I’ve often looked at Taurus pistols and seen them as cheap knockoffs of other pistol manufacturers. Well, that was both true and misleading. I was on the Taurus USA website today and decided to read about the history of the company. What I read was very interesting. Here are a few snippets:
In 1968, the company was ready to venture into the U.S. market. This was accomplished by employing the services of a succession of U.S. distributors over the next several years. Their efforts met with only marginal success.
In the meantime, Smith & Wesson had been purchased by a conglomerate named Bangor Punta. In 1970, Bangor Punta also purchased 54% of Taurus. Thus, the two companies became “sisters”. Smith & Wesson never owned Taurus. They were both independent companies. However, during the next seven years, a great deal of technology and methodology was passed between the two. What may come as a surprise to some is that more of what was “right” in Porto Alegre was sent to Springfield than was sent from Springfield to south of the equator.
I wonder how Smith & Wesson feels about this and if they would ever openly admit it. Continuing:
Beretta had won a huge contract in 1974 to produce small arms for the army of Brazil. Part of the deal was that Beretta construct a Brazilian factory and use Brazilian labor. This they did, in the southwestern coastal city of Sao Paulo. When the contract ran out in 1980, Beretta sold the plant, literally “lock, stock and barrel,” to Taurus. Taurus now owned everything that once belonged to Beretta, including drawings, tooling, machinery, and a very experienced work force. Taurus was in the pistol business, and immediately sought to improve on the Beretta design, resulting in the popular and acclaimed Taurus PT-92 and PT-99 9mm pistols.
So the truth is revealed! The why Taurus appears to have cheap knockoffs is because they produce reduced cost replicas! I’ve heard some good and some bad things about Taurus guns, but you hear that about every pistol manufacturer. Here is an article from Guns & Ammo’s June 2007 issue. It may surprise you.