EXCLUSIVE: Affordable Value

The Taurus PT 809.

By J.B. Wood

Imagine you’re a procurement officer for a police department, a special military unit or even a private security organization and you’re looking for a new issue sidearm. You’ll have a list, of course, specifying the features that it must have, and a few things that are not wanted.

Let’s look at the imaginary list: If it’s a 9mm, the minimum magazine capacity must be 17 rounds. It must have an external hammer and a selective DA/SA trigger. All controls — safety, slide latch, magazine release — must be fully ambidextrous. The forward frame extension must have an accessory rail. To keep the carrying weight down, it must have a polymer grip-frame.

The list of things that it must not have is shorter: There must not be a magazine-disconnect safety. Thus, during a magazine change, or with a lost magazine, the round in the chamber could be fired. If the manual safety has a hammer-drop feature, it must be selective, allowing cocked-and-locked carrying.

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The Taurus PT809 is a classic modern polymer-framed high-cap auto.

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All controls are ambidextrous, and the auto comes with several grip insert sizes
to custom fit to different hand sizes.

A Pipe Dream?

We’ve just described the Taurus PT 809 pistol, the 9mm version. For fans of the .40 S&W, there’s that option too. In addition to the features already listed, there are numerous others. As with most modern guns, there is an automatic internal mechanism blocking the firing pin at all times, and is cleared only in the last tiny fraction of the trigger pull.

The trigger itself is nicely shaped, wide, rounded, and has no annoying ridges. On my pistol, the DA pull is smooth, around 8 pounds. Single action, after a 3/16″ take-up, is a crisp 4 pounds, with minimal over-travel. I have recently fired several other pistols in this category, and I would rate the trigger system of this PT 809 to be the friendliest of them all.

The locking system is a classic falling-barrel type, with the rectangular chamber area looking into the large ejection port. The dual recoil spring unit is self-contained, and won’t fly away during disassembly. At the top forward edge of the extractor, a visual or tactile indicator emerges to tell you the chamber is loaded.

The three-dot square-picture sights are excellent. Both front and rear are dovetail-mounted, and are easily moved by loosening vertical Allen screws. The rear sight is the superb Novak design. The square notch has ample width for easy pick-up of the front sight. There is no provision for vertical adjustment, other than changing the height of the front sight.

The grip-frame is particularly comfortable, with shallow finger-recesses on the front-strap. The nicely-checkered back-strap has three different inserts, easily changed to fit any hand size. On the right side, near the lower edge of the back-strap piece, there is the famous Taurus Lock. Turn the little key, and everything stops. Useful, perhaps, if unauthorized handling is a problem.

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Take down is easy and yields the standard components.

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The package comes in a nice hard case with accessories.

Don’t Likes?

A couple of things, and one is entirely cosmetic. I wish they had made the hammer solid, without the recessed sides. Also, I could do without the re-curved front of the trigger guard. Does anyone still us that goofy version of the two-hand hold?

For trying out the PT 809, I had assembled a wide variety of 9mm loads. Alas, I grabbed the wrong range bag. Fortunately, there were some good 9mm cartridges in it. From Black Hills, I had a 115-grain JHP that was rated “Plus-P”, and the supremely accurate 147-gr. Subsonic load. Also, an almost-gone box of full-jacket 123-gr. rounds from Geco of Germany.

All shooting was standing, mostly with a two-hand hold. Targets were my favorite from Champion, their 100-yard Sight-In, with an 8″ black corresponding to the center-of-mass area on a combat silhouette. With the Black Hills 147 Gr. load, one 25-yard firing had four in the black, well-centered, and one low, for a total of 5″. Remember this was with no arm rest, so rested groups would be much better, I’m sure.

At 7-yards using only one hand, the Black Hills 115-gr. JHP Plus-P gave a similar result with four in the black and one low. Group measurement was 4.25” shooting pretty fast. With a two-hand hold, the Geco did the same, four rounds, all in the black. For practical purposes, a more than adequate performance.

The PT 809 comes in a nice fitted polymer carry-case with recesses for the spare 17-round magazine, the other grip back-piece, a magazine loader, a bore brush and two keys for the Taurus Safety Lock. The keys also have a side-pin for changing the back-pieces. Suggested retail price is only $483. In stainless steel, $498. If it meets the sort of specs you’d expect from an agency, it’d likely be a perfect home or car pistol too, don’t you think? I’d call this affordable value.

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Check out that “classic” 147 gr. 9mm test ammo from Black Hills! J.B.
dug deep to find that, but the Taurus ran fine with everything.

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The PT-809 grouped like a standard “duty” auto would, with 4″ to 5″
groups at 25 fired standing two-handed. This was a fast group at seven yards.

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The safety is shown in the off position here.
The PT-809 can also be carried cocked-and-locked.

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