Israel Adopts Ruger SR-22 in “Less Lethal” Sniper Role

A eagle-eyed reader emailed us a photo taken in the West Bank shortly after a Palestinian, disguised as a member of the Press, attacked an Israeli soldier with a knife. Our reader spotted, in the background (cropped and enlarged), a young Israeli soldier carrying a Ruger SR-22. I am not often surprised, but this was the first time I had ever seen a soldier of any nation with an SR-22.

The Ruger SR-22 is Ruger’s official tactical version of the Ruger 10/22 which was introduced in September 2009. It features a Nordic Components enclosure, in which sits a Ruger 10/22 receiver and trigger group. It features an M4-style stock (compatible with all AR-15 stocks), full length handguard (with option for a full length picatinny rail), standard AR-15 pistol grip and a threaded barrel with a 1/2”-28 threaded suppressor.

The Israeli soldier in the above photo is using what appears to be a stock SR-22 along with a Ruger BX-25 magazine and an aftermarket flash suppressor. The scope looks like a mid-zoom (~12x) and would have a ballistic reticle such as mil-dot (judging by the turrets). The factory backup-iron sights have been removed and a Harris bipod attached to the underside of the handguard.

The Israeli use of the Ruger 10/22 is nothing new, but until now they were using old wooden stocked Ruger 10/22 rifles with a fully suppressed barrels, not an unsuppressed Ruger SR-22 rifle.

ruger 1022 israel

israel ruger 1022

The IDF will not disclose under what circumstances they will use the “Ruger” (as they refer to the weapon) saying that it is classified. We know it was originally used as a less-lethal weapon. Israeli press have quoted military staff saying it is “nonlethal”, but in my opinion the Israeli journalists are either mis-translating into English or are unaware of the distinction between “less-lethal” and “non-lethal”.

For a number of years after 2001, possibly more than five years, the IDF stopped using the Ruger 10/22 after a number of protesters were killed with the rifle. In an 18 month period between mid-2008 and the end of 2009, after its reintroduction, one Israeli newspaper reported that the IDF had expended about $300,000 USD worth of .22 LR ammunition, which at 2015 consumer pricing would work out to be over 1.5 million rounds of ammunition, or 20,000 per week!

The IDF deny it is a riot control weapon, but it does appear to have been deployed on rioters. It is mostly likely a last ditch weapon intended to incapacitate, but ideally not to kill, threats without minimal collateral damage.

UPDATE: An IDF soldier stated in the comments that the Israeli newspaper I quoted had an agenda. He wrote …

1)- The Ruger is never considered “less than lethal”, I don’t know who came up with that. Here is the IDF regulation on the matter in the picture below, which specifically classifies the Ruger as “lethal” and “is only allowed to be used in situations where live fire may be used in events of extreme danger”:

UPDATE UPDATE: I have been given further information from an anonymous source. The Ruger is used by the IDF for …

  • Killing dogs in the vicinity of a target
  • Injuring leaders of violent demonstrations or violent participants of a violent demonstration.
  • The IDF uses it as a mid-range system that is “less lethal than” military caliber rifles (5.56mm/7.62mm) and capable of hurting severely enough to stop them using committing violence (throwing rocks or molotov cocktails).
  • Can be used more accuracy at distances, unlike a rubber bullet or baton round.
  • It is used when it is not safe enough to get close enough to use a rubber bullet or baton round.

Thanks to FuzzyBunny for sharing the photo of the SR-22




Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • tony

    They use them to shoot people in the groin

    • M

      Doesn’t make sense, the groin is highly vascular. Hit the femoral and it’s pretty much a lethal wound

      • Tom

        As i understand it that’s why they were withdrawn in the first place, any wound which is able to quickly incapacitate a person has a very good chance of killing them (especially if immediate medical attention is not available) and in the case of a .22 whilst the wound may be lethal or incapacitating it may not exactly something I would put faith in being immediately so giving he tango the opportunity to throw his bomb, detonate his vest or what ever else he was trying to do before you shot him.

