Saturday, March 13, 2010

REVIEW: Taurus PT709 Slim

UPDATE: 2/13/2012 at the end of the review.

Carrying concealed is a exercise in compromise. The variables are almost limitless, due not only to gun caliber, but also due to people's body sizes and shapes. Google search, "What is the best carry gun" and you get back 29,000,000 hits, each author giving his/her own advice or, as many articles do, leave you with no real suggestions just some broad ideas.

For me, I'm always looking for that balance of caliber, gun weight, gun size, price, ease of concealment, etc. I love the size of the Ruger LCP, but the little pistol feels awkwardly small in the hand and day-to-day is a .380 enough? I have a Kimber Ultra Carry II in .45 ACP, but fully loaded, it's heavy and harder to conceal than my Taurus Model 85 .38 Special. I love the little revolver, is 5-shots in the Model 85 enough? Can I really reload a revolver under stress? See what I mean?

I was definitely going to get a small 9mm semi-auto but I hadn't done it. After shooting the Kahr PM9 several times, I was really leaning toward it. But when Taurus announced the 9mm PT709 Slim I was intrigued. My interest increased when a friend of mine bought one and reported that he loved it.

While at a local gun shop, I had the luxury of handling lots of small 9mm pistols side-by-side.

After deliberating, I purchased the Taurus PT709 Slim. It seemed to strike the best balance of size, caliber, capacity and price for my purposes. The first thing you notice when you pick the pistol up is the thin grip. The grip is the hardest part of a conceal gun to keep hidden so Taurus kept the one on the 709 thin and short. Your pinkie hangs off the end - yet another compromise - but it's a carry item. Overall, the gun feels really good in my hand and the checkering molded into the provides a good, solid grip. The way a pistol feels in a gun store isn't very telling in regard to how it performs.

Even before real shooting, the double action pull seemed a bit heavy and the single action break was a bit hard - just a bit. So, I popped in a snap cap and dry fired it about 100 times and it seemed to smooth out.

The Taurus PT709 is a SA/DA with second strike abilities. I got to test this at the range when a round of cheap Wal-Mart Winchester white box didn't fire. It worked as advertised, after pulling though the double action, the primer popped and the gun fired.

At the range the PT709 proved itself. I sent 100 rounds down range at a variety of distances. The pistol was shooting low and to the left at first, but after adjusting the sights, it seemed to be dialed in. The recoil of the gun is very manageable. For a short nosed semi-auto muzzle lift isn't very bad. To put is in perspective, it's not nearly as bad as the Kahr PM9 but worse than a Walther PPS.

My friend Doug (really accurate marksman) picked up the PT709 for the first time and snapped off seven rounds, in 1-1.5 second intervals, and kept them all in a three inch group at seven yards. Not a bad accomplishment for a regular guy his first time 'at bat' with a new gun. I didn't have the same result my first time. My grouping was about 5-inches but I started pulling them in the second and third magazine.

Notice the target pictures above. Standing freehand, I was able to shoot a 2.6-inch group on an 8-inch Orange Peel target and a 1.7-inch group (on a 5.5-inch Orange Peel target) at 50-feet resting on a sandbag. On the bags, I loaded the pistol with the full 7+1 rounds. I was pretty happy with the outcome. The PT709 isn't a target pistol (and I was using cheap Walmart ammo), it's a short barrel defense pistol, so these results are more than satisfactory. I'm sure a professional marksman shooting high quality match grade ammo could do even better.




After a two boxes of 50, I started noticing that the trigger was much smoother and the break was much lighter. As the trigger improved, so did my shooting.

Overall, there's nothing really "blow me away" impressive about the Taurus PT709 Slim. It does have a nice mix of things that make it desirable to some and will make it less so to others. It has a SA trigger, that after some break in, is really nice. There's the critical DA second-strike ability if a round doesn't fire the first time. It has a thumb safety for those that feel better using it (I don't use it when carrying). There is a built in trigger safety. It has low-profile, adjustable sights (similar to the Glock). It's thin and really easy to carry concealed, even for a medium framed guy like me. It's holds eight rounds of a proven defense caliber. It comes in all black, stainless (mine) and titanium. It's super easy to breakdown and clean. It's very accurate. And it's relatively inexpensive, $415 for the stainless version, under $379 for the blued version.

Some of the negatives: It's a little longer than the Kahr. Some people dislike Taurus (I agree that they have had a past with ups and downs but they seem to be really dialed in now). It has a thumb safety (don't like it, don't use it).

While the gun lacks 'super wow factor', I really like it and am glad that I bought it. I'm carrying it in a CrossBreed Super Tuck where it's invisible and extremely comfortable.

