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Reviews : Arsenal

Taurus PT92 Duty Pistol

This big semi-auto offers great reliability and performance for the price.

March 01, 2004  |  by Roy Huntington

The magazine release is where mag releases are supposed to be, on the side of the frame, near the trigger guard. Other controls also work as planned, and are where you would assume them to be.

For example, the slide release falls easily under the thumb if that's what you do. Frankly, I believe in simply snapping the slide back with the off-hand during a slide-lock reload. It enables the slide to complete its full travel, which seriously enhances the chances of a round being fed correctly into the chamber from the magazine. It also works for every single auto out there, so if you end up fighting with a strange gun, there's no fumbling while you try to find a slide release. Stick the mag in, run the slide back, let it snap forward and you're back in the fight. Think about it.

Take Down and Such

The PT92 comes apart neatly; quite easily in fact. Its take-down lever is just above the trigger guard. Press the detent button and slide the lever down. Presto! The slide assembly slips off forward. Then, the barrel, recoil spring, guide rod, and other goodies can be attended to.

Which reminds me of another interesting thing about the design of the PT92. That open-top slide is good for something that few people think of. If you do have a malfunction (stove-pipe, double-feed, etc.), all that open room on top gives you plenty of room to clear the trash out. The set-up also allows a very good feed angle from magazine to chamber. Of course, as another writer has pointed out, all that open area also allows dirt and other unexpected visitors to get into the action. I guess you have to balance the good with the bad, or at least the potential bad?

The action on our test gun was smooth and easily manageable. Single action broke the scale at an average of 5.75 pounds, while the DA was probably around 14 pounds (more than our gauge could read), but very smooth. Sights are fixed and three-dot, but you can get any manner of aftermarket kinds, from tritium to adjustable sights (available from Taurus as the Model PT99).

Grip panels on our gun were a checkered, hard rubber and they felt quite nice. The trigger guard was squared and serrated and, honestly, on a pistol this big, I doubt anyone still puts that pointer finger there when they shoot. I'd like to see a more conventional rounded-trigger guard. Lord knows it would make holster selection easier.

Shooting It

I had an ancient PT92 about 25 years ago so I was familiar with the basic design. And I have to say our test gun was a much better pistol and showed a quality of workmanship and materials that my earlier gun simply didn't exhibit. While that first gun of mine seemed to run just fine (I used it to shoot at early IPSC matches and carried it some off duty) our test PT92 would certainly give me a much higher level of confidence. My early gun shot rather casual 4- to 5-inch groups at 25 yards, which, in retrospect, just might have been the shooter, so I was curious to see what the test PT92 would do on the range.

I scrounged up a lineup of ammo from Federal, Lapua, Black Hills, Wolf, Winchester, Remington, and even some Egyptian military ball and trundled off to the range. The test gun was brand-new so I dribbled a few drops of Tetra-Gun lube around, made sure the hole in the barrel went all the way through, and loaded up.

My procedure is to always make the first couple of magazines "one-rounders" in a new autopistol on the odd chance it decides to go full-auto. It's happened, trust me. No such luck with the PT92 (it can be fun ...).

After about 400 rounds of assorted 9mm ammo shot by a variety of shooters, I came to some conclusions about the PT92.

First off, it could shoot. Fifteen-yard groups hovered around the 2-inch mark, and we actually got one, golden 3-inch group at 25 yards with some Federal 147 Sub-Sonic ammo. Sub-Sonic 9mm ammo usually delivers excellent accuracy, and it was proven yet again during our test. One shooter carries a Beretta 92 as a duty pistol and was very curious about the PT92. He admitted sheepishly he actually liked the ergonomics of the safety on the PT92 more than on his own pistol and wondered idly why Beretta didn't make a model to match the PT92. For some, that "thumb-up" safety on most DA/SA autos is awkward at best, and the Taurus safety solves the problem nicely.

Well, you "pays your money and you gets what you pays for," they say. In this case, at around $575 at full retail, you get quite a bit for your money. Would I hesitate to carry this gun as a duty pistol if it was issued to me? Not at all. I'd shoot it lots first, just to make sure everything worked right. But then again, I'd do that with a $2,000 fancy pistol.


Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 10+1
Action: DA/SA
Barrel Length: 5 inches
Overall Length: 8.5 inches
Height: 5.543 inches
Weight: 34 ounces
Width: 1.606 inches
Grips: Checkered polymer
Sights: Fixed, white three-dot
Safety: Ambidextrous
Price: $575 (Street price around $525)

Roy Huntington is the editor of American Handgunner and a long-time Police Advisory Board member.

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Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Richard @ 5/13/2011 10:10 PM

Question - I have an older Taurus model PT99 the mag release button is at the bottom of the grip, I wonder how old it is. it says Taurus Int Mfg Miami Fla Made in Brazil.
Question 2 - Will Berreta mags fit this gun, the mags for the new taurus will not fit because the mag release button is in a differant place on the gun. Would welcome any info on these questions, e-mail.
Thank you.

sgt.stewart @ 5/18/2015 3:48 AM

the Taurus in no way compares to the berretta m9. I also bought a Taurus pt92 as my first gun after I got home from Iraq in 2008. I was so impressed with the m-9 I wanted one for myself. saving 200$ by goin Taurus was my only mistake. my Taurus had a major trigger group malfunction, after one shot the hammer would not lock to the rear and the trigger would not reset. I had to manually cock the hammer to have the trigger reset to fire the next shot this malfunction occurred 7-10 times with each 17 round magazine I fired. I sold my Taurus to a pawn shop and will not even touch a Taurus to this day.

laeS.4life @ 5/24/2015 4:23 PM

To, sgt.stewart! You mean to tell me that you in battle or during boot camp or weapons training you or companions didnt come across a firearm made in good old USA with malfunctions of some kind??? Bull ! You and I know that is not true. Neither is every one in your platoon as equally talented as the next. Some may break or have an issue but to bad mouth a brand on one single gun ownership you bad mouth the entire brand is infantile ! Get it repaired and move on ! I bet you wont bad mouth a broken down Springfield. Yeah ok !!!

Hoss Cartwright @ 8/12/2017 4:13 PM

About a year or so ago purchased a used 1988 vintage Taurus PT92 at my local gun shop. As always, I thoroughly disassemble and inspect all parts prior to firing, new or used. Upon inspection, I discovered that the locking block had a crack in one of the "wings", but a 10 minute shopping trip on eBay provided me with a Beretta replacement, and after a 3 day wait and slight modification it fit perfectly. I also replaced the recoil spring (while I was at it) and the grips (just a cosmetic improvement on the grips). I have fired this handgun hundreds of times now, and I am quite pleased with the accuracy and handling. I enjoy the cock and lock feature, and would gladly put it up against any Beretta 92 out there. Although I would not make that statement with every Taurus product, I do believe the PT92 was and is a solid and reliable piece of equipment.

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