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.22 Magnum for EDC or Home Defense?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:01 pm    Post subject: .22 Magnum for EDC or Home Defense? Reply with quote

Hello to our Wildlifers!
Several of you have been asking for a "Local Test" (Don't trust the online reports? Yeah, you're correct; some are staged!). So we will compare the recent appearance on the market of just two .22 Magnums.
(1) KelTec PMR-30, made and HQ'd in Florida. This one as been in my safe unused by me after its initial cleaning, for the past couple of years.
(2) Rock Island XTM-22, made and HQ'd in the Philippines. This one I ordered two weeks ago through a friend who works at Smith & Edwards. (RIA is Armscor)

The KelTec PMR-30 (.22 Magnum) proved to wake up just like its big brother PLR-16 did six years ago. "Ready To Rock And Roll", right out of the box. Happy as a clam at high-tide.

The Rock Island XTM-22 (Magnum) came in about a week after it was ordered. "But", when I got it home for cleaning I found a small silver pin dislodged from where it was supposed to live. It was pinched between the barrel and barrel shroud. So the RIA XT-22 will be tested when I receive a customer service answer regarding their response for the Rock Island defective delivery.

"SO", back to the test with the KelTec at the range.
KelTec out the door with two 30-round magazines was just over $360.00.
RIA out the door with one 15-round magazine was $642.00 and change. My S&E salesman friend said if I could wait until Tues evening, the boss was taking five-percent off of everything for "family day". But I wanted it for the test day that I had already scheduled.
So, "price-wise", a ballpark comparison for these two pistols is KelTec with two 30-round magazines at $350.00. Rock Island Armory, with one 15-round magazine at $642.00. If you want more than one one RIA magazine, they're $40 each, online. (A RIA website).

The KelTec PMR-30 is a .22 Magnum auto-loading, single-action pistol. The safety is ambidextrous and has red warning visible under the safety on both sides when in battery and off of safety. It comes with two 30-round magazines, a trigger lock, and a separate pair of different colored 'lite-pipes'. That gives you the choice of three different colors for the front sight. There is a picatinny rail under the full length of the barrel in case you want to mount a light for target and background illumination, or mount a laser for target acquisition without using the installed sights. Both items of which could be useful at night for EDC and especially for home defense. (Hint: Don't shoot unless you can see what is making the noise!) The KelTec PMR-30 is fairly lightweight because of KelTec's use of modern construction materials. Even so, the recoil is barely noticeable. Some of us will appreciate that this piece does not try to pull our pants down when loaded, holstered on belt, with the full spare 30-round magazine in the holster's mag pocket!

The RIA XT-22 MRF. We'll save all that for when the pistol is ready to compete with the KelTec for function under fire. Here's a picture:

OK, now for the shooting session with the KelTec. The target I used to find how it was hitting was a throw-away I picked up at the range. I just wanted to see where it was hitting compared to where the sights said it should.
The rescued target had two full caliber bullet holes close to where I was shooting, but they are easy to separate from the .22 mag holes the KelTec made. All of the KelTec rounds hit inside the 2" red middle diamond (25 rounds), and the blue-ink hand-drawn 2" test circle below it (5 rounds).

To begin the firing test, I stood by an uncovered bench. I fired five rounds at the bottom (hand-drawn) blue circle, trying to fire one round every second. (which is close to our annual "timed shoot" re-qual requirements.) After firing five, I walked forward to see where they hit, and found them to have patterened acceptably within a 2" pattern from the bench distance. So for the rest of the magazine I stood half-way between the target stand and the tables.
The remainder of the 30-round magazine (25 rounds) hit inside of the center two-inch (corner-to-corner) red diamond. So the KelTec "straight out of the box", after initial cleaning and a year or more in the safe, had excellent accuracy. Which was much to my surprise, actually. Certainly acceptable. The thirty rounds used for this test were CCI Mini-Mag.

Our members who have asked about this subject were some of our folks who are looking for a smaller caliber home defense or EDC piece. Lighter, easier to carry, less recoil, but still effective for civilian self-defense. Also with less chance of any missed rounds penetrating walls and endangering unseen lifeforms on the other side!
Now, before you snort at using the "sub-caliber .22" for EDC or home defense, please know that recent LEO studies (spanning the past ten years) shows that the 'lowly' .22-LR round has "stopped" (the word used in the study) more percentage of attacks than the heavier calibers did. The studies lumped together all reported self defense shootings, both civilian and LEO. That data does not mean the .22-LR "killed" the attacker more times than the full-caliber rounds did, but it "stopped the attacks" noticeably more percentage than the larger calibers did. So, by logic, we must realize that the .22LR's big brother; the .22 Magnum, simply adds more energy to the task of its very successful little brother, the .22LR, repelling attacker(s). Also, last year I noticed that several retired LEO's were qualifying with new .22LR's. Including two Federal Officers. So they must be packing them for EDC and home defense. I will qualify with this KelTec .22Mag this year in case I want to EDC it some day.

Would I EDC this KelTec PMR-30? Sure, no problem. Would I use this kelTec PMR-30 for a night time home defense? Sure. With 30 rounds in the mag, (chamber empty), you would never have to think of changing mags during a home invasion. Of course, if it was used like any other dedicated night time home defense piece by the bed, I would add a light and possibly a laser on the picatinny rail. But that's just my preference for night home defense tools. For those of you whose spouse is also firearm friendly, you could buy two KelTec PMR-30 gems for the price of one RIA brand. Of course, Brother, make sure your spouse can rack the slide before you hand her an auto-loading self-defense piece! Neither one of these two "magnum" slides are really friendly for older, weaker hands. Quite different from the hand-friendly auto-loading .22 Long Rifle's available.