Taurus has really upped the ante and it producing some inventive, good-looking and reliable firearms.  I have no problems trusting my safety to the Taurus PT709. Plus, it's so easy to conceal, so there are no excuses to leave home without it. My conclusion is that the price to performance ratio definitely puts it in the 'consideration' category when shopping for a small, carry 9mm.

UPDATE #1:
My Taurus PT709 Slim now has over 800 rounds through it and it's performed flawlessly. Other than a few feeding issues early on, the last 700 rounds have fed and fired without a single hiccup. As you can see in the accompanying photo, I've added a Pearce Magazine Extension and a Hogue Handall Jr. Grip Sleeve. Both additions have really improved the purchase I can get on the grip and have improved accuracy.

Also in the picture is my friend's Ruger LC9. We shot these to guns side-by-side and surprisingly, the Taurus actually outperformed it in several tests. Click this link to read that review. I've read several reviews of people getting 709 Slim lemons and I can believe that could happen. Luckily, I purchased a peach.

UPDATE #2:

I put a Crimson Trace Laserguard on my Taurus 709 Slim. Unfortunately, the Hogue Handall Jr. grip doesn't fit with the Laserguard installed. That's too bad because I liked the the grip so much I'm tempted to remove the laser and sell it on eBay and so I can put the grip back on. But, along with the Lasergrip, I bought another Crossbreed holster to accommodate the new shape of the pistol (in the photo the Taurus 738 TCP is at the top in a MiniTuck and Slim is bottom in a SuperTuck). Those two items were a lot of money while the Handall Jr. was $7. Geez. I'm going to look into getting some grip tape and see if that works. I'll keep you posted and the Handall might fit my buddy's Ruger LC9.


I have Crimson Trace lasers several of my carry guns and I love them. They're reliable, bright and well built. The Laserguard I have on my Taurus TCP is awesome. It is so logically designed it's idiot proof. Just hold the gun like normal and the laser turns on. No thinking and no change of habit, like the LaserMax, just use a proper shooting grip and it works. I have found that I have to sight them in, shoot them, then re-sight them before they'll stay put but that's not a big deal. You gotta love the folks at Crimson Trace.


So, I'm going to live with it as is for at least 90 days, shoot a couple hundred rounds with it and see how it goes. I'm looking forward to hitting the 1,000 round mark with the Slim. That should happen pretty soon.



UPDATE #3:

 As you just read above, before I could install the Crimson Trace Laserguard, I had to remove my beloved Hogue Handall Jr. grip sleeve. So, in it's place I added a Tractiongrip from Tractiongrips.com.  Tractiongrips has several precut systems for a variety of pistols. I bought one that was custom made for my Taurus 738 TCP, but they didn't have one for my 709 Slim.

I traded a few emails with Donald Meyers, of Tractiongrips, and he sounded optimistic about creating a custom set for the 709 Slim in the future. The absence of a custom set didn't stop me from buying though. After sorting though the pictures, I thought that the set created for the Smith & Wesson Sigma Series ($6.99) might work with a little trimming, and I was right. I used the oval pieces in the thumb dimples (if that's what you call them) and I trimmed down the side panels so they fit perfectly. I had enough left over for a small piece on the Pearce pinky extensions on each magazine. Luckily, I'd bought a universal Tractiongrips set ($4.99) that I trimmed down for the back strap.

After a quick trip to the range, specifically to test the Tractiongrips on my Taurus TCP and 709 Slim, I can tell you that I love them. On the TCP, the grips do little to alleviate the discomfort of shooting a tiny .380 but they do amazing work of keeping the pistol securely in your hand without adding any bulk. On the 709 Slim, the gun felt glued to my hand without feeling sticky and almost made me forget my Hogue grip sleeve.

As for concealed carry? I've only had them a couple of days but in that time, I haven't noticed any clothing snag or other issues though I've only carried the 709 Slim once and the TCP three times. So far so good. I just hope they stay adhered for at least six-months. Any longer than that and I'd consider it a bonus. But for $6.99 if I have to replace them once a year, I'd be fine with that. I'll let you know in six months.

28 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting a comparison picture of the PT709 and PM9. I have always wanted to see the size difference and it looks like it is about 1/2 inch in size for the length. Not much in my opinion. Now time for me to get a Taurus PT709 !!! God Bless !!!!!!!

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  2. Another positive that the PT709 has over the PM9 is that it is a 7+1 versus 6+1 for the PM9. Granted you can get an extended magazine for the PM9, but it takes away from the look and concealability of the PM9, whereas the PT709 comes standard with 7+1.

