.22 TCM and 9mm: Testing the Rock Island TCM TAC Ultra FS By: Karen Hunter


“Faster and faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.” Hunter S. Thompson’s quote can be applied to many elements of our modern world. But it’s especially relevant to the firearms industry and the ever-growing need for speed. Nowhere is this manifested as strongly as with the relatively new .22 TCM round from the innovative people of Armscor.

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The .22 TCM

This 2,000-plus-feet-per-second (fps) rocket sled certainly brings the thrill of speed to the range. As a comparison, understand that 115-grain 9mm ammo generally runs in the 1,100-feet-per-second range.

While engineering a lightning-fast round looks good on paper, there is obviously a necessity to have a gun capable of launching that round. Armscor has stepped into that arena, as well.

As the parent company of Rock Island Armory, it has put together a family of 1911-style handguns to run this unique round. One of the most interesting guns in the group, which has caught the attention of the shooting world, is the TCM TAC Ultra FS.

Meet The Family

The TCM TAC Ultra FS is actually two guns in one. With a simple barrel and recoil spring swap, the gun can be converted from .22 TCM to 9mm in just a few short minutes. But we aren’t here to talk about another 9mm 1911—we want to know more about the TCM.

The acronym stands for “Tuason Craig Micromagnum,” a nod to the Tuason family that owns Armscor. The name also incorporates Fred Craig, who worked with the Tuason family as a design contributor.

The end product was a .22 TCM round based on 5.56 case and then shortened at the shoulder. It looks a bit like a 9mm round mixed with a rifle round.

The plan was to develop a handgun round that had exceptional energy and speed but still had low recoil. The end product was a round based on a 5.56 case and then shortened at the shoulder. It looks a bit like a 9mm round mixed with a rifle round.

The velocity of this round out of a handgun hovers easily in the 2,000-fps range. However, it has somehow been magically modified to retain low recoil. The only major unique note about the round is the serious fireball that’s generally created when it is launched downrange.

The Rock Island TCM TAC Ultra FS Convertible 1911

One of the guns designed to run this incredible round is the TCM TAC Ultra FS. It’s a well-made 1911 with a great fit and finish. This gun is made from 4140 ordnance steel and hand-fitted by Rock Island Armory’s smiths.

It’s a full-sized 1911 with a 5-inch barrel, and it includes a skeletonized hammer and trigger with an adjustable overtravel stop. Additionally, a low-profile adjustable two-dot LPA rear sight and a high-visibility fiber optic front sight ride atop the slide.

The versatile Rock Island 1911’s trigger broke cleanly with no noticeable creep, lending itself to very good accuracy during the author’s testing session.

The G10 tactical grips give great purchase on the gun while not being too aggressive. The design includes engineered front and rear CNC angle grooves and a full-length under Picatinny rail to include a light if desired. Wrapping it all up is a durable Parkerized coating, making it look as good as it feels.

As mentioned, the gun is sold as a “combo” unit. Using the included 9mm barrel and spring, the gun can be converted into an equally nice 9mm 1911. This is not something that was just done as a marketing ploy, though.

Many of us know how “conversion kits” perform in guns across the spectrum. The 9mm conversion of this pistol, in contrast to the norm, is serious and reliable. This really matters to those who have a fear that, at some point, .22 TCM ammo will dry up and never be stocked again.

I don’t see this happening. But the fact that you can easily run this gun with 9mm ammo should calm the nerves a bit.

Match Made In Heaven

Testing this beautiful gun included visiting my local range on a very brisk Ohio morning. While my regular testing routine would include a variety of ammunition, factory ammo for the .22 TCM is limited to that produced by Armscor.

The flavor of the day, then, would be the 40-grain jacketed hollow-point rounds, which would serve quite well. Mags loaded and target set, I prepared to send rounds downrange.

Here is what I noticed during loading and general manipulations. The slide is extremely smooth, and the light recoil spring caught me off guard as the slide moved almost effortlessly.

The first round to crack off was interesting, as well. While I had heard about the muzzle flash of the round from colleagues, it still took me by surprise. This, combined with the gun’s roar, made for a moment of conflict in my mind because there was so little recoil. How can something so loud and flashy still have such soft recoil?

The Rock Island TCM TAC Ultra FS convertible between 9mm and .22 TCM.

That is the magic of the .22 TCM round. There was very little muzzle rise, and engaging second and third shots at will was easy. The skeletonized, serrated trigger broke crisply with no noticeable creep. Reset was also nice and short, which helped make it a fast-shooting gun.

The Smooth Shooting Capabilities of the TCM TAC Ultra FS

Rock Island did a good job of making the gun smooth and comfortable to shoot. The gun weighs just over 2 pounds, which also helped manage recoil. Because I would not be comparing ammo performance, I shot groups with the gun off-hand at various distances.

Even without a rest, the gun produced groups under 2 inches at 15 yards. However, my ability to move from target to target at speed was more important. Steel became the target of choice at this point, and it rang out with every press of the trigger. The gun certainly demonstrated its ability to run fast and hard without any hiccups or malfunctions.

Even without a rest, the gun produced groups under 2 inches at 15 yards.

The choice of an orange fiber-optic sight was solid, as it was easy to acquire even at pace. I found the single-stack design a good fit for my smaller hands. I have always enjoyed shooting 1911s in general, and the TCM TAC Ultra FS was certainly at the top of the list of great shooting 1911s.

Wrap Up

The 1911 has seen a welcomed resurgence over the past several years, and the TCM TAC Ultra FS is a respected player on this team of firearms. This gun offers us three distinctive upsides.

First is the simple fact that it is in the iconic 1911 style. The second is that Rock Island Armory has essentially given us two guns in one; the ability to change out the barrel and spring to bring a 9mm to life is a major benefit. The last and most interesting benefit is the choice of the .22 TCM round.

I have had the pleasure of shooting various ammo, and the .22 TCM was one of the most enjoyable. The roar and flash of this round reminded me of a dog that would bark like mad but was actually very gentle.

The .22 TCM round in this 1911 is a perfect match: mild recoil in a gun built for accuracy and performance. I have a feeling this gun will end up in my collection.

For more information, please visit Armscor.com.

The .22 TCM is a specialized round created by Armscor.

Rock Island Armory TCM TAC Ultra FS Combo Specs

Caliber: .22 TCM/9mm
Barrel: 5 inches
Overall Length: 8.75 inches
Weight: 37.6 ounces (empty)
Grip: G10
Sights: Orange fiber-optic front, white dot rear
Action: SA
Finish: Parkerized
Capacity: 10+1
MSRP: $891

This article was originally published in the Combat Handguns March/April 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email subscriptions@athlonmediagroup.com.

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