Ex-Taurus CEO Mark Kresser (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

“Taurus International Manufacturing, the US division of Forjas Taurus [has] fired multi-year CEO Mark Kresser,” gunnuts.net reports. “Based on the information received, Mark’s firing was a sudden change for a company that had been attempting to re-invent its image under his leadership in the past several years.” Last week, Brazilian ammo maker CBC/Magtech upped their stake in Taurus, purchasing a controlling interest. No doubt Kresser’s departure is tied to the takeover. TTAG’s sorry to see him go . . .

Kresser was open and honest about Taurus’ challenges; specifically lousy customer service and quality control issues. [Click here for Dan’s no-holds-barred interview.] He had taken significant steps to address both. Kresser also oversaw a major rebranding campaign (“Carry On”) and the purchase of Diamondback Arms, Taurus’ attempt to stake a claim in the then-booming AR biz.

The new US CEO inherits a company in better shape than before. We shall see what he or she does with it.

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38 Responses to Taurus Fires US CEO Mark Kresser

  1. You spelled his last name 3 different ways in that article. Nevertheless, he’s a great guy who I’ve had the privilege of meeting and will latch on to another company soon enough. He was doing very good things at Taurus.

  2. Having owned Tauruses (Taurii?) and dealt with Taurus CS before and during Kresser, I can tell you the only reason I’d still give them a chance was Kresser.

    -D

  3. Their QC and customer didn’t change one bit under that guy. I know because I just dealt with them on both issues.

    I sent a firearm back to them that had a couple problems and they sent a letter back detailing about 5 other issues it had. They stated “dangerous issues” on the letter.

    It then took them 12 weeks to get my gun back to me when they said it would only be 2-3. Everytime I called about it their only reply was “your gun is with our review board”.

    I finally got the gun back and the issues I was aware of didnt even look like they had been fixed and 2 off the issues are still ongoing.

    I will never buy another Taurus. NEVER! Sig, S&W or Glock could take them over and I’d still never buy another gun from them.

    *Last time I called I could hear shooting in the background and the guy told me he was less than 25ft from where they fixed and test fired guns. So I asked if he thought somebody could get up off their ass and walk the 25ft and find out what was going on with my gun. 3 days later I got a knock on my door. Fedex returning my gun.

    Ridiculous from beginning to end!

    • Agreed. I needed a fiber optic front sight replacement. That was in November of 13. Guess what? I am still waiting “on the part”. This is on a current production firearm.

      • I needed a new fiber optic rod for the front sight on my Taurus Judge and after a phone call (3 minutes on hold), I talked with a rep. He took my serial number, name and address and put me on hold again. 4 minutes later he told me that I should have a new fiber optic rod in a few days to a week. 3 days later there was a package with a baggie of 5 optic rods. Pretty crappy service indeed.

  4. I too had problems with Taurus and the customer service problems:

    From
    http://www.gunssavelife.com/?p=1484

    From 2012

    Product Review | Taurus Model 82s
    TAURUS police trade-in imports are junk

    by John Boch
    (Guns Save Life) – I saw an ad for used Taurus Model 82 .38 Special pistols for just shy of $200 each, out the door, in a recent GunNews and thought I might pick up a couple for loaner guns for training courses. As these were Taurus’ copy of the 4” K-frame Smith & Wesson revolvers, I thought they would be a perfect complement for the existing Smith and Wesson K-frame guns we already have.

    I pawed over about a half-dozen specimens at Liberty Guns and frankly, these guns were rough. The finish was poor, the grips horrid and cosmetically, these were very ugly guns.

    I selected a pair that seemed significantly better than the others.

    We used them in our February class and we pulled them off the line almost immediately as they were spitting lead.

    One of my fellow instructors noted Taurus’ lifetime warranty and urged me to contact them. See follow on story for results on that…

    In short, the guns I selected turned out to be barely functional. Our students deserve far better than these beat-up clunkers.

    Given how marginal these two guns turned out to be, I can only imagine how poor the other specimens were.

    Dean Rothermel of Liberty Guns later told me he shipped three of the four others back to Century Arms as “unsafe”. The fourth he decided to keep as a project gun, he said.

    If you were considering purchase of one of these Taurus police trade-in revolvers from a dealer, don’t.

    I’ve bought my share of used firearms over the years. I have to say, these two Taurus 82s are the first junk I’ve gotten stuck with when buying used guns.

    Don’t repeat my mistake with these Taurus 82s!

    Taurus Service Guarantee:
    Don’t believe everything they tell you

    by John Boch
    I called Taurus on February 16th and spoke with Mike at extension 259. I explained to him that I picked up a pair of old, imported surplus Model 82s as loaner guns for NRA Personal Protection courses I teach with some friends, and that the guns purchased were rough: with cylinders that were binding, spitting lead and showing a fair amount of forward and backward play. I asked him if they would honor their blanket, lifetime warranty even though these revolvers were not bought new and were Century Arms imports.

