The Taurus TS9 is an interesting one. A Bubits-design that Taurus has been using in the Brazillian market. I was once told it would likely never come to the US market as it would compete with other Taurus models already sold in the US. Rumors float around the internet as to the why and how, but the important thing is a limited amount of these handguns ARE in the US now.
What Is It? The TS9 is a duty-sized 9mm pistol that caught my eye as it incorporates many of Bubits' designs from the now-defunct BB Techs BB6 including the improved Browning action type. 4" barrel for propper 9mm performance, and 17-round magazines for duty-level capacity. The gun comes with four backstraps, though reports are that you may not get four different backstraps. Mine was "new" but arrived missing a manual and only two magazines, one of which was clearly used.
Bubits-Improved? The Bubits-Improved Browning Action type moves the lock up between barrel and slide rearward on the barrel. As a result the barrel tilts less dramitically. This allows for a shorter feedramp and the barrel to be lower in relation to the shooter's hand. It also theoretically reduces the shifting of weight during cycling which can make for a smoother recoil impulse. This action type requires the top of the slide to be closed which looks odd to those accustomed to the classic Browning Tilting Barrel action type.
There are a few other Easter Eggs of Wilhelm Bubits' brilliance in the gun, to get a better look watch the tabletop video below.
In the Box:
Two 17-round magazines
CALIBER: 9MM LUGER
CAPACITY: 17 Rounds
FRONT SIGHT: Drift Adjustable Sight
REAR SIGHT: Drift Adjustable Sight
MAGAZINES INCLUDED: 2
ACTION TYPE: SAO
FRAME SIZE: Full Size
BARREL LENGTH: 4.00 In.
OVERALL LENGTH: 7.25 In.
OVERALL HEIGHT: 5.64 In.
OVERALL WIDTH: 1.26 In.
OVERALL WEIGHT: 35.25 Oz. (Unloaded)
TWIST RATE: 1:16 RH
As a fan of Bubits designs I was excited to give the Taurus TS9 a try. Aside from his influence at work at Glock, Walther, Steyr, Caracal, and others, my experience with this action type has been limited to the BBTechs BB6 and Kimber R7 Mako. The choice of a 1:16 twist made me wonder how range time would go as most 9mm pistols on the US market use a 1:10 and previous experiences with 1:16 twist guns left a bit to be desired when used with American-market ammunition.
The range portion of course included out standard protocol which serves as a fair way to evaluate a firearm without personal interest sweetening or souring facts into opinions. The GBGuns range protocol includes:
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun, on camera, with first thoughts shared.
Full Mag +1: Not all guns are happy at full capacity. This is a combination of pistol design, magazine design, and ammunition used. Unloading the pistol rapidly helps me get a feel for recoil and trigger control.
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun we used the following ammunition:
90gr 1776 USA Lead-Free Sporting $14.79 / 50 at GrabaGun
100gr Hornady Critical Defense Lite $23.89 / 20 at Global Ordnance
100gr S&B Non-Tox
115gr New Republic FMJ $11.99 / 50 at Target Sports USA
115gr Sig Sauer Elite Defense JHP $23.99 / 20 at Sig Sauer
115gr Wolf Steel Case FMJ: $13.77 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
130gr Federal Syntech PCC $19.99 / 50 at Target Sports USA
140gr S&B Subsonic FMJ $19.47 / 50 at Firearms Depot
147gr Federal Syntech $19.76 / 50 at Global Ordnance
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.
The results of this range trip can be seen in the Shooting Impressions video below.
On the range I had som initial irritations and struggles. To be frank having a faux safety, no user manual, and a clearly used magazine in my brand new gun didn't start things off well. Initially some friction in the trigger also slowed things and left me without good feel to learn the trigger.
About 50 rounds or so into the review the trigger freed up, I learned the gun and really began to enjoy it. Had my hands been smaller I cwould have had an even better time and been able to use the nice indentations on the frame as an anchor for my support thumb. By the end of the range session I liked the Taurus TS9. It's a decent pistol that offers features and styling not found on anything else, but I wasn't blown away by it.
So Who's the Taurus TS9 For? I think the TS9 fits the bill for what it was originally intended to be: an affordable duty gun for agencies. The TS9 may also find niche applications among American civilian shooters, but generally I think it's going to be one of those neat oddball pieces to have. The pricing (around $400 at the time this was written) also lends itself well to those wanting to try something different without diving off the deep end price wise.