You were spot on in your response to he article by "Retread".
However, for anyone who does choose to use .22 LR for self defense, like the writer of the article, I would go with the Mexican Aguila brand ammo. Due to necessity, they've had to invent some man-killer .22 LR (It's legal for people there to own .22 LR, but not anything else. Not that people down there don't own AR's and AK's, anyway).
My favorite solution for this man is the Aguila 60-grain rd., marketed under the name "Sniper Sub-Sonic" (SSS).I think the only reason they market it that way is simply because they couldn't get a .22 Short shell crammed full of powder to move a 60-grain slug any faster than 900 fps.
This unjacketed 60-grain lead slug is just plain mean, and all of Aguila's .22 ammo is Eley primed, which are some of the best primed rimfires (The primers are British, hence Aguila is actually owned by them). Also, the SSS round only loses approx. 100 fps at 100 yards, which means it doesn't leave the barrel very fast, but it's still moving at 100 yards (out of a 16-inch barrel).
Also, their "Supermaximum" cartridges (both solid and hollowpoint) move at about 1,750 fps, roughly 130 fps faster than US made Stinger .22 LR. Since I don't like putting a rifle cartridge into a pistol (particularly .22 Magnum), I wouldn't recommend putting Supermax into a pistol, since the excess energy makes it very inaccurate. - Joe Snuffy
I applaud Retread in recognizing that each of us needs to assess our own circumstances as we age. From arranging the garden to minimize issues with "questionable" knees and backs to financial realities as we move into our later years. Firearms and ammunition can put a pretty good strain on the budget when trying to maintain skills over the long haul. However, I strongly agree with your assessment of [the unsuitability of] .22 LR as a defensive round. It definitely has a place in the survival battery but not in that capacity. I believe that handguns are a practical compromise when out and about working or otherwise conducting business that makes toting a long gun impractical. With that in mind I believe most of us subscribe to the bigger we can handle the better when we are away from our long guns. I have heard it said the best we can hope for is to be half as good in a violent confrontation as we are at the range. To me that precludes depending so heavily on the accuracy required to be effective with a .22. My research and minimal experience leads me to believe the .38 or 9 mm are the smallest handgun rounds suitable for the task. Yes, I would want a .45, .357 or .40 S&W on my hip all the time but the cost of proficiency climbs as you work your way up the caliber chain. I have all of these stocked up but my mainstay for a potential SHTF scenario is the 9mm. I don't know which model's Retread experienced but a polymer compact or full size pistol is easy to carry on the hip all day and a breeze to shoot (not most sub-compacts though). The ammo cost is more than the .22 but in bulk it is by far the cheapest of any other weapon you can carry. Besides your stockpile its common enough to supplement/barter after the flag goes up too. One more thing, an extra weapon in the configuration of your "full" caliber weapon but chambered for .22 is an excellent idea. Sight alignment, sight picture, grip and trigger pull are identical and differences in recoil between the .22 and 9 mm are negligible. - William J.
One thing I'd suggest for someone looking for a firearm with less weight or recoil then a .22 rimfire would be to look at calibers smaller than 9mm. .380 ACP, .327 Federal Magnum, 7.62 x 25mm, or 9x17 Makarov would be (marginally) better choices than a .22 rimfire, simply because the bullets' weights and velocities would make them more forgiving of less-than-perfect shots on either the head or center of mass against a threat target.
I generally tell people to shy away from these calibers, but they're better than nothing.
If the shooter can get past the price and marginal trigger, a really decent alternative to .22 rimfire is the FN FiveseveN (5.7x28mm centerfire).
Cheers, - Kent C.