Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Skill Set: .22 Training

“What about .22’s for practicing?” (Referring to the .22 long-rifle.) This question pops up frequently during classes. “It’s good stuff,” is my response. For example, it doesn’t matter what you’re firing,youhave aim, hold, press, and follow through to score accurate hits. The same seScreen Shot 2013-04-23 at 8.21.30 PMquence applies for shooting while moving or engaging a moving target. With .22’s – even though right now even it’s difficult to find and more expensive than it used to be – you can get in more practice on the same skills for less money.

At one time practicing with a .22 meant using aweapon that was radically different from what you normally carry or shoot. Today you have the option of setting up your normal platform for .22’s with a conversion kit, or there are dedicated weapons built that are almost direct copies of what you normally use.

Since I’ve started carrying Glocks more often, specifically their 19, I purchased an Advantage Arms .22 conversion kit, a complete upper slide assembly that attaches to your pistol frame. (Two of my instructors had thoroughly tested these out so I knew it was a good piece of kit.) Installation is easy. Remove the slide and install the .22 slide. The kit lightens up the trigger pull slightly, but that’s no problem because we know to press the trigger until the weapon decides it’s time to fire, and then reset the trigger during follow through. With this kit the slide locks to the rear on an empty mag. Old mag out, new mag in, cycle the slide. And,it all fits your regular holster and mag pouches.

For AR training it’s hard to beat S&W’s M&P 15-22. This carbine gives you the same ergonomics as your standard AR; the only difference is the charging handle doesn’t cycle as far backas with a .223/5.56. These carbines come in several styles, and you can equip one to be a twin of your standard weapon. The M&P’s are affordable, and it doesn’t take much shooting to pay for it in the difference between the cost of 5.56 and .22 ammo. I’ve been practicing with mine a lot.

Learning how to operate a weapon requires repetitions. With a .22 setup like these you’re getting the same repetitions you would from your normal weapon. “But,” you ask, “what about recoil?” Useyour normal stance and grip, and then, just as with any weapon, concentrate on recovering from the recoilas opposed to trying to control it, which never turns out well. Your sight picture dictates your rate of fire; with a larger caliber it takes a fraction of a second longer to recover from the additional recoil to acquire your next sight picture.

.22’s are also a great way to introduce newshooters to firearms. We always have new shooters start with a .22 to learn the fundamentals of marksmanship and manipulations. There’s no loud noise to deal with. The reduced recoil means they don’t develop a flinch response in anticipation of the shot. After becoming familiar with these skills transitioning into a larger caliber is a piece of cake.

Success with .22’s is having good kit. Keep in mind .22’s are more sensitive to ammo than other calibers. For example Advantage Arms recommends specific ammo, as well as ammo not to use. Beneficial training/ practice relies on having everything set up as close to your normal gear as possible. Then, practice. It’s fun, affordable, and you’re developing skills you need.

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April 11, 2013 - Posted by | General Training

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