        • James McMahon

          If they ever successfully used a 10/22 to take out a terrorist with a suicide vest/etc.(especially using the “somehow less than lethal” method), we would have all heard of it, and never stopped hearing of it.

          More likely they only ever shot protesters who were throwing rocks, or wearing gas masks and refusing to disperse.

          • Joe Schmoe

            Unlike our enemies, we try not to boast about the fact that we have to unfortunately kill people that are out to harm others, and definitely not in an infantile way.

            Let me ask you this, the Iranian-backed sniper team that was recently taken out by YAMAM snipers, what caliber did they use? I rest my case.

          • MR

            For not being boastful, that comment seems rather braggadocious.

    • Adrian

      Oh yes, for as Sun Tzu famously said: “The enemy that has no ability to breed, has no ability for a future”.

      I believe he also wrote “40 grains in the nuts equals a bad night in the emergency room”.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Absolute bullshit of the first degree, where the hell did this rumor start?

      The Ruger .22 is used as a lethal alternative, not less than lethal, in the last ditch situations where conventional riot measures have failed; but where we still want to avoid grievous injury as much as possible. That includes incoming firebombs, explosives (pipe bombs), boulders, etc. They are not meant to aim for any other part of the body other than the knees.

      • Jaehaerys Targaryen

        Unfortunately, there are tons of bs rumors about the IDF circulating around.

        • True—- come to think of it pick the topic and that’s also true.

        • Joe Schmoe

          It’s sad to be honest.

          Let’s face it, the IDF is an army and there is nothing inherently good about a military in the first place. Like any other army, it makes mistakes. But by god, it is not the devil that people make it out to be, especially once you look at the statistics and other hard facts.

          • Bill

            The only part I disagree with is that a military is not inherently good. In my opinion, a military is a vital component to a civilized society. Like doctors confronting disease, we have to have the ability to confront and defeat evil and defend the innocent.. And in the case of the US a lot of what the military does is strictly humanitarian. And if the IDF is defending civilians against terrorists, that’s equally humanitarian.

          • Tom

            Without wanting to put words in Joe’s mouth I do not think he doubts the necessity of an army in a modern society. But if it has to be deployed its not a good thing, wars after all are lost not won. Armed forces are a necessary evil.

            In the US the military is rarely used for LE functions where as in other parts of the world that is not the case. If you are going to use an army to police then your going to have problems regardless of how hard you train because war and policing are not the same thing.

  • Tom

    I thought the IDF had abandoned this nonsense years ago. If you want LTL use a baton round.

    • James McMahon

      I think we all know that minimizing casualties is not on their agenda.

      • Simcha M.

        Please try to adhere to the TFB motto of “Firearms, not politics”.

        And for your information, Israel is not only NOT a third-world country, it is the first of the First World countries. Remember why Israel is Israel-we gave the world ethical monotheism and we were a direct influence on the theology and philosophy of the first settlers to this great country, the USA.

        If you wish to learn more about Israel and it’s contribution to the world through the millenia, the information is out there and I’m happy to give you a few book and website references.

    • Joe Schmoe

      This is not meant to be LTL, it’s considered fully lethal and is only used in ROE situations allowing life fire use. However, when you are talking about crowds, do you really want to start lobbing 7.62mm or .338’s (the other sniper calibers) into a crowd to try and neutralize one individual?

      • Tom

        Thanks for the correction, I have only come across the use of .22 by the IDF once before and it was suggested they were intended as LTL but withdrawn when that failed to be the case.

        I can see wanting to avoid over penetration (especialy in situations where “snipers” like to hide among a crowd of civilians) but I think hollow points in a more serious calibre would be preferable.

        Of course we all know that should you take down one of those “snipers” then the weapon disappears and the other side claims that you gunned down an unarmed man etc. So you are in a no win situation to begin with.

        • Joe Schmoe

          Hollowpoints are forbidden thanks to the Geneva Conventions

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    A gun is not less than lethal.
    Or I hope not anyway since I have several around my home and plan on using them to kill anyone who breaks in.

    • Jeremy Star

      Well, it’s less lethal to people milling around the target. A .338 is not going to stop in the target unless he is wearing armor.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        True, but thats not what they were saying.

