Tactical Solutions 2211 .22 Long Rifle Conversion for the 1911 Semi-Auto Pistol

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

April 16th, 2008

 

 

 

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I like the idea of a .22 conversion for the .45 ACP 1911 pistol. I always have. The idea has been around for decades, and several different companies make conversion units to allow the owner of a 1911 pistol to practice with .22 Long Rifle ammunition. The problem with most of them is that they are either inaccurate or unreliable. With some brands, you get both features; an inaccurate pistol that don‘t work. Semi-automatic .22 pistols can be a lot of fun, if they work reliably. If a pistol is not reliable, it is one of the most aggravating instruments ever developed to torture mankind. I personally have no sympathy for those who manufacture and sell unreliable .22 pistols, or conversions. I get emails more often than I should from shooters who have bought a pistol that does not work, and some of these are high-dollar brand-name guns. Any gun maker can let one slip by occasionally that is not reliable, but 1911 .22 pistols seem to be unreliable more often than not.

Tactical Solutions in Boise, Idaho has come up with a totally new concept in .22 conversions for the 1911 pistol: they have made one that actually works! Tac Sol has been working on this conversion for a couple of years. I know this because they have had me chomping at the bit to try one for at least that long, but to their credit, they wanted to get it right before sending them out the door. It was worth the wait.

The 2211 unit is made from steel. Most on the market are made from aluminum. A lightweight conversion unit has its place, but the Tactical Solutions unit is built to be a solid, reliable piece for competitors, and also to duplicate the feel of a .45 ACP 1911. The solid steel weight feels good in the hand, and makes the pistol balance very well, aiding practical accuracy in the field and at the range. The 2211 is designed to work with either full-sized or Commander-length frames. The standard version has a four and one-half inch barrel, and a longer, threaded barrel is offered for those who want to use a muzzle brake or sound suppressor. I opted for the threaded barrel, which measures 4.975 inches in length. The threaded barrel has ˝ x 28 threads per inch, and is compatible with most brakes and such. It works perfectly with my Tactical Solutions suppressor. The upper unit is offered with a standard plain rail, or the Picatinny style shown here. The Picatinny is a dandy option, and allows the easy mounting of a scope or other optical sight. The rail on my pistol also has an excellent STI International adjustable rear sight and a fiber-optic front. The sight rail is attached to the barrel, and does not move rearward with the slide when firing. The slide has serrations front and rear for a secure grasp when cycling the slide. I found that I used the front serrations most of the time.

The heart of any .22 pistol is the magazine, and this is where most conversion units fail. The Tactical Solution folks out there in the Tater State got this one right. The magazine is milled from a chunk of aluminum, has thick walls, and is easily disassembled for cleaning. It has a heavy base plate, and also features a reliable slide hold-open when the magazine is empty. The magazine holds ten rounds, and can be had to fit either a standard mag well or a wide-body magazine well.

The 2211 is shown here mounted atop my old Essex frame upon which I had Richard Binkley build for me a highly accurate .45 auto pistol many years ago. The grips are my brother Boge’s first attempt at scrimshaw, and he did an excellent job, using only an X-acto knife. On my steel frame, the total weight of the pistol with conversion is exactly forty-two ounces. Shooting this thing is a lot of fun! I do not know how many rounds of ammunition have been fired through this unit, but it is somewhere in the thousands. I personally have fired at least a couple of the 550 round boxes of bulk Federal ammo from the Wal Mart, plus all the various brands and types used for accuracy and reliability testing. I also loaned the pistol out to anyone who wanted to shoot it at the Confederate Sixgunners' Association shoot in Arkansas a couple of weeks ago.

Addressing the reliability of the Tac Sol conversion unit, it cycles perfectly with several types of ammunition. It absolutely loves the cheap bulk-pack Federal from Wal Mart. It also cycles perfectly with Wolf and PMC Match ammo, as well as Winchester Dynapoint, which is one of my favorite hunting loads. Remington and CCI high velocity stuff works great, as does Winchester Wildcat. Winchester Xpert did not do as well, as its 36 grain bullet did not seem to have the power to cycle the slide fully. However, the Federal bulk ammo has the same weight bullet, but has plenty of power for reliable function. The good news is that most ammunition works very well in this pistol, and a shooter does not have to use the expensive stuff to get this gun to work, as is sometimes the case with other .22 conversion units. With the Tactical Solutions can attached, the gun exhibited the same high degree of reliability, but the fun factor was at least tripled. There is just something way too cool about a silencer!

I fired the 2211 conversion for accuracy from my Ransom Master Series machine rest, and the Tactical Solutions unit proved to be very accurate. All groups were fired at a distance of twenty-five yards, with most brands of ammo turning in a fine performance. Most ammo would group into the one and one-half inch range, and none tried exceeded two and one-quarter inches for five shots at twenty-five yards. The best performers are pictured here. Wolf and PMC Match did very well, as did the cheap Winchester Wildcat, either with or without the can attached. CCI Mini-Mag was also very accurate.

The suppressor had little effect on velocities. I fired the 2211 unit using several brands of ammunition to check the effect on the velocity with and without the can attached, with the results listed below. Velocities are listed in feet per second, and were clocked using my PACT Professional chronograph at a distance of ten feet from the muzzle. HP is hollowpoint. S is a solid point bullet. Dynapoint is a semi-hollowpoint bullet. SSS is a solid heavy bullet load, made to be subsonic in pistols and rifles. Bullet weights are listed in grains. Air temperature was around 54 degrees Fahrenheit at an elevation of approximately 400 feet above sea level.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity w/ Can Velocity w/o Can
Federal Bulk HP   36 1061.2 1075.4
CCI Mini Mag S  40 1000.4 976.2
Winchester Xpert HP  36 1025.4 1022.8
PMC Match S   40 878.8 875.1
Wolf Match S   40 949 889.6
Federal Hi Power S  40 1041.2 1044.8
Winchester Wildcat S  40 991.1 989.5
Winchester Dynapoint  40 975.5 940.7
Aguila SSS    60 767.1 772

While the .22 Long Rifle cartridge is certainly no wrist-breaker, the lower felt recoil was apparent when using the sound suppressor. It works very well at reducing both sound and felt recoil. I also tried the 2211 unit using a Tactical Solutions muzzle brake, and it was effective at reducing muzzle jump as well. This might be of importance to a competition shooter, but most plinkers will not mind the mild muzzle rise of a rimfire twenty-two at all. That is the beauty of that fine little cartridge. It exhibits almost no recoil, has excellent accuracy, is cheap to shoot, and kills all out of proportion to its diminutive size. The .22 Long Rifle is my favorite cartridge, and Tactical Solutions has just made it a lot more fun to shoot my 1911 pistols. They have built a better .22 conversion. It is accurate, reliable, easy to operate and fun to shoot. I highly recommend it.

Check out the Tactical Solutions 2211 conversion unit, along with many other fine products online at www.tacticalsol.com.

Jeff Quinn

 

 

 

The Tactical Solutions 2211 conversion proved to be very accurate with a variety of ammunition.

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Tactical Solutions 2211 .22 conversion unit for the 1911 pistol.

 

 

 

 

Sights are high-visibility front & fully adjustable rear by STI International.

 

 

Full Picatinny rail is also included for mounting a wide range of optics.

 

 

Slide is serrated front & rear.

 

 

 

 

Threaded muzzle comes with a thread protector.

 

 

Recoil spring & guide rod.

 

 

The heart of a .22 conversion is the magazine, and Tactical Solutions' thick, milled aluminum magazine excels.