Work on your fundamentals and save some money with a .22 LR trainer.
When it comes to training, ammo can be expensive and occasionally hard to find. As such, a lot of us turn to dry fire to supplement our live-fire practice. Sure, that works, but it can only take you so far. What sits between the dry fire and live fire with your concealed carry pistols? Well, that's easy; it's rimfire, specifically .22 LR trainers.
When I say .22 LR trainers, I'm referring to fire specifically designed to mimic a popular handgun but is a rimfire variant. .22 LR trainers keep ammo prices low but allow for an almost perfectly accurate variant of a standard concealed carry or defensive firearm. Trainers like these make it easy to shoot a ton for very little money. You can realistically practice strings of fire, training drills, sight tracking, draw and fires, and so much more.
Utilizing rimfire compels you to track sights, deal with recoil (even if it's slight), and practice trigger control. Not to mention accurate reloads and proper grip technique. .22 LR trainers seem expensive but quickly pay themselves off. I've gathered what I think to be the top 5 .22 LR trainers.
The FN 502 almost perfectly represents the FN 509. This little pistol allows users to mimic the FN 509 and use holsters you already have for training purposes. While it's not striker-fired, the FN 502's single action only trigger delivers a trigger pull and break similar to a striker-fired gun.
We can mount optics to the gun without issue, and the gun comes with a 15-round magazine and threaded barrel. You can very easily replicate your pistol of choice with little issue. We got a Picatinny rail for accessories, suppressor height sights, and ambidextrous controls. It's a rock-solid gun that's incredibly reliable and perfect for training purposes.
Beyond being used in the realm of .22LR trainers, it's just a great plinker for fun at the range.
When Glock produced the Glock 44, I wasn't surprised they made it Glock 19 sized, sharing practically the same frame. The Glock 19 might be the most popular compact pistol on the market. It's small, easy to handle, and very capable. The Glock 44 squeezes into most 19 holsters without issue and acts as a dang near-perfect stand-in for a Gen 5 Glock 19.
The Glock 44 had some training issues, but over time it became one of the premier .22 LR trainers. The little 44 provides the total Glock experience, including that Glock reliability we all know and love. This blaster delivers a fun and easy-to-use trainer. It's not my favorite, but I appreciate the simplicity and low price.
These are not dedicated .22 LR trainers. Instead, they are conversion kits that slow onto your favorite CZ pistol. The Kadet kits are made for the CZ-75, the CZ P09/P07, and the SP-01 series of guns. These kits are a slide, barrel, and magazine that drop onto your existing frame.
This keeps things simple and cheap. Plus, no need for an FFL. You can order it at your home! As such, these drop-in kits make it easy to plink with the gun your already own, including all its features, its trigger, and beyond. Tough to beat when it comes to pure .22 LR trainers.
These are perfect drop-in kits for training purposes and work well with existing holsters.
If you are packing what I think is the best snub nose revolver on the market, then I have a trainer for you too. The LCR from Ruger rules, it's a great gun and perfect for self-defense in .38 Special, 357 Magnum, 9mm, and .327 Federal Magnum. In 22 LR, you get a great line of .22 LR trainers.
This rimfire variant of the Ruger LCR provides you with a nub nose that matches the look, the feel, and nearly the weight of the other Ruger LCR models. You can purchase speed loaders and speed strips for reloading purposes, and the sights remain the same. You can get lots of practice and not pay .357 Magnum ammo prices.
The downside is that you lose the great LCR trigger with the rimfire variant for a longer, heavier DAO design.
When I say Colt, I really mean Umarex. Colt licenses their name, and Umarex builds the gun. Umarex builds a wide variety of .22 LR firearm replicas from famed names like Walther, Colt, HK, and many more. The Colt variant gives you a 1911 style firearm complete with the single stack magazine, single action only design, and famed 1911 ergonomics.
The little Uamrex made .22LR 1911 gives you a very affordable training pistol that stands in for your standard 1911. It's the same size but much lighter than most 1911s. This little gun is a blast to shoot and mimics the 1911 almost perfectly. It's also extremely accurate, and you get that single-action trigger everyone loves with a 1911. Plus, it fits your 1911 holsters without issue.
Many .22 LR trainers deliver a training experience well beyond dry fire. They allow you to get behind a real gun on the cheap and train extensively for round after round. They aren't perfect stand-ins but do a fantastic job of giving you some live-fire training on the cheap. If you need a holster for your concealed carry firearm and your training piece, check out some of these awesome options.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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