The Used Market: The Full Bodied .380 Taurus PT-58

The Taurus PT58. Overbuilt and easy on the hands. Ideal for recoil sensitive shooters.

The Taurus PT-58. Overbuilt and easy on the hands. Ideal for recoil sensitive shooters.

The Used Market is the spin off from our Shooting History series for guns that are not yet historic but are commonly found out there on the, well, Used Market. We take the guns for these reviews and run them through our normal review process.

As the world of polymer pistols continues to expand, the old-school steel framed pistols are slowly fading away. While some guns, like the Walther PPK, continue to enjoy a dedicated fan base. But others–perfectly good pistols–seem to fall out of favor. Does this mean they disappear? Of course not. The ones that aren’t forgotten in the back of the safe typically get carried, still, or they end up getting traded in at the local shop, or wind up in the listings on GunsAmerica. Here’s one of those: the Taurus PT-58.

Archived info on the PT-58 at Taurus: http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=458&category=Pistol

Taurus Pistols on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=taurus

For those looking for a gun with manageable recoil, the PT 58 has a lot to offer. Muzzle rise is negligible.

For those looking for a gun with manageable recoil, the PT-58 has a lot to offer. Muzzle rise is negligible.

The Taurus Beretta Connection

Some of the Taurus Pistols look like Beretta knock-offs, but there’s more to the story. Taurus has been making their versions of the classic Beretta designs since the mid 1970s. The story began when Beretta won a contract to supply the Brazilian Army with firearms. Part of that contract stipulated that Beretta had to build the pistols in Brazil with local labor. Once Beretta had fulfilled the contract they sold the factory, tooling, plans and equipment to Taurus. This gave the company a solid factory and an experienced work force to man it, and a reputable set of designs to begin tweaking.

The story is slightly reminiscent of the Argentinan Colt story. The Argentinian government contracted with Colt to help them build, train and set up a manufacturing plant to make 1911s for their military. But this is not a story about Colt or Argentina.

Like the other open-slide Beretta designs, the PT-58 is supposed to keep this from happening.

Like the other open-slide Beretta designs, the PT-58 is supposed to keep this from happening.

Like a 92 But Smaller

The Taurus PT-58 is closely modeled on the Beretta Cheetah. They are both scaled down versions of the 92 and are chambered in .380. If you saw a Pt-58 from a distance or in a picture that didn’t have something for scale, you could very easily think it was a 92.  They all share the same open slide design, grip angle and control placement. Now they may be smaller than the full sized 92, but they are not mouse gun small. The lighter weight and smaller size make them easier to carry, but this is a gun from the era before polymer and minimalist designs.

If you are in the market for one of these or the Beretta version, the used market is where you will find them. Neither company is currently making these pistols. The Taurus tends to run about $100 less than the Beretta, depending on model and condition of course.

Specs and Variants

Here are some numbers on the Taurus PT-58.

  • Capacity: 12+1
  • Weight: 18.7 oz
  • Rate of Twist: 1:9.84″
  • Barrel Length: 3.25″
  • Construction: Steel
  • Action: SA/DA
  • Front and Rear Sights: Fixed
  • Length: 6.125″

Taurus made a handful of different versions during the production run of the PT-58. The review gun is one of the first models and does not have a decocking lever. Here is a little breakdown on the different ones with some of the bigger differences listed.

  • PT58S – 12 round magazines, no decocking lever.
  • PT58SD – 12 round magazines, with decocking lever.
  • PT58HC – high capacity 15 round magazines, with a decocker. The grip is longer than the above models, almost the same length as a PT92.
  • PT58HC Plus – It is the same PT58HC, but it comes with two extended 19 round magazines. The PT58HC Plus also takes the 15 round mags.

Shooting

I wish I could say that the range time with the PT-58 went smoothly. We had some malfunctions. At first we thought it might have been from shooting lighter loads–target ammo–but the same issues cropped up with some hotter carry rounds. This pistol is a picky eater.

Almost all of the issues had to do with getting the cases clear of the slide. Stovepipes. What do you do when something like this happens? We’ll talk about Taurus’s Unlimited Lifetime (of the gun–not the owner) Repair Policy below, but you can click on it now if you just can’t wait.

This was all-too-common with some of the ammo brands. 1 or two per mag.

This was all-too-common with some of the ammo brands. 1 or 2 per mag.

When ejection worked, it was still often erratic. If this were a gun I intended to carry, I'd have the extractor checked over.

When ejection worked, it was still often erratic. If this were a gun I intended to carry, I’d have the extractor checked over, or send it back to Taurus for a check-up.