    “Sure! We’d love to,” he said. “Just send them down and we’ll take good care of you.”

    $94 and change later, the guns were on the way via FedEx. I was excited that rough specimens might be turned into serviceable loaner guns. They wouldn’t be sexy, but they would work.

    Five days later, they arrived back with zero paperwork. I inspected the guns and as far as I could tell there was nothing done. Sure enough, some friends noticed the label on the end of the boxes that said “non-Taurus” and was circled.

    I called Mike back the next day, seeking clarification on his cheerful encouragement to send the guns to Taurus for repair only for someone there to send them back to me untouched.

    I’m still waiting for a return call after leaving a detailed message.

    Update: I spoke with the guys at the Taurus booth at the NRA Convention in St. Louis this year. I explained my predicament and my disappointment in Mike at extension 259 telling me to send the guns on down for repair only for them to be returned without repair.

    One gentleman overheard my conversation. He came over and tersely told me that they weren’t warrantying those guns as they were exported to Chile as police guns in the early 1970s (1972 to be exact if I recall correctly) and they were problematic, to say the least, and they were never intended for import into the US.

    I asked the head honcho why Mike would tell me to ship the guns to Taurus if they weren’t warrantying them – especially when I told him exactly what they were early in the call.

    The head guy hands me his business card and tells me to send a copy of the shipping invoice to his attention and he would cut me a check to reimburse me.

    I put his card in my pocket and upon my return home and unpacking a couple of days later, I looked more carefully at the card. There were no names on the card.

    Nice. Taurus got me again.

  5. I was impressed with the customer service I received a year ago. Not so much with the (lack of) QC that should have caught the problem in question if more than a couple of test rounds were fired…

  6. Sorry to hear he was fired. I’ve been impressed with the new guns. The 4 I have had ran great with no issues. Maybe Swarf is right & corporate think is the sorry future of most gun companies. And please no Taurus bashing in reply to this. Keltec yes. I literally had a Pf9 fall apart jn my hands. BTW Emily Miller is on the View as I type. And the View bit#hes are already ganging up on her.

  7. The only issue I ever had with Taurii 🙂 was the protective coatings that they ship with. JESUS, when HE returns, will say, Hey buddy, you need a hand with cleaning that?… [and you will say “LAUS DEO!!!”].

    You just can’t get whatever it is completely off (I spray them down every once in a while with Remington Action Cleaner [I like that stuff]) and the brown goo continues to milk it’s way out from somewhere. If you think you have it clean and then take it to the range (first time shooting) you just bake it on.

    • Yes, sorry about Kresser, Taurus is known as a “Look, we can do that too” kind of firearms co. (except for the Judge maybe), so, in that kind of environment, I believe Mr. Kresser should be thanked for there still being a Taurus Company to replace the CEO of.

  8. Oh joy somebody liked freedom group enough to copy them… dark days are ahead if more companies copy that business model, gun companies aren’t like any other companies you really can’t just uproot them move em somewhere else and put new laborers on the line assembling them it’s not like car companies.

  9. I hear ya’ with the cosmoline Taurus uses. CLP worked great. I’ve also heard the new millennium G2 doesn’t have the goop. FWIW.

  10. “OK. We will geeve you dee pesos but get reed of dee gringo!”

    Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.

    • Ok, pretty sure their currency is the real, not a peso, and that they speak Portuguese, not Spanish.

      Anyway, I’ve had mixed experience with Taurus-Rossi-Braztech-Cougar-Mellencamp. Firing pin on my Rossi revolver light strikes one out of every six or seven rounds, regardless of ammo. TCP .380 misfeeds unless kept well lubed and avoid hollow points. I’ve heard and appreciate the tip about bending the mag feed lips a bit, but I’m hesitant to jack with my one and only TCP magazine while others are so hard to come by. Another complaint with Taurus.

      On the plus side, they do make some decent firearms at a great price, but they really need to address their basic what I call blocking and tackling operations problems. Otherwise you’re just using your purchase savings to buy yourself some headaches and inconvenience.

  11. I enjoyed shooting the Taurus 247 model that was a rental at my local range. I loved the ribbed rubbery finned grips. Purchased one later on and they had gone to a textured grip. Didn’t feel as good and did not shoot as good as the rental. Sold it.

  12. I am considering the purchase of the model 738 TCP, in 380. I have watched several videos of the gun in use. All the shooters say they really like the pistol and they would prefer it over the Ruger 380, and the Kel-tec.
    The reputation of Taurus makes me a bit hesitant, even though I own a model 85 titanium 38 special, that has not had any problems.
    So, any TCP owners out there?

    • You couldn’t give me one. My neighbor has one and the few times I have fired it don’t remember really any malfunctions but it throws the brass right in your’e face. I was probably hit 50% or more of the time with hot brass right between the eyes. It was kinda picky on ammo too but seems most pocket .380s are know the Diamondback is. We both have one of those too pain in the ass bought tons of .380 to find which ones will actually run in the pistol wasted a bunch of money trying. Think i might just ditch that pos too. Just liked it because it is so similar to my Glocks and I wanted a little pocket gun for around the house carry and occasionally when I don’t want to or can’t strap on the belt for my Glock 27 that I carry daily. Might buy a Kahr next a PM9 maybe or might just get a Ruger LCR or a J Frame.

