To start, collectors of expensive 1911 pistols need not read any further. But for those looking to snag a capable, affordable, and still enhanced version of John Moses Browning’s brilliant classic, Taurus may have a tempting offer in its Taurus 1911 series

It’s no secret the 1911 is one of America’s firearm darlings, and the love affair is well deserved. Yet, there are so many options – and price points – that finding the right one is often a bit of a journey. 

I know I’ve had that problem, so let’s look at Taurus’ take on the 1911 to see if it fits your needs and desires.

Table of Contents

Meet the Taurus 1911
Specs & Function
Pros & Cons
Final Thoughts

Meet the Taurus 1911

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
Taurus has actually been in the 1911 game for nearly 20 years. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Saying the 1911 isn’t new wouldn’t surprise anyone. But saying that a company like Taurus’ 1911s have been around for a while could raise a few eyebrows. After all, the 1911 market is a virtual ocean of options these days. It seems like a new model rolls out from some manufacturer or another every week, but few people I’ve talked to think of the name Taurus when it comes to 1911s.

In reality, Taurus introduced its PT1911 at SHOT Show all the way back in 2005. That seems like forever ago now. It was the company’s first 1911, but it has since evolved into a large family of Taurus 1911s with various sizes, finishes, and extras depending on your tastes and needs. There's even a 9mm version. 

Taurus Factory
The company has rapidly grown in recent years, especially here in the states. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Taurus itself has also evolved since the year President George W. Bush started his second term. It has significantly increased its U.S.-based production, for one thing. That includes a thriving and ever-expanding factory in Bainbridge, Georgia. Indeed, this 1911 is marked with Bainbridge, though “Made in Brazil” – the origin of Taurus – is still at least marked on the slide portion of our particular test pistol.

Related: Factory Tour – Taurus is Thriving in Southwest Georgia

The company is also quite bullish about its 1911s, claiming: “Destined to become the standard that all 1911 pistols are compared to, the Taurus 1911 offers you the most accurate and feature-laden model on the market today.” 

I’m going to go out on a limb and consider that a bit of marketing hyperbole, or at least assume it comes with some basic disclaimers. Regardless, Taurus struck on a clever idea: create a 1911, make it affordable, but trick it out with the bells and whistles you normally only get on expensive options. Makes sense.

Specs & Function

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
As far as parts go, it’s your standard 1911 affair.  (Photo: Paul Peterson/

We’re going to look at a stock, full-sized Taurus 1911 chambered in .45 ACP. In my imagination, I just see the engineers who designed this gun standing in a room while some higher-up in a suit yelled out, “features, features, features!” The gun is packed with them, especially at the sub-$700 price point Taurus slapped on the gun.

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
That elongated, ambidextrous thumb safety caught my eye right away. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

The most obvious is the elongated, ambidextrous thumb safety. I’ve found it to be very positive, easy to use, and audible. Elongated and ambidextrous safeties are certainly common on higher-end 1911s, so this is a nice touch. Personally, however, I do tend to prefer smaller safeties, because I have found myself bumping these while shooting. Still, it’s certainly an upgraded feature. 

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
Then there's the high-ride beavertail safety with the raised spot on the grip portion. (Photo: Paul Peterson/
Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
That raised area is great for ensuring you connect with the grip safety. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

A high-ride beavertail grip safety is the next feature that sticks right out. The long horn of the beavertail feels great in my hand and makes hammer bite impossible. Just below that, the grip safety is raised at the base and makes it easier to use. I have definitely gone to pull the trigger on 1911s only to find my grip was not depressing the beavertail on traditional grip safeties. But not with the Taurus 1911.

Taurus uses forged alloy steel for the frame and slide, and the slide features a lowered and flared ejection port. I will ding Taurus for the finish. It looks sharp, but I have found spots of rust after range trips when I went to clean the gun the next day. It cleaned up nicely, and some oil usually keeps it away.

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
Note the lowered and flared ejection port. (Photo: Paul Peterson/
Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
The feed ramp is polished, and I didn’t notice any wear over the course of the testing on any internal parts. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

The barrel is also forged with a 1:16 twist and six grooves. Oh, and the feed ramp is polished, too. Up top, there’s metal, drift-adjustable front and rear Novak white three-dot sights. They’re not night sights. But, hey, you can’t have everything. 

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
The metal Novak sights are adjustable for drift at the front and rear. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Here's a breakdown of some other basic specs:

Weight: 2.325 pounds (no magazine)
Length: 8.75 inches
Barrel Length: 4.86 inches
Height: 5.42 Inches, 5.65 inches with extended mag
Width (widest point): 1.47 inches
Sight Radius: 6.5 inches
Capacity: 8+1, 7+1 with non-extended mags
Trigger Pull: 5 pounds (10-pull average)

Along with the ring hammer, the trigger is ventilated with three holes. Trigger travel is a scant 0.08 inches with a similar and positive reset that is audible. The trigger pull itself is very short but mostly mush with no discernable wall. It’s a nice-feeling trigger, but don’t expect to break shots at a stiff wall.

