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A Pair of Nines: Taurus CT9 Carbine & PT1911 9mm Review

by Patrick Sweeney   |  October 16th, 2013 8

A bit more than 25 years ago I invented an “alternative division” in IPSC competition. Well, “I” in that I was the club president. We had the gear, and we all wanted to shoot more. But back then we were still deep in the “run what you brung” ethos (and high-cap pistols had not yet made serious inroads). The new division was simple — carbines chambered in pistol calibers. We called it (no points for originality here) “Pistol Caliber Carbine.” It was pretty straightforward: rifles chambered in pistol cartridges, fired on IPSC handgun stages (in the same match as the handguns were). What we found was simple and startling. No one shot worse using a PCC, and many shot a lot better. Depending on the stage design, it wasn’t unusual for an average competitor to match a top shooter’s times and scores.

A year and a half ago, I visited Taurus in Brazil. There I got to see and handle many new models, models that had to wait on import approval before they could see the light of an American day. That day is now here for a couple of the more interesting specimens.

A Carbine and a Pistol
The CT9 is a straight blowback 9mm carbine with an ambidextrous safety, bolt release and magazine catch. The top of the receiver features a full-length rail, with Taurus-made sights front and rear. The forearm has a rail built in on the bottom and attachment points to put sections of rail on both sides. The charging handle is on the left side, and the action locks open when the magazine is empty.

The construction is modern, basic and appears indestructible. The upper receiver? A one-piece aluminum extrusion with the top rail machined into it. The various slots and ejection port are machined out of the upper. The lower is a steel pressing holding the firing mechanism, bolt hold-open, selector and magazine catch. (The centrally located magazine catch is right behind the magazine well.) Of the two, the lower is the actual “firearm,” so it carries the serial number.

The forearm is a synthetic sleeve over the barrel and upper receiver. It’s hand-filling without being portly. On both sides of the forearm there are threaded inserts so you can bolt on a section of rail, if you want rail there. And if not, you leave them alone. On the bottom, on the forward end of the forearm, is a molded-in section of rail.

On the back end is a swoopy thumbhole stock. Interestingly, the stock is plenty long enough for me. Unlike a lot of thumbhole stocks, the pistol grip is actually comfortable and provides a good reach to the trigger. I swear, a lot of thumbhole stocks appear to have been designed by and for octopi, and reaching anything is an “either/or” proposition. On the CT9 I can easily reach both trigger and selector without shifting my hand.

The CT9 is chambered in 9mm (with a .40 S&W model reportedly hot on its heels) and sports a 16-inch barrel. In talking with the folks at Taurus, I found out some very interesting — and rather complicated — details.

The CT9 and CT40 carbines for U.S. distribution will bear 10-round magazines. OK, no big deal, The Powers That Be can be picky about this, and when you ship products across the border you have to play by the rules. But what is really a puzzlement is that Taurus itself can’t make magazines here in the U.S. that’ll hold more than 10 rounds for the CT9. Even more puzzling, the company can’t be directly involved with another company that does make such magazines. I know there are a bunch of imported firearms you can get that will not only accept, but come with, high-cap magazines. So why are the Feds picking on Taurus? I don’t know, and neither does Taurus.

But I have faith in the marketplace. The fabrication of pistol-caliber carbine magazines is not a secret, and I’m sure that more than one magazine company is working on making the magazines that Taurus owners will want, because you are going to want high-cap magazines for this carbine, once you’ve had a chance to test-fire it. Unlike some 9mm carbines, in which recoil is all out of proportion to the performance they deliver, the CT9 is soft to shoot. To add to the fun, I bolted on a Laserlyte K-15 green laser and spent some time smacking down falling steel plates from the hip.

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