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A .22 LR pistol can be a very useful firearm. I’ve had a few. My first semiauto .22 handgun was a Ruger Bicentennial Mk. II that was given to me by my band at the school where I was teaching – I was leaving and they wanted to get me a nice going-away present.
Talk about a nice present…wow! That was in 1978. It surely wouldn’t happen now, especially at a public school. I enjoyed that gun. Another Ruger .22 pistol that made its way into my house was a five-inch-barreled Mk. II 22/45 (below). This was acquired when that model pistol was all the rage as it duplicated the grip angle of the venerable 1911. It used a polymer frame, something fairly rare at that time, at least on a rimfire pistol. As you can see, the front sight was undercut and the rear fully adjustable. I do believe that an adjustable rear sight is pretty well required on most any .22 firearm, whether pistol, revolver or rifle. There are just too many different types of ammo out there and my experience tells me that they shoot to different points of impact. Anyway, this Ruger was a decent shooter but the grips left something to be desired – they were slick.
I also own, if I could remember what safe it’s in, a small Jennings .22 … probably the less said the better here. So, I’ve had a little experience with .22 semiauto pistols, even if it was somewhat limited. I have owned, and own now, .22 revolvers, but that’s a different article.
Taurus has not made too many .22 semiauto pistols. I owned one, a PT22 that was a variation of the Beretta Minx with a tip-up barrel. I like that style – I wrote a review of the .32 Beretta Tomcat. The tip-up barrel is handy, and the gun slips into a pocket holster easily. But, it’s not a full-size pistol. That’s where the new TX22 shines.
Taurus has really hit some home runs recently. In my humble opinion, it started with the introduction of the Spectrum .380. This gun is a paradigm shift in pistol design…no slide serrations or grip checkering, just soft, colored rubber panels that allow you to get a grip easily even if your hands are wet. The colors are many and varied. I own a black-on-gray Spectrum and carry it often (check out Self-defense Insurance). I’ve got more holsters coming to review for that gun, both pocket and IWB. I wouldn’t waste my time or their holsters if I didn’t think the gun was worthwhile. You can read what I wrote about the Spectrum here.
The next gun that Taurus had a big hit with is the G2C. An upgrade from the Millennium Pro G2 (PT111), the G2C employs a 3.2-inch barrel and comes with two 12-round magazines. This borderline subcompact 9mm has sold very well for the company. It has a fully-adjustable rear sight and some fairly aggressively-stippled grip panel areas. I have one of these as well, and carry it in a kydex IWB holster where it pretty much disappears under a shirt. Read my G2C review here.
Moving on down the Taurus Hit Parade, we have the new-this-year G3. This is a compact (not sub) version of the G2C. The one I reviewed came with one 15-round and one 17-round magazine and a 4-inch barrel. That review can be found here. The G3 has a different trigger than the G2C uses, and has kept the same stippling on the grip. They did change the rear sight, though. It is a drift-adjustable steel two-dot affair similar to a Novak sight. I guess enough people expressed their displeasure with the polymer fully-adjustable sight on the G2C that Taurus changed it. It also has added a 3-slot rail underneath, so you can hang whatever you like from there. An ambidextrous thumb safety completes the package.
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Next In Line: The TX22
So…what to follow these very popular guns with? Taurus chose to make a .22 pistol. Introduced at the SHOT show in January of 2019, this gun was designed to fulfill three main purposes…to be an inexpensive-yet-feature-laden plinker, to be a gun you could compete with and to be a training gun to use in place of your 9mm, .40, .45 ACP, etc. In terms of mission accomplishment, Taurus has achieved all these goals.
The TX22 makes one very great plinker. It is not capable of Olympic-style accuracy, but it gets the job done. Like all .22s, it shoots some brands of ammo better than others. I tested it with a few different loads (see below) and discovered it liked CCI Stingers and Aguila High Velocity better than some other brands and types of .22 ammo.
