2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Revisiting the Taurus PT1911

Well, after musing about it on here last week or so, I went ahead and got another 1911 pistol by reworking some financial numbers that would of made both Enron and our Congressional budget office proud. I budgeted between $600 - and $700 dollars for the pistol and I was, surprisingly, able to get one in the budget I had planned. What did I get? A Taurus PT1911-BHW.

What?!? Another Taurus 1911?!?!

Yes, its strange sometimes how what goes around comes around..

Let's do a short recap of my journey in .45 ACP...

  • Pistol #1: A Charles Daly 1911. Bought used, its classic 1911 lines attracted my eye and its rock bottom price put it in the bag. A good starter gun, I eventually traded it for a newer 1911.
  • Pistol #2: Taurus PT1911AL. Bought when I sold the Charles Daly, this was an attractive dual tone 1911 with a lightweight aluminum frame. The attractive upgrades that Taurus adds to its 1911's sold me on the pistol.
  • Pistol #3: Taurus PT845. I traded in the PT1911 on this poly pistol from Taurus packing a whopping 12+1 rounds of .45 as for some reason I thought the traditional 7+1 and 8+1 capacities of the 1911 as being unsatisfactory. Truth is this was a fine pistol, I loved the fact that you could carry it either in DA or SA "cocked & locked" mode, but the over sized grip and some QC issues caused me to question my deviation from the 1911 path and I sold it at a gun show.
  • Pistol #4: Sig P220. Now this was a great pistol! Bought used it was in fine shape and shot well. I sold it to a friend to pay for some other purchases. Although it was a fine pistol it was more of a duty type weapon where as all I needed was a range gun for .45. Kind of wish I still had it now that I linger on the thought....
  • Pistol #5: Taurus PT1911-BHW. Wow, back to a 1911 patterned pistol again by Taurus. After getting my M1 Garand and seeing Kev get a SA 1911 I started to get the 1911 bug once again. This was a tough purchasing choice but I again went with the Taurus for the value versus cost type evaluation.

So what was it with the Taurus PT1911 that made me choose it again? I guess it came down to price. The other pistol I was considering was a Kimber Covert II that Vance's has for sale for $699 this month. It is a very nice 1911 style pistol. The Taurus was the other this particular one that I bought from The Powder Room for $639 to be exact. The price difference seems minimal really on the surface, but the Taurus came with very nice walnut grips, 8 round mags and 3 dot Novak sights. To get all of this on the Kimber I would have been looking at another $200 and that put the price of it way above what I had budgeted. the Kimber had a better trigger pull and finish to it, as well as a better "street rep" about it. While the Taurus slide to frame fit is very good, I can already tell the surface bluing will have to be replaced by Duracoat at some point. I have to admit I am still second guessing myself on the choice, but am very happy that I have another 1911 in the safe for the present.

I have already reviewed the Taurus PT1911 so I am not really going to go into too much about it other than to point out some features of the PT1911 and my thoughts..

The Bull Head Walnut Grips: Actually one of the main selling points of the pistol to me. These grips are some of the nicest looking wood grips I have seen on a handgun that are actually worth using. Sure, there are some exotic wood grips out there polished and lacquered to a high shine but would you really want to rely on them if you hands were wet for a gripping surface? And what about the cost of them? These grips, which are exclusive to Taurus dealers at the moment, are a combination of North American diamond grips and a European stippling pattern. Matter of fact the two are combined right down the middle of the grip from corner to corner with the Taurus bull head logo right in the middle.

Extended Ambi Safety: A Taurus Trademark on their 1911's, they are usable but I would rather have a single, smaller safety on it, just my preference.

30 LPI checkering on the grip: Nice, a bit sharp on some edges but very functional. (sorry for the fuzzy pic)

8 round magazines: Good steel mags with poly bumper pads on them. Probably worth at least $20 a piece of purchased separately. Unfortunately, I cannot find these for sale on Taurus' web site at all.

