Tag Archives: s&w

Taurus 709 Slim Photo Review

22 Sep

I posted last week about finally purchasing a Taurus 709 Slim in 9 mm after spending a lot of time considering and looking at the various .380 pocket pistols. I found the LCP/TCP/P3AT all too small for me to easily handle, grip and shoot with confidence. Although the 709 is really too big to pocket carry in most situations, it is small enough (and SLIM enough!) to tuck easily into a waistband or a jacket pocket.

I have the model 709SS with a matte stainless slide. Here are the full specs on the 709:

  • Model : 709SS
  • Finish: Matte Stainless Steel
  • Status: Available
  • Caliber: 9 mm
  • Grips: Checkered Polymer
  • Capacity : 7 +1
  • Weight: 19 oz
  • Barrel Length: 3″
  • Frame: Compact
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Front Sight: Fixed
  • Length: 6″
  • MSRP: $498.00

I’ve had the pistol for about a week and have carried it a few times and spent some range time with it. Instead of doing a conventional written review, I thought I’d try a ‘photo review’ to bring out my impressions on the Taurus 709.

P1150211.jpg picture by dtm101

Taurus 709 Slim in 9mm Parabellum. The 709 is an attractively designed pistol with a number of nice features for CCW.

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Left side of the Taurus 709 Slim showing the slide release, magazine release and safety. Unfortunately for us lefties, none of these controls are ambidextrous.

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Racking the slide on the 709 is not difficult and the slide release locks the slide open upon firing the last round.

P1150217.jpg picture by dtm101

Field stripping the 709 is done via Glock style levers on the frame just above the trigger. You must pull the trigger to fully release the slide for removal so be absolutely sure there are no rounds in the chamber before disassembly..

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The underside of the slide is machined well with no rough spots. When the slide is attached to the frame, there is very little movement/wobble.

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The frame of the 709 is polymer with steel inserts for the slide rails and a steel barrel locking block. Interior components are on par (thickness and appearance) with other polymer pistols that I own.

P1150225.jpg picture by dtm101

The Taurus 709 (bottom) compared to the S&W M&P9. This photo doesn't really show the actual size difference between these two pistols. The 709 weighs approximately 10 oz less and is much more compact in carry mode.

P1150226.jpg picture by dtm101

The 709 placed on top of the M&P9 to show the dimensional differences between the two pistols. Again the photo doesn't do justice to the real size difference the you feel when handling them.

P1150229.jpg picture by dtm101

Taurus 709 (top) and S&W M&P9 (bottom). This photo does a nice job of showing how small and slim the 709 is in comparison to a full size service pistol.

P1150230.jpg picture by dtm101

The 709 fills the hand fairly well for a compact pistol. I fired 120 rounds during my first range session with the 709 and didn't experience any FTF or FTE issues. Recoil is snappy but I didn't find it difficult to manage.

P1150231.jpg picture by dtm101

I found the 709 to point naturally in my hand. 'Memory pads' on the frame work well to keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. I was able to shoot 3" to 3 1/2" groups at 15 yards with several brands of ammo including my own reloads.

P1150232.jpg picture by dtm101

While not really a pocket pistol, the 709 is quite compact and is easily concealable. I'm currently looking for an inside the waist band (IWB) holster for concealed carry.

P1150235.jpg picture by dtm101

One nice feature of the 709 is the manual thumb safety. Here it is pictured in the 'safe on' position. Also take note of the Glock-style safety incorporated into the trigger. The 709 has a two stage trigger with a rather long but light first stage followed by a short but heavy second stage. The second stage is heavier than I prefer but it's manageable. It also offers you 'second strike' capability where you can pull the trigger again double action style of for some reason you get a light primer strike the first time.

P1150236.jpg picture by dtm101

Thumb safety in the "safe off" position. As mentioned previously the safety is not ambidextrous and can be tricky to engage with a left handed grip. The magazine release can be seen in the bottom of the photo. It's not ambidextrous either but I was able to engage the release easily with my trigger finger. Magazines drop freely when the release is pushed.

