While it does have it limitations, practicing with .22lr can be an effective way to get extra trigger pulls if you use it appropriately. There are 2 ways to practice with .22lr and each has its benefits.
- Dedicated pistol – purchasing a quality .22lr allows you to have a pistol designed for the cartridge and tailored to the game or shooting discipline you are participating in. This is a great option for bullseye and steel challenge shooters and will allow them to be the most competitive.
- Conversion kit - for shooters that are primarily center fire shooters, that are training for self-defense, IDPA, IPSC, or law enforcement a conversion kit will provide them with the advantages of the less expensive ammunition AND additional exposure to their existing equipment (grip-frame, trigger and mag pouches).
I use a kit by Advantage Arms for my carry (and competition) Glock 19. I have approximately 1500 rounds through it now and I feel that I can give it a through review.
The kit comes with the barrel and slide assembly, one magazine, a magazine loaders, a small cleaning kit and a quality case. Additionally since I prefer to incorporate weapons manipulations in with my shooting so I immediately purchased an additional 2 magazines from Midway USA.
The barrel and slide assembly is designed to look like the Glock and includes the same quality plastic sights Glock is infamous for, but it is milled to accept any Glock sights. (As a word of caution the slide is made of a very soft metal and I caused so damage when I installed mine, although the issue was my technique and not the slide.)
I do have 2 gripes with the slide dimensions however.
- The slide is 1.03″ wide verse 1.00″ wide so my holsters are a little tighter with the AA kit. This wouldn’t be an issues however…
- The slides edges are radiused with a slightly tighter radius and this causes the slide to get caught on my Comp-tac belt holster significantly impeding the draw. I have to use my Comp-tac M-TAC IWB to practice drawing.
The kit functions well with CCI Mini-Mags, but I feed it a diet of Federal Bulk Pack because of the cost. With the cheap, standard velocity ammunition I get about 1 stove pipe every 20-25 rounds. For a defensive trainer I actually like this, but cause it gives me considerable practice with the immediate action drill (Tap-rack). I would be less enamored with it if they were the more uncommon, and difficult to clear, double feed. After my last range trip I treated the kit to an application of Slipstream STYX and I will update this review if I see any change in reliability from this change.
The magazine that come with the kit shares dimensions with the Glock size the kit is designed for and just like standard Glock mags longer mags would seat properly in smaller guns. I find that these magazines are actually slightly easier to load during drills than the center-fire magazines because they have the familiar protrusion to allow the smaller round to reach the chamber. The magazines also activate the slide stop and drop free without issues.
The cleaning kit the conversion is shipped with appears to included everything you would need to maintain the kit, with the exception of a brass bristled tooth brush for the breach face, although I have4 never used it. The only part of the kit I have used is the cleaning rod, which is much better quality than it needs to be (I would like to have a slightly larger one to use on my other pistols). My only issue with it is that the threaded end isn’t very deep so a standard jag shows some exposed threads.
The last piece of the kit is the case which is of good quality, but it is entirely too big to be lugged around. I have placed it in storage will all of the other cases from my pistols and uses a small Eagle Creek bag from REI to carry around the kit.
Overall, I am very pleases with this particular kit for my purposes and believe that having a conversion kit for your carry gun is a great boost to your training. Allowing you to be better prepared When the Balloon Goes Up!