Taurus Hits it Out of the Park with the New TX22

In his now-classic The Principles of Personal Defense, the late Col. Jeff Cooper observed with his characteristic straightforwardness, “You are no more armed because you are wearing a pistol than you are a musician because you own a guitar.”

Far from the cowboy gunslingers portrayed by mainstream media, modern advocates of armed self-defense take their craft seriously. Great firearms instructors like Cooper understand that using a handgun requires what all skills require: first, training; then, practice, practice, practice.

But unlike basketball or dominoes, practicing with a firearm requires money… cheddar… moo-lah. Sending $50 of 9mm downrange twice a month isn’t in the cards for some gun owners, which is why a .22LR training pistol is an invaluable asset in anyone’s firearms collection.

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the Taurus TX22 may have eclipsed all other budget-friendly training handguns in this category. Released earlier this year, the TX22 holds 16 rounds in each double-stacked magazine, is insanely comfortable to shoot, maintains reliability after hundreds of rounds, and has a great trigger, to boot.

If you’re looking for a .22LR trainer pistol at a reasonable price, look no further than Taurus’ new offering.

Specifications

  • FRAME SIZE: Full
  • CAPACITY: 16 rds
  • ACTION TYPE: SAO
  • CALIBER: 22LR
  • HEIGHT: 5.44″
  • WIDTH: 1.25″
  • WEIGHT: 17.30 oz.
  • BARREL LENGTH: 4.10″
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 7.06″
  • FRONT SIGHT: Fixed White Dot
  • REAR SIGHT: Adjustable White Dot
  • SAFETY: Striker Block, Manual Safety, Trigger Safety
  • MSRP: $349.00

Competition or Training?

I’ll say upfront that I love the TX22, but I think Taurus overplayed its hand a bit. The promotional material announcing the pistol and the description on Taurus’ website both claim that the TX22 “feels every bit like a custom-tuned competition model-without any costly upgrades or modifications.”

That’s a bit of a stretch.

The Taurus does indeed have a nice trigger (more on that below), and it’ll no doubt perform well at competitions like the Steel Challenge. If you’re looking to dive into the wonderful world of competition, the TX22 would be a good place to start. But I wouldn’t put it in the same category as a “custom-tuned” race gun from a company like Volquartsen. Taurus may not have meant to compare their $300 handgun to a $1200 work of art, but if that’s the case, the promotional material should have been clearer.

The TX22 is a great low-cost trainer.

Still, for all the reasons I describe below, the TX22 is worth every penny as a training handgun. It may not live up to Taurus’ own hype, but if you’re tired of spending money practicing with your 9mm (or, heaven forbid, a 45ACP), the TX22 is the way to go.

Fits Like a Glove, With Room to Spare

The first time I picked up the TX22 at this year’s NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits, I thought to myself, “This feels like a Walther…” For those unfamiliar with the German handgun company, that’s a good thing. The TX22 features excellent ergonomics, from the shape of the grip to the rough-but-not-too-rough texturing.

Its full-size handgun dimensions help, too. The TX22 approximates compact-to-full-sized pistols more closely than most other semi-auto .22’s, which makes it a perfect trainer for those larger handguns.

The grip is comfortable and nicely textured without being too rough.
Takedown involves nothing more than pulling down two tabs on either side of the handgun.
The barrel comes with a threaded adapter for suppressor use. Users can also run it without the adapter.

Taurus designed the grip to accommodate the two 16-round polymer magazines that accompany the TX22. Slimmer handguns like the Ruger SR22 or the Smith & Wesson MP22 are good trainers, but their 10-round magazines make for constant reloading. The six extra rounds in the TX22 allow shooters to maintain focus longer and work through more repetitions.

If you’re practicing for Steel Challenge, for example, you can make three runs with the TX22’s magazine rather than just two. It’s a small difference, but it reduces the time spent loading and reloading, which is nice during a long trip to the range.

Trigger = Happy

After the ergonomics, the trigger is the next thing I noticed about the TX22. The 5-pound break is clean after about 1/3” of takeup, and the reset is short and tactile. We’re spoiled for triggers these days (even in striker-fired polymer guns), and Taurus’ Pittman Trigger System (PTS) is keeping up with the times. Riding the trigger’s spring-assisted reset made it almost too easy to burn through a full magazine, and it helps land shots on target, too.

The fire control system also utilizes an ambidextrous thumb safety that can be engaged while racking the slide, which new shooters (and parents of new shooters) will no doubt appreciate.

The trigger is one of the TX22’s best features.

