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  • Rowan

The perfect beginner gun?

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

When you are first starting out with firearms it can be a bit bewildering picking your first gun. My recommendation for new shooters is to start with a simple .22 caliber pistol. With far less recoil, noise, and cost, a .22 pistol is a great first gun to start learning how to shoot. With .22 ammo being roughly 1/4 the cost of 9mm you can shoot all day and not break the bank. The only real difference between shooting a small caliber like .22 and something like 9mm is the recoil.

For me, the perfect .22 pistol should be reliable, affordable, and preferably a good analog for larger caliber handguns. Something like the Ruger MkIV or Browning Buckmark has been very popular first pistol for decades, but if you are looking to transition to modern-day defensive handguns it makes sense to start with something that looks and feels like those modern options.

Ruger MkIV
Great gun and fun to shoot but really not similar to something you might carry for self-defense

There are a ton of different options in this field, some of the most popular being the Glock 44, Sig P322, FN-502, Taurus TX22, and Walther P22. While looking for the perfect gun to use as a trainer for my students, I tried most of the available options. The Glock is just...not good, the Walther P22 is ok but features controls different than most handguns and retails for around $350, the Sig is high quality but expensive and has a sub-par trigger and the FN-502 is expensive at over $500. In the end, I bought two options, the Sig P322 with an attached Romeo Elite Zero red dot, and the Taurus Tx-22.

I really thought I would like the high-quality and relatively expensive SIG, however, I found the plastic trigger mushy and the gun was extremely picky with ammo. Anything but high-quality, high-velocity ammo caused repeated failures to feed and eject. The SIG with the optic cost over $500 and I added a $60 aftermarket trigger to replace the stock plastic one. I found the Romeo Zero to be a cheap red dot that burned through batteries, had low brightness, and was overall just not that pleasant to shoot with.

TX22 with suppressor
My pair of TX22s. The one on top has an attached suppressor for even less noise and recoil.

On the other hand, I bought the Taurus TX22 for around $240, less than half the cost of the SIG. I was not expecting much to be honest, but was surprised to find the gun had great ergonomics, stock 16-round magazines, and ate every kind of ammo I threw at it. The trigger on the TX22 felt better than the SIG and to be honest it feels better than Taurus' full-size handguns. After shooting both the SIG and the Taurus I kept finding myself going back to the "cheap" Taurus. It always worked, even when shooting suppressed, and had very similar controls to larger defensive handguns. The humble TX22 did everything I wanted the SIG to do for less than half the cost. In the end, I ended up selling the SIG and buying another TX22.

If you are looking for the perfect starting handgun I would highly recommend trying out the TX22. The controls are just like you would find on a modern defensive handgun, with the addition of a safety which can be nice for beginners. The magazines hold 16 rounds instead of the common 10 rounds with a lot of .22 pistols, and most importantly it won't break the bank. If you search online you can usually find them for around $250 or less.

TX22 with Q-Erector suppressor
Shooting .22 with a suppressor is like shooting a BB gun, great for kids or anyone worried about recoil and noise.

My only real gripes with the TX22 are very minor. The stock plastic sights are cheap but adequate and adjustable. I wish the gun came with 3 magazines instead of two but they are not very expensive. The only upgrades I would suggest if you just can't help yourself would be a set of adjustable metal sights like the Tandemkross option and possible their trigger but those two upgrades combined cost 2/3 the price of the full gun and to be honest the TX22 really doesn't need anything out of the box.

OD Green and black TX22
The TX22 comes in a variety of different colors and combinations

TX22 dissembled
The TX22 is simple to take apart and clean, no special tools required.

Learning with something like the TX22 will give you a great introduction to shooting and will provide a solid foundation of skill before moving up to a larger caliber. For $35 you can get 500 rounds of practice ammo which should last you quite a few range sessions but beware, that .22 ammo goes fast because they are so fun to shoot!

If you are thinking about the TX22 or the SIG and have any questions about my experiences with them feel free to shoot me a message!

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