Things cost more these days, often lots more. Consequently, there's a trend to equate price with excellence. All of which often results in the case of someone knowing the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
Agencies fall prey to this syndrome and if anyone is most guilty, it's the tactical teams. I'm not advocating dumbing down your expectations, but simply keep an open mind when it comes to alternatives to the big-bucks equation. Not everyone needs a $5,000 tactical rifle and not everyone needs a $1,200 duty pistol.
Which brings us neatly to the case in point. Being equal-opportunity reviewers, we've touched on the products from Taurus once or twice before. Don't run in horror based upon assumptions from an experience 15 years ago. Today's Taurus, under the able leadership of Bob Morrison, the company's executive vice president, shares no relationship to the "old days" when quality was, at times, mediocre. Morrison, who was former vice president of Colt and Bianchi International, went on a one-man storm at Taurus, virtually re-creating the company. Today's Taurus is ISO9000 rated for quality-control excellence and has become world renowned for making fine firearms.
In a show of confidence in its workmanship, Taurus now offers a lifetime guarantee on each of its products. If a Taurus firearm breaks, the company will fix or replace it, period. Honest.
And from the letters I get at American Handgunner (where I'm editor), customers who have contact with Taurus for warranty work leave satisfied. My own experience with a wide cross-section of their products has left me impressed.
Taurus has recently introduced a new police duty pistol that's aptly called the "24/7" in honor of the commitment cops make to a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week community service. As soon as we lay our hands on a test copy, Police will run it through the mill and report on our findings. But for now, let's check out a revitalized Taurus classic.
An Old Friend
With all the excitement over the new, it behooves us to sometimes revisit the old, especially if it's old and improved. Taurus' PT92 is a close copy of the Beretta 92 series that has been around for decades, but has been improved again and again. With modern alloys, polished engineering, and new calibers (like the .40 S&W), the PT92 has kept pace with the passing years. If we still trust Browning's 100-year-old 1911 design, it would be silly to dismiss another trustworthy one, simply because it's a few years old.
The PT92 is a full-sized holster pistol designed for rugged, duty-type use. But even though there's nothing compact about this weapon, it's not that heavy. At 34 ounces, the PT92 falls somewhere between an ultra-lightweight polymer pistol and an all-steel brute.
With its aluminum alloy frame and all-steel components, the current incarnation of the Taurus PT92 is a classic combination of proven materials. According to a local indoor range that rents handguns, a PT92 they have has well over 30,000 rounds through it with only a couple of minor repairs involving a trigger spring and a grip screw becoming stripped. Not bad, considering those rental guns get essentially no routine care and are regularly abused by the clients.
If you've ever hefted a Beretta 92, you know exactly how the PT92 feels in the hand. But that's where the resemblance ends. Some mechanical bits are distinctly different.
The big thing the Taurus has going for it is the ability to be carried "cocked and locked" like the 1911 design. That means you can carry it with a round in the chamber, hammer back, and the safety on. To make it go, simply thumb the safety off (down, like all good safeties should go) and go to work. Continue mashing the safety down, and it will safely de-cock a cocked hammer. There is also a firing pin safety as an added bonus to help keep things quiet unless you intend them to be noisy.
Another option, and a nifty one, is to carry the gun in the "hammer-down" mode, with the safety on. With this option, the first shot is classic double-action (DA), but you have to thumb that safety off first. This might keep a gun-grabber confused long enough for you to shoot 'em with your handy backup gun (which you always carry, right?). So, we've got cocked and locked, hammer down and safety on (DA first shot) or simply hammer down and safety off for that DA first shot. Variety is the spice of life and the PT92 offers plenty of variety.