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  3. I was thinking of getting a Kahr PM9 but now seeing how the Taurus PT709 is a couple $$ cheaper and is just a 1/2 inch smaller in size, I may have to look for a PT709 instead. As the other person said having an extra round is nice too. I am pretty sure the Kahr is a little better built, but it should since it cost more, but it too has its share of problems. Just do a search for Kahr PM9 problems, but any gun from any manufacture will have problems too.

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  7. Got a PT709 two weeks ago and love it. +200 flawless rounds through it, and great accuracy. I've had a PM9, and this is a much better gun, especially for the money! I'll be keeping mine for a long time!

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  8. Ive had my Taurus PT709 slim since it came out. After about 500 rounds it started to malfunction with double feeds. Not sure if this is common, it has happened a couple of times now.

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  9. I enjoy my PT709 (not as much as my Sig 232 though). Pros are price is good, 9mm ammo is preferred over .380, small size, light weight. Cons are I have had trouble sighting mine in and after about 500 +/- rounds the recoil spring broke. Taurus covered round trip shipping and repairs under warranty ... no trouble or questions asked. I would like to see a magazine extension as my pinkie hangs off the grip. But this gun fits great into the lid of my console with an extra mag and goes everywhere I do.

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  10. I love my PT709 Slim. Weighs 23.3 oz fully loaded 7+1 with 147 gr Ranger hollow points. Very easy to carry. I have shot 250 rounds of Remmington UMC through the gun now, cleaning after each 75 rounds, and mine shoots low and left with the sights adjusted to their stops. I shot about 100 rounds gun rested focusing on finger tip trigger pull and trying to keep the shots from going low and left to rule out my technique. No success. I have a CT laser and I can it a quarter with it, but with the open sights it goes low and left -- about 3-4 inches at 25 feet. I've considered filing down the front sight to solve the 'low' issue, but that would cut into the front dot by about half. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. your 709 slim has adjustable sights, read the manual or online search, adjust them and you will be good to go

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  11. Had the same issue (shooting low and left) with my Slim. I sent the gun back to Taurus and they changed the sights after confirming my complaint. Took the gun to the range this past weekend and the gun shoots spot on! Before I sent the gun back, I was considering selling it...now I will keep it. Aside from the sight issue, the gun has performed flawless with zero malfunctions (500 plus rounds).

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  12. I did my homework and invested countless hours on line doing my research with a budget of about $500 to spend on a new smaller carry gun to replace my 17year old Browning Hi Power, so I headed down to the local gun show and got this Slim model 709 in the 2 tone style (black/silver) along with 100 rounds of 124Gr +P Cor-Bon for personal protection and 250 remington Full metal Jackets for target pactice (total price $375 for gun and $100 for ammo), right on budget... Needless to say, I was in for a big surprise... Got to the range that same afternoon and to my surprise, the gun would NOT LOAD Cor-Bon bullets, after inserting magazine, either pulling slide back to load round or slaming slide close by releasing slide lever, ammo would get stuck at the mouth of chamber (with either one of the brand new magazines). I was not about to waste good 'gun range' money so I loaded the full metal jackets and after 100 rounds, 3 of them jammed at the mouth of the chamber just like the Cor-Bon had... A NIGHTMARE... I took gun back to gun show on sunday, and of course NO RETURNS on handguns, GREAT. I had to deal with Taurus for issues with a Lemmon Gun... After a couple of phone calls, Taurus said it would take up to 8 weeks to check/repair whatever was causing loading problems, if they found a problem... HECK NO, I was 'NOT' about to wait so long and hope that 'MAYBE' problem got repaired/solved. So I took the "UNRELIABLE" PT709 Slim 2 weeks later and traded it at the very next gun show in my area for a Beretta PX4 Subcompact... I only got $200.00 for Taurus as trade in value (guns depreciate about 50% once they leave gun shops), and paid an extra $300 for Beretta (so I lost about $180.00 in the process)... Take my advise my friends, buy the more expensive stuff and stay away from the cheap dirt, specially when it comes to guns, because in a situatuon of life and death, the Taurus PT 709 would have NOT been a reliable defense weapon, in fact, the new Beretta has eaten every single round I have fed it, over 1000 plus rounds (cor-bons, gold dots, hydrashocks, etc.), and NOT A SINGLE INSERTION/EJECTION issues... If you are Thinking about buying the Taurus PT709, FORGET IT, don't play with your life and the life of your loved ones, protect yourself with a more reliable gun!!!

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    1. Have shot over 100 rounds with My Taurus PT709 with absolutely no problems whatsoever.I use American Eagle 124GR FMJ. Cleaned the gun ahead of time with hoppes no. 9 and their gun oil,had alot of shipping grease.This is the perfect gun for my medium sized hands.I just don't understand what the negitive people are talking about in some of the blogs.