  • Captain Obvious

    The first time they were using them they would aim for the testicles. A little bit off and you hit the femoral artery which caused a few deaths which cause some more protests. A IDF commander is quoted as saying something to effect, “We’re at war. That’s what they get for bringing rocks to a war.” Latest doctrine circa 2009, is to aim for the shin bone and/or for taking out barking dogs, sentries etc. It should be noted that Jeff Cooper advocated in one of his books that police should use suppressed .22s to take out protest leaders. Just saying…

    • JK

      Straight out of Stalin, Putin, and Mao’s playbook.

      • Herp

        I for one would like to see where Stalin, Putin, and Mao advocated the use of .22lr rifles as less lethal weapons.

        • JK

          The comment I was replying to said “…to take out protest leaders.” Didn’t say anything about less lethal.

    • Anonymoose

      >aim for the testicles
      I guess that’s one way to make sure you outbreed them.

      • FourString

        if that isn’t evolutionary programming, i dunno what it is

    • Joe Schmoe

      Absolute bullshit of the first degree.

      The Ruger .22 is used as a lethal alternative, not less than lethal, in the last ditch situations where conventional riot measures have failed; but where we still want to avoid grievous injury as much as possible. That includes incoming firebombs, explosives (pipe bombs), boulders, etc. They are not meant to aim for any other part of the body other than the knees.

    • Zebra Dun

      I’d think the liver would make a larger better target and stop the target faster.
      Yes I have had a liver biopsis and it stopped me in my tracks!

  • JK

    “…without minimal collateral damage.” With minimal collateral damage? Without collateral damage? Or are they actually trying to maximize collateral damage? All the better to demonize their foes. “Victimizing demons, while demonizing victims.”

  • JK

    Cooper, Mao, Putin, Stalin…”great” leaders think alike.

    • JK

      Intended to be a reply to Capt.Obvious’ comment. D’oh.

    • losin’ it

      Netanyahu fits right in with that bunch

  • MR

    Dang. Now I want a bull barrel/fake suppressor shaped like those wooden stocked models. With a 16″ barrel and subsonic ammo, I just don’t feel that 22lr is worth the hassle and expense of a real suppressor, for my purposes.

  • James McMahon

    Israel is a 3rd world country.

    • RocketScientist

      In what way? The 1st/2nd/3rd world categorization was introduced after WWII to describe the major power blocs at play. the 1st world was the America-aligned democratic capitalist countries, the 2nd world was the socialist/communist eastern countries, and the 3rd world was those nations who were unaligned (and often used as pawns/playing fields for the oblique indirect conflicts between the 1st and 2nd world that typified the cold war). There were poor 1st world countries (greece, turkey, korea), there were wealthy developed third world countries (Saudi Arabia). By this standard it is VERY obvious that Israel is a 1st world country. Even if you meant the completely incorrect (though common) meaning of poor/undeveloped vs rich/developed, I can’t see how Israel would be considered 3rd world. It ranks in the 30s for GDP (pretty impressive for a small nation) and is near the top of most rankings of various development indices.

      • losin’ it

        Israel is only as strong as the money and technology stolen by them from the US allows them to be

    • Tom

      What ever problems or issues one might have with Israel they are quite clearly not a third world country by any stretch of the imagination.

    • Zebra Dun

      No, they are not.

    • throwedoff

      It appears James is anti-Zionist Palestinian loving liberal. Why is he trolling a gun forum?

      • I hope not—–

      • iksnilol

        Well, zionism doesn’t sound that good if you ask me.

        Then again, I have a bit of a bad experience with Israel what with supporting my enemies.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Hello Steve,

    I wish you would have consulted with me, or another IDF soldier, before posting this article as it has many errors.

