In the past I always wore a little Iver Johnson in 32 S&W when we’d go trot lining. Why, you ask, would I wear a sidearm to go trot lining? The answer is Gar. We fish for catfish, but we often get a gar on the line. Because of their mouth full of razor sharp teeth, you can’t just grab them and unhook them. You have to kill them, and thence the sidearm. Well, last spring my friend was running the boat, and I was pulling up lines, and lo and behold I pulled up a five and a half foot alligator gar. I let the line go very fast. I pulled out my revolver, pulled the line back up and shot the gar to little effect. In fact I fired five rounds into its head and it didn’t seem to notice. It took my friend’s .357 magnum to put the thing down, so I decided it was time for a little fire power upgrade. The pistol I ended up buying was a little Taurus PT709 slim which compared nicely in size to my little .32, but fires the much more powerful 9mm parabellum.
So, the problem was that we didn’t go fishing anymore that spring or summer and I never fired the gun. When I finally got around to taking the Taurus down to my range, I was unpleasantly surprised to find that it jammed about ever third round. Bummer. I’ve had a Taurus PT92 for years and it has never missed a lick, even with the cheapest ammo.
The good news is that Taurus has one of the best warranties in the gun business. I shipped it off to the factory with a letter of explanation and they repaired it for free and returned it within three weeks. No warranty card, no writing in for a repair order, nothing. They also sent me an e-mail saying that they had received the gun, called me to confirm my shipping address, sent another e-mail saying it was being repaired, and a third e-mail saying that it was being shipped back. They stand behind their products no matter how old they are or where you buy them. I had a friend that bought a Taurus with a broken firing pin at a garage sale. He mailed it in, and they put in a new pin for free and mailed it back to him. So, anyway, I got the gun back, and it hasn’t jammed since.
Now for the technical stuff. The PT709 Slim is 6 1/8’ long, 4 ½” tall, and, including the slightly protruding safety lever, 1” wide. It is chambered for the 9mm parabellum. When fully loaded with 7 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber, mine weighs one pound and 6.4 ounces. The lower frame is a nice heavy polymer and the slid is steel.
The name “Slim” is well earned. The profile is very slim.
The only protrusions are the manual safety lever, which sticks out less than an eighth of an inch,
and the slide release which sticks out even less.
The magazine release is located near the front of the grip and has a very low profile. This keeps the release from snagging on anything, but it is a little awkward to curl your thumb around and press it down. Maybe my thumb is just too short.
In addition to the manual safety there is also a trigger safety to prevent discharge unless your finger is actually pulling the trigger.
There is a chambered round indicator on the back of the bolt. This indicator sticks up about a sixteenth of an inch and is easily felt with the thumb to determine if you have a round chambered.
The PT709 feels good in the hand. Due to its small size you can only wrap two fingers around the grip, but it does not feel awkward and the gun stays under good control with this grip.
The grip is nicely textured and a small depression at the top of the grip provides a place for your thumb to rest.
The grip is situated in such a way that slid pinch is virtually impossible when the firearm cycles.
The slide itself is deeply knurled in order to facilitate racking it back, but it still takes a good grip and a firm pull to operate.
The sights have a low profile and the familiar three white dots to help with target acquisition. A very nice feature is that the rear sight is fully adjustable for both elevation and windage.
The Pt709 is striker fired so there is no external hammer. The trigger pull is around five or six pounds. Because it is striker fired, the first trigger pull is long. The first time I shot this gun I thought it was never going to fire, but the trigger finally broke, fairly crisply, and the gun discharged. You don’t have to let off all the way on the trigger for subsequent shots so the long travel is only on the first shot. It takes a little getting used to, but you fall into the rhythm pretty fast.
Recoil is not nearly as bad as you would expect for a 9mm that barely weighs a pound. Smaller individuals should not be afraid that the recoil will be too much to handle.
Accuracy is very good considering that the PT709 only has a two inch barrel. I shot this 7 shot group off-hand from 30 feet. The bull is 2 ½”, and I’m not a great shot, so I’m happy with the way it shoots.
The slide locks back when you fire the last round making mag changes quick and easy. Just hit the mag release button to drop your empty mag, shove in a fresh one, and thumb down the slide release. You’re back in business
The PT709 field strips for cleaning using the same system that Glock has made famous.
First remove the magazine, take the safety off, and clear the round in the chamber.
Then pull the slide back just slightly and pull down on the little tabs located on each side of the frame just below the chamber. This will release the slide.
Now pull the trigger (you did make sure that there wasn’t a round in the chamber, right?), and move the slide forward and off of the frame.
Push the slide spring forward and up to remove it.
And lift the barrel out of the slide.
The PT709 lists for a little over $400 US, but you should be able to find one for $350 or less. They now come with a hard case and two magazines, but at the time I bought mine from DICK’s they apparently did not. Very unfortunate because the mags are expensive.
So there’s the Taurus PT 709 Slim. If you’re looking for a small 9mm, I don’t think you’ll go wrong with this one.