Federal Punch 22LR Personal Defense — Yes, 22LR Self Defense Ammo

Would or should you use .22LR cartridges for personal defense ammo?

Why? Or, why not?

Though it may seem like 22LR isn’t generally considered a preferred cartridge for self-defense, there are more proponents for it than you might expect.

Now, some will say that it’s a fine defensive load for the elderly, poorly trained, and for individuals with weaker hands. But as Richard A. Mann points out in his article The .22 LR for Self Defense: Good, Bad, or Crazy, there are several things to consider when you’re weighing the value of this little cartridge in a violent encounter:

  • To stop an attack, an assailant must change their mind or involuntarily surrender.
  • Involuntary surrender is elicited in four ways: nervous system damage, structural damage, involuntary collapse and death.
  • The .22 will most certainly cause pain, which can be decisive in stopping an attack.
  • Given .22s are easier to shoot, they can deliver this pain multiple times.
  • Most concealable guns, regardless of caliber, do not cause involuntary surrender.
  • While it might not be the top choice, a .22 is better for self defense than no gun at all.

In fact, it seems that the load is gaining in popularity, especially for defensive purposes, considering the release of several new .22LR handguns just last few years, including the Taurus TX22, Ruger Lite Rack LCP II, Kel-Tec P17, and the Taurus 942 8-shot snubnosed revolver.

So, why are some people choosing this cartridge?

.22LR offers some benefits. First, it’s a cost-effective option. With the ability to purchase more rounds, you’re more likely to spend time training with your firearm instead of conserving your more expensive stash of ammo. Another benefit is that the .22LR has lower recoil than larger loads, which tends to lead toward better shot placement.

With all of this in mind, we thought you’d like to know about Federal’s new Punch .22LR Personal Defense ammunition. No matter which side of the argument you stand, for or against .22LR for self-defense, it definitely has its place—and now Federal has further engineered it for higher velocity and greater penetration.

Here’s how Federal describes the new load:

Different shooters have different needs, different limitations, and different firearms. Yet for all those variables, 22 Long Rifle has never really been an option for personal defense—until now. Federal Premium introduces Punch 22 LR, a new load using a first-of-its-kind 29-grain nickel-plated lead-core bullet, pushed at maximum velocities for the deepest penetration through short-barrel handguns. Shipments of this product have begun to arrive at dealers.

Dan Compton, Federal’s Rimfire Product Manager said, “Self-defense isn’t one size fits all. So, whether shooters want to carry a 22 LR handgun as a backup gun, do not feel comfortable with centerfire pistols, or simply want to get more versatility from a rimfire handgun. Punch makes the 22 LR cartridge a viable defensive choice for the first time ever.”

The Punch 22 LR bullet is a departure from standard 22 LR design. It features a flat nose and utilizes a heavy nickel-plated jacket around a lead core. So not only does it travel faster than competing 22 projectiles, but its design also deliberately minimizes expansion and retains weight to maintain sufficient straight-line penetration. That is a lot to ask from a .22 bullet, which is why other manufacturers have shied away from the challenge. But Federal’s engineering team pulled it off, giving America’s favorite cartridge a chance to prove itself for protection.

“We’ve talked about making a 22 LR defensive load for some time. We finally decided that people are already carrying 22 LRs, so we might as well build a .22 bullet optimized for protection,” said Compton. “After much research, we decided that for a .22 LR defense bullet, penetration was more important than expansion.”

Punch .22LR Features & Benefits

Federal Punch 22LR defense ammunition, nickel plated case.
Punch .22 LR has a nickel-plated case for corrosion resistance and ease of extraction.
Federal Punch .22LR nickel plated bullet
This 22LR self defense ammo has a 29-grain nickel-plated lead-core flat-nose bullet.
Punch 22LR defensive ammo penetration through gel.
According to Federal the maximum velocity for energy and penetration is 1,070 fps through 2-inch barrelled handguns and 1,650 fps out of 24-inch rifle barrels. They also advise that the projectile profile and composition are optimized for the deepest penetration through short-barrel handguns.
50 round box of Federal Punch .22LR personal defense ammunition.
Punch .22LR Personal Defense comes in 50-round boxes. MSRP is $9.99 (at the time of this writing).

Here’s the 22LR self defense ammo launch video:

What are your thoughts on using 22LR ammunition defensively?

Stephanie Kimmell is the firstborn daughter of Missouri's Pecan King, worthy scion of a Vietnam veteran sailor turned mad engineer-orchardist-inventor-genius. With a BA in technical writing, she freelances as a writer and editor. A Zymurgist greatly interested in the decoction of fermented barley and hops, she is in many ways a modern amalgam of Esther Hobart Morris, Rebecca Boone, and Nellie Bly. She hunts, fishes, butchers, and cooks most anything. When not editing or writing, she makes soaps and salves, spins wool, and occasionally makes cheese from cows she milked herself. Kimmell is a driven epistemophilic who loves live music and all sorts of beer.

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