Now Available in the U.S. Market

by Tommy Grant

Our Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous in Idaho is always an exciting time because it showcases a lot of new guns. Many of these guns won’t be officially released until months later at SHOT Show. One new pistol in particular this year comes from Taurus—the TS9.

The Taurus TS9 Full-Size Pistol

My first thought was this was another polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol in an already crowded market. I told Caleb Giddings from Taurus this and asked what was going to set the TS9 apart from the crowd. He smiled and agreed with me that it was a crowded market—except where the TS9 was competing.

He explained NATO has a pistol-proof test. Any law enforcement agency or military in NATO that chooses a sidearm must pick from the list of handguns that have passed it. And the list isn’t very long.

Many of us are familiar with NATO EPVAT testing, even if we don’t know the name. NATO standards for ammunition and the maximum pressures allowed are a cornerstone for reloaders. Specifically, because they keep people from accidentally blowing up their guns.

I did not realize NATO has similar standards for firearms themselves. I did a little research and, unfortunately, couldn’t find the actual protocol itself. However, I did discover a number of firearms that I consider to be of higher quality that did not pass. Apparently, this test is no joke.

Caleb explained that Taurus released the TS9 several years ago overseas. Correspondingly, the Brazilian Department of Federal Police, as well as some units of the Brazilian military, adopted it as their official sidearm several years ago. It is also carried by the Philippine National Police and a few other nations.

Although it has been available to agencies overseas for years, this is the first time it has been offered domestically.

The TS9 In Hand

I am always leery of new guns when they are first introduced. I typically tell people to wait a year or two before they buy any new offerings. The same holds true, whether it be a car or a gun. This allows any problems to be discovered by the users and fixed by the manufacturer.

By the second or third year, the kinks are worked out, and you have a more dependable weapon. However, in this case, the TS9 has technically been out since 2018, and carried by thousands of professionals for years. So, any of the kinks have already been worked out.

When you pick up the TS9, it is obvious that the designers had some good input from professional shooters. First, although it looks kind of blocky, the grip feels great. The texture on it matches the texture on skateboard tape almost exactly.

It has four interchangeable backstraps marked “A,” “M,” “B,” and “EB” in order from largest to smallest. Yeah, I don’t know what those stand for either. But when you lay them beside each other on the table, it is easy to compare their sizes.

The grip features an interchangeable backstrap and includes three extra backstraps.

A supplied tool makes switching them out a snap. Additionally, the backstrap on the grip is also very high, which aids in controllability for faster follow-up shots.

The gun is designed to be fully ambidextrous with an identical slide release on both sides and an ambi (not reversible) magazine release. Both are well-designed and easy to use. In addition, the frame is molded to come up and shield them from being accidentally hit or digging into your hand when firing.

The dust cover has a Picatinny rail for accessories. Oddly, at first glance, there is no takedown lever. This helps give the pistol a very sleek and minimalist look.

An Interesting Safety Feature

The trigger guard is the most unique of any pistol I have ever seen. First, it has a trigger block that can be flipped up to block the trigger from being accidentally depressed. Never having seen this feature on a pistol, I am not sure how necessary it is.

The trigger guard has a trigger block that can be flipped up to block the trigger from being accidentally depressed.

However, I liked that it can be flipped down out of the way with the trigger finger before firing. It is simply an extra manual safety. Because it is so unique, I can see it being used heavily by law enforcement as an extra measure. If a bad guy gets the cop’s gun, they won’t know how to disengage it without taking some time to carefully examine the pistol.

Taurus TS9 Takedown

Remember how I mentioned there isn’t a takedown lever? There is a spring-loaded takedown button built into the inside, front of the trigger guard. Press it forward, and the slide rocks forward slightly and lifts straight up off the frame. And unlike most other striker-fired pistols, depressing the trigger isn’t necessary.

To reassemble, set the slide right back onto the frame, rack it once, and it is locked back on.

As I mentioned before, the slide looks kind of blocky. Part of this is because the ejection port is only on the side. So, it does not open up across the top of the slide like most other pistols.

The Taurus TS9 full-size pistol.

