Friday, May 3, 2013

Taurus PT92

10 yds

  I originally planned to put this Taurus PT92 up against a Beretta 92FS in a review. After I learned that this model is out of production, I kind of lost interest in that project. It might eventually happen when I run out of other handguns to review.
  The PT92 was in production for a couple of decades, yet I almost never run across these pistols on the used market. It would appear that the owners are hanging onto them.
  I can see why.

  These 9mm Taurus's are very good handguns. The PT92 in the picture above was purchased in the late 1980's. Taurus has made some changes since then.
 Their current version  has a decocker as well as a manual safety. The shooter has the ability to carry "Cocked and locked," or you can decock the hammer and then apply the manual safety.

  The older model used in this review has a manual safety, and firing pin block.  There are two options for carrying this PT92 with a round in the chamber. You can keep the hammer cocked, and the safety engaged as you would a M1911. That is easily the safest and preferred method.
  If you don't like that option, then you could squeeze the trigger while gently lowering the hammer with your off hand (while keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction). The safety can then be engaged with the hammer in the forward position. I do not approve of this method. If you do it often enough, then sooner or later you'll let the hammer slip. This will result in a new bullet hole somewhere in your home (and the sad thing is that is the best case scenario).

In my opinion if you want to decock the pistol then buy the model that has a decocker. There's far too many accidents reported in the media already.

  There is a positive feel when engaging or disengaging the safety lever. It's just right.  I've seen handguns from other manufacturers with safety levers that were almost impossible to move without two hands. There's no sloppily loose or obscenely stiff safety levers on this firearm.
  You probably already noticed that the Taurus comes with an ambidextrous safety.

This write up follows a pattern. Once again, I'm reviewing a handgun that is pretty good overall. It's not my first choice in a defensive pistol, but I'd feel comfortable protecting myself with the Taurus PT92.

  The trigger is pretty good on this handgun. I've never been a fan of the DA/SA system, but I have to admit that Taurus did a pretty good job with this handguns trigger.
  There is no take up in the double action trigger. It's very smooth and constant throughout the pull. I'm not going to attempt to estimate the weight (because I'm awful at guessing). Unfortunately I could not find any information on the trigger pulls. If I have any success the info will be edited in.
  The single action trigger has roughly 1/4" of takeup before it breaks. The reset is only about 1/8". I like the SA trigger, but feel that Beretta's is just a little bit better.

  Recoil is very manageable with this gun. I'd describe it as soft, and I doubt that even beginners will be intimidated by this 9mm.

  The original wooden grips (Brazilian walnut without any checkering) have been replaced with aftermarket rubber grips. While inexpensive, these Uncle Mike's grip panels are much better than the factory grips (from the 1980's at least). The smooth walnut panels that came with this pistol quickly became slippery on hot summer days. The originals were attractive. That's all that I can say about them that's positive. The cheap aftermarket grips that you see in the pictures are a vast improvement.    
  Unfortunately they are about the same thickness as the wooden grips. This is a fat gun, and if you have small hands (which no guy will admit to), this may be not be the best handgun choice.
You'll note that there are vertical serrations running down both the front and back of the frame. They work surprisingly well when combined with adequately textured grip panels.
  Unsurprisingly, this pistol feels a lot like the Beretta 92FS. There are slight differences in the grip, the main one being the slight swell at the bottom of the Beretta's frame. I really can't decide if I like the feel of the 92FS or PT92 more.
  BTW, I'll be referencing the Beretta quite a bit when discussing the Taurus. It's a good comparison since so many people are familiar with the M9/92FS lineup.

  There's nothing special about the sights. They're well made, drift able for windage at the rear, and fixed at the front. No real complaints.

  The slide serrations are well done. I don't have any problems racking the slide, even with wet or greasy hands. Poorly done slide serrations are a pet peeve of mine. More and more women are buying handguns, and their hand strength is usually a bit less than a man's. People are living longer and injuries/arthritis can effect one's ability to rack a slide.
  How hard is it to cut some decent grooves into the side of slide? Taurus does a very good job on this pistol. Of course the PT92 is out of production so the current version may (or may not) be outstanding, mediocre, or absolutely lousy. Maybe I'll edit my opinion in after running across a new Taurus 92.

  The owner of this pistol has one factory magazine and one aftermarket mag. Both are OK. I'm not going to rave about how well done they are. Both look so-so in appearance but function perfectly. This gun was made in the late 1980's and these magazines have been in use for decades without any issues. If only everything that was that plain Jane functioned so well.