What makes this pistol such a good plinker is the fact that it is SO light and compact. I don’t know how many times I found myself in my very-rural backyard or the woods adjoining it, wanting to just have a pistol on my hip “just because.” I wasn’t after game, or worried about protection (not too many rogue squirrels around here) – I just like to take pot shots at targets of opportunity. And, since we live in a hilly area, so my backstops are natural and many…I can shoot without cause for concern. This pistol is perfect for that. It IS light – 17 ounces – and that goes a long way to insure that it would be added to my belt in future forays. Here’s an example of my kind of plinking… I was running some .22 ammo over my chronograph, beside our pole barn garage with the TX22. I looked around and immediately was taken by how many green walnuts there are on the ground by the garage. I decided there were too many, so I thinned the herd a bit with the gun. It was fun, and was cheap entertainment. You could do worse if you are hunting a fun-to-shoot, light-recoiling .22 semiauto.
I mentioned above how the Taurus TX22 was designed to be not only a plinker but also a gun that you could train with in place of your “big” gun. This is not a new concept – the military has, for decades, started new soldiers/sailors/airmen/Marines out shooting, but not always with a 5.56, .308 or .30-06…they sometimes put a .22 of some sort in the new shooters’ hands in the beginning. It only makes sense. Here’s why…
Learning The Basics
In order to be a good shot, you must learn how, in no particular order:
- to press the trigger properly
- to line the sights up
- to regulate your breathing
- to hold the weapon, and other fundamentals.
As I said above, it only makes sense to start out someone who may have never shot a gun before on the low-recoiling and fairly-quiet .22. The military has this figured out, and we civilians have also seen the benefits of using low-cost ammo to get up to speed before committing to more expensive centerfire rounds.
But – I Already Know How To Shoot!
Even those of us who have been shooting for years can benefit from shooting a “lowly” .22 pistol. As we all know, practice is the key. The more we shoot, the better we get (or should get, at least). Using myself as an example, I reload for every centerfire gun I own, whether rifle or handgun. That means I can shoot more rounds for less money, all else being equal. So, you would think that I could put together 9mm or .38 Special loads for less than I could buy .22 ammo. If this were 5 or 6 years ago, you would be right – remember the “dark times” when there was precious little .22 ammo on store shelves? That’s not the case anymore, thankfully. So, even though the .22 ammo of today isn’t as cheap as it once was, it IS available and not over the top on price. (A side note about current prices: I remember back in 1978 or ‘79 when I could buy a brick of 500 .22 LR ammo for exactly $5…that’s equivalent to an inflation-adjusted price of $19.26 today. That’s in the ballpark for ammo prices today, even after all these years).
The point is, there are many times when I just want to shoot a pistol and not have to pick up 9mm or .45 brass, run the brass through the tumbler and reload it with bullets I cast myself. I just want to shoot. Herein lies the allure of this pistol. It’s easy to shoot and I really like it.
Another usage that this pistol fulfills is competition. I have shot steel challenge competitions before with a .22 – it’s a lot of fun. This would be an ideal steels target gun, what with the custom-feel Pittman Trigger System trigger/reset and adjustable rear sight. The trigger on this gun IS amazing – I would be very happy competing with the TX22.
OK…now let’s look at this gun in some detail. Here are some quick specifications…
|Capacity||16+1 (2 magazines and loader included)|
|Magazine Release||Reversible for left-handers (instructions in manual)|
|Trigger||Pittman Trigger System (PTS) 5-pound pull with positive reset|
|Overall Length||7.06 inches|
|Barrel length||4.10 inches|
|Sights||White dot, fixed front, fully-adjustable rear|
|Other||Suppressor Adapter Collar included for ½-28 thread suppressors (instructions in manual)|
|MSRP||$349. I’ve seen real-world pricing from $220-$250. THAT is a great deal!|
I think that’s detailed enough for our purposes. It is important to note that the manual that comes with this gun is as detailed as any gun owner’s manual I’ve seen. As stated in the Specs, it even tells you how to reverse the magazine release and how to install the suppressor adapter collar for a suppressor.
