Modern Personal Defense Weapon Calibers 013: The .22 TCM and .22 TCM 9R

Left to right: 9x19mm Parabellum, .38 Super, .22 TCM, 5.56x45mm NATO, 5.7x28mm SS197.

It has been a little while since we visited the subject of modern personal defense weapon calibers, so to start it off again we’ll be taking a look at a new high velocity round that is only a few years old: Armscor’s .22 TCM. This round was reportedly developed by Fred Craig as a high velocity caliber for the 1911 platform, and picked up by Philippine company Armscor. Originally called the “.22 Mini Mag”, the .22 TCM (Tuason-Craig Magnum, after Craig and Armscor’s president) is designed to fit inside the magazine well of a 1911 and function from .38 Super 1911 magazines. Although a pistol round, the .22 TCM is based off the .223 Remington case, shortened by about three quarters of an inch. Thanks to the thick web of its parent case, the .22 TCM is capable of handling high pressures of 40,000 PSI. A version with a shortened projectile, the .22 TCM 9R, is compatible with shorter 9mm magazines for weapons like the Glock 17.

On to the ballistics:

Note: “5.56x25mmRF” is .22 WMR. A while back I decided all the labels on these graphs would use a standardized metric format, for some reason. It hasn’t caused an ambiguous situation until now, and by the time I caught it on this one, the graphs were already done. Sorry!

The .22 TCM does precisely what its designer intended: It offers a round that produces high muzzle velocities but that is compatible with the 1911 platform. The round is limited, however, by its very modest ballistic shape. Despite its weight of 40 grains, the .22 TCM’s bullet has a low ballistic coefficient of about 0.116 G1 (equivalent to about 0.050-0.060 G7), meaning it sheds its velocity rapidly. Therefore, the .22 TCM is probably best considered a pistol round only, best suited for ranges below 50 meters or so.

In terms of weight, the .22 TCM is a bit heavier than its primary rival, the 5.7x28mm FN, at 8 grams.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Grant

    It would be nice to use 9mm ballistics from a typical barrel length in your chart. You used 9mm from an 8″ barrel vs 4-5″ for the smaller calibers and most of us don’t carry an Uzi.

    • Jared Vynn

      The 22tcm is likely to be around 2,400fps in an 8″ based on the powley compute.

    • I should probably change it. It’s a leftover from previous charts. It might not be soon, though.

  • Jared Vynn

    Any chance you could add the rifle ballistics for 22tcm? For a 22 inch barrel it gets about 2,800 fps.

    Glad to see an article on one of my favorite cartridges.

  • ActionPhysicalMan

    The bullet selection is what pushed me to 5.7. Otherwise the .22TCM has most everything else going for it except magazine capacity.

    • Jared Vynn

      Less bullet selection is the trade off for fitting in conventional sized handguns, and capacity is fairly good as it is the same as 9mm would be.

      • ActionPhysicalMan

        I consider the 5.7s small magazine capacity advantage almost insignificant. Having to pull bullets from factory ammo to get brass sucks too. Luckily for me their is a guy at my range with a 5.7 that goes through at least one box every Saturday and picks up none of it. I crawl around like a beggar on Sundays:-)

        • Jared Vynn

          I haven’t done it yet, but you can make 22tcm brass from 223 cases.

          And I have been there crawling to collect brass.

        • PK

          5.7x28mm brass can’t be that expensive for once fired, can it?

          I just found 1,000 once-fired for under a hundred bucks. Order some online and you’ll have a decent supply, even if it’s not the kind of thing you can reload a few times.

          • ActionPhysicalMan

            Thanks. Somehow, I keep forgetting about that option.

        • Gary Kirk

          “Like a beggar on Sundays”.. You meant like a meth head in Baltimore everyday..

  • Steve

    IIRC, the original 40 gr soft point is just a .22 Hornet projectile, originally.

    I bought one of the first runs of the RIA 1911 double-stack that came with the 9×19 and 22tcm bbls – the ammo shortage right after Newtown is what made me sell the gun (22tcm just didn’t exist for a year, or so), but it was a fun one to shoot! Flat-shooting and recoil was non-existent.

    If I ever bought one again, I’d get a single stack and forget about the 9×19 barrel conversion. I definitely learned that double-stack 1911s were not my thing.

    • hking

      While the recoil is non-existent it is however louder than hell with a noticeable muzzle flash.

  • .22 TCM would be awesome out of an MP7 style weapon with a longer OAL to allow the use of proper Spitzer rifle projectiles. I imagine using a rotating bolt gas piston would also allow loading to a full 55kspi similar to 4.6×30.

    Right now, the greatest strength of the cartridge – that it fits in 9mm and .45 acp pistols – is also it’s greatest weakness due to the poor projectile selection.

  • b0x3r0ck

    Is anyone making an AR-9 barrel in 22tcm?

    • Jared Vynn

      No, pressure is too high you can’t use blowback. Thearguy has a complete ar15 rifle for $650 that uses pps-43/m1carbine magazines.

      • b0x3r0ck

        Hmm OK. Then what’s stopping me from just buying the barrel, bcg from them and using that to build it on a ar9. That way I can still be able to use glock mags would it be feed problem or something?

        • Jared Vynn

          Likely you would have feeding problems, but it would depend on what mag adapter you use. You also couldn’t use a bolt hold open on empty.

          • Andrew Thomas

            Found a m1 carbine chambered in 22 tcm on GunBroker. Still trying to get a chiappa 9mm trigger assembly to adapt to the para double stack mags. So far results are mixed. Chamber is tight so there are feeding and extracting issues with m1 carbine mags. Otherwise it’s very accurate. Barrel was made by green mountain barrels.

          • Jared Vynn

            Very cool, green mountain has awesome barrels.

  • RogUinta

    What on earth is 5.56x25mmRF?

    • I suspect that is a typo. The .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire should be closer to 5.56x27mmRF. A 5.56x25mmRF would be more like the obsolete .22 Winchester Rimfire.

      • It’s a very old typo that I still hadn’t caught, hmmm

  • Waskoley Wallababy
  • USMCM14

    I own both the 22TCM and the 5.7X28 and the 22TCM beats the 5.7×28 every time with the same weight bullet’s and if you reload its the 22TCM hands down by not having to deal with polymer coated cases !!! The truth is they should have went with the “224 BOZ” a 10MM case necked down to 22 caliber 50 gn. bullets at 2500 fps beats the crap out of both of them !!

    • The .224 BOZ was reportedly very abusive to the breechface of its parent firearms.

      • Giolli Joker

        And they moved from 10 Auto to 9 Luger base case.

    • The ballistic coefficient of the 5.7x28mm is much better than that of the .22 TCM, unless you’re loading long for the magazine with the TCM.

  • Blake

    Curious: in the velocity/energy graphs, why does the 9mm round have an 8″ barrel when all the other rounds use standard-length pistol barrels? in short bbls, 4″ of extra length can easily add >100fps:

    & BTW what’s 5.56x25RF? Is that TCM 9R, or something else?

  • Giolli Joker

    It is a cut down .223.

    .223 dimensions:
    Base diameter 0.376 in (9.6 mm)
    Rim diameter 0.378 in (9.6 mm)
    Rim thickness 0.045 in (1.1 mm)

    9x19mm dimensions:
    Base diameter 9.93 mm (0.391 in)
    Rim diameter 9.96 mm (0.392 in)
    Rim thickness 1.27 mm (0.050 in)

    (unit of measure preference as per relevant wikipedia pages)

    Apparently the difference is minimal enough to allow the use of a single bolt face.