In colder weather, I favor my Colt Commander in .45 ACP for concealed carry, and as the seasons change the nod goes to something smaller like a compact 9mm. Just recently, though, an interesting alternative knocked on my door.
The Taurus TX 22 Compact is small and light enough for everyday carry. I can hear it now—the .22 Long Rifle for a defense round? I had my doubts at first, but if you think about it, looking down the barrel of any gun—be it a .45 or .22—sure would make any misguided individual a bit uneasy.
This TX 22 Compact lineup includes four models with or without a Riton sight and with a 10- or 13-round capacity.
I was always in favor of an arched mainspring housing, and the curve of the backstrap of the TX 22 Compact with its wide beavertail fits my hand like the gun was made for me. The finger groove on the front of the grip combines with an ideal reach to the trigger.
My sample came with 13-round magazines. They have a small extension at the base in the form of a bumper. Because the bumper fits flush with the sides of the frame, a cutout has been incorporated into the frame, making it easy to strip out a magazine that doesn’t fall free when you push the release.
The magazine release is reversible. It’s easily accessible from inside the magazine well if you want to swap it from left to right. The trigger guard is generous in size, relieved at the grip and squared off with a small lip to keep your off-hand finger secured if you shoot that way.
An ambidextrous safety means this gun will work well for lefties and righties alike—up for Safe, down for Fire. The gun features a trigger safety and a striker block that prevents the striker from being released until the trigger is pulled to its rearmost position.
The flattop slide is made from high-grade aluminum and is finished in a black satin hard-coat. It’s machined with a rakish 45-degree angle on the sides, tapering from the front to the rear sight plate—along with lightening cuts on both sides and the top. The ejection port is lowered on both sides, and cocking serrations are located on both front and rear.
The rear of the slide has been cut for a red dot, with a metal cover plate installed. The cut has the Shield RMSc and Holosun K footprint. Behind that the drift-adjustable rear sight is dovetailed into the slide, and it is plain black with a rounded notch. Up front is a post with a white dot that fits nicely within the rear notch.
The barrel measures 3.6 inches long, with a muzzle diameter of .400 inch. The barrel is threaded, and there are flats on the round thread protector so you can easily apply a wrench and replace it with the supplied suppressor adaptor if you want to shoot it with a can.
Disassembly is straightforward, although instead of removing the slide by withdrawing it to the front, you lift it off the frame.
The gun is blowback-operated, and the TX 22 Compact never balked at the range with a variety of ammunition. And that’s what I’d expect from a well-designed magazine, a polished feed ramp and a gun that is tuned to run well with any standard- or hyper-velocity ammunition.
The Taurus was remarkably consistent in terms of accuracy. All five-shot groups hovered around the two-inch mark, with the best single groups a contest between CCI Standard Velocity and Winchester High Velocity at 1.4 and 1.5 inches, respectively.
Like I said, the gun performed without a hitch, both from the bench and offhand. Thanks to its initial take-up, the trigger feels almost like a two-stage, and it breaks crisply with a total pull weight of five pounds. I liked the rounded rear notch sight because it helped me pick up the square front blade quickly.
Loading the magazine was straightforward, and while the gun comes with a loading aid, I didn’t find it necessary. But here’s a hint: Don’t start loading the magazine from immediately in front of the feed lips. Place the rim of the cartridge into the small notches a bit farther back, and that will make things go fast and easy.
With the TX 22 Compact, Taurus has raised the bar when it comes to .22 rimfire semiautomatic handguns. It’s quick to use, and comfortable and accurate to shoot. Add to that a fine fit and finish plus an attractive price, and the company has a gun that will certainly be in demand for a long time. You can’t ask more than that, and whether you’re looking at this as a carry gun or a plinker, you’ll be well-served.
TAURUS TX 22 COMPACT SPECIFICATIONS
- TYPE: Striker-fired semiauto rimfire
- CALIBER: .22 Long Rifle
- CAPACITY: 10+1 or 13+1 (tested)
- BARREL: 3.6 in.
- OAL/HEIGHT/WIDTH: 6.25/4.9/1.25 in.
- WEIGHT: 16.5 oz.
- CONSTRUCTION: Satin black aluminum slide, polymer frame
- SIGHTS: Drift-adjustable serrated black rear, white-dot front; slide cut for red dot
- TRIGGER: 5 lb. pull (measured), single action only, approx. 5 pounds
- SAFETIES: Manual, trigger, striker block
- PRICE: $400