There are few if any handguns that have the mystique of the 1911. Designed by John Browning himself, the 1911 has now served the military and law enforcement for nearly a century, and if a lot of 1911 enthusiasts have their way it will be around another 100 years. So it's little wonder that almost every maker of quality pistols produces a 1911.
One of the newest players in the 1911 market is Taurus International.
Last year, Taurus launched the PT1911 at the SHOT Show. As is often the case, there was a sizable delay between the SHOT debut and the actual delivery of the guns to your local store.
Full of Features
I made arrangements with Taurus to get a sample of a blued (tactical black) PT1911, the PT1911B back at the SHOT Show, but the pistol has been very popular, so it was a few months before it arrived. It was worth the wait.
The PT1911, like other handguns in the Taurus line, sports a lot of really nice "custom" features, it is made from high-quality components and, best of all, it's affordably priced at around $703. Here's my up close and personal look at this gun.
My initial impression of the pistol is that Taurus did a really good job; it has a nice finish. The fit is good and all of the parts move smoothly and function properly.
Still, I had questions. Would this pistol live up to all of the hype? Would it be a good service and competition pistol? The only way to answer these questions was to spend some serious time checking out the beast.
The PT1911B is loaded with features and beautifully machined. It comes with Heinie Sights (specifically designed for Taurus), ambidextrous safety, front and rear cocking serrations, full-length guide rod, a posi-grip grip safety, slightly extended magazine release, and a Commander-style hammer. That may not sound so impressive unless you know 1911s. This list of items sounds like a custom-built 1911 and, in the not too distant past, it was. To customize a stripped-down GI-style 1911 to this level, you'd spend the better part of a thousand bucks, maybe more. Put plainly, the Taurus PT1911B is a really good value.
A checkered front strap and lower trigger guard is standard on the PT1911. The checkering is fine; it feels and looks like 30 lines per inch. Personally, I prefer more aggressive checkering for duty and concealed carry, but many folks think 30 lines per inch is plenty. I will concede that the PT1911's checkering gave me a good purchase when shooting, especially when I was wearing gloves.
Fit, finish, and features are not the only reasons that a 1911 enthusiast might want to check out this Taurus. Because 1911s are single-action pistols that are intended to be carried cocked and locked, the mechanical safeties are critical. The PT1911 uses a proprietary firing pin safety that does not involve the trigger like a Colt series 80 safety or the grip safety found on Kimber's 1911s. It seems to work well and I didn't notice the trigger to be mushy or overly heavy; it broke between five and six pounds.
The other safety is Taurus' built-in locking system. This internal safety locks the firing system of the pistol. I know some folks will have issues with this lock, but it works. And even though Taurus has incorporated this internal lock into its pistols for many years, I am not aware of any malfunctions.