Introduced just a few years ago with little press and fanfare, the .22 Tuason Craig Micromagnum cartridge is fast taking the world by storm with chamberings available for 1911, AR-15 and Glock platforms. Why the buzz on a .22 caliber round? Well, about that…
First off, this is absolutely not a .22 rimfire of any kind.
American custom gunsmith Fred Craig designed the .22 TCM. Craig, using the moniker “22 micro-mag” cut down a .223 Remington rifle case from 45 to 26mm, added a 40-grain .224-caliber bullet to the top, and called it a day. This wildcat gave supersonic performance (2100fps) which imparted something on the order of 400 ft./lbs. of energy downrange in a 5.56x26mm bottlenecked centerfire cartridge with ballistics similar to the 5.7x28mm FN cartridge. If it sounds like a mini-5.56 round, you are correct. Mini enough to fit in a pistol sized handgun as a matter of fact.
Craig shopped his design to Armscor in the Philippines, the same mega-company that makes RIA, STI, Auto Ordnance and other 1911 style pistols for both local consumption and export. With some minor tweaks, the round became the .22 Tuason Craig Micro magnum with the Tuason part belonging to the head of Armscor. Most users report a very mild recoil, something on the order of a low-powered 9mm, that is offset by a large muzzle flash, which has earned it as reputation as a “Flame Thrower.”
Ballistics tests of the .22TCM
This hot and spicy round, introduced in 2012, is gaining a number of platforms to use it.
Armscor is currently offering a no less than nine 1911-style TCM series pistols, all Rock Island Armory marked guns. These range from single stack magazine models like the Ultra MS Tactical with a full-length guide rod and 10-shot magazine to the Standard series with a 17-shot double stack mag. The neat thing about these offerings is that they typically come with a 9x19mm parabellum (Luger) barrel that can be swapped out and used for lower cost practice.
The guys over at Modern Weapons Systems have been burning lean muscle tissue into the night for the past several months coming up with a TCM AR platform that uses a 35-round stick magazine. Dubbed the ION system, they had several on hand at last month’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas and have been chronicling the development and testing of these interesting offshoots on their social media account.
If a more traditional varmint and small game hunting rifle is wanted, Rock Island Armory is also pushing their new series of bolt-action mid-range rifles in the same caliber. While they ship with a 5-round mag standard, they will accept the same pistol mags as their 1911 TCMs.
Don’t get too excited just yet, Glock isn’t making a .22TCM. However Armscor/RIA did unveil at SHOT a TCM 9R (shortened a few millimeters to fit a 9mm sized weapon) chambered conversion kit that will fit Gen 1, 2 and 3, G17 and G22 Glocks. The kit, which just replaces the top half of the gun (slide, barrel, spring, rod), is set to start shipping later this summer for about $399.
“The enthusiasm we’ve seen around the TCM has only grown over time as new shooters discover what it can do. Imagine giving anybody that owns a popular 9mm pistol the same ability to experience the blazing performance of our favorite cartridge, we’re on our way to making that dream a reality,” said Tuason.
Moreover, we are inclined to believe him.