The new PT 24/7 OSS version was originally designed and built as a .45 ACP to exceed all requirements originally set forth in 2005 by the U.S. Special Operations Command for an intended procurement of a new military .45 ACP service pistol. It was subsequently adapted for .40 S&W and 9mm as well, following an announcement of an expanded all-service Joint Combat Pistol system trial. When those trials were postponed in 2006, Taurus decided to sell this next-generation service design to the civilian and law enforcement markets.

The 24/7 OSS combines more features than is offered by any other semiauto pistol on the market, and it has an entirely new trigger mechanism that completely eliminates two of the longest-standing problems with double-action and double-action-only pistol design. When you take up the slack in the new Taurus PT 24/7 OSS pistol trigger, you’ve got a first-shot pull that’s as short and quick as a standard single-action Government Model 1911. And for every following shot, the trigger returns to the same fast, short-pull position. No more long, mushy trigger pulls on the first shot then transitioning to a short pull on the second shot, as is the case with conventional double-action autoloaders.

Moreover, if the gun fails to fire, the 24/7 OSS mechanism automatically and instantly resets to a conventional double-action long-pull position and allows you to pull the trigger again–just like a double-action revolver–without needing to manually manipulate the slide. Essentially, it’s a single-action pistol that becomes a double action in an emergency.

Most failures to fire with today’s quality guns and ammo are caused by residue buildup that can impede full chambering or slow the firing pin. In more than 80 percent of such situations, the first firing-pin strike resolves the situation by fully seating the round or clearing the firing-pin channel, and the second hit fires the gun–without the need to jack in a new cartridge. If it’s a bad cartridge and you do have to work the 24/7 OSS slide by hand to chamber a fresh round, the action automatically resets to the original short-pull single-action trigger mode.

The 24/7 design originated with the Taurus line of striker-fired, compact, polymer-frame double-action 9mm Millennium pistols, which debuted in 1998. When I first got my hands on one, I was immediately struck by its shootable feel, its short-stroke repeat-strike trigger (which few other double-action-only pistols offered) and by the fact that the gun had a cocked-and-locked-type manual safety (which no other double-action-only pistol had).

A couple of years later, while visiting the Taurus manufacturing plant in Brazil, I got to handle prototypes of a full-size version of the Millennium design that would soon be introduced as the original 24/7. They impressed me equally.

On the vast majority of double-action-only pistols there are no manual safety mechanisms. The 24/7 has one, which you can choose to use or not use. Ditto with the Taurus Safety System on the right side of the slide that can key-lock the slide and action and make the gun unable to fire.

Other features common to the 24/7 pistols also found on the OSS are a loaded-chamber indicator, internal trigger safety, Heinie combat sights, molded-in equipment rail, reversible magazine release and ergonomic grip design.

The ambidextrous thumb safety on the 24/7 also locks both the trigger and the slide, and there is also an internal striker block. Plus, on the OSS model, if you push the thumb safety upward above the “safe” position (requiring a positive click), it decocks the striker, returning the trigger mechanism to a long-pull conventional double-action mode.

The nice thing about these safety features is that you don’t have to use them, in which case you won’t even know they’re there. I carry 24/7s with the safety off and ready to go–just like a double-action revolver.

The 24/7 OSS also has a comfortable grip and feels much smaller than a typical double-stack pistol because of its finger grooves. The palm swell makes the gun controllable, and the deep indent at the thumb web puts your hand high on the back strap, lessening subjective recoil and reducing recovery time by aligning your grasp more closely with the bore axis of the pistol.

Another elegant small feature is the memory dish in the frame (both sides) just above the front of the trigger guard as an index point alongside the gun either for your trigger finger or for the thumb of your support hand with a proper two-hand hold. The extended-frame dust cover shields the pistol’s innards from grit and dirt and also provides a molded-in equipment rail.

When the 24/7 first reached the market about three years ago, Taurus sent me three samples, in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP and 5,000 rounds of ammo for each pistol to test endurance. All three guns ran flawlessly. Taurus chief Bob Morrison suggested we might want to continue on to see what happened, so he provided another 5,000 rounds each. Same result.

A year later, when Taurus introduced an upgraded version of the 24/7 incorporating the new short-pull trigger design, called the 24/7 PRO, he sent me the .40 S&W and .45 ACP versions and another 10,000 rounds of ammo each. Same result. And when the first pre-production samples of the 24/7 OSS version came into the U.S. in August 2006, he sent me a .40 S&W version and 10,000 rounds of ammo for it, too. Again, same result.

