The Discontinued, Full-Ambi’ Taurus PT 809

          Before I used and eventually owned this gun, I was very much interested in what Taurus International Manufacturing had to offer. At a cursory glance, their semi-auto handgun line up seemed like mostly bargains at the mere expense of top tier level “fit and finish”. After thousands of dry fires and less than a thousand rounds fired I must say, my PT 809 was utterly competent… until it the trigger return spring broke.


          My experience with the PT 809 in question started in January of 2017. Initially my Dad’s, this gun served as a handgun for me to practice the fundamentals of handgun safety and marksmanship on. This gun was chosen on account of it’s low price ($303.27), mostly good reviews, and apparent features. The one I owned had the flat dark earth colored frame with a black slide.

In person, the FDE frame is lighter in color than Magpul FDE.

Here is the list of specifications of PT 809:

  • Chambering: 9x19mm
  • Semi-Automatic
    • Hammer Fired
    • Double Action/Single Action (DA/SA)
  • Barrel Length: 4.27”
  • Barrel Twist: 1:9
  • Overall Length: 7.75”
  • Overall Height: 6.00”
  • Slide Width: 1.00”
  • Max Frame Width: 1.41”
  • Empty Weight: 30.15 oz.
  • Loaded Weight: 37.25 oz. (17 rounds, 115gr.)
  • Sighting Arrangement: 3-Dot, windage adjustable Novak-style FRONT with licensed Novak REAR
  • Manufactured in Brazil

Some additional features include…

  • Comes with…
    • Three Interchangeable Back Straps (Large, Medium, Small)
    • Two 17-Round Magazines (LRBHO)
    • A Plastic Magazine Loading Assist
    • A Lockable Plastic Case
    • A Barrel Cleaning Brush (Mine was missing)
  • Ambidextrous Safety/Decocker, Slide Stop, and Magazine Release
  • Loaded Chamber Indicator
  • Front and Rear Cocking Serrations
  • Firing Pin Block
  • 2-Slot MIL-STD-1913 Rail on Frame
  • Taurus Security System® (Two TSS keys are included)
  • Simple, Glock-style disassembly

Reliability

          This gun has fired approximately 979 rounds with only 1 failure to cycle (stove pipe with Geco 115gr FMJ-RN). The ammo used in this PT 809 consisted of mostly Freedom Munitions but also includes Magtech, Geco, Remington UMC, Federal Champion and Blazer Brass. All of the ammo used was brass cased FMJ-RN and was either 115 gr or 124 gr. However, the Remington UMC was all 115gr JHP. A total of three different 17-round magazines were used, all of which seemed to work without issue. This PT 809’s slide rails were lubricated with Slip2000 EWG and other steel-on-steel moving parts were lubricated with Slip2000 EWL. This gun was cleaned thoroughly after almost every range outing.

          As you read in the first paragraph, the trigger return spring broke on my PT 809. This would prevent the trigger from resetting unless manually pushed forward to the reset position. The spring break occurred during dry firing in double action mode in March of 2018. At that point in time, it had only fired 879 rounds. However, in an effort to improve my accuracy abilities with handguns, I dry fired for up to two hours at a time (almost exclusively in double action mode).  On the absolute conservative end of my estimate about 4 DA dry fires occurred for every 1 live fire (3,516). The absolute liberal estimate being 10 DA dry fires for every 1 live fire (8,790). As far as I am concerned, that is absolutely, positively unacceptable in a handgun used for defensive purposes. Any DAO or DA/SA handgun that experiences a broken trigger spring or hammer spring from that few DA trigger pulls deserved to be overhand-thrown into a volcano!

That is one broken trigger return spring.
The trigger return spring would normally be visible from the side indicated by the red arrow.

          I did contact Taurus about replacing the broken trigger return spring and after having to pay $50 for a return shipping label (to ship it to their Miami, Florida facility) and waiting 43 days, I did receive it back in totally working condition. The customer service representative I had spoke to had estimated that the entire ship-repair-return process would take 10-12 weeks (presumably due to a high failure rates of Taurus products). In the end, it took a little of 6 weeks to receive it, which was a pleasant surprise.

Accuracy

          Throughout my use of this gun I have found that it is easy to be reasonable accurate with. I can usually land most of my shots in an 10″ x 10″ target at a fast pace, up to 25 yards away. At a relaxed pace at 10 yards I can normally make shots land where I want them, all of that in SA mode of course. The SA mode is quite forgiving of a poor trigger pull and is an utter light weight when you have been training in DA mode.

At first, I thought DA was too heavy. Now I prefer it for accurate shooting.

Ergonomics

          I find the grip of the PT 809 to be a little ergonomically strange. Compared to other double stack 9mm handguns, the pistol grip of the PT 809 feels like it has an unusual ratio between width (X-Axis) and length (Y-Axis). Initially, the large back strap felt most comfortable but not long after that I replaced the large back strap with the small to try alleviate the unusual width-length ratio. Even with the small back strap in it still feels slightly unergonomic. Anyway, the ambidextrous controls are large and easy to use from either the left or right hand. My only complaint on the controls goes to the magazine release being nearly out of reach of my thumb from a full firing grip (I wear large sized gloves). The front and rear slide “serrations” are quite effective, in this regard, it’s quite unusual to see that that these are definitely more effective than those found on the M&P M2.0. Lastly, the recoil on this is like most other 9mm handguns of similar size, which is to say it is quite manageable with a modern, two handed grip.

Observations and Final Thoughts

          I don’t totally regret owning my PT 809. Because of my use with its DA/SA (Long+Heavy/Short+Light) trigger, I have found that I can achieve better accuracy and precision with those styles of triggers and will absolutely buy DAO and DA/SA handguns in the future, but only from reputable companies. After this it’s no more Taurus products for me. All things consider from what I know, it seems that Taurus struggles with quality control, lacks in-depth product testing, and consequently fails to come up this designs that even remotely challenge combat proven designs like from Sig Sauer, Smith&Wesson, Glock, etc.. Until the trigger return spring broke on my PT 809, I had really high hopes for it. Seeing as how it functioned nearly flawlessly, had acceptable accuracy, and cost less than $325, I was quite pleased that my experience with it was going like how it had for a lot of Taurus firearms owners who reported their findings on the internet. Sadly, I am not one of those Taurus owners who have no issues to report. But I guess Taurus hadn’t achieved a metallurgically and structurally sound/lasting design for their PT 809’s return spring… who knows what else is bound to fail on their other offerings.


          Thank you for reading my article. I put time into making sure it is well constructed and informative. If you have any questions, criticisms, or comments go ahead and let me know in the comment section. So go ahead and tell me what is on your mind.