(This is a reader gun review contest entry, click here for more details.)
By Aaron James
My father’s Llama Comanche .357 magnum rode faithfully in the console of his work truck for nearly 20 years, while also serving as his nightstand protector in between the highway miles. As happens with so many revolver guys, he decided last year to swap it for something with a bit more capacity. He’s no pistol buff, so he came to me with a list of features he wanted in his new handgun: semi-automatic, chambered in 9mm, full-size, hammer-fired, a manual safety, and a double-stack magazine for the added rounds. Plenty of fish in the sea fit that description. Oh, and one last requirement: keep it under $400 . . .
Well that narrows it down. “Meet me at Academy Sports in 30 minutes,” I told him over the phone. “I know exactly what you need.”
If you’ve ever spent more than about 15 minutes online perusing gun forums, you know that there are plenty of opinions about Taurus pistols, and roughly 98% of them can be summarized thusly: “Got gun. Loaded gun. Gun broke. Sent off to Taurus. Got it back. Still broke. Took it to gunsmith. Gunsmith laughed. Fiddled with it and replaced X and Y. Took it to range. Fired three rounds. Broke again. &%[email protected]! Taurus.”
If the internet is to be believed, the pro-Taurus camp basically consists of their marketing department, Jessie Duff, me, and about a half dozen others who just don’t know any better. I currently own a model 85 .38 special and a PT911 9mm. Both are excellent handguns. Neither has ever exhibited any issues through hundreds of rounds of ammo.
The Taurus Model 809 is, more or less, a hammer-fired version of Taurus’ 24/7 line of striker fired pistols. It has a three-position safety switch that allows multiple modes of carry. Upon unboxing, I detected a slight *wiggle* in the slide to frame fit; not loose, per say, or even cheap-feeling, but there’s an undeniable shimmy in it. Taurus fans will dismiss it; Taurus detractors will deride it.
After purchasing the pistol for dad, I took it to the range for him and fired off two mags full of FMJ just to ensure basic functionality. After that, I did a quick cleaning and put it away in its box, where it has been shuffled between his truck and his nightstand for the better part of a year. I chose to review it partly because I knew it needed a proper break-in of at least 200 rounds.
The most noticeable thing about this gun is its size. It is quite large for the 4” barreled class; this baby absolutely dwarfs a GLOCK 19. Its length and height are much closer to the full size 17. Its 30 oz. of unloaded mass made me check the polymer frame to see if it was actually steel disguised as plastic. Not that it’s a bad thing, mind you. For a gun that wasn’t bought for concealed carry, these things were features, not bugs. The full-length grip more than accommodates my slightly larger than average hands, and its 37 oz. (with a full mag) finishes taming an already mild-recoiling 9mm round. Yes, with a proper belt, holster, and cover garment, you could carry this gun concealed, but there are far better choices out there for that assignment.
There are plenty of nice features on this pistol. Novak sights, interchangeable backstraps, forward cocking serrations, and a rail for mounting lights or lasers are among the niceties found on the Taurus. Even though most of these things are expected on modern pistols, it’s still nice to have them on a budget gun.
But enough about her looks…how does she handle? To find out, I loaded her up along with 200 rounds of ammo and hit the range. As previously stated, I had already shot 30 rounds through it a year ago, but I have absolutely no recollection of how it felt. Evidently, it was rather unremarkable.
The trigger is a DA/SA affair, and I’d rate it decent in both modes. The double action is long and heavy, but not terrible. The single action is fairly light, but I wouldn’t use “crisp” as a descriptor. The trigger’s best feature is its incredibly short reset; perhaps the shortest I’ve ever experienced on a non-1911 pistol. And with each reset, the Taurus makes sure you can hear AND feel it, a quality I find very appealing. The worst feature of the trigger is the shape of it. At first blush, it appears normal enough, but near the end of its travel, it creates a weird downward angle that causes my index finger to graze the length of the trigger guard with each trigger press. No amount of adjustment on my part could correct it, so I soldiered on with the minor annoyance.
I must apologize for this horrid target. The Model 809 is far more accurate than this abomination indicates. For its part, the sights are good and the pistol pews where you point it; it’s just that I suck at pointing it sometimes. To my credit, other styles of target yielded much better results. There’s just something about that solid black background that makes my eyes cross.
Here’s a summary of the malfunctions I encountered during the 210 rounds I fired:
At the conclusion of the third full magazine, the slide failed to lock back on empty. Now I know this is going to sound like I’m making excuses for the gun, but I don’t mind when this happens. Since I don’t count the rounds I fire, I was unaware that the gun was empty, so I continued with my normal firing routine. There’s nothing better for diagnosing bad habits than squeezing the trigger and expecting a bang that doesn’t happen. Even still, it was supposed to lock back on an empty mag and it didn’t. Once.
Right around cartridge #100, I had a light primer strike. Instinctively, I tapped and racked even though the 809 has “second strike” capability given its DA/SA status. After I had finished the mag, I knelt down and retrieved the unfired round and loaded it into the empty magazine by itself. After a quick chambering, it dutifully exploded and sent its projectile downrange. For what it’s worth, it was a loose Winchester 115 gr. FMJ of unknown origin that I’ve had in a bag for years. It’s probably safe to blame the ammo in this instance, but I’m reporting the failure for you to draw your own conclusions.
That’s all. No stovepipes, no failures to feed, nothing of that sort. I’m pleased with the function of this piece. The gun runs as intended, and although I haven’t run 500-600 rounds through it as is my standard, I’m satisfied that it will detonate a round when asked. At the end of the day, that’s all I’ve asked this gun to do, and it does it. And with a street price of $350 (less at Bud’s Gun Shop online), that’s a helluva value, even if it is a Taurus.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style * * * *
I think this is a handsome full size pistol, but there are nits to pick and not everyone will agree.
Ergonomics (firing) * * * *
Its size really comes in handy and it’s grippy in all the right places.
Customize This * * *
Holsters are available, but not as wide and varied as your bigger names (think Glock and M&P). Lights and lasers fit just fine on the chin.
Overall * * * *
I did my best to set aside my affinity for Taurus products for this review. Compared directly to the slew of $500 pistols on the market, it would be three stars at best. But this nifty pistol can be found in multiple places for around $300, and that price advantage nets it a full additional star.
My first handgun was a brand new 840, which is the 40 s&w version of this gun. Design wise I loved everything about that gun. It was relatively accurate, fully ambidextrous, and had great capacity. It was also completely reliable… at first. Unfortunately it kept breaking. It wouldn’t fire every time after about 800 rounds and it happened again a few months after I got it back from Taurus. I sold it after I got it back the second time. Taurus is still my go to brand for revolvers but I am wary of their semis now.
I agree; reliability has to be considered in the long term, as well. The line in this review that jumped out at me was “Neither has ever exhibited any issues through hundreds of rounds of ammo.”
Hundreds? For much of my life, a single range trip that did not consume hundreds of rounds was considered wasted time/effort. I don’t believe I’ve EVER owned a handgun, including snubbie revolvers and stupidly large caliber single-shot hunting “hand-rifles”, that didn’t get fired at least a hundred rounds EVERY YEAR. Despite a steady increase of bullet-projecting devices in my meager collection, most still get a hundred rounds per range session, and several sessions per year. While I have a relative who owns several Taurii and is happy with them, I’ve seen many, MANY more folks who started out happy and ended up very unhappy due to unreliability and/or premature breakage, some of it starting within a week of purchase. They seem to be decent guns — until you start to shoot them regularly.
The older PT-92/99 9mms (a Beretta design) were, by all measures, very good guns, and based on their past record, those are the only models I’d choose to own from the Taurus lineup (past and present). It’s a shame, too, because they have introduced some cool designs and concept guns that I’d LOVE to own, but never will, because of the company’s execution (the word works both ways) of previous designs.
Indeed, good point on execution. I know the company is in the midst of trying to find its feet and deal with it’s quality problems, but it is kind of concerning about which firearms they will keep and which they will drop.
Their wheelguns seem to hang on the market but who is to say they won’t drop the 800 series? I think the 24/7 is used by the Brazilian law enforcement market but anything else?
It is, and you can find a video on youtube of a Brazilian officer racking his service pistol and then shaking the gun without pulling the trigger and having it fire.. About a dozen times over. Hence the major recall they did.
I wouldn’t buy one.
I have never spoken to anyone in real life that owned a Taurus that had serious issues with one, that includes a small Florida LE Dept that had them as a duty gun, but mysteriously the internet world is full of nightmare stories about Taurus notorious lack of reliability which the author alluded to.
I highly want to discourage anyone from buying a taurus. They are not to be unsafe. https://www.tauruscartersettlement.com/
Their lifetime warranty is horrible you wish you’d never had to send anything to them. I have sent a firearm to be reviews from them in Sept of 2015. On June of 2016 their response is and I quote “We don’t have a timeframe” when I ask to get my fire arm back this is their response “Should you accept the firearm back with an unsafe letter; it will be returned in “as is” condition. This unsafe letter is a notification that you know and understand the firearm is unsafe for use with any form of ammunition. This letter should always accompany the firearm along with a user manual whether it stays in your possession or is sold/transferred out of your possession.”
DO NOT TRY TO SAVE $50 OR $100 YOU WILL HAVE NOTHING BUT HEADACHE FROM TAURUS.
There is PLENTY budget guns out there S&W, Ruger, Khar, etc. I figured I’d share my experience with you guys
Giving an extra star for value I feel is deceptive. Lots of inexpensive guns are “good values” if you equate the fact they are functioning firearms. For comparison, police trade M&P’s and Glocks are available at near this price point and most examples will function as well as or better. Does a used Glock get an extra star over a new Glock because it’s inexpensive?
