Taurus PT22 Poly 22 Long Rifle Semi-Automatic Pistol


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 4th, 2011


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Click pictures for a larger version.


Taurus PT22 Poly semi-auto 22 pistol.



Manual thumb safety is for right-handed shooters only.



Magazine release.



Spurless hammer.





Barrel tip-up lever allows easily loading the chamber without cycling the slide.





Taurus Security System internal key lock.





Size comparison: Ruger LCP 380 pistol (left), Taurus PT22 Poly (right).







Taurus has been making small semi-auto 22 Long Rifle and 25 ACP pocket pistols for many years now. They are and have always been handy little small-caliber pistols suited for close range defense and plinking. No one, myself included, would recommend a 22 or 25 caliber pocket pistol as the ideal defensive fighting weapon. I would not recommend any handgun at all as the ideal fighting weapon. However, we carry pistols because most of us cannot carry a fighting shotgun or rifle as we go about our daily lives. We carry handguns because they are relatively lightweight, easy to conceal, and have a reasonable amount of power. We compromise. The fighting handgun is a compromise of power, size, weight, portability, and accuracy. We carry a handgun when we are not really expecting to get into a gunfight, but want to be prepared should a fight come upon us anyway.

Every day, I get several emails asking about the advantages and disadvantages of one gun compared to another. Folks ask me to help them choose a defensive handgun, and I try to help as best as I can. I always stress the point that no matter the caliber or anything else, it has to be a handgun that will ALWAYS be within reach. If you canít put your hand around the grip of your weapon immediately when needed, it is of no use to you. If you can comfortably carry a Desert Eagle 44 magnum, and can shoot it well under stress, then have at it. I personally cannot, and choose to carry a smaller weapon. It is a compromise.

I also get a lot of email from readers who cannot tolerate much recoil for whatever reason. Some folks have weak hands from arthritis or other conditions, and these folks are generally the ones who are most likely to need a defensive weapon. Human predators, just like other predators of the world, target those whom they perceive to be weak, and therefore the weak are more likely to suffer an attack. There is also the matter of hand strength required to cycle the slide on an auto, and to pull the trigger. Many times, lacking sufficient strength to operate the slide, a revolver is the best choice. Again, we sometimes have to compromise. The main thing is to have a handgun with which you can practice and become proficient. It is better to hit your opponent with a 22 than to miss with a 357 or 45. I often recommend a good 22 target pistol as a bedside gun for those who cannot tolerate recoil, and sending a quick barrage of 22 hollowpoints into an attacker can be very effective. For concealment, a target pistol is usually a bit large, but there are a couple of good small-frame 22 pistols on the market, one of which is the subject of this piece.

The Taurus PT22 Poly is very similar to the PT22 pistols that Taurus has been making for decades, except for a couple of changes. The frame on the new pistol is made of reinforced polymer, and comes in almost two ounces lighter than the aluminum-framed PT22 pistols. The barrel on the Poly is also a bit shorter, making the PT22 Poly a bit easier to conceal. The PT22 pistols have in common a blowback-operated action, along with a tip-up barrel. The tip-up barrel is the feature that makes this pistol particularly useful for folks who lack the ability to manually cycle the slide. While a round can be chambered from the magazine manually as with any other semi-auto pistol, the PT22 has a barrel that, when activated by pressing the lever, tips up to expose the breech for the insertion of a cartridge. In practice, one loads and inserts the magazine, then tips up the barrel to insert a round into the chamber. With the eight-shot magazine capacity, this gives the PT22 pistols a loaded capacity of nine rounds. The PT22 has a manual thumb safety, made for right-handed shooters only, but with its double-action trigger pull, I just ignore the thumb safety. The PT22 also has the Taurus Security System key lock, which blocks the hammer from movement, should you choose to use it to securely store the pistol. There is also a magazine safety that prevents the weapon from firing with the magazine removed.

The Taurus PT22 disassembles easily for cleaning, and when putting the slide back onto the frame, there is no recoil spring to fight to keep in place. It is a very simple and reliable design.

