A Polymer Consensus: The Taurus 24/7

 

by R.K. Campbell

photography by R.K. Campbell

March 24th, 2008

 

 

 

There comes a time when the eight track rear drive blue steel and walnut man much take notice of progress. As the pistol I discuss illustrates, true progress is a good thing. For most of my life I have used Smith and Wesson revolvers and Colt automatics. These handguns have served so well for so long in their respective duties I could not ask for anything better. But best is a relative term. Police service and personal defense differs, particularly concerning the individuals level of interest. Civilians tend to practice on their own time and their own dime. I practice, not simply qualify. Recently, a young officer asked if that was a 1911 in my shoulder holster. I replied it was a Springfield LW Government Loaded Model. He replied that only those who practice constantly should carry such a pistol. His investigative duties keep him so busy he preferred a pistol 'simple to use and maintain.' While hard core handgunners may flinch at such at pronouncement he is essentially correct. It all comes down to proficiency and attitude.

The double action only polymer frame pistols are simple enough to maintain and use. Training time is closely scrutinized by bean counting administrators. Training time is diminished by pistols such as the Glock. The Glock was first with the most, and while some of us never warmed up to the 'Glob' it has been enthusiastically accepted and has performed well when called upon. Just the same, over time certain faults have surfaced. When the shortcomings of the pistol are taken into consideration, there is a consensus of what is needed in a service pistol. The Glock is not singled out except in the sense that it is the majority pistol in police holsters at the moment.

When the 1911 was first becoming popular in competition and with some police agencies, a number of shortcomings were observed. The general agreement on upgrades became known as the consensus, and pistolsmiths began offering basic packages that formed a 'consensus'.  Consensus pistols featured improved sights, a speed safety, a trigger job and perhaps a ramp polish. By the same token we have reached a general agreement on polymer frame pistol improvement. The consensus pistol would need improved sights, a different trigger action, better hand fit, and superior safety features. Some also asked for a second strike capability in the trigger action and some modification to make the pistols less blocky.

All that was needed was for an enterprising maker to combine superior features in a single pistol and they would sweep the market. Such a handgun requires considerable levels of sophistication in technology and quality monitoring. Process and development issues in a fresh design are considerable. The problem with any process from one man shops to Six Sigma operations is human error. The bane of new products is insufficient testing. Design error, problems with suppliers, and short cuts taken to reach a launch window conspire against the timely introduction of handguns or other products. An emphasis on cost rather than quality may doom a product.  While a rush job is not good business, a late introduction may also prove costly. When all of these factors are considered it is praiseworthy when these hurdles are overcome and a successful pistol emerges.

I think that we have a consensus pistol at hand with the Taurus 24/7. The 24/7 addresses key issues with popular service pistols and accomplishes this goal so well there is little room for argument. We have a consensus service/polymer frame pistol that is so good it appeals to traditional shooters as well as fans of the 'black gun.'  The pistol is not terribly expensive and offers solid performance. The virtues of light weight, corrosion resistance, and low maintenance associated with polymer frame pistols are maintained in the 24/7.  The pistol maintains the simplicity of the type and the manual of arms is quickly learned- load, holster, draw, and fire.

The sights of the 24/7 are a considerable improvement over the blocky sights of many service pistols. Certain versions are fitted with Heinie custom Slant Pro sights. These sights feature the 'Eight Ball' two dot system that some of us appreciate.  I do not think the front sight of the 24/7 will be drug on during the draw as has happened with the plastic Glock sight.

The 24/7 features a smooth DAO trigger that differs considerably from other types. The action is smooth and while the weight is advertised at eight pounds, it feels lighter. I disagree with the designation of the 24/7 Pro series as double action/single action. It is true that once the long pull has been taken, you may merely take up slack and have a shorter press but this is also true of the Glock. My definition of double action is that the trigger press raises and drops a hammer. The 24/7 is striker fired. In any case, the Pro action is smooth and consistent. The trigger isnít prepped against the striker.  The 24/7 has a feature that neither the Glock nor the 1911 has: the 24/7 has a second strike capability. If the pistol does not go bang you may simply press the trigger again for another go. In my experience a dud round seldom fires on the second try, but then sometimes it does. Plus, the action allows endless dry fire, which the 1911 and the Glock do not.

