Recognizing the inherent charms of a thin, yet powerful, semi-automatic pistol designed for concealed carry, Taurus recently added a new single-stack polymer-frame model to its line: the 709 SLIM. Measuring a scant 1.08 inches at its thickest point, the seven-round-capacity 9 mm Luger pistol clearly lives up to its name.
Taurus offers the 709 SLIM in three variants: the 709B with a carbon-steel slide featuring a black oxide finish; the 709SS with a matte stainless steel slide; and the 709TI with a matte-gray titanium slide. Both the 709B and the 709SS weigh in at 19 ounces unloaded, and the 709TI tips the scales at 17 ounces. Located within the slide is a 3.20-inch-long ramped stainless steel barrel with a square hood area that tilts up to lock into the ejection port of the slide.
Featuring steel slide rail inserts, the 709 SLIM’s matte-black, glass-filled nylon polymer frame has molded-in texturing on the frontstrap, backstrap and sides of the grip. The sides and backstrap have horizontal ribs, and the frontstrap has finely textured crosshatching. A generous beavertail sweep protects the web of the hand.
The 709 SLIM’s somewhat angular and partially squared-off trigger guard is generously sized for such a compact pistol. In addition, finger-indexing memory pads located on both sides of the pistol above the trigger guard encourage proper placement of the trigger finger when the pistol is not being fired. Heavily scalloped thumbshelves are located on both sides of the frame to the rear of the trigger guard just above the pistol’s reversible magazine release button.
The 709 SLIM employs a striker-fired system of operation described by Taurus as single-action/double-action. When the action is cycled, a projection on the 709 SLIM’s sear catches and holds the striker in a fully cocked position, resulting in a light, single-action trigger pull. If there is a misfire, however, the 709 SLIM is capable of an immediate double-action trigger pull through a projection on the trigger bar that can both retract and release the striker. The result is a pistol that normally operates as a single-action, but has an immediate second-strike capability.
The 709 SLIM sports a non-ambidextrous thumb safety located at the rear of the frame behind the slide release lever. An upward sweep engages the safety and locks the slide, and a downward sweep readies it to fire. The ejection port has a loaded-chamber indicator that provides both visual and tactile confirmation of the condition of the chamber. A pivoting paddle safety in the center face of the trigger blocks rearward movement until the paddle is depressed. A firing pin block prevents movement of the striker until the trigger is pulled to the rear.
In addition to these safety features, the 709 SLIM employs the Taurus Security System (TSS), a key-actuated locking system that locks the action and the slide of the pistol. To activate, simply ensure the pistol is clear by pointing the muzzle in a safe direction, removing the magazine and checking the chamber. Then pull the trigger to de-cock the striker and engage the lock on the rear right side of the slide with one of the two included keys. A projection on the key adjusts the 709 SLIM’s polymer sights, which feature three white dots and a low-profile configuration.
The fit and finish of the pistol we tested was quite good, and all controls operated smoothly, although some of our southpaw testers would have preferred an ambidextrous manual thumb safety.
We took the pistol out to the range with a selection of Black Hills, Speer and Winchester ammunition and started putting it through its paces. There was a single malfunction when we fired through the first magazine of ammunition, with a round remaining base down in the body of the magazine, jamming the slide. There were no further malfunctions through more than 200 rounds fired, however, leading us to believe the pistol was simply breaking-in.
Because of its small size and intended purpose, we tested the 709B SLIM for accuracy at 15 yards. Results were quite good. We did note, however, a significant amount of stacking at the end of the single-action trigger pull. As a result, the pull weight was a relatively heavy 7 pounds, the same weight as that of the double-action pull.
The Taurus SLIM proved to be a powerful, compact and concealable semi-automatic pistol that will not break the bank.