Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Taurus PT22


    This is a tough one. I shouldn't like this gun. The PT22 is chambered in what is a pipsqueak caliber for self defense. This Taurus is not a target gun. It's mediocre as a home defense weapon. So what about concealed carry... it's a little chunky and a .22lr.
  So I shouldn't like this handgun. It doesn't really do anything all that well. Oddly enough, I still like this little pistol.

Caliber:              22lr
Capacity:           8+1
Sights:               Fixed
Width:               1 1/8"
Height:              4 1/4"
Action:              DOA
Weight:             12.3 oz
Finish:               Nickel
Safety:               Manual safety & magazine safety
Barrel Length:   2 3/4"

  Where to begin? Let's talk about why you might want THIS handgun for self defense. You're probably buying it because you are recoil sensitive, and have a hard time shooting anything larger than a .22lr. OK... I can see that and it's a valid reason.    
  Perhaps you don't have the time, money or access to larger calibers, and cannot train to get over it. It happens. If this is the case then I don't have anything to say. This wasn't meant to be condescending. There are reasons why .22lr handguns are picked for self defense, and it's not stopping power.

  Perhaps you're buying it for the price. I've seen this gun selling for about $220 prior to the current panic buying. That's not much of a bargain however when considering that you can add $30 more dollars and get a Kel-tec PF9. I've also seen pretty good used .38's for the price of a new PT22.
  You can do a lot better for your money if this is intended as a home defense gun.

  Let's talk about concealed carry. You can get more gun and stopping power for the size.

  Target shooting? For brief periods, it is a fun shooting little gun. That's probably why I like it in spite of it's faults. I'll throw it in a bag to go with something else on range day. I don't however find myself going out just to shoot this gun. It is not really a target pistol and I find it kind of boring after about 100rnds.

  Maybe you have hand injuries, or medical issues such as arthritis in your hands. This may seem like a good choice due to the tip up barrel and easy loading. Looks may be deceiving. Let's discuss why that is.

  How do you load this pistol? It's not rocket science and most semi auto owners will find it easy to figure out. Load your mag, insert it into the magazine well and rack the slide. Put the safety on. Nothing new there.
  An alternate method is to load the magazine, insert it into the magazine well and then push on the barrel catch. The barrel will flip open. Insert a bullet into the chamber and snap the barrel closed. Put the safety on. This is easier than racking the slide if time is not a factor.

    So let's get back to my earlier point about this gun being suitable for those with hand injuries or arthritis. There's a few issues with this pistol that might make it less than perfect for those individuals.

  The trigger pull is supposed to be 7lbs but feels heavier. If you have an issue with the normal double action trigger on a revolver, then you won't like this gun.

  This is the biggie. The slide is hard to rack. The serrations are not very grippy, and there's little to hold onto. They're really bad in my opinion. Most of us will be able to rack the slide with dry hands, but add a little oil or perspiration to the mix and it becomes an iffy proposal. Many people will not be able to chamber a round by racking the slide. My wife and daughter can't, and I believe that a lot of these guns will be sold to women.
  BTW, when I talk about the slide serrations I am only referring to this model.

  So simply use the tip up barrel... right? That's what it's there for. Taurus has two different PT22's, and the slide serrations on the other version kind of resemble those found on a M1911. I have no experience with the other version, and they may be a lot better (or they could be equally bad).
  If the gun is used in a defensive encounter, you will find this adds a lot of time when trying to get the weapon loaded. While the capacity is a decent 8+1 rounds you may need a reload at some point.
  Pretend that you just ran your handgun dry. How do you know it's empty? It's not because you counted to 9, since that most likely will not happen. It is not because the slide locked open on the last round because the gun doesn't have that feature. You know that the weapon is now empty because it went click, click, click when you needed a bang, bang, bang.
  Let's say that you did however successfully count your shots (some can't even count to 5 when shooting snubbies). Your gun is now empty, so you drop the magazine and insert a fresh one. You now tip up the barrel and dig a loose bullet from the depths of your pocket or wherever you keep it. The barrel is closed and the gun is brought back into action. This seems like a slow process to me.

How about misfires? If you have a dud (which is common with .22lr), then you'll have to unlatch the barrel, remove the round, pull another round from wherever you carry it, insert the bullet and then close the barrel. Good luck finding that loose bullet when it's needed.
  I won't even go into this screwing up your muscle memory with other semi autos and malfunction drills.
  Yes, if you have weak hands you can use the tip up barrel, but it's not the best method for speedy reloads during defensive encounters. It's more of a cool feature than a fast option for a CCW gun. It does work, but be aware of the limitations inherent is such a design when carrying a gun for self defense.

  You do have a second strike capability if you find yourself with a round that doesn't go bang.

  The magazines have a few rough edges but load easily enough. There are a couple of protrusions on the magazine follower that you pull down on when loading the mag. It's not really any different from the setup on some other .22lr handgun magazines. I have 4 mags for this gun. All load easily, will take the full 8 rnds, and are reliable. The are available on the Taurus website for $22.
  I have not found any flush mounting floor plates for the magazines. That would be a plus for some.

  The magazine release button works OK, and is in the proper position (at least for me). I've never accidental dropped a mag while shooting or had one pop out while carrying concealed. This will happen with some guns.
  Magazines do not drop free, and must be pulled out with the off hand. The gun must be shifted in my grip when I wish to press the mag release.

  The barrel latch is easy to operate. I have to shift my grip when I wish to use it. The barrel is easy to relatch.

