Taurus PT1911

Custom features are standard on the PT1911. It comes ready to perform right out of the box.

Custom features are standard on the PT1911. It comes ready to perform right out of the box.

John Browning’s 1911 pistol is an icon.

The early 20th Century design is still going strong nearly 100 years after its adoption by the U.S. military. Mr. Browning would take satisfaction in the fact that military units with a choice in the matter still choose to carry his design into harm’s way over any others. 1911 manufacturers have never been more plentiful.


The Taurus PT1911 represents a good balance of features for daily use as a duty or concealed carry weapon.


The Clinton magazine ban helped prompt the 1911’s resurgence in popularity. It is easy to understand why when comparing ten rounds of 9mm versus a similar number of .45ACP. What better platform for the .45ACP than the 1911? Its slim frame width makes it an ideal carry gun, and the single action trigger promotes accurate shooting. I do not intend to rehash all the well-known 1911 design characteristics. I want to highlight one of the latest examples of Browning’s design on the market today—the Taurus PT1911.

When I saw the press releases announcing Taurus’ entry into the 1911 market, I wondered what niche they would try and fill. It did not seem natural for Taurus to go after the $2,000+ custom 1911 market occupied by several firms. This would go against the existing Taurus business model. Upon further reflection, many manufacturers seemed to have the entry to midlevel price ranges covered for the 1911.

Often times, the simplest idea is the best. Taurus decided to take advantage of its manufacturing experience and offer a 1911 model with many custom features at near entry level prices—Brilliant. Taurus gives the consumer features found on semi-custom 1911s at a low price using their strength as a quality production manufacturer. Now granted, all of this is conjecture on my part, since I was not invited to any of the Taurus boardroom discussions.

Taurus PT1911 literature claims $1,600 worth of premium accessories come as standard equipment along with a forged ordnance steel frame, slide, and barrel. Taurus’s estimate is conservative. Let me list some of the accessories. This will serve as a good guide for what to look for with anyone interested in purchasing a 1911.

Concealed carry at BlackHawk Serpa holster with belt attachment.

BlackHawk Serpa holster with belt attachment.

The PT1911 .45ACP “with custom fitted five inch barrel includes an ambidextrous safety, skeletonized trigger, target hammer, serrated slide, checkered trigger guard, mainspring housing and front strap, genuine Heinie ‘Straight Eight’ two dot sights, a polished feed ramp, lowered and flared ejection port, custom internal extractor, beavertail grip safety with memory pad, two eight round magazines with bumper pads, and extended magazine release.”

Taurus is the only production manufacturer to ensure quality control by hand fitting every 1911 with matching serial numbers on the frame, slide, and barrel. How were all these features possible for well below $1,000? I must admit I was skeptical of all the claims. Surely short cuts were being taken with quality control?

All of these features mean nothing if the Taurus 1911 does not deliver on the range or in the field. I have owned and shot numerous 1911 models from different manufacturers. Some were disappointments. I admit not having much success with 1911 models utilizing short barrels and bushing-less designs. One time, I had a certain full-size 1911 from another manufacturer malfunctioning out of the box. I was informed by the manufacturer their pistol needed to be “broke in” by firing 500 rounds or more. I asked the rep to send me the ammunition or a check to purchase it since I had already invested over $1,100 in the pistol. I got nowhere with my argument. I sold the pistol.

Concealed carry at BlackHawk CQC Inside the Pants holster.

BlackHawk CQC Inside the Pants holster.

However, I want to stay positive. The Taurus PT1911 had no such issues performing straight out of the box. I now have over 1,500 rounds through it without a hitch. Several associates were skeptical that the Taurus would deliver on the manufacturer’s promises, so I invited them to the range for the Taurus’s initiation.

My first range session consisted of over 600 rounds fired without cleaning or any lubrication as soon as it left the box. While the bulk of my firing was with 230gr FMJ practice ammunition, I did fire an assortment of premium ammunition (Hornady TAP-FPD and Black Hills 185gr and 230gr JHP) through the PT1911 to verify reliability. Firing was at a relatively steady pace with different shooters running the Taurus PT1911 through its paces on plate racks, dueling trees, and other drills.

Everyone commented on the Taurus PT1911’s uncanny accuracy. The Taurus fired groups into one jagged hole at seven yards and came close to this performance at 15 yards. If the shooter does his part, the Taurus PT1911 easily groups inside a silhouette target’s head at 25 yards. I am not a big proponent of bench testing a pistol for accuracy. It is a pointless exercise in my opinion.

Concealed carry at DeSantis Small of Back holster worn side-of-back style.

DeSantis Small of Back holster worn side-of-back style.

A weapon like the PT1911 should be fired as it is designed to be used—standing up from the hand. This is the true measure of accuracy, combining trigger pull, grip, and sights. I had to beat back offers for the PT1911 after that day with many later acquiring their own. Subsequent range visits have only reinforced my initial impressions.

The 1911 design is too well known for me to attempt any new expose story, however the Taurus PT1911, with everything it offers “standard”, is worthy of Mr. Browning’s approval. The PT1911 arrives ready to go right out of the box. Kudos to Taurus for including the right features for maximizing performance without turning it into a finicky or fussy competition gun.