I don’t like glossing over shortcomings because of low price tags.
You’re right about that, and according to TTAG’s Official Review Guidelines, guns should be rated based on how they compare to similar guns within +/- 25% of its retail. I really wanted to give it 3 1/2 stars overall, but, also per the guidelines, they hate 1/2 stars, so I rounded up rather than down. If I had it to do over again, I would do it differently. Thank you for the constructive criticism.
It’s a good review, but if you constrain competition to hammer fired and less than $400 you’ve got an incredibly narrow market segment. Based purely on price it would rub shoulders with the Ruger 9E, S&W SD9VE, but neither of those is hammer fired. It’s a good review and ratings are a super tough thing anyway, in theory a Glock 34 competes with $1200-2000 purpose built production guns like the CZ AccuShadow and variants but those guns do not compete on price, remotely.
Highly appreciate the gracious reaction to constructive criticism.
Acknowledged the validity of the challenge. Explained your take on the issue. Accept, or equally valid – reject, the critics point of view. All in a civil and courteous tone.
Does all criticism demand this level of response? Of course not. People will disagree on any issue, with more or less validity.
Just thought this was a very classy response to a point of contention and deserved recognition.
Two questions: Does the reputation for low-quality (I’m taking no position on whether it is justified or not, I don’t know) of the Taurus guns extend to their revolvers? Also–Wonder what happened to the Comanche?
From what I have heard of the revolvers, they often get timing issues before the round counts hit 4 digits. In my opinion, Taurus revolvers are designed for people who will shoot a box of ammo though the gun to make sure it functions, load it up, and leave it like that while maybe pulling it out once or twice a year to run a cylinder worth of ammo through it and clean it.
Anyone experiencing “timing” issues or other balking with a Taurus revolver should check the barrel-to-cylinder gap. Sometimes firing residue buildup clogs a too-thin gap. No need to return to Taurus, if owner has any working skills.
For those that can look past the Taurus reputation, it seems like 809 owners are generally pretty happy with it.
Unfortunately, the 845 is not so fortunate, because I looked hard at this series when I was looking into getting back into shooting a few years ago. It had all the right features but widespread reliability problems, which I saw reported even on Taurus forums.
I’ve shot a handful of Taurus Revolvers and liked all of them, for what they were (I will never be a snubbie fan regardless of brand). Their autos seem like a mixed bag.
I’m cool with blaming the ammo since Winchester white box has a bit of a reputation on it’s own. The slide lock back isn’t a reliability issue necessarily but a little concerning. Is there a known issue with Taurus magazines?
I’m neither a Taurus fan nor a Taurus hater. But these two sentences are difficult to reconcile:
1. “Right around cartridge #100, I had a light primer strike.”
2. ” I’m satisfied that it will detonate a round when asked.”
The round fired on the second try. It wasn’t the the fault of the ammo. It was the fault of the gun. Maybe the gun just needs more break-in rounds through it, but I respectfully submit that if you blame it on the ammo, you’re officially a Taurus fanboy incapable of providing an unbiased review.
1 failure does not a lemon make. If it happened repeatedly I would be inclined to agree with you, but it is very possible that one round had a hard primer.
Winchester White Box has a reputation for being low quality and I’ve heard of this issue with that ammo in non-Taurus pistols. I have to give them this one.
That said, I own a Ruger P89 that is almost 20 years old, thousands of rounds, with all brands, using a variety of magazines. Never had a single issue. Not one bad ejection, not one failure to fire. Spent about 15 years of its life as a truck gun for my brother-in-law and still no issues aside from some extra wear on the exterior (The finish wasn’t great to begin with)
So either I’ve been very lucky or that thing just hits so hard that it’s never hit a primer it couldn’t set off. Hell, I loaded it with a 30 round pro-mag on multiple occasions sure I was going to get my first malfunction and I still haven’t gotten it to jam. Some guns just seem to be built better.
I put crappy Egyptian surplus sub gun ammo thru my p89 with nary a hitch. People on either side of me were convinced I was shooting a .44 mag because of the muzzle flash and noise, but the Ruger ate this and every other sometimes questionable loads I fed it without a glitch.
And if you ever had to pistol whip someone in need of a pistol whipping that p89 was over qualified for that job.
That’s the problem with a P89, too heavy and thick for concealed carry.
However, it may have been the pistol that inspired the phrase “If it runs out of ammo, you can use it as a club!”
It may well be as dangerous unloaded as it is loaded.
Affirm on the Winchester white box. It’s definitely not the best. CCI Blazer brass and Federal AE are great for training. YMMV.
You cant take the age of the ammo out of the equation you are probably correct it was most likely caused by a light hammer strike. That being said I have seen old reloads, reloads that had a batch of bad primers, SUPER OLD surplus, so yes ammo can cause a nonfires..
