November 06, 2019
By James Tarr
One of Taurus’ newest pistols is the TX22, a polymer-frame striker-fired semiauto .22 Long Rifle that is a very interesting piece. I first got a chance to shoot the prototype of the TX22 in April 2018. At the time, Taurus hadn’t even picked out a name. While the finish work on the pistol was rather rough (prototype, remember), it ran all day without any problems. When production models were finally available, I made sure to get a sample because I was curious how the finished gun compared to the prototype.
The TX22 measures 7.1 inches long by 5.4 inches tall, and it’s 1.25 inches wide at the safety. The slide is 7075 aluminum with a matte black anodized finish. Between the polymer frame and the aluminum slide, the total weight of the pistol is just 17.3 ounces, and that’s with an unloaded magazine inserted. It balances excellently.
It comes with two 16-round magazines; guns destined for states with restrictions come with 10-rounders.The magazines aren’t quite double stack, but they’re not single stack, either. Think stack-and-a-half.
One of the first things you’ll notice about this pistol is the exellent trigger pull. Single-action pistols uniformly have the best trigger pulls—provided they are not overburdened with safeties that add extra parts to the fire control system. The TX22 has an internal safety, an external manual safety lever and a trigger safety lever, but they don’t affect the quality of the trigger pull.
You don’t see the trigger safety lever because the trigger shoe is the safety lever. When you pull the trigger, the shoe pivots and disengages the safety before any parts of the actual trigger (the trigger bar, the striker and so forth) even get involved. But while the trigger shoe/safety lever pivots, the actual trigger inside it moves straight backward, which is what you’d expect in a single-action trigger system.
The Taurus factory trigger pull spec is five pounds. On my sample, after a short take-up that required about two pounds of pressure, the trigger broke crisply and cleanly. Total trigger pull weight was four pounds even, and reset was short, approximately an eighth of an inch.
Taurus calls this the Pittman trigger system, named after Jason Pittman, the lead designer on the TX22 project and the person who designed the trigger system. If I had designed a trigger this good I’d want credit for it as well. Taurus, if you’re listening: If you can put this trigger system into all of your semiauto striker-fired centerfire pistols, do it.
The slide sports aggressive cocking serrations at the front and back. You’ll spot ambidextrous safety levers on the rear of the frame, right where the thumb safety is on a 1911. Up for Safe, down for Fire, but you can engage the safety only if the striker is cocked. Future models will be offered without the manual safety lever.
Your sight picture is the traditional three-white-dot setup: a post front combined with a fully adjustable rear. The sight bodies are polymer, which I rail against on duty guns but find perfectly acceptable on a .22. The fully adjustable rear sight is interesting in that both windage and elevation adjustment screws are on the right side of the sight: elevation screw at the back, windage at the front.
The texturing on the grip is moderately aggressive, and between the texturing, the finger groove, grip shape and the light recoil of .22s, the pistol stays locked into your hand. Taurus’ press release on the TX22 spent paragraphs talking about how much time designers spent designing the grip to make it ergonomic as possible, maximizing the “biomechanical geometry.” While those are fancy marketing words, the result of the company’s efforts is pretty evident.
The gun also has a few features you’d want in a high-end tactical/defensive gun. The large, reversible steel magazine release is protected so it can’t accidentally get pushed, and there are cutouts on the bottom of the frame so you can strip out a stuck magazine if necessary.
In terms of overall appearance, I’d call the TX22 “generic tactical” but with a subtle sci-fi/futuristic flair. I like the looks of it, and I was surprised to find out a fellow gunwriter thought it was hideous. Everyone has different tastes.
The TX22 is suppressor ready, but it has a little different setup. The barrel itself is threaded and comes with a thread protector installed. However, you can’t mount a suppressor directly to the barrel because the muzzle is flush with the slide. No worries, because Taurus also supplies a suppressor collar adapter, which is threaded 1/2x28. Simply remove the thread protector with a 3/8-inch wrench, install the adapter and screw on the suppressor of your choice.
I think the number of people who buy “suppressor ready” pistols because they’re cool far outweigh the number of buyers who actually have suppressors to mount on them, and the TX22 isn’t burdened with those unnecessary extra-tall sights people think you need with suppressors. Not only are rimfire suppressors getting so thin they don’t block standard sights—models like the Surefire SF Ryder 22, for example—but also if you’re shooting a handgun with both eyes open as you should be, even if the suppressor body blocks the sights your brain will superimpose the sights over the target.
