she has that particular pistol is that she has very arthritic hands(89 years will do that to you) and the tip up barrel enables her to load and fire her pistol. I gave her that pistol, and taught her hoe to shoot it. We go to the range 2 or 3 times each month and she has a ball with it. She can place all rounds in 4 to 5 inches rapid fire(10 yards).

  • HMSRelentless

    Up close and personal I can and have placed a .25 loaded with MagSafe first shot and Speer Dold Dots following ' into the face/eye area at 3-5 feet.

    It tends to make the recipient cease and decist rather promptly.

    Body shots with anything more than a T shirt are of no effect.

  • Carl Hawkins

    I owned a PT-22 in the early 90's when they first came out, it was a great pocket pistol, very reliable and amusingly accurate for it's size. Foolishly I sold it, recently bought a new one.

    Now the sad part. It misfires about 30% of the time from light primer strikes. I sent in in, Taurus returned it in under two weeks with a new slide, and I was very impressed until I fired it and discovered they hadn't fixed it. Sent it back and this time they returned it un 5 days, which amazed me. What amazed me even more was it still wasn't fixed.

    Now it's going in for a third time. Eventually I hope Taurus will deliver a gun that works.

  • nate

    bill k said it… 22 is better than nothing, and actually better than some… as an EMT… .22 rounds oml? they make it in and just bounce around until they feel like leaving, it wouldn't surprise me to find a victim that had the same entrance and exit wound.

  • Mike Rumping

    I'd l;ike to sere the target after.


  • Ricardo Briozzo

    If you carry a .22 or .25 ACP gun, don't shoot any felon with it. The crook can to know and very probably don't like it.

  • Tom

    My wife is 5'0" tall and weighs about 100 lbs soaking wet. She can shoot VERY well and has carried a S&W 9mm Centennial revolver (rocks her hand mightily), a Beretta 86 Cheetah (too heavy and not very concealable for her) and a Ruger LCP (needs to practice more, IMO). She prefers to carry the Beretta 950 BS .22 Short nowadays. She understands very well it is "unload it and run like hell." Much like the video above. It fits her hand like nothing else she has fired and carried before, and I do not worry as much as I used to after seeing her put 7 rounds of .22 Shorts in a quarter target at 25 yards and less in quick time. As my friend, from whom I bought the .22 says, "Do you think a thug would go, 'Whew! And I was expecting a .22 LR!'" They're just as wounded and aware of being shot with the .22 short, and my wife is already on her way outta there. Of course, I would feel better if she had a .380, too, but that's another topic.

  • Steve

    Looks good. That would certainly be "better than nothing" for my wife.

    Unfortunately, our state doesn't allow .32 acp or below for CCW.

  • Steve

    Any gun is better than NO GUN.

  • gentaquatech

    If you doubt a 22lr, try shooting yourself in the leg and see what happens. I CCW a Walther TPH 22lr as a backup to my backup pistol Walther PPK 380, and I feel very confident about it.

  • Papa

    As a tramua nurse for the last 30 years, the best stopper I've seen is a 357 mag even over the 45. A model 60 S&W with 38+p also works fine. 22cal does considerable damage but only if placed correctly.

    • pt25.

      Spell trauma. .. ms. nurse..they certainly didn’t teach u how to spell in college but I bet you have a lot of stories!

    • Tony Oliver

      I will take a 22,25,380 anytime over nothing. I have never been in a gunfight and hope I never will. You can bet Im going to use wharever I have if the need arises, I usually keep a 45 with extra magazines. I will not freak I will keep cool and do what I was taught.

  • tim

    what state doesn't allow .32 acp or less for ccw?

  • Mike D.

    I have the Beretta Bobcat 22 and use it as strictly backup. I have checked out the .22 Taurus at a gun dealer and it is very similar to the Bereeta except for being double action only. The sight picture is almost nil with these small guns so i painted my back sight white and the front sight a bright orange/red which helped a lot. Again, it's only a backup gun, but it's better to have that in my hand than something else we all know about, if you're a man.

  • shidpoke

    always save the last round for yourself.

  • New Guy

    I carry a .25 Tarus. Frankly, in an actual gunfight, with rounds being exchanged somewhere other than a well-lit firing range, I think it is unrealistic to expect hits. None of us is John McClane, and we do not live in an action movie. When I shoot my gun I doubt very much if the assailant is going to stop to consider the caliber. I probabily won't hit him, or kill him if I do, but the purpose of this gun, or any SD gun in my opinion, is to make the assailant run away, or allow me to run away.

    • New Guy

      Also, with the .25, I have not had a problem with jams. The rounds will penetrate 1/4 plywood from 15 feet.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      So, your purpose in carrying a gun is to not hit the bad guy with it?

      And you think the physical effects are something one “considers” upon getting shot?

  • Scott

    Looking to purchase a 25 or 22 cal. semi-auto pistol in Camden SC

    • Scott Buchanan

      As Stated looking to Purchase a 25 or 22 cal in Camden SC
      Have CWP

      • scott

        State Your Response

  • pirouge

    where are the sportsmen, everyone wants one shot, one kill, me, I want to see the perp dance. I'd rather hit with a .22lr than miss with a .45, and as we all know, practice is what makes accurate shot placement, and you can practice until you get tired with inexpensive .22lr

  • Jay McGranahan

    Great, informative review Scott. My wife is pretty recoil sensitive, so I'm thinking this gun is better than no gun for her CCW.

  • JB

    IMO, I’d never trust .22lr for defense if I had any choice at all, mainly because of the misfires. I’ve had even some of the expensive .22lr misfire, even in rifles that squashed the rim flat, and even continue to fail after I rotated the round 90-180 degrees to let the pin flatten a new section of rim.
    .22wmr doesn’t require a much bigger gun, but I’ve never had it misfire on me except from a pistol that barely dented the rims at all. A new firing pin fixed that right up.

  • ej

    If you pull a 22 because you fear for your life, just start with the first head shot, then the next head shot. there went the two guys that had a 45 or 44 and the desert eagle guy is fumbling for his weapon while your shooting at his head.

    • ArmedPatriot

      All of my shots are going for the face and neck regardless of caliber.

  • conthien Al

    22 LR. HP.’s better than no firepower at all,since not having a gun usually make’s you a victim!

  • Jonathan Cockwaters

    I love mine. Its a great trail and atv gun, that I carry in my barn yard every day. I have both the poly and the steel frame (?). I prefer the alloy framed gun over the poly. Despite being discouraged by Taurus from shooting hyper velocity ammo, I find it preforms better. There is a small plastic buffer that slides into the front of the frame. You will need to pop this out and replaced periodically. Two thumbs up for the PT22.

  • Blackjack6

    Just bought one.

    2 stovepipes in the first 100 rounds.

    Cleaned it and ran 150 rounds without a single problem, nice gun, worth buying.

  • John

    You people are a real trip. Don’t miss me with your big 45 because by the time you get it back down to fire again I’ll have already emptied my 38 in your belly 22 too for that matter

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      Don’t worry, I won’t. I’ve practiced so my ROF exceeds yours.

      Of course, since we’re not likely to be fighting each other, it’s all braggadocio.

  • rick2052

    does anyone kno where i can pick up laser sights for a taurus pt22 with tip up barrel. thanx

  • ArmedPatriot

    The”BEST” carry gun for you is the gun you know and shoot well.

  • Jarhead

    Shoot a big boar hog in head rolled him up at bout 10ft imagine it would get the job done in a human standoff if need be….

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