Both the front and rear sights are dovetailed, which is a nice feature for replacement and any necessary sight adjustments. Both sights are held in place by small Allen screws.

In addition, there are matching forward and rear cocking serrations. The top of the slide is completely flat and smooth (a perfect spot for engraving). However, the top does include the words “loaded when up” and an arrow pointing to the small, loaded chamber indicator.

Finally, inside the slide is a firing pin block safety that prevents the gun from firing when dropped or jarred.

Shooting the TS9

My initial range time was at Cowtown Range for the accuracy portion. Because this is a full-size pistol, I benched it at 25 yards. Accuracy was certainly acceptable, but I did feel like the pistol got cheated.

I was using simple iron sights, and in my experience, if I had mounted a red dot onto the gun, I could have gotten smaller shot groupings. The fault is simply eyesight and the ability to hold a dot on a target easier than lining up iron sights.

The author shoots the firearm from the bench to test for accuracy.

Next, I took the TS9 to Gunsite for quality range time with seasoned instructors to see how the gun handled.

First, the trigger is excellent for a factory, striker-fired pistol trigger. There is an initial takeup, and then it presses smoothly back until it fires. It does feel a little mushy, but it is easy to have each shot surprise you. Also, the reset on the trigger is very tactile, with a solid click that can be felt and heard.

The pistol had zero malfunctions all day. However, this wasn’t surprising, considering that the NATO pistol certification includes a 20,000-round torture test.

The author shooting the Taurus TS9 full-size pistol at Gunsite.

Probably my favorite feature of the TS9 turned out to be the grip. It is very ergonomic, and the aggressive texture makes it easy to grip, while the high backstrap tames muzzle flip.

There are also indexing points on both sides of the grip above the trigger guard. These make a natural point for your support thumb to rest when firing the gun. And on the opposite side, it’s a good point for your trigger finger to rest when you’re not firing it.

Getting on Target

The sights on the gun are excellent. They are a 3-dot system with a squared front sight and a square notch on the rear sight. Many people don’t realize that the human eye naturally tries to center things in a circle. That is why the peep sights on rifles work so well.

Unfortunately, having a “U” shaped notch in a handgun’s rear sight runs counter to human physiology. The eye tries to center the front sight in the notch. However, you should be lining it up at the same height as the two posts on the rear sight.

The author running standing exercises.

As a firearms instructor for a federal agency, I saw this play out in real-time. We switched out everyone’s gun, utilizing square sights, for a lighter recoiling gun with a rounded notch rear sight. Scores should have climbed with the softer shooting gun, but instead, they plummeted. This was simply because of the poorly designed sights.

I would have preferred the TS9 to have night sights for a combat weapon. But the good news is with dovetail front and rear sights, they are easy to switch out.

The TS9 is Simple, Reliable, and Affordable

Taurus reports that they finally released the TS9 to the U.S. market because of an overrun in production for a foreign government contract. It will be very interesting to see if some American law enforcement agencies start authorizing it for duty carry.

The simplicity, reliability, and price should gain this pistol quite a following. The model I tested was matte black. However, the gun is also available in OD Green and a two-toned grey and black.

For more information, please visit TaurusUSA.com.

Taurus TS9 Full-Size Pistol Specs

Caliber 9mm
Action SAO
Magazine Capacity 17
Barrel Length: 4.00 in
Overall Length 7.25 in
Weight Empty 35.25 oz
Trigger Weight 5 lb 4.5 oz (average of 10 on Lyman electronic trigger pull gauge)
Sights Drift Adjustable
MSRP $499.99 (base)
Performance of the Taurus TS9 full-size pistol.

Performance

Load Velocity Average Accuracy Average Accuracy Best
Doubletap FMJ 124 gr 1100.3 fps 4.95 4.66
Halo solid copper 107 gr 1319.2 fps 3.86 3.10
Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr 1047.4 fps 2.74 2.40
Federal Premium Punch JHP 124 gr 1148.9 fps 4.10 3.47

Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second 15 feet from the muzzle by a Doppler radar, and accuracy in inches for 3 five-shot groups at 25 yards.

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