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
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.
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|Buffalo Bore FMJ
|Extreme Shock EPR
|Extreme Shock AF
|WCC 1911 Ball FMJ
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
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,
For a look at the extensive line of
Lasergrips available, go to www.crimsontrace.com.