“At the onset of the TX22 developed, we went back and forth on what type of trigger mechanism it should be,” Olivier Coulombier, Taurus’ Director of Engineering, told me via email. “It was originally planned to be a double-action-only. When I started with Taurus, I thought since .22LR pistols are mostly used for plinking, it should be fun to shoot so I steered towards a single action mechanism.

“Jason Pittman (design engineer) has a lot of experience working on precision rifles. He used his experience and knowledge to design a trigger mechanism for a pistol that is inspired by precision rifles trigger mechanisms. This resulted, in my opinion, one of the best triggers on the market right now out of the box when compared to guns in similar class (polymer semi-autos).”

Pittman also told us at this year’s SHOT Show that the design of the firing mechanism also makes the TX22 totally safe to dry-fire. Most manufacturers do not recommend dry-firing .22LR firearms, but the TX22 is different. Users won’t damage the firing pin or the mouth of the chamber if they want to take advantage of the trigger-control training dry-fire offers.

Shoots Straight

It feels good, but how does it shoot? Accuracy and reliability are among a handgun’s most important traits, and the TX22 doesn’t disappoint. I used five different kinds of ammunition to test both categories. For the accuracy testing, I set the gun on a rest and shot five, five-shot groups from 10 yards.

The TX22 is a pleasure to shoot and won’t fail you during a full day at the range.

Accuracy testing a handgun without a Ransom Rest (or similar tool) leaves more room for human error than does rifle testing. I’ve provided the data below, so you can draw your own conclusions. But knowing my limitations as a handgun shooter, I took the smallest group with each load as a measure for the TX22’s potential – using that metric, I was pleased.

Cartridge Bullet Avg. Velocity (FPS) Smallest Group Largest Group Average Group
Federal Champion 36g 1011 0.8” 2” 1.5”
Federal HunterMatch 40g 998 0.8” 1.8” 1.3”
Aguila Super Extra 40g 987 0.7” 1.8” 1.3”
CCI Green Tag 40g 897 0.7” 2” 1.4”
RWS Target Rifle 40g 853 1 2.5 1.4”

Keeps Running

Shot-to-shot consistency is important, but you probably won’t be entering any Olympic competitions with the TX22. In a training pistol, reliability is key. There’s nothing worse than planning to spend a productive afternoon at the range only to be frustrated by a jamming, malfunctioning handgun. The TX22 will hit what you’re aiming at (if you do your job), and it’ll load another in the chamber – every time.

I’ve put about 1,000 rounds through the TX22 between all the loads you see above, along with Remington’s 36g “Golden Bullet” cartridge. I experienced a grand total of two malfunctions, both of which might not be connected to the gun.

I had one light primer strike with Federal’s Champion ammunition. After examining the case, I saw that the firing pin did strike the primer. Federal makes great ammo, so I hesitate to blame the cartridge, but one bad round here and there isn’t unheard of. I’ve had great success (both in terms of accuracy and reliability) with Federal’s BYOB ammunition, but it isn’t match-quality stuff.

In the other malfunction, the slide failed to strip the first round from the magazine. I soon realized that I had likely loaded the magazine incorrectly. It’s possible to load the final round so the nose points down, which keeps it from sliding up the feed ramp and into the chamber. To avoid this problem (along with sore fingers), I used the provided speed loader for the rest of the magazine loading. I never experienced the problem after that.

When you load the plastic magazines, be sure to use the provided speed loader.

Other than those two hiccups, the TX22 ran… and ran and ran. I shot full magazines. I shot with both hands, strong hand, and weak hand. I shot rapid-fire, and with a limp wrist. I shot from a rest and while standing, and the gun never stopped.

I can’t even say I cleaned and oiled it first. That’s not best practice, but it does demonstrate that the TX22 isn’t picky about its state of cleanliness. (Plus, once you do plan on cleaning it, the quick takedown mechanism makes scrubbing the internals a snap.)

Is There Anything Bad to Say About It?

I love how the rear sight adjusts for both windage and elevation. Precisely tuning the sights is a simple process with a small flathead screwdriver, and I didn’t experience any issues moving the sight vertically or horizontally.

The rear sight is easy to adjust for both windage and elevation.

The sights aren’t impressive otherwise. Both the front and the rear are constructed of polymer, and the front sight isn’t dovetailed. Polymer sights are less durable than irons, though they’ll work fine unless you drop them on a concrete surface. The rear sight is easy to replace, but the fixed front sight requires more know-how to swap out.

The three-dot design is a classic, but not my favorite. That’s a personal preference, of course, and for a $300 gun that runs perfectly and feels great to shoot, I’ll take it.

