Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Review
Part 5 - Range Tests
December 29, 2015

Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Review

In this part of my review, I range test the Taurus 709 Slim 9mm single stack compact pistol.  I selected a variety of ammunition to use during my tests and the ammunition varied from some value practiced steel cased ammo, to premium self defense ammo and some +P ammo.  The photo below shows some of the brands of ammunition used, yet there was also some other brass cased FMJs used on the steel target range.

 

Figure 1
Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Range Test Ammo

We started out shooting some of the value steel case Tulammo at about 10 yards to adjust the sights.  For whatever reason... cheap ammo, tight recoil spring or soft grip on the pistol... the pistol didn't like to Tulammo 115gr FMJ.  Within the first 30ish rounds we had three failure to strip issues (slide cycles but doesn't pick up another round), one failure to feed/chamber (slide tries to chamber a round, but it didn't feed into the chamber properly causing the slide to jam) and one failure to lock the slide open after the last round.  This gave me a little concern, but potentially after shooting a few more rounds things improved.  On a positive note, I was able to shoot a 8-shot group measuring 1.62" which in my opinion was very good.  After zeroing the sights, getting some chronograph data and getting a first look at some 8-shot groups with the Tulammo, we moved to the steel target range because night time was quickly approaching.  We proceeded to shoot about a box of PPU 115gr FMJ .  Using the PPU, the pistol also had two more failure to strip issues while shooting those 50ish rounds.  I still had some concerns, but cycling was definitely improving.

The next day we started shooting 8-shot groups (7+1) from a simple bench rest at a target located 7 yards down range.  The chronograph was setup about 10 feet from the muzzle and the photo below shows the setup.  Instead of shooting multiple 5-shot groups, I felt that stacking all 8 shots per ammo type on a single target would give me a pretty good idea on the accuracy potential of this handgun.

Figure 2
Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Range Test Setup

My buddy and I took turns shooting the 8-shot groups with each type of ammunition and the best groups are shown in the table below.  The total group average for all five of these groups came in at 1.76" with the best group being 1.57" using the Hornady 115 gr XTP® American Gunner®.  I feel the variations between each group size are attributed more to the shooters and not the pistol.  It is hard to describe, but it seems to me that the recoil impulse of the American Gunner ammunition was slightly less than the other 115gr ammo and the +P was slightly more.  The empty cases were dropping between two and four feet away at about the 5 o'clock position.  Throughout this accuracy part of the range test, we didn't experience any issues with the reliability of the pistol with any of the Hornady and Federal ammunition.

Ammunition Velocity1 (ft/sec) Energy
(ft-lbs)
8-Shot2
Group Size
(in)
Average Std Dev
TULAMMO 9mm Luger 115 gr. FMJ 1029 11 271 1.62"
Hornady 9mm Luger 115 gr FTX® Critical Defense® 1033 9 273 2.04"
Hornady 9mm Luger 115 gr XTP® American Gunner® 1019 16 265 1.57"
Hornady 9mm Luger +P 135 gr FlexLock® Critical DUTY® 963 20 278 1.86"
Federal Premium 9mm 147gr Hydra-Shok® JHP 913 14 272 1.72"
Average for All Groups = 1.76"
1 - Velocity measured ~10 feet from the muzzle and is an average of seven shots
2 - Groups shot at 7 yards from a bench

These next photos show some examples of the groups above and give you a visual look at this handguns potential.  Keep in mind that the small squares are 1"x1".  Later we made one final slight sight adjustment to get the average point of impact shifted up.

Figure 3                                                                 Figure 4
              Tulammo 115gr FMJ 1.62"                         Hornady American Gunner® 115gr XTP 1.57"
Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Review Tulammo  Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Review Hornady American Gunner

Figure 5                                                                 Figure 6
    Hornady Critical Duty® 135gr +P 1.86"                  Federal Premium 147gr Hydra-Shok® 1.72"
Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Review Hornady Critical Duty  Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Review Federal Premium Hydra-Shok

Shooting from a bench is fine for trying to determine the accuracy potential of a handgun, but the real test is the ability to shoot the pistol freehand.  The Taurus and shooter together were able to deliver this freehand 1.75" 7-shot group at 7 yards, which I feel is excellent for a compact styled pistol.

Figure 7
Freehand with Winchester 115gr FMJ 1.75"
Taurus 709 Slim Pistol Review Freehand

After accuracy testing, we moved to the steel target range again and sent a couple of more boxes of 115 FMJ rounds down range.  We gave the Tulammo another try and the pistol still had some issues with it cycling properly.  I don't recall that I personally had an issue with the Tulammo, but the two other shooters clearly encountered several more issues.  After further thought, I think this may be due to a slightly less firm grip on the handgun (limp wristing) than the ammo because it happened several times while my daughter shot the pistol.  I also encountered a situation where it took three strikes of the firing pin on a round of Tulammo before the primer would ignite.  Clearly this makes the case for the double action feature on this handgun.

You can see a video version of this part of the review by clicking on the video below.

 

Thoughts

The Taurus 709 Slim pistol proved to have good accuracy potential for a compact handgun and it proved this with all the ammunition we shot.  The handgun seemed sensitive to the steel case Tulammo but had no issue with the premium ammunition.  Overall I think the trigger pull was good and the sights seemed to adjust without issue.  It takes a little getting acquainted to the long initial pull of the trigger before it gets to the single action mode, but when you get the feel of it, follow up shots can be on target and quick.  Overall I'm pleased with the Taurus 709 Slim and think it makes a great value handgun.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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