What comes with the TX22
Here we see the cardboard box with an owner’s manual, two 16-round magazines, a loader for same, the by-now-standard-issue bicycle lock (boy, do I have a box of those!). There is also included a suppressor adapter collar. Taurus is really upping its game now. You might expect to see some of these items (collar, mag loader) in a gun that was intended to sell for a lot more than this gun goes for. There are also cards in the box to remind you to register the gun for warranty purposes and to join the N.R.A. I keep coming back to the manual – I usually think I know it all (I am a guy, after all) and relegate the manuals to the gun’s shipping box but this one is different. It actually has useful information in it. All in all, I think Taurus treats the buyer of this gun very well. And, no…I don’t know it all, as I am constantly being reminded. The moral of the story – read the manual that comes with any gun you purchase.
OK…now we look at the gun. Let’s start with a profile shot…
The gun fits well in my hand. It only weighs 17 ounces, so it handles like a dream. As you can guess, the .22 LR is not known for its horrible recoil, and even in a pound-plus-an-ounce gun it’s just about non-existent. I keep coming back to the fact that this is one fun gun to shoot.
Now, we’ll look at the gun’s components. I’ll show you later how to take the thing apart, but for now, here’s the gallery…
The Frame And Slide
Here’s the top of the frame. You can see the polymer rail guides – that’s all this low-pressure pistol needs. The magazine release spring is down in the grip well, at the front of the frame. Both thumb safety levers are visible at the rear. They are very small – they could be a touch wider.
Note “Miami, FL.” – the gun is made in the U.S. …
…and, forward cocking serrations.
Fully-adjustable rear sight…
Safety and Rear Sight Dovetail
This particular TX22 has three safeties…a trigger safety, a striker block and an ambidextrous thumb safety. The gun will not fire unless the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear, and is drop-safe. The striker block sees to that. It is available with or without the thumb safety. One very large, obvious omission on the part of Taurus – there is no key-lock internal safety. That fact alone will no doubt help sell this gun, as those type of locks are fairly well disliked by many shooters (at least the ones I talk to).
Barrel and Recoil Spring
It could use some polishing but it functioned well overall.
Sometimes ignored (or almost so, it seems) in gun reviews, the magazine can make or break a pistol. If the follower isn’t designed just right, the rounds will not feed properly. I’ve seen some magazines that could not feed a single round without the nose of the bullet nosediving into the feed ramp, and others that simply didn’t work due to the tension (or lack thereof) of the magazine’s spring. No such problems here. You might be thinking that, since it’s “only” a .22, the mag should be taken for granted. But…in my experience, most of the ammo I’ve had trouble feeding from a magazine was with a .22 pistol. I had one once that was a 1911-shaped object that simply became a single-shot, as nothing would feed. No matter what brand of ammo I used, it was a true jam-o-matic. The magazine was the culprit. So I don’t take it lightly when a pistol feeds the rimmed .22 cases without quibble.
Here, below, is a feature that a few other .22 pistol magazines incorporate…
…the follower button. I hooked a thumbnail on top of the round button and pulled the follower down as I loaded the magazine. It made for very easy loading, even for all 16 cartridges. And, if that weren’t enough, Taurus includes a Glock-style magazine loader similar in operation to the Uplula but with no moving parts. It surely made shooting and reloading magazines easier. The mags are polymer with an enclosed spring. This way, dirt and other dust bunnies are not able to get to the spring which means it should not need cleaning very often. (If you are an inveterate magazine cleaner and just have to do that, Taurus explains in the manual how to take it apart for cleaning). The only feed problems I encountered with one magazine occurred when I mis-loaded a couple of rounds and they weren’t fully seated to the rear. Other than that, the gun functioned flawlessly.
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To take the pistol apart for cleaning, let’s see what the very-detailed owner’s manual says to do…
It’s very simple to do. Taurus gave us a takedown lever at the top of the trigger guard instead of the Glock-style serrated levers on the side of the frame they use elsewhere in their line but they all work the same. It’s important to remember that you don’t slide the slide off the front of the frame – you just move it a half inch or so then it pops off. To reassemble, just line the slide’s rail cuts up with the rails on the frame and press down. Rack the slide to the rear and it will click into position, with the takedown lever popping up back into place. That’s all there is to it.
