The Rimfire Report: George Kellgren's 22LR Scorpion – The Intratec TEC-22

Luke C.
by Luke C.

Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is entirely focused on rimfire firearms and their related fields. Last week we had a really nice discussion about two of my favorite rimfire handguns, the Ruger MK IV and the SIG P322. While I correctly guessed that most of you would much prefer the MK IV 22/45, I was actually quite surprised just how many of you like the P322 for what it is and what it does. I had the preconceived notion that a majority of people who have owned them actually don’t like them based on online feedback. However, based on everything you guys said in the comments last week, it seems to me that the P322 is indeed a fun plinker… at least when it works! This week we’re going to talk about a pistol that most of you guys either haven’t even heard of or have scrubbed from your memory entirely due to the litany of problems the poor rimfire pistol had over its brief 10-year lifespan. Today we’ll be talking about the George Kellgren-designed Interatec TEC-22 22LR semi-automatic pistol. While it might look like a boring plastic polymer 22LR pistol, the TEC-22 has a lot of interesting features that make it worth looking over or maybe even owning as a collector’s item.

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The Rimfire Report: George Kellgren’s 22LR Scorpion – The Intratec TEC-22

Design & History

Made from inexpensive ABS plastic, and stamped steel, the TEC-22’s design follows a lot of the familiar design cues that George Kellgren and KelTec are famous for. The TEC-22 isn’t what I’d call a “pretty” pistol. It’s a large format pistol with a protruding barrel, a wide magazine well in front of the pistol grip and obnoxiously huge sights when compared to its namesake. All of these features give the TEC-22 Scorpion the vague appearance of a VZ 61, but none of the charm or the utility since it’s also lacking a wire stock.

Photo: rexpansion321

Like other blowback semi-auto rimfire guns, the TEC-22 makes use of a particularly heavy steel bolt backed up by a single recoil spring to manage the cycling of the gun. What makes the pistol particularly interesting to me is the pistol’s use of off-the-shelf Ruger 10/22 pattern magazines. This is once again something that Mr. Kellgren is quite well known for – using magazines from other guns as a starting point for his creations. While proprietary magazines do exist for the TEC-22, more often than not when you go to buy one on the secondary market, you’ll see them with Butler Creek, Ruger BX, or other aftermarket 10/22 magazines instead of the proprietary solid black magazine which is virtually featureless.

Photo: rexpansion321

The TEC-22 was produced for only 10 years, but that 10 years was split into two stints and also technically two different variants of the firearm. Initially released in 1988, the TEC-22 was produced until about 1994 and was likely discontinued because of its feature set. Most of you will remember in 1994 the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act), was signed into law and immediately made the the TEC-22 a product that was no longer viable for Intratec. The pistol would later be re-released that same year as the Intratec Sport-22. This version of the pistol was made purely to comply with the new AWB laws and simply lacked the threaded barrel, and shipped with a BX-1 10-round rotary magazine instead of the proprietary 20-round Intratec ones.

Photo: rexpansion321

Finally, the Intratec TEC-22 was officially discontinued at the turn of the millennium and quickly sunk into the forgotten corners of gun safes, pawn shops, and consignment displays. It’s anyone’s guess as to why the TEC-22/Sport-22 was actually discontinued (perhaps Mr. Kellgren knows), but if I had to take a wild guess, I would say it was largely due to some of the official recalls.


As you can probably guess the TEC/Sport-22 wasn’t exactly a popular pistol even when it was in production. Just go to any forum out there talking about this gun and you’ll see post after post about how the gun has not just a wide array of issues, but consistent parts breakages to boot. Part of this has to do with the gun’s design – like most 22LR pistols and rifles of the time, there was no last-round bolt hold open device. This meant that the relatively cheap firing pin in a lot of cases was being smacked right into the rear of the breech causing fractures. Users of course remedied this problem themselves by using a snap cap dummy round as the last round in the magazine rather than a live one.

Photo: rexpansion321

The fun part begins when you learn that the 22LR pistol routinely went full-auto during its initial release. Early TEC-22 pistols we reported to often “ fire in bursts” or “go full auto” at random and or consistently in some cases. This particular issue is what caused one of the initial recalls, and below is the initial recall notice from Intratec that was printed in the October 1990 edition of Guns & Ammo magazine.


RECALL: To all owners of TEC-22s from serial # 100 to # 20,033 and # 27,001 to # 27,222. A flawed part used in the manufacture of the pistol may cause the gun to function as a fully automatic pistol. Already modified guns within the serial number range can be checked by:

Opening the cover and looking by the front/side, under the cover axis screw.

If there is an indentation with an “R” affixed inside of it (check both sides) then your gun has been modified. If not, send your TEC-22 to Intratec for factory authorized installation free of charge.

While these facts and anecdotes alone are more than enough to turn almost any firearms owner off from this pistol, the TEC-22 still has a lot of love and even support 35 years later. There is quite a healthy secondary market for these pistols throughout all variants of the pistol. The more popular variants are obviously the early releases – pre-AWB and pre-recall era pistols can routinely go for about $600 or so depending on condition.

Photo: rexpansion321

Still Alive

As opposed to some other unpopular or ill-remembered 22LR firearms, the TEC-22 is still supported by the aftermarket and is still found and sold through the secondary market. If you happen to own a TEC-22 pistol or any other 22LR or 9mm Intratec firearm for that matter, Intratec Gun Parts is actively producing parts for these guns. While OEM magazines have been relegated to collector item status, the 10/22 magazines have replaced them for reliability and availability.

Photo: Intratec Gun Parts

I’d like to hear if any of you have owned one of these odd pistols. If you did, how well did yours run? Pistols like these, while they are not popular, are really interesting to me especially since they help fill in the gaps and history of famous firearms designers like George Kellgren, while this wasn’t one of his most successful designs, I can see how it fits in with his entire body of work, making the TEC-22 an interesting piece of history to own. As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome below, thanks for reading The Rimfire Report and we’ll see you all again next week!

Photo: rexpansion321
Luke C.
Luke C.

Reloader SCSA Competitor Certified Pilot Currently able to pass himself off as the second cousin twice removed of Joe Flanigan. Instagram:

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4 of 20 comments
  • Dead Sirius Dead Sirius on May 07, 2024

    Holy crap. How hard is it to spell the name of this firearm correctly? That's some sloppy work.

    • Luke C. Luke C. on May 12, 2024

      @Dead Sirius sorry, i broke my left ring finger last week and the one in the title slipped through the editing process.

  • 1013D 1013D on May 08, 2024

    not sure this is a Kellgren gun. I thought he left before this came out?

    • Nasty! Nasty! on May 13, 2024

      @1013D Good question, he left Interdynamics before it would become Intratec, and this gun was only sold under Intratec. Perhaps this was a design he made earlier which they decided to put into production?

      I must say I kinda like this gun's style, I think it looks neat with one of those less curved Archangel mags, and I have memories of seeing a Tec-22 which was registered as a machinegun and had the top folding wire stock of a Scorpion added onto it.
      I think resurrecting this for its looks would have some promise, just use a better plastic and improve a few things.