The Taurus PT1911 represents a good balance of features for daily use as a duty or concealed carry weapon. The buyer is gaining a lot of value for the listed purchase price on the PT1911. Taurus is due to unveil both blue, and stainless versions of the PT1911 with an integral accessory rail. Also, there is discussion of a smaller frame size version in the future. I look forward to trying out these new models. As mentioned above, the 1911 is an icon. Icon for me means everyone needs to own one (or more) and the Taurus PT1911 is worthy.




[ Todd Burgreen is a freelance writer with work published in PRECISION SHOOTING, THE ACCURATE RIFLE, THE VARMINT HUNTER MAGAZINE, and S.W.A.T. His topics have covered the gamut, including but not limited to, a

CQB tomahawk article, long range rifle, single-shot rifles, full-automatic rifles, hunting handguns and defensive handguns. Todd lives in Virginia with his wife and three sons. ]

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9 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. I have used my PT 1911 often, practice and hunting wild hogs. Great weapon. All the best features for a working mans price. I shot 3 rounds at a .50 cal ammo can and missed the first one, saw where it landed adjusted fire and hit it with the second two rounds, at 85 yards. Not bad for an old man and a GREAT pistol. Some would call that luck, I call that a well built pistol.

  2. My stainless PT 1911 has been flawless in every way. Never have had a ftf or fte on any ammo I have used. I have about 2000 or so rds through it; which I feel is an adequate amount to see if the pistol is functional for self-defense situations. I have no problem concealing it in a Don Hume belt holster with an un-tucked shirt or jacket(coat). Great pistol,right out of the box.

  3. This is my second Taurus (PT709 slim). Very impressed I will say. The value of included features are amazing. Ambi safety, 8 rd clips, upgraded sights. I am a short, portly guy so IWB carry is not an option, however OWB holsters are plentiful. My leg holster from Blackhawk is extremly comfortable for long hikes and hunts. I ended up changing the grips to a thinner wood model. Major difference in grip strength and accurcy I found. Its a tad heavy fully loaded but its a full size 1911 so its expected. Over all great 1911.

  4. Took the PT out shooting today at an indoor range; packed out except for one lane.(10 lanes) Everyone was using a semi-auto pistol except a woman shooting a .357. Two of the other guys were shooting their 1911’s. One was a Colt,and the other was a Remington. My PT shot as good as the Colt. We all three were using 230 gr fmj(Winchester). It amazed me that my pistol cost approximately 1/3 the cost of his Colt and kept up,with no problem. If your looking for 1911; give the PT 1911 a look.


  5. I bought the PT1911AR and ran 150 rounds through at the indoor range where I purchased it. Fire Power, in Matthews,NC. My second time with a 1911 model. It shot great, no problems 230 gr fmj PMC. Not one problem. I was amazed at the accuracy, straight from the box. I am left handed and had no problem operating the gun. The only complaint is finding a LH holster, that accomodates the rail. Other than that it is a very good choice.

  6. My new PT1911 didn’t work I had to send it back so they replace it after waiting almost a month i got the a new one from Taurus a few weeks and 200 rounds later the extractor broke is a 5 minute fix and common of 1911 I mail it back for repair they got it on the 4/26/2012 today is the 5/2/2012 I have call many times to have them take care of it ASAP I ask someone to have the manager call me back that was 2 days ago and nobody has call me I call this morning to check on the status and is still has not been repair the cost of this 1911 was almost 700$ plus all the shipping i have to pay many times and it looks like not only I got stock with an UNRELIABLE GUN but also with the reality that they don’t care about my case and now i know it was a mistake getting a Taurus the worst part is that I still don’t when are they going to fix it all I know is that i have to go get another gun today if I want to protect my Business and Home the problem here is not so much a problem with a gun but with 2 guns 1 after the other and no one seems to care…..

  7. Cesar, I am sorry to hear about your Taurus giving you problems; but I had the same experience with a Colt 1911, twice. Stuff happens,not only Taurus,but to other’s. I am tired of all the Taurus bashers out there. Firearms do sometimes fail. All guns can fail, regardless of who makes em.

  8. I bought my first Taurus PT1911 around 6 years ago and have shot no telling how many rounds through the pistol without a single malfunction. I bought another one 3 years ago and just recently added a 3rd PT1911. I have many 1911’s in all makes and variations and I will ad that the Taurus 1911’s are tops in my opinion with a 35 year testimony of gun collecting, competition shooting, and reloading. I have told lots of fellow gun friends that the PT1911 is the most underrated 1911 on the market today. I have had the most problems with well known higher end 1911’s & was given the dog and pony “500 round” break in speech from the manufacture. What I find most amazing is the comments from guys that have not even shot a Taurus PT1911 much less held one yet they make negative comments as to protect their more expensive 1911’s. Similar to when other new calibers hit the market they are the first to comment without firing a single shot. It’s as though the new guns or calibers might hurt their 1911 somehow. I also collect vintage farm tractors and it is no different with them as well. Just my thoughts on the PT1911, can’t beat them especially for the options that come standard with a non-cast all forged steel 1911 pistol.

  9. I have to add, today makes 8 yrs since I acquired my PT 1911; and still no failures. It is just as tight fitting,accurate, and dependable as the day I bought it. Still love it. Mine is the stainless steel model. The accuracy of this pistol with any ammo I have fed it; is nothing short of amazing. My new dream is to go to the range with as many Taurus bashers/haters as possible; all shooting various 1911’s. I won’t tell them what I am shooting. When we get done, watch their faces when show them the results of a 650.00 pistol compared to the 2000.00 Colt on their hip. Just saying

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