  The front sight is serrated to reduce glare, but it's a lost cause as it has a shiny nickel plating. The rear sight is the usual groove cut into the slide. The sights are tiny. How can I best describe them... they suck. I can see them at the outdoor range, but really have a hard time picking them up in the dim lighting of my local indoor range. It is what it is. This is a close range weapon. Some have described it as more of a backup weapon than a primary pistol.

  The trigger is a little heavy. This is not unusual in .22lr handguns, CCW guns, or DOA pistols. Taurus doesn't list the trigger pull on their website but the all knowing internet tells me that it's 6-7lbs. It feels heavier.
  There's no take up in the trigger and it's very consistent throughout the entire pull. The reset is long.

  This weapon has a magazine safety. I hate magazine safeties. They're useless and if you have a problem with someone getting access to your firearm then hiding the mag isn't a solution. Lock it up.
  This version is old enough that it doesn't have the built in key lock that so many new handguns come with today. Don't even get me started on how I feel about key locks on pistols.
  The manual safety is in a good position for most people. It engages and disengages easily yet still has a very positive feel to it. There's no slop in the lever, and you get a nice loud click when moving it. Some will like that and others will hate it. That loud click could be an intimidation factor that may help defuse an encounter (although the gun is far from intimidating). I wouldn't count on that however.
  You can take the safety off silently using an off hand and slow movement.

  Accuracy is decent considering that the sights and trigger are mediocre. Like all internet gun reviewers and shooters, my groups are under 1" with all guns and at all distances. You'll note that no targets are included so it must be true.
  My groups are actually in about the 3" range at 7yds with this gun. I'll edit in some pics over the next week or two. Apparently I need to edit my "Putting Together A Range Bag" post, and add camera batteries to the list.

  Reliability is OK... again. I've had this firearm for well over 12 years. I'm guessing that the round count is somewhere around 1,500 or so. That's not really a lot for the age of this firearm, but then again this is not exactly my only firearm. I've been shooting this now and then over the years and reliability was very good right up to the point when it wasn't. I'll let you read about the malfunctioning issue that occurred, and Taurus's customer service.
  Long story short, it now seems reliable after returning from the factory.

5" M1911 for size comparison
  Disassembly is easier than almost everything else that I've owned. Ensure the weapon is unloaded. Unlatch the barrel. Pull the slide up and forwarded. You're done.

  The grip is actually reasonably comfortable for the size. I have medium sized hands, and can just barely get all of my fingers on the grip. It's usually easier however to let the magazine extension rest in between my pinkie and ring finger. The checkering on the grips is pretty good.
  Taurus offers one different version of grip for this pistol, and they are more attractive than these but appear to offer less traction.

The PT22 carries OK. It's light enough that it's not a bother. You won't leave it at home because of the weight. Aftermarket holsters may be hard to find.
  BTW, the neoprene IWB holster shown to the right is absolutely awful. The inside is slick and doesn't keep the gun from sliding out. I know, belt tension (and a possible love handle) is supposed to lock the gun in place. The problem is that the gun is too short, too fat and the holster is too slick. Retention is not at all good IMO.
 The belt clip also doesn't have enough tension on it to lock down on a belt. I know, I know... you get what you pay for.

  You wouldn't guess it when reading this review, but I really like this little gun. It was a gift given to me many years ago and I've gotten a lot of use out of it.
  This gun however has the same problem as the NAA Mini Revolver that I reviewed last month. It just doesn't do anything that well except serve as a backup gun. I suppose for the price point you could keep one in a glove box (for those that can't carry at work and don't want to risk losing a more expensive handgun). You could keep one in a BOB if that's your thing (although I wouldn't really want this for a SHTF gun).

J frame .38spl for size comparison

  I wouldn't just recommend this gun for any situation. Know what you're looking for when you buy it. If this is going to be your primary defensive tool then good luck to you. If you like cool little guns, have a safe full of firearms, and are adding to the collection, then this is a great choice.
  That's just my .2 cents on this topic and obviously you should decide what works for your self defense plan.

  I think that this handgun could serve OK as a deep carry or backup gun. It could fill that role very well.
   Maybe you absolutely need to carry (stalker, abusive ex, or just dangerous job) but your employer is against CCW at work. This could be the gun for you.
There are reasons why this might be a good weapon in the right situations. It's small, lightweight, reasonably inexpensive, has low recoil, and is still available in stores at this time (unlike so many other guns). 22lr ammo is still available despite the ammo drought and you can shoot this pistol all day for just a few dollars. There is also a lifetime warranty on this gun, and I was pretty happy with the job Taurus did with my return.

  As I said in the beginning, I like this gun in spite of it's faults. You just need to know what you're getting into when you buy it and plan accordingly. It's a niche gun instead of something that fills multiple roles.

1 comment:

  1. Picked up a PT-22 Poly for pocket concealed carry. With practice it is accurate at 15 yards. To avoid any failures to feed or eject this gun needs to be squeaky clean and well oiled.Many people say no way to 22LR for self defense. My Glock 30 45cal is certainly more fire power but I would trust that 9 rounds of high velocity 22cal hollow points hitting some one at around 900fps in the right spots will stop the threat. The whole idea behind concealed carry is to stop the threat in a last ditch effort if you feel your life is on the line not to kill the bad guy.Too many people are too consumed with caliber. The best gun is the one you feel confident and comfortable with. This little gun will do exactly that if needed.