P1150242.jpg picture by dtm101

The rear polymer sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. My pistol shot quite low at 15 yards even with the rear sight fully extended. This is apparently a common problem with the 709. Taurus has offered to pay for shipping it to Miami for repair, but I'm not ready to part with the pistol for an extended repair period (I'd be interested in knowing whether anyone has found a commercial replacement front sight that would correct the problem). Just below the rear sight is the 'Taurus Security System' that can be engaged with a key to make the firearm in-operable.

P1150253.jpg picture by dtm101

There is a relatively large area around the feed ramp where the cartridge case is unsupported. I didn't have any issues with several brands of factory loads but I did experience case bulging with my reloads. The Taurus manual specifies the use of factory loads only and I would agree!

P1150249.jpg picture by dtm101

Several of my fired reloads exhibiting case bulging in the area of the unsupported feed ramp. These were 124 grain bullets over 5.3 grains of Unique which is a rather mild loading according to the Speer manual. I will be sticking to factory loads in the 709 in the future. I've not had any case bulging with these same reloads in my other 9 mm pistols.


Smith & Wesson’s New S&W500™ Bone Collector™ Revolver

11 Aug

Smith & Wesson and professional hunter/hunting personality Michael Waddell have joined forces to bring you the S&W model 500 Bone Collector revolver.

The Bone Collector is essentially the same as their regular 10.5″ barreled model 500 – if there is anything ‘regular’ about the model 500 X frame series of revolvers! Any differences between the two models appear to be limited to the two tone color, Bone Collector logo, unfluted cylinder and slight changes in front sight (red ramp instead of an orange ramp). The unfluted cylinder adds 3 oz to the weight of the Bone Collector.

While on the surface a pistol named “Bone Collector” is a bit odd, Michael Waddell and the Bone Collector brand has a powerful following – complete with a fan club, tv show, a big social media presence, and a host of hunting-related product endorsements. I don’t know the specific demographics of this fan base, but on the surface they appear younger (by several decades!) than traditional revolver buyers. It seems like smart marketing by S&W to target younger buyers. I think the idea of a ‘special edition’ model 500 will also appeal to S&W collectors.

Still the name and skull in the logo on the frame of the pistol will be a bit unnerving to some.

Suggested retail is $1,597.00. The press release from S&W announcing the Bone Collector is below.


Smith & Wesson Introduces New Model S&W500™ Bone Collector™ Revolver
New X-Frame Revolver Built In Collaboration with Professional Hunter Michael Waddell

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Smith & Wesson® Corp., the legendary 158-year old firearms maker, has introduced a new X-Frame model in collaboration with Professional Hunter Michael Waddell – the S&W500™ Bone Collector™. Engineered by the Smith & Wesson Performance Center, the Model S&W500 Bone Collector combines old-world craftsmanship with modern advancements into a new-age hunting revolver. This firearm is powerful, functional and capable of harvesting about any big-game animal on Earth. The Model S&W500 Bone Collector embodies the look, feel and attitude of Waddell’s latest television venture, “The Bone Collector,” airing on The Outdoor Channel.

Delivering more than a ton and a quarter of muzzle energy, the Model S&W500 earned the distinction as the most powerful production revolver when introduced. Built on the company’s X-Frame, the Model S&W500 provides today’s hunters with a well-balanced and manageable firearm when stalking large or dangerous game. Chambered for five rounds of .500 S&W Magnum®, the new Bone Collector revolver is manufactured with a stainless steel frame, cylinder and 10.5-inch barrel design. The S&W500 Bone Collector is standard with a two-tone finish, synthetic rubber grips along with the company’s renowned smooth double-action and crisp single-action trigger pull. To help aide in recoil management, the Model S&W500 is also standard with a full 360-degree muzzle compensator.

Equipped with a variety of special features that only the individual attention of master gunsmiths can achieve, the Model S&W500 Bone Collector is hand-cut and fit to insure top-notch accuracy and precision. Additional Performance Center features include a heavy-duty ball detent lock-up between the cylinder crane and frame along with a chrome-flashed hammer and trigger. The trigger on the Model S&W500 Bone Collector also features an over-travel stop and the revolver is standard with a Performance Center action job. All these features contribute to a revolver capable of answering the needs of any serious handgun hunter.

