.22 LR Punch: Does The Defense Rimfire Ammo Stack Up?

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Rimfire ammunition tailored for self-defense? Federal is shooting for it with .22 LR Punch ammo.

Passions run high discussing the merits of the little .22 LR for self-defense. One side contends the rimfire is too small and too weak to reliably neutralize the threat. While the other claims, despite its shortcomings the caliber is one any person can master to deliver accuracy and deadly fire. (If you’re interested in more on this debate, Richard Mann wrote an in-depth article on .22 LR for self-defense.) While it certainly won’t end the debate, one of the nation’s largest ammunition manufacturers is siding with the latter group, introducing a .22 LR load specially tailored for defensive use.

Federal Premium recently unveiled .22 LR Punch ammunition, an option the company calls the first viable self-defense option in the caliber.

“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,” said Federal’s Rimfire Product Manager, Dan Compton, “Punch makes the .22 LR cartridge a viable defensive choice for the first time ever.”

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Most ammo geeks are familiar with the Federal’s Punch line. Released in 2020, the defensive handgun ammunition was specifically designed for the commercial market, a break from the past. Previously, all Federal’s defensive ammo was developed with law enforcement in mind. The difference, other lines are engineered to pass FBI barrier tests, while Punch was optimized for the FBI bare gel and covered gel penetration tests. Two factors spurred this move: cost per round and likely scenarios faced by average armed citizens. The thought is, every day CCW holders don’t often shoot through car doors.

Among the main changes found in Punch ammo is the use of a softer lead core that didn’t need to hold together through plywood, windshields and sheet metal. Though it’s not downloaded. Velocities are what you’d expect for defensive ammo. Only, it has gone through rigorous laboratory testing required for law enforcement fodder.

22 lc punch 1

As to the .22 LR Punch, it’s pretty unique, particularly it’s projectile. It utilizes a 29-grain nickel-plated lead-core bullet, with a flat nose and a heavy jacket. Essentially, the bullet is designed to hang together and minimally expand, thus increasing penetration depth. As to ensuring the bullet bores an appropriate distance, Federal soups up .22 LR Punch, with the ammo listed at 1,070 fps from a 2-inch barrel. Even if for those who don’t subscribe to the rimfire as an appropriate self-defense option, the offering is intriguing nonetheless.

As to what it cost, Federal lists the full retail price of .22 LR Punch at $9.99 for a box of 50. Pretty cheap to upgrade a rimfire for a self-defense role.

For more information on Federal .22 LR Punch, please visit federalpremium.com.

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