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Taurus 1911 ALR review of my new gun

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by ithaca_deerslayer, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. (updated 3/27/2012, comments and a pic at post #43, after 2 years of owning this gun)

    Taurus PT-1911 ALR (this is the model that has AR on the slide)
    Government size, 34oz, Aluminum frame, with a rail, 5" stainless barrel, black slide, ambidextrous safety, Novak 3-dot sights, flat grip, beavertail grip safety with a memory pad, extended magazine release button, beveled magazine well. Checkering on the front and back of the grip. Checkered black plastic side grip panels. Serrations on the front and back of the slide, rounded hammer, stupid internal locking system (ILS) on the hammer. Made in Brazil.

    What is my handgun experience? I've acquired about a dozen handguns over the past 20 years that I've had my NYS permit, and regularly concealed carry either a compact 9mm or a .38 snubbie, sometimes a sub-compact .380. I've taken deer with my .44mag revolver. I have a semi-auto .22LR pistol for target shooting, and a single-action .22LR revolver for plinking. I've done some local club competition in bullseye, bowling pins, and IDPA. My homeland defense pistol is a Beretta 92FS.

    Why a 1911? I've never owned one before, and have only shot a couple different ones a few times. Probably have fired no more than 100 rounds of .45ACP before buying this gun. I don't need a 1911 for hunting, nor for target, nor for concealed carry. But I've always appreciated its role in military history, and always wanted one.

    Why the Taurus? I had thought about a more traditional mil-spec gun, with looks similar to the WWII era 1911. Probably the famous name brand gun, or maybe some of the copy cat brands. But as I looked around, I didn't really like the feel, didn't like the grip, and didn't like the sights of the various guns I looked at. Then, one day in a gunshop I picked up the Taurus, and I intitially thought I don't want a rail, and I wasn't looking for an aluminum frame, and I don't want a gun with the ILS. But then the grip fit me perfectly, and I liked the checkering all the way around, and I liked how the beaver tail safety depressed and was comfortable for me. I liked the 3 dot sights. I liked the light weight and how it felt balanced in my hand. And I immediately started thinking of uses for the rail (like spotlighting coyotes at night). In short, I liked everything about the Taurus except for the ILS. The specific model I was holding came with 4 mags, a kydex paddle holster, and a kydex double mag holder. The gunshop also had the .357 my wife liked. So we decided to buy them both. The purchase price was $799 for the Taurus package, and I mentally figured that the value of the accessories made it about a $700 gun. In comparing in NYS gunshops, there weren't a lot of other 1911s in that price range, and non of them felt good in my hand. The Taurus felt perfect (aside from the ILS).

    Internet scuttlebutt says I can replace the ILS hammer with various aftermarket hammers, should I ever decide to. I can also replace any of the parts, since the Taurus is supposedly built to conventional 1980s series specifications. I don't intend to replace anything, but at least I know I could change that hammer out if I wanted to. Taurus also has a lifetime warranty on the gun.

    Since I examined the gun before I bought it, there are no obvious flaws. Fit and finish is very good. Field stripping was easy, even with the full-length guide rod which I had heard are sometimes more difficult to deal with, but didn't give any trouble at all. I cleaned the shipping grease off of everything I could, and then lightly oiled with my favorite Hoppes lubricating oil. None of my guns ever jam or malfunction with it. Since 1911 models in general are noted for needing a break-in period, I decided to detail my round count and any potential issues that may arise. My non-1911 guns don’t malfunction all, so keeping track of rounds is a new experience for me. Here is the account of the 80 rounds I've fired thus far:

    Day 1, 10F.
    Blazer 230gr FMJ, aluminum cases.
    Rounds 1-8 in Taurus mag 1: no problems
    Rounds 2-16 in Taurus mag 2: round #16 failure to eject.
    (Case was fired ok, but stuck in the chamber, slide locked back open. Was able to slide case out with small screw driver, not much force needed).
    Rounds 17-24 in Taiwan mag 3: first round wouldn't slide into battery. Mag seems a little loose, so I pushed it up and held it up with my pinky finger, then the slide would chamber the round. Had about 3 failures to go into battery.
    Rounds 25-32 in Taiwan mag 4. Same problems as with mag 3.

    5-shot 25 yard off-hand group was on target and a 5 3/4" group.

    Field stripped and cleaned the gun again.

