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Taurus TX22 Competition: Turned the Corner or Another Curve?

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Let’s get this out of the way before we go any further. This is the first Taurus handgun ever to appear in the pages of RECOIL, because up until comparatively recently they were about as appealing as a piss-flavored snow cone. 

For example, there was the small issue of the home team in Brazil not being too happy with their .40-cal 24/7 DS pistols. In 2013, the Sao Paulo Military Police discovered to their dismay that some of the guns would discharge when shaken vigorously, leading to the recall of all 98,000. There swiftly followed a $30-million class-action lawsuit in the U.S., which resulted in the company being forced to buy back nine of their affected models. The quality of their revolvers took a nosedive slightly before. That kind of negative press is tough to shake off, but we’ve been quietly waiting for them to introduce something to restore something approaching faith in the brand. This not-so-little 22 could be it.

Taurus TX22 disassembled
There’s a bit of play between the barrel and frame which, although off-putting, shouldn’t make any difference in the accuracy department, as the sight and barrel are one solid unit.

The Taurus TX22 Competition is the latest version of the Brazilian company’s rimfire semi-auto that was introduced in 2019. When it was launched, one of the most attractive aspects of the pistol was its 16-round magazines, which coupled with a full-sized frame meant it was a very competent training surrogate for the ubiquitous 9mm striker-fired handguns we all seem to gravitate toward. For new shooters, it’s an easy step to go from plinking with the Taurus TX22, to picking up a carry gun, as both the appearance and manual of arms are almost identical. Given the current ammo shortage and the price of centerfire cartridges, burning a brick of 22LR in a training session still seems a comparative bargain, if you can find it.

Taurus TX22 from above

The Competition model ships with three mags, which are easy to fill and fed flawlessly throughout our testing period, where they were stuffed with everything from CCI Clean 22 (both supers and subs) to Blazer bulk pack, to Aguila hyper velocity hollow points. Extra mags can be had for around a Jackson, considerably less than its nearest competitors. In keeping with its training role, the mags feature a last-round hold open, which likewise functioned with all ammo types. Located in the same position as a full-size handgun, the mag release is fairly small, well shielded, and less accessible than most centerfires. Our XXL size hands could hit it OK, but anyone with smaller mitts might have a harder time and may need to reposition their hand in order to use it effectively. 

Although the Taurus TX22 has adequate (plastic) iron sights, it’s hard to overlook one of its most appealing features, in that it comes already setup for an RDS. Its aluminum slide is cut away to reveal a fairly heavy barrel, which is drilled and tapped for a mount that can be set up via an adapter plate for the dot of your choice. Current plates fit Leupold, Trijicon, and Vortex footprints, so finding an optic to fit is pretty straightforward. We bolted up a Hex Dragonfly for the test, which proved to be a solid choice. Sculpting the slide to look like everyone’s favorite pasta pistol has the effect of isolating the MRDS from electronics-killing g-forces, so even a cheapy optic should last just about forever. 

The Taurus TX22’s frame is injection molded from the same glass-reinforced nylon found in every other plastic fantastic, and there’s a good amount of texturing in order to improve grip, without being too aggressive. Its trigger guard is squared off to accommodate those who like to wrap the index finger of their support hand around it, and undercut for those of us who shoot correctly. A two-slot Pic rail is molded into the dust cover to accept weapon-mounted lights or lasers, and we found a SureFire X300 Ultra to fit without excessive slop between the trigger guard and switches. 

 The Taurus TX22 looks like it might field strip in the same manner as its bigger counterparts, but it’s a bit different. Instead of the usual method of pulling down the takedown lever after retracting the slide a few millimeters and then running the top end off the front of the frame, you’ll find yourself lifting it up off the frame rails. You can then pluck the barrel up out of the slide cutout. 

Taurus TX22 rear sight
A fully adjustable rear sight and ambi safety could make even a 1911 aficionado warm to the TX.

Suppressor users will rejoice at the pistol’s ½-28 threaded muzzle, and we found it to be a good host for our Ruger Silent SR can. Standard velocity ammo was subsonic from the 5-inch barrel, and even our hotter loads were hearing safe, making for pleasant plinking performance. Note that as far as we could tell, the thread protector was installed by a linebacker with an impact wrench. Its flats are tiny, so getting it off might prove to be a bit of a struggle, but the muzzle threads are concentric and there’s enough of a shoulder to allow for a secure install.

Although the Taurus TX22 lacks the typical Glock safety pedal in the trigger, it’s hinged to prevent inadvertent operation, and there’s a safety plunger in the slide that’ll stop the striker from hitting the cartridge in the event of it slipping the sear. A belt-and-suspenders, ambi manual safety lies in the same location as a 1911s, and it’s easy to apply and disengage. At this point, you’re probably asking about the trigger and expecting us to make excuses for it. Nope. While it’s not in the same league as a slicked-up Walther, it’s light-years ahead of any stock Glock. According to our scale, it broke at around 4.75 pounds, though felt lighter, with 5/8 inch of take-up to a solid wall, and about 3/16 inch of reset distance. It’s not going to get in the way of a training session and because it’s pretty damn nice, transitioning back to a “real” gun might take more than a couple of mags. 

Taurus TX22 front sight
Slide finish is flat black anodizing, and muzzle threads are adequate for use with a can. Although the majority of the slide is aluminum, there’s a steel breech insert for longevity.

As far as accuracy goes, it rates a solid “OK.” We were expecting the combination of a decent trigger and a barrel-mounted, rather than slide-riding, red dot to produce better results than it did. Given the notoriously picky nature of rimfires and the limited number of ammo options on hand, we might’ve overlooked the winning combination. The Taurus TX22 turned in groups of around 3 inches at 20 yards, about 30-percent larger than those we shot with a Browning Buckmark with iron sights, but still more than adequate for ringing steel plates, chasing soda cans, and punching paper. Despite conducting the majority of our testing with a suppressor hanging off the front, the little-pistol-that-could chewed through everything we put on its plate — though it was very dirty and gunked up after firing over 500 rounds with just a couple of drops of oil on the slide rails. How will it hold up over time? Honestly, we have no idea. Being aluminum, the slide has a finite number of cycles before it cracks but given the overall quality of the build, this could stretch into the multiple tens of thousands of rounds. We look forward to finding out, as shooting the Taurus TX22 is pretty damn fun. 

Taurus TX22

Despite having the word “Competition” in its title, the Taurus TX22 is never going to win a shoot off with a S&W 41. But if you’re looking for a fun plinker that’ll bridge the gap between airsoft and real guns, hold its own in Steel Challenge matches, and serve as a less expensive training surrogate for a striker-fired 9mm, then the Taurus would be an excellent choice. We’re planning on holding onto this one and taking it big-game hunting in the fall. With a can and red dot installed it’ll be a great tool for quietly taking rabbits, grouse, and squirrels for the pot, and for plinking in camp when socked in by weather. Would we use a Taurus as a carry piece? Not until hell drops a few degrees. But we’ll give the company credit for producing a very competent 22LR.  

Taurus TX22 Competition

Caliber: 22LR
Capacity: 16 rounds
Barrel Length: 5.25 inches
Overall Length: 8.2 inches
Weight (unloaded): 23 ounces

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