Dear Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc.: I sincerely hope you’re reading this and take measures to address what I’m about to tell you.
I’ve wanted a 1911 for longer than I can recall. I’ve owned a Glock 36 for many years, but don’t really like Glocks. I have small hands and pudgy sausage fingers, and Glocks feel like a big bar of soap to me. I also don’t like how they sass back when I pull the trigger. I do love that they just work every time. I just don’t find them pleasurable to shoot.
Last Wednesday (Oct 27, 2010), I purchased my very first 1911 pistol, a Taurus model PT1911B in .45 ACP (what else is there?). The pistol looks and feels amazing. The price is incredible (I got mine for less than $600 NIB). With a new set of cherry grips, I think this thing will look beautiful. The pistol looks and feels almost as nice as any Kimber I’ve felt, and at half the price. But I digress.
Today, a mere four days and literally a single handful of .45 ACP later, I took the pistol back to the store to have the dealer ship it to Taurus for repairs. Four days.
In all honesty, I shouldn’t say “four days,” because it was really more like 4 shots, as I didn’t get to the range until this morning. Saying “four days” actually makes it sound like the pistol lasted longer than it really did.
The range master and the dealer both took a look at it. Both seemed to agree: “the extractor looks like it’s been sheered off.”
Let me repeat that: The extractor (a pretty damned important piece of equipment in any autoloader) was gone. Torn off.
For the uninitiated, an extractor is basically a claw that is supposed to hook a spent cartridge, pull it out, and extract (hence, the name) it from the weapon. In a nutshell, the extractor is responsible for removing the old casing and ejecting it from the weapon so that the next round can be seated properly.
I have never experienced an extractor being damaged, let alone torn off, in over 20 years of experience with handguns. Not once.
Before buying the PT1911, I did a lot of research. I read forums. I looked at reviews. There were very few negative reviews, all of which boiled down to the stock magazines being less-than-awesome. The reviewers all claimed that as soon as they had switched magazines (say, to a nice Wilson), the pistol operated flawlessly. Some suggested the springs were too strong. Some suggested filing a little from the lip of the magazine to aid in feeding.
None that I found experienced anything like this. While a mechanical failure in a brand new pistol is not likely (maybe 1 in 1,000), it can (and obviously does) happen. Basically, I am now left with a 1911-shaped Colonial pistol that can only handle one shot at a time and requires me to manually lock the slide back, remove the magazine, and clear the weapon between every shot.
Actually, scratch that. I’m really left with nothing. The pistol will be making its way back to Taurus on Monday. Taurus has an “Unlimited Lifetime Repair Policy™,” so at least I shouldn’t have to pay for them to repair my brand new pistol. I’ve seen claims that repairs should be turned around within 2 weeks. But I’ve also seem people say that they were without their pistols for months. I am really hoping this doesn’t happen to me.
To those who are new to pistols (and who live in an enlightened state that allows them to not only own, but actually carry a firearm), let this be a lesson to you. Never, ever, ever, ever assume a new handgun is actually going to work. Never rely on a handgun for personal defense that you haven’t personally put at least 200 rounds of ammunition through without a hitch. Never. I hope my thoughts on this are unambiguous.
I took a big chance buying a Taurus. So far, I’m not very happy about that decision.