    Day 2, 15F to 20F
    Federal American Eagle 230gr FMJ, only using Taurus mags from now on.
    Rounds 33-64 no problems.

    5-shot 25 yard off-hand group was on target and a 3" group.

    Wife gave the gun a try.
    Round 65, while chambering first round of a mag, failed to go into battery, wife said she probably didn't have the slide pulled far enough back, and the round was still half in the magazine, after she pulled the slide all the way back it went into battery.
    Rounds 66-80 no problem (including her being able to chamber the first round of the subsequent mag).

    13 of 16 shots on paper at 25 yards.

    The gun shot fine for her, and she had no complaints. When initially looking at the gun, and its aggressive checkering all the way around the gun, she didn't like that part as much as I did. But after firing it, she said she didn't even notice the checkering, and the gun didn't slip in her hand. Recoil wasn't too much for her, but since she did put 3 rounds off paper, 8 1/2" by 11", I know she wasn't totally comfortable with it yet. Her other 13 rounds were in a 4" wide by 7" tall rectangle centered on the paper. If I had to guess, she probably had 3 snowdiggers low off the paper from anticipating the recoil. These details are meant as a gauge of her comfort with the gun. If anything was sharp or abrasive in the grip or elsewhere on the gun, she would have let me know. But she seemed to like the way it shot.

    It is a very nice gun to shoot. But I hadn't realized initially that 2 of the mags were made in Taiwan. They are noticeably cheaper built than the Taurus mags. Shooting tests reveal they don't function well. As far as I can tell, the design allows the bullet to nose-dive too easily, and bullets do not sit up as firm against the magazine lips as they do with the Taurus mags. So, the Taiwan mags are junk. I'll see if I can exchange them for 2 more Taurus mags.

    When using the Taurus mags, the gun seems to function pretty good. There was one failure to extract for me, with a Blazer aluminum cased round. I'm not sure what caused that. Maybe the gun needed to break-in more. Or maybe the case was dimensionally larger than it should have been, or maybe the rim wasn't shaped right. But I didn't notice anything wrong with the case, and it wasn't split. Not sure why the extractor didn't grab it.

    I do notice the recoil. The amount of muzzle rise is about as much as my heavy .44 mag revolver. It is kinda a long slow push upward. I don't notice that sort of muzzle rise with any of my 9mm, not even my Glock 26. I could work on reducing the muzzle rise, but it doesn't bother me, it was more just an interesting comparison. I can see why in the great 9 versus 45 debates that some point out that the follow up shots with the 9 can be quicker. I haven't had a chance to bench rest yet, but I'm satisfied with my 3" off-hand group at 25 yards. I can't say yet how accurate the gun is, but I know it is at least accurate enough for casual target shooting.

    Overall impression? I like the gun a lot. I really like the way it feels in my hand, how it aims, how it is comfortable to shoot. Everything works fine on it. It has a nice light crisp trigger pull, well balanced and easy to hold steady. I expect that it will run reliable with the Taurus mags. The only thing left to do now is just keep shooting it and enjoying it. I'll update after I get a chance to put more rounds through it.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  2. quantim0


    Jan 12, 2006
    $800 for a Taurus 1911? I just threw up a little.

    Glad you like it, but there's way better options out there for that kind of coin.

  3. I think all handguns in NYS are more expensive.

    They have to be test fired and shell casing sent to NYS police. I'm not sure about the protocol and paperwork for doing that, but I've had dealers who were more than willing to order long guns for me, but they wouldn't bring in a handgun unless it went through their supplier and already had that stuff done on it.

    When I was looking for a new Thompon rifle caliber handgun for hunting, I couldn't find a local dealer who would bring one in for me because of the test firing issue. So after a year of trying, I ended up buying a used one.

    So in general, a new handgun already in a display case is worth more than one available through an out-of-state oneline auction.

    Not trying to defend price or value, but just putting it into context. None of the 1911s I've actually seen were less expensive, except for the Rock Island base model.

    Isn't the whole point of gun-control laws to make things more expensive and less available to the public? NYS has accomplished that. You've got to spend about $100 or more and a year of paperwork time and frustration just to get a permit to own a handgun. If no permit, then having a handgun is a felony. Then each and every handgun purchase has to be approved and listed on your permit, with additional paperwork fees.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  4. doolyd


    May 24, 2007
    They are selling for $850 in Texas at Gander Mountain.

