In a tough year, and make no mistake, 2019 promises to be a tough year for gun manufacturers, it was thought that innovative product would be enough to get you through as a company. But that is not the only criteria; affordability is playing more and more of a role, too.
Today Taurus announced its new TX22 striker-fired. 22 Long Rifle, semi-automatic pistol. I had the opportunity to shoot this gun in prototype form last year, and I think this pistol will be a big deal. Not only did the gun run like a sewing machine even in prototype form, but it symbolized a new approach to a market segment that is growing. Did I mention affordability? It will be priced $349 at retail.
As I wrote in a recent story about the Taurus Spectrum, there’s a new sheriff in town, and a new design philosophy at Taurus. The company is committed to designing and building guns in the United States. And what is more American than a .22 pistol made right here?
And, my, how conditions can change in just a few short years. Not that long ago, .22 LR ammunition was scarce on dealer shelves. If you wanted it from the big box stores, you had to know when the truck was coming. Then you had to wait in line. The end result was that pricing for .22 ammunition fluctuated wildly, and affordable ammunition was scooped up by speculators. And then the price would go up from there. This resulted in quite a few otherwise very fun and interesting .22 platforms no longer having a place at the gun shop counter. Guns that relied on affordable .22 ammunition for their existence, well, they ceased to exist. Guns such as the semi-automatic Uzi carbine and the H&K MP5 .22 ended up discontinued and offered at bargain prices from CDNN Sports. I got mine.
It appears that the .22 scarcity crisis has been resolved. The big rimfire ammunition makers have increased efficiency in capacity, and there’s no inflated demand. That is why the time is right for a gun like the TX22.
Every couple of years I will be in a meeting with a gun company executive when he announces his company’s new .22. Invariably they have said, “We are really going after Ruger on this one.“
And they well might have been going after Ruger—meaning the Mark II, III and now IV semiautomatic pistols—but the continually evolving pistol that was the first for Ruger, still reigns supreme. As excellent as they are, and in my opinion the MK IV not only has the best name, but it is a simply a superb .22 pistol—but one that is based on a design from 1949. And those prices have been steadily creeping up.
Well, no one at Taurus said this gun was going after the Ruger, I believe it has a chance to challenge for market share. Partly, that is based on price.
You have to look at the variety of .22 pistols that are offered today. There have been guns that are versions of classics, i.e., the High Standards in their various guises and manufacturer’s names, then there are replicas of full-size pistols in .22, often made by Umarex in Germany regardless of whose name is on the gun, and then there have been guns such as the SIG Mosquito and Walther P22, almost the same size as a full-size center-fire pistol, but affordable to buy and shoot. The most obvious of example of a gun in this class today is the Smith and Wesson M&P compact, which is made here in the United States. Then there is the S&W Victory, which does not look like a center-fire, but is quite a gun in its own right.
The TX22 is neither fish nor fowl; it does not look like any existing design, yet its lines are modern. It does not look like it is a .22 specifically.
I have not had a chance to shoot the production TX22 yet, but it appears to have excellent ergonomics in its polymer frame and a good trigger, a single-action trigger breaking out about 5 lbs., and a short reset. It also has adjustable sights. This is a gun that may not be on the podium with the winner at Camp Perry, but can serve as an introductory competition gun, as well as just being fun to shoot. The fact that it’s standard capacity magazine holds 16 rounds, and it appears to be a very reliable magazine, will help it as well.
These days, I probably shoot more. 22 than any other handgun cartridge. And that is the gun that are used to teach other people to shoot, which is something that I do quite often. It’s affordable, there’s no recoil, and it passes on the fun of the shooting sports. Yet, those same guns that are used to teach others, including a Colt Woodsman, a few Rugers (ranging from the original to the MK IV) and even a Walther PP, are guns that I just like to shoot. And isn’t that what this is supposed to be all about, anyway?