Just saying to many variables just to blame the firearm… I’m not a Taurus owner but have been doing a lot of research on them lately… I can find just as many people that talk terrible about Hi-points who is never owned one to people who EDC the C9… My point is firearms are as bad as politics your always going to have bias opinion somewhere…
I had a similar situation arise with a (female) co-worker, and went with the Ruger P95.
But, if you have a proclivity toward a brand, I can understand.
It sounds like a good choice, especially in keeping with the old Llama’s. Do they still make those?
Afraid not. They’re dead and gone, but the Comanche name lives on in a different company’s line of revolvers. I don’t think there’s much quality associated with the new ones, but I have no experience with them either way. I kept dad’s Llama and shoot a few cylinders of .38 special through it occasionally, and it handles full power .357’s too, but I’ve read so many horror stories online about them that I just don’t shoot it much. Lovely gun, though. It’s not worth much financially to anyone else, so I keep it just to have it.
“Now I know this is going to sound like I’m making excuses for the gun, but I don’t mind when this happens. Since I don’t count the rounds I fire, I was unaware that the gun was empty, so I continued with my normal firing routine. There’s nothing better for diagnosing bad habits than squeezing the trigger and expecting a bang that doesn’t happen. Even still, it was supposed to lock back on an empty mag and it didn’t. Once.”
Amazingly enough, this Taurus ran better then the $6000 Cabot Arms 1911 recently reviewed. This piece still doesn’t beat a good police trade in Glock , Sig or other proper gun brand, but here we are.
I’ve said this a number of times on ttag when Taurii come up. Never used one of thewir semi’s. But I’ve owned new and used revolvers and had nary a problem with any of them. I prefer Smith and Rugers, but hey, on a tight budget the Taurus fills the bill.
I understand price concerns. I’m sure not made of money. But one thing I’ve learned the hard way: If you are just a few hundred bucks away from what you really want, just buy what you really want. Relative to ammo costs over years, it’s nothing. I mean, if you need a firearm right now of course you buy what you can afford. But I bought a $400 Turkish 1911 because it was cheap and I just wanted a 1911. It’s a decent enough pistol, but I’ve regretted not sucking it up and buying a Springfield or even a Colt ever since. This despite the fact that I listened to similar regrets from my Grandfather for years as he wished he’d bought S&W instead of Charter Arms.
Cheap does not always mean bad though.
Most any modern handgun is going to be as accurate as you need it to be. I’ve shot plenty of handguns whose accuracy I would call mediocre, but can’t recall any centerfire full-size handguns I’d say were bad even with my poor pistol marksmanship. I say centerfire because the SIG Mosquito I shot had groupings that looked like a shotgun blast at 50 yards.
For someone who isn’t a shooter but just wants something for home defense the cost justification may just not be there for them. Not to mention, handguns are expensive compared to a lot of everyday goods. When they still made them I steered plenty of people to Ruger P-series because I knew there were reliable and the S&W Sigma series isn’t bad either though I’ve seen some quality concerns.
If you’re someone who enjoys shooting and is a little more serious about your personal protection then it might be a different consideration. A couple extra hundred dollars may be worth it. The other side of the coin though is the diminishing returns on investment. HK’s may have a helluva reputation but are they really worth the money? The best I’ve ever shot with a 9mm was a SIG P226. I fired 50 rounds out of it better than the Ruger P89 I’ve shot thousands of rounds through. Would a few hundred extra for an HK be worth it?
At some point, people just hit a limit. Very few people obsess over the quality or cost of their fire extinguisher but I know a lot of people who own them.
I also know plenty of people who own Toyota Corollas and Camry’s even though I find them boring but they get the job done at a reasonable price.
Fair enough on all of that. Whatever works for the purpose/person.
Have to agree with every word. I’ve known plenty of people that have bought one handgun for defense at home. Sometimes fired less than a full box of shells thru it and then kept it for a lifetime just in case.
Those people are just as well served with a budget gun as they would be with top of the line.
Cough*HiPoint*Cough. I do not mind Taurus but resale value is dirt.
I was looking for a dedicated carry gun in .45 ACP and I came up with the PT-145 or the Glock 30. They had the same capacity, but the Glock was larger, and more expensive, so I went with the Taurus. Big mistake.
It went back 5 times before they agreed to replace it. the new one seemed wonderful, but then it started miss-feeding. Now, after all that trouble, it sits in the safe, and has not been out in two years.
I will never buy a polymer pistol from Taurus again. I have an all steel pt-99 that has been great. No more plastic Taurii for me.
Now I carry a Shield in 9mm, and Im very happy with it.
I would have saved another hundred bucks and got a CZ P-07. Same functionality, better quality.
My Taurus experience:
Got gun. Loaded gun. Gun broke. Sent off to Taurus. Taurus sent back quickly at no cost. Gun works.
