For the times when capacity and features trump concealment qualities and ease of portability, the PT 809, which was derived from the Taurus 24/7 OSS pistol—itself designed to meet U.S. Armed Forces requirements—is an excellent choice. The PT 809 is a single-action/double-action, recoil-operated, hammer-fired semi-automatic chambered in 9 mm Luger—similar models are also offered in .40 S&W (PT 840) and .45 ACP (PT 845)—with 17-plus-one capacity. Both carbon steel (809B) and stainless steel (809SS) versions are available.
Compared to the PT 740 SLIM, the PT 809 is considerable in size. It measures 1.14-inches wide, 6-inches tall and 7.75-inches long, and it weighs 30.2 ounces empty. Contributing to its length, and no doubt its accuracy, is a 4.2-inch stainless steel barrel, long sight radius and excellent low-profile, windage-adjustable Novak three-dot-pattern sights. The edges of the rear sight have been rounded to reduce snagging; however, the front didn’t receive such attention.
A significant departure from the TCP and the SLIM is that the PT 809’s controls—slide catch, disassembly latch, magazine-release latch (as it comes from the factory) and manual safety/hammer decocker—are ambidextrous. The latter enables the PT 809 to be carried either with the hammer cocked, thus employing the lighter single-action trigger pull, or when decocked, the first shot in the longer, heavier double-action mode.
The slide has both front and rear cocking serrations, as well as a black Tennifer finish for durability (809B). Like the PT 738 TCP and PT 740 SLIM, the PT 809 features a proportionally large extractor and lowered ejection port for reliability; however, the pistol’s loaded-chamber indicator is directly above the extractor, such as that found on the PT 738. In addition to the TSS, like the PT 740 the PT 809 has a firing pin block. After the last round is fired, the slide locks open.
Similar to its smaller cohorts, the PT 809’s polymer frame has metal guide rails and molded-in ribbing and checkering for purchase. Its disassembly latch is also identical to that found on the 740 SLIM; however, the similarities end there. The PT 809’s dust cover has an integral Mil-STD 1913 Picatinny accessory rail, and the backstrap can be replaced for a custom fit. Two extra inserts accompany the pistol. Additionally, the PT 809’s grip features molded-in finger grooves and a larger, more generous curve on the back of the grip—no doubt due to the pistol’s larger overall size.
Feeding the PT 809 is a double-stack, stamped metal magazine with 17-round-capacity. The PT 840 (.40 S&W) magazine holds 15 rounds, and the PT 845 (.45 ACP) holds 12. The magazine, which has witness holes and a fluorescent yellow follower for easier counting of rounds remaining, features a large bumper pad that further lengthens the gripping surface. It is unnecessary for all but the largest hands. Two magazines and a loading tool are included with the PT 809.
Testing Taurus’ Trio
To evaluate the PT 740, PT 738 and PT 809, each was subjected to a barrage of tests to determine not only accuracy potential, but also reliability and user-friendliness. The American Rifleman standard of five consecutive, five-shot groups at 25 yaeds for evaluating accuracy was followed for consistency, although such a distance is outside the intent of the PT 738 TCP’s design. That said, all of the pistols performed reasonably well with regard to accuracy.
Shooting the PT 740 SLIM was a welcome reprieve from normal .40 S&W-chambered pistols, as despite its thinness and abbreviated grip, it was relatively comfortable to shoot. Of course muzzle flip and recoil were load-dependent, with some producing higher levels than others. Particularly fun, yes fun, to shoot was Federal’s light-recoiling 135-grain Hydra-Shok JHP load, which was used to evaluate reliability with ammunition of different power levels.
During testing, the PT 740 exhibited three failures to feed, but all were restricted to a single ammunition brand and occurred early in the evaluation phase. No other malfunctions took place, illustrating that it needed a brief “break-in” period before being pressed into service—not a bad idea for any handgun used for self-defense. When the magazine-release button was depressed, the magazine was quickly expelled, thereby enabling rapid changes.