So, I checked out the flier online. Indeed, Bass Pro is selling Taurus pt917s at a $130 discount as part of their grand opening sale. The only problem was I'd never heard of a Taurus 917. Thus began a flurry of Googling, learning, and decision making. To have all this new Taurus knowledge in my head and not compile it into a QHH post would be a crime. So let's learn a bit about the Taurus pt917c.
Beretta manufactures a gun the military has named the m92. It has been the standard sidearm of our armed forces for 25 odd years. If the name doesn't ring a bell, a picture will, I guarantee you've seen it.
|"Ohhhhh, that one."|
Anyway, back in the late 70's/early 80's, Beretta won a contract to sell a buttload of m92s to Brazil. However, Brazil had a law that said guns had to be manufactured in Brazil to be sold in Brazil. (Kind of like how guns sold in the US have to have a certain amount of parts manufactured here in the States.) So, Beretta builds this massive factory with the sole intent of mass producing m92s. They make a bunch of them, sell them, and make a bunch of cash. Then the contract is over. They decide to sell the factory (along with all of the specialized m92 equipment) to Taurus.
Taurus of course starts pumping out m92 clones. At first exact copies, then eventually making modifications such as moving the safety from the slide to the frame, adding an accessory rail, and increasing the magazine capacity from 15 to 17 to stay competitive with Glock.
Eventually, they decided that the front of the gun could stand to lose about an inch from the barrel and slide. (The way the barrel stuck out of the front of the slide was goofy anyway IMO.) The result of this cutdown was the pt917c:
|See the difference? This one has the 19 round mag in it and an aftermarket fiber optic front sight.|
Let's take a look at some of my criteria and see how it matches up. I'm going to leave out caliber since it's a 9mm and I think we've rehashed that I think that's a satisfactory caliber.
Reliability: Being an almost exact copy of the sidearm our military uses should mean ultimate reliability, right? You'd think so. And in fact, Beretta is lauded for making a very quality product. Search the internet for Taurus quality control and you'll get a mixed bag. However, some of it seems to be guys that are upset they spent a couple hundred dollars more for a Beretta. It's hard to find actual documented evidence of serious reliability issues. The pt917 has a open top to the slide, which avoids alot of failure to eject malfunctions you can get in alot of other firearms. Add to that the fact that Taurus has an unconditional lifetime warranty that follows the gun, not the owner (as in, I could buy used and still be completely covered under warranty) and Reliability comes out to be a PRO.
Capacity: The pt917 ships with one 17 round and one 19 round magazine. Whoa. Highest factory capacity yet. The 19 round magazine looks a little goofy, sticking out a bit, but no worse than a Glock magazine with a +2 extension. (And they come standard at 19 rounds, so that means you don't have to tinker around, taking off the baseplate from your magazine and installing the extension yourself.) When it comes to Capacity, the pt917 has to be a huge PRO.
Carryability: Believe it or not, the "c" in pt917c stands for compact. Maybe it should be for "compact-er", because cutting that inch off the end of the gun doesn't make it compact by any means, only brings it down to the size of other full size pistols. Combine that with a heavy weight (over 30oz.) and Carryability has to be a CON.
- Looks: I said above, I think cutting off the extra inch from the front of the gun was an improvement. I think the original Beretta was designed that way so military operators could use a threaded barrel and use a silencer. It looks like something the military would use in this chopped down configuration. I like the safety switches and hammer. The only downside is the 19 round mag looks crazy. (Which is remedied easily enough, just use the 17 rounder.
- Customizability: Meh. The usual accessory rail allows lasers/lights/etc., and you get can get custom grips. Other than that there's not alot of options.
- History/Track Record: The 617 has none. However, the m92 (the gun that the gun that this gun is based upon is based upon, remember?) has been serving our military for over 25 years. Does that translate to having any effect on the 617? For me it does, but it's not that much.
- Safety: Take the safety features of the 1911 and the SIG 2022 and put them together and there you go. It has a safety lever AND decocker. So you can walk around with one in the pipe and feel very secure in your guns ability to not go off.
The only real con detracting from the 917 in my eyes is its carryability. Since I'm a big dude and it probably wouldn't be a hindrance for me, it's not a big deal to me. Honestly, if I had the $350 I'd be buying this gun tomorrow night. I have some spare cash but not enough and the sale is only lasting till the 9th. After the price goes back up though, it's right on par with a Glock. If I had to choose between the two at their standard rates, I'd probably go with a Glock just because of superior reliability and huge aftermarket... um... market.
What do you think? Would you pick up the 917 over something else? Ever shot one before?
Coming soon on QHH: PPK, a Ruger handgun, and some kind of revolver.