Would have rather had no problem to begin with, but I can’t fault their customer service (just their QA that allowed a gun on the market that couldn’t be fired without the magazine falling out).
Their customer service is good because they get a lot of practice; it gets used quite regularly.
Had 4 Taurus’…all ran perfectly. My next gun will be a millenium 9 or 40 for way under $300. and I’ll get it to work perfectly. That is all.
How’re their 1911s?
I have not shot just handeled them and read a lot, but they seem good. What I’ve read is throw away the magizine, buy quality mags and polish feed ramps. I only have experience with my judge and a few pt92s. Love my Judge public defender in stainless, but would prefer the ability to shoot .45 acp.
Never had a 1911…an 85, a TCP ,a 9mm and a 40cal. gen3 Millenium pro. Have a buddy who thinks their !911 is the best for the $. I’ve only been at this about 4 years and I am NOT close minded about any gun. I’m also over 60 and don’t give a rats a## what anyone thinks about my guns. Jeff is right about polishing the feed ramp. Also clean the cosmoline well and cycle the action a lot(rack the slide). I also worked the hell out of the trigger with snap caps. It helps to be OCD…oh yeah the local gun guys said the Taurus 92 is a better buy than the US made Beretta. FWIW…
I’ve had my PT1911 for about 6 years. With about 1000 rounds through it (most of those during the year it was my EDC), I’ve had zero issues with it. Very accurate, decent trigger (for a series 80) and nice build quality.
It’s now my dresser and range gun, but if I ever get the urge to carry 40 ounces of steel on my hip again, I wouldn’t hesitate to carry it.
I own a Taurus millennium G2 in 9mm that has close to 10,000 rounds without a single malfunction. Paid 249$ for it. Shoots decent groups and is easy to conceal. Also own a 24/7 G2 in .45. Only 100 rounds so far but flawless. I believe their is truth to the quality control problems with Taurus but I must have gotten lucky because I wouldn’t trade my millennium for anything
G2 seems to be one of the few Taurus guns for which the feedback of people actually owning them is more positive than negative. Enough so to convince me to get one when they were on sale for $199 recently.
i would say taurus has some serious QC issues. My first gun was a 24/7 pro ds and after maybe 200-300 rds i found a hairline crack in the slide. Life time warranty is great but never having to send my gun back is even better. to this day i tell ppl if your just looking for a gun and seriously cant squeeze out a couple hundred more for something better then it will do just fine as your emergency weapon but nothing more.
$400 or less
A Canik55/TriStar (depending on who imported it) CZ-75 clone would be my pick if buying new. You can find the full size models for under $400 if you look around. Compacts (Glock 19 sized) can be found a little easier for under $400. They also take standard CZ-75 grips, mags, sights (on some models), and Cajun Gun Works has started making parts for them so there is actually aftermarket support. Most models also fit in holsters made for the various CZs.
I’m one of those ‘got gun, fired gun, sent gun to factory; got gun back, fired gun, sent gun to factory’ guys. TCP738 .380 Auto. First problem was FTF _once every magazine_. Serbian ball ammo and Remington hollow points both had exact same problems. Had factory and good after-market mag. Same problem both mags. Sent to factory and came back with “fixed magazine release” note. Went to range again. FTFs were gone with factory mag (didn’t even try after market), now the slide was holding open over _loaded_ mags at least once per magazine. Sent back to factory again. Came back with “fixed broken extractor” note. (Extractor had looked OK to me.) Both problems were nearly catastrophic in my view as I literally could not get a single full magazine through the gun without a stoppage (and kind of unhappy to have spent a couple of hundred rounds finding out how crappy the gun was). I had bought this gun in large part to the glowing review the gun got here on this site. I do not hold that against the site, I still regard this TTAG as about the most fair and reasonable gun review site there is. This is all about quality control (and this gun is Made in America!) and maybe it’s just not fair to expect so little metal to do a good job dealing with explosions and ultra-sonic moving projectiles. I carry this piece only because my only other pistols are full size (1911 and P226) and I just don’t have the room for them on my already overburdened frame, but I figure I’ve got one or two shots out of it before it chokes. I guess it’s a nice derringer? When money permits (and depending on whether we pass an Open Carry law here in Texas), I’ll get something to replace this.
I have this gun in stainless steel and I must say….I’m impressed. I’ve probably got around 2000 rounds through it. The only FTF have been due to my reloads (I loaded them as light as possible to reduce recoil) or a very dirty magazine. Normal loads of any bullet type(except for lead, which I found out the hard way(think Glock) have worked perfectly. This is the only gun I’ve every shot from Taurus, though. My wife can handle it just fine, and my mother likes the trigger on my wife’s gun over her M&P9 FS.