    That place has always been a rip off and that is ridiculous for a PT1911.
  5. sns3guppy


    Sep 4, 2006
    The exact number of failures cited is somewhat vague, but would appear to be as high as 11 failures out of a hundred rounds?

    In a gunfight, you'll be golden so long as you remember to hold that magazine in with your pinky.
  6. Wow! I just paid $800 for a new Colt S-70. I had a little bit of buyers remorse but feel better now. Traided up from a Taurus PT1911 that I paid $469 new. Got $400 on trade. Not bad only lost $69 on the Taurus.
  7. Glad I could help :)
  8. So is that true about the manufacture have to send a case to the NY police? That's a little scary to me. I'm sure your taxes are higher on guns or something? Also it is the north east and wages and cost of living is higher than here in the south so I guess it makes since.
  9. I suspect the number of failures with the Taiwan mags would be near infinite. I lost exact count with those, as I realized they were headed for trade-in or waste basket.

    To the Taurus haters, you'd really have to wonder why they'd include 2 cheap mags in a packaged box of goodies. Their own made in Brazil mags seem pretty good. The two types of mags are completely different construction. I guess they just wanted to mess with their customers :rofl:

    As to the number of failures with the Taurus mags, I had 1 failure to extract. Believe me, I will remember that failure to extract.

    I've shot lots of Blazer aluminum cased ammo through my Beretta 92 and never had a failure to extract, nor any other kind of failure.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  10. I'm not sure the exact way it gets done, but yes any new handgun sold in NYS has to have a fired shell go to the NYS police. I've read that they've solved 0 crimes with that information, but have spent millions to maintain the database. Not to mention how much more that drives up the cost to people like me, both in taxes and in actual purchase price. I imagine the process involves a load of paperwork, and probably not just anybody is allowed to fire the gun and provide the empty shell.

    I don't know about higher wages.
  11. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

    Nov 24, 2005
  12. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    While I have no problem recommending against buying a gun that has been proven to have a lot of problems, I try not to do it AFTER the gun has already been purchased. Instead I switch to "solve the problem" mode.

    I think you nailed it when you said you are getting rid of at least two of the magazines. Personally, I would dump all three and buy a few Wilson 47d mags. I run them in all of my 1911's without problems. If $27 for a magazine sounds expensive, look at what Sig and HK want for their mags these days.

    The extraction issue might be ammo induced (Blazer can makes some guns a little moody), or it might actually be an extractor issue. I wouldn't do anything yet. Watch it closely, and if it happens with anything else I would replace the extractor.

    I know you said you don't want to replace anything until it breaks, but I'd replace the hammer now. I had one break while handling it in the store (I was working as a gun department manager at the time, and I was happy I broke it before I sold it to anybody). Anyway, it tied up the gun so the slide wouldn't cycle. If there had been a round it the chamber, there would have been no way to get it out so I could ship the gun back to Taurus. I know it's just one event, but I'll still suggest being pro-active about replacing that hammer. The other breakages we had were with the safeties and the slide stops. Inspect them every time you clean the gun to make sure they're not cracking.

    And thanks for the review. It was very detailed and very fair, I thought. You did an admirable job of pointing out the good points while being open and honest about the bad.
  13. Thanks for the info, and I'll keep an eye out for those Wilson 47d mags.
  14. quantim0


    Jan 12, 2006
    I feel bad for you guys up there. Can you order online and have a transfer done? That would be a good way to save some coin.
  15. Not sure, as it needs to meet the fired shell casing requirement for NYS Police. One guy said the gun needs to be dropped off to the NYSP, then wait weeks, then pick it back up from them, then the dealer can sell to a customer.

    I think the guns that come more direct from the factory have a different path, with a provided fired shell casing.
  16. AZ Husker

    AZ Husker

    Mar 25, 2003
    You guys make so much money up there that $800 for a Taurus is nothing! :supergrin:
  17. quantim0


    Jan 12, 2006
    Most guns I've gotten that I can remember came with fired shell casings in an envelope. I figure they could just send that out when they get the transfer and then you can pick up the gun.

    But what do I know? I moved from NJ to avoid all that BS when buying a gun.
  18. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
  19. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed JAFO

    Feb 28, 2001

    I've had two dealers after seeing there was no fired case just put down used on the slip instead of new. If it was test fired at the manufacturer it's not really new. :dunno:
  20. I love that kinda problem solving :)