My friend Liem recently obtained a new pistol and he graciously invited me to test it with him. It is a Rock Island .22 TCM. TCM stands for Tuason Craig Micromagnum and it is a proprietary cartridge developed by Fred Craig and Rock Island Armory.
Some folks have mistakenly said it is a 9mm necked down to .22, but that is not correct. It is actually a .223 case, shortened and necked down to .22 with ballistics similar to the 5.7×28 FN cartridge.
It normally is loaded with a 40 grain JHP bullet in factory loads. Liem had some Armscor factory ammo.
Liem has also obtained reloading dies and has loaded some with a heavy load of WW 296 powder and 40 grain bullets.
One thing for sure…… Liem didn’t let us lose any brass, and was retrieving brass like it was made of gold.
Here’s the .22 TCM cartridge next to a normal 9mm pistol cartridge.
As you can see, the case is about the length of the 9mm before it is necked down to .22. That makes the total length about as long as a .45 ACP.
If you compare the bases of the cartridges, you will find that the .22 TCM is slightly smaller than the 9mm case head.
Estimated velocity ranges from1,850 to 2,100 fps out of a pistol barrel. That is pretty fast.
The pistol is pretty common looking for a 1911. But when you look at the barrel, you realize it is something different.
The magazines are similar to a .38 Super mag, and they are double stacked. They hold 17 + 1.
The pistol even comes with an extra 9mm barrel and spring so that you can shoot 9mm out of it if you want too. Doing so will, however, require you to re-set the sights.
The barrel for the .22 TCM is the tapered barrel type for solid lock up.
Well, it was time to shoot.
Liem started out and encouraged me to try to catch a picture of the muzzle flash, but even though I tried many times, I wasn’t able to catch it on camera. But it is impressive and has a fire-ball about a foot in diameter.
A few of impressions:
1. The muzzle flash would make you expect heavy recoil. But there is none. It is more like shooting a .22 than a 9mm.
2. It is very loud, but again, that doesn’t transfer into recoil.
3. The recoil spring is very light and makes charging the pistol seem almost less than a normal .22 LR pistol.
4. The lack of recoil makes accurate shooting easy.
5. The trigger was smooth and crisp.
Here is a group Liem shot at 8 yards.
Of course, I had to give it a try.
Here is my group.
We wanted to see how terminal performance looked, so we made another trip to the range to test the rounds against some water jugs.
Here’s Liem shooting them with the pistol, and I caught them as they exploded.
It blew the first 2 gallons up like they were loaded with explosive.
The bullet penetrated through two gallon jugs of water and stopped in the third jug. That adds up to around 16 inches of water, or about 8 inches of penetration in ballistics gelatin. That is short of the FBI minimum of 12 inches penetration. But the bullet expanded just like it was supposed too.
We decided to try a second shot and I caught them as he fired.
We got the same penetration as the first round and the same expansion. Here are the two fired bullets.
We agreed that even though it did not make the FBI minimum penetration standards, it would be a heck of a varmint round.
1. The pistol ran 100% with no problems whatsoever.
2. It is loud and has a big fireball, but almost no recoil.
3. The good sights, good trigger, and no recoil makes it an accurate pistol to shoot.
4. At 2,000+ fps, that 40 grain bullet sure busts up the gallon jugs well.
5. It’s fun to shoot stuff.