When I received my test sample, the first opportunity I had to try it was on the set of “Handguns & Defensive Weapons” TV show at the famed Gunsite Academy. The pistol ran just great…for the first 50 rounds or so. Then we started having some feeding issues, which we immediately traced to one of the two provided magazines. The follower seemed to be binding inside the body of the mag. We set the problem magazine aside, and the pistol went back to running perfectly.
Later, when I got home, I pulled the problem magazine apart and banged it on a hard surface, and all sorts of particulate matter fell out—some sand, but mostly bullet shavings. After reassembly, the magazine worked just fine. There’s a lesson in this: Don’t lube the inside of this or any magazine because the lube will simply attract grit, and this is especially true with .22 Long Rifle ammo, which is notoriously dirty.
The magazines for the TX22 are made completely of polymer components, except for the spring, and I think polymer magazines don’t shed the grit as well as metal magazines do. You might have to stay up on magazine maintenance to keep your pistol running smoothly, especially if you’re shooting in the desert.
Disassembly of the magazines has one step more than usual. Use the tip of a pen or similar tool to push in the detent on the magazine base pad. The base pad will then slide off, and you’ll see a small plastic insert that fits to the bottom of the spring and acts as the detent holding on the base pad.
The plastic insert and spring pull right out the bottom of the magazine. The follower will slide down to the bottom of the magazine body, but like many .22 magazines there are tabs on either side of the follower to help you load it. Those tabs are actually a cylinder of plastic, and when the follower is all the way at the bottom of the magazine, the cylinder slides out to either side, allowing the follower to then drop out of the magazine.
As for disassembly of the pistol, it should be familiar to anyone who has field-stripped a modern striker-fired pistol. After removing the magazine and ensuring the pistol is unloaded, pull the trigger to deactivate the striker. Pull down on the takedown lever just forward of the trigger and the slide will then come off forward and up from the frame.
The TX22 isn’t the first Taurus pistol both designed and manufactured in the United States. That distinction goes to the recent Taurus Spectrum. But my experiences with the Spectrum and the TX22 are similar. Both are fun to shoot, well made and reliable, leading me to hope these and future U.S.-produced Taurus firearms will be free of the quality-control issues that have sometimes plagued the company’s Brazilian imports.
The market is full of purpose-built target .22 handguns like the SW22 and Ruger Mark IV. Those guns have fixed bull barrels and will be inherently more accurate than the TX22, but they’re also more expensive—sometimes costing twice as much as competing guns. The TX22 isn’t trying to be one of them.
The TX22 isn’t a specific lookalike of any existing centerfire semiauto on the market, although I think it’s closer in looks to the HK VP9 than anything else. With its control layout and accessory rail for a light and/or laser, it could very well serve as a “trainer,” but this wasn’t Taurus’ specific aim.
The company refers to the TX22 as a “sporting pistol” aimed at the “shooting enthusiast market,” meant to have “broad consumer appeal.” These quotes come from Taurus’ marketing materials, and in this case I’d say they accurately describe the TX22. I found it just fun to shoot, no matter what kind of shooting I was doing.
Additional 10- and 16-round TX22 magazines are available from shoptaurus.com for just $22 apiece. Taurus doesn’t offer any holsters for it, but I found holsters designed for the TX22 from Crossbreed and Forged Tec online.
The TX22 is not a dedicated target gun or trainer or meant for kids or new shooters. Instead, the TX22 is meant to be suitable, to one degree or another, for all of those shooting endeavors. It has a great trigger and adjustable (if somewhat basic) sights. It is light, well-balanced and as soft-recoiling a .22 as you can find. Last but not least it’s designed and made in the USA at an affordable price.
Taurus TX22 Specifications
- Type: striker-fired, single-action semiauto
- Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
- Capacity: 16+1
- Barrel Length: 4.1 in.
- OAL/Height/Width: 7.1/5.44/1.25 in.
- Weight: 17.3 oz
- Construction: anodized 7075 aluminum slide, polymer frame
- Safeties: drop, trigger lever, ambidextrous thumb
- Sights: 3 dot; fully adjustable rear
- Trigger: 4 lb. pull (measured)
- Price: $349
- Manufacturer: Taurus, TaurusUSA.com