I know that I had promised to write about the H&K P30 and the CZ-P07 next and I am excited to do so, however this little pistol became available to me yesterday and, as I have not read that much about the PT 709 in any other magazines, I wanted to get this out as soon as possible.
The Taurus PT 709 Slim 9mm is the Taurus solution to the problem of finding a pistol you can have with you just about all the time. The pistol is 6.2 inches in length, sports a 3.20 inch long barrel, and weighs a mere 19 ounces. You can see in the photo below that the PT 709 is smaller than the Glock 36, one of my other favorite compact carry pistols.
The 709 measures .92 inches wide at the grips and she is .97 inches across the slide. You can see in this photo how the width of the 709 (center) compares to the Glock 36 (left) and CZ model 82 (right).
The capacity is 7 + 1 rounds of 9mm although a 9 round magazine is supposed to be available.
Upon first examining the PT709 you'll note that it owes a lot to Glock. It is a striker-fired mechanism and takes down just like a Glock (1. Clear the pistol, 2. remove the magazine, 3. check to make sure the chamber is empty once more, 4. pull the trigger, 5. move the slide about 1/10th of an inch to the rear, 6. depress the dual sided takedown latches, 7. push the slide forward, off the frame, 8. lift the guide rod and spring up and out, and 9. lift out the barrel). After you remove the slide from the frame the guide rod, recoil spring, and rails all look very Glock-like.
Another Glock-ish feature is the trigger safety level in the center of the trigger just like the Glock trigger. I guess while we are on the subject of the trigger we should address the action and trigger pull. Unlike the Glock the Taurus is a Single Action pistol with Taurus' unique Double Action Second Strike capability. Allow me to explain what that means. As opposed to Glock, the rear-ward motion of the slide, either through recoil or racking the slide to load the first round, completely cocks the striker. Therefore pulling the trigger does not cock he striker; it's only function is to release the striker and fire the pistol, thus making it a single action trigger mechanism. Accordingly to its single action there is a small, but quite usable safety mounted on the frame right where it should be.
Now, if a round fails to fire (in which there is no recoil to cycle the slide and recock the striker) the trigger mechanism can then be fired in double action mode whereby pulling the trigger first cocks and sets the striker, and then releases it. This gives you a second chance for the firing pin to strike the primer and fire the round.
The single action trigger pull measured 6.12 pounds on my Lyman digital scale however it felt much lighter. The double action pull averaged 7.5 pounds. The single action trigger pull takes a little getting used to but you can master it quickly. When you pull the trigger it moves with almost no resistance to within a millimeter or so of the rear of the trigger area where the trigger then engages the sear and the 6.12 pounds of pressure is needed to fire the pistol. Because the trigger moves so far rearward it caused most people who handled the pistol (including me) to think that they had pulled the trigger and nothing happened. They (and I) did not realize that when the trigger stopped moving freely it was set to fire. At that point, once I realized what was going on, you just apply your 6.12 pounds of pressure and the trigger breaks very crisply with almost no over travel. Once fired the trigger has a very short reset allowing for fast follow-up shots. You will see a target below where I was able to fire 8 rounds in 1.5 seconds due to the quick reset. The trigger guard is undercut to allow you to get a higher hold on the grips which usually decreases felt recoil and increase practical accuracy however the undercut is so shallow and narrow that the effort seems more cosmetic than utilitarian. Perhaps some unfortunate celebrity with an advanced eating disorder can wrangle their middle finger into the undercut area but my stout chocolate-chip cookie fed finger can't take advantage of this feature.
The 3 dot sights on the 709 are compact, but large enough to see. On the minus side of the equation they are not night sites; a real plus is that they are adjustable for both windage and elevation allowing you really zero it in. You just don't normally find adjustable sights on a small, value priced handgun. Taurus has also put a dimple on the both sides of the slide to help you index your finge onto a safe position on the slide, out of the trigger guard. I don't know how much this will actually contribute to safe pistol handling but I like it and it sure doesn't hurt anything.
On a business trip recently I had with me a copy of a magazine devoted exlusively to handguns. I found it interesing that about half the articles did not show any photos of the targets nor were there any corresponding tables detailing the ammo, velocity, or group size. Instead there was usually some fairly vague phrase about "acceptable combat (or defensive) accuracy". My perception is that the writer found the accuracy to be fairly lame but does not want to burn any bridges with the manufacturer. Here at Average Joe's Handgun Reviews you get to see the targets.
Time for the Targets:
Here are two shot at 21 feet
In this target the torso shots were made at 50 feet and the head shots at 30 feet. This is pretty darn good practical accuracy out of this small pistol.
This target was set out at a mere 15 feet. The head shots were fired as soon as the target was acquired. The torso was shot as fast as I could which, as mentioned about, was 8 rounds in 1.5 seconds.
In firing this pistol I found the recoil to be fairly nominal, much less than expected. I also found that the recoil did not cause the this grips to move around in my hand. The ridges and patterns molded into the grips do their job well.
I tried carrying the 709 in several inside the waistband holsters that I had on hand. The first was this Bianci. I cannot remember the model name but the marketing people had given it a catchy moniker like "Stow and Go", "Run and Gun", etc.
It fit like a glove however it did not carry that well. The clip is set a little too low which left too much of the frame above the waist line. Once the belt was cinched up it pulled the barrel in close but levered the grip away from my body.
It was just a little big in my DeSantis "Tuck This" which was made for a Glock 19.
Finally this inexpensive Uncle Mike's holster worked perfectly.
On one of the gun forums that I prowl there was a recent thread about the PT 709. One person started the thread asking what people knew about this new pistol. Three or four people were participating and all had come to the conclusion that they would pass on the 709. I find this interesting in that none of them had fired it, none of them had held it, none of them had even seen one. In fact they had a hard time locating a photo and finally copied one off of an online report about the SHOT show. I guess they did not think to look for a photo on the Taurus website. Anyway, it is their loss; at $379.00 (at my local gunshop) I consider this to be a "Best Buy".