My second EDC is a Taurus PT 609 TI. 13+1. At least a thousand rounds through it, no FTF or FTE and because of the Titanium it is a pleasure to carry (low weight). The gun was discontinued and I can only surmise was because of the Titanium.
I am a Taurus revolver owner. I traded for a stainless 4″ Tracker in .44 magnum a year and a half ago. I liked the gun, it had only been fired a couple times (no ring on cylinder), and it was a good size to carry as a sidearm while hunting while still packing a .44 mag wallop.
After shooting about 200 rounds of .44 mag from the gun it got out of time. While inspecting the unloaded gun, it locked up. Sent gun to Miami after waiting on hold on their C.S. line for two hours.
Two months later it came back. Checked timing and lockup. Looked spot on. Took gun to range along with 200 rounds. Only made it to 142 rounds before the timing was off again and the lockup was loose. Waited on hold again. Paid $80 to send to Miami again.
This time it made it through the first 200 round range trip without breaking. Second trip it shot out of time in under 50 rounds.
I know its a small frame .44 Magnum, but it is a .44 Magnum and it should be able to shoot .44 Magnum amunition without breaking every couple hundred rounds. I have two friends that have Trackers, one in .357, one in .22lr. Even the .22 has broke. These guns are real pieces of crap. I don’t know if all Taurus guns are junk, but the Tracker platform surely is.
Interesting thread. I was a new hand gunner in the mid eighties. While there weren’t nearly as many choices, the new Beretta 92 was all the rage as the US military had just adopted it. They were $500 in 1985 dollars, which is to say they were pricey. In the counter next to the Beretta were these really nice looking clones, the Taurus PT-92’s. they had gorgeous bluing and beautiful wood grips. There were no internet stories of unreliable performance. I was like Ralphie with my Red Ryder BB gun! The best part was these beautiful guns were only $399 ! I plunked down my cash and walked out of the store the same day with my new toy. When I got home, I cleaned all the heavy packing grease off of it and headed off to the range. The honeymoon ended quickly. Less than 100 rounds into the range session, the adjustable rear sight flew off, unleashing a tiny spring underneath to end up somewhere on the range floor, never to be found. The brand new gun was now a non functioning club. I returned it to the lgs, and was lucky that they let me trade even up for a used S&W model 59. I have NEVER bought another Taurus product again. I have come close numerous times, simply because many of their products look so good. I have a close friend who is basically a gun hoarder. He never trades off anything, just keeps adding. He has a safe full of Taurii, and has had few, if any problems, but he might run a dozen rounds through any of them EVER. If I were low on funds, I’d go with a police trade Glock/S&W/Sig any day. I’ve also owned a couple of Ruger P series. I shot a perfect 300 with a used P-93 that I’d never shot before. They are very functional “tanks”. I think that Taurus knows that 90% of their guns are purchased by non gun folks. They buy a gun, a box of shells and stick it the dresser/nightstand “just – in -case”. I will never recommend them to anyone.
Nice review. My experiences with Taurus has been limited to only three units, my wife’s 738, my pt140 Millennium and my 24/7 OSS.
After experiencing many stoppages with Wolf ammo, my wife traded the 738 for a Colt Mustang and is pleased as punch. In my opinion, if a gun can’t run reliably with all types of ammo (cough-Glock), it shouldn’t be considered for carry use.
The Millennium was acquired through a bit of horse trading while I was doing border security, and I needed something more concealable under light, sweat soaked clothing. In conversation a guy mentioned wanting a ‘cowboy gun’ for his grandfather. I let slip my possession of a vaguely western-styled Ruger Blackhawk .45. He had the Taurus to trade, and while not my first choice, I figured it would do until I got to town. Well, after shooting the little bugger, I actually delayed in trading it out. And now after some years of sweating into it, using and abusing it, it’s bluing is worn and it has many a ding and scratch, and you know what? I’ve grown quite attached to it. It has never failed at the range, despite the occasional coating of fine desert sand.
Then there is the OSS. Originally purchased as a novelty, it was a bit underwhelming. The 12 round magazines could initially only be stuffed with 10 rounds, even with the supplied loading tool. This condition later rectified itself after a loading the mags and letting them sit for a day or two. The second issue was the big pistols propensity to choke on hollow points. Feeling disappointed and maybe a little foolish, I soldiered on through a couple hundred more rounds, and voila! The danged ol’thing now ingests all projectile types and excretes the cases with the same vigor as a Texas steer in a Wisconsin pasture. Now that I’ve opened up shop teaching basic defensive/offensive firearms classes, I do sometimes use the big bruiser as my secondary. It has fired at least 3 bazillion rounds, and despite the initial misgivings, has proven to be a very good pistol.
So overall, would I recommend Taurus? I can say, unequivocally…Maybe. There are better guns out there. And there are worse guns out there.
On a side note, I would love to see TTAG add an option to sort reviews newest to oldest. Pretty please.