The 24/7 breaks down simply enough, but not quite as quickly as the Glock. But it does not have to be decocked - the trigger pressed - to be broken down, which is a plus. True safety is between the ears, not in a mechanical device, but the consensus is that we needed more safety features. The pistol also features an obligatory action lock that firmly locks the piece down with the simple turn of a key.

In hand fit the pistol excels. All who handled and fired the pistol commented on the good hand fit. This is accomplished without the aid of removable grip inserts. Despite the presence of an all steel seventeen round magazine in my personal 9mm version, the pistol features a grip frame that fits most hands quite well. The topping is a rubber overlay of the ribber type first used on Taurus Magnum revolvers. The advantage crosses over to the automatic pistol well. Trigger reach is good. Double action triggers require the trigger finger to sweep down in an arc and press the trigger to the rear while single action triggers allow straight to the rear compression. Slots in the frame similar to those on the 1911A1 pistol allow the trigger reach to be further shortened. Overall the trigger action is very good by DAO standards.

The pistol features the standard internal safety features such as a firing pin block. The great advantage of the design is the manual safety. This safety blocks both the trigger and the slide when applied. I believe that the advantages of the automatic pistol are abrogated when the piece does not have a manual safety. A manual safety may buy time in the face of a gun grabber. I can understand the common verdict by agencies in disallowing officers to carry various Beretta and Smith and Wesson pistols on safe. The slide mounted safety of such pistols is difficult to quickly manipulate and is best manipulated in the holster, when the pistol is drawn. The 24/7 features a frame mounted safety that falls under the thumb as easily as that of the 1911 pistol. The safety may be manipulated on the draw or after the pistols is on target with no loss of speed. The pistol is as safe as the Glock or Smith and Wesson Military and Police if carried with the safety off, but I highly recommend the safety be used on the 24/7. Comments were positive concerning this safety. True safety is between the ears but I applaud this design feature.

There are other features of the 24/7 worth noting. The pistols features a loaded chamber indicator in the form of an extractor that protrudes when the chamber is loaded in Beretta 92 fashion. This gives both a tactile and visual confirmation the piece is loaded. There is the obligatory light rail. I am not certain I wish to turn my handgun into a beacon but the rail is an obligatory feature in order to remain competitive and it is as good as any other.

The pistol's slide is thinner than most at one inch. It is beveled and very good looking, even compared to my revered Browning designed pistols. I will reiterate the obvious: the 24/7 differs considerably in detail from other polymer frame pistols. My person 24/7 is the Long Slide version. The Long Slide is simply a pistol with a 5.25 inch barrel in contrast to the standard four inch barrel version. The longer pistol weighs but 30.5 ounces. The LS version is scarcely longer than the 4.49 inch barrel Glock 17 but somewhat more compact than the Long Slide Glock. The pistol points well and feels good in my hand. The longer sight radius may not be quite as quick on the target at short range but is accurate due to the longer sight radius. An advantage in ballistics is obvious. I ordered the pistol in 9mm Luger because the 9mm is inexpensive to fire and the pistol is an experiment designed to be fired by shooters of diverse ability and experience. My personal preference is for the calibers beginning with a four. Just the same, a 115 grain hollowpoint at 1400 fps is comforting. That's right, 1400 fps. The extra one and one quarter inch of barrel gets the legendary Cor Bon +P loading to 1,400 fps. Cor Bon is a little faster than it used to be and the 4.49 inch Glock and five inch High Power pistols I have tested develop well over the stated 1350 fps.  A light, controllable 9mm spitting a well designed bullet out at 1400 fps is a bit of a marvel.

The eighteen round capacity is comforting. Consider the example of Officer Robert Wuller of Philadelphia, the 2006 Officer of the Year. Wuller kicked down a door to confront suspects who had tied a family up and were stabbing some of the family members. He confronted two armed suspects and downed both in a flurry of 9mm rounds. Officer Wuller fired ten rounds - the perps were DOA.  Sometimes our protein-fed ex con criminal class can take a lot of hits. The easy shooting 9mm with good loads will do the business. As Robert Wuller proved, the man or woman behind the gun is most important.

My personal 24/7 is a joy to shoot and quite accurate at any reasonable range. Man sized targets are in danger well past fifty yards. At twenty five yards bench rest groups of less than three inches are common with quality ammunition. The Cor Bon 115 grain JHP has given excellent results and so have a number of quality loads and my own handloads. With nearly two thousand rounds in the piece, I am impressed. There have been no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject.

