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American Handgunner Taurus Article 2002

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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.
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This might be a candidate for a 'sticky' - but should also include a complete attribution and link reference. Come to think of it, we may have to remove the text and include only the link, for copyright reasons.
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