22cal Trainers

Chris Taylor

Random Factor of the K Power
What is the general consensus on using a 22LR as a training platform?

Looking at it from a couple of viewpoints...

1- Viability(1)- is it worthwhile? Noise, recoil, training space, cost, etc.

2- Viability(2)- does it give a close enough approximation to shooting full power guns?

3- Platform- if it is viable, would a scaled rimfire version of a duty weapon, or a close approximation, be better, or would conversion kits be preferable? Would any old 22 be worthwhile? Why or why not?

4- Other- thoughts in general

Realized we didn't have this covered yet, and it comes up.

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Chad H/BC520

Staff member
Is it even a consideration at the moment with ammunition as scarce as it is?

I've written in SWAT about some of my reinforce training experiences. They were/are viable, but drills may need to be structured for a different manual of arms, say for a Ciener or M261 conversion. Lack of recoil means split times between trigger presses is sometimes not realistic. But there is a lot that can be accomplished with a trainer. If you can find the ammo....

Dave J

^^^^ What he said.

During the post-Newton ammo shortage, I tried to do most of my single-shot drills with .22LR, to stretch my ammo supply. I'd switch to the real guns for drills requiring more than one shot. I felt that worked well. Arguably, you could just get the same benefits from dry fire reps, but I really liked having feedback from bullet holes.

I was fortunate that I already had a reasonable supply of .22LR on hand, as well as rimfire guns that closely matched what I was shooting. I'm not sure there'd be that much training value in shooting "any old 22" -- although I would like to have a S&W 317 to throw in the range bag, since I am of the opinion that working a DA revolver trigger is good practice for your trigger finger.

When the ammo shortage cleared up, I basically ceased using .22LR, to avoid the hassle of dragging extra guns to the range, and because I use a military range where I have to police the brass, and picking up .22 LR is just annoying. Also, at current prices, you're not saving much over 9mm reloads, so unless you've already got the ammo I'm not sure I see the point. But, if you've the logistics lined up, you can do a lot of good training with rimfire, IMHO.


I agree that with my 9mm reloads, it's not much cheaper to shoot 9 as opposed to .22. I have shot an m&p15-22 a bit, and using that to practice rifle stuff has been on my mind. I have been thinking of getting either a .22 or a 9mm AR for cheaper practice.

R. Moran

Staff member
"Trigger time is trigger time." That's what a scientist at one of my former employers told me once. He was also a High Power shooter and IPSC shooter of some accomplishment as I remember.
The key, for me is to know what type of training you are conducting.
I spend a lot of time shooting a High Standard .22 tuned by Dave Sams, and BE type Buck mark. I also spend some time behind some accurate .22 rifles. I don't pretend they have any real tactical training value. They are excellent pure marksmanship training aids. They are also pleasant & enjoyable to shoot.

I have both a S&W MP22 and M&P15-22, though I have plenty of 22 ammo, I rarely shoot them. No rel reason why, loading the mags is PITA more then anything. What I find the 15-22 useful for is SOM drills. As with me, it's not so much recoil control that slows me down, it's getting the gun on target quick, and getting it to settle down into what I would consider an acceptable wobble. You can also train various other drills, that aren't so speed oriented, but at either reduced targets or reduced range, maybe both.
The key is to finish up with some centerfire training.

With the way ammo availability is right now, rimfire vs centerfire, I'm not sure I would go to a .22 solely for reduced cost training. If you've got a 10/22 with some ammo, you can get some training value out of it though.


I have had an Advantage Arms conversion for a G17 that I have loved. I feel like shooting the conversion has helps me to be a better shooter when I go back to 9mm. I know that the recoil is less and that can lead you to weaken you grip. A lot of the time I will run the conversion when i'm working on things like positional shooting, shooting around a vehicle or barer.

I really think it comes down to trigger time. Any time you are shooting or manipulating a firearm it will help you to become a better shooter, as long as you are doing it right and safe.

I would also add that there is a club that shoots and indoor 22 match in the winter. It is reassuring knowing that i'm using the same sight picture and trigger press as my carry gun.


