By Miguel C. Gil
The very notion of a Glock pistol chambered for the lightning-fast .22 TCM cartridge is certainly sufficient to fire up the imagination of many gun enthusiasts. Today, thanks to a conversion kit offered by Arms Corporation of the Philippines (Armscor), anyone who owns a full-sized Glock can own this bragging piece!
Let us not waste time by discussing the merits of the Glock pistol. Simply put, it is immensely popular so, there must be something to it. Glocks are coveted by servicemen, lawmen and private citizens worldwide. Aftermarket parts and accessories are plentiful, rivaling those offered for the venerable M1911.
As for the .22 TCM, it is a relatively new cartridge that some have met with great excitement while others remain unimpressed. Armscor’s proprietary cartridge is touted to achieve a muzzle velocity of 2,000 fps from a pistol-length barrel. The .22 TCM’s destructive capability belies its puny dimensions, or so they say.
The Conversion Kit
Armscor’s .22 TCM “conversion kit” is actually a complete slide assembly that will supposedly drop-in and function in any full-sized Glock frame. The assembly so far available is only intended for Generations 1 to 3 Glock pistols and will not fit in the newer Gen 4, which has slightly different slide dimensions. To be more precise, it will fit only Glock models 17, 17L, 22, 24, 31, 34, 35 and 37. This slide assembly is therefore not intended for the beefier Glock models 20 and 21.
The deeply parkerized slide has deep canals cut on the top surface that are evidently meant to save weight. It comes with a recoil spring that is a departure from the original Glock design, in that it is not captive to its metal guide rod. The recoil spring is very light, only about 10 lbs. or even less.
The 4.5-inch barrel flares towards the business end like a trumpet. It is our understanding that adding that extra mass at the end of the barrel aids in heat dissipation and enhances accuracy by way of better harmonics. As far as we know, this barrel is conventionally grooved and lacks the polygonal rifling usually associated with Glock barrels.
All the small parts (extractor, firing pin, slide cover plate etc.) appear identical to those found in a Glock 17 slide. We are told that most if not all spare parts would swap from a Glock slide to the Armscor conversion slide and vise-versa, although we have not attempted to confirm this.
We were initially scratching our head to try to understand how Armscor managed to make the light-recoiling .22 TCM function reliably in the relatively stout Glock slide. It did so simply by reducing slide weight and by using a very much reduced power recoil spring. Simple but effective solutions!
Enter the .22 TCM 9R
Armscor engineers apparently found themselves faced with a serious stumbling block in their quest to marry the Glock to the .22 TCM round. Take note that the system they designed was meant to operate using Glock 17 (9mm Para) magazines. By loading the original .22 TCM cartridge in G17 magazines, it is immediately evident that the round is simply too long! A shorter round was needed.
Of course, altering the case dimensions of the .22 TCM was out of the question because it would have resulted in an entirely new cartridge. A shorter projectile was therefore the only way to go.
By simply substituting the original .22 TCM’s 40-grain bullet (JHP & FMJ) with a new 39-grain bullet (JHP only), Armscor achieved the desired cartridge length. Accompanying photos will show that the new head is so short that it hardly protrudes out of the case neck. Tagged the “.22 TCM 9R,” it carries a substantially shorter but only slightly lighter projectile.
What is truly interesting is Armscor’s claim that the .22 TCM 9R cartridge generates the same 2,000 fps muzzle velocity of its older sibling when fired from the 4.5 inch barrel!
What is it For?
No doubt, either variant of the .22 TCM offers jaw-dropping ballistics on paper. As a bragging gun, a .22 TCM Glock conversion is likely to have few peers!
Still, one wonders about its practical utility as a defensive or service round. Clearly, by putting the .22 TCM in the Glock envelope Armscor is setting its sights on the personal defense and police markets. So, how is it likely to fare as a fighting gun?
Paper ballistics suggest that the .22 TCM 9R round must be capable of inflicting a big gaping wound with the accompanying hydrostatic shock on whomsoever is unlucky enough to be shot with one. One can imagine that the shock alone can stop an assailant on his tracks.
We have but two concerns about the .22 TCM as a defensive cartridge. First, since any light projectile pushed at very high speed is likely to disintegrate upon hitting a hard barrier—there may be under penetration issues. Second, this cartridge produces a truly intimidating noise and flash signature that can possibly stun the shooter—especially when he/she has to shoot indoors.
At the Range
Thanks to Armscor’s very own Bob Sajot , we had a brand-new, unfired .22 TCM 9R conversion slide already snapped unto a Gen 3 Glock frame to test at Armscor’s capacious shooting range in Parang, Marikina City. We were also issued a good quantity of the new TCM 9R ammunition with which to take the pistol through the paces.
Just to get the feel of it, we opted to initially shoot at a silhouette target 15 meters away. Aligning the pistol’s plain black front and rear sights, we held dead center at the relatively distant target board before letting loose our first 5-shot salvo. Even with eye and ear protection the not unsubstantial muzzle blast from the pistol could be felt down to the bone! Those first tentative rounds left no doubt as to the authority of the mighty .22 TCM 9R round. Yet, felt recoil was negligible!
When the initial playing around was done with, we decided to get serious and ascertain the pistol’s practical accuracy. Trying it out at the 7-meter line, we then discovered that our test .22 TCM 9R conversion pistol shot significantly lower relative to your point of aim. This is not really a problem when you get accustomed to shooting 12 ‘o clock.
All in all, the pistol exhibited all the user-friendliness of any Glock. Most importantly however, and much to surprise, it digested every round of the supplied ammo with utter reliability.
A pistol that feels like a Glock but fires the .22 TCM 9R certainly has its allure. At the top of the list is the fact that over-penetration will almost certainly be a non-issue. Its 39-grain hollow point projectile will most likely break apart upon hitting walls and hardwood doors. As to the damage it can do to a violent home intruder, we leave that up to your imagination!
We have to emphasize however, that touching off the .22 TCM 9R in the confined space of one’s house can be a nerve-wracking experience. To say that it is loud would be a tremendous understatement. Moreover, a shot in the dark could temporarily impair one’s natural night vision—which would not be good if one is engaged in a fight for survival in low-light.
Our test pistol proved to be intimidating in every sense of the word. A home defender thus armed will simply have to deal with the pros and cons which come with the package. We certainly want one!
SRP: Pricing still uncertain as of press time but expect it to run around Php 19,000 (complete slide assembly only)