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Taurus PT 709 Follow-up

Update: April 1, 2010

My PT 709 finally arrived back from Taurus after having warranty work done.  The process was aggravating to say the least.  To make matters worse, the gun still doesn't function properly.  While just about everything - including the barrel and sights - have been replaced, the gun is still hanging up and failing to extract.  Not wanting to deal with Taurus anymore I gave it in trade to a friend of mine who owns a large gun store.  He's going to send it back to Taurus and get a new pistol.  So much for the PT709.

Update: March 1, 2010.

My 709 has now been at the Taurus factory for more than three months, awaiting the arrival of parts from Brazil.  The company has no explanation as to why they haven't received any replacement parts.  This is unacceptable.  Unfortunately, no amount of complaining ever seems to have any impact down at Taurus headquarters.  This situation does not come as a surprise, considering that Taurus customer service has always been spotty.  I expected a delay, but for a gun that cost almost $400 dollars (or even one that cost $200), a delay of more than three months is going to have a major impact on my purchase of Taurus firearms in the future.

Taurus PT709 Initial Review

It took me a while but I finally got my greedy hands on the new Taurus Slim Line pistols.  The 709 finally came in two months after I ordered it. Unfortunately, it was a good five days before I could actually get to the range with the gun so it did time riding a in a variety of holsters while I went about my daily activities before I actually got a chance to fire it (note: it fits perfectly in a Desantis Tuck-This® II - Style M24).  This isn’t to say I was relying on it as a defensive firearm, rather, I was seeing how it felt as an everyday carry piece.  I would never rely on a gun that I haven’t thoroughly rung out as a self-defense piece.  That’s just plain stupid.  

One of the reasons that I was interested in the Taurus 709 was because it is so thin.  I’ve always been a fan of thin guns for concealed carry and truly believe that handguns with thin grips tend to fit more people better. In that regard I have no complaints about this gun.  It is one of the easiest to conceal 9mm pistols I’ve ever carried while still being big enough to be a serious shooter.  Because it is so thin the gun absolutely disappears in an IWB holster, and even though it’s a bit long, the gun will fit into a pocket holster without much fuss. At 19 ounces it isn’t particularly light, but the added weight gives it just enough heft to feel properly balanced.

I’ve been looking for a nice, thin concealed carry gun for a long time.  I’ve carried just about every thin gun under the sun, but none of the manufacturers seems to be able to put all of the pieces together to make the ideal carry piece.

Kel-Tec, for instance, produces fairly reliable guns at reasonable prices.  My biggest gripe with Kel-Tec has always been that, like most firearms manufacturers nowadays, they tend to allow too many lemons onto the market with early runs.  I find this to be intolerable with devices that may very well be employed to save someone’s life.  Once their guns are rung out they tend to perform well enough, but I have no love for their most recent model, the PF-9.  The ergonomics just don’t fit me right and I’ve come across a few examples that have had pretty significant manufacturing flaws.

Kahr, on the other hands, tends to do a better job ringing their guns out, but their most useful model, the PM9, is overpriced for a polymer pocket pistol.  I also find the Kahr triggers too light for safe carry without a manual safety.  Add to that the very real need for a two hundred break-in period and recoil springs that have to be changed out at less than 3000 rounds, and you’ve got a gun that’s just a little bit too high maintenance for my tastes.  Quite frankly, if you’re asking me to buy a gun that costs upwards of six hundred bucks retail, have the courtesy to make it work correctly straight from the box.

So, with the creation of the new Taurus PT709, I was hoping it would address the problems of the gun  mentioned above, and from a handling standpoint, Taurus certainly got things right.  Unfortunately Taurus also screwed up the actual shooting part big time.  As I’ve mentioned before, I like the way the gun feels.  The trigger is a bit hard to get used to (a long take up and then a very abrupt, single action break, with reset for a second strike in DA mode), with an extremely short length of pull.  Both of those things were disconcerting, but I could get used to them with enough practice assuming that the gun worked as promised, which it definitely did not. 

The first problem encountered was that the 709 wouldn’t feed more than a couple of rounds before malfunctioning.  Every other round was getting hung up on the feed ramp, and about half the time cases weren’t getting extracted.  When the cases were getting extracted, they weren’t getting ejected.  I went through four magazines and five types of ammo with nary a difference.

And then there were the sights.  The sights are a fairly unique, low profile setup with the rear site being adjustable for both elevation and windage.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough of either to make up for shooting six inches low and five inches to the left at seven yards.  When I tried to adjust the rear site, the screw apparently stripped the threads on the center element and left it free floating to be bounced around with every shot.

So, suffice it to say the gun has now been down at Taurus headquarters in Florida awaiting warranty work for a very long time.  I look forward to getting the 709 back, and pray that they’ve made everything right.  I really like the design of the gun and want it to work.  Unfortunately, the gun was so full of flaws that I can’t believe it was let off of the factory floor.

Pros: Just about the perfect size with great handling characteristics.

Cons: Non-functional.


Model: Taurus PT709

Action: SA / DA

Sights: Adjustable

Caliber: 9mm

Overall length: 5.9 inches

Height: 4.5 inches

Barrel length: 3.2 inches

Magazine capacity: 7

Weight: 18.5 ounces