Semi-automatic 22 pistols have been a bit of a conundrum in the past, it seems every manufacturer has tried to make one that is both reliable and feature filled. But there always seems to be a shortcoming or compromise. When I first put hands on the Taurus TX22 years ago, I had a preconceived notion that it too would become another obligatory 22 pistol that was almost good enough. That was the initial TX22 pistol, but today we are going to look at one of the newest TX22 models, and see if it measures up, or exceeds what we are used to. I am happy to bring you a review of the TX22 Compact pistol from Taurus USA.
The TX22 Compact
The TX22 Compact is a polymer-frame striker fired pistol, it is fed from polymer magazines that hold up to 13-rounds. The compact version of the pistol also has some slide cuts to reduce weight, as well as an optics cut at the rear for mourning your favorite red dot sight. In a departure from the standard TX22, the compact features non-adjustable sights. That is probably because you can mount a red dot and adjust that instead.
The small pistol also features a standard picatinny accessory rail under the muzzle for attaching whatever light or aiming accessory you’d prefer. Like its larger sibling, the TX22 Compact also features a threaded barrel, and comes with a suppressor collar to install your favorite hush-tube. At the rear of the frame there is an ambidextrous safety that is easily manipulated with the firing-hand thumb.
My very first impression of the TX22 Compact was its weight, it felt incredibly light. This is surely due to the polymer construction and aluminum parts. And much the same way as the full size TX22, I immediately fell in love with the grip. It fits my hand perfectly and the texturing makes it very easy to keep hold of. The lightweight and comfortable grip had already hooked me, but would it perform as good as it looked and felt? If my initial feelings were right, I was pretty confident that this pistol would be a winner.
The TX22 has a relatively short history. The original model was released only a few years ago, and Taurus has since expanded the line with an assortment of models and colors. The competition model uses a cut slide with a reduced front end on the slide as well as an optics mounting platform. The Compact is the most recent development, though I’m sure there will likely be additional offerings.
Lets go over some of the key features that set the TX22 Compact apart. Perhaps one of the most exciting developments with the TX22 is the magazines. For decades it seemed like 22 auto pistols had but one option for capacity, a single stack 10-round magazine. The TX22 uses what I guess you could call a double stack, in that the rims of the stacked cartridges are offset to the right and left as they are stacked into the magazine. The original full-size TX22 holds 16-rounds, while the flush-fitting magazines of the Compact model hold only 13. But to be fair, 13 rounds in a pistol this small, and this light make it very appealing. Also, the 16-round magazines of the full size TX22 also fit into the compact, though they do hang out exposed.
The trigger of the TX22 is another fantastic feature, instead of using a blade-safety, the TX22 utilizes the entire shoe. As the trigger is pulled, the shoe pivots into its firing position where the sear can be activated. It feels quite good considering the inexpensive cost of the TX22’s. The trigger also has a pretty short reset which I find spectacular, and greatly increases your ability to shoot rapidly with minimal movement.
The threaded barrel of the TX22 is another fantastic feature that comes from the factory. And the included suppressor collar allows you to go straight to the range with suppressor in hand. The barrel comes with a thread-cap installed, it is easily removed with a wrench using the machined flats on the thread-cap. You can then install the shouldered suppressor collar, which just threads over the muzzle with a flush fit. The collar also had a nice shoulder to tighten your suppressor against.
The TX22 Compact slide comes pre-cut for optics, and it fits micro red dots like the Holosun 407K and the new Vortex Defender. This is such a fantastic feature, especially to me who has become more and more addicted to red dots on my pistols. The steel plate is easily removed with the two screws, and your micro red dot will take its place.
The controls of the TX22 are easy to operate and understand, the slide release is easy to press with the thumb to drop the slide while shooting. The safety is not obtrusive but easy to reach and activate when needed, and it’s on both sides of the pistol for those wrong-handed folks out there. The mag release button is small and very functional, it too can be reversed to the opposite side of the frame for left-handers.
I guess my favorite feature of the TX22 family is that unlike most 22 auto-loading pistols, it doesn’t feel like a toy. While it is very light, even lighter than my son’s airsoft pistol, it still feels like a real gun. It doesn’t have the undersized grip that many others do, when you pick it up it feels like you’ve got a real gun in your hand. Add to that the dashing good looks of the pistol, and you’ve got a winner in your hand.
Performance and Precision
Being a humble little 22lr pistol, I’m not sure what level of accuracy people will expect from it. But I find the pistol to be very accurate for the purposes that I would use a 22 pistol for. I have used it to train my kids a great deal for pistol shooting, and every one of them absolutely loves shooting the TX22. It never fails, every time we go shooting I hear: can we bring the Taurus?
Shooting inexpensive bulk packed ammunition is what I expect most other people to shoot, as do I. The TX22 Compact is easy to keep on targets as small as squirrels at distances like 15 to 20 yards. Dispatching small rodents and even rats in the shed is surprisingly easy with the little TX22.
In addition to its accurate shooting, the near lack of any felt recoil seems to help shoot the pistol even better.
