Gun Talk: 10/22 or AR15?

Today’s question comes from Theresa. She asks:

‘We are looking for a gun for protection as well as outdoor use. Someone recommended either an AR15 or a Ruger 10/22. I’d love a girls perspective on this.’

Both are good guns and while the Ruger 10/22 is more specific, the AR15 actually encompasses a wide range of rifles made by different manufacturers. As with most things, there are going to be some good ones, some great ones, and some you should just stay away from.

Ruger 10/22

Let’s start with the Ruger 10/22. They are really easy to handle, shoot well out of the box, and because it uses a .22 round the recoil is nonexistent making them easy to shoot for not only women, but also children. The average weight of this rifle is about 5 pounds. Since the ammo is very affordable and *usually widely available it is a great gun for practice, sport shooting and even small game hunting.

However if we are talking defense or protection of any kind I would not rely on the 10/22. Unless of course you need protection from zombie rabbits and squirrels.

The AR15 is personally one of my favorite rifles. Like I mentioned above there is a big selection of different models to choose from. But with that also comes many different ways to customize the rifle. The weight of an AR15 is going to be from 6.5 pounds and up. The big variances come in with the difference in barrel length, gas system, and accessories.

The majority of AR15’s will use a .223/5.56 round. This is a much bigger round than the .22 and for that reason I would recommend it over just having the 10/22.


There are a couple different routes you could go with this. If you are only looking to buy one gun to start and maybe add to it eventually, I would do a .223. If you do go the AR15 route you can also buy a .22 conversion kit for around $150 which will modify the gun so you can actually shoot the .22 ammo through it. This is great because your operation of the gun does not change but your price per round drops.

Another option would be to get both. In the event you did that I would actually skip the AR15 and instead invest in the Ruger 10/22 and a Ruger Mini 14. The benefit of this is your are getting not only the cheaper option of the .22 for practice and small game hunting, but you also have the benefit of the .223 round in the same set up. Once you are comfortable with using one it is an easy transition to the one with a more powerful round.

And finally a third option that you did not mention however is one I would highly suggest considering is before investing in any rifle, I would look at a handgun. While a rifle is great for longer ranges the major downfall is it is not always going to be with you. With a handgun it is easily worn in a holster and therefore always on you. It won’t matter if you are outside in the garden, cooking dinner, or even sitting and watching tv, the handgun can always be near by.

I hope that helps answer your question somewhat and if it brings up any new questions, just ask!

*While .22 ammo is usually widely available, currently it is becoming harder and harder to find a ready supply of most types of ammo.

About Rachel

Rachel Akers writes about crafts, recipes, and features the adventures of a family of 4. It is always crazy but I wouldn't change it for the world! Comments or questions? Talk to me on Facebook or Twitter or sign up for our RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.