Let’s look at a few targets that I shot. These were placed right at 15 yards from my shooting rest. I fired several shots with the following rounds:
|Type:||Advertised Velocity:||Actual Chronographed Velocity (TX22):|
|Federal Champion 36 grain hollow point||1260 fps||975 fps|
|CCI 40 grain RN||1070 fps||891 fps|
|Aguila 40 grain RN High Velocity||1255 fps||988 fps|
|Winchester 36 grain hollow point||1280 fps||1025 fps (no target for this one)|
There are hundreds of different types of .22 LR ammo out there – you wouldn’t have to look far to find something that works. I didn’t have all that many types of .22 ammo on hand, but at least we can get an idea of how fast the bullets are actually moving versus what the factories claim. Of course, the velocities they get are out of a rifle and we are dealing with a 4-inch barreled pistol so they are going to be different. And, remember that some of the very best .22LR target ammo does not break 1000 fps, so velocity alone is not necessarily a good criteria to hang a judgement on. Remember, this is a .22LR pistol – you are not going to be concerned with foot-pounds of energy, as you might with a self-defense cartridge. For those who hunt small game with a .22, any of these loads would suffice to take a squirrel out of a tree. In my book, .22 LR accuracy trumps speed every time.
Even though the velocities may not be what the factories claim, at least we can test for accuracy. Here are three targets I shot…
These three targets are in roughly accuracy order…Aguila first, Federal second and CCI last. But, I wouldn’t fret too much about that. If you shot these three types of ammo in this same gun, chances are your results would be different than mine. My eyes don’t see sights as they used to 35 years ago, so my groups are estimations at best and patterns at worst.
Suffice it to say that this pistol is plenty accurate for its purposes…training, plinking and competition. If you want tack-driving, “shoot-a-gnat’s-nose-off-at-50-yards” type of accuracy, you would buy another sort of pistol—one that was designed to do that. As I said, this gun is plenty accurate for its purpose. I would not be afraid to take it into the woods on a squirrel hunt, after I tested more ammunition. It simply works.
What’s It Like To Shoot This Gun?
Having plenty of experience behind various .22 handguns, I was pleasantly surprised as I put rounds downrange. The guns is light, as I pointed out above, and that helps with handling. The molded-in grip stippling is great – not too much and not too little. If you’ve read any of my other pistol reviews, you know that I like a very roughly-stippled grip that stays put in your hand, something on the order of 100 grit emory cloth. This gun stays put. You might be thinking that a .22 doesn’t need a lot of grip stippling due to lack of recoil, but remember that this gun is designed to be a trainer in addition to putting holes in tin cans. Taurus wanted to match their G2C, TH series and G3 grips in case you use this gun as a lead-in to those others. So, we have some fairly aggressive stippling.
OK…it’s a .22, right? It can’t kick much, right? Right. It’s about like shooting a cap gun on steroids. This would be a great gun to put in a young person’s hands who is just learning to shoot…you won’t intimidate him or her with a lot of bounce and noise. There can be muzzle flash, depending on what ammo you’re shooting and what time of day it is, but that would just probably add to the excitement for them. Plus, you have the option of getting one with a thumb safety that – glory be – works for us lefties as well as the rest of you. It is rather a small lever but at least it’s there.
Please DO wear hearing protection – that short barrel can be pretty loud. And, as always, eye protection is required as well. Plinking is fun, but take all the standard precautions.
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To Sum Up…
I like it. I like it so much that this particular example will not return to the mother ship. For a street price of well under $350, you can get a doozy of a rimfire pistol that will pretty much do just about anything that you want it to in terms of training, plinking or competing and will do it all very well. Add in that second 16-round magazine, the suppressor-ready barrel and the adjustable rear sight and you have a winner. Taurus is stepping up their game and it shows…a lifetime warranty on this gun is their way of standing behind their product. The introduction of the Spectrum, G2C, G3 and the hammer-fired TH series all show that they are serious about rebuilding their reputation. The TX22, made right here in the U.S., is yet another stepping stone on the path to redemption. I think you should look this little pistol over – you too may decide that it is just right for your rimfire collection. As always, leave a comment below if you have one of these.