Taurus Firearm Forum banner

American Handgunner Taurus Article 2002

3257 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  pioneer461
An older article I found while surfing the web. While the article is five years old, it's still has relevance now I believe. :)

American Handgunner, May, 2002 by Charles Cutshaw

If there is any truth to the old adage, "Variety is the spice of life," Forjas Taurus of Brazil--"Taurus Forge" in Portuguese--is serving up some pretty spicy firearms salsa. One has only to glance over the company's catalog to see an almost overwhelming variety of pistols and revolvers. If a handgunner cannot find a Taurus handgun that suits his purposes, the gun probably just doesn't exist.

Moreover, for those who have not kept track of handgun developments over the last several years, Taurus has become one, of the most innovative firearm companies in the world, regularly introducing award winning new models that owe nothing to any other manufacturer.

Taurus revolvers have set the pace in wheelgun modernization, with the introduction of new designs such as 7 and 8-shot 357 Magnum revolvers. Other Taurus innovations include the company's Raging Bull and Raging Hornet series and an integral safety lock.

But our focus here is on the company's pistols, which are every bit as innovative as their revolvers. Before we look over Taurus pistols, a bit of company history is in order.

Taurus began life in 1939 as a small tool and die manufacturer in Porto Alegre, Brazil and has continued to grow ever since. The company produced its first revolver in 1941, a .38 Special that combined features from both Colt and Smith & Wesson designs of the time. The company expanded its revolver market throughout South America in the 1940s, 19850s and into the 1960s.

Taurus' first U.S. venture took place in 1968, but the effort was relatively half-hearted and Taurus was only marginally successful, largely because its revolvers were seen as cheap foreign imitations of other manufacturers' designs and the Taurus guns of the time were of marginal quality.

A turning point came in 1970, when Bangor Punta, owner of Smith & Wesson at the time, bought Taurus. It is a popular misconception that Taurus was once owned by S&W; the two companies were part of the Bangor Punta conglomerate and there was a great deal of information sharing that migrated both ways during the seven years that the two handgun makers were part of the same organization.

Taurus was purchased outright by its present owners in 1977. One of the new owners' first goals was to improve the overall quality of Taurus products, while -maintaining reasonable prices. The new owners also undertook a vigorous expansion program.

The association with Bangor Punta was largely responsible for the similarity of Taurus and S&W designs of the time. Today's revolvers still bear a superficial resemblance to Smiths, but Taurus has made many modifications and improvements to its original designs and today's revolvers owe very little to any other manufacturer.

In fact, Taurus ingenuity and the company's innovative designs have won several major awards in recent years, including the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence's "Manufacturer of the Year," an accolade many view as the organization's highest award.

Pistol Business

Taurus entered into the pistol business almost by chance. In 1974, Beretta won a major pistol contract for the Brazilian military. Part of the contract stipulated that Beretta manufacture the pistols in Brazil and employ Brazilian labor. Accordingly, Beretta constructed a large plant in Sao Paulo and when the contract expired in 1980, Beretta sold the entire facility to Taurus, including all technical data, tooling and machinery.

In one fell swoop, Taurus was in the pistol business. While the Beretta factory continued to manufacture Beretta-type pistols under the Taurus name, the Brazilian company set out to redesign the pistols for improved performance and ergonomics. The result was the Taurus PT 92 series.

At first glance, the Taurus PT 92 and PT 99 appear to be simple Beretta 92 clones, but while similar, the PTs are functionally different than the Beretta product. Beretta 92 and Taurus PT 92 parts will not interchange, not even magazines.

While the Beretta 92 series pistols are excellent handguns, they lack several features that many pistol users find attractive. The most significant change undertaken by Taurus engineers was redesigning the fire control mechanism and moving the selector switch from the slide down to the pistol's frame, where most shooters feel it belongs.

The ambidextrous Taurus selector switch is right next to the shooter's thumb and can be accessed without changing one's grip on the pistol. The uppermost position is "safe," while the first notch down is "fire." Pressing the selector switch down beyond the "fire" position safely drops the hammer.

This ingenious design not only makes the Taurus PT 92 more ergonomically friendly, but enables the gun to be carried in the classic cocked-and-locked Condition One. This is widely accepted as the fastest carry mode for getting a pistol into action and also eliminates the need to transition from a double- to single-action grip after the first shot. Most shooters also prefer the wider grip grooves on the Taurus slide over the thin ones of the Beretta.

The PT 92 comes with fixed sights as standard. With adjustable sights, the pistol is redesignated PT 99. In .40 S&W caliber, the pistol's designation becomes PT 100 with fixed sights, PT 101 with adjustable sights. The PT 92/99 and PT 100/101 are available in either blue or polished stainless steel. Frames of all Taurus pistols are hammer-forged alloy.

Like most other Taurus pistols, the PT 92/99 and PT 100/101 are available in blue or stainless "special edition" versions with gold highlights on controls and screws and either rosewood or mother of pearl grips. The blue/black "high grade" option is designated "Black Gold" by Taurus, while the stainless version with mother of pearl grips is termed "Platinum and Pearl." These "high grade" pistols are available throughout the Taurus product line and appeal to those who want a little something special for purchase as presentation pieces.

While not for everyone, the Taurus special editions are yet another example of the company's innovative outside-the-box thinking that offers products that appeal to a wide variety of potential customers and markets.

Serious Pursuit

Taurus began seriously pursuing the U.S. firearms market in 1982, when the company's U.S. facility was established in Miami, Fla. Within two years, Taurus had established a beachhead in the American market and in 1984 broke new ground by offering its unprecedented lifetime warranty on all its firearms.

