The Taurus PT-111 Millennium G2 pistol is beset by accurate but unfair qualifiers. “It’s a good gun—for the price.” “Not bad—for a Taurus.”
Frankly, I took possession of the G2 with something less than enthusiasm. In the past, Taurus had a reputation for affordability at the expense of quality, and innovation at the cost of practicality. I tried to approach the new pistol with an open mind. After all, the company was under new management and I don’t believe that the “sins of the father” admonition applies to gun companies.
There has of late been a slew of comparably sized concealed-carry 9 mm pistols released onto the market. Almost all of them are excellent. Benefitting from the near-universal embracement of nested, dual recoil springs, they shoot incredibly well—accurately and reliably—despite short barrels. Some have truncated grip frames, others allow full finger placement and still others give you an option with extended magazines incorporating finger grooves. All have polymer frames and some form of striker-firing or double-action-only ignition system. With double-column magazines, they are typically too big to be pocket pistols. Rather, they are belt guns of minimal size, but considerable firepower.
My assumption was that the only way Taurus could compete in that market segment was to undersell the competition, likely with an underwhelming pistol. I was wrong.
The way to truly appreciate what this handgun represents is to take price and provenance completely off the table, to examine the gun in a vacuum where MSRP isn’t a factor.
What you have, first and foremost, is an ideally sized pistol for concealed carry on a belt. It is very compact, but stops just short of being too small. The slide/barrel is abbreviated, but long enough for decent balance and sufficient sight radius. Oh, it could be longer if you carry in an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster and wear a jacket or untucked shirt, but not everyone does. The 3.2-inch barrel length offers good concealment potential to the widest cross-section of shooters. It is the grip frame, though, that is most unexpected.
When I first picked up the G2, I was surprised that it appeared to be a single stack. Everything I’d heard had led me to believe it was a double-stack pistol with considerable ammunition capacity. I was rather taken aback to pop out the magazine and realize it was indeed a double stack, albeit the narrowest one I’ve ever handled. It lacks palm swells and sculpted finger grooves, but more than makes up for them with singular slimness. But, wait—there’s more. Instead of going with a chopped grip frame that abandons the pinkie like last year’s campaign promise, Taurus has incorporated a finger ledge on the base of the magazine. That means people with small, medium and even fairly large hands can get a full grip on the G2. The minimal loss of potential concealability is more than offset by the comfort and control offered by full and complete hand placement.
Other outwardly apparent features of the pistol are likewise intriguing. The gun is largely dehorned. There are precious few sharp edges to either snag on clothing or cause discomfort when shooting. The G2 has that sought-after “used bar of soap” smoothness to its edges and contours. The slide is beveled at the muzzle for ease of reholstering the pistol. A nice inclusion is a loaded-chamber indicator that pops up from behind the barrel hood at the top of the slide. The grip frame garners yet more attention with the presence of areas of aggressive stippling that allow good purchase, even with damp or oily hands.
On the hip, the G2 carries extremely well. We put it in a Pro Stealth nylon IWB holster from DeSantis and the combination worked just fine. The gun is light, flat and unobtrusive. You easily forget you are carrying a pistol holding 12+1 rounds of 9 mm. Yet, when you go to grasp the Taurus, the grip frame makes it easy to get a hold of. The short muzzle “clears leather” quickly and the gun points and maneuvers with ease. Also, for some reason, the G2 is very fast to reload. The empty magazine drops freely and there is some ergonomic alchemy that makes it simple to slam in a charged one with great rapidity, rack the slide and resume firing.
At the range, the Millennium G2 passed the most critical test with flying colors: It reliably went bang when you pulled the trigger. Also, it’s “combat accurate” (though just barely). And, despite being one of the lighter pistols in the class, the grip provided good control and the smooth contours were easy on the hand.