“We are excited to offer hunters a great option for taking their hunting adventure to the next level,” said Tom Kelly, Vice President of Marketing for Smith & Wesson. “Handgun hunting is becoming more popular than ever with many states now offering a handgun hunting season or allowing handguns to be used during rifle season. Whether used for harvesting wild boar or whitetail deer, its popularity has exploded. The new Bone Collector is the latest in the extensive line of hunting handguns from Smith & Wesson. Providing today’s hunter with sufficient power and long range accuracy, handguns like this new S&W500 enable users to move easily through areas with thick vegetation that often prove difficult to navigate with a long gun.”

The Model S&W500 Bone Collector weighs in at 79.3 ounces and has been fitted with a red ramp front sight and an adjustable black blade rear sight to help aid in target alignment. When traditional sights are not being used, hunters will appreciate the integral weaver base located on top of the barrel, which allows for optics to be easily mounted. For convenient carrying once in the field, a swivel mount bolt sling has been added. Adding to its allure, the new Model S&W500 is engraved with the Bone Collector logo on the frame and will have a limited run of 1,000 units.

For more information on the Model S&W500 Bone Collector, including availability and pricing, please visit www.smith-wesson.com or call (800) 331-0852.

About Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: SWHC) is a U.S.-based, global provider of products and services for safety, security, protection and sport. The company designs and constructs facility perimeter security solutions for military and commercial applications, and delivers a broad portfolio of firearms and related training to the military, law enforcement and sports markets. SWHC companies include Smith & Wesson Corp., the globally recognized manufacturer of quality firearms; Universal Safety Response, a full-service perimeter security integrator, barrier manufacturer and installer; and Thompson/Center Arms Company, Inc., a premier designer and manufacturer of premium hunting firearms. SWHC facilities are located in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Tennessee. For more information on Smith & Wesson and its companies, call (800) 331-0852 or log on to www.smith-wesson.com;www.usrgrab.com; or www.tcarms.com.

Matt Rice
Blue Heron Communications
(800) 654-3766

Why doesn’t Winchester or Springfield make an AR-15?

19 Jul

Today’s post is a rant of sorts…..

The popularity of the AR rifle seems to be increasing across the board. Go to a gun shop or the range on any given day and you’ll probably see more AR platform rifles than any other single type of rifle.

In recent years Remington, Smith & Wesson and Ruger have all developed successful AR rifle product lines. Even Taurus announced an AR in mid-2009 (pictured below, although I have not seen much discussion of it since).

So why don’t companies like Winchester or Springfield or Savage make an AR? Granted we already have an abundance of new and existing AR makers on the market, but imagine how wildly popular ‘black rifles’ from these manufacturers would be? It would seem easy (from my perspective sitting at a computer!) for any of these companies to either manufacture or source the parts needed to make top quality AR’s ‘worthy’ of their brand.

A National Match AR would fit perfectly into Springfield’s product line, right alongside their National Match M1A’s and match grade 1911’s. Savage has their Law Enforcement line of bolt action rifles that would be nicely complemented with an accurate AR.

As I’ve blogged before, I’m a Winchester fan and would be one of the first in line for a Winchester branded AR. Their parent company FN is under a contractual agreement to not sell AR rifles or parts to the public (I believe I have this stated correctly) so perhaps that contractual restriction also applies to Winchester.

Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that all these manufacturers are planning their own AR behind closed doors…  but I’m not holding my breath!

Will the new S&W SD pistols replace the Sigma?

17 Jul

With S&W rolling out their new SD series pistols in 9mm and .40, you have to wonder if there is room in their line-up for three polymer pistol lines? From the beginning S&W has consistently said that the SD is not replacing the Sigma – so we’ll see!

The SD is to be priced between the Sigma and M&P which would make the street price somewhere in the $400 range (I’ve seen recent reports of the SD being sold for $369 at several dealers). That’s clearly an attractive price and it would undercut nearly all other polymer pistols on the market excep for their own Sigma and the Taurus Millenium models.

In appearance, the SD looks very much like an updated Sigma with some M&P styling. The SD comes with a new trigger design that S&W is calling the Self Defense Trigger or SDT. One of the main complaints of the Sigma (and to a lesser degree the M&P) is it’s trigger, so perhaps the new design will offer better feel.