Story & Photography by Oleg Volk
Taurus’ reputation has long been of making decent budget firearms. With TX22, Taurus stepped up to a higher plane of making guns that can take any competitor head-on with no excuses needed. The design is a dedicated sidearm trainer, meant to mimic the G3 9mm and similar full-size, striker-fired models.
At first glance, the TX22 strikes me as a very visually distinctive design. Streamlined and sleek, it uses the relief of the plastic frame sensibly to direct the trigger finger to a safe position between shots. The ambi-manual safety uses non-snag levers that don’t cut into the hand if the slide is cycled with the safety engaged. At the same time, the levers stand out enough to be operated with gloves on. Similarly, the reversible magazine release is well-fenced against accidental depression, but can be operated easily when needed. The same is true of the recessed, but well-textured, slide stop lever. Low-profile white dot sights are non-snag, yet are easily adjustable for windage with a small flat blade screwdriver. The wide short-reset articulated trigger feels smooth and much lighter than the actual 5.6-pound pull effort. Unlike most articulated triggers, this one is hinged very close to the frame, with the moving edge concealed within the frame to keep debris and dirt out of it. The trigger is effectively three-stage: light take-up, followed by a light, drop safety disengagement, completed with a slightly heavier but short pull to trip the sear. The ergonomic grip is a single-piece mold, but the sculpting was done correctly to accommodate small and large hands. The undercuts behind the trigger guard and below the vestigial beavertail facilitate a solid high grip on the pistol, promoting a very stable hold. Shooting this pistol well is made easy by the very form of it.
The pistol looks heavily built, but it is actually quite light at 17 ounces. The frame is plastic with small aluminum and steel inserts; the slide is hard, anodized aluminum with a steel breechface insert. The drop-free, 16-round magazines are also plastic. Although skeletonized for ease of loading, the magazines have very stout springs to endure reliable feeding. A very convenient magazine loader comes with every pistol. The pistol ships with two magazines; spares retail under $20 each. Thankfully, there’s no magazine disconnector. Taurus was able to achieve perfect reliability with this design: I’ve had zero stoppages in well over 500 rounds of high, standard and subsonic velocity ammunition use in testing. The 4.1-inch barrel, unusual for rimfire pistols, is removable in the manner more typical of locked breech service pistols. A 1/2-28-inch threaded muzzle adapter is included in the box. Although both the thread protector and the adapter have flats, their fit is so tight as to require an open wrench to swap them. That’s helpful for keeping the adapter from threading off in use by itself.
When shot sound is suppressed, the TX22 vents gas out of the sculpted Art Deco-inspired ejection port to the side, away from the shooter’s hands and face. The barrel sits low enough within the slide for the sights to clear typical 1-inch to 1.25-inch diameter rimfire suppressors. Even when the shot is unsuppressed, the TX22 should have the threaded adapter mounted with either a flash hider or a linear compensator to channel the report downrange.
The pistol’s accuracy is good but not target grade. It’s realistic to keep all hits on a silhouette target at 50 yards but not at 100, which is in line with what can be expected of service pistols. Other shooters reported significantly better accuracy, so I may be seeing my own limitations as a pistolero. The sights were helpfully adjusted to the point of impact from the factory. The most important feature of this pistol isn’t the mechanical accuracy but the reliability and consistency with the centerfire service pistol that TX22 so successfully cosplays in feel and manual of arms.
The TX22 fits carry holsters for less expensive, less noisy practice in which the sole difference from running 9mm or larger is the lack of felt recoil. A hybrid leather and Kydex CrossBreed® IWB holster proved comfortable and fairly unobtrusive even on a petite 5-foot, 2-inch shooter. Because this pistol is so reliable, and its ergonomics are excellent, it is one of the few rimfire guns I would consider suitable for self-defense for users who cannot handle .32 ACP, much less larger centerfire calibers. So long as premium grade ammunition is used and rotated frequently, I would expect the stellar reliability to persist. With an MSRP of $350 and actual retail just under $300, TX22 strikes me as a must-have even for people whose centerfire carry guns aren’t Taurus. It would make an equally good trainer for a GLOCK or an M&P, and a fun recreational plinker for all. The front and rear sights are removable and may be upgraded to higher visibility fiber optic models. The Picatinny rail can hold the same light or laser as the standard carry weapon as well.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V24N4 (April 2020)|