Slide to Frame Fit: Very tight, and very nice! Got Slipstream lube on the rails now and the slide moves smoothly back and forth like on ball bearings. Notice in the pic that you can see where the firing pin stop took a beating from me trying to get it off the pistol. There was so much grease in the slide around the safety I was afraid of it getting sticky in there and not working. Taurus will be hearing from me about this. Also keep in mind that the camera shows every little flaw in the metal and blemish that your naked eye misses.

Grip Safety: Extended beaver tail style, it works and it looks "cool" I guess, kind of "meh" to me either way.

Finish: Blued slide and dyed frame, as I already pointed out the finish is one of the week parts of the pistol. I will probably eventually have it redone. The lettering and graphics on the slide are over the top, really Taurus, do you need to advertise in big letters like that on everything you need to sell? Sometimes a bit understated is not only classier but also better. “Uh who makes your pistol…oh, never mind I can read it on the side of it from way over here…..”

Sights: The 3-dot Novak branded sights are functional and easier to use than the notch-and-blade style on the Kimber. If I get serious about using this for a home defense weapon I may look at getting night sights on it.

full length guide rod: "meh", doesn't hurt but I don't know if they really help reliability in a 1911. Everyone else is throwing them on their 1911's and bragging about them so I don't know why Taurus wouldn't do the same.

Barrel and feed ramp polishing: A little QC issue here as the "polished" feed ramp and barrel throat had some burrs that I could feel with my finger when I first got it. A bit of polishing compound and a dremmel made short work of the issue, but still for something supposedly "hand fitted" at the factory there is an issue here.

Trigger: While not as good as the Kimber I looked at, the trigger on the PT1911 is still fully acceptable by my standards. As described below, the trigger pull in the Taurus is affected by an internal safety system as opposed to the Kimber.

Internal Safety (Drop Safety): It should be noted that the Taurus employs a "series 80" style drop safety (firing pin block) as opposed to a "Swartz System" safety. Both systems employ a spring loaded plunger to block the firing pin from moving forward until the pistol is fired to avoid any ND incidents by dropping the pistol inadvertently. Where the Swartz system uses a lever attached to the grip safety to deactivate this safety, the series 80 system is tied into the trigger. Therefore the trigger pull is unavoidably affected to some degree by this system. While it is possible to totally remove this safety system to avoid this, I do not recommend it unless your use of the pistol warrants it for some legitimate reason.

Here are some diagrams on each type of safety system. When I first started researching 1911 pistols for this purchase this was one area that I had no knowledge of, hopefully this info may help someone else out there in the future.
Series 80 safety system as used in the Taurus PT1911. It does affect the trigger pull ever so slightly, some purist will say disconnect it, I say no..

Swartz safety system as used in the Kimber II series of pistol. It utilizes the grip safety and does not interfere with the trigger pull.

Its funny, but for all those out there who say how "unsafe" the Glock series of "safe action pistols" are because they do not include a manual safety, like the 1911, please note how similar in function either of these two systems are to the Glock firing pin block safety. This is especially true for the series 80 system as the Glock uses the movement of the connector - which is moved by the trigger being pulled - to move a plunger out of the way of the firing pin.

Glock Firing pin block safety, similar in overall function to the series 80 used on the Taurus.

Taurus Safety System: I find this system to be totally unobtrusive to the user if they wish to ignore it. If you want to get rid of it all together simply switching out the hammer will remove it totally.

Parts: The pistol is almost completely compatible with standard 1911 parts. Tinker to your hearts desire if you wish. Please be sure not to comprise safety while in the process.

Price: $639. For the price compared to other 1911's on the market the Taurus still is above most in the "value vs. performance" factor.

Range Report: forth coming, but I expect similar results compared to my last PT1911.

So there you go, a brief run down of one of my latest purchases ( I have a few more that I need to get around to writing about). Its a fine pistol, not the best available out there but still “good enough” for the price. If you want $2500 worth of quality go get a Les Baer or Wilson custom. For me, a simple range gun is all I desired and this fits the bill fine. I am still second guessing myself to a degree as to whether or not the Kimber would of been a better pistol, but I am not unhappy to have the Taurus at this point. Hell, maybe I will just buy the Kimber anyway....(just kidding......maybe...).

1 comment:

Kevin Delaney said...

Great review! I think you did good with the Taurus.

I they make a commander style i may get one!