You see a lot of “torture tests” in gun magazines, but I don’t think they tell you very much. I mean, it’s not really very difficult to break something. All you need to do is run it past its design limits. On the other hand, an accelerated normal-use test can provide a indication of whether a product lives up to its maker’s claims for how long it can serve you usefully.

For handguns, an accelerated normal-use test means shooting a lot of rounds through a gun within a shorter span of time than a “normal” user would ordinarily do but without pushing the gun past what a normal shooting session would entail. Today, if you buy any decent polymer-frame pistol you should reasonably expect it to run–with ordinary care–for at least 5,000 rounds with no more than 10 stoppages before you need to begin even thinking about replacing small parts.

In the Real World
How long would that be in real-world use? Manufacturers tell me their market research indicates the average night-stand house gun won’t see 5,000 rounds for nearly 20 years, but we can do it in 10 days–shooting 500 rounds a day, four sessions each day, not stressing the gun by letting it get too hot. I track how long it takes to dirty up and start misfiring, then I clean it. And if parts start breaking and falling off on the fifth day, I’ve learned something useful.

A stress test is different, and it’s especially useful for a duty/defense gun that may be called upon to function in sub-optimum conditions weather such as rain, mud, sand and instances where the gun might get dropped, kicked or stepped on.

When Glock was first working to crack the U.S. law enforcement market, it dropped guns on concrete floors and kicked them across the room; dunked them in buckets of mud, ran a pencil down the bore, shook them off then shot them; and ran over them with cars. Glock created a legend and sold a lot of guns.

So to apply stress to one of the Taurus original 24/7 samples (but not the OSS because I didn’t have it at the time) comparable to what I once watched Glock salesmen do, I took the .45 ACP and chambered a primed and unloaded case, inserted a magazine loaded with equivalent-weight dummy rounds and dropped the gun muzzle-down on a concrete floor from a height of 36 inches. It didn’t fire.

I repeated the drop onto the rear of the slide, muzzle upward. Still didn’t fire. Next I plunked the gun chamber empty with the magazine fully loaded, muzzle down, into the muddy bottom of a shallow stream with the same 36-inch drop and let it sit there for a minute or so, then plucked it out, shook it off, racked the slide to eject the chambered round and locked it open. I ran a stick down the bore to clear the plug of mud, made a quick visual inspection and fired out the magazine with no stoppage.

Last, I reloaded and repeated the mud drop twice more with the same result. Conclusion? The gun’s tight slide/frame interface, snug magazine fit and close barrel/breech lockup does a pretty good job of keeping out foreign matter such as mud.

Sand was a bit more of a challenge. I dropped the gun in a dry sandbox and kicked a flurry of sand over it, as might happen if the gun was dropped out of a holster. After racking the slide and blowing the bore clean, sufficient dry grit remained to prevent the slide from completely closing when I attempted to chamber the next top round in the magazine. I cleared the round, removed the magazine and squirted a liberal amount of silicone-based lube into the chamber and slide/ breech area. Then I reinserted the magazine, dropped the slide and fired out all the remaining rounds with no stoppages.

I repeated this drop-and-clear procedure twice more as well. The second time no additional lubing was necessary after checking to make sure the bore was clear. The third time I needed to lube again to chamber the follow-on round. Conclusion? Sand is a bitch. Also, carry a good lube oil in desert environments.

Even with the needed-lube problem I was able to get the gun back to firing within 30 seconds of the drop. And, yes, I hate to think about the impact of trace grit in the bore as the bullet blasted onto it, but if you drop a duty gun in the sand in a situation and need to get it firing again as soon as possible, pinpoint accuracy is not your primary worry.

Finally, I ran over the gun with a truck. I laid the same fully loaded 24/7 .45 ACP on a pea-gravel/asphalt roadway, muzzle in a safe direction, and drove my pickup right on top of it (closed course, professional gun writer; don’t try this at home), then drove over it, then backed up over it again.

It didn’t look bent when I picked it up (although the polymer grip had some pretty deep gravel scars), and the full magazine fired out cleanly. I went on and shot another 200 rounds through the gun. Point-of-impact change was about three inches at 25 yards–still well within the A-zone. Not too bad, all things considered, for a pistol I tried to drown, bury alive and run over.

What more can I say? I think the Taurus 24/7, in any version, is a gun you can stake your life on. I’m staking mine. And I think the Taurus 24/7 OSS is about to give the Glock, the Springfield Armory XD and the S&W M&P an interesting challenge.

The 24/7 semiauto platform, including the new OSS, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

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