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    2. I bought the 709 slim and also got a lemon gun. It took me 40 minutes to get one round to fire using Federal ammo. It wasn't the ammo at all but the trigger was not set, gun would not cock. Even empty the gun was doing this, with rare occasions it would set the trigger and dry fire. After 8 weeks i call Taurus and I'm told they fired 49 rounds without a failure. I said, fine whatever send it back then. BUT just then the gun techs apparently found the flaw because it now shows that it's waiting for parts for repair. 14 weeks now and I have nothing but disappointment to show for it. Never again. Taurus needs to tighten up on quality control.

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  13. Great review. Very comprehensive and well written. I purchased the PT709 so I would have an easily concealable semi-auto on the rare occasions that I feel it necessary to carry one. Without going into excruciating detail, I'll say that it has been COMPLETELY reliable at the range with a large amount, and wide variety of ammunition. I've purchased lemons in several brands (including Taurus), but I've been very satisfied with the PT709. I still carry a Taurus 85 Ultra-Lite 38 Special +P most of the time (revolvers are like forks; just pick them up and they work), but it's nice to have an easily concealable semi-auto as well.

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    1. I agree. I'm approaching 1,000 rounds in mine and can count the F2Fs on one hand. I love my 709 Slim. You should check out the VersaCarry as a carry option. VersaCarry.com. I'll be posting a review on it soon.

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  14. great review. I have the taurus ultra lite 85 and thinking about getting the taurus pt709. dose the pt 709 have a bigger recoil then the ultra lite 85 .38 special ??

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    1. The recoil is about the same but the noise from a revolver is louder. I love the 709Slim. If you don't use a LaserGuard, you might try the Hogue Handall too.

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    2. I have the Slim in 40S&W and it doesn't recoil as bad as the 85UL. It also has higher capacity, much more power, has a much better trigger(my 85UL is DOA) and is still pretty easy to conceal. I love the little 85UL kicking mule but carry the PT740 for a back-up hunting weapon. My wife shot it a couple dozen times and she wants one now.

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  15. I purchased my PT709 when they first came out 2 years ago. The first 100 rounds of FMJ were flawless. And I shot 12 of the Speer Gold Dot without any issues. Several months later, I went back to the range, after about 100 more rounds of UMC FMJ, the gun began to have a failure to extract issue, about once every 6 shots. I shipped it back to Taurus, they replaced the extractor (expected) AND the barrel for excessive wear (???). I don't see how a barrel can wear out in under 250 rounds, but, it was no charge. I finally had a chance to get back to a gun range 3 weeks ago, first time since the repair. First 20 rounds were good. Then, it had a failure to extract, then about every 6 shots it would "stove pipe", a new problem. It had one more failure to extract, and I put it away, sticking to my Glock, Sig, and FNP the rest of the day. I am tempted to trade it in, since Taurus just "repaired" it less than 50 rounds ago, and now I don't trust it as a carry gun. I am still debating on sending it in to Taurus one more time (they made me cover next day shipping $95, last time) I don't want to waste $100 more bucks.

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  16. Bought one used and was afraid I had made a mistake after reading some of the negative reviews. Took it to the range and after putting 200 rounds through it, I am delighted. It feed and fired everything I put through it, from cheap Russian ammo to premium JHP defense rounds. Accuracy was spot on and consistant, no matter what type of ammo was fired. As this was bought for CCW use, I am 100% confident in using it for that purpose!

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  17. I purchased this gun several weeks ago and have not shot it yet....however It is very very difficult to rack the slide....I have several semi-auto's and none are as tough to rack as this one...I might take it to a gun smith and see what he recommends

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  18. There are many factors that can cause even high quality guns to fail. I had 3 colt 1911s that I sold because of feeding issues. sometimes it is the shooter. I had female friend that could not get her HK to feed. It shot fine for me and for her boyfriend. Obviously it was the way she held the gun. My old G19 did fine for her however. I have had 2 kel-tecs that were jamomatics when I got them. I polished the feed ramps and lubed them up and never had an issue again. With that being said, I wont waste my money on a Taurus. They are too close to the same price of far better guns in this field.

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  19. Bought my PT709 last week for $285 brand new including tax. Fired 50 rounds through it today and it performed flawlessly. After shooting a mag to get a feel for the trigger, at 8 yards, I emptied the other magazine in a group the size of a silver dollar. I don't shoot a lot, but I'm a pretty decent shot. This gun was accurate straight out of the box, no need to mess with the sights! Unbelievable! This is my first Taurus and even though it's not a Glock, I dare you to find a more dependable and accurate compact 9mm for the money.

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  20. nice post.makes me want to buy a PT709 as my daily carry

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