The Taurus PT 809 pistol is a polymer handgun that offers a lot of value for a modest price. The pistol was chambered in 9mm and would anchor a line that included models chambered for the .40 S&W and .45 ACP as well as compact variants.
Taurus discontinued the 809 pistol some years ago, so my guess is you either have one or are looking to purchase one from a buddy. So, let me go over the history of the gun and give you my take on it. Some aspects of this handgun might surprise you.
History of the Taurus 809
The Taurus 809 was a 9mm pistol that used a polymer frame and a hammer-fired action. It was based on the older OSS.
Designed to compete in the 2006 Joint Combat Pistol competition, Taurus eyed the OSS as the next handgun for the U.S. military. Joining the OSS was an eclectic mix of contenders including:
- Beretta PX4 Storm
- FN FNP45
- Glock 21 SF
- H&K HK45C
- Para Ordnance LDA 1911
- Ruger P345
- SIG SAUER P220
- Smith & Wesson M&P45
- Springfield Armory XD
It is interesting to look back on these guns and think that they were the best the gun industry had to offer. Compare them to today and see how far we’ve come in a relatively short amount of time.
As the OSS was a specialized version of the (then) current production 24/7 pistol, it was easy to see how Taurus figured it had nothing to lose by trying. Of course, the 24/7 would later be subject to a class-action lawsuit regarding its safety, so maybe it is best the U.S. military did not select it.
Regardless, Taurus claimed the OSS inspired the 809 that entered production in 2009.
As I mentioned above the PT 809 was a hammer-fired, polymer-framed pistol chambered for the 9mm cartridge. It had a 4″ barrel and 17-round magazine putting it in the “duty gun” size of pistols.
Taurus uses a Strike 2 system in the gun. Sometimes referred to as a “second strike” capability, the gun allows you to pull the trigger repeatedly on a dud round.
According to Taurus, there is a greater than 90% likelihood of a round firing when struck a second time if it did not go off initially. I’m not sure about those numbers, but I have never seen this as being of great value.
Neat concept, but I don’t know how tactically sound the concept is. Regardless, it is an option to use should you choose.
Although it was hammer-fired, the 809 followed a popular trend found with other polymer-framed pistols by offering interchangeable backstraps. Three backstraps shipped with the pistol: small, medium and large.
Taurus designed the gun with an ambidextrous, 3-way thumb safety. In the up position, the gun would not fire. In the middle position, the gun was ready for use. If you pressed down on the safety, it acted as a decocker to safely lower the hammer.
Thinking of the left-handed shooters, Taurus also engineered the pistol with a true ambidextrous magazine release. No matter which side of the pistol you were on, you had full access to the button.
Taurus made a number of dubious claims about the 809 pistol including that the magazine well was “super guided” that resulted in “record-setting reload times.”
Further, the company claimed the recoil spring was “balanced” which led to “record-setting cycle times.” Of course, I could never find any details about these records set by the pistol.
At launch, Taurus affixed the princely sum of $656 on the pistol. Compared to the prices on more reliable pistols from other manufacturers, that seemed very aspirational.
The PT 809 was covered by a lifetime warranty. So, if you are the original purchaser, you should still be covered if anything breaks.
At launch, the company also offered the Taurus 840 and Taurus 845 pistols. They were chambered for the .40 S&W and .45 ACP cartridges respectively.
Two finishes were offered by the company: a black Tennifer and stainless steel. Taurus designated these as the 809B and the 809SS in its catalog.
The company later introduced a compact version of the gun – the 809C. An 840c also saw time in the company’s catalog, though I’ve never spotted one in the wild.
22 Conversion Kit
Taurus offered a .22 LR conversion kit for the 809 pistol. The kit came with an entire upper assembly plus one magazine.
Additionally, Taurus included the 822 pistol – essentially an 809 frame with the .22 conversion kit installed – in its catalog.
I’ve never seen one in person, so I don’t know if this actually shipped or if it was one of Taurus’s vaporware products that were all too frequent during this time period.
When it shipped, the Taurus 809 had the following factory specifications:
|Standard Magazine Capacity
|# of Included Magazines
At the time the 809 was manufactured, Taurus had a reputation among some reviewers and owners as producing firearms with inconsistent quality control. As such, the company was not trusted by anyone I knew for personal protection.
The PT 809 was considered by many as being a mediocre gun – one that should not be relied upon unless your budget constrained you to none other.
Take a look at the review video below. The Guns & Gear channel on YouTube had significant problems with the gun toward the end of his testing.
He believed the problem came from the gun not being cleaned. However, I’ve shot many different pistols that had no problems running 1,000+ rounds with no problems. So, I question the reliability of a pistol that can’t handle 1,000 rounds.
If you do own or buy an 809, make sure you keep it clean. The following video shows you how to field strip the 809 for cleaning.
Infamous Class Action Lawsuit
During the production run of the Taurus 809, the company defended itself against a class-action lawsuit. The suit alleged the company manufactured firearms that were not drop-safe. In other words, it was claimed that certain Taurus firearms could discharge if dropped.
The 809 was not part of this class action lawsuit.
Last update: May 23, 2021.