There are so many legendary firearms that capture the hearts and minds of shooters and collectors. Among the most iconic of those firearms is the Colt Single Action Army. Few guns evoke the spirit of the Old West as does a Single Action Army. For this reason, reproductions of the Single Action Army, also known as the SAA, have remained popular among American shooters. This demand for SAA revolvers has been met by a wide variety of importers and manufacturers over the years, which explains the sheer quantity and variety of Single Action Army-style revolvers on the market. Among these variants, the vast majority are chambered in rounds that are close to or exactly the same as the ones chambered by revolvers in the Old West.
Most modern SAA reproductions allow a shooter to fire cartridges loaded with smokeless powder. This is certainly an upgrade over the blackpowder cartridges of the mid-to-late 1800s when it comes to the ease of cleaning and maintaining these pistols. For some interested shooters, this added convenience isn’t quite enough to justify purchasing a firearm chambered in the .45 Colt or even .38 Spl. Many modern shooters make it a point to only own firearms chambered in modern, widely available ammunition. Understandably, this is a good way to ensure they can keep enjoying the sport for the foreseeable future. Both the price and availability of modern rounds like 5.56 NATO and 9 mm Luger are what cause many shooters to adhere strictly to the platforms that fire them. Unfortunately, this means that those shooters miss out on the rewarding experience of owning and shooting a good, old-fashioned SAA revolver. Taylor's & Company has set out to change that.
Taylor’s & Co. is a well-known maker of quality reproduction firearms of the Old West. Among its current offerings is a unique new pistol dubbed the TC9 1873 SA. The TC9 is a classic Single Action Army-style revolver in look and feel, but it diverges from the classic features of SAA revolvers in one important way. It’s chambered for the most prevalent centerfire handgun round in America, the 9 mm Luger. This opens the door for shooters who have, up to this point, been confined to modern firearms in an attempt to keep ammunition uniform between platforms.
At first glance, one may mistake the TC9 for a full-size SAA revolver chambered in a larger caliber. The pistol is quite large, with its generous grip and 5.5” barrel. The pistol’s appearance is one of the major attractions to the platform. Not only is Taylor’s & Co offering a quality cowboy gun chambered in 9 mm, but the company had the good sense to give it a classy polished blued finish rather than trying to modernize it or otherwise deviate from the classic SAA aesthetic. The checkered wood grips look sharp against the dark blued steel.
The TC9 feels very much like its .45 Colt-chambered SAA counterparts in the hand. The full-size grip offers plenty of purchase on the pistol. The enlarged grip is something that has become increasingly popular on reproduction SAA revolvers, as these guns are made to be functional as well as great to look at. Interestingly, this grip, which is reminiscent of the 1860 Army pattern revolver grips, is larger than the Navy pattern grips found on most SAA variants. The balance and weight of the TC9 is an exact match to that of my full-size SAA revolvers. This is an excellent feature, as practice with the TC9 will also help to build muscle memory and experience with the full-size version, should a shooter own both.
On the range, the TC9 proved to be a perfect balance of flat-shooting plinker and authentic-feeling reproduction. The recoil impulse of the TC9 is what you might expect from a 9 mm handgun with its heft. Firing the gun one or two handed is a joy. The single-action mechanism makes it an excellent teaching tool for new shooters looking to step up from rimfire into centerfire shooting. Recoil is very similar to that of a reproduction .38 Spl. SAA revolver.
Despite this similarity, the 9 mm TC9 has a massive advantage over .38 Spl. and essentially all other centerfire cowboy guns. That advantage is that you can shoot it a lot. All other centerfire cowboy guns prove exponentially more expensive to shoot high quantities of ammo through. The ability of the TC9 to shoot the commonly available 9 mm rounds means more time shooting and money saved in the long run. There are certainly many reasons to own reproduction cowboy guns chambered in rounds closer to their original format, especially for those concerned with maximizing authenticity. For those who just want to have the experience of shooting and owning a cowboy gun, however, the benefit of being able to shoot one of the most popular handgun cartridges in the world is certainly a benefit.
Loading the TC9 works exactly as you might expect from an SAA-pattern revolver. The 9 mm rounds glide easily into the chambers of the cylinder, and empty brass casings are pushed easily out with the ejector rod. The entire process feels nice and smooth. A light, crisp trigger and smooth hammer operation is something that has come to be expected from Taylor's & Co. cowboy guns. The TC9 has a very smooth action and an excellent trigger out of the box without requiring any extra tuning. While the Taylor’s & Co. hand-tuned actions are on another level, the company's tuning service is not currently available on the TC9. That’s something I hope will change in the near future. The grip is very comfortable and allows easy manipulation of the pistol, even shooting with one hand. Only a minor adjustment of grip position was required for me to reach the hammer comfortably with my thumb between shots.
The sights on the TC9 are typical of SAA-pattern cowboy revolvers. A large blade sits up front, while a groove on the back of the frame acts as a rear sight. While many shooters coming to the platform from modern 9 mm handguns may struggle at first, the sights on the TC9 are no less serviceable than other reproduction SAA revolvers. They are defined enough for shooting steel 66-percent IPSC silhouettes with ease, as well as making solid groups within 15 yards.
The important detail here is that the shooter must adjust properly to the sights on the TC9 to hit consistently. I found that, for the first few cylinders, I was grouping my shots centered, but well below the bullseye. I soon experimented with holding the front sight at different positions in the rear notch and firing to see where the round would impact. It became clear that I had not been reading the sights as they were meant to be read. This was an easy fix, after which the TC9 shot like a champ.
The TC9 provides the perfect answer to the dilemma of wanting a quality SAA reproduction, without breaking the bank when it comes time to buy ammunition. There are many shooters out there who deliberately own solely handguns in 9 mm for the convenience of buying and keeping a single ammunition type. Those shooters will now be able to experience a legendary firearm from our nation’s history without deviating from their round of choice.
The TC9 is more substantial than a rimfire SAA pistol when firing, but packs less recoil than many of its centerfire peers. The authentic look and feel of the TC9, paired with the fact that it’s both fun and cheap to shoot, make it an excellent choice for all manner of shooters. Those who want a handgun with historical flair, as well as solid plinking performance, should strongly consider the Taylor’s & Co. Tc9. To learn more, visit taylorsfirearms.com.