As I mentioned above, the fit in my hand is one of the first things that sold me on this pistol. It feels comfortable, and fills a man’s hand. The texturing on the frame makes it easy to keep hold of when manipulating the pistol, and the slightly flared magwell makes reloading an easy and smooth operation.
The trigger feels great, and all the controls are right where they should be and easy to operate. Even my wife who has particularly petite hands finds the TX22 Compact easy to operate and shoot well.
The TX22’s features are outstanding. Not only does it have most everything a person could ask for, they are included from the factory. With a price this low you get quite a few features I am both surprised and happy to get.
The higher capacity magazines, the optics ready slide, and factory threaded barrel are probably my favorite features of this pistol.
Fit & Finish (8.5-10)
The TX22 family of pistols all come with a pretty handsome look to them. The different color frame options are nice, and the pistol seems to be put together well. I know it’s only a 22, and most people aren’t going to be betting their life on the durability of the TX22. That said, I think there are just a few things that do give the impression of a “cheap” pistol, such as the plastic firing pin bushings. And as much as I like the magazines, they are all plastic, and they don’t feel like it would be hard to crush them if accidentally stepped on or something. I also noticed that the coating of the slide isn’t as tough as I would like it to be, but at this price I can’t complain.
Despite the few things that may make it seem cheap, I cannot find where the TX22 is flawed or poorly assembled. It’s a great looking pistol.
I’ve been shooting the TX22 compact for nearly six months now, and I’ve lost track of how many boxes of Federal AutoMatch we’ve put through it. But at 325 rounds per box I’d estimate we have shot nearly two thousand rounds through the Compact TX22, this with a negligible occurrence of malfunctions. I was not surprised, as that was the same experience I had with the full size TX22, shooting through thousands of rounds with nearly zero issues.
Of course being a 22lr, the TX22 is going to be dirty, and will need occasional cleaning to keep it running in top shape. Particularly if you are shooting suppressed, which a great deal of our shooting has been.
I ran my Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 22 on the TX22 Compact, it was a perfect match that provided hours and hours of incredibly quiet fun for the family. Of course you should always wear eye protection when shooting, but it is an absolute must when shooting this pistol suppressed. There is a good deal of debris blown back when suppressed, so keep your glasses on.
With a street price just over $300, I think the TX22 Compact is an absolutely incredible value. There are other competitors like the Sig 322 that cost a bit more, and offer a higher capacity. The Keltec P17 is cheaper still, if you want a gun that looks like it was designed by a high school shop class.
I think the TX22 performance and features are well worth the asking price, and having spent a great deal of time shooting this and other TX22’s I am quite confident its performance is long term.
Pro & Cons
- Excellent value
- Reliable performance
- High capacity magazines
- Optics ready
- Picatinny accessory rail
- Ambidextrous controls
- Suppressor ready from factory
- Comes with 2 magazines
- Magazines could be arguably fragile
- I need more of them
I mentioned the Sig P322 above, it would likely be a good alternative to the TX22. It carries a higher capacity magazine, and weighs a bit more but that is expected. It also comes with the big Sig Sauer name that so many crave.
The Keltec P17 is another option, with a comparable capacity to the TX22, and at an even cheaper price. It is also lighter than both the Sig and Taurus, but it also appears to come with fewer features.
How much is the Taurus TX22?
The Taurus TX22 can be had for as little as $308 depending on where you buy
Is it safe to dry fire the Taurus TX22?
Many 22lr pistols are not supposed to be dry fired, but according to Taurus USA, the TX22 series is made to be safely dry fired
What red dot will fit the Taurus TX22 Compact?
The TX22 compact accepts micro red dots with the same pattern as the Holosun 407K, I installed that model, as well as the Vortex Defender red dot.
Is the TX22 Compact?
The standard TX22 is compact enough to conceal, and the compact model is even moreso. It is very comparable in size to the Glock 19.
So if you haven’t gathered by now, I am a big fan of the entire TX22 family of pistols. I’ve spent the last 3 or 4 years shooting one version or another, and they have proven to be accurate, reliable, and incredibly fun to shoot. Compact pistols are typically designed for concealed carry purposes, which makes sense. I will say that I am not going to recommend carrying a 22lr as your concealed carry, but I will mention a few positive things for those that might. The TX22 Compact is very comfortable to carry, it’s both small and light so you wont notice it as much as other guns. And in the event that you should ever have to draw it, it can be emptied very quickly, and all thirteen shots can be dumped into a target with great accuracy and speed.
Other features like the threaded barrel and optics cut slide give you many of the more desired features of modern auto-loading pistols. It may not be some top tier handgun, but when it comes to 22’s I don’t know of one that I would say is top tier.
I would say that if you are looking for a fun, reliable, and accurate 22lr pistol, you will not likely find a better option. There might be one that is comparable, but it will be more expensive for sure. I must admit that I have found the TX22 to be well worth the asking price, so much in fact that I have returned to the TX22 again and again. I now own four of them in one configuration or another, if you need a good 22 pistol, buy the TX22 with confidence.