CCI is well known for its high-quality rimfire ammunition. Whenever you need a rimfire for something beyond plinking, you likely turn toward CCI. This year at SHOT Show, CCI unveiled their latest .22 LR load, the Uppercut. The Uppercut is aimed to be a .22 LR cartridge optimized for self-defense, specifically from micro-sized pistols. It’s perfect for guns like the LCP 2 and the Beretta 21A.

Catching the Uppercut

A .22 LR can be a viable defensive cartridge, but a large part of being successful with a defensive-oriented .22 LR is proper ammunition selection. You need a round that can penetrate deep enough to matter, so most bulk .22 LR is off the table. Most .22 LR ammo is designed for rifles. The Uppercut is supposed to be optimized for barrels that range from 2.5 to 4 inches and is designed for semi-auto handguns.

Interestingly enough, the Uppercut has the same goal as the Federal Punch. Federal and CCI are owned by the same company. Someone in that company really likes pugilism-themed names for their defensive .22 LR loads.

The big difference between the Federal Punch and the CCI Uppercut is expansion. The Punch load isn’t designed to expand but to penetrate. The Uppercut promises some expansion. The Uppercut uses a 32-grain jacketed hollow point. The Punch load uses a 29-grain flat-nose bullet. I’ve seen tests of the Punch load, and it penetrates extremely well.

According to CCI’s website, the Uppercut load penetrates consistently from 8 to 12 inches. If you know anything about ammunition standards, you know the typical defensive load should penetrate at least 12 inches through properly calibrated ballistic gel. This seems to fall short of that standard.

I don’t doubt that the ammo will be reliable. Rimfire rounds are traditionally less reliable than centerfire guns, but CCI’s primers have always been better than the vast majority of rimfire ammo. I’d argue CCI is the closest rimfire rounds get to centerfire reliability.

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