Self-defense preparation is seldom ideal. We strive to make our training (learning new skills) and our practice (refining and reinforcing those skills) as realistic as possible. But it can obviously only go so far, when we’re dealing with the circumstances and tools of serious injury or death. Which means that despite our best efforts, safety and good sense demand that we cut the occasional corner and shortchange our “real world” environment. The trick is to maximize the value of those things that we are able to do.
When it comes to defensive handgun training, shooting real bullets out of functioning guns is a must. Is there any demonstrable value to practicing our firearms skills with empty guns- commonly called “dry fire”? Yes, there is- but it can only be used to any advantage after we have already experienced the recoil and noise of live ammunition. To say nothing of the ego-slap of seeing bullets holes appear on your target…in places you never intended they be!
So, shooting is the irreplaceable foundation of defensive gun skill. But what about the pesky intrusion of everyday life? What if my budget doesn’t allow for lots and lots of “trigger time” with my full-power defensive ammunition- but I still need some live fire to anchor my dry-fire routine? What if I want to double my defensive capability- and get my non-shooting spouse, significant other, or any other person in my orbit who has less experience, ability, or physicality some time behind the gun?
The perfect fit for these imperfect circumstances might be a rimfire Conversion Kit for your defensive handgun! What we’re talking about is an accessory that enables your current self-defense pistol to shoot inexpensive and recoil-friendly .22 LR caliber ammunition. And in most cases, the swap is as simple…and quick…as taking the gun apart and putting it back together!
Here are a few benefits of training with a .22 LR caliber pistol:
-Reduced blast: .22LR gunfire is the least obnoxious (hearing protection still required, though)
-Reduced recoil: This can make all the difference in the world to a new shooter who is still learning to manage recoil. Or it can simply make for longer, more productive and comfortable practice sessions.
-Economic reality: .22LR caliber is by far the least expensive handgun caliber on the market.
…And here are some reasons why a Conversion Kit may be better than simply buying a separate .22 caliber pistol:
-Conversion Kits are NOT firearms: They are accessory parts and require the use of a host pistol to function. This means there are no restrictions to buy or use them.
-You are still shooting YOUR defensive pistol: The size, shape and “feel” don’t change. The operating controls are exactly where they belong. It’s even the same trigger pull (resistance and travel) as your pistol. Because it IS your pistol.
Constant training, with the actual gun and ammunition that we will use, under the most challenging and realistic conditions possible, would be ideal. For most of us, this just isn’t going to happen. Life gets in the way. But if cost or comfort are also conspiring to keep us off the range…a .22LR Conversion Kit can be just the ticket.
Conversion Kits are available as aftermarket items for the popular Glock and Springfield Armory pistols, among others. In addition, many gun makers such as Beretta, Sig Sauer, and Kimber offer kits for their own products.
Keep Shooting and Stay Safe!