It’s not often we see genuine and true innovation and invention in the gun world. The gun culture is finicky about new things, often cautious, and meek. We take new guns, new ammo, and new innovation with a severe grain of salt.
For example, look at what happened to the gun world when the Glock came into play. There was a lot of tension and a lot of rumors: Would it melt when left on your dash? Can you sneak it through metal detectors? Will it explode? The rumors were false.
Also, when something new is created, the price is at a premium. For example, the FN PS90 and Five Seven are quite innovative. The round is far from a traditional pistol round, but not exactly a rifle round. The round made a bit of a splash, and those who shoot it seem to like it. The main issue? The price. The ammo and the weapons to fire it are incredibly expensive. The Five Seven pistol is well over $1,000, and the PS90 is priced well outside most budgets.
So what happens when a classic gun comes chambered in a new caliber? A caliber that is proprietary, and didn’t introduce itself with the intention of gaining a military contract, or to fill a specific niche? That’s what Rock Island Armory, best known for producing a variety of different 1911 clones, did.
Rock Island Armory produces full-size, compact, and subcompact 1911 pistols, in a variety of calibers. The company has even begun cloning a few Colt revolvers in a .38 special which are available for a very affordable price. They produce a few rifles as well, but are mainly known for their 1911s. So it’s not surprising they produced a new caliber in a 1911 pattern pistol. Actually, to be more specific, it is a double-stack 1911, and is great for self-defense.
The new caliber, the 22 TCM, is quite the fireball. The 22 TCM is a center-fire round, built off a 223 cartridge case. It also is a lightweight round that is capable of reaching more than 2,000 feet per second — incredibly fast for a pistol round. It is a very flat shooting round that is quite accurate. At 2,000 feet per second, the 22 TCM is capable of detonating tannerite, something most pistol rounds simply aren’t capable of doing.
The 22 TCM is, of course, a 22 caliber round, and is a bottle neck cartridge. Bottle neck rounds have an odd appearance compared to normal handgun rounds, but the 22 TCM is far from the first bottle neck pistol round. Rounds like the 357 SIG are considered bottle neck cartridges, as is the 7.62 Tok.
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The 22 TCM is also very soft shooting. It provides just enough recoil to let you know you are firing a weapon, but not enough to be punishing. The flat shooting round is an extremely precise round, and from the 1911 platform is capable of producing very tight groups. In fact, we were ringing steel gongs at a hundred yards. These were big gongs, but still it wasn’t incredibly hard.
Speaking of the platform, the 1911 is an excellent way to introduce the round. The 1911 is a classic platform that everyone knows. 1911s are also extremely popular, and the classic design has been around for more than 100 years. From a marketing perspective, utilizing the 1911 is genius. Introducing a new proprietary round is a scary venture, and having a new gun for it is an even bigger venture.
They also had the foresight to acknowledge the round could become unpopular – and stop being produced. So Rock Island included a one-step conversion to 9mm. All it takes is swapping out the barrel and recoil spring and you have a double stack 1911 in 9mm. You don’t even have to change the magazine. So even if the 22 TCM fails to gain in popularity, the early adopters won’t be stuck with a gun chambered in an anachronistic caliber.
The 1911 itself is well-built like all Rock Island products, and is solid, but a bit boxy and wide. The double-stack magazine is capable of holding 17 rounds. Something interesting about the weapon is its capability for self-defense. Of course, the 9mm is plenty capable, but the 22 TCM fills a niche.
The 22 TCM utilizes a seven pound recoil spring, which is quite light for a center-fire automatic cartridge. This allows for weaker folks — whether they are petite women, smaller men, or even a person with arthritis — to rack the slide. This also gives the user 17 + 1 rounds of a 40 grain projectile at 2,000 feet per second, and personally this seems to be better than 5 rounds of 38 Special.
The 22 TCM is an affordable oddball round. A box of 50 rounds is roughly $20. The 22 TCM is usually the same price as a 40 S&W. Like all new calibers, the 22 TCM can be difficult to find, and will more than likely not be in your big box retail stores. Stores like Gander Mountain, Academy and Bass Pro do carry it.
Interestingly enough, Rock Island is now producing a rifle in the 22 TCM, and while I haven’t tested it, it sounds promising. The rifle is bolt action and is built to be a varmint rifle. It also utilizes the Rock Island 1911 magazine, which is a major advantage and in my opinion an awesome idea. The compatibility between rifle and pistol is a major advantage when utilizing the weapons, and makes everything simpler logistic-wise.
Rock Island is pulling out all the stops to make the 22 TCM succeed. It is an interesting little round, and although at this point it has limited availability, it may become quite popular.
Have you tested the 22 TCM? Do you now want to buy one? Leave your reply in the section below: