Taurus 709 Slim Review: Slim is a Good Thing
The Value of a Slim Pistol
The designs of John Browning have shown a clear understanding of the value of slim. From the Colt 1903, to the .25 ACP Baby Browning on up to the Colt 1911; all are slimmer and generally more compact than anything the competition had to offer. I’m constantly baffled by the fact that nearly a century later, engineers are still unable to accomplish the compactness of the Browning designs.
By and large, the first to really show some promise, especially in the slim department was Kahr Arms, with much of their designs being generally slimmer than most others. But in my experience, the Kahr’s are a bit pricey and have not demonstrated a quality level that surpasses Taurus.
Now I’m sure there are those who will be offended at my assertion that Taurus makes a better, more reliable pistol than Kahr arms, but in my experience, that is the case. Over the past 20 years, I’ve been in a constant search for the perfect pocket pistol, only to be consistently disappointed. I’ve tried them all. Some have come very close, and some have claimed to be a great pocket gun, only to be found severely wanting.
Over the years I have owned a small truck load of Taurus firearms for multitude of purposes. And in over 20 years of owning Taurus handguns, in a multitude of configurations, I’ve yet to encounter any of the so called “quality problems” that the internet guru’s claim exist. I’ve also taken notice that most of these so called guru’s have a sum total experience sampling of one; and an example of one is nothing more than that, ONE.
Taurus is perhaps the only manufacturer of handguns in the world that doesn’t outsource a single part, pin, spring or piece of their pistols; maintaining full quality control over their products. They have an on site foundary where they forge their 1911 frames and those of other makers. And perhaps the most amazing part, Taurus even manufacturers their own CNC machines and measuring devices. In short, Taurus is a serious manufacturing concern.
So when Taurus came out with their competition to the Kahr P9 series of pistols, I was rather excited, because if there is one thing I’m confident about with Taurus, it’s that their auto pistols WORK. And so it does… Having owned it less than 48 hours, it already has nearly 400 rounds through it (my fingers are numb from loading magazines), including a small variety of hollow points; and it functions flawlessly. I was delighted to see that even the adjustable sights needed no adjustment.
Courtesy: Taurus International Manufacturing
Okay, enough of that, on to the pistol:
For most critical dimensions, the 709 is the same size as my Walther PPK, Browning 1910, or Astra 3000/300. Design elements make for a much different feel though, since the frame depth and slide height of the 709 are much deeper and higher than either of the three afore mentioned pistols. If I stretch, I can get all my fingers on the Walther/Browning/Astra pistols, but there’s no way I can get all fingers onto the Taurus 709. While this is a mild annoyance, it doesn’t seem to really affect the control of the pistol, which I’m finding to be surprisingly controllable; keeping in mind, I’m a rather advanced shooter, and not affected by recoil much on any pistol/cartridge combination.
Mine has the blackened slide and I’m unsure if it’s blackened stainless or blued carbon steel. The overall shape of the slide is eye pleasing with an obvious nod to design flair and aesthetics; as much as can be had on a plastic frame pistol. The sights are made of what appears to be a rather tough plastic, and seems like a plastic that is tougher than the sights on a Glock, but that’s just my opinion. The front sight seems to be held in with some kind of a screw underneath the surface of the slide, and the rear sight appears to be dovetailed in. the rear sight is adjustable for windage and has protective wings on either side of the sight notch to protect the sight. I’m sure the adjustable sights have more to do with the 1968 Gun Control Act’s “points” system than any need to put adjustable sights on a pocket pistol. I have no idea how durable this setup will be for the long haul, but I’m sure I’ll find out. Lastly, the sights contain the now obligatory three white dots that I’ve never found to be much help at all.
The pistol contains a loaded chamber indicator that appears to be a tough plastic tab that is pushed up when a cartridge contacts the bolt face during chambering. The extractor is an impressive piece with perhaps the most rim purchase of any pistol extractor I can think of, very nicely done.
The feed ramp shows the highest level of polish I’ve ever seen from a factory gun, it’s truly mirror finish. The barrel lock up is the typical Browning cam with a Sig style hood that locks into the ejection port. This locking mechanism has become all but expected on any pistol, it’s clear it’s a “best practice” in the industry.
The slide is held on with 4 tabs that act as frame rails. These are a bit small for my taste, and I’m pretty confident that the 709 would fail the famous Secret Service “Frisbee” test; so I’ll just make it a habit not to toss my 709 on to hard concrete, lest the slide pop off. Still, this is just speculation on my part, but I’m not in a hurry to toss my new pocket pistol on concrete to change speculation into esoteric knowledge.
The trigger is truly unique among the trigger cocking/striker fired series of pistols of late. This one has a true second strike capability, with your every day walk around trigger being a single action affair. There is some take up in the trigger, and then you encounter the sear, that breaks at an average of 7.64lbs (average of 5 pulls from my Lyman electronic trigger pull device). This single action pull breaks very crisp with no creep and very little over travel.
If for some reason that fails to set off the round, you have a long double action type pull that measured at an average of 6.45lbs (average of 5 pulls from my Lyman electronic trigger pull device). The DA trigger is very smooth and gets progressively stiffer as you pull, very much like that of a Colt Detective Special.
The magazine is typical of Taurus quality. Taurus truly makes some of the best quality magazines of any firearms manufacturer in business; they clearly have this part down. Believe it or not, manufacture (not design) of a magazine is one of the more difficult parts of building a pistol. The blued steel magazine has a yellow plastic follower, a removable plastic bumper pad style floorplate and view holes with round counts on the side, all the way up to 7 rounds.
On the Range
I have done mostly practical shooting with the Taurus 709 and very little target work. My best group at 25 yards was 3.9” which was fired offhand. Not exactly target quality, but the sight radius and trigger are not exactly target quality either. I would imagine the pistol probably has much better mechanical accuracy, but wringing more accuracy from the gun will be hard to do considering its size.
The state I live in, Arkansas, has a lot of can and can’t place for concealed carry. When I find myself going to a lot of places where I can, and then can’t carry, this is when I turn to my pocket pistols; which has always been a S&W J frame revolver. But after my test of the 709, the little Taurus is my first line pocket pistol since it’s flatter, has a higher capacity, and delivers a touch more power than my sacred little J frame.
Now I’m a bit fickle where pocket pistols are concerned, and who knows how long this will be my go to. But one thing is for sure, this is a quality piece and Taurus has figured out the true value of Slim.