I suppose it could be.
It does hit sort of hard at close range BUT it lacks stopping power.
i.e. It’s not exactly a flying brick of a round.
There again a lot of defensive (and offensive) rounds lack the:-
“You get thrown against the wall to slide gently down leaving a blood trail on the wall”.
Got to love Hollywood for pushing that myth.
The little 22 LR can be a useful round against man but it requires accurate placement.
As an ambush round that role suits it to a tee.
Quiet, low if any recoil, a flat(ish) trajectory within its effective range, and with a careful hand from the right long barrel it will happily hit within ± an inch at urban ranges i.e. typically under 50 yards.
BUT against soft targets like vehicles? My money is on them and not the guy shooting.
Even down to trying to shot out tires, lamps, or glass. Especially out to its effective range.
Some advocate it as a round suitable for a target rich environment like a riot.
Whilst I sort of agree, as it is a tame round to rapid shoot with, it lacks the shock and awe of the crack of a higher power round.
IF YOU CAN SIT THERE placing accurate fire, then maybe it’s a contender. MAYBE!
Only most riots are loud! That sort of negates the effect of the quiet ‘phut’ of the 22 LR.
I doubt anyone would even hear it in that scenario. Just consider the noise from the emergency units. The “blues and twos” lights and sirens alone would mask the noise.
Remember people dropping is good BUT death backed up with a high-power ‘crack’ of a high velocity round or thump of a 12 gauge is what cuts it and stops the masses.
It’s back to a post I wrote years ago about the shock and awe of a pumped 12 gauge throwing out #00 or #3 buckshot.
Few would willingly run towards a metal storm from a shotgun and whilst it may not be a good “stopper round”, it’s the psychological value of the visual and audible smack to an aggressors senses that gives the shotgun or (dare I say) assault weapon that makes people scatter.
My personal conclusions.
The 22 LR as a purely defensive round in a dynamic situation?
No, not really. Too tame, no shock and awe.
BUT a 22 LR as an ambush round?
Yep, it should cut it quite nicely.