Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Review, and thoughts: Taurus PT-809
In today's economy, people are turning to stores of wealth somewhat outside the norm.
Most days, people keep their hard earned shekels in the bank, or in a money market account, or perhaps in a stock market fund. Many people, prudently, keep some cash on hand as well, if they can.
This day, as The Fat Man writes this, all those means of storing wealth have become suspect. The stock market is more unpredictable than ever. Savings accounts, money market accounts, CD's.... all offer interest rates lower than the true inflation we face, which realistic non-government funded economists peg at roughly 10%. This means the money we have worked so hard for is being hit with an invisible tax that grows every day, leaving us less value in our money with each passing minute. It also means every dollar we save, over and above what we spend to live, is actually losing value.
Cash on hand can be a different story, to a person willing to work the angles. Cash loses value minute by minute as well, but often times purchases made with cash bring with them a discount that more than makes up for the inflationary losses. In terms that us shooty folk understand, a little cash in reach can make that snap purchase of a friends old Browning happen, when a credit card won't.
Right now, saving money is problematic. As our government's printing presses crank full blast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.... the tax of inflation is hurting us in ways not seen in generations.
To be honest, friends, Carteach simply cannot afford to pay that tax right now. Income has shrunk below outgoing, and handing away the value of my wealth for nothing just isn't going to fly.
To some folks, that would mean buying Gold and Silver, an investment that's held the line for all of recorded history. The thing is.... it takes money to play that game, and the system is set up to milk a lot of that value away if one buys from standard commercial sources. Even here, there is a cost to investing, and a tax on poor planning.
To Carteach, a poor (unemployed at the moment) fat old man living in the farmlands of Pennsylvania, buying typical precious metals as wealth preservative is a non-starter. On the other hand.... there are commodities that a person can buy now, which will serve better as investment in these troubled times. Not all precious substances glitter like gold.... sometimes they come in small packages of plastic and Tennifer coated alloy.
This brings us to a place where Carteach has parked a few dollars; A place where the tax of inflation can't reach, and real value is likely to hold perfectly well without loss.
Today, that store of wealth comes in the form of a Taurus PT809 9mm pistol. Bought at reasonable price, it's a fairly steady and sure store of wealth. Not a lot of wealth, to be sure, but certainly substantial when considered as a portion of Carteach's vast estates (smiling sardonically, I am).
A silver bar bought today at $30 would sell tomorrow at $25, once taking into account buyers premiums and sellers cuts. The PT-809 bought today for $360 is already worth more than it cost, even on the very day of taking possession. That is as much a factor of the current turmoil in society as anything else, but it's still an important factor to consider.
Soon enough, the same thinking may apply to other commodities, like lead.... brass..... copper....
So, here is presented the Taurus PT-809, bought as an item to store some small wealth in, while still being useful in it's own right.
The pistol is a full sized weapon, holding 17 rounds of 9x19mm ammunition in the magazine and another in the tube. If carried with both supplied magazines filled to the brim, and one chambered, that means a loadout of 35 rounds on tap. Given that modern high end 9mm ammunition has comes leaps and bounds from the military hardball our fathers played with, that is a significant self defense potential.
The frame is polymer, akin to pistols almost every manufacturer builds these days. The slide, a tough but light alloy coated with Tennifer to reduce friction and corrosion. This would seem to place the PT-809 in the same ball field with Glock and S&W offerings, although there are significant differences.
The Taurus PT-809 is a double action pistol with a hammer..... not a striker fired pistol like the Glock or S&W M&P. This means it has a double strike capability, and in the event of a misfire another yank on the bang lever will give it a second go. It also means the pistol can be carried hammer down, safety off, with a loaded chamber.... and be just as safe as any revolver. Put in more easily understandable terms to you youngsters raised on Glocks.... I would never slide my G-30 into my pocket for a walk around the property, as it would leave the trigger free to be snagged and the pistol to fire.... and that would be bad. The PT-809, on the other hand.... no problem. Hammer down, long firm trigger pull, and even a safety I can engage. No problem sliding that in my back pocket and going walkies.
Speaking of safeties, the new Taurus has one, and it's a three position one at that. Up is safe, so those used to sweeping off the safety on their 1911 will be right at home. All the way down against spring pressure drops the hammer, making for a completely safe way to decock the pistol.
Carteach, when carrying a weapon such as the PT-809, carries it hammer down on a loaded chamber, safety off. This means putting the weapon into action requires no more than drawing it, aiming, and squeezing the trigger. Exactly the same as the Glock, the M&P, Elsie Pea, and every revolver I own. It also explains why I so seldom carry the Commander any more. It has a different manual of arms, and it's one I set aside for defensive carry a long time back.
The pistols controls are ambidextrous, working easily as well for righties and lefties. In addition, the now mandatory Picatinny rail is built into the frame, and the pistol is just large enough to perfectly hold a full size weapon light like the new Surefire unit.
Accuracy wise, the Taurus performs to acceptable standards. Two inch groups at 30 feet were not difficult, shooting off hand. The rear site is adjustable for windage by loosening a small set screw and drifting the sight in it's slot. There is no adjustment of elevation, although that's not unusual in a defensive carry pistol.
The 809's sights carry the now typical three white dots, and are designed to be relatively low snag. The rear sight looks like the Novaks designs of 20 years ago.... in fact, it IS a Novaks, while the front is a simple forward raked post, wide and sturdy.
Like the S&W M&P design, the Taurus PT-809 comes with replaceable backstraps for the grip. Swapped out by pushing a pin free (Tool included), the lower swell of the backstrap can be sized to fit the shooters hands. This gimmicky sounding trick is actually quite nice, serving to fit the weapon in better fashion to more hands. Oft times, that additional fraction of an inch can make a cludgy feeling pistol into a something that shoots naturally.
Unpacking the pistol, we see it comes with two magazines, a magazine loading tool (nice touch), a selection of grip swells, a bore cleaning brush...... and very sadly..... a tool to activate the internal safety lock.
Yes, the Taurus 809 has the dastardly built in key lock that we can thank the lawyers for. On the other hand, it's not obvious, being placed far down the right side grip panel, and there are no reports of it coming on unintentionally as some other companies pistols have been seen to do.
On shooting, the PT-809 managed to stovepipe a few cases in the first two magazines full. This was with Winchester white box generic hardball fodder, and the pistol as it came from the case. After field stripping, wiping down all the internal and external surfaces with a solvent covered cloth, and then lightly lubing with gun oil..... the pistol had no more failures of any kind.
Trigger pull is reasonable for a defensive carry pistol, and not unduly heavy nor gritty feeling. It will never match a finely tuned S&W revolver, but for a decent quality comparatively inexpensive double stack DA pistol, it's not bad.
All in all, the Taurus PT-809 is exactly what it seems to be. A relatively inexpensive full sized defensive carry pistol of decent quality. While it will never be a 'Barbeque Gun', it will serve quite well in either holster or nightstand. As a storehouse of wealth........ ya, it'll do.... and a hell of a lot better than just leaving dollars in the bank to lose value like a tree sheds leaves in the fall.