  Magazines drop free easily. There is no bevel in the mag well, and it's not needed. The  magazine release button is not reversible for wrong handed shooters.
  Capacity is excellent with 10-20 rnd mags available from Mec-Gar and other manufacturers. There's even a 32 rnd magazine available from Pro Mag, but it's been years since I've tried any of their products. I have no idea how well they function.

  You'll note that this weapon has a lanyard ring. I don't use lanyards (but was required to with M9s in the military). It's a nice feature that some might appreciate.

  Let's talk about the controls. The magazine release is positioned where we Americans are accustomed to finding it. I have to slightly rotate the weapon in my hand to press the mag release button. This is normal for me, and the XDM is the only semi auto that doesn't require me to shift my grip.

  I also have to change my grip in order to release the slide. This too is normal for me with almost all semi autos. I can operate the safety without changing my grip on the PT92.

  The Taurus has a matte and blued finish. It looks a lot nicer than the usual black tactical looking pistols that we generally see. My pics don't do it justice. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and others might prefer something that looks like it came from Saddam Hussein's gun cabinet. I really like the appearance of this handgun. It looks functional, businesslike, but still attractive. Let's be honest... do you really want to spend several hundred dollars on a fugly gun?

10yds   92FS vs PT92

  Accuracy is very good. I've been shooting this weapon off and on for a couple of decades. I've seen a lot better groups from this gun than what the pictures show. Ragged one hole groups aren't at all unusual for me with this weapon. Unfortunately these targets don't reflect that, but they're OK. Maybe I'll update the pics in the fall when I shoot with this gun's owner again.

  Reliability is outstanding (and let's be honest, reliability and accuracy are the foundation of a good gun). I've never seen a malfunction from this firearm until recently. It had a perfect record until this past year.
  This gun has been shot quarterly for the last 6 years. The weapon's owner went about 2 years without cleaning or lubing this handgun. It finally began failing to feed properly. I disassembled it at the range, wiped it down with a rag, and then put a few drops of Break Free on it. There have been no further malfunctions. It's boringly reliable.
  One more thing... the gentleman that owns this pistol used to own the Taurus 24/7 OSS that I reviewed last year. You might remember that he had a problem limp wristing that gun, and constant malfunctions. He's never been able to limp wrist the PT92.
BTW, it was thoroughly cleaned before it was returned because that's how I roll.

  This is a large (8.5" length, 1.606" width, 5.543 height), and heavy gun (34oz). It would make a great duty weapon or home defense gun. I wouldn't want to carry it on a daily basis. Crime would have to get much worse in my area before I would consider making this my CCW choice. If I lived or worked in Chicago, I might think differently.

  Disassembly is very easy, and I doubt that even novices would have any problems.
  The trigger does not have to be pulled when disassembling the weapon. This is important to some, but I feel that a gun owner should be intelligent enough to drop the magazine and check the chamber before cleaning his/her weapon.

  Time to wrap this up. I like the Taurus PT92. Evidently a lot of others agree with me since the manufacturer produced this 9mm for decades. The funny thing is that I don't run across a lot of these guns on the used market. The buyers seem to be holding onto them. I know that the owner of this firearm won't part with it despite several offers of cash or trades. I think that's pretty unreasonable of him.

  This gun gets the same summary as a few other weapons that I've reviewed. I like it but don't love it. I'd buy it for the right price, but it wouldn't be my go to gun for home defense or CCW at this time. I would  love to buy this Taurus from it's owner, but I'll be honest. It would sit in the back of the safe, and the XDMs would remain my primary home defense pistols.
  I'd prefer the current version (with the decocker) if the quality is the same. Others might like the simplicity of the manual safety.

  Ah... prices. I did a little online research since I cannot remember the last time I've seen a used PT92 at a gun show or LGS. Prices are all over the map. I've seen them as low as $300 and as high as $550.
  If I run across one of these handguns for $300 then it's following me home. $400 would probably be too high unless it came with several mags or other goodies. If I saw one for $550, I'd probably wonder about the sanity/common sense of the seller.

  So, long story short... it's a very good gun. I don't know if I would go so far as to call it a great gun. It's accurate, reliable, reasonably priced, and a good home defense/duty weapon. It's a bit big for CCW. If it's a shared home defense weapon then it might be worth checking to see if the grip is too fat for your better half's hands.
  I'd recommend this weapon, and I'm sure that the pistol shown in these pics will one day belong to me. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is just as soon as my family member is willing to let this handgun go.

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