Taurus USA CEO Responds To Settlement, Class-Action Suit

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Taurus has released statements through Shooting Sports Retailer regarding their recent settlement of a class-action lawsuit regarding several its pistol models, all of which were susceptible to discharge when dropped. Anthony Acitelli is the CEO of Taurus USA, the US distributor for Taurus International products. From Shooting Sports Retailer:

Taurus officials readily admit their handguns have suffered from poor quality, unresponsive customer service and bad PR, but Acitelli said the company has owned up to its mistakes and made a change for the better.

“A company that stands behind its product and is willing to do the right thing for the customer actually gives us credibility,” Acitelli said. “If you look at cases where companies had safety notices and recalls, the general public looks on that favorably and says this is a company that’s a good corporate citizen, that’s taking responsibility for their products, and we’re doing the right thing.”

“If you make a million guns, these things can happen,” Acitelli added.

Neither the settlement nor the allegations in the case include any of the newer Taurus G2 model pistols, the company claims.

An attorney close to the class action lawsuit alleging safety flaws in some Taurus pistols tells Shooting Sports Retailer the settlement agreement could impact as many as 966,000 handguns.

The lawyer — who has represented several clients in personal injury cases against Taurus — said the settlement includes a requirement that Taurus provide training to owners of the nine pistol models specified in the class action lawsuit on how to avoid unintended discharges.

“Our concern is that you’re not going to have 966,000 guns sent back,” the attorney said on the condition of anonymity. “So we want them to be able to see how to properly store the pistol so this won’t happen.”

The attorney confirmed the training was jointly developed by Taurus and plaintiff’s lawyers and includes never carrying the pistols with a round in the chamber unless the shooter is at the range. The training will be delivered via video and in written form to anyone who requests it, he added.

Acitelli made other miscellaneous comments in a follow-up article:

On the company’s reputation among consumers and Taurus retailers.

“We’re hearing from the marketplace [on] the quality concerns. We don’t get responses like we used to even a year ago. What we did here coming through the door is to contain the quality control of the product from Brazil and we did the re-pricing action in the marketplace.”

“Once you re-price something and the value proposition is there, and people understand what they’re getting for what they’re paying, a lot of the things that they were complaining about had to do more with price and value proposition than it did with [the] actual quality. If you’re selling a $500 product that the consumer sees as a $200 product, then they start picking out the things they perceive as not being of value. We’ve turned the nose up on the airplane. We’re back in business and we’ve got a ton of market share and we’ve got a ton of our customers back.”

On the popularity of the Taurus Curve.

“The Curve is a pleasant surprise. It’s outside the box, it’s different, and any time you do something that different you kind of cross your fingers and say, ‘OK, we’ve done our homework. The market’s told us there’s a place for this product.’ But when you’re the innovator and you’re out in front, there’s a big swing.”

“I would say the Curve has been a success. The sales have been three times what we thought they’d be and the shipments are probably three times less than we thought it should be. We’ve got a little disconnect over supply and demand, which isn’t a bad thing on a new product. The market buzz and the customer buzz over the Curve has been unbelievable, but I wish we could get more out the door. We just didn’t plan for this much response from the customer.”

Unfortunately, the Brazilian manufacturer’s handguns have been plagued by scandal recently having experienced two recalls prior to this lawsuit. One was the abortive release of the Taurus Curve handgun due to some guns being released without the caliber markings required by law, with the other being a Brazilian police recall of 98,000 24/7 DS pistols which had a propensity for firing accidentally. The lawsuit is based on the weapons potentially being able to fire when dropped, something that virtually all major quality brands do not suffer from. Evidence that this is a problem is available in an article written for this site last month, available here. In my opinion, there is no price point where a handgun that may fire when dropped is acceptable. I realize that some weapons will do better on the market at lower price points despite being overall lower in quality, but weapons manufacturers have a duty to release safe products regardless of their price.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Tim Pearce

    I’m sorry, but this isn’t “what happens when you make a million guns.” This is what happens when you make a million guns WRONG. A drop safety isn’t some new-age BS fad. If a gun *can* fire at *any* other time than when the trigger is pulled completely to the rear, it is absolutely defective. Gun manufacturers learned this in the goddamn 19th Century.

    Smith & Wesson needed four of their Performance Center 460 S&Ws to blow their barrels off before they realized something was very wrong and they issued a recall, testing *every* one of that model and fixing, at their own cost, those that were found to have crap steel.
    Ruger went through a very similar situation with their LCP, and after a similar number of reports of an inadequate drop safety. They shut down their production and had literally everyone who could swap out bad parts for good doing so. Again, they did it all at their own cost. Some people even got a hat or a free magazine as Ruger’s way of saying, “We’re sorry you even had to do this.”
    These two examples are how a recall is done right. They did not, you will notice, offer anything less than a new or restored gun in exchange for participating. Taurus is offering to buy back defective $300+ guns for $200. The correct answer would have been, “If you send us back your pistols, we will either fix the defect or give you a brand new equivalent pistol of your choice.” Sure, you’re talking about millions of dollars of new guns, but you’re also talking about an event that very likely could *doom* your company.

    How many people are going to say, “Like hell I’m going to sell you my gun for $200!” and not participate? You’re still liable for any and all injuries or deaths caused by your defective guns if they are not returned. Have no doubt about that.