For those reasons alone, the Taurus is a good, solid concealed-carry gun. It is easily competitive in its market niche on a qualitative basis. Oh, it lacks some European sculpting and feel, but exceeds those other guns in different areas. However, once you step outside the vacuum and reintroduce the matter of price, you realize just how remarkable that fact is.
You see, the Taurus Millennium G2 has an MSRP of just $349. And its street price has recently been spotted at less than $250. Yep, its street price can be less than half the MSRP of competing pistols.
Think about it; $250. That’s a nice dinner and show for two in most major cities. In my case, it’s a good bass-fishing combo or four fill-ups for my V-8. It’s 12 boxes of self-defense ammo. Hell, it’s just 10 packs of premium razor blades. This handgun is flipping the script, not with new or unique features, but with a more-than-satisfactory combination of design elements offered at a shockingly low price.
A Closer Look
The Millennium G2 is good, not perfect. No gun is. But what there is to quibble about mostly comes down to personal preference. There is simply a lot to like about it and, at this price point, a lot you can learn to live with.
The magazine release is a pretty standard button at the base of the trigger guard on the left side. While the trigger guard seems small, it’s more of a case of it not being oversize to accommodate a gloved hand. You’ll have to decide how important a consideration that is.
The sights are sort of a mixed blessing. Impressively, they are very low-profile and snag-resistant, yet adjustable for both windage and elevation. However, they are non-luminous and quite small, and getting a good sight picture in a hurry is not easy, especially in low light.
In addition to an internal, key-locking safety that renders the pistol inoperable, the G2 has a left-side thumb safety. For many, the presence of a thumb safety on a double-action-only or striker-fired gun is a bone of contention. Gun companies probably like them for liability reasons and some novice gun carriers may feel reassured by them, but shooters who grew up using Glocks or something similar find them unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst, believing you could forget to deactivate them in an emergency. Some companies seem to have included miniscule thumb safeties with the assumption they’ll never be used. The G2’s lever is long and slender, keeping the gun sleek, but that’s somewhat problematic. There’s enough leverage for easy manipulation, but it’s too narrow to ride your thumb on (as with a 1911) and you can forget that it’s there—and engaged. I quickly decided to leave the thumb safety disengaged and carried the gun that way for the bulk of testing.
The Millennium G2 is decidedly made for right-handers; there is no attempt at ambidexterity. That’ll be trouble for both southpaws and those who worry about their right being disabled in a fight.
The trigger is, as typical, the source of some debate and consternation. Those who grew up on 1911s roll around on the ground kicking and screaming, but they do that with most DAO or striker-fired semi-autos and all DA/SA pistols. Taurus describes this trigger as SA/DA. It takes some getting used to, but just a little. With a round chambered, the initial take-up is very long but light. You then feel a distinct resistance before the trigger breaks with 5 to 9 pounds of pressure. Oh, it’s not a glass-rod clean snap, but it’s not mushy, either; just a little gravelly. It is entirely adequate for self-defense, when you’re as likely to appreciate the finer points of the trigger pull as you are the finer points of the infield-fly rule.
The best thing about the trigger is its second-strike capability. Should the exposed hammer fall on a primer that fails to detonate, you can pull the trigger again. This time you’ll get a long, heavy pull but a second (or third or fourth) strike on a balky primer.
The most egregious problem with the G2 is accuracy. It’s OK at a maximum of 7 to 10 yards; beyond that, hits become “iffy.” While that will turn off some customers, others will no doubt feel that since most self-defense shootings take place at “bad-breath” distance, just how much accuracy do you really need? Still others may acknowledge that $250 worth is all the accuracy they can currently afford.
To make a long story short, there’s a lot of good stuff on the G2 pistol—and it works. You don’t expect it to compete equally with handguns costing far more but—in most respects—it does. That is not to say there aren’t compromises or that it would be everyone’s first pick; a carry gun is a highly personal thing. However, the Taurus PT-111 Millennium G2 is a valid choice for concealed carry and a fiscally prudent one—and that’s no bull.