Just about anyone who owns and shoots a Glock laments the lack of support for low-cost training. Glock simply has refused to put out a 22LR kit (arguably for a good reason; 22LR has a tendency to malfunction in semi-automatic firearms not designed for the rimmed cartridge). However, the aftermarket has stepped in and addressed this niche with kits, the foremost being from Advantage Arms and Tactical Solutions.
Now I shoot Glocks for competition and primarily carry them for EDC. With the prodigious amount of rounds I now put downrange, I went looking for a .22LR kit to reduce my training expenses. Doing my research, I found that both kits had their proponents and seemed to work well when paired with the right ammunition. I opted for the Tactical Solutions kit since they were the only ones offering capacity greater than 10 rounds with stock magazines. Further, they worked on either Gen 3 or 4 Glocks. AA required a specific model and the Gen 4 was very hard to come by.
Author’s Note- The TSG-22 kit reviewed was personally purchased from Brownell’s. It was not provided by Tactical Solutions nor was Tactical Solutions consulted during any period of testing or prior to publishing.
At the time of my purchase, only the TSG and AA kits were commercially available. ZEV has since released a kit, which we will request a review of.
The kit arrives packed nicely in a case similar to stock Gen 4 Glock. enclosed in purpose-cut foam is the slide assembly, lubrication, a single magazine (10 or 15 rounds, depending on your ordered configuration), tool (small allen key), lubrication, manual, and a NRA flyer. The manual is a simple affair, primarily text, but it does a sufficient job at explaining the various components and their usefulness.
Shooting the TSG-22 Kit
The kit is a simple drop-in replacement for your existing Glock Gen 3 or Gen 4 take your slide off your standard handgun and put on the .22 kit. I initially attempted to install it on my competition G35, and while it went on easily, it did not function with the Zev trigger kit. The firing pin sear on the 22LR kit extends lower than the stock firing pin so a finely adjusted trigger did not pull enough to release (which caused issues with disassembly). After punching some pins and using a stock trigger, the kit was up and running.
For testing, I had five types of .22 ammuntion with me. To ensure I covered the broadest base, I had two of the most common rounds, CCI Mini Mag 36 gr. RN and Federal Bulk pack. To round out testing, I had CCI Blazer 40 Gr LRN, Armscor, and Fiocchi plinking ammo. TSG recommends CCI Mini Mag, CCI Blazer, and other 40 Grain HV rounds.
Loading is very easy with the magazine design. There are textured knobs on both ends that make it easy to pull down the follower to load rounds. Like other rimfire designs, the shooter has to be aware of the rims and making sure the top round’s rim is in front of the other. The TSG-22 is a standard double-stack and does not incorporate a spacer like the Kel-Tec CMR-30.
Loading is the exact same as the standard handgun, but the magazine feels much lighter in the hand. Using a full-size frame, the magazine sticks out about a 1/2″, it does not sit flush. This is disappointing, since the follower is so large, I think this 1/2″ could be removed without functional implications.
Getting to the heart of the issue, recoil is pleasant and surprisingly hefty, which I attribute to the straight blow-back action. Compared to the .40 I normally shoot, its a lighter snap and compared to the 9mm G17 used as a companion, it was a similar energy, just snappier, like someone took the 9mm felt recoil in .40 form. For practice, I rather enjoyed it.
When the magazines functioned it was easy to shoot the gun as fast as it would go. Using any ammunition, including the recommended 40 grain round-noses, a full 15 rounds would inevitably malfunction. The first three to four rounds would not chamber. Some would present low in the magazine and nose-dive, some would rotate too quickly and miss the chamber high.
When I down-loaded the magazines to 11 rounds or less, all functioned nearly 98% (which is my personal metric for .22LR). About 1 in 50 rounds would have a more serious malfunction including double-feeds, failure to fire, and stovepipes. The stovepipes only happened with 1-2 rounds left in the magazine, like the system was using the next rounds to feed to help eject the spent casing.
Troubleshooting was normal. Tap-Rack-Bang remedial cleared the malfunction most of the time with detailed action minimal. The steel extractor worked well. There were no failures to extract, only failures to eject. Of note, the kit uses a fixed ejector, so FTE’s were likely due to low powder charges and not having enough energy to fling the rounds free.
Accuracy was acceptable. Offhand with my poor skills I was grouping about 2″ at 10 yards using the stock Glock sights included. I did not have a rest with me for testing, but was ringing 4″ plates at 25 yards during drills. CCI Mini Mags had the best groupings with the Fiocchi a surprise runner up but shifting to the left. Strange. Those looking to upgrade or match their carry weapon can easily do so. The kit is dovetailed for stock Glock sights.
For my intents, I wanted to use the kit for practice. It holstered without issue in both my Safariland 6005 and in my competition rig, a BladeTech. A word of caution, the recoil spring is not as stiff as a standard Glock, so make sure you enter the holster directly. Any extra resistance to the slide and it can pop out of battery.
Having now put over 2,000 rounds through the kit, I am confident in knowings its strengths and weaknesses. The issues and strengths mentioned above have held true through an extended break-in. The kit is holding up well and can go easily 300 rounds in a shooting session with minimal lubrication. Like an AR, this kit does like to run wet.
- Works well for practice. Recoil is sufficient for 9mm, but light for .40 shooters.
- Functions reasonably well when loaded 10 rounds or less in the magazines.
- Uses standard Glock sights that were spot-on for 10 yards from the factory.
- Works well across a variety of ammunition types (just not Federal Bulk) assuming it is down-loaded.
- Compatible with both Gen 3 and Gen 4 handguns.
- May not function with aftermarket triggers. The pin sear drops lower in the frame than some aftermarket firearms.
- Requires tools to completely disassemble for cleaning. They are included, but can be easily lost. Note- No tools are required for field-stripping.
- Threaded barrels are available for the kit (1/2 x 28 threads)
- Does not work, ever, with the stated maximum capacity of the magazine (15 rounds) across any ammunition type. Typically works with 11 rounds or less.
- Expensive. You can buy another Glock for the price of the conversion kit.
- The magazine sticks out the bottom of even full-capacity Glock 17/22s
Is the Tactical Solutions TSG-22 kit the solution I was looking for? Not really, as I am left thinking that the glass is half-empty with it. Then again, the chatter on the internet is that all the available .22LR kits have their issues. So, if its a matter of “picking one’s poison” then this is tolerable.
It’s a 22 kit that works, but that is like saying its a moped that will get you to work. The catch is that this is the moped that costs as much as a used car. For the $400 or so for the kit (and steep price for the magazines), I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting my cake and eating it too.
Sure, it saves on gas, but is that trade-off worth it to you?
To me, its just on the border of being worth it, just because of my intended usage. Since I am using it for 3-gun practice, I am okay with malfunctions (if only because my Glocks rarely malfunction). I want the practice. However, if your intended use is as a dedicated survival tool, I would look elsewhere.