Rock Island’s .22 TCM Rifle/Pistol Combo!
When our esteemed editor asked if I wanted to work with a couple of .22 TCMs, of course I jumped all over the assignment. What’s a .22 TCM? I was somewhat embarrassed — and tried not to show it, but I really wasn’t familiar with the cartridge. A rifle and pistol chambered for this little round was heading toward my residence and I needed to get up to speed quick. Digging for as much information as possible, I soon discovered the TCM stood for “Tuason Craig Micromagnum” — a brainchild of Fred Craig and Armscor.
Fred has vast experience with firearm innovation. Martin Tuason, president of Armscor, took interest in the bottle-necked cartridge Craig was working on and before you can say 1911 — Rock Island Armory was producing a pistol chambered in .22 TCM. I’ll say one thing; the diminutive little bottle-necked round is intriguing for sure. At first, I assumed it was built off a 9mm cartridge but this is not the case. It’s actually formed from a rimless .223 case, shortened so the shoulder is approximately the same length as a .38 Super. The TCM cartridge is designed to function in semi-autos and feed from a 1911 magazine, an interesting concept indeed.
TCM pistol with 9mm barrel and recoil spring. It’s easy to swap
back and forth between the .22 TCM and the 9mm conversion.
Rear sights consist of two white dots.
Narrow slide serrations and the RIA logo are subtle.
When I received the pistol it came packaged in a neat hard plastic case in a combination set with a 9mm conversion barrel and matching recoil spring. The same magazines work with both 9mm and .22 TCM. Simply change the barrel and recoil spring and you’re 9mm ready. At first glance, the pistol looks like a utilitarian 1911 working-type defensive piece.
The G 10 grips not only look good but provide enough texture to hold the gun firmly even with sweaty palms. The backstrap is finely textured with the front strap incorporating vertical serrations. A skeletonized trigger with serrations on the pad offer a combat-style appearance. The magazine with the test gun held 10 rounds — with an extra mag in the box. I liked the tactical adjustable rear sights consisting of a snag-free combat style sight with two white dots. The front sight incorporated an orange fiber optic bead. Both frame and slide wear a blue, parkerized finish. Rear slide serrations are narrow and make slide manipulation easy.
On the back of the slide, located on the left side is a subtle Rock Island Armory logo. This represents a very professional looking company trademark. On the right side of the slide, TCM is etched in front of the ejection port. This 1911 comes with ambidextrous safety, extended beavertail and a full-length guide rod. With its 5″ barrel, the gun balances and points easily. The trigger on my test gun broke around five pounds without a lot of creep.
The skeletonized trigger is a custom touch.
The stock G10 grips are solid and Mark didn’t feel a need to replace them.
The .22 TCM uses the same mag for the .22 TCM and the 9mm conversion.
Ammo And Shooting
Ammunition is available from Armscor and I received some 40 gr. Jacketed Hollow Points. Two of my shooting buddies found out this pistol was heading to the range so John Wayne (really, that’s his name) and his son Cale jumped in the truck as we all drifted to the 25 yard line.
First impressions of the .22 TCM were extremely favorable. Everyone enjoyed shooting this mild-mannered round and it was overwhelmingly pleasant! The sights were easy for us old guys to see thanks to the fiber optic orange front sight and two white dots on the rear. All of our shooting was conducted from 25 yards and groups ranged from a little over 2″ to 3″-plus. After three cups of coffee I usually don’t break any records. Never once did we encounter a malfunction or misfire. The pistol produced very little recoil and that make for an enjoyable, lengthy shooting session.
From the 5″ barrel, surprisingly our average velocity ran 2,110 fps! I was curious how the .22 TCM would compare to a .22 Magnum so I threw in my 15″ Custom Shop T/C barrel. Running Winchester white box 45 gr. Dyna Points, the .22 Mag. averaged 1,510 fps from the much longer barrel. I couldn’t believe the little .22 TCM with its 5″ barrel would produce 600 fps more velocity! For over 30 years I’ve trusted the data provided by the Oehler 35P chrono and I had no reason to doubt its authenticity now. We all enjoyed shooting the RIA TCM, only I wanted to give it another run — an early morning squirrel hunt.
The .22 TCM round is based on a .223 case not a 9mm as you might think.
Our .22 TCM bolt-action rifle/with Leupold 2-7X rimfire scope worked just fine.
The .22 TCM rifle with five round mag. You can also use the 1911 style
magazines from the pistol in the rifle for higher capacity.
TCM rifle with target — 25 yard groups less than one inch during
very casual shooting on a windy day.
A Hunt And A Rifle
While I did manage to bag a few of those Missouri bushy-tails, honestly I missed more than I connected. Not because of the gun by any means, it’s simply because my eyes have gone south. You see, early in the morning with dim light, iron sights are not my friend, especially with a small target like a squirrel’s head. But the pistol performed well despite my aging eyes!
Well, redemption is going to be sweet now that I have a companion rifle in .22 TCM. That’s correct; RIA has introduced a TCM bolt-action rifle making an ideal companion to their .22 TCM 1911 pistol. Kinda neat having both rifle and pistol chambered for the same round. With a barrel length a tad over 2″, a 40 gr. bullet cruises down the tube at a blistering 2,610 fps. This will make a dandy mid-range varmint rig for the odd vermin or occasional bobcat when he comes sneaking around. It’s also going to work for small game if head shots are taken. The magazine holds five rounds and can be interchanged with the 17 round .22 TCM pistol magazine. Now you have a high-capacity, bolt-action varmint gun to go along with a 5″ 1911 pistol.
Thanks to Sun Optics and their nifty scope rings, I fitted a Leupold rimfire 2-7X scope on this rifle. The rifle does not come with sights but grooves on top of the action allowed Sun Optics medium sport rings to fit perfectly. The little Leupold was a nice fit for this rifle. Groups from 25 yards were well within minute-of-squirrel, and consistently grouped less than an inch. The short throw on the bolt allowed for quick reloads. No issues were encountered with feeding or ejection. This rifle would be welcome in the Polaris Ranger while riding around the farm.
So why would anyone want such a niche cartridge? If you having trouble finding .22 rimfire ammo, like many of us, you can save your brass and reload the .22 TCM. Hornady and Lee both make dies and I’m sure other do as well. Those Hornady 35 gr. V Max or the many other 40 gr. JHPs provide good bullet selection. Ammo Supply Warehouse is a good source for components and there is a lot of information available at 22tcm.net.
This little round is just plain fun to shoot, especially for younger shooters and women, being able to shoot a 1911 without intimidating recoil. For small game it will work too. It would be a nice medium range varmint rig in either rifle or pistol platform. For whatever reason you convince yourself a .22 TCM fits in your arsenal, you will enjoy shooting this intriguing bottle-neck cartridge.
Pistol with orange fiber optic front sight.
The .22 TCM rifle offers both velocity increases over the handgun
and long range accuracy with this high velocity round.
A morning squirrel hunt with the pistol showed it to be big medicine on Missouri squirrels!
By Mark Hampton