      • JJ,
        Thanks for the reply, Just goes to show you the differences two different shooters come up with. One question: You say the brass is hitting you in the head, is that when you are holding the gun at eye level, or down near belt height?
        Thanks.

    • I have one and it has run fine for me. I have only run a couple of 100 rounds through it but so far no issues.

      • Bill,
        Appreciate the reply, What ammo are you using? Have you used different kinds, or just one.
        Thanks.

    • I’d advise against a TCP 738. I thought all the issues were worked out and I found a screaming deal on a new one online last month. I bought; I prefer the slightly beefier grip, trigger, and slide lock on the TCP over my LCP.

      But one small problem: The Taurus won’t run without random stoppages and throwing brass in my face. It does this with the same brands of ammo that run thru my LCP flawlessly.

      Taurus may have good CS but that’s not good enough. I want good QC as well. I would buy another hi-point before any Taurus.

      • Thanks Wayne,
        I am now having doubts. I wanted to use the gun for a “hid-a-way” to be stashed in a very small space, in my house, along with a couple of others.

    • I started with a spendy (and beautiful) two tone Sig P238… which had major teething problems. Once those were sorted out, it still gave me occasional hiccups, and overall just never really spoke to me. A decent gun, but for $500 and change, I expected more.

      So I sold it and went downmarket with the venerable LCP, which worked fine out of the box and really carried great compared to the Sig… but still wasn’t exactly enjoyable – hated the trigger pull and grip feel.

      Eventually landed on the TCP, and love it. Smooth, reliable and accurate out of the box, and 700+ rounds later, continues to eat anything I feed it. I will agree with the above commenter, though, it does randomly kick a few back into my forehead now and then.

      Could be that I got one of the “good ones”, but I truly prefer it to the P238, LCP, and Bodyguard for whatever that’s worth.

  13. Sorry to see him go, and I wish all the best for him in whatever his future endeavors.

    I have personally met with him several times, and he was a “stand-up guy”. He would answer any questions put to him without reservation.

    Contrary to some of the posts above, he had greatly improved customer service and quality under his leadership. He was most aware of the negative comments in the blogs, and did his best to reform customer service, and improve quality of both product and service.

    Last year I was honored to have been invited to a Taurus plant tour in Miami, and was impressed by the strides that he and Taurus USA had taken. The customer service staff had been expanded, well trained both in courtesy and product characteristics, better equipped with hardware and software to deal with customer inquiries, and led by a customer service manager who was a firecracker who demanded the best from her people.

    Mark had also instituted an additional Quality Assurance program for the imported firearms; rather than simply shipping out what was received, he had a series of QA tables where the newly imported firearms were opened, and then passed around the table where members of a skilled team carefully inspected and tested each firearm, rejecting any that did not pass spec, and boxed up those that did pass to be shipped.

    I had unrestricted access to the factory in Miami where the PT738 TCP, Heritage, and other models were manufactured with in-house produced parts and components, and spoke to several workers of my choosing; all appeared to have a high work ethic and took pride in their work. I shared countless cups of company provided Cafe’ Cubano with the workers, and they were, to a person a great group of people.

    I wish Mr. Anthony Acitelli all of the best, and hope that he will continue the positive progress that Taurus, Rossi, Heritage, and Diamondback have been making under their prior leadership.

  14. This is, sadly, fairly typical in older manufacturing companies that don’t want to upgrade their customer service and QC to modern standards.

    1. Company’s owners see problems in sales, and lots of complaints about QC (first) and support (second). A really good product needs a lot less support than a crummy product.

    2. Company’s owners hire a manager with a track record from outside to “turn things around.”

    3. Existing employees in company rebel and don’t get in line with the new way of doing things.

    4. Sales continue to suffer.

    5. Owners fire the new manager brought in to turn things around…

    Then the market usually starts giving the company a hard lesson or two, and the employee/management that’s left either gets the point of the lesson, or they go out of business.

    • OR ..it could just be that nothing really changed.

      Which from my recent experience with them, it hasn’t.

  15. It seems there are two types of Taurus owners. Those that have bought bad guns, and the rest of their customers. I am glad I am in the latter group (so far) and will continue to consider them until I get burned. I hope the next CEO finishes the job of turning the company around.

  16. I was considering the 709 Slim as a possible CCW gun because of the efforts of Kresser. Now that he’s been replaced by a salesman, I’ll put Taurus back on my “Do Not Buy” list.

  17. Sorry to see Mark go. When I had a couple issues with my 709 I received a personal letter from Mark stating that he would do everything to make it right including an exchange for a new 709. When I sent it in for repairs I had it back in my hands in 14 days!

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