    I’ve long been a bit of an apologist for Taurus. Had I had all the facts, and known that Taurus apparently decided that drop safeties were too goddamn expensive, I wouldn’t have for even a moment tried to deflect people’s fears about the quality of Taurus products. I’d have reaffirmed them.

    I want to apologize to each and every person that I have told that Taurus has problems, but they fix them. Apparently, they do not fix their problems, only try to cover them up. I want to apologize to each and every person that I sold a Taurus to in the seven plus years of retail firearm sales. I wish I’d known, then, what Taurus really stands for.

    I own a PT145, and I might consider selling it to Taurus for $200, since it’s not worth that to anyone else, now, including me. That money will go to replacing it with something made by a company with the intelligence to understand that a $5 part that prevents million dollar lawsuits is the only sensible way of doing things.

    I was once something of a Taurus fanboy. Now I’m done with them.

    • Jack Morris

      Hot damn, well said.

    • Steve Milliron

      It’s been said many times before, but it bears repeating: mess with the bull, get the horns.

    • John Feeg

      Wait, Taurus will buy back a pistol for $200? I may just violate my “don’t sell guns policy;” however, I would like to get rid of the evidence from when Taurus violated me.

    • jerry young

      there is a second option for repairing the defective guns at least that’s what I’ve read I’ll be checking out that option

      • Tim Pearce

        Repairing, in this case, means restoring it to the same default defective function, no doubt, not removing the intentional defect. That’s just how warranty claims are done.

    • Tim Pearce

      Just spotted another double-speak bit. You will receive *up to* $200. Not you will receive $200. Any amount from $0 to $200 is within their range. They could send you a thank you letter and not a single penny, and they’re within the terms set out in the settlement.

    • milesdigby

      I have a 1992 Taurus 5 shot double action only .38 special revolver. At the time my friend who knew about guns (he was a armor in Nam), “they nationalized the S&W factory down in Brazil your just getting S&W from 10 years ago new”. I could not buy the very expensive S&W I was 22 and broke. But my Taurus has never had any kind of failure to fire,FTE,FTF etc.

      But it is not a semi auto. I really loved Taurus for its years of service it gave me. But this lawsuit and the way they have handled it is terrible. I doubt I would buy one now except maybe their 1911 which I would just use as a affordable base to build on.

      Merry War on Christmas

      M

  • Kivaari

    That little press comment left me feeling dirty. Some of us have been around Taurus handguns since the late 60’s. We watched chunks of metal fall off, sights go missing. cylinders that wouldn’t turn, and then the era of semi-auto pistols so unreliable that I watched dealers, including myself, that simply said we will not buy Taurus pistols for display and sale. Like AMT pistols, I would warn the customer that if they really wanted one, I would get it for them, That I would not help them in any fashion to deal with warranty repair, shipping or dealing with the companies in any way. Some people still bought them. Then they would come back saying, “I should have listened to you”.

  • Kyle

    That’s nice, still have no intention of buying a Taurus pretty much ever.

  • jerry young

    everybody has an opinion, not that I think Taurus is the best gun no it’s not but I have 3 Taurus guns and 1 is on the list, I bought them because I like the feel and can shoot them very accurately, they’re just in my collection and taken to the range occasionally, so would I buy another Taurus probably if I find one that appeals to me, do I like the $200 offer for my gun? no I paid more than that for it, the second option I will check on getting it serviced to correct any problems with it if any, as I said it’s just my opinion that’s all

    • Tim Pearce

      Good luck on that second option. Seriously. If it works, tell us. I’m pretty certain that all you’ll get back if you ever send that one in for warranty work is a check worth anywhere from $0 to $200.

      • jerry young

        I wouldn’t send my gun, like I said I just shoot it occasionally at the range so if I can’t get it repaired by them it’s of little consequence

  • Hero5

    Too much scandal and nonsense from what used to be a reliable well made brand. Now these days I’d rather just buy American or Austrian for a little more and get a whole lot more piece of mind.

    • Zachary marrs

      Lol, they were never “reliable”

      Some years are better than other years, but they have always had poor QC

  • Sulaco

    I remember a couple years ago a video that showed some S. American cops on a gun range rapping the back of a Taurus auto pistol (can’t remember which one) and it fired every time, no finger near a trigger. As I recall they had shipped all the guns purchased back to Taurus…

  • Mark Robert

    Hi guys. I live in Brasil. And I am a shooter for almost 30 years. The thing is Taurus takes extra care making the products it exports. Now you can figure what is sold to us, in Brazil. This company is still in business because it uses political force to avoid competition. In fact, it is prohibited to foreign manufecturers to install their factories in Brazil. Glock tried. CZ tried… And it is allowed to import weapons just in case it doesn’t have a similar model made in Brazil, what is quite subjective. It is a very dirty work made by Taurus, politicians and brazilian Army, who controls products like weapons and explosives. And the rule is that police agencies can buy weapons only form brazilian companies, as is, Taurus and Imbel. Their excuse is to say that those factories are strategic defense industries. We face tragic problems with Taurus products. Their crap plastic pistols is the apex of the lack of quality and lack of security in making guns. For what I said, you can see we have to swallow the Taurus bull s. products. There are no other brands in market, due to