Subsonic 22LR Ammo: What You Need To Know?

Are you a noise-sensitive shooter? Then you must know about the “Subsonic 22LR”, a good round for quiet hunting.

Subsonic .22LR ammunition offers a quieter, more accurate, and less disruptive shooting experience. It is a valuable choice for target practice, hunting, and pest control, contributing to firearm longevity and safety.

Subsonic 22LR Ammo

In this blog post, we'll delve into the intriguing world of subsonic .22LR, uncovering its unique characteristics, benefits, and versatile applications.

Let's start..

What Is Subsonic Ammunition?

What Is Subsonic Ammunition?

The term “subsonic” refers to the bullet traveling below the speed of sound, which is approximately 1,125 feet per second (340 meters per second) at sea level.

These loads range in muzzle velocity from 300 fps to 1,040 fps, depending upon the load and its intended purpose, compared to the standard long rifle load with a muzzle velocity of 1,200 fps.

Subsonic cartridges are loaded to operate at speeds less than sound speed, preventing the bullet from making a supersonic shockwave or “crack” as it travels through the air.

Unlike standard ammunition, which propels bullets faster than the speed of sound, subsonic ammo moves at a quieter, slower pace.

This reduced speed is a defining feature of subsonic ammunition, and it significantly impacts how it performs.

What Are The Characteristics of Subsonic .22LR Ammunition?

Characteristics of Subsonic
  • Reduced Velocity: Travels at slower speeds, typically around 1,000 feet per second or slower, keeping the bullet below the speed of sound.
  • Quieter Performance: Generates significantly less noise when fired compared to standard .22LR rounds.
  • Heavier Bullets: Often features heavier bullets for enhanced stability and accuracy.
  • Shorter Effective Range: More effective at shorter to moderate ranges due to its lower velocity.
  • Reduced Recoil: Generates less recoil compared to standard .22LR rounds.
  • Potential for Increased Bullet Expansion: Slower velocity can increase bullet expansion upon impact.
  • Shot-to-Shot Consistency: Offers greater shot-to-shot consistency in terms of ballistics.
  • Versatility: Compatible with various .22LR firearms, including handguns, rifles, and semi-automatic weapons.

How Subsonic .22LR Ammo Differs From Standard .22LR?

How Subsonic .22LR Ammo Differs From Standard .22LR?

Here are the differences between subsonic .22LR ammo and standard .22LR ammo in simple bullet points:

Subsonic .22LR Ammo

  • Slower velocity, below the speed of sound.
  • It generates less noise when fired.
  • Heavier bullets for enhanced accuracy.
  • Effective at shorter to moderate ranges.
  • Produces less recoil.
  • This may lead to increased bullet expansion on impact.
  • Offers greater shot-to-shot consistency.
  • Compatible with various .22LR firearms.
  • The typical subsonic. 22 LR offers around 1050 and 100, respectively.

Standard .22LR Ammo

  • Higher velocity, often supersonic.
  • It produces a louder "crack" when fired.
  • Lighter bullets may affect accuracy.
  • Effective at longer ranges.
  • It can produce more recoil, especially in lightweight firearms.
  • It may have less bullet expansion.
  • Variability in ballistic performance.
  • Compatible with a wide range of .22LR guns.
  • A standard 22 LR load delivers around 1200 fps and 140 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

What Is Subsonic 22 LR Good For?

Subsonic .22 LR ammo is a type of ammunition that travels at a velocity below the speed of sound. This makes it much quieter than standard .22 LR ammo, which travels at a velocity of about 1,125 feet per second.

The main applications of subsonic .22 LR ammo are:

  • Hunting small game: Subsonic .22 LR ammo is ideal for hunting small game such as squirrels, rabbits, and groundhogs. The reduced noise makes it easier to approach the animals without spooking them, and the lower velocity also means that the bullets are less likely to over-penetrate and injure other animals.
  • Pest Control: Subsonic ammo is a humane choice for pest control around farms and properties, as it eliminates pests with minimal noise disturbance.
  • Shooting indoors: Subsonic .22 LR ammo is a good choice, as the reduced noise will not disturb others. This makes it a popular choice for target shooting, plinking, and pest control in areas where noise is a concern.
  • Use with a suppressor: Subsonic .22 LR ammo can be made even quieter when used with a suppressor. This makes it a good choice for situations where stealth is important, such as law enforcement operations or pest control in urban areas.
  • Reduced recoil: Subsonic .22 LR ammo has less recoil than standard .22 LR ammo. This makes it a good choice for recoil-sensitive shooters like young shooters or people with disabilities.
  • Firearms Training: Subsonic .22LR ammo is valuable for training, particularly for beginners or individuals learning to manage recoil.
  • Recreational Shooting: Subsonic .22LR ammo is popular among recreational shooters for target practice. Its reduced noise and recoil make it enjoyable for extended shooting sessions.

