Story and Photos by Jerry Catania
Let me just state at the outset that the Taurus PT 1911 in .38 is the best pistol in that caliber that I have ever used. Having owned a half dozen 1911s in that awesome caliber over the years, this is the first one that is 100 percent reliable in feeding and ejection. In addition, the Brazilian entry in the 1911 market, while low-end in price, is one of the best full-size 1911s in any caliber that I have ever used.
DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS
Taurus International makes no less than 11 different full-size 1911 models in calibers .45 ACP, 9mm Parabellum and .38 Super. This model—the 1911B-38—is an all-blue, all-steel Government model weighing in at 39 ounces, and includes custom features that other makers charge extra for; plenty extra, in some cases.
Genuine Novak sights, both front and rear, head up the custom features, and these are in the ever-popular three-dot version. Another notable feature is the aluminum ventilated trigger, which breaks at a crisp and clean 5 pounds. And if that’s not enough, the Taurus comes with the proper wrench to adjust it for over-travel. There is also an up-swept beavertail grip safety with a “memory bump” that is fitted properly so it functions with a high thumb grip.
An ambidextrous thumb safety that is perfectly contoured—for my thumb, at least—is also standard. So, too, are the aggressive slide serration that are applied both front and rear. The front serrations are great to properly check the chamber, as a full-length steel guide rod is used to control the recoil spring and aid reliability.
The PT 1911’s 5-inch stainless steel barrel has a slight bell at the mouth to provide tight lock-up with the barrel bushing, which this does. A bushing wrench—another tool included—is necessary to take down the pistol. The chamber on the barrel has a unique cut that enables ultra-smooth feeding of the long .38 Super cartridges. Proper feeding of live rounds is usually the bane of reliability in the Super.
The ejector is the Browning-designed internal type. The grips are black plastic with sharp checkering and provide a firm gripping surface. Sharp, fine checkering is expertly applied to the front of the grip frame, the flat mainspring housing, the magazine release button and the bottom of the trigger guard.
The PT 1911’s magazine well is beveled for easy insertion of the nine-round magazines that sport a plastic base pad. The hammer is the Commander style and includes the patented Taurus internal locking mechanism. There is no accessory rail on the dust cover of the receiver. To further aid smooth feeding of the Super cartridge, the frame is beveled to match the barrel contours at the chamber area.
WHY .38 SUPER?
The .38 Super was originally developed in the “Roaring Twenties” to defeat the body armor and steel automobile doors that the much more common .45 ACP could not defeat; much less than the anemic .38 Special. Loaded with a 130-grain full metal jacketed bullet and with a muzzle velocity of nearly 1,300 fps, the Super quickly became a favorite of early Federal agents who were dealing with the like of John Dillinger. Most of law enforcement at the time, however, wanted wheel guns, and so with the advent of the .357 Magnum in 1935, the short-lived challenge by the Super was quelled.
To read this article in its entirety, pick up a copy of the August issue of Gun World magazine, available on newsstands now.