    1)- The Ruger is never considered “less than lethal”, I don’t know who came up with that. Here is the IDF regulation on the matter in the picture below, which specifically classifies the Ruger as “lethal” and “is only allowed to be used in situations where live fire may be used in events of extreme danger”:

    • Joe Schmoe

      2) This is less your fault, but Haaretz is a far-left newspaper here in Israel that is kind of known for not fact checking the stories they run with. There is no source given for the “1.3 million shekel Ruger bullets” remark, and neither does it make sense. More than likely, the article writer, who himself is wrong on the Ruger being a “less than lethal” in the IDF, took the entire amount spent on “less than lethal” ammunition’s (stun grenades, gas canisters, etc.) and rolled the entire category in the Ruger ammunition.

      • I was not aware that the publication had an agenda. I will update the blog post.

        • Mark

          As if the Likudnik press and IDF soldiers don’t “have an agenda”?

          • Everyone has an agenda. The question is what that agenda is and how does it affect reporting. Mainstream media today does not let the truth get in the way of an agenda.

            As it happens, TFB also has an agenda, which is “promote firearms and firearms culture”

          • losin’ it

            Don’t forget sucking Israeli d#ck- like the rest of the US media- is apparently on your agenda

          • Realist

            Liberals never met a fact they agreed with; just ask Hillary… 😉

        • Joe Schmoe

          Thank you Steve,

          I have a little gift for you, try and identify this rifle (on the left) 🙂 :

          • Joe Schmoe

            Two more public pictures, enjoy your exclusive 🙂

      • Rereading what I wrote

        “The IDF deny it is a riot control weapon, but it does appear to have been deployed on rioters. It is mostly likely a last ditch weapon intended to incapacitate, but ideally not to kill, threats without minimal collateral damage.”

        How is that different to what you said?

        • Joe Schmoe

          Nothing different there, just the Haaretz article itself and it’s use of the Ruger as a “non-lethal” weapon. 🙂

      • Bill

        If you’re the IDF soldier referenced as the source, as an American who doesn’t practice any religion, thanks for your service to your nation and standing against enemies driven by evil, however misguided they may be by their politicians.

      • Tom

        Agenda drive journalist discarding facts and research (aka their job) in favor of reinforcing their chosen narrative you say… its funny no matter where you go in the world you always seem to get the same sort of people promoting the same sort of bullshit.

        In the same way we always assume a gun is loaded I think its best to assume a journalist is lying. Much safer that way.

    • losin’ it

      STFU you worthless k#ke

  • RTs

    Stand by for the “Israeli Super Tactical ” .22 clone builds…….

  • Just FYI, I have updated the blog post with further information.

  • Nashvone

    So THAT’S why .22LR is so hard to find.

    • bmrtoyo

      that and hoarding scumbag gougers ,, i just called cci ,,they told me even with my business license , i would have to buy and ship from dist int texas or upper midwest ,i told her thats nuts ,i live 1.5 hours from lewiston idaho,, the whole ammo “thing” is a gouge ,from manfs all the way to the shelf

  • I wouldn’t agree with that—-

  • Broz

    I’ve heard stories about Israeli snipers with suppressed 10/22s targeting the ‘nads of the goat shagging stone throwers/riot instigators…No goat shagger wants to go to ‘paradise’ sans his ‘nads and not take advantage of the 72 so called virgins….after a few stone throwers noticed their compadres holding their nads or what was left of ’em…like the sorry assed A-rabs they are they folded their tents and got the HELL outta Dodge while the jewels we still intact!!!

    • Joe Schmoe

      Can I ask where you heard that? I’m really interested to know where this latest libel got started.

    • Simcha M.

      As an IDF infantryman who faced these angry Arab hordes in the first Intifada, I can tell you that no sniper, not even Carlos Hathcock, could hit an angry, testosterone-surging Arab while he is walking, running, yelling, throwing a rock, etc. They don’t stand still for a moment.

    • Lets stop with the anit-Arab comments—-

  • Yourguy

    I like it! Using a 22 to keep the less than human rabble under lock and key. One group with ultimate 1984 style power, now that’s progress!

  • @Mark I deleted your comment. That video is propaganda, more more importantly untrue.

    • Taofledermaus

      thank you

    • Mark

      Am I then become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16) Even the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal has commented on Israeli sniping of hundreds of children.