I’ve been pretty fond of my PT709 slim. Really, if it weren’t for how hard it is to find magazines for it, I wouldn’t have any complaints. It isn’t super accurate past 10-20 feet, but then again, neither am I, so who knows where the fault actually lies.
Has anyone ever tried to purchase a spare mag. for this pistol? sincerely doubt it since they have not been available since 2014. Unfortunately I live in a socialist state(Colorado) where anything bigger that 15 rounds is prohibited, so must stick with their 13 rounds mags(the 17 round mag works with a sleeve, but cannot be shipped and is in fact illegal in Co). I contacted Taurus customer service today, and their would not even hint at a timeline when the 13 round mag”s wound be available. My point is, if you want something for actual concealed carry use, and want a spare factory mag, avoid this gun.
I’m an old revolver man. Just getting into the semi-auto and the concealed carry culture. I was interested in the PT 809 Taurus. Taurus offers plastic carry case, cleaning rod and alternative back straps to adjust grip size.
After reading all these posts maybe I should look closer at the S&W SD9VE. Both are similarly priced, but was favoring hammer-fire vs striker. Looking for home-defense options and not for daily carry.
Any thoughts on comparison of the two guns?
I recently bought a brand new PT 809, first two magazines, with two brands of ammo, every shot was a fail. Either it wouldn’t eject the casing at all, or would try and it got stuck and jammed in the slide. Basically, I had a single shot auto. So this brand new gun had to go back to Taurus for a warranty repair.
It only took a month to get it back, not too bad, but here’s the bad: I took it to the range this morning, bought two 50 round boxes of ammo, 8 times it failed to eject. Now for a lot of things, 8 times out of a 100 might seem pretty good, but when it comes to something you may someday have to defend your life with, that’s not good.
There was also three times the slide didn’t lock open after the last round. Not a huge issue other than being another sign the gun is not working properly.
I got a PT809C (compact) a couple years ago for $430 at the peak of the ammo shortage (d’oh!). Once I finally got some ammo I found it accurate and reliable. I don’t shoot it often, after about 1000 rounds of all kinds of cheap ammo it’s had one stovepipe and no FTF and I think one FT feed where the rack missed the pickup and stuck on the round.
Got it for features – safety, decocker, and hammer, and because it points well for me.
this was my first handgun besides a 22 and I am happy with it.
Biggest gripe is that the rail is not quite long enough for my laser.
I will probably replace it with something more compact to carry, and shoot my Ruger MkII for fun – it is quite accurate.
Thanks for the review! Do more!
It works reliable is cheap took my brand new Pt809 out door rang shot 250 round 9mm through it work just fine. Nothing broke on my Pt809 ever thing went bang shoot cheap Walmart type ammo witch shooting just fine in nice groups on stander pistol target at 15 yards. Is there down side handgun magazines are pain in ass load but they give magazine tool help reloaded work wrath well yes you have push magazines button work with little force yet soon work smoothly enough after doing few times . Surprise I heard read all kind bad thing about this handgun yet my mine preform wrath well had all most no issues at rang except well using Tula Maxxx 9mm ammo had 4 first time prime failure witch happen four times out 250 round all did pull double action trigger on second strike shot off all four rounds witch they all went off second strike not blame Pt809 for this. After I all,s use some 9mm federal aluminum ammo case to in my brand new Pt809 it perform 100% reliable in handgun. Strangely enough I was shooting brand Taurus Pt92 stainless steel on same day had no Tula Maxxx 9mm prime failure on first strike at all. I am pretty happy bought handgun for under $300.00 dollar work well does.
I used to recommend this gun to people on limited funds
Now I would never ever recommend Taurus. They screw over their customers a lot. When I bough the 809C it had not been out for even a year. Ordered spare magazines from Taurus was on a waiting list for 6 months then they discontinued the gun model. Now you can not find 12 round flush magazines or the space for the 17 without spending a lot od money. You can sometimes get 12 and 17 uses on gunbroker but thats it. Taurus doesnt care. They are a shady company with shitty business practices. Every major company has a better EoL period and parts are almost largely available by them afterwards.
Taurus is worse then Hi-Point when it comes to customer service. Just plain aful to deal with, with no empathy for the customer. Avoid them at all cost.
I have been shooting around 50 years, have over 100 toys in my collection, perhaps half collectibles, around 50% revolver, 30% pistols, 20% rifles. I get out to shoot roughly twice per week. I’ll stick to handguns.
I’ve cycled through many, many higher end brands, but I buy cheaper ones too, as I have found some great values. I always get them out to the range & put them to the test before deciding if a gun is a keeper or not. There is definitely a correlation between price & quality, but exceptions also, in my opinion. For example, I’ve pretty much never let go a Colt, Ruger, or Smith revolver, or a Beretta, Sig, or CZ pistol after adding one. Every one I have had has worked great, never failed.