Issues

Before I am accused of looking through the gun writer's rose colored glasses, let me assure you I have not suspended critical judgment for access. There are issues with the 24/7, but they are at present simply unanswered questions rather than faults. My tests indicate that everything is indeed rosy with the piece but there are hurdles to be overcome. 

First, the issue of quality. Taurus was once known as a maker of inexpensive clones of the Smith and Wesson revolver and Beretta automatic pistol. While quality has steadily improved, I maintain that you have always gotten your money's worth with the Taurus line. I recall a time when Taurus revolvers cost about half the tariff for a Smith.  Today, Taurus has reached world quality status and the price differential is not as severe although still in Taurus' favor. Recently, Philippine police placed an order for 5,000 Taurus pistols to replace their aging Beretta 92 pistols after a rigorous testing. As far as quality goes, the 24/7 has transcended its roots.

The other shortcoming is a lack of a rigorous police or military test program, although the Philippine's test program is a start. Some years ago the Ohio State Patrol tested nineteen pistol types, ten of each example,  for one hundred ninety pistols to the tune of two hundred twenty eight thousand rounds of ammunition. Even mid size agencies test pistols to ten thousand rounds or more, and most smaller agencies rely upon the big guys' test program and buy in on very reasonable 'state contract' prices.  In the light of such tests a single example nearing two thousand rounds is interesting but not earth shaking. So, it is very much wait and see. At this point I am enthusiastic concerning the 24/7 and added to my personal battery. The pistol looks good and I am certain rank and file and bean counters alike will take notice.

R.K. Campbell

 

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

While opinions differ, this is the first polymer frame pistol the author has found handsome. Perhaps our eyesight isn't what it used to be but the 24/7 is finding its way into the gun safe of more than one 1911 fan.

 

 

The author found the 24/7 is a good fit in this DeSantis shoulder holster originally intended for the 1911.

 

 

If preferred the pistol may be carried safety off, but the presence of a manual safety is appreciated by many of us.

 

 

The author found the presence of both a manual safety and Heinie sights a boon.

 

 

The bold post Heinie front sight is a superior sight that gives a good sight picture.

 

 

The manual safety of the 24/7 is located on the frame rather than on the slide. This comparison with the Beretta 92 shows the obvious advantage of the frame mounted safety. It is much closer to a comfortable thumb position.

 

 

There have been very few times the author has admitted anything is comparable to a good 1911 but the safety of the Taurus 24/7 is as fast and positive as the 1911 safety.

 

 

The frame mounted Taurus safety is much quicker to manipulate than the slide mounted safety.

 

 

The 24/7 is a purposeful handgun in appearance, with a profile both modern and reflective of superior handguns of the past.

 

 

The author proofed the handgun with numerous +P and +P+ loads including the Winchester 127 grain SXT +P+- function was good.

 

 

When the ergonomic grip and superior frame mounted safety are compared, the  24/7 pistol is more attractive than double action first shot pistols. But we are waiting for the track record to accumulate.

 

 

The Taurus pistol combines modern styling and material with a purposeful look many find attractive.

 

 

We found maintenance simple, usually just lock the slide back and brush the chamber. We are at 450 rounds without cleaning, just a wipe down in this photograph. 

 

 

Would the author feel comfortable with the 24/7 if he were back in service? The answer is yes.

 

 

The 24/7 is reliable, accurate, easy to use well and with features many of us have asked for. It should prosper.

 

 

The 9mm Luger cartridge is a good cartridge for recreational use and for informal target practice. This young lady appreciates the 9mm.

 

 

The 24/7's distinctive lines are showing up often on the pistol range.

 

 

A combination of good features including a decent trigger action and Heinie sights make the 24/7 an attractive pistol and a good performer.

 

 

The 24/7 is a powerful centerfire pistol but one that a beginner may use well and not become intimidated.

 

 

Jessica says, 'I like this one!'

 

 

For general home defense an eighteen shot 9mm pistol has much appeal. This young lady is getting her time in.

 

 

This young lady finds the 24/7 has an ergonomic grip, good sights, and light recoil.  This is a pistol that will not limit the expert or tax the beginner.