More concerning is the fact that I had to adjust the rear sight all the way to the left to get on target. I have no reason to believe this is a design flaw, so your TX22 likely won’t have the same issue.

I had to move the rear sight all the way to the left to get on target.

Final Shots

The sights may not be perfect, but I still think Taurus hit this one out of the park. While the Brazilian company has enjoyed a spotty reputation over the years, they obviously did their due diligence while developing the TX22. Reliability and accuracy combine with great ergonomics and a clean trigger to make Taurus’ new offering a joy to shoot. And given the cost of .22LR, almost any gun owner can afford to spend a day at the range honing their skills and having a blast.

I’d say that’s $300 well-spent.

For more information visit Taurus website.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Cosmic December 23, 2019, 11:26 am

    I’ve owned multiple Taurus firearms for more than 30 years and have never had an issue with any of them for any reason. I don’t get the negativity I read on most gun sites. I appreciate the affordability they offer and the quality I get for that money, this TX22 will be in my inventory ASAP.

  • Randy Heitz September 20, 2019, 10:48 am

    That was a very disparaging comment about Remington’s “golden bullets”. I shot an entire bucket-o-bullets(1400 rounds) without one misfire through a Marlin model 60.

  • ned September 17, 2019, 4:27 pm

    that is one ugly little pistol. finish looks awful. for the price of that you can get a conversion kit for your favorite carry pistol – I like CZ and have a cadet conversion kit. nothing better than practicing with the gun you’re carrying. target shooting one would think you’d be better off with a ruger mark or a browning or sw…oh well, still good to see more guns hitting the market even if they are taurus

  • Bernie September 16, 2019, 3:38 pm

    Like RJ said, how do you mount a “Red Dot” sight. My kids and grand kids all started out with red dots on SW and Beretta .22 caliber handguns. Can’t see this happening with the Taurus. Bummer….

  • RJ Hamilton September 16, 2019, 1:31 pm

    My older eyes now require the use of a red dot. Would the slide need to be milled to accommodate a red dot

    • Jordan Michaels September 17, 2019, 3:15 pm

      Yeah, there isn’t a red dot mounting system, so the slide would have to be milled.

  • Wil Radford September 16, 2019, 1:30 pm

    We have one of these pistols at the range where I work. We got it for new shooter training and as a rental. We have run 6000+ rounds through it over about 9 weeks now. It has run flawlessly,and does not seem to be picky about ammo. It eats Armscor, Aguila, and just about everything else we have fed it. Always goes bang. POA and POI are one and the same.

    One caveat. Taurus has had some of these guns leave the factory with utter crap for barrels in re the rifling. From all the comments I have seen they are aware of this issue and are making good on replacing them. If you buy one, check the bore before you pays your money. I have one on order to use as cheap practice for my carry auto pistols. The triggers are as good as a lot of other guns costing a lot more money. It’s not a match gun by any means but it does shoot accurately.

    If it was the only gun I had for defense, I’d be okay with 15+1 22 hollowpoints or the prefragmented ammo that someone makes.

    Lastly, I saw on the net last week or so that someone is making steel bodied magazines for this gun now. I’m ordering some.

  • Robert J Weber September 16, 2019, 1:17 pm

    Is it the norm to send 5 boxes of ammo downrange twice a month?

    I only need 50-100 rounds per range visit to stay accurate!

    • Jordan Michaels September 17, 2019, 3:16 pm

      Haha, each to his own, I guess.

  • Mouse September 16, 2019, 7:30 am

    Nice review – but you missed a very important part. How would this gun fit to a smaller or larger hand?

    Taurus revolvers, fire example, are built for large hand size, and a royal pain for somebody with small paws to use. G2 is less comfortable size-wise than it’s competition (again, grip is too big) – but fits better than it’s S&W wheelgun clones.

    What about the grip size on TX22?

    • Jordan Michaels September 16, 2019, 10:16 am

      Good question. The TX22 is designed to mimic the dimensions of a full-sized handgun. I’d compare it to a Sig P226 or other double-stacked 9mm. I have medium-sized hands, so I tend to prefer the compact size range, but I didn’t have any trouble with this gun.

      • Mouse September 16, 2019, 7:25 pm

        Would you be able to compare the grip size to, e.g., Taurus G2? I’ve never touched SIG P226, so can’t make any inference from it.

        • Jordan Michaels September 17, 2019, 3:14 pm

          I’ve never shot a G2, so I can’t say for sure. I’d see if your local gun shop has a TX22 and see for yourself. I found it very comfortable, but not everyone has the same hands/grip.

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