The Taurus PT-111 Millennium G2 isn’t a new pistol. It was introduced in early 2013. But it finally got its footing in 2015 after Taurus was sold and new Brazilian management replaced senior managers in the U.S. I found it’s worth another look.
Some background: Forjas Taurus and Taurus Holdings, Inc. were bought by Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC), one of the largest ammunition makers in the world. CBC is also headquartered in Brazil and has the ammunition brands Magtech, Sellier & Bellot (S&B), and MEN. To improve Taurus USA, CBC fired senior managers and hired Anthony Acitelli, previously a senior vice president of sales at Colt, to be president and CEO of its U.S. division. Acitelli also ran the Accessories Division at ATK’s Sporting Group. Acitelli quickly instituted a lot of changes to quality control and pricing.
When I tested the Taurus PT-111 Millennium G2 last October, it had just been knocked off its spot as the top-selling new pistol on Gunbroker.com, a place it had held for four months. But I knew that just over a year ago, gun stores were angry with Taurus. Gun dealers were lining up at trade shows to tell Taurus its products were overpriced and prone to failure. Given this, Taurus’ guns weren’t selling. Worse than not selling despite the hot handgun market, Forjas Taurus SA also had to pay a multi-million dollar settlement after a class-action lawsuit alleged that some of Taurus’ pistols could discharge when dropped due to a defective safety.
But since the management change, dealers and their customers have been finding that the quality issues have been resolved. Beyond the quality-control fixes, Acitelli told me that he’d “looked at the numbers and realized we could either do a huge ad buy to announce we are back, or we could instead spend that money by reducing the prices on our pistols and thereby let the gun-shop owners and firearms enthusiasts around the country tell our story. We chose the latter path. We reduced our SKU count and aggressively cut the price point on our most competitive models. Meanwhile, we reached out to the dealers who would still talk to us—a lot of them were angry—and told them what we were doing. When they saw the more competitive price points and found that our quality was again topnotch, they quickly began telling customers about our products.”
At the end of November, new Taurus PT-111 Millennium G2 pistols were selling on Gunbroker.com for as little as $239. That’s cheap for this gun.
A Handgun History
Taurus is hardly a new company; it produced its first revolver in 1941. In 1970, Bangor Punta, which owned Smith & Wesson, purchased a controlling interest in Forjas Taurus. The relationship with Smith & Wesson’s deep experience in gun design and manufacture greatly benefited Taurus’ products.
In 1974, Beretta won a contract to produce small arms for the Brazilian Army. The contract required Beretta to build a Brazilian factory and to use Brazilian labor. When that contract ran out in 1980, Beretta sold the plant to Forjas Taurus. By that time, Forjas Taurus had new Brazilian controlling owners who had purchased Forjas Taurus from Bangor Punta in 1977.
This meant that Forjas Taurus owned everything that once belonged to Beretta, including drawings, tooling, machinery, and an experienced workforce. Forjas Taurus used these newfound strengths to create the Taurus PT-92 and PT-99 9mm pistols.
Meanwhile, to grow in the U.S., in 1982, Forjas Taurus formed Taurus Holdings, Inc., in Miami, Florida. Over the next few decades, Forjas Taurus won over a lot of American consumers until it ran into the problems previously mentioned.
Acitelli said, “One of the first things we did to turn the company around was to hire—and we are still hiring—an engineering team from the American market. We need gun guys. We need engineers who know how to innovate for this robust American market.”
In the Hand
The Taurus PT-111 Millennium G2 has a Picatinny rail, but I didn’t attach a light or laser to my test pistol. It has a loaded chamber indicator, so you can tell at a glance if it is loaded. It felt good, even solid, in my hand and all the fingers of my right hand fit on its grip. It weighs 22 ounces unloaded (for comparison, the slightly smaller 9mm Glock 43 weighs about 19 ounces but all of my fingers don’t fit on the Glock’s grip). The PT-111 Millennium G2 has a ramped 3.2-inch barrel and holds 12 9mm cartridges in a standard magazine, plus one in the chamber. (The PT 111’s sibling, the Taurus’ PT 140, is chambered in .40 caliber.) So it’s a compact 9mm made to carry that has plenty of capacity (for comparison, the Glock 43’s magazine is a straight-stack six).
After noting that it is lightweight but fit solidly in my hand, I was delighted by its slide. I found it to be an easy and smooth compact pistol to operate. It has high-profile sights and a comfortable textured grip with melted edges—features that benefit a carry gun.
At the Range
When I shot the PT-111 Millennium G2, I quickly found why it became a top seller on Gunbroker.com. Its trigger is smooth and its recoil is comfortable thanks to its grip. I found it is just the right size for my hands, and it was especially easy and intuitive to handle. At the price—Taurus lists its MSRP as $301.52—I could see why it is selling. I moved from a 10-yard target to 20 yards and found I could shoot this compact pistol accurately. I shifted between the PT-111 Millennium G2, the Taurus Curve (a unique .380 ACP pistol that has a polymer frame made with a slight curve to it fit the contours of a person’s hip), and a Model 1911 made by Taurus for comparison and perspective. I was continually impressed. The safety worked flawlessly and the pistol cycled every round as it should.
The PT-111 is an affordable, basic, 9mm carry gun that has now been vetted and improved within the marketplace and by a company looking to reestablish itself after some trouble.
Whenever possible, a prospective buyer should always handle and shoot a handgun before purchasing, and I’d buy the Taurus PT-111 Millennium G2.
Taurus PT-111 Millennium G2 Specifications
Capacity: 12 +1
Weight (unloaded): 22 ounces
Barrel Length: 3.2 inches
Front Sight: Fixed
Length: 6.24 inches
Safety: Loaded Chamber Indicator, Manual Safety