Do You Need an AR-15 Rifle in .22 Caliber?

Around 2:30 a.m., an intruder broke into a home on Violet Road in Verona, KY. According to police, the homeowner, 92 year-old Earl J. was awakened by a noise in his basement.

Earl armed himself with a .22 rifle and made his way toward the noise. The intruder entered the home through the basement and Earl shot him in the chest, then called 911.

“I aimed for the center of the heart, in the chest,” said Earl. “He fell backwards then down the steps.”

When police arrived at the home, they found the exterior basement door propped open, but nobody but Earl inside the home. A short time later, police in neighboring Kenton County responded to a 911 call regarding a man who had been shot.

Police found Lloyd Maxwell and two others in a 2001 Chevrolet Impala. Maxwell was pronounced dead at the scene. The two uninjured men were taken back to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office and admitted involvement in the attempted home invasion.

Unfortunately, Earl’s home had been burglarized on three separate occasions prior to that night. And while investigating the prior burglaries, investigators installed a motion activated video camera in the basement of Earls’ home.

Video taken by that camera shows one of the intruders entering through a doggie door and removing a 2×4 used to secure the door from being opened.

With the 2×4 removed, the door was opened, right before Earl confronted the intruders. Obviously, Earl did a great job of protecting himself and police say he will not face any charges.

Now, while a .22 caliber weapon is not my first choice for defending my family…

For Earl, it may have been the best choice. He likely wanted a rifle that was easy to shoot and manipulate due to his age. Or perhaps the .22 rifle was a weapon he had always owned and was comfortable shooting it.

Either way, it worked for Earl and may have saved his life and a .22 rifle may be something you wish to consider too. In that case, here are a few reasons to consider buying a .22 caliber rifle – more specifically an AR-15 style rifle – for your home.

Cost. The most inexpensive cartridge firearms are .22s. And many retailers have a healthy supply of .22, so you shouldn’t have to deal with as many ammo shortages.

The low cost and high availability make target practice a lot more practical. In addition, during a bug-out disaster scenario, .22 cartridges would be prime barter items to have in your survival gear.

Plus, .22 rifles and handguns are inexpensive to buy. In fact, depending on the manufacturer, an AR-15 in .22 caliber can be at least half the price (or less), of an AR-15 in .223 caliber.

Efficiency. There is no question a .22 can put down animals or stop human threats, but to be effective, the shooter must be accurate. Unless the shot is placed in a vital area, the .22 doesn’t have the knockdown power to stop an attacker quickly.

A shot placed to the head (between the eyes) or other vital area can bring a quick end to an attacker’s life. Similarly, for hunting small game, the .22 has no equal. It is the best caliber for hunting rabbit or squirrel.

Training. A .22 has little to no recoil and the sound is not ear-splitting. This allows the new shooter to concentrate on aiming, trigger control and safe gun handling without worry of recoil or loud noises.

These gun handling and safety skills carry over to other, bigger firearms. So, if you’re setting up a survival firearms cache, it’s a good idea for the .22’s platform to be the same as that of the larger rifle, which makes an AR-15 in .22 caliber perfect for training new shooters on how to properly shoot an AR-15 in a larger caliber.

Bottom line, an AR-15 in .22 caliber can be a versatile rifle and it is something I would definitely check out. If you happen to be interested in getting one here are two options…

Colt M4 AR-15 .22 LR. The Colt M4 .22 caliber rifle is manufactured under license by Walther. Basically, the .22 caliber magazine is the only giveaway, otherwise it looks like a standard AR-15. The Colt M4 .22 is a simple blowback, semi-automatic, rimfire rifle.

It’s intended to operate as close as possible to the typical AR-15 rifle. Under the carrying handle is a flat-top Picatinny rail for mounting scopes, red-dots or other sighting accessories. The Colt M4 sells for $380.

Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. Smith & Wesson builds a quality AR platform. The company learned quickly that the little .22 rifles that shared the same trigger group and field stripped in the same way as their .223 AR counterparts were popular among gun owners.

The M&P 15-22 controls are pretty much the same as the majority of AR-15’s. Magazines are available in 10-round or 25-round models. The M&P 15-22’s are equipped with Magpul MLOK forends, 6-position buttstock, and Magpul MBUS folding sights.

This gives you a lot of options for optics, lasers and lights to customize your rifle. The Smith & Wesson M&P sells for $380.

There is no question that the AR-15 is America’s rifle. And a dedicated .22 for plinking and training… with identical controls and handling characteristics to a .223… but runs for far less the cost… is a solid option.

One Comment

  • Shawn says:


    Heckler and Kock makes a .22 AR-15 style rifle too. It’s the HK416. It’s a wonderful .22 rifle. Only, downside is the clip is proprietary, and can only use it’s own specific clip. I absolutely love this rifle.

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