.22 Vs 5.56

When it comes to firearms, it’s important to choose the right ammunition for your needs. One question that often arises is the difference between .22LR and 5.56mm rounds. In this article, we’ll discuss the key differences and help you decide which one is best for you.

First, let’s take a look at the basics of each round. The .22LR (Long Rifle) is a rimfire cartridge primarily used for target shooting and small game hunting. It’s a relatively low-powered round, but is popular due to its inherently low cost and low recoil. The 5.56mm, on the other hand, is a military round used in rifles such as the M16 and AR-15. It’s a high-powered cartridge designed for military use, providing greater range, accuracy, and effectiveness in combat situations.

Now let’s dive deeper into the specific differences between these two rounds.

Accuracy: The 5.56mm round is generally more accurate than the .22LR due to its higher velocity and better ballistics. The 5.56mm is also more effective at longer ranges due to its ability to maintain velocity and accuracy over distance.

Stopping Power: The 5.56mm round has much greater stopping power than the .22LR due to its higher energy and increased bullet weight. This makes the 5.56mm more effective for self-defense and military applications.

Recoil: The .22LR has very little recoil, making it an excellent choice for new shooters or those looking for a low-recoil option. The 5.56mm has more recoil, but it’s still manageable and won’t be too much of a shock for most shooters.

Cost: The .22LR is significantly cheaper than the 5.56mm, making it an attractive option for those on a budget. This low cost also makes it ideal for target shooting and plinking.

Availability: The .22LR is widely available and can be found in most sporting goods stores and ammunition retailers. The 5.56mm can be harder to find and may require a bit more searching.

Now that we’ve covered the key differences between these two rounds, let’s answer some common questions.


Q: Is a .22LR rifle suitable for self-defense?

A: While the .22LR can certainly be lethal, it’s not the best choice for self-defense. The low stopping power and limited accuracy make it less reliable than higher-powered cartridges such as the 5.56mm. If you’re looking for a self-defense firearm, it’s best to choose a rifle or handgun chambered in a more powerful cartridge.

Q: Can I use 5.56mm ammunition in a .22LR rifle?

A: No, using the wrong ammunition in a firearm can be extremely dangerous. The .22LR and 5.56mm rounds are not interchangeable and should never be used in a firearm not designed for that specific cartridge.

Q: Which round is better for hunting?

A: Both rounds can be used for hunting small game, but the 5.56mm is more effective at larger game due to its increased stopping power.

Q: Is the .22LR a good choice for target shooting?

A: Absolutely. The .22LR is an excellent choice for target shooting due to its low recoil, high accuracy, and relatively low cost.

Q: Do I need a special firearm for either round?

A: Yes. The .22LR and 5.56mm use different cartridges and require firearms specifically designed to handle each one. Make sure you choose the appropriate firearm for your chosen round.

In conclusion, both the .22LR and 5.56mm are popular and versatile cartridges, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right round will depend on your specific needs, whether that’s plinking, hunting, target shooting, or self-defense. Make sure to do your research and choose the best round and firearm combination for your intended use.