Photos by Becky Scarlata
The .22 Long Rifle (.22LR) is without a doubt the most popular metallic cartridge in the world today. And I’m not just talking about rimfire cartridges. More .22 LRs are manufactured, sold and fired annually than all other non-military cartridges — rifle, handgun & shotgun — combined. And the reasons for its popularity are easy to understand.
First of all, .22 LR ammo is inexpensive. When I was a boy I remember going to the local hardware store with my brothers where each shelled out thirty-five cents for a box of fifty .22s. This portion of our weekly allowance enabled the three of us to enjoy an afternoon of plinking with our single shot .22 rifles. While the price of .22s has gone up since then, even the most prudent shooter can afford them without engendering the displeasure of their bank manager.
And .22s don’t make a lot of noise which means they can be fired in areas where letting a round off from a centrefire handgun or rifle might irritate the local residents, their pets or livestock — and result in a visit by a member of the local constabulary.
.22 firearms produce almost no recoil making them a natural choice for teaching new shooters … and enabling experienced shooters to practice more. And while one must still observe the rules of safe gun handling, over penetration is not normally a concern with .22s which makes them especially practical for use on indoor shooting ranges.
And the “lowly” .22LR is capable of performing other tasks. Hunters know it is powerful enough for taking small game and — within limitations — larger vermin such as fox and prairie dogs.
And did I mention accuracy? With match grade ammunition, a .22 firearm is capable of extraordinary accuracy and it is no fluke that some of the most accurate competition rifles and pistols are chambered for the .22LR.
I cut my hand gunning teeth on a .22 revolver; the first game animal I took with a handgun was a rabbit that fell prey to my .22 pistol; I have dispatched uncountable numbers of tin/aluminum cans with various .22 handguns; I taught my daughter and several nephews the basics of gun safety and shooting with .22 pistols and rifles; I continue to use them for taking small game in season; and they serve as light weight trail guns in case I encounter one of the venomous reptiles that are common in North Carolina during the warm months of the year.
So, I’m sure that the readers will agree with me when I say, “What’s not to like about a .22?”
The firm of Taurus Forjas of Porto Alegre, Brazil is the largest handgun manufacturer in Latin American. They began making handguns 1941 and in 1968 entered the world firearms market where, thanks to their quality and economical prices, they have become a major player.
As has just about every handgun maker of note — and some of no note whatsoever — Taurus now produces a line of full size, compact and subcompact polymer frame pistols in .380, 9mm, .45 and .45 calibers that have proven popular with civilians, police and militaries around the world. But let us not forget — nor have Taurus’ marketing boffins — .22 rimfire pistols.
Over the years Taurus has offered a line of rimfire pistols that have been constantly improved and upgraded. This program has resulted in — what I feel is — one of the neatest, most user friendly .22 pistols on the market today — the Taurus TX22.
Despite being a rimfire pistol, the TX22 includes all of the features of Taurus’ centrefire pistols … and then some. The first of these is its size which is the same as a 9mm pistol which makes it an excellent choice for training new shooters before they transition to, heavier recoiling, centrefire pistols.
The TX22’s most notable feature is its Taurus Pitt-man Trigger System (PTS) which provides a trigger reset that is short and spring-assisted, allowing the shooter to deliver quick follow-up shots while maintaining good sight alignment. Unlike the so-called “safe action” triggers common to many of today’s polymer frame pistols, the PTS is, for all practical purposes, a single action trigger. According to my trigger pull scale the sear on the TX22 I was provided with broke crisply with 4.5 pounds of pressure and had an audible reset which can be felt and lets the shooter know when the sear is re-engaged and the pistol is ready to fire the next round. This is a nice feature for accurate, slow fire shooting.
Now I’m very certain that some persons are looking askance upon the PTS’s short stroke and light let off when compared to the other polymer frame pistols on the market. Taurus’ designers took these concerns into consideration and equipped the TX22 with several safeties. First of all are ambidextrous thumb safeties at the rear of the frame (they are optional and the TX22 can be ordered without them). Then there is a trigger safety. The TX22 lacks the usual paddle/lever safety on the face of the trigger that many striker-fired pistols boast. The safety is hidden inside the trigger’s design. This means that your finger has one continuous surface to contact.
A traditional striker-fire design has the trigger bar contacting the striker which means that the striker spring will influence the trigger pull weight. Rimfire cartridges requires a good deal of energy to set off the round which can result in a heavy, mushy trigger. To break the connection between striker energy and trigger pull weight, the PTS’ striker is fully cocked as the slide goes forward and the sear simply prevents the striker from being released. To release the sear, the PTS has a rotating sear trip that the trigger bar contacts.
Thanks to the low operating pressures of the .22 LR cartridge, the TX22 is a blowback operated pistol. For the newbies out there, this means that when the pistol is fired the weight of the slide and the pressure of the recoil spring hold the slide in battery (the forward position) until the bullet has left the barrel and pressures fall to a level where it is safe for the slide to reciprocate to the rear extracting and ejecting the spent cartridge case. The recoil spring then pulls the slide forward, feeding the next round out of the magazine and chambering it as the slide goes into battery.
The muzzle of the pistol is threaded to allow attaching a suppressor adapter collar for use in those localities were suppressed firearms are legal. The 1/2-28 threads are compatible with the majority of .22 LR suppressors on the market and are protected by a barrel thread collar which must be removed before the suppressor adapter collar can be installed.
