“ I’ve heard that handgun ammunition prices can be quite high at the moment (the rifle rounds I buy are certainly so). Would there be any significant advantage to the .22 you mention in saving on ammunition costs? “
That is a very good question, although a bit tough to answer. To dig out some data I went to Lucky Gunner, a website that not only sells ammunition but also lists the cost per cartridge to help the budget-minded make a decision. Just to make things as uncluttered as possible I decided to compare the cost of .22 WMR with the cartridge I use most often for defense, the 9mm Parabellum.
The page for .22 WMR shows prices all over the map, which is to be expected when the largest possible variety of manufacturers and loads are offered. At the time of this writing, 22 different WMR loads are offered with the price per round ranging from $0.17 USD to $0.75 USD (£0.13 GBD to £0.58 GBP). Ammunition that I consider suitable for defensive use, the hollowpoints, are actually the cheapest on the list with a cost per round of $0.17 (£0.13 GBD).
When I started to learn about firearms, I was extremely fortunate that I was mentored by a gentleman named Charles. He was extremely knowledgeable about just about every aspect of the shooting sports, and he was kind enough to share his experience.
One of the things I gained from him was a library of magazines he had been collecting for decades. Some of the articles were a real hoot.
One of the old magazines discussed using duplex rounds to increase the stopping power of a defensive handgun. This is where more than one projectile is loaded in to a cartridge, thus turning one shot into two or more as more bullets fly out of the gun with each pull of the trigger. I actually tried this out for myself, and I discuss the experience here.
My conclusions were that it was a neat idea, but loading multiple projectiles into a standard self defense handgun chambered for a reasonable caliber resulted in some pretty wicked perceived recoil and muzzle flip. Not unusable, but it didn’t provide enough advantages to make me switch from traditional self defense ammunition.
The .22 WMR is a potent round for a twenty-two, but it is still a twenty-two. Added to that is the fact that the round is a rimfire, which is not known to be as reliable as standard center fire cartridges.
Click on this link to get the skinny. Two barrels, eight chambers, 4 shots until empty The idea is to have a self defense revolver, compact and light, but which is chambered for a very potent .22 round. The double shot is intended to address the problems with reliability and lethality. If you have two rounds being fired at once, the odds of both of them being misfires is really remote. And, of course, two bullets striking the target at the same time has got to up the chances for stopping a violent criminal.
It isn’t a bad idea, really, and I doubt dual firing .22 rounds will result in the extreme recoil that I experienced when firing .57 Magnum rounds loaded with four projectiles. If it functions as advertised, then I have to admit that it looks like a very well engineered bit of technology.
Does this mean I am going to buy one? No, I don’t think so, even though the price is in the reasonable range for a self defense handgun. The .22 WMR cartridge might have been around for a long time, but it is still off the mainstream enough that I have rarely encountered a gun chambered for that round. I certainly don’t own any, so I would have to lay in a supply of ammunition that would only work in that one gun. That is a big minus for a dedicated shooter right there.
The other reservation I have is that it seems to be a solution in search of a problem. The gun fires two cartridges with each pull of the trigger, resulting in four shots before reloading, but does that provide any advantage over a traditional snubby?
The gun pictured above is an old K-frame chambered for the .38 Special cartridge with a short barrel, hence the 6 rounds. But there are J-frame models chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge, and they offer 5 rounds. I already own one of those.
I think that I would choose five chances to stop the bad guys with a .357 over four chances with double-shot .22’s. If you have a different opinion, that is just fine. Whatever gives you comfort. I am just more comfortable with what I have, is all.
(Hat tip to Glenn for the heads up about this gun.)