      “Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest—the sniper’s wound. Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorised to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat…” British Medical Journal, Palestine: the assault on health and other war crimes, Summerfield, BMJ.2004; 329: 924

      http://www.bmj dot com/cgi/content/full/329/7471/924?ijkey=c7b88fe81cf2cba4710713e3fed9e54a3c506f68&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha&eaf

      There is much more evidence.

  • 5flytyr .

    I like the idea of using the lower cost”pest species” control rounds especially w/surpressors to keep the Utube cameramen unaware of same,congrats!

  • Beju

    Given when he was born (1920), that’s a step up from private security/police machine gunning striking workers.

    • FourString

      that maketh senseth

    • Bill

      There were plans to use Army Air Corps bombers against striking coal miners between the wars. It didn’t happen, but it was tossed around.

    • It was a battle between the workers using hunting arms and the company forces which used surplus WWI weapons including the mentioned aircraft. Here’s a good reference.

  • Triplanetary

    The US camp guards used 22s in the days leading up yo D – Day in the UK. Less lethal compared to a 30-06 I guess.

  • Bill

    American agencies have plenty of suppressed and non-suppressed 10/22s or other .22s in their armories. For taking out lights and guard dogs before serving warrants they are perfect. Culling nuisance, wounded or excess animals, particularly in urban and suburban areas is another common use. And I see the point in using them as surgical rifles, though it doesn’t fit domestic LE doctrine. Plenty of people are killed with .22s.

    It’s not fair to try to impose our rules of engagement with another nation’s. In American common law, which technically doesn’t exist but does, and in some state’s statutory law, including mine, lethal force is allowed in suppressing a riot. And we’ve killed people with purpose built less-lethals. And thanks to our history, we won’t use tools that are common overseas like water cannons.

  • Well it’s right on the line but in comparison to some remarks, which got one person banned, your comment doesn’t target individuals or express racist views or outright political commentary it’s ok.

  • Michel_T

    It would make sense to use the SR-22 over the 10/22, as from a distance, the soldier would not ‘stand-out’ as using a different firearm.

    • jcitizen

      I hadn’t though of it that way; thanks for the enlightenment!

  • nadadhimmi

    Everyone knows a few suppressed, sub sonic 40 gr 22LR bullets in the chests of rioters, will stop a riot. Especially from cover. The leaders will just drop, exhaling blood. The rest won’t know from where came the shots that were completely unheard. Scatter time. Jeff Cooper was right about that.

  • Frank Castle

    It’s used to kill dogs and protestors. Why else would fascist police state Israelis have need for a suppressed “riot control weapon”? Israel is just as evil as Palestine.

    • Zebra Dun

      Righteous indignation?

    • throwedoff

      Another anti-Zionist, Frank Castle, pokes his head out of his little hole!

  • durabo

    A .22LR is good for shooting rats at the dump. I suggest taking head shots at the sand-bunny terrorists. That will dissuade them, one-by-one.

  • Leigh Rich

    So that is why you cant get 22LR in the USA

  • Zebra Dun

    My Dad now passed on had a friend who was a deputy sheriff, the man served in the Army as a paratrooper in world war two so he wasn’t a wussy for sure.
    The deputy went one day to serve a warrant on a man who was less than a rocket scientist.
    The man shot him with a .22 lr out of a rifle through a wooden exterior door and the screen door from a range of less than six feet, a single round penetrated his lower chest and dropped him on the porch where he stood. This was back when there was no body armor being worn.
    He was not killed but had to be retrieved from the porch by EMT’s and never got over that wound and was never able to work again. the bullet small though it was tore him up badly inside it sent splinters of bone and lead striking lungs the spine and into his heart.
    Anyone who thinks the .22 lr is a non or even less than lethal round is fooling themselves and others by this statement.
    As it is, it would be an excellent way to shoot a hostile while under the watchful eyes of the media and not have them video splatters of blood and huge gaping holes in people who just dropped or dragged themselves off with less of either.
    There is alleged a Palestinian with a Molotov cocktail who was set afire by a well aimed shot to the bottle from a .22 lr. which exploded.
    I think it’s a good weapon for the Israeli’s to use myself for crowd control and riots as well as the rock tossers.
    Knee capping would discourage a lot of rock tossing.