Once we found the stuff that it would eat, there were no problems. This gun likes PMC, which is good for range time, and I am sure there are a number of others out there that would also work. Finding the ammo that will work can be an expensive endeavor, but it is well worth the effort–no matter what you’re carrying.

Once the “right” ammo was found, the PT-58 was a pleasure to shoot.  The recoil from the .380 is very soft in a steel framed gun like this. Accuracy was well within my expectations for a 3″ barreled pistol. The trigger is long but smooth and breaks around 6 pounds. One other thing to note is that his pistol throws spent brass everywhere. Sometimes they go to the left, sometimes the right. Forward or behind the shooter? Yes. Both. I have seen some guns be pretty random with where they throw brass, but this is the first one I have seen that will do it close to 360 degrees. Possible problems? Could be the extractor, could be the ejector. Could even be the mag. All three of those are relatively easy fixes.

The PT58 is so much easier to shoot than the typical mouse gun.  This is a full mag from 10 yards.

The PT-58 is so much easier to shoot than the typical mouse gun. This is a full mag from 10 yards.

Ambidextrous.

Ambidextrous.

Thoughts

When this pistol worked, it worked very well and was easy to shoot.  A recoil sensitive shooter would have a very easy time with this pistol. But there is the ammo selection issue.

Now is this the case with all Taurus pistols? Far from it. I have heard a lot of people say, and have said it myself, that if you get a good Taurus you have a great firearm. But if you get one with issues… well, you can read folk’s trials and tribulations all over the internet with Taurus.

But they stand behind their repair policy. If you have an issue, it will get resolved. This isn’t just for the original owner of the gun. If you have a Taurus that needs work (even one you bought used) Taurus will fix it. There is no better policy in place, anywhere.

The positive experiences people have had with Taurus never seem to get the same amount of discussion or acknowledgement, especially with people hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. We work closely with Taurus, and the guns we’ve seen coming in lately have been exceptionally well priced and genuinely innovative.

So what about the PT-58? While I’m not going to carry a .380 this big or heavy, there are those who do. The size makes it easy to shoot, and even easier to manipulate. The weight and size combine for a easily manageable shooting experience. This is a durable gun that would be right at home in a toolbox, or a bed-side safe. When you can find one for sale, the price is always low–typically $300 or so. And that could be a bargain for the right gun.

Serrations on the concave trigger guard.

Serrations on the concave trigger guard.

Serrations on the front of the grip.

Serrations on the front of the grip.

Serrations behind.

Serrations behind.

From the back. By today's standards, this is a wide load.

From the back. By today’s standards, this is a wide load.

A nice sight radius for a .380.

A nice sight radius for a .380.

The rear sight is low-profile.

The rear sight is low-profile.

The front sight isn't adjustable.

The front sight isn’t adjustable.

The lines of the PT-58 evoke its ancestry.

The lines of the PT-58 evoke its ancestry.

The safety selector in the down/fire position.

The safety selector in the down/fire position. Beretta 92 fans need to watch out for this, as the old M9 safety selector travels up for the safe position. But this is a frame mounted safety, not a slide mounted safety. h/t Jon Hodoway for that insight.

The controls are very easily accessed.

The controls are very easily accessed.

Mag release.

Mag release.

The mag release on this one is set for a lefty.

The mag release on this one is set for a lefty.

Steel mags fed fine and dropped free.

Steel mags fed fine and dropped free.

The angle and materials make insertion easy.

The angle and materials make insertion easy.

Flat nosed rounds fed fine.

Flat nosed rounds fed fine.

A functional storage solution for a good toolbox gun.

A functional storage solution for a good toolbox gun.

Single action pull, XX pounds.

Single action pull, 6 pounds.

Double action was smooth, but much heavier at xx pounds.

Double action was smooth, but much heavier at just over 10 pounds.

The flip side. Unlike some of the current polymer .380s, the PT58 is a good looking gun.

The flip side. Unlike some of the current polymer .380s, the PT-58 is a good looking gun.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Nathan Turnig April 17, 2017, 12:05 am

    can you use Beretta 92 grips on this weapon. I noticed that the grips are very similar to the m9 they issued me and was wondering because I am now missing a screw on it. if you have input please let me know. No complaints other then the grips. Reliable for me. Out of about 200 rounds i had no feeding issues. Great pistol but a little to big to carry around. Mags are hard to find though. I know they make a 19 round magazine and then stock it holds a standard of 12 + 1

  • Tim February 25, 2017, 5:36 pm

    Does any body have a magazine for the pt58 hc plus 38015 or19 round for sale please let me know

    • Arthur May 28, 2017, 9:37 pm

      I’ll trade you a 19 round for a 15 round.

