Words and Photos: Matt Kartozian
Last year I had an itch to start shooting a new division in Steel Challenge. I specifically wanted to shoot in Rimfire Pistol Open aka RFPO. In the Phoenix area (and most of the country I suspect) the Ruger Mark series 22 pistol platform is the most popular by a good margin. At the time, the Mark IV pistols were going for $800 and up and I would still need to spend a couple of hundred dollars to get it competition ready. Not wanting to spend that much, I started looking at other options and was intrigued when I came across the newly released Taurus TX22 Competition.
In competition, reliability is the most important thing. This is particularly true with 22 pistols as many of them have issues. The odds of winning a match are astronomical when using a gun that has issues like jamming or failures to feed. I spoke to a couple of friends with the standard TX22 and all were pleased with its reliability and performance. As a result, I decided to take the plunge and buy one.
While researching the pistol, a few things jumped out at me. Threaded barrel, this is needed if you want to run a compensator and in competition every little bit helps. Magazines were readily available and relatively cheap. TX22 mags come in 10, 15 and 16 round versions and they are typically in stock from the Taurus Shop for $22 each. The pistol comes with three mags included, but for Steel Challenge you want to have at least 6 mags loaded before starting a stage. The coolest and most unique feature of the TX22 Comp is the optics mounting system.
Most 22 pistols require a Picatinny rail to be attached to the top of the receiver; then you add a pic rail adapter to your red dot. This results in a rather tall height over bore which is not a desirable feature. I want my optic as low as possible. A lower dot is easier for the eye to pick up upon presentation and you have less issue with Point of Aim vs. Point of Impact as there is less space between the dot and the centerline of your bore.
The TX22 Comp does away with these problems by mounting your Red Dot Sight (RDS) directly to the barrel. The main plate has three sets of threaded holes to accommodate all of the popular dot sights on the market. The main plate comes attached to the barrel via two screws. Two adapter plates are also included. Each adapter has two sides for a total of four RDS footprints. Check your manual for the proper adapter plate for your RDS and then simply screw your optic into the main plate with the screws provided with your optic. There are no additional parts to find and buy to mount your optic. This setup lets you mount your optic as low as possible. Since your optic is attached to the barrel, you don’t have to worry about losing your zero when you take the pistol apart. It is really a great system.
The TX22 comes from the factory with a decent set of iron sights (the rear is adjustable) for those waiting until a later date to add an optic. The controls, mag release, slide lock, and manual safety are all well placed and easy for me to manipulate with my strong hand. The safety is ambidextrous and the mag release can be flipped for left-handed shooters. It is well appointed and ready to compete out of the box.
The trigger on my unit was a hair under 5 lbs out of the box with a clean break. The trigger safety bothered me a bit though. Glocks and many other pistols use a blade of sorts in the middle of the trigger face for the trigger safety. Taurus went a different route with the TX22. There is no blade and instead the entire trigger shoe rotates on one axis to disengage the trigger safety before rotating on a different axis to fire the round. It’s not necessarily bad. It is just different and feels a bit odd to me. Fortunately there is quite a bit of aftermarket support for the TX22 line and I set about making some changes to make the TX22 Comp ideal for me.
First was the trigger. Tandem Kross makes a lot of upgrade parts for the TX22 and the Victory trigger is the largest improvement over stock. At $50 it is a bargain. The TK trigger does away with the rocking trigger safety of the factory trigger. The trigger shoe only rotates on a single axis and is more familiar to me. My TX22 break’s at 3.5 pounds with the Victory trigger installed. The break is cleaner and you can adjust both pre travel and overtravel to get the trigger feel you prefer.
The second most important upgrade is a compensator. While 22s have low recoil, it is enough to disturb the sights. 22s also don’t produce much gas for a comp, but they do produce enough to make a small difference. The biggest difference a comp on a 22 pistol gives you is weight on the end of the barrel to counteract muzzle rise. Tandem Kross offers three comps for the TX22, one made of aluminum and two made of steel. I opted for the Game Changer Pro Squared. It is made of steel to add more weight and the square profile matches the lines of the TX22 Comp better than the rounded Game Changer Pro model which is round.
