THE MODERN .22 LONG RIFLE FOR SURVIVAL AND DEFENSE
In 1887, the J. Steven Arms & Tool Co. developed the modern day 22 Long Rifle cartridge. The success of this tiny rimfire cartridge is legendary. It continues to this day to be the most produced firearm cartridge ever. Those of us who grew up hunting and plinking remember the days of using Grandpas tube fed Marlin and Remington bolt action .22's! I know I have fond memories of spending summers on my Grandpas farm wandering the bean fields with one of his .22's and a pocket full of shells being on the lookout for groundhogs! Well, today's .22LR rifles and their ammo have come a long way! The ammo is cleaner, more accurate, and more reliable than its predecessor and the rifles are lighter weight, easily accessorized, more versatile, and still just plain fun to shoot!
Today's discussion of modern .22 rifles always brings up the classic Ruger 10/22 and all of its many versions, the Marlin 795, the GSG-522, and recently the newer Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 (not to mention dozens of other older models that still have a cult status following)! Never has today's sportsman and survivalist had as many quality choices for a reliable and accurate .22 caliber firearm as they have today! So the question is always the .22LRs application as a survival and defensive round and rifle, well here are a few examples of that use from recent memory!
The Israeli SF used suppressed Ruger 10/22 rifles in the 1990s for riot control and to "eliminate disturbing dogs prior to operations", In the recent Israeli-Palestinian clashes that began in 2000, the Ruger 10/22 resumed its original role as a less lethal riot control weapon. However, it's usage in this role was rather controversial this time. After several incidents where Palestinians were shot and killed by sniper fire from suppressed Ruger 10/22's, the IDF conducted a field experiment with the Ruger at the IDF Sniper School. It was found to be much more lethal than originally thought on upper body shots and was used more loosely than intended by Israeli operators! Though it is now used less often, it has been shown to be more lethal than previously suspected.
Other information I found interesting on the survival and defensive applications for the .22LR came from the U.S. RSOG (U.S. Rescue & Special Operations Group)! They had certain criteria that they had to go by to choose a realistic survival firearm for its teams and the .22LR was chosen for one specific reason, its weight and space. For the weapon to have been considered it had to be small. Their rifle had to be able to break down and fit into a rucksack. The top three choices that came to mind were the MARLIN Papoose, the Henry AR-7 and the SPRINGFIELD M-6. They carried multiple types of ammunition in their survival pack! This included 150-200 rds of CCI Mini Mag hollow points for game and defensive purposes, 50-100 rds of subsonic ammo (most of these are almost silent from a rifle), plus 20 rounds of .22 cal. shot shells.
Some additional examples include the use of suppressed High Standard HDM pistols by the American OSS, which was the predecessor organization of the CIA. Francis Gary Powers was issued a suppressed High Standard for the flight in which he was shot down and suppressed Ruger MK II pistols were even used by Navy SEALs in the 1990s.
In the end, I think the discussion of today's crop of .22LR rifles is quite exciting and doesn't necessarily lead to which one is the best rifle for your survival and defensive needs but instead it is which one are you going to buy next!