Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quest for the Holy Handgun: Taurus pt917c

I love it when people comment on my blog.  Especially when a person leaves anonymous fishing/deer hunting tips for my area, and then comes back a few days later to leave me a comment that says "Sunday's Journal Star newspaper,Bass Pro ad.. Taurus 917,9mm-19rd= 349.00"  (Thanks again Anonymous, I appreciate the heads up and tips.)

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. 

Minute differences

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.
  • Ambidextriociousness:  
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.


JusPasnThru said...

I'd choose the Taurus 917-c over ANY Glock any time. ~ Yes, I've had experience with several Glocks over the years as well as S&W, Colt, Walther, etc.

Anonymous said...

I purchased the 917 C from Bass Pro for the grand opening sale. Couldn't be happier, it is a great gun, fun to shoot. I do agree that carrying it is a bit akward, I have been looking for a better holster but todate the best fit is a tactical which is big and bulky. Combined with the 19 round clip, which I never use when carrying, it has been a trick concealing it well over the summer. Winter is fine, I am also a big guy. I have shot a lot of glocks (they are popular you know) and IMO, I will take a Taurus.

Param Singh said...

Which fiber optic sight did you use on the Taurus 917 cs

Jon Sideno said...

I have been carrying The PT 917C since 1997.Needless to say, I have the best of both worlds, the familiar feel of an M9/M92F Beretta, capacity of a Glock 17/19 ,the safety of a Sig P226/228 and the cock and lock carry of an M1911.And it shoots like a dream, I can put 1-1/2" to 2" groupings at 10 -15 meters.Especially using either Speer Lawman 115g FMJ or FIOCCHI 124g MilSpec Flatnose. Overall, I trust my life with it. You can use holsters designed for the Beretta M9 series, found a couple from Bianchi and recently, Fobus and Blackhawk.

Anonymous said...

I bought a 917c two weeks ago. I chose this gun because I was familiar with the PT92 and loved it, the 917c was on sale and I had an extra magazine for it. There is a 35 day wait period on the gun, but the gun shop allowed me to try the gun at their shooting range yesterday. The gun worked flawlessly but I was very disappointed with the accuracy. I could not get two shots within 3 inches of each other at 6 yards. I expressed my concern to one of the salesmen at the store. He simple took me back to the range and proceeded to shoot two mags through my gun at six yards with consistent groupings of UNDER one inch. "The gun is fine", he finally said. "You can trust it. You only need to practice and get used to it." He gave me an extra free box of ammo and left me there to practice. I followed his instructions to the letter and voila, within two magazines I was consistently grouping within 1 and a half inches. So it was not the gun but the shooter. I think it's gonna be a great gun.


Can u suggest a couple level 2 and 3 duty holsters for the pistol please.

Bobby ODonald said...

I have a Taurus PT-917-C and Love it. I have only shot about 500 rounds down the pipe and no issues. The Weapon is very accurate. Matter of fact the only 9mm that I have and the only one I need in that caliber.

Anonymous said...

Accurate, reliable, perhaps the best Taurus ever made. Out shines the Beretta with the safety decocker the more intelligent ergonomics of placing the safety on the frame; when you rack the slide you cannot accidentally slip it into safety. How many troops have wished this had never happened?? Cocked and locked carry just like a 1911, but with more rounds to send in the enemies direction. Easy take down and reassembly. Comfortable with Hogue grips and the same retention holsters that fit the M4 fit it. With a very slight modification it will use Beretta magazines, Especially the newer ones. Have one blued, one stainless; my version of Thunder and Lightning. God Bless America! We're ready for any invaders. Pray for peace prepare for war.
Jon Baker

Anonymous said...

I live in Venezuela and bought my PT917 in 1998, almost half the price of a Glock and/or Beretta. I've put through it at least 2000 rounds of reloaded, FMJ, hollow point ammo and not one single malfunction! In competitions I'd beat up guys showing off their much-more-expensive guns including Ruger, Steyr and the aforementioned, since I can carry it cocked and locked it has a light trigger pull that makes it very accurate; on the other hand, daily carry in DA mode (hammer down, safety on or off), makes it much safer to go around with. I could travel across the country with it in a fanny pack and three full loaded 17-round mags, felt pretty safe with it! I still have my PT 917 with me, but since severe govt restrictions I've got it in a safe place ready for use in case I have to defend my life or my family's!