Simply stated, if a Taurus firearm ever fails for any reason, the company will repair or replace it. Period. This 17-year-old policy still stands to this day and has only recently been matched by another manufacturer.
See less See more
1 - 2 of 5 Posts
U.S. production of some handguns was begun in 1992, when Taurus established its PT 22 production line in Miami. The identically sized PT 25 in .25 ACP caliber followed this compact .22 LR handgun in 1994. Both of these small handguns make extensive use of the most modern production technology, including metal injection molding (MIM) and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining.

Without going into lengthy explanations of the technologies involved, both CNC and MIM production methods ensure the highest possible quality and precision while lowering production costs.

Like virtually all Taurus pistols, the diminutive PT 22 and PT 25 are available in a variety of finishes and levels of embellishment, from plain vanilla to exotic special editions. Both of these smallest Taurus pistols are blowback operated and double-action only. Loading is via a tip-up barrel.

Carry Gun Market

Taurus entered the medium-frame pistol field in 1992 with its PT940 pistol that is virtually of ideal size for concealed carry or plainclothes law enforcement use with a 4" barrel and 10 round capacity magazine. Early pistols had higher capacity magazines, but fell victim to the ill-advised Brady Bill of 1994, which had no effect whatsoever on crime, but did deprive the law-abiding from owning magazines of more than 10 rounds capacity.

The PT940 continues to be one of Taurus' best selling pistols. Like other pistols in the 900 series-- those pistols beginning with a 9 in their designation-- the PT940 can safely be carried in Condition One, cocked-and-locked.

The firing pin in these pistols is physically blocked unless the trigger is pulled to the rear. As with other Taurus pistols, all 900 series handguns have a hammer forged alloy frame and come equipped with a visible and tactile loaded chamber indicator.

In 1994, Taurus moved into the .45 ACP medium-frame pistol market with its PT945. The Commander-sized PT945 features a loaded chamber indicator in addition to Taurus' proprietary security system, which was the first in the industry to be integrated into the design of the handgun itself. There are no bulky locks, cables, or other external objects necessary to secure the handgun-- child-safing the gun is accomplished via a simple key.

The PT945 is virtually 100 percent reliable right out of the box. It isn't necessary to take the pistol to a gunsmith to have the ramp polished or the chamber throated to make it feed all types of ammunition. The PT945 feeds everything from ball to semiwadcutters without malfunction. In preparation for this article, we fired literally hundreds of rounds through several PT945s without a single stoppage.

Because of its compact size, any version of the PT945 line makes for an ideal carry pistol. For the 1911 aficionado, the grip angle of the PT945 is virtually identical to that of the venerable 1911 and the manual of arms is the same when the pistol is carried cocked-and-locked, despite the PT945's DA/SA option. We prefer to carry the PT945 in this mode, just like a 1911.

In 1997 came the introduction of the PT9ll and PT938 in 9x19 and 9xl7mm (.380 ACP), respectively. Both pistols are similar in appearance, but are functionally quite different. The PT911 is a compact locked breech 9mm while the PT938 is blowback operated.

The PT938 is also marginally smaller than the PT911 in both length and height. While the PT911 is available in Taurus' many different levels of finish, the PT938 is available only in blue or polished stainless. In our experience, we have found the PT911 to be a very durable and accurate pistol. The little PT911 has gone over 3,000 rounds as of the time this is written without a single stoppage that can be attributed to the pistol. The most recent member of Taurus' PT900 family is the .357 SIG PT957, introduced in 1999.

Millennium Series

The latest Taurus family of pistols is the Millennium series, announced in 1998. The Millennium series is notable for its extremely compact size that almost literally fits in the palm of one's hand coupled with serious self-defense calibers, ranging up to .45 ACP.

The first in the Millennium series were the 9mm PT111 and .380 ACP PT138. These little pistols set the pattern for all the others in the family.

All Millennium Series pistols have an ingeniously designed polymer grip that is unlike any other. Instead of molding the steel rails into a polymer frame like others, Taurus incorporated a unitary steel "frame" that fits into, and is held in, the polymer grip by two hefty pins. This small "frame" is the serially numbered component of the pistol. Thus, the slide, barrel, or the entire grip can be replaced if necessary without going through a FFL dealer.

Millennium pistols are all DA-only and striker fired. The pistols incorporate a transfer bar and sear that retracts the striker and then drops the sear down out of the way at the end of its travel to release the striker. Each also is equipped with a loaded chamber indicator and the integral Taurus security system.

All Millennium pistols carry a full 10 rounds. The .40 S&W Millennium was added to the line in 1999. The most recent Millennium pistols are the PT132 and landmark PT145, which joined the family in 2001. The latter pistol is a signal achievement of firearm design and engineering, placing 10 manstopping rounds of .45 ACP into a pistol that is more compact than most 9mm handguns.

Taurus has come a very long way from its beginnings as essentially an imitator of other firm's designs. While some Taurus pistols still bear resemblance to the originals, most have been improved to the point where they are acknowledged to be superior to the pistols upon which the Taurus design was based. Moreover, Taurus long ago ceased imitating others.

By out-of-the-box thinking and quality engineering, Taurus now is a leading innovator of firearms technology. The firm's motto, "Affordable Quality" is not an advertising term, but a fact.

What does the future hold? The Millennium series is going to be improved upon in 2002 with a line of compact pistols that are even more advanced than the current line. There are other new developments in the works that promise to rock the firearms industry with pistols unlike any others.

The company is guarding this secret very closely, but some major and very pleasant surprises are enroute from Brazil. Taurus is definitely not resting on its laurels, but is moving forward with the same intensity that has made it one of the most innovative and competitive firearms companies in history.
See less See more
1 - 2 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.