Critical specifications for the Taurus PT22 are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements are listed in inches. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest parts. The maximum width is measured across the slight ambidextrous thumb rests. The height includes the sights and magazine base. The trigger pull on the sample Taurus PT22 was smooth in double-action mode, stacking before the release. The trigger pull is the same double-action pull for every shot, and the pistol does have multiple-strike capability. That is, the trigger does not have to be pre-set by the cycling of the slide. If a cartridge fails to fire, the trigger can be pulled again to give it a second chance to fire, if desired. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance. The weight was measured on my scale, with an empty magazine installed.

Weight 11.1 oz.
Height 4.28"
Length 4.98"
Slide Width 0.755"
Maximum Grip Width 1.1"
Frame Width 0.62"
Maximum Width 1.1"
Trigger Pull (DA) 7 lbs.
Trigger Reach 2.89"
Barrel Length 2.33"
Magazine Capacity 8
Magazines Supplied 1

Velocity from the short barrel of the Taurus was better than I expected. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit, with high humidity and thankfully, a slight breeze. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Bulk HP 36 836.7
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 807.1
PMC Match Solid 40 749.2
Wolf Match Solid 40 773
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 880.8
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 871.3
CCI Velocitor HP 40 870.1
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 935.8
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 998
American Eagle HP 36 795.8
PMC Zapper HP 38 825

Accuracy was also better than I expected, especially considering the short sight radius. The PT22 sights are not too bad, and are easier to see than the sights on some larger pistols. All shooting was done offhand, standing on my hind legs as should any primate while shooting a pistol. Using a two-handed standing hold, keeping all nine shots tightly clustered on the head of a human silhouette target at seven yards was easy to do, and the little Taurus shot to point-of-aim using Federal Hollowpoint and Winchester DynaPoint ammo. Backing off to twenty-five yards, the spread on the torso of the silhouette was about seven inches, but that was just aiming at the center, with no particular point-of-aim, as would be normal in a gunfight. Seldom do opponents in a gunfight wear target pasters, so I just aim for the biggest part. I was well-satisfied with the practical accuracy of the PT22 Poly.

Reliability was excellent. I had two failures to fire using the bulk Federal Hollowpoint that comes in the 550 round box from Wal Mart. This was once some very good ammo, but the last batch of ten boxes that I bought have had a lot of failures to fire, no matter the weapon into which they were fed. All other ammo functioned perfectly in the PT22 Poly. I particularly like the Winchester DynaPoint and CCI Velocitor ammunition in the small 22 pistols, as well as the Remington Yellow Jackets. I had no CCI Stingers here to test, but will be trying some in this pistol as soon as I can find some more of them.

The PT22 Poly proved to be a dandy little pistol. Recoil is light, it carries nine rounds, and is quick to get into action if needed. It makes for a lightweight little plinker, and has enough accuracy to make casual target practice fun. The double-action trigger is easily managed by almost anyone, being lighter in resistance than the triggers on most double-action revolvers, especially rimfire revolvers. Loading the PT22 magazine is easy if the follower is pushed down with the thumb and finger of the hand that is holding the mag, but is made a lot easier with the use of a Baby UpLULA mag loader. After shooting several magazines of ammo through the PT22, I grabbed my Baby UpLULA, to save the hide on my thumb. In a defensive situation, the little Taurus is easy to shoot rapidly and accurately at close range. The pistol is compact, but has enough handle on it to afford a good grip. Using high quality ammunition, it is not the most powerful choice for a defensive pistol, but for some, it might be the best choice. The Taurus PT22 is available with a blued steel slide, or with a stainless slide, as shown here. Either way, it is one of the most affordable pistols on the market, and it is made in the USA.

Check out the PT22 and other Taurus pistols and revolvers online at www.taurususa.com.

For the location of a Taurus dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at www.lipseys.com.

To order the PT22 online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

To order quality ammunition at a good price, go to www.luckygunner.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.






Eight-shot steel magazine.



Baby UpLULA magazine loader makes loading compact pistol mags much easier.



Variety of ammunition tested in the PT22 Poly.



The little Taurus proved to be quite accurate, as demonstrated by these offhand groups at 7 yards (top) and 25 yards (bottom).





Hard plastic storage case.