Rimfire pistols took a big step in a fresh direction in 2019 when Taurus released the TX22. It was followed this year with the launch of the top-notch Competition model. In case you're not familiar with these rimfire semi-automatics, here are a few reasons why the TX22s should be on your radar.
The Standard TX22 closely mimics the size, features and operations of a variety of polymer framed striker fired defensive pistols.
Boosted Magazine Capacities
Single-stack magazines holding 10 rounds have been a standard feature for .22 pistols ever since the Clinton-era bans killed off the few 12-round magazines that were floating around the marketplace. With the checkerboard of individual state regulations restricting 10+ magazines it seems like the industry mostly gave up on increasing rimfire pistol capacities during the same years that 9 mm pistols were going up to double-stack magazine capacities.
The TX22 ships with three 16-round magazines, which is kind of a big deal. The magazines have a clever design that allows the cartridge rims to drift out to the left and right sides as the cartridges are loaded directly on top of each other. This twisting allows 16 cartridges to be tucked into polymer magazine which are only slightly wider than traditional 10-round magazines. The handful of TX22 magazines I've tested have all fed reliably without any mechanical problems.
We're seeing more pistols on the market that have been specifically designed to be easier to operate, including the center-fire Smith & Wesson EZ series and the rimfire Ruger LCP II Lite Rack pocket pistol. Although the TX22 is not marketed as an easy operations pistol, it has the features folks will appreciate.
With its easy-to-rack slide, light-touch controls and assisted loading magazine, the TX22 is a pleasure to work with.
The TX22 is surprisingly light weight thanks to a forged aluminum slide and polymer frame. The Standard model weighs in at just 17.4 oz. including an empty magazine. The trigger pull is right around 4 lbs. 10 oz. with a smooth feel. The slide is easy to rack and the magazine release button, while firm, does not require too much pressure to press. The magazine followers have load-assist tabs. This allows the follower to be pulled down, against the spring, with one hand while loading cartridges with the other. This goes a long way to reduce finger soreness after a long shooting session.
A Useful Understudy for Defensive 9 mm Pistols
Although the TX22 is not a copy of any particular 9 mm polymer-framed pistol, they have the looks and features common to a variety of popular models. The 4" barrel is fitted into a square-profile slide with front and rear cocking serrations along with combat-type white dot sights. There is a thumb safety lever for those who carry guns with them. The serrated magazine button is reversible for left handed shooters.
The squared-off trigger guard has a flat-face shape to use as a finger rest. The trigger has an integral safety and a trigger pull very similar in feel to those found on striker-fired 9 mm pistols. The hand filling grip frame is shaped and textured like those of duty pistols favored by law enforcement and military personnel. Perhaps the best feature in this category is the 16-round magazine which keeps the frequency of reloads in harmony with double-stack pistols.
The Do-All Competition Model
I've mentioned in previous write-ups the idea of just-one guns, meaning pistols, rifles or shotguns that can fill most, if not all, of your particular shooting needs within a given shooting category. The TX22 Competition model is currently vying for the top slot on my just-one .22 pistol list.
The TX22 Competition is tricked out with a bull barrel, open top slide and a fixed red dot optics mount.
The lower half of the Competition model is identical to the Standard model, which is as it should be. No changes were needed. It’s the upper half that has been upgraded. The standard, flush fit fixed 4.01" barrel has been replaced with a target-grade 5.25" bull barrel. The threaded muzzle extends past the slide for use with muzzle accessories including compensators and sound suppressors.
The top of the aluminum slide has been opened up to accommodate a red-dot optic mounting plate which is fixed directly to the barrel. This aids in better shot placement because the optic does not move back and forth on the slide but stays right in line with the bore of the barrel. It proved to be an accurate combination during testing. I would be happy to see groups hovering around 3” to 3.5” in size when firing a production .22 pistol. Using a red-dot optic to fire bench-rested 5-shot groups at 25 yards, this version of the TX22 kept group sizes comfortably between 1.75" to 2.50" in size.
The TX22 Competition model can do it all, including casual plinking, target shooting, .22 rimfire matches, small-game hunting, and it can be used as an understudy for a defensive pistol fitted with a micro red dot optic. It has a suggested retail price of $533.33, which is a solid step up in cost compared to the $348.43 price tag for the Standard TX22. But if you want the red-dot option and the boost in performance the 5.25" bull barrel provides, it’s well worth the investment.
The TX22s are “Roach Guns”
Believe it or not, this is a compliment. I first heard the term “roach gun” used in early Glock pistol reviews. It means the gun will feed, fire and eject pretty much any ammunition you choose to feed it.
These pistols proved to be reliable with a variety of ammunition.
Rimfire pistols have a well-earned reputation for being ammunition sensitive, meaning, they jam more often than center-fire pistols. This is due in large part to so many differing grades of .22 LR ammunition. Quality ranges from cheap bulk-box practice loads to premium hunting hollow points in a variety of velocities including Subsonic, Standard, High Velocity and Hyper velocity. In other words, it’s no mean feat to build a .22 pistol that can run reliably most of the time.
Inside and out, the TX22 is a quality gun at a fair price.
I've fired hundreds of rounds through the Standard and Competition versions of the TX22 including a wide range of brands and bullet velocities. The only malfunction I've run into was a single failure to fire due to a cartridge with a faulty primer, which can't be blamed on the pistols. These are some of the most reliable .22 pistols I’ve worked with so far. For more information, visit taurususa.com.
The price is right whether you are looking for a ready-to-use competition pistol or an enjoyable casual plinker.