That being said, on the cheaper stuff, I’ve come to love some Turkish guns, Sars in particular, which can be bought amazingly cheap, and all of mine have been 100% reliable and tack drivers. I particularly like the B6 Hawk. What a value!
I’ve found Bersas to be inexpensive but generally good values, as well as Tanfoglios, Girsans, etc.
On to Taurus, I have bought a number of them, because I just could not resist the price, but only a fe remain in the collection. I had 3 m605 357s that all had issues, one I sent to Miami for repair (firing pin broke first 50 rds), then sold, the other two worked, but were not accurate or reliable, so I sold them. One sprayed a lot of lead, had forcing cone alignment issues. I had a couple m85s, which worked OK, but were way overweight for snubs & loose compared to others, and not all that much cheaper than a used LCR or Smith Airweight, so I let them go. I had a PT111 break in the first 100 rds. Gone. PT709 worked, but some sharp edges, that cut into my hand with use. Sold. PT92 not bad as M9 clones go, but traded it, prefer real Berettas. I have never tried the 809, but am a little “gunshy” on their 9s. I also had a 7 round 817 snub & m82 38s. OK, but loose, machining marks. I Also had m65, m689, & m66 357s. 2 of the larger frame 357 were fairly accurate, the other was way off & had fixed sites, so no way to compensate. All had fairly loose lock ups & forcing cone gaps, but worked.
Interestingly, my best experience with Taurus has been with their 22s. I picked up a little tip-up barrel PT22 very cheap & it works great, not a single failure. Nice little Bobcat clone. I also have their Model 94 & 941 revolvers, in 22LR & 22 WMR, 9 rds & 8 rds respectively. Great little kit/trail guns for half the money of the Smith or Ruger 22 DA revolvers.
Perhaps Taurus handguns can handle lower pressure rounds better than the high pressure stuff. I’ve concluded their 22s are a decent bet. I think I’m done with their centerfire guns.
BTW, I’ve never had to send a Colt, Ruger, Smith, Beretta, Sig, CZ, or SAR in for repair, and I have many of them. At least half of my Tauruses had issues. Very hit and miss IMO.
Just got a 809, since they discontinued model it was a steal price wise. A little big in the hand. Shot 50 rounds so far of three different types of ammo with no problems. Accuracy is probably better than I can hold or see with my old eyes. Ok for carry, no better or worse than my .45 Colt. Impressed enough that I just bought the pt 111 on Black Friday for another screaming deal. That will probably be better for carry.
Have an 809 that I got new for $225 delivered to my front door. Cleaned it and took it to the range. No issues. Now have 1200 rounds through it (mostly my own reloads) and zero issues. Has a great set of features, build quality is good. Trigger is good. Liked it so much I bought a second (new for $215 delivered to my door….almost worth it just for the 2 mags). I had a 24/7 pro that there were issues with. Since that one I am not a fan of striker fired guns. Hammer fired only for me from now on. Also have a PT-101 that has been great (only about 400-500 rounds) and love the full size metal frame. Again it is hammer and not striker so more fuel to my fire.
I purchased an 809, a Safariland holster and ran it new out of the box through a 600 round Combat Focus Shooting course without failure. Only problem was only having two magazines. I have carried it quite a bit IWB but it is a lot of pistol to conceal. I carry a Millenium G2 daily but tonight I have learned that Taurus has revamped the G2 and the 809 and now they are the G2C and TH model. Gonna have to check them out.
I own two Rossi wheel guns, an M88 (.38 Snub) and an R46202 (.357 Snub), as well as the semi autoTaurus PT 809. I include the Rossi in the Taurus review because they come from the same company.
The R46202, which I bought new, is currently is at Taurus for the second time for the same problem. (It is the only revolver that I have ever had ANY issues with.) The failure is that the firing pin bushing is not flush with the frame of the gun, allowing the primer to bulge back around the firing pin and preventing the cylinder from rotating. Needless to say this will not be my EDC, if and when I ever see it again.
The NIB PT 809 locked up on my 2nd mag. The round fired but the slide did not and would not move. I was fortunate that the round fired or I would have had a hard time getting Taurus to accept a gun with a live round in the chamber. This also will never be my EDC. (On a side note I don’t like the way the magazine rattles around loose in the magwell, it sounds like it’s going to fall out.)
I had odd experience with my 5+ year-old Taurus 809. It is the gun I shoot best with. I agree, the slide has some odd play if you wiggle gun around, but once I get my grip and aim right, shot placement is pretty consistent and reliable (for my skill level and range time). That said, however, I went to range 2x last week as I hadn’t used gun for months. I had cleaned gun after each use, but something was off, as after several rounds, nearly every shot in rest of magazine was a stovepipe malfunction. Very disturbing. Took gun home, cleaned and lubed it and the magazine, took it back to range next day. Shots were reliable and consistent, mag load after mag load.
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