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
The gun really is filled with enhancements: raised and textured mag release, extended grip safety, ventilated trigger, serrated slide, ring hammer, and ambi thumb safety, to name just some of them. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

The mag release is slightly raised and textured, though I have to slightly adjust my grip to reach it. Mags eject positively. The extended, blued eight-round Taurus magazines are made by Mec-Gar – another win – and spit out with some decent force. The mag lips have an aggressive angle to aid with reliable loading. 

Normal GI-style magazines still pop out with enough force to clear the magazine well without aid. Perhaps one ding I could give is that the gun only comes with one eight-round magazine. Additional mags can be had from Taurus for $36.99, which isn’t that bad.

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
Here’s a better view of the slide serrations. Also note the “Bainbridge” marking next to the Taurus name. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

The slide hosts angled front and rear serrations that are positive and make the slide easy to rack from either position. These complement the texturing at the front and back of the grip straps, which is positive but not grating. 

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
The grip panel is on the lower end of grippy, but that can be swapped at a low cost. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Finally, the grip panels are plastic and a bit slick in my hands. Taurus offers a host of replacements. Funnily enough, the grip panels are the cheapest ones on the Taurus website ($7.99), so they no doubt expect people to replace them anyway.



Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
We ran 550 rounds from four types of 1911 magazines through the gun. This is what the target looked like at 25 feet. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

We put 550 rounds through this gun for testing, and most of that was 230-grain PMC Bronze. Over all that shooting, I had one failure in the gun. It was a failure to strip and chamber the last round due to premature slide lock. That could have been my fault for hand placement, so I’m still happy to give a thumbs up for reliability.

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
The gun ships with a nice eight-round Mec-Gar mag, right, which is shown here with a standard GI Colt mag. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

To bump that to two thumbs up, I tested four different magazines for reliability. Fans of the 1911 will note there are often mag issues, but the Taurus 1911 did fine with the Mec-Gar eight-round mag that came with it, two Colt GI mags, two Check-Mate mags, and an unbranded eight-rounder I randomly found in my magazine drawer.


Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
My string of rapid-fire shots might not be pretty at 25 feet, but it would get the job done. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

As for accuracy, I’ll start by noting I am not a 1911 sharpshooter. Still, I did find the gun performed well even as a casual 1911 shooter. I held a fist-size group at 25 feet during my rapid-fire testing. 

When I slowed it down a bit, I tightened that up considerably to around 1.5 inches with some stray shots here and there. Those strays are the shooter’s fault, not the gun. I also noticed my first test had me hitting a bit to the left, likely due to my trigger pull. I adjusted slightly, and it found the center easily enough.

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
Minus the fliers – those are on me – the gun is capable of tight groups if you do your part. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

I shot my test groups on a trip to my indoor gun range. I was pouring sweat by the end, and those cheap grips were definitely noticeable. I could feel the gun slide in my hand while shooting. Again, there are other options from Taurus and aftermarket replacements. If that is where they saved money to get the Taurus 1911 to its lower price point, I’m fine buying my own grips.

My last gripe is that I found the extended ambidextrous safety somewhat impacted my grip. I would bump against it with my hand, though it did not activate while shooting. As for felt recoil, it’s typical of other non-compensated 1911s I’ve shot. 

Pros & Cons

Here’s my short list of the pros and cons:


  • High beavertail and raised grip safety
  • Extended, ambidextrous thumb safeties
  • Nice metal Novak sights
  • Front and rear slide serrations
  • Mec-Gar eight-round magazine
  • Texturing on front and rear grip straps 
  • Decent trigger
  • Ring hammer with ventilated trigger
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Low price point


  • Finish can gather rust if neglected
  • No easily detected trigger wall
  • Comes with only one mag
  • Comes with cheap, slick grip panels

Final Thoughts

Taurus Full-Size 1911 .45 ACP Pistol
It’s a hard package to beat at the price Taurus is offering for this gun. You can go cheaper, but you’ll almost certainly have to say goodbye to most of the upgrades. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Is this the 1911 to rule all other 1911s? Nope. But given the price point, performance, and extra features, it should have some competitors considering what they can do to offer similar value. There is a lot to like about this gun, and I can certainly see it as a great first 1911 – for those not interested in starting with the classic GI model. 

It can perform on the range. It has that 1911 vibe and feel. So, if you have the 1911 itch but want something affordable and upgraded over the original, the Taurus 1911 is a solid place to start.

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