I find the 22lr to be a great round for Sniper team training. I use mine all the time out to 300yds. The distance at 200-300yds not so much for marksmanship but for spotter training.

The verbal communication of the spotter to shooter dialog is a expensive endeavor when using centerfire ammunition.


Regular Member
This little guy has actually helped my out quite a bit over the past few months. My situation is pretty unique but it could still apply to others. I currently have the luxury of being able to shoot pretty much anytime I want. I keep the pistol in my office/shop and 1-3 times throughout the day I'll step out back and shoot 2 mags (20 rounds) at a steel target 35 yards away. It's great for fundamentals practice. I'll run it as fast as I can until I see a degradation in accuracy. The instant feedback of the steel is perfect. Once I stop getting hits I'll slow it back down.


It's really helped me work on my trigger press and sight picture. I've also started doing one handed shooting and shooting from unconventional positions. It's not the same sights, trigger or size of my Glocks but the fundamentals do carry over. I've found that it's a nice compliment to my dry fire practice and I've noticed improvement when I switch back to 9mm. It's obviously not a replacement but it does have its benefits.


^^^^^ What he said x2!
Whenever I started shooting pistols as a boy, my father started me everyday with a .22 to develop my stance, grip, trigger control and sight picture and my huge flinching problem (PITA). Then he would move me to a center fire caliber to finish out the training day. I follow the same routine today in my almost everyday/bi-weekly range days, start with rim fire to get myself "feeling the groove" and then step over to my center fire guns. This is also the way I taught my wife how to shoot and it works great for that. I would say .22lr is best used to teach new shooters, but is just as useable for perfecting those basic skills in seasoned shooters. I also have used .22lr for some of the things the guys above listed, barricade training, one handed shooting, spotter training and one thing especially - running plate racks. I like to run steel once or twice through with a .22 to get a feel for the array and then switch over to a 9mm. The 22 I use is a M&P 22 full size which uses the same holster as does my M&P9pro, and M&P9CORE Open gun. Ammo isn't that much of a deal anymore, I have no trouble finding it for reasonable prices. Very viable training method indeed.


Regular Member
The notion that .22 is not a viable option for training because of it lack of recoil is a fallacy that needs to end. If it were true, then why is dry fire, with zero recoil, still the BEST training option? Furthermore, that notion also implies that shooting .45 or .308 instead of 9/556 would hinder your training. As long as you are using the appropriate gear, including caliber, to achieve your training goals then who cares?

I frequently use a dedicated .22 for working on basic fundamentals at distance and lots of transitions between targets on steel. This allows me to work on shorter ranges or closer to the steel to get the same training affects as longer ranges or build speed by not focusing on recoil. Additionally, I find it helpful to go back to .22 at the end of a training session to ensure my base fundamentals are still good and I didn't start to develop bad habits focusing on other things.


Regular Member
More thoughts:

Consider Olympic .22 shooters. Does anyone actually think that if given a larger caliber, their results would be any less than spectacular (aside from the limitations of the firearm)? Fundamentals are fundamentals, regardless of caliber. The ".22 is shit" nonsensical ego driven dick measuring bull shit that seems prevalent today needs to be cut from this industry like a cancer.

Rant over.


I used to be almost obsessive about having a .22 to match any given centerfire. I now think it is not worth the trouble/expense vs dry firing. I do keep an accurate .22 rifle and pistol around, for squirrels and such, but don't worry about having dedicated trainer clones anymore. Like an earlier poster said, all trigger time is good trigger time.


Regular Member
Our patrol rifle basic class uses MP15-22s the first day or so. Same manual of arms and for nonshooters who may never have shot ANY rifle, less intimidating. Helps keep flinch down and cheaply evaluate who may be an issue. They go to 5 56 the next day.


Staff member
I can see issues if there is a major difference between platforms.
But for me, since I've decided on a lever action for my centrefire rifles, then it makes a hell of a lot of sense to invest in a .22 lever action down the track when the cash becomes available.
Although to offset the cost of training ammunition, because the price of .30-30 is killing me at the moment (and it's still one of the cheapest centrefire rounds available down here) I'm looking at handloading .38/.357 for my 1894c so that I have plenty of cheap training ammunition.