In 1974, the Ministério da Defesa Brasileiro (Brazilian Ministry of Defense) awarded Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta the contract for their new 9x19mm service pistol, the Model 92. Part of that contract stipulated that Beretta build a factory in the country and hire Brazilians to manufacture the firearms, so that is exactly what happened.

Beretta set up a factory in São Paulo, Brazil and began to crank out Model 92 pistols for the Brazilian Army. In 1980, the contract expired and Beretta was left with a decision. Do they continue to make Model 92 pistols in Brazil or shutter the plant? Beretta went with a third option; they sold the entire package to Forjas Taurus S/A lock, stock, and barrel.

Taurus already had 39 years of manufacturing history under their belt at that point, starting with their Model 38101SO Revolver in 1941. So acquiring a fully equipped facility and well trained staff that is able to manufacture what was then one of the newest 9mm duty handguns for the Army was a no brainer.

Taurus moved the original Beretta tooling to its factory in the town of Porto Alegre. Which is about 700 miles south of São Paulo. And with that, the Taurus PT-92 was born.

Taurus PT-99 on the left, Beretta Model 92 on the right.

Originally, the PT-92 was a direct continuation of the Beretta 92. The only thing Taurus changed at first was adopting the “combat” trigger guard before Beretta. But everything else was the same. Same barrel, same grips, same safety, same magazine, etc.

Yet not long after the deal was made Beretta began eyeing another military contract. They were going after the America’s XM9 contract to replace the old slab slide in .45 ACP. We can get into whether that was a good move or not another time. We all know that Beretta won that contract. Part of that contract required Beretta to move the magazine release to the spot we are used to, right behind the trigger guard. With that contract, the Italian Stallion got a “combat” trigger guard too.

Seeing this, Taurus updated the PT-92 to be like its Italian cousin. They also moved the magazine release behind the trigger guard. But they did it in their own way. Hence why today, Taurus and Beretta magazines aren’t interchangeable.

Beretta magazine on the left, Taurus mag on the right. Both are 15rds in capacity.

But enough about the history of the gun and how it came into existence right? Let’s get down to the brass tacks.

Why exactly did I want a PT-92AF? Basically because I’m a huge Beretta fan. I have a gaggle of various Model 92FS pistols in different configurations and I always wanted a Taurus because of the frame-mounted safety.

What I lusted after, the frame mounted safety.

But I wanted a specific Taurus, you see. I wanted one that was still made on the original Beretta tooling by the Beretta-trained staff.

Late 1980s Taurus print ad.

I wanted a gun from the era of that advertisement or just after.

In 1997, Taurus radically started to change the PT-92 via numerous cost-cutting measures in manufacturing. Gone were the blued and nickel finishes, the fine slide serrations, and the machined parts from forgings. All were replaced with plastic and MIM parts. Further on down the line, they added their safety lock too. I didn’t want any of that.

No, what I wanted was this . . .

My PT-92AF, made prior to the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban has all the features I wanted. No plastic or MIM parts to be found. 

Made in the early 90s, this particular PT-92AF is just right. It has the frame-mounted ambi-safety which also functions as a decocker, the crisp, fine slide serrations along with the nice blued finish on the slide. All in all, I’m happy with her.

The barrel, guide rod, and locking block all are swappable between Taurus and Beretta.

She takes down like every other Beretta and I’ve even swapped out some parts from my Beretta bin. The guide rod is from Beretta. The factory one is stainless and that went to another gun of mine, my 96G Brigader Elite II. The stainless guide rod looks better there.

Honestly, the gun screams quality. Comparing it to my Berettas, I really see no difference. The gun is the physical manifestation of the promise in this early 90s era ad.

Taurus ad showing off their new stainless .40 S&W chambered PT-100.

I’m a sucker for John Woo films, too. Both the Taurus PT-92 and Beretta 92 get plenty of screen time. Both the Taurus and Beretta just look good on the silver screen.

“I feel the Beretta is a great character,” he says seriously. “It’s so strong and elegant. The other guns look dumb to me.” – John Woo, SPLICED Magazine, June 16, 1997 at the Ritz Hotel in San Francisco.

PT-92 in Hard Boiled.
Chow Yun-Fat in The Killers with a PT-92.

The gun handles just as nicely on the range, too. The sights are typical of the classic 92 pattern. They’re still crisp, rugged, and useful.

The sights are still capable.

I had no problem with it at the 20-yard line at Talon Range in Midway, Florida.

I think the target speaks for itself.

A lot of people talk Taurus guns down. Well, I can tell you that this gun eats everything without a hiccup. No malfunctions whatsoever and I used the two original 15-round magazines made prior to the Clinton ban.

All in all, I am very satisfied with this PT-92AF and I’m glad to have her in my stable. The quality and craftsmanship in this gun rivals that of my Berettas. So don’t turn your nose at a Taurus if you run across one. The early 1990s era guns are real diamonds in the rough.

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