Taurus PT-140 Millenium Pro Review: 1400 rounds


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John Wayne
May 21, 2009, 02:47 PM
I purchased this pistol in September of 2008, and have commented on various aspects of it in posts here on THR and elsewhere, but have held off on doing a full review until I’ve had ample time to fully evaluate it. I have fired approximately 1,400 rounds through the gun and feel like I have about as good an understanding of the pistol, its qualities and limitations, and I’m going to get.

For the sake of brevity, I will list my likes and dislikes and comment on them individually, rather than writing a book 

THINGS I LIKE:

Balance – As can be seen in the pictures, this pistol balances perfectly on just about any axis you can set it on. It balances with the grip on the table whether the mag is empty or full, and whether or not the slide is retracted. It even balances on the barrel, except the rounded guide rod won’t allow it to stay level. In the hand, it is dead level, neither front nor back heavy.

Ease of Maintenance – One pin and no tools for basic field stripping. As far as cleaning, I field strip the gun, spray out the crud with non-chlorinated aerosol automotive disc brake cleaner, clean the barrel with brush and patches, then lube rails, pivot points, barrel OD, etc. with wheel bearing grease. The lockwork and controls get a light coat of Rem-Oil.

Reliability – In 1400 rounds, I have experienced 3 failures. One was a WWB 165 gr. Cartridge that failed to fire; it finally fired after striking the primer four times. Normally, this was a case where you’d do a “tap, rack, bang” drill but I wanted to see if the double strike feature actually made a difference. It did, but it would only be of use if this was your last round. All other fired cases have nice, positive dents in the primer so I think this was just a “dud” round.

The next two occurred around the 1300 round mark (heh, maybe it’s cursed?). I had two failures to eject with CCI Blazer Brass 180 gr. Ammunition, about 20 rounds apart from each other. Since I have experienced no more failures before or after with other ammo, I have attributed this to the ammunition rather than the firearm.

Second-strike capability – Rather than having a long, heavy, DAO pull or a light pre-cocked striker type trigger which relies on the cycling of the slide, the pistol functions as a pre-cocked striker design that reverts to DA should the slide fail to cycle (if the round doesn’t go off). The user will likely never encounter the DA mode except when dry-firing.

External manual safety – Some like this, some don’t. I realize its limitations but I like it anyway. In this case, the safety is easy to use but does not protrude so as to catch on anything. I have never had it deactivate while carrying, or activate while shooting. It effectively blocks movement of both trigger and slide when engaged.

Recessed magazine release -– Something often overlooked on carry guns. The MP’s release protrudes just enough to facilitate quick mag changes, but I have never inadvertently dropped the mag while carrying or shooting, a problem I have encountered with other small autos like the Kahr PM9, PM40, Kel-Tec P3AT, and others.

Quality steel magazines – The two mags that come with the gun are well-made. They are easy to load, have a nice bright orange follower to show that they’re empty, always activate the slide stop when they’re supposed to, and feed 100% reliably. They drop free when released and snap in securely when inserted.

This was another selling point for me, as other pistols I considered that cost a lot more came with crappy magazines. Glock mags are plastic, which seems to be an issue since Glock keeps using more and more metal in their construction to address previous issues. The Kahrs I shot had rough edges on the mag lips that cut my fingers, weak, uneven spring tension that caused misfeeds, and were hard to load. The PT140’s mags disassemble easily and the spring does not fly out when you remove the floorplate.

Ergonomics, and controls – Another big selling point for me. While not much physically thinner than the Glock offerings, the PT140 feels a lot better. Capacity is similar but the grip allows me to get all my fingers on it. It also doesn’t feel like a 2x4. I added a Hogue Hand-All slip on grip for a while, which improved the comfort and ergonomics of the gun a good bit, but I took it off because the tacky rubber texture caused cover garments to cling to it and made the gun “print” more.

The grip is textured in strategic locations. Rough texturing on the front and back straps provide good purchase for the hand, while smoother patches on the sides add grip without biting during recoil. There are two recesses on the sides of the frame toward the front of the pistol, which are perfectly positioned for my support hand thumb (on the left) and my trigger finger when not shooting (on the right).

All controls are textured, and easy to reached. The safety clicks positively in both positions. The slide release is easy to reach

Price – At the time of purchase, these pistols could be had for $325 (blued) or $375 (stainless)

Sights – The pistol features a set of Heine “Straight-8” sights. Similar to the SIG “dot the I” configuration, these allow the shooter to simply stack the white dot on the front sight on top of the white dot on the rear to line them up. For more precise shooting, the sights can be used in the conventional method.

I like that they’re metal (not plastic), serrated to reduce glare, and offer plenty of daylight on either side of the front sight. They are low profile but still very visible for quick target acquisition. They are also dovetailed in and easily adjustable for windage with the included allen wrench.

Safety features – The pistol incorporates a positive firing pin block, a mechanism which prevents movement of the trigger bar without the trigger being depressed (and without the addition of a stupid kickstand-like protrusion from the front of the trigger), and a manual safety which block both the trigger and slide movement. There is also a key lock which renders the pistol inoperable.

Taurus lock – Normally, I’m not a fan of internal locking mechanisms. I can honestly say that the Taurus lock is an excellent asset on this pistol. Unlike other designs which require backstraps to be removed, grip panels to be removed, etc., the Taurus design is easily activated externally. It is also not an intrusive part which can be inadvertently activated. It simply works by locking the slide back and turning a screw via the supplied key (which is the same for all Taurus models, meaning you don’t have to pay an outrageous amount of money to the company should you lose it). The screw then prevents the slide from moving forward and thus prevents the pistol from returning to battery and chambering or firing a round.

When activated, there is no question as to whether the pistol is locked or not, as with other locking mechanisms. It is easy to use, quick to deactivate, and very convenient for whenever you want to restrict access to the pistol.

I thought I would never use it, but it has proven convenient. In one case, I was staying in a hotel and wanted to go down to the bar. Not wanting the cleaning staff to have access to my pistol, I locked the slide, activated the lock and went about my business. Much more convenient than having to carry a separate cable lock.

Lightweight, compact -- This gun’s size puts it in a somewhat unique category. It is not so small, light, or thin to be considered a “pocket gun.” Its larger size makes it more shootable than other pocket guns in full sized calibers though, but it is still small enough to be carried concealed in areas where other compact autos would not work. I have carried the pistol OWB in a pancake holster under an untucked shirt (though not a t-shirt) and in larger coat pockets.

Very positive extraction due to massive fixed extractor

Loaded chamber indicator can be seen and felt – While one should always check the chamber to verify a firearm unloaded, this indicator allows you to discretely feel it to assure that you have a round in the chamber.

MIRROR polished feed ramp --Polished over its entire surface for reliable feeding. It’s actually been roughened up rather than smoothed by use  All fouling wipes right off the slick surface.


DISLIKES

-Trigger pull is long with resistance in the very last bit. Very hard pull, but it breaks cleanly and reset is quick…

-Lack of aftermarket parts (holsters, recoil springs, barrels, lasergrips, sights, etc.); This is not a fault of the manufacturer by any means, but it is a consideration.

-Recoil is managable but not pleasant. It handles the .40 S&W cartridge better than the Kahr, but extended shooting sessions will leave your hand sore. I really think a stronger recoil spring would cure this (the gun throws brass a good 15 feet or more), but I have not been able to find one anywhere.

-The firing pin drags, but hasn’t seemed to matter with regard to reliability.

-As with most modern autos, the “looks” of the pistol are somewhat spoiled by the addition of the Taurus “Millenium Pro” billboard, along with various warnings, cautions, locking devices, serial number in a bajillion places, etc. Otherwise, I think it’s a very attractive piece.

*Pics to Follow*

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John Wayne
May 21, 2009, 02:53 PM
Pics

John Wayne
May 21, 2009, 03:01 PM
Four characters.

JohnnyOrygun
May 21, 2009, 04:21 PM
Good Review, nice to have a long term review. Three malfunctions in 1400 rounds is very good and I would trust it for CC purposes. Also nice to have a positive review of a Taurus, my first center fire handgun was a Taurus and I liked it very much. The price was right and it served me well for about 3 years before I had the funds to get a nicer gun (nicer in fit and finish and super smooth action)

Thanks for your review, good job.

JohnnyOrygun

jpwilly
May 22, 2009, 01:40 AM
I have the PT145 and your review is spot on...good job.

6x6pinz
May 22, 2009, 04:41 PM
pretty much the same take on the pistol with the exception of the felt recoil. This is probably due to the type of firearms I tend to shoot. I recently picked up the 380 version to go with my 40 and it is even nicer to shoot. Could not believe the accuracy from such a small package.

the-ghost
May 23, 2009, 01:02 PM
good review. while i don't own the pistol. one of my shooting buddy's got one in a trade NIB. i've seen 500 rounds of crappy remax go through it in a day with no feed problems.

i found it a bit snappier than my g23, and xd 40. but this isn't an issue for me. i liked grip size and shape but the thing i noticed was the checkering of the grip was painful after a few mags. i'm sure a little light sanding would get rid of that. i disliked the long trigger stroke. it feels like the gun isn't chambered or should have already fired before you hit resistance as noted in your review.

reliable, well made, accurate pistol at a nice price! kinda snazzy looking too.

