Let me begin this article by acknowledging the two elephants in the room, coronavirus and the ammo shortage. Whether you are a shooter, range owner, or firearm instructor, you can see how COVID-19 and the current ammunition shortage have significantly impacted the firearm industry.
Firearm Training During the Current Ammunition Shortage
I don’t need an economics degree to tell me that 9 mm and other common training and self-defense rounds are in short supply. I have had countless customers call me and ask if I could provide them with ammunition to take one of my defensive pistol classes. Just a few short months ago I would willingly agree and simply sell them a 9mm white box for the $10 it cost me at my local Walmart. Those days are gone for now, but what can we do in the meantime?
Changing My Bad Opinion of Rimfire Pistol Training
I had a bad outlook rimfire pistol training. To be completely honest, I hated it and didn’t like doing it. I didn’t even own a 22 pistol.
For many years I was against rimfire training for a multitude of reasons.
- Rimfire training was dirty
- The pistol frequently jammed
- The training didn’t provide students proper recoil feedback.
My list of rimfire grievances went on and on. Maybe I was just being a snob by insisting that my customers train with the caliber that they intend to carry. Or maybe I was simply being unrealistic. The ammo was cheap but still susceptible to jams. I didn’t think there were suitable pistols to simulate proper training.
You had the James Bond looking Ruger‘s and bull barrel target pistols with the occasional 10 shot revolver but nothing suitable for training and no options that simulated a modern-day self-defense gun. Disclaimer - if you have been training with 22 the whole time, you can stop reading now. I will admit that I was wrong about rimfire beliefs.
Guns That Emulate CCW Units
I was wrong about a lot of things but definitely wrong about 22LR. This ammunition shortage caused me to revisit my negative thoughts about rimfire training. Once I looked around, I realized I was way behind the curve. I was excited to find guns like the Glock 44, Taurus TX 22, and Smith and Wesson M&P22 that emulated my beloved CCW units.
I sought out these guns, shot them with good ammo, and had great results. I subsequently ended up purchasing some of these guns and as much 22LR ammo that I could get my hands on. All of a sudden, I was back in business. My clients liked them too!
Don’t get me wrong, I will never give up my 9 mm and I carry one every day. However, training people with rimfire is a great option. These guns feel, point, and handle nearly identically to their 9 mm and larger big brothers. And yes, it’s true that they don’t provide great recoil feedback, but it’s still easy to teach new shooters all the safety and fundamental elements.
Final Thoughts on Rimfire Training
Handgun calibers may come and go, but universal safety rules will never change. Nor will the principles of marksmanship. Ultimately, we want to teach people safe, effective and efficient gun handling skills. If we need to adjust firearm training to accommodate the current ammunition shortage, rimfire is a great option.
Find local shooting classes today.