Cartel Weapons

Blog Post
The editorial staff of Virtual Mirage runs into interesting things all of the time, that the average person might not find interesting… which may be why this blog exists. I became aware that the drug cartels in Northern Mexico are using the .22 Tuason Craig Micromagnum or .22 TCM cartridge in connection with Rock Island Armory and Glock conversions. Those of you who are firearms enthusiasts might find that to be a bit exotic for drug cartels, but they do seem to like this option.
.22 TCM (left), FN 5.7x28mm (center)
.223 Remington (right)
It’s a type of wildcat round, created from a 5.56×45 NATO cartridge case, shortened so that the shoulder is about the same length as a .38 Super cartridge, created by Rock Island Armory. 
Mexican drug cartels have favored the .38 Super for years because of laws in Mexico. 9x19mm Parabellum and .45 ACP rounds are deemed to be military weapons in Mexico and possession of firearms chambered so, or ammunition carry a higher sentence than a .38 Special or Super, which are not military weapons according to Mexican law. The public can be licensed to carry .38 Super auto, but not 9mm.
A sub variant of the .22 TCM is the 9R. That is the version with a more deeply seated bullet designed for use in Glock 9mm magazines. They fire a 40gr. JHP. The .22 TCM9R is the favored cartridge within that family.
The round, fired from a Glock, fitted with a silencer, is the preferred combination. However, to get it really silent, you need to hand-load the .22 TCM9R to insure that the round itself is sub-sonic. The cartel folks haven’t figured that out yet because based on my research, they use factory ammunition.

21 thoughts on “Cartel Weapons

  1. Since when are hardened Mexican thugs worried about how long their sentences will be? They are murdering scumbags to the bone, and yet they concern themselves with whether or not they get 25 years hard labor instead of 30?

    Then again, why go through the trouble to obtain these modifed rounds? I guess your theory has merit.

  2. Always wondered what the application for that round was… now I know.

    I also always wish they'd named it something else, since I inevitably read it as " .22 Turner Classic Movies".

  3. BOOM! I miss shooting stuff! I must have a word with the Latvian cartel next door but one and see what they can do for me…

  4. I've seen those around but have never really felt the urge to get one. Perhaps if I find one at the right price. I do believe I'll get a 1911 next summer for my three score and ten. I'm thinking a Dan Wesson would be nice.

  5. See, this is why I come here every day. I learned to shoot before I learned to drive (our jeep on the ranch at age 8) and started handloading in '77. I even reload 38 Super, and am aware of Mexican law as LL describes. Until today I had never even heard of 22 TCM, let alone seen it on a retail shelf. Interesting little hot rod for a handgun. If I were so inclined, I would probably start here–

    For myself, I'll stick with the 223 as I am already belt buckle deep in ammo and components. If I were to venture into the sub-sonic arena, there are LOTS of options to build a Ruger 10-22 using 22 LR.

    Just to add to the gun nerdiness, I am currently running one of these on an AR–

    The image in not correct in that there are no solar panels on top. The three main features that attracted me–

    1) The sight is completely enclosed.
    2) The run time.
    3) The programmable motion sensor. Let it sit still for 10 minutes
    (factory setting) and it shuts down. Move it, and it comes back

    They also make one with a gold reticle for those who are colorblind.

  6. The more important kingpins usually either bribe judges, escape custody or in the recent case of Chapito, his gunmen just killed a bunch of police officers and soldiers.

    The lower level gunslingers are concerned about how much time they get, thus the cartridge and firearm issue. They can't easily bribe their way out of custody, etc.

  7. Yeah. That too.

    Many of the cartel gunmen have licenses to carry firearms in Mexico but it has to be the politically correct cartridge. This is "only a .22".

  8. I should sail across the pond with a hold full of really nasty sling shots – you know the wrist rockets with ball bearing ammo, land in the dead of night and haul the crates up the beach. You could modify them to fire cream pies (in the face) or just keep the ball bearing ammo. I wonder if they're illegal in Old Blighty?

  9. The cartridges are large and the projectile is small. Maybe the velocity is sufficient reason, but with a pistol, the wound channel size matters. How would it compare to my .454 Cassul Alaskan Super Redhawk or my .460 S&W with the 5" barrel? Surely the larger rounds are louder when fired.

  10. "News you can use". Back when I had Outdoor Channel, I stumbled across a show demonstrating the RIA 1911 that was chambered in the .22 TCM. It looked interesting, but I dismissed it as one of those specialty rounds that would be hard to keep the gun fed with. This demand probably helps.

  11. They've always been after 'oddball' stuff down there for various reasons. See Ingram, Tec-9, etc… But this one is a new one on me, thanks for the info!

  12. It popped up on my radar in a case that I'm consulting on with the Dept. of Homeland Security, where the Tijuana Cartel (a permutation of its former glory) wants thousands of rounds of TCM.

  13. I have never understood the appeal of the Tec-9. The Ingram has such a high cyclic rate that it's difficult to control, particularly with the long suppressor that came with the Mac 10. It was a hand-held suppressor that had a habit of coming off and blasting though the sides of the suppressor into your hand. Which worked for me since I didn't operate the Mac 10.

  14. Interesting stuff. The only oddball cartridge I've ever come across was some weird little 9mm blank that was used in modified MP-5's for movie filming. When they filmed the Captain America "Winter Soldier" scenes on the ships at Sea Launch they left piles of them all over the place from the action scenes.

  15. Longtime lurker, first time commenter. That .22 TCM looks fun; I have the 5.7 in pistol/PDW form but I'm surprised, the TCM has a solid 300fps advantage over the 5.7. Now I'm looking at getting a .22 TCM, and I will need to place blame, since it's obviously not my fault.

  16. Feel free to blame the people who comment on this blog. They're a bunch of nere-do-wells that Hillary called 'Deplorable'. They'd set sail and hoist the Jolly Roger in another age. Please report back and let us know how you like the 22 TCM.

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