  • Steve August 5, 2016, 2:29 pm

    I have owned a PT58 for many years. The mags are extremely difficult to get and I have had a standing order with Taurus USA for well over three years. I have had ZERO luck getting anything out of them. I have problems with their 617’s cylinder closing all the way. I have their 45 Colt pump rifle and it throws live rounds out instead of chambering and my list goes on. I have called for years and get oops sorry and no help. I have written them as well and so far have gotten no response. This does not even get into their PT145 recall. Two hundred dollars …. really? Lifetime warranty my backside …. I will never purchase another “boat anchor” from them.

  • Frank April 5, 2016, 4:11 pm

    I have a Bersa Thunder 380 plus…15+1 mag…shoots anything I feed to it..it will beat the Taurus hands down.

    • Bruce Bertoli May 17, 2016, 12:07 pm

      I love the Bersa .380. I have an old one and it shoots incredibly straight. The price on a Bersa has gone up considerably in the past year or so. GO BERSA

  • Joe April 5, 2016, 3:48 pm

    As far as Taurus customer service goes I give them a five out of ten. I sent back my top 380 explaining that the lock back feature engaged many times before the mag was empty. They sent it back to me with a polished feed ramp. That obviously did nothing to resolve the problem so I fixed it myself by grinding back the tab that engages the follower after the last round. It now works as it should

    • Miles Huggins April 5, 2016, 6:13 pm

      I had a xd40 sun compact that did the same thing i fixed it the same way

  • MCQ April 5, 2016, 3:04 pm

    I own a Beretta 84FS and a Browning BDA. The sights on the Beretta are much better than the BDA, so I carry the Beretta. I carried a snubby Ruger SP101 .357 Mag Revolver for years and the Beretta 84 is almost identical in size to the SP101 except the Beretta is just slightly wider in the grip than the SP101 is in the cylinder. The main reason I switched was 5 rounds in the SP101 + 6 rounds in a speed strip vs. 13+1 in the Beretta with 13 more in a spare mag.

  • Abby Normal April 4, 2016, 11:03 pm

    This is the Beretta 84FS made by Taurus. I have an 84FS as my carry gun and absolutely love it. The Beretta 85FS is the same gun but in single stack and just a hair thinner at the grip. Although I’ve never actually seen the PT58SD I would like to own one. The Browning BDA is the same too but I don’t think those are made anymore. The Beretta 84FS is still made but only in Italy and they are not cheap. I added some Pachmayr grips to mine to give the gun a little girth for a better feel. Everyone that shoots this just loves it. It kicks like a mule and is almost as accurate as my 92FS. The shorter barrel will make it less accurate but oh well. This gun will eat whatever you feed it and won’t complain – at least mine doesn’t.

    • TPSnodgrass April 11, 2016, 6:02 pm

      AbbyN:
      To reduce the feeling of “kicking like a mule”, check out Wolff Gun Springs. They DO offer a heavier recoil spring that reduces the recoil sensation, but, under the Laws of Physics, increases the strength required for pulling the slide back.
      Also, look at Pachmayr’s rubber grips for the 84 series pistols, (yes it WILL fit all of them in the 84 lineup) or get a Hogue Slip-on grip, both will help mitigate felt recoil.
      Yes, BOTH my wife and I have Beretta 84’s and love them. I shoot Buffalo Bore ammunition ourt of mine, extremely accurate, and hits harder than any other commercially available ammunition. Hope this helps.

  • Sally April 4, 2016, 7:27 pm

    I usually don’t leave comments, but I have to weigh in on this thread. First off I love the Guns America blog and I always enjoy reading the articles and posts when it hits my inbox.

    I have had a Browning BDA for about three years now and it is my main conceal carry. I absolutely love it. I’ve never had a problem with ammo with it and I use some really cheap stuff for target practice. I bought this pistol because I have serious damage to my wrists due to a horseback riding accident a number of years ago. I’m now missing bones in both wrists and neither of my thumbs are connected to bone anymore. Needless to say, recoil is a serious issue for me. I never have an issue with my BDA causing me pain and I usually go through 100 rounds each time I practice with it. I highly recommend this pistol for anyone who has issues with hand/wrist/arm pain.