It will come as no surprise to our handgun savvy readership that the TX22 uses an injected molded Polymer frame. This helps keep the pistol’s weight down while providing improved resistance to moisture, salts, solvents, wear and abuse and has the added benefit of reducing manufacturing costs which saving is passed along to the customer.
When I picked the TX22 up for the first time it was evident that a lot of thought went into the ergonomics of the grip frame. I had several persons, with different sized hands, handle the pistol and all said it fit their hands well and provided excellent “pointability.” The grip’s exterior has a unique form of, well it’s not really checkering or texturing, but it provides a secure, non-slip purchase even with wet or oily hands. Two small scallops at the bottom of the grip frame make it easy to extract a magazine that fails to fall free.
The magazine release can we switched from port to starboard side for the Southpaws out there, although I found it recessed a bit too much for fast operation. The ambi safety levers are close to the frame which is a plus and a negative. They won’t hang up on a holster, belt or other gear but they are a bit difficult to manipulate.
Another benefit of its low operating pressures is that the TX22’s slide is machined from light weight aluminum. To calm those who might be concerned about how the aluminum slide would stand up to extensive firing, Taurus’ engineers solved the problem by installing a separate steel breech face (which the owner’s manual refers to as an “impact insert”). The slide reciprocates on four steel tabs, two on the steel central block in the frame and another pair on the fire control housing.
The slide features dual grasping grooves allowing you to retract the slide with a number of different grips and also eases press checking to verify if there is a round in the chamber or not. The rear sight is fully adjustable and the front is large and fast to acquire. As is SOP on most pistols today they have the usual three white-dot set up, which I don’t care for. But then no one asked me and the situation was quickly corrected with a black marker pen.
Unlike most .22 caliber pistols on the market today, the TX22 features a high capacity, polymer magazine that holds sixteen rounds. A loading tool come standard that allows you to quickly fill the cartridge container to capacity without tearing your finger nails in the process.
Remove the magazine and retract the slide and visually, and by feel, ascertain that the chamber is empty. While holding the pistol by the rear of the slide pull down the disassembly catch at the top of the trigger guard. Pull and release the trigger and let the slide move forward about a 1/2 inch and lift it off the frame. While holding the slide upside down release the recoil spring from under the barrel and then push the barrel forward slightly and lift out of the slide.
To reassemble line up the slide cut rail openings with the rails on the frame, gently push the slide down and rack it back. The disassembly latch will return on its own.
Taurus USA provided me with a TX22 to evaluate for the Firearms News’ information hungry readers (well, you are. Aren’t you?). Accuracy testing was performed from an MTM K-Zone shooting rest at 15 yards. The pistola brasileira shot to point of aim out of the five types of ammo and, with a bit of help from yours truly, produced fifteen groups all of which were in the two inch range, with several under that size. Were we impressed? Hell, yes!
As I feel it is a good way to gauge how a handgun handles offhand, Becky and I moved over to the club’s steel range and took turns running various types of targets from eight and ten yards. Being .22s didn’t move the targets very much the shooter just had to “ring” them to score.
Thanks to its short, light trigger stroke Becky and I found the TX22 a joy to shoot, the sights provided a clear, sharp sight picture — once I blacked out those offending white dots — and overall balance and handling were first rate. We each ran the Taurus through the steel array a half dozen times and racked up an impressive number of “dings” to “bangs.”
Becky mentioned that she thought the TX22 would make a practical personal/home defense weapon for persons, who for whatever reason, had trouble handling a heavier recoiling pistol. For this reason the TX22 features an integral Picatinny rail which allows mounting tactical lights or lasers.
To see how it handled I set up a combat target at seven yards and my sharp shooting spouse sent thirty-two rounds it’s direction rapid fire, everyone of which impacted inside said target’s A zone. Becky summed up the TX22’s defensive capabilities thusly: “With this pistol, if you had to, you could put a lot of .22s where they needed to go … quickly!”
Neither of us found anything negative to say about the TX22 and would like to point out that — unlike many .22 pistols we have tested — we did not experience a single failure to feed, fire and eject in the approximately 400 rounds we put through that day and in a second shooting session. While it got a bit dirty, a few swipes of the chamber area with a brush kept it running like gangbusters. When you consider how ammo sensitive some .22 pistols are, such performance really stood out.
We feel it would be an excellent choice for training new shooters, informal target shooting, hunting small game and for use as a trail gun. ‘Nuff said.
Taurus TX22 Specs
- Caliber: .22 LR
- Overall length: 7.06 in.
- Barrel length: 4.1 in.
- Height: 5.44 in.
- Width: 1.25 in.
- Slide: Aluminum
- Frame: Polymer
- Finish: Black Anodized
- Weight: 17.3 oz. (unloaded)
- Magazine: 16 rounds
- Front Sights: White dot
- Rear Sights: Adj. dual white dots
- Grips: Polymer
- Extra Features: Suppressor adapter collar, ambi manual safeties, reversible magazine catch, Picatinny rail, magazine loader, cable lock & owner’s manual
- MSRP: $349
- Contact: TaurusUSA.com/firearms/pistols/tx22/
Taurus TX22 Test Firing Results