John Wayne
May 25, 2009, 12:55 AM
Yeah, an heirloom piece it ain't, but it does work.

6x6pinz, how many rounds do you have through yours? I'm wondering at what round count I need to replace the recoil spring.

6x6pinz
May 25, 2009, 07:36 AM
The pt140 has approximately 1500 rounds and the 380 (due to the lack of 380 ammo) only has a few hundred. No indication that any of the springs are in need of replacement. Just let a friend of mine take it out this weekend. He is comparing it to my SW4056, size and feel. He is still not accepting the poly framed pistols but we will see after this weekend.

William235
May 25, 2009, 04:13 PM
I have had this weapon for 3 years now and I like it very much for many of the reasons that John Wayne said. My only gripe is that I occasionally get a failure to fire on the first round of a clip. two or three pulls make it go bang, but it is not supposed to be that way for a carry weapon. In all fairness, I have not returned it to Taurus for repair. Looks like a light strike on the primer. That being said, it is the gun I carry most days when clothing permits in a K&D IWB holster.

huckster
May 25, 2009, 04:46 PM
I'm glad you got a good one!

Sadly, the one I had was a real lemon. Pretty random FTF (light primer strikes) usually once, but sometimes twice in a single magazine. Refire attempts were usually unsuccessful. Sent it back to taurus three times, still no resolution. Eventually gave it to a friend who has more patience than I do.


Very well written review though - if mine had been reliable I'd still have it. It was really surprising how accurate it was for such a small gun.

William235
May 26, 2009, 05:47 PM
Huckster, it looks like you and I might have had the same problem. The one thing is that on mine it was always (99.99%) on the first round in the mag and usually (75%) of the time went bang on second strike. I would love to send it back and get it looked at, though it seems it might be fruitless to do so. In all fairness to Taurus, if it is a problem that is hard to recreate, it is hard to fix. I am carrying one right now but in the back of my mind I am hearing "will it fire if I need it to?"

whatnickname
May 26, 2009, 07:57 PM
I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your review. This is perhaps the real advantage of this forum...real reviews with real folks that do not have any particular axe to grind and using stock guns. The common thread I see with Taurus on this web site, from gun to gun of all makes and models is spotty quality and customer service that gets mixed reviews. You obviously got a good one. Other folks have not. Of course I see some other pretty big names get trashed on this site too. It's just my unscientific opinion that Taurus gets a disproportionate share of disparaging remarks. Too bad too...I was really giving some serious thought to getting one of these as a carry gun.

Thanks again for all the time and effort you put into this!

GHS

John Wayne
May 26, 2009, 08:32 PM
Thanks for the comments, guys.

In all fairness I have had a bad experience with Taurus as well. I was shopping for a .22 LR pistol and considering a few of the usual candidates like the Browning Buckmark, Ruger Mk. III, etc.

My good experience with Taurus led me to decide on their model 94 4" revolver. It had a nice finish and felt good in my hand. Its 9-shot cylinder held almost as many rounds as its 10-shot semiauto competitors, but allowed me to shoot .22 short, ratshot, etc. without feeding issues.

I had avoided this particular model because of how loose and sloppy the timing felt. When I found one in a display that seemed a lot tighter than the others I'd felt, I didn't hesitate to buy it. This gun cycled fine in the store, DA pull was incredbily heavy but the SA was crisp. As soon as I put ammo in it, the cylinder would hang up on the same chamber every time and refuse to turn (*NOTE* this should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks a revolver is drop-dead reliable and the only function test needed is to see if it dry fires--you actually have to shoot the thing to see if it works!).

Sent it back to Taurus, had it back within a month, free of charge. Apparently they "fixed" the problem by making the tolerances so sloppy nothing could possibly obstruct the gun from functioning. Needless to say, it shot horribly. I was almost afraid it would skip a chamber or two if it were any looser.

It was a shame too, I really wanted to like that gun. Good price, good sights and a nice size. Oh well. It didn't hold its value nearly as well as a more reputable manufacturer's product would have when I sold it, either.

So yes, you are taking a gamble with some of their products. Like Kel-Tec, I think Taurus is a company that really wants to be innovative and produce quality guns. Lots of their designs bring things to the market that other companies simply don't offer, but spotty quality will have me hesitant to buy another Taurus. That said, I have heard bad things from just about every manufacturer, from H&K, Glock, SIG, Colt, Kimber, the list goes on. At least with a Taurus you get the lifetime warranty and (in my experience) good customer service to back it up.

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