    • MANG

      I think it’s a hideous weapon for crowd control. Being shot is not a humane or sensible response to rock-throwing. I can’t believe that’s part of the IDF’s SOP. Nothing excuses that.

      • Zebra Dun

        Having your brains, eyes and teeth knocked out by a thrown rock is as hideous.
        You have never been in a riot, one where there is race or religious hate flowing like water off a ducks back.
        If you had and got your eyes knocked out by a rock you would be screaming for NaPalm.
        I’m glad, hell I’m Proud it’s part of the IDF’s SoP for crowd control.
        If was me I’d use 5.56 x 45 mm JHP liberally.

  • Zebra Dun

    So….ally snackbar means “Got me in the gonads!”

    • jcitizen


  • Zebra Dun

    Hmmmm I don’t either.

  • Zebra Dun

    Jeff was a man of his era.
    Some protests get out of hand and stray into a riot which causes damage and deaths and must be met with a gradually increasing level of violence to disrupt and disburse as well as stop the protesters/rioters.
    Back then they did not have the less than lethal means at current riot police levels.
    One thing for sure he was not a PoS grade A or otherwise.

    • That’s for sure——

    • jcitizen

      To me he was one of the best pistoleros to ever live!

      • Zebra Dun

        He was among the best pistoleros ever.
        I learned a lot from his articles and I wish he had lived during the time of youtude videos so I could have watched him in action.
        Former Marine and all around man.

  • John Pate

    Jeff Cooper wrote about using the .22LR in this manner decades ago.

  • rocketman

    During the Vietnam war a lot of dogs where shot using the Remington N-66 rifle with a sound suppressor. And Col. Appleton in several of his books advocated using the .22lr to make the leaders of a riot stop what they were doing. A .22lr round in the chest will do that to you.

  • RPK

    Let me assure you, the Ruger SR-22 IS an accurate platform capable of rendering a potential threat harmless with a well placed round. And, with the addition of a BX-15 or BX-25 magazine, you may engage multiple targets which will surely encourage a rapid withdrawal by most aggressor(s). Take that anyway you wish…IF AMERICA WISHES TO EXIST IN A MODERN EXTREMIST WORLD, WE MUST SUPPORT ISRAEL IN THEIR ONGOING STRUGGLE AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD SEEK TO WIPE THEM FROM THE MAP. PERIOD.

  • Adam

    I never knew the IDF were operating in Palestine, Texas.. And never knew there was a suburb called West Bank…. there either…. Amazing the things you learn….

  • iksnilol

    You do know that the Bible, Talmud and Koran aren’t really historical sources?

    Like, you can’t say that the parting of the Red Sea was a historical event.

    • Simcha M.

      Like, you know that you are really straying off-topic, right, dude?

      • iksnilol

        And you weren’t with your religious rant about how you always held the moral upper hand?

        If my comment needs to get removed, then so should yours. Either both stay or both get removed. Since we are out in off topic cloudcuckoo land here.

  • Cynic

    It’s used for covert work (dogs sentries etc) where alerting people is a factor but also in riots as far as I am aware from time spent talking to friends in the idf they were originally classed as something less serious than centrefire weapons for their deployment however this was never described as non Lethal.

    In response to use by the troops considered excessive or innapropriate by the military higher ups (because it being viewed as less serious meant it was deployed at times perhaps earlier than prudent on occassion) the classification was changed to be at the same level as deploying a normal weapon.

    It’s used where overpenetration is a concern (shooting at armed persons in the midst of a crowd for example) used to discourage and dispose of things like molotov’s. Used as a way to deal with bomb vest wearers with precision without overpenetration.

    And it has been used to take the already discussed shots to the femur. Whether that is to avoid taking a life or to ensure that the object of interest stays there so he or she can be taken in for questioning I am unsure.

  • jcitizen

    I can’t wait to get a camo Ruger take down 10-22, but I don’t need any .22 cal look alike AR.