The trigger and comp were significant upgrades but I was not done yet with Tandem Kross. I also added their Halo charging ring which makes the slide easier to grab when under pressure. It simply replaces the backplate on the slide and installs in seconds. TK’s Titan extended mag release was next. There are no mag changes on the clock in Steel Challenge (unless you royally screw up a string) but I like that the Titan can speed up my mag changes if I use the TX22 in other games. I added the Eagle Claw extractor as well. I did not have any issues with the factory extractor but for $12 why not. I use TK extractors in all my 22 firearms that TK makes them for.
I also installed two Wingman +5 base pads. They up the mag capacity to 21 rounds. They give me the ability to be more competitive in action pistol-style field courses where you usually have 16 required hits if you don’t need a makeup shot. The increased capacity is also great for practice or general plinking. Lastly, I bought a TK loading tool for the TX22. For me, loading tools are mandatory equipment for any mag-fed 22 firearms. For the TX22 they allow you to easily pull the follower down to load the mags.
TK also sells a kit that includes all the parts they make for the TX22 called the TX22 Everything Kit.
The TX22 comp has good texture molded into the grips but I like a really aggressive texture on my competition pistols. Talon Grips makes a great sandpaper style grip that is pre cut for the TX22. It ensures that my hand will not slip, even when its 110 degrees during summertime in Arizona and my hands are sweating.
All of the upgrade parts from Tandem Kross and others are available right from Taurus via their webstore. If you have a standard TX22 you can buy the Competition slide for $199 and you can buy a standard slide for your Competition for $149.
In actual competition use the TX22 Comp has been great. In Steel Challenge I have managed to put up three Master and one Grand Master stage times and have earned and Master classification. It is absolutely up to the task of winning any Steel Challenge match if the shooter has the skill. I have mostly been using it with CCI 36gr Mini Mag hollow points, now called the Mini Mag Varmint version. I mistakenly ordered 10,000 rounds of these a few years ago instead of the Target 40gr round nose Mini Mags. It was a mistake because many of my 22s that run great on the RN bullets have frequent issues feeding the HP version. Luckily for me, the TX22 Comp is not all that picky about ammo. When the gun is clean it runs with the HPs 99.9% of the time. When really dirty I get jams or failures to feed about 1% of the time. Some of my other 22s will run with 50% or more failures with the HP ammo.
Check out the video below of the TX22 shooting a steel challenge competition.
If shooting a regional or larger match, I would use RN 22s but for club matches it has been fine. The TX22 Comp ate just about everything I threw at it trouble free. The only time I had significant reliability issues was when using really cheap bulk pack 22 ammo.
But Wait! There’s More! The TX22 Comp is great for competition but it’s also great for a general plinker or for teaching new shooters. Many new shooters are spooked by the noise and recoil of guns, especially with pistols. They also can have problems lining up iron sights properly. 22’s solve the recoil issue; the TX22 Comp’s mount system lets you easily attach an RDS to fix the iron sight problem. Lastly, the threaded barrel lets you easily add a suppressor to kill the noise. Now you have a pistol with minimal recoil, and easy to use sighting system and it’s quiet. The perfect pistol to teach a new shooter.
New shooter trying out the TX22
I run a Surefire Ryder 22S Suppressor on my TX22 Comp which comes with ½-28 threads to match the factory barrel of the TX22 Competition. Just spin it on and go to town! With the suppressor, my TX22 Comp ran great with all supersonic ammunition. With subsonic ammo (generally bullet speeds below 1080fps) it occasionally had issues with the slide not getting full travel. If I was only going to buy one suppressor in my lifetime it would be for a 22. I have been lucky enough to shoot a lot of them in various calibers on both pistol and rifles; 22 cans are by far the most fun. They take a quiet gun and makes it much quieter, especially if used with a manual action.
The Taurus TX22 Competition is a winner in more ways than one. It’s great for actual competition. It’s affordable with a street price of about $500. And it’s a great all around plinker and outstanding suppressor host.
Taurus TX22 Competition Specs:
Magazine Capacity: 10, 15 and 16
Magazines Included: Three
Firing System: Striker
Sights: White Dot Front with Adjustable Rear
Length: 8.15 inches
Width: 1.25 inches
Height: 5.44 inches
Weight: 23 ounces