Overall, subsonic .22 LR ammo is a versatile round that can be used for various applications. It is a good choice for hunters, target shooters, and anyone who wants to reduce noise.

What Are The Safety And Legal Considerations Of 22lr Subsonic?

Safety and legal considerations are essential when using subsonic .22LR ammunition. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

Legal Considerations

  • Local Laws: Familiarize yourself with federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing firearms and ammunition possession, transportation, and use. These laws can vary significantly depending on your location.
  • Ammunition Restrictions: Some jurisdictions may have specific restrictions or regulations related to subsonic ammunition or ammunition in general. Ensure you comply with these regulations.
  • Magazine Capacity: In some areas, there may be restrictions on magazine capacity. Be aware of these limitations and comply with them.

Safety Considerations

  • Ear Protection: Even though subsonic .22LR ammo is quieter than standard rounds, it's still essential to wear hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, to prevent hearing damage.
  • Eye Protection: Always wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from debris or potential firearm malfunctions.
  • Ammunition Compatibility: Ensure your firearm is designed to safely and reliably fire subsonic .22LR ammunition. Some guns may not cycle subsonic rounds reliably.

It's crucial to stay informed about your area's laws and regulations and prioritize safety in all your shooting activities. Consulting with local law enforcement or legal experts can clarify the legal aspects of subsonic .22LR ammunition in your jurisdiction.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of 22LR Subsonic?

What Are The Pros & Cons Of 22LR Subsonic?

Subsonic .22LR ammunition has pros and cons, and understanding these can help you decide whether it's the right choice for your shooting needs. Here are the pros and cons of .22LR subsonic ammunition:

Pros of .22LR Subsonic Ammunition

  • Image Reduced Noise: Subsonic .22LR ammo is significantly quieter than standard high-velocity .22LR rounds. This reduced noise makes it ideal for shooting in environments where noise disruption is a concern, such as indoor ranges or residential areas.
  • Image Lower Recoil: Subsonic rounds typically generate less recoil than high-velocity ammunition. This makes them more manageable, especially for beginners or those sensitive to recoil.
  • Image Enhanced Accuracy: The slower velocity of subsonic ammo can improve accuracy, especially at shorter distances. This makes it an excellent choice for precision shooting, target practice, and small-game hunting.
  • Image Minimal Disturbance: Subsonic rounds are less likely to startle wildlife or disturb neighboring shooters when used in hunting or recreational shooting scenarios, making them a considerate choice.
  • Image Versatility: Subsonic .22LR ammunition can be used in various firearms chambered for .22LR, including handguns, rifles, and semi-automatic guns. This versatility allows shooters to adapt to different shooting scenarios.
  • Image Effective for Pest Control: Subsonic ammo is an effective and humane option for pest control, as it eliminates pests with minimal noise and disturbance.

Cons of .22LR Subsonic Ammunition

  • Image Limited Effective Range: Subsonic .22LR rounds have a shorter effective range than high-velocity ammunition. They are most effective at shorter to moderate distances, which may limit their suitability for certain applications.
  • Image Bullet Drop: The slower velocity can lead to increased bullet drop at longer distances, requiring shooters to compensate for this drop when aiming.
  • Image Slower Terminal Velocity: Subsonic rounds may have reduced terminal velocity upon impact, potentially affecting their stopping power, particularly when hunting larger games.
  • Image Availability: While subsonic .22LR ammunition is widely available, it may not be as readily found as standard .22LR rounds in some regions. Availability can vary depending on local demand and supply.
  • Image Price: Subsonic .22LR ammo can be somewhat more expensive than standard rounds, which might affect the cost of shooting, especially for those who practice extensively.
  • Image Firearm Compatibility: Not all firearms chambered for .22LR are designed to cycle subsonic rounds reliably. Some semi-automatic firearms may require modifications or may not function well with subsonic ammunition.


Subsonic 22LR ammo is a quiet yet powerful option in the world of firearms and ammunition. As explored throughout this blog post, its reduced noise, lower recoil, and enhanced accuracy make it a compelling choice for a wide range of shooting applications.

Whether you're a recreational shooter seeking a more peaceful range experience, a hunter looking for precision in small game pursuits, or someone focused on pest control with minimal disturbance, subsonic .22LR ammunition has proven its worth.

Except subsonic, 22lr ammo comes with other types. Choose according to your needs & preferences.

Lisa Earnest

Lisa Earnest

Sep, 12, 2023

Lisa Earnest has been a part of the Bulk Cheap Ammo team since 2018 and serves as the editor of Bulk Cheap Ammo content.

With a flair for language and an unwavering dedication to shooting sports, Lisa's diverse expertise combines to create an unforgettable experience for our audience.

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