Taurus PT-1911AL 45 ACP Auto Pistol


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 4th, 2010




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It has been a little over four years now since Taurus entered the 1911 pistol market with their PT-1911. Right off the bat, the Taurus hit the market loaded with features. Since that time, Taurus has continued to expand the line, staying with a full-size 1911 platform featuring five inch barrels, and Taurus has not yet entered the compact and subcompact 1911 market. Up until now, all Taurus PT-1911 pistols have used forged steel or stainless steel frames; this latest version is still built as a full-size 1911, but uses a lightweight aluminum alloy frame, reducing the pistol’s weight by six ounces. This is significant in a carry pistol, and is a good combination of size and weight, allowing the user a full-size fighting pistol, but reducing the weight of the frame for comfortable carry. Having a five inch barrel and full-length slide combined with the lightweight frame give the Taurus a decidedly muzzle-heavy balance, which feels just wonderful to me. The balance makes the pistol hang well and point naturally. Shooting fast follow-up shots on target is quick and comfortable. The PT-1911AL with an empty magazine weighs 33 ounces.

The PT-1911AL is a beautiful pistol, at least to my eyes. It does not wear a highly-polished deep blue finish and checkered walnut stocks, but instead has an overall matte finish. The frame is a matte gray color, much like a bead-blasted stainless, but is instead a forged aluminum alloy. The rest of the exterior of the pistol is a flat black. The stocks are checkered black plastic, thinner than standard 1911 stocks, and give a really good feel to the pistol. The barrel is a matte stainless steel, exposed only at the muzzle and ejection port. The trigger pull on the test gun is very nice, releasing crisply at four and one-quarter pounds.

As I have not reviewed a Taurus 1911 in over two and one-half years, I will hit the high points of some of its features here. Most notable to me, being left-handed, is the extended ambidextrous safety. Taurus puts ambidextrous safeties on ALL of their 1911 pistols, which is as it should be. Most 1911 manufacturers only put them on their top-of-the-line models, but all of the Taurus 1911 pistols are top-of-the-line. In addition to the ambidextrous thumb safeties, the PT-1911s have a comfortable beavertail grip safety, rounded hammer, and ventilated trigger. The front and rear sights are dovetailed into the slide, and are of the sloped Novak style with the three-dot sight pattern. The blued steel magazines have an eight-shot capacity and a polymer base pad. The magazine release is slightly extended, and the recoil spring has a full-length steel guide rod. The lower front of the frame is checkered for a positive hold. The underside of the trigger guard is checkered as well. For what reason, I do not know. I have seen other makers checker the front of the trigger guard, but for some reason, Taurus checkers the underside. The flat mainspring housing is also checkered. The magazine well is slightly beveled, and the ejection port is enlarged for positive ejection of empty cartridge cases. The frame is polished and the chamber throated for reliable feeding of all types of 45 ACP ammunition. The ejector is slightly extended, to give the empty brass a good kick on its way out. These are some very good and often desired features that Taurus puts on these pistols, without charging a premium. Back thirty years ago, we paid pistol smiths good money for these types of upgrades to our 1911 pistols. I am glad to see them now as standard equipment on these Taurus pistols. When first introduced, I heard reports of some early guns that had a problem with the thumb safeties, but I have heard of no problems in the last few years with the PT-1911 series.

To test for functioning and accuracy, I gathered eleven different factory loads and one handload. Everything except for the handload and the military surplus WCC is loaded to Plus P pressures, and would serve very well as good fighting ammunition. The handload is my standard plinking load for the 45 ACP, using a 200 grain semi-wadcutter lead bullet with 5.5 grains of Winchester 231 powder, in a mixture of cases. Every brand and type of ammunition performed flawlessly through the Taurus. Every round fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. Ejection was to the right and rear of the shooter. Accuracy was very good to excellent, with all ammo tested, except for one load, grouping five shots at 25 yards into less than two and one-half inches. My handload grouped right at one and one-half inches, and the two Buffalo Bore loads grouped under two inches.

I tested for velocity with one of my chronographs set at twelve feet from the muzzle, and an air temperature of seventy-six degrees Fahrenheit. Velocities are listed in the chart below. FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. DPX is an homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. Glaser is a specialty pre-fragmented bullet inside a copper alloy jacket. PB is Pow’RBall. EPR and AF are high performance specialty bullets as loaded by Extreme Shock Ammunition. LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Cor-Bon JHP 200 1104
Cor-Bon JHP 165 1242
Cor-Bon JHP 230 921
Cor-Bon DPX 185 1033
Cor-Bon PB 165 1255
Cor-Bon Glaser 145 1229
Buffalo Bore JHP 230 970.4
Buffalo Bore FMJ 230 954.5
Handload LWSC 200 862.7
Extreme Shock EPR 185 1173
Extreme Shock AF 125 1419
WCC 1911 Ball FMJ 230 767.6

Again, all ammo fed and fired perfectly through the PT-1911AL. I found the pistol to be an excellent defense weapon, well-suited for open or concealed carry in a proper holster. To me, the Taurus is lacking in only one area, and that is, while it has an excellent set of sights, there is no capability for fighting in the dark. To correct this, one could add a set of tritium night sights, or even better, a quality laser sight. I chose the latter route, and ordered a set of Crimson Trace Lasergrips to install on the Taurus. I am a real believer in a good laser sight on a fighting pistol. All of my carry guns wear Crimson Trace Lasergrips. They are reliable and easy to see, no matter how dark or dimly lit the area. The CT unit is activated when you grip the weapon naturally. No switches to flip on, and the laser can be turned off simply by relaxing the grip on the activation switch under the middle finger. I do not know how long the battery life is on a CT Lasergrip. The one on my main pocket gun has had the original batteries for over five years, and I test the laser twice everyday. The CT Lasergrip does not alter the handling qualities at all, and the weapon will still fit the original holsters made for it. The factory sights remain in place, but the laser is always there, if needed.

Anyway, with the CT Lasergrip installed, this Taurus PT-1911AL could be the perfect fighting pistol……..for me. Your needs might be different, and I would not presume to choose another man’s weapon, any more than I would choose a wife for him. Any handgun is a compromise of concealability, power, price, features, and performance. We must each choose our own, and these days, there are many excellent weapons from which to choose. The Taurus PT-1911AL is among them, and so far, is my favorite in the line of Taurus 1911 pistols currently offered.

Check out the full line of Taurus products at www.taurususa.com.

For the location of a Taurus dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the PT-1911AL online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

To order any of the high performance ammunition shown here, go to www.cor-bon.com, www.buffalobore.com, or www.extremeshockusa.net.

For a look at the extensive line of Lasergrips available, go to www.crimsontrace.com.

Jeff Quinn


NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.


For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:


The PT-1911AL comes with hard case, two eight-shot magazines, bushing wrench, internal lock keys, and owner's manual.





Crimson Trace lasergrip.



Eight-shot magazine.



As with any 1911 pistol, the PT-1911AL disassembles easily.



PT-1911AL carries concealed easily and comfortably in Mernickle holster.



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Click pictures for a larger version.


Taurus PT-1911AL 45 ACP pistol.



Taurus Security System key lock makes the weapon inoperable, if desired.



Sights are of the popular "three-dot" configuration, and drift adjustable for windage.







Ambidextrous thumb safety.



Slide release.



Lightweight trigger.





Full-length steel guide rod.



Beveled magazine well.



Chamber is throated and polished.