While dealing with the RIA customer support, I remembered some news from some time ago: Ever since the early '90's, Philippine politicians have wanted the USA out of their islands. Some have been more blunt about it than others. With the current Philippine Presidential choice of the people, it is obvious they finally are demanding that they want the USA military out of the Philippines. (Although, President Duarte (sp?) has treated one of our Marines well, in spite of the public bitching. The Marine picked up a girl(?) from a bar, went to a hotel, and found the girl had a bigger whanger than the Marine did, and got really pizzedoff which resulted in one less phony girl in Manilla. That's the short version). But they still want the 50-billion dollar$ a year that our taxpayers pump into their economy through our military presence and more from our civilian purchases. The current Philippine Presidente' is kicking the USA in the rear every day, while embracing the Chinese politicians like long-lost brothers, and Chinese bankers like his very best friends. Logic demands that he knows that the Chinese banks are actually controlled by the PLA military. Now, just wondering here, why would the PLA want to expand its footprint even farther south of the islands they built in the sea south of China during the Obama years? Beats me. Maybe the Philippine Prez's love affair with China is where the recently increased demands for us to get out has to be coming from. With the last few years' reversal of politics in the Philippines, RIA might be a Chinese operation in the not too distant future. They might as well be right now, judging from RIA's lack of response to customer service requests. "Go home, Yankee, we're tired of you!"
Conclusion as of this date for your questions:
Firearm Performance: "KelTec=ten/ten", "RIA=coming later".

Yesterday (Friday 28th) I dropped in at Smith & Edwards to see if they could get a response from RIA. S&E doesn't have an 'approved' gunsmith like RIA specifies, but Tall Mike V., the Department Manager, helped anyway. Mike came down to the counter to see what I wanted. I told him the history of finding the displaced pin, and being reluctant to go any farther, which could allow RIA to claim I did the existing damage, not their defective process. With the little pin out of place, it was probable that the spring that went with it was missing also. I had photographed a parts diagram of the pistol to show where the part should have been. He agreed that going any farther would be chanchy when explaining it to RIA, if anything else was found wrong.

Mike tried to contact Rock Island Arms without success for an hour (3 different calls timed out waiting for RIA to answer). He used RIA's phone number that dealers have, plus the customer line listed for the rest of us. After no success, he asked what I wanted to do. I said that if we could find the spring that mated with the dislodged pin, then we could put it back together if nothing else was wrong. So, even though I believe he didn't want to experiment with RIA's guarantee either, he carefully started dismantling the pistol. Which, by the way, is not 'people friendly' at all, and is not in the same universe as the authentic 1911's. Which is the look that this piece tries to imitate.

Eventually Mike was able to find the miniature spring that mates with the dislodged pin. It was still down in the hole where it was supposed to be, so that was a relief. So then he put it back together and explained what that little pin/spring combination did. It creates a quick small separation of the barrel/shroud joint when chambering or ejecting a round. He said that it had to have something to do with the timing required for the chambering/ejecting of .22 Mag rounds. As he explained this, I remembered reading online, from professional testing sites, that they had FTF and FTC and FTE problems with the test pistols RIA had delivered for their test back in the initial fielding stage of the 1911/22Mag. "A missing small piece" was the problem. The only "small piece" is the same pin that was lose in the one I had bought. And the slide is quite 'beefy' to rack-back when chambering the first round. Just a guess, but I don't believe it will stay open when you empty the mag.

So when I get another day to go to the Range, I'll test the RIA for accuracy comparison with the KelTec.

The RIA experience on this purchase has been rather disappointing for me. I had some good friends in the Philippines 'back in the day'. The Mayor of Cavite even invited me to dinner with his family. Probably because I treated one of his kids with respect instead of how some other people had been treating him. After all, he was military also. I've owned and used one very good RIA 1911 for many years. After WWII, when our Army liberated them, the Philippines fell in love with the "God-Bless-John-Browning" 1911. They became proud producers of high quality 1911 forty-fives for many years. I even recommended my grandson buy a RIA as his first .45, and even sprung for the purchase for him. He was headed for Federal LEO training, so I would have never recommended anything below par, for darn sure! And his RIA is a bull's-eye destroyer exactly like my older one is. "But", all those happy times were some years ago. Sometimes companies change, politics change, international relations change, so you just adjust with the changes.

When I can get time to go to the Range again, I'll give you an accuracy report on the Rock Island .22 Mag that Mike was able to put back together. I really hope it performs well. It fits all of the 1911 holsters just fine. Its old .45 caliber 1911 grandpa can shoot the center out of a target. If "22 Mag Junior" can't do the same, then its grandpa's DNA didn't get passed down the blood lines.

Best Regards Wildlifers, Stay tuned for future developments on this comparison when I have some more range time available.

(Up Date): I sent a target with the FTF and FTE and one slam-fire identified in just three rounds. RIA Customer Assistance in AZ sent me a shipping label and I returned the pistol to the AZ factory. Within just a few days I received a totally different pistol back with all the proper paperwork with the new serial numbers, etc etc. The new pistol shot like it should, good shot groupings, good feel in the hand, good recoil, so it does have the DNA from its grandpa, you know; that old 1911 bullseye destroyer. With the 15-round magazine, it would be a righteous EDC piece. If more than 15 rounds were needed, you took the wrong turn at the national boundary, and I'll bet you can't read the traffic signs. Smile
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