    This is my purse gun because I can’t conceal it easily. It would require a major change of wardrobe to do so. So I always have a weapon with me I also carry a Beretta Tomcat in a Pistol Wear holster. There are times I’m out in public and don’t have my purse with me so I at least have the Tomcat. I’ve read many people complain about the .32 ACP being too small and too slow to be a good defense round, but I shoot what I can. Sure, I’d like to have a .45, but I can get 2 rounds off with my hubby’s SR-45 before I’m done and that means I’m done for the day for shooting pistols or doing anything else for that matter. Darling hubby also has a Bersa Thunder .380 in his collection and I can’t shoot it comfortably. It’s not as heavy and the grip is narrower so it doesn’t distribute the recoil load as well as my Browning BDA.

  • Santiago Bonilla April 4, 2016, 6:46 pm

    My first carrying pistol, still in my posession but I prefer to carry my Ruger LCP.

  • mike owen April 4, 2016, 4:43 pm

    I too have had the Browning BDA for over 40 years and carried it daily ever since I could get a carry permit. I really like the premium bullets you can now get; but I have one note – don’t forget to periodically empty the magazine and load another because the mag spring will take a set if you don’t and you will have a single shot only.

  • Mike B. April 4, 2016, 12:21 pm

    An additional comment… I own an FN Browning .380 BDA 425 PT for the last 40 years
    as a back up weapon when I was on duty and personal ccw carry when off duty. It is exactly
    as the Beretta and as PT 58 pistols in this article… Same size, construction material and
    weight. Except for the following.. The upper receiver / slide is completely Solid except
    for the ejection port. There is no cut opening in the slide that gives the appearance of
    the Beretta 92 Series firearms. I used to have one of the Beretta’s but traded it back into
    the gun shop to purchase the FN Browning version. Because I liked the solid upper that
    would not get gummed up with dirt or lint from constant carrying concealed in a inside
    the pants holster or leg holster… Being more solid also helped keep the recoil lower by
    the additional weight. There were no serrations on the trigger or the hand grip. I had
    to purchase Pachymer Grips to change off the wood panels to give a more solid grip
    on the firearm. And as years go by, it is more difficult to purchase spare magazines
    as well as increasingly expensive when you do find them, go to area gun shows and
    purchase any you can find. This FN Browning .380 BDA handled any ammo without
    jamming or feeding problems either. A good self defense gun for women, young people
    and seniors who have problems handling more powerful handguns and have arthritis in
    their hands. If you find a used FN Browning, comparing it to the Beretta or a Taurus. I
    would purchase the FN Browning hands down.

  • Steve Royal April 4, 2016, 10:15 am

    I have had a Beretta Cheetah 85 for close to 20 years (8 round magazine). It has always gobbled up anything I put in it. It is very accurate at the 7 and 10 yard mark, one ragged hole. Easy to shoot, always the first pistol I use when showing a new shooter how it is done. Very little recoil and just a pleasure to play with. I say get the Beretta to avoid any issues with operation.

  • Todd April 4, 2016, 10:05 am

    Ummmmmm.. Wanna good piece of steel in the .380 caliber neighborhood? Makarov PM baby. Eats any ammo, and is a natural shooter. Nice daily carry piece too.

  • David Patterson April 4, 2016, 10:02 am

    Or buy a Bersa thunder 380, inexpensive and a great shooter!

  • Joespeed April 4, 2016, 8:55 am

    I purchased a new , first gen. model around the time it came on the market..
    Have used it sporadically for about 30 yrs..& like it’s Taurus big brother,
    The PT-92, it’s performance has been flawless. Never had a failure to feed,
    or eject, on mine..with factory or my handloads.No stovepipes @ all.
    All 3 different 380’s I’ve owned (The PT-58, CZ-83, & Sig 232) send brass flying
    a greater distance than all other calibers I shoot.
    Lastly,I believe the author of this review is in error, calling the PT-58 a steel-framed pistol,
    the frame is aluminum, or an aluminum alloy, while not polymer, it isn’t steel.
    The CZ-83 has a steel frame.. Only complaint with my PT-58 is..
    Mags for it are hard to find & expensive to but, when you can find them..

  • Vern April 4, 2016, 7:45 am

    I’ve owned one for the past many years. I leave it by the entry. and go shoot it a couple times a year. Great machine it is!

  • Tim April 4, 2016, 5:58 am

    Beretta 84 clone

    • Mas April 4, 2016, 9:50 am

      Thanks, Tim. I know I have seen a Beretta looking similar to this PT58 but cannot remember the model number. The Beretta 84 somehow is better looking than this PT58. I have never seen a PT58 in real life though. In these photos it appears to be bulkier than the Beretta 84.

      • Deon October 15, 2016, 6:14 pm

        HOW MUCH FOR DA CLIP

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