In part one of the Taurus Model 809 pistol review we looked at the history of the company, the though process behind the design and a quick overview of the unboxing. We also quickly covered the various brands and weights of ammo we used in our range evaluation. We were fortunate enough to have some lesser known ammunition on hand, to add another element to the test of how the pistol might operate. Herters, Fiocchi, and PMC are usually some of the more inexpensive ammo on the market also so it didn’t hurt the budget too much.
As I mentioned in the first half of the evaluation the Taurus 809 initially had several issues while loading the magazines. The first few times I loaded the magazines I was unable to load all seventeen rounds into either of the magazines. This isn’t an issue exclusive to the Model 809, it’s actually a lot more common than some shooters expect it to be. I’m not sure if it’s a combination of new springs or just breaking in the magazines or a shooting phenomena. They both seemed to loosen up some after the third or forth time loading them and I was able to get all seventeen rounds into both magazines, and never had another issue with either one.
The model 809 comes with three different sized interchangeable back straps to accommodate different shooters hand sizes. This is basically the same way my Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm came packaged. It’s has become standard operating procedure in the gun industry now. My 809 came with the small sized back strap installed, and it fit me just fine, I did however try on the other two sizes of back strap and went back ultimately deciding to use the smallest one .
Loading most brands of semi automatic pistols is fairly similar and the Taurus Model 809 offered no surprises here. I inserted the first magazine loaded with the Herter’s full metal jacket 115 grain and wanted to see how it would handle. I began to engage the zombie target I had positioned at the twenty one foot marker, I squeezed the trigger and was pleasantly surprised by the trigger pull.
I took aim and in a steady slow motion, all of the rounds were in my usual impact area of either near the center of the target or slightly left of center. The important thing is that all the rounds fired as expected with zero malfunctions. While checking the second magazine I decided on trying a slightly different approach.
The second magazine was also loaded with Herters 115 grain, which I inserted into the pistol and released the magazine, with one change from the first time. I depressed the decocking lever on the side of the pistol so I could try it from a double action position. Once I began to pull the trigger I could feel the spring tension and the creep in the Taurus trigger. It’s a long double action trigger and according to Taurus is set to be a bit longer to ensure that the shooter is fully aware they intend to fire the pistol.
The trigger is honestly longer than I am use to from a double action pistol but it worked just fine. I decocked the pistol after every shot while shooting that magazine to ensure I got a full representation of how much effort it took to fire the pistol. I was able to get use to the trigger but it was defiantly not my favorite pistol trigger. It’s designed to be a long even pull like most other double action triggers, and it does just that. Neither I nor the other shooters noticed any difference between shots. Uniformity was achieved by the engineers at Taurus.
After flawlessly shooting the two boxes of Herter’s I brought we transitioned over to the American Eagle 115 grain FMJ, and that’s were things got interesting. The magazines loaded without issue and I inserted them into the pistol and released the slide just as I had done previously. I sighted, squeezed, fired and then upon the slide retracting to eject the spent case I suffered my first range malfunction of the morning. The second round in the magazine failed to feed correctly, I cleared it and tried to fire it again, to my shock I suffered the same type of malfunction. This repeated itself four more times before I dropped the magazine and switched to the other one.
I inspected the rounds and set them aside separated from the rest of the ammunition so that I could check them later with a micrometer to ensure they weren’t out of specifications. You can then imagine my shock when the similar things began to happened with the second magazine full of 115gr American Eagle FMJ. Stovepipe jams also began to happen it was then that I chose to remove all of the American Eagle from the test temporarily.
At this point I was beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into, I wasn’t feeling very positive about the Taurus 809 at this point. I selected the UMC boxes next and loaded both magazines and handed the pistol to my father in law who is a retired U.S. Postal Inspector and asked him to fire both magazines. He went on to fire both magazines all thirty five shots with zero issues at all. All of the rounds impacting either the 9 or 10 ring on the target. A puzzling turn of events to say the least.
We went on to repeat this with ALL of the remaining ammo we brought that day, UMC, PMC, Fiochhi, and Winchester. Magazine after magazine the 809 fed reliably and consistently. The trigger seemed to eventually feel less strained and new or we began to adapt to it, either way the shooting became much more consistent and accurate. In total seventeen magazines worth of ammo the first day.
The second day of testing we started off with one hundred rounds of Winchester, then Fiocchi, followed by the remaining PMC full metal jacket. We weren’t sure what to expect after the first day hiccups that the Taurus Model 809 produced, but after the first few magazines we just chocked it up to gun gremlins. When shooting this many rounds over two range sessions we were trying almost every shooting stance the range would let us.
We shot using our dominant hand in both slow and fast fire method, then switched to weak hand and repeated the exercise. Magazine after magazine the pistol just kept eating our selection of full metal jacketed rounds one after the other. During this time no stoppages occurred and that naturally got me thinking about the American Eagle ammunition from the previous range session.
I loaded up both magazines with American Eagle, one with the 115 grain and the other with the 124 grain. We then proceeded to fire both magazines without any issues at all.
Once all of the American Eagle ammunition was gone we looked around at the piles of brass, and were bewildered as to why the Taurus 809 had so many issues with this particular brand of ammo before. The only maintenance we performed on the 809 between range sessions was to run a bore snake threw the barrel and give the components a quick wipe down with a silicone cloth. We didn’t make any changes to the springs or components of the pistol. It was in the same condition we received it in.
We put the Taurus 809 threw two range sessions totaling over 800 rounds of various full metal jacketed ammunition with great results. The initial issues with both types of American Eagle was puzzling to us since it apparently rectified itself. That honestly was the only snag during our trials. We tested it in both slow and fast fire, using two handed, one handed strong and one handed week shooting positions. It ran just as well as any other pistol I’ve owned, that’s not hype that’s just the facts.
The Taurus 809 is not a Heckler & Koch, a Sig Sauer, or a Glock, and that is important to remember. Taurus has marketed and priced this gun to entice the entry level shooter, offering them a quality pistol for personal and home defense. They deliver on that splendidly, that being said there are certain features on the pistol that I wish were different. The grip, the trigger and the magazine release come to mind.
The Trigger: I wish the double action had a shorter pull, It’s very long and frustrating if you are use to shooting other brands of pistols. It’s not impossible to get use to, you just have to practice and you’ll be fine. The single action however was a very nice positive surprise, even and smooth breaking in the 4-5 lb range.
The Magazine Release: If you are a shooter with small hands like I am the position of the magazine release may be problematic. It operates as expected but I had to change hand position a little more than I would like while reloading.
The Grip: My only complaint on the grip is the choice of line checkering on the front and back strap instead of a dot pattern. I don’t like the line pattern of checkering in general regardless of pistol. The Taurus pattern is well defined and allows the user to get a firm and positive hold on the pistol.
I want to thank Taurus for sending us this most recent batch of pistols for us to perform our own test and evaluation process on. They have been a very accommodating in shipping their guns all across the United States to us and showed themselves very eager to get our feedback. That isn’t necessarily the case with gear manufacturers
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