They say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” If that is the case, then Beretta – which is not only the world’s oldest gun manufacturer but also the world’s oldest industrial firm of any kind – must be feeling very flattered at the imitation that Taurus International Manufacturing Inc. has bestowed upon the former company’s time-tested and battle-proven products, specifically the Beretta 92 9mm and Beretta 96 .40 caliber semiautomatic pistols. Say hello to the Taurus PT92 and PT100 pistols.
Taurus PT92 History and Specifications
It’s not entirely fair to Taurus Armas S.A. (formerly known as Forjas Taurus S.A.) – headquartered in São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; with its U.S. subsidiary in Bainbridge, Georgia – to label its PT92 product a mere “imitation” of the Beretta 92 series. Indeed, as Chris Dumm notes in a review written for TheTruthAboutGuns website:
“When Taurus made the first PT-92, they didn’t copy or reverse-engineer the Beretta Model 92F as is sometimes believed. Instead, they bought Beretta’s entire Brazilian factory with its machinery, parts and plans. They even kept Beretta’s trained workers at their stations. Beretta’s and Taurus’ designs have evolved in divergent ways since 1980, and the two pistols now share very few parts in common. But they still share the same lineage and (almost) the same manual of arms.”
One area of eventual divergence between the Taurus and Beretta versions of the Model 92 was the manual safety: though retaining the double-action lockwork, Taurus maintained the frame-mounted safety that permitted cocked-and-locked carry like the double-action CZ-75 and the single-action M1911 and Browning Hi-Power; meanwhile, Beretta eventually went over to the slide-mounted hammer-dropping safety.
Early editions of the PT92 had a magazine capacity of 15+1, however, the manufacturer eventually upped that to 17+1. Additional specifications include a barrel length of 5 inches, an overall length of 8.5 inches, a width of 1.5 inches, and an empty weight of 34 ounces.
Famed self-defense Massad F. Ayoob, founder of the Lethal Force Institute, stated some years ago that the Taurus was every bit as accurate and reliable as the Beretta that spawned it, and Jan Libourel – founding editor of Petersen’s Handguns (now known as Guns & Ammo Handguns) Magazine was a huge fan of the Taurus autopistols.
Taurus PT100 History and Specifications
When Beretta got in on the .40 S&W fad of the 1990s via its Model 96, Taurus naturally had to follow suit, in the guise of the PT100, which was introduced in 1992. The larger-caliber pistol retained the same barrel length, overall length, and weight of the PT92, but this model boasted a width that was beefed up to 1.622 inches to accommodate the more powerful cartridge. Magazine capacity was 11+1. It also added some features that the PT92 would soon be reconfigured to include, namely a stainless steel slide and rubber grips, as well as a three-position hammer-dropping manual safety that was still frame-mounted but “that allows cocked and locked single action carry or the convenience of a decocked double action,” i.e. the best of both worlds.
Personal Shooting Impressions
It was at the Los Angeles Gun Club in Downtown L.A. that I got to try out both the PT92 and PT100, in 1991 and 1993 respectively, using the club’s arsenal of rental guns. The former pistol was a candidate that I was considering for my first handgun purchase (it and every other candidate ended up losing out to the Springfield Armory M1911-A1 .45 ACP, but that’s a different story), while the latter was “just for fun” for myself as well as a teaching tool for a pupil.
The PT92 left me decidedly underwhelmed. I thought it was a very handsome-looking pistol, just like the Beretta 92 that inspired it, and reliability was flawless, but it simply didn’t give me the smoothness, practical accuracy, and just all-around “Yeah, buddy” shooting fun that the Beretta 92 – which I’ve mentioned repeatedly was the first pistol I ever truly fell in love with – gave me. The trigger felt gritty, and the Brazilian hardwood grips just didn’t feel as ergonomic in my hand as the checkered black plastic grips of the true Beretta.
As much as I respect the opinions of the aforementioned Mas Ayoob and Jan Libourel – I became a huge fan of Ayoob’s writings in particular when I first got into shooting at the tender age of 14 – I just didn’t get the same vibe from the PT92 that they did.
The PT100 was somewhat more enjoyable to shoot, though it also didn’t give me any sort of hankering to go out and buy one. I did appreciate the black plastic grips and the stainless steel finish, and the trigger quality in double-action and single-action modes alike also enabled me to get more satisfying groups at 21 and 50 feet, and my newbie buddy shot fairly well with it too.
Want Your Own?
According to True Gun Value, “A TAURUS PT92 pistol is currently worth an average price of $501.10 new and $432.59 used. The 12 month average price is $499.97 new and $432.59 used.” Interestingly, that same site states that “A TAURUS PT100 pistol currently has too little sold data to calculate an average price.” For basis of comparison & contrast, “A BERETTA 92F pistol is currently worth an average price of $602.50 new and $518.77 used. The 12 month average price is $601.85 new and $554.69 used.”
The Firearms Deals website currently lists a total of eight PT-100s, at a price range of $644.10 to $739.02, and also lists eight PT92s at a price range of $329.46 to $378.01. Meanwhile, Guns.Com is advertising a PT92 for sale at $491.99.
Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011. In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports.