Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its ammunition, trends, and history. Last week we talked a little bit about attempting to save money on plinking and hunting 22LR ammunition by trying to use nail blanks and 22 caliber pellets. This week we’ll be talking about rimfire replacement firearms stepping in to take the role of your full-sized firearms to hopefully remove a bit of the sting out of the cost of frequent training.
Rimfire Guns & Gear @ TFB:
- The Rimfire Report: Ammo For The Apocalypse – Nail Blanks and 22 Pellets
- New DZ22 Rimfire Riflescope Lineup from Bushnell
- Rimfire Tommy Gun Designed by TFB Reader Mike Johnson
- SILENCER SATURDAY #172: Whisper Quiet! CGS Hydra Rimfire Suppressor
The Rimfire Report: The Best Rimfire Replacement Firearms to Train With
I personally don’t think there is ever going to be a one-to-one replacement for using your actual kit versus a stand-in. Whether this is your daily carry handgun or your bedside rifle, you’ll want to be using something as close as possible to the actual firearm with the first option being, well, the actual firearm. However, every so often we run into situations like we are in right now where the humble .22LR cartridge is by far the most prolific and affordable type of ammunition available. With this in mind, I’ll go over what I believe to be the best rimfire replacement firearms you can use to get some good training without destroying your wallet.
This is my top choice when it comes to getting in those reps behind the trigger without spending 50 cents per round. The CMMG AR-15/M16 22LR Bravo Conversion Kit takes your pre-existing 5.56 or .223 rifle and turns it into a cheap plinking tool. Even if you have a gas-pistol style upper, you can still use this conversion provided you remove the piston.
There is no need to change out any parts besides the BCG on your rifle and you’re good to go. This is a great option because it provides you with the same manual of arms, same optic, same length of pull, and relatively the same weight that you’re already used to and just scales down the report and impact to give you a near-identical training implement to what you’re already familiar with.
Another benefit to this conversion is that it makes it really easy for you to train new shooters and introduce them to the AR platform without first exposing them to the fairly loud report of the 5.56 cartridge. This is doubly true if you take them to an indoor range. The CMMG Bravo Conversion Kit can usually be had for around $250.
2. Glock 44
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a stellar pistol shooter. In fact, I probably spend less time shooting pistols than I should. Even for the competent shooters out there the ravages of time and lethargy can take any skills you have and severely degrade them. The Glock 44 was Glock’s 2019 answer for the rimfire crowd. The Glock 44 is a functionally identical copy of the popular Glock 19 pistol which is a common concealed carry choice for many Americans.
The only real major differences between the Glock 19 and the Glock 44 are its overall weight and the magazine capacity. 10-rounds seems to be some sort of magical cap for most .22LR pistols and the Glock 44 is no different when it steps into the role of a rimfire replacement pistol for your Glock 19. Even with the reduced price of .22LR, you’ll still want to be efficient with your pistol training, and for that, I’d recommend a series of great drills that you can print from home. These drills provide you with low round count training that helps improve your pistol shooting skills in various ways. If you’d like to pick up a Glock 44, they can usually be found for around $400.
If you want a dedicated training setup that covers all of your pistol and rifle training, Smith & Wesson has had this beautiful pair out for years now and both firearms have a rock-solid reputation for reliability and shootability. Fellow writer Austin Rex has a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 pistol that has had well over 15,000 rounds through it and it is still running strong. M&P 22 pistols generally cost around $400 and come complete with threaded barrels.
On the rifle side of things, the M&P 15-22 is another great .22LR AR-style option that you can use to supplement your training. The advantage here is that the M&P 15-22 is a dedicated .22LR platform that was designed from the ground up to run off the .22LR cartridge. Smith & Wesson had the 15-22 in several different configurations from the factory including the recently introduced Gemtech Integra 15-22 suppressed upper.
There is a litany of options out there for shooters looking to take the bite out of training with rimfire firearms. These 4 here just happen to be my favorites that I have constantly come back to over the years. A few honorable mentions here would be the Walther PPQ M2 in 22LR for those that use the PPQ platform. There is also a great H&K VP9 22LR Conversion kit out there that would be perfect for those who have picked the H&K platform and need a suitable training pistol to keep their paddle magazine release skills up. I also did a review a while back on the Ruger LCP II Lite Rack 22LR pistol which is a great stand-in for the Ruger LCP in .380.
The main point I want to get across is that we’re actually pretty spoiled for choice in the States when it comes to the vast amount of options we have available to use for training on a budget. If you combine these firearms and conversions with smart training practices like structured and metered drills then you’ll be well on your way to keeping your skills at an acceptable level until centerfire cartridges come down significantly in price.
Almost every major firearms manufacturer out there has aftermarket or in-house conversion kits for their pistols and some of their rifles. What are your go-to rimfire replacement firearms or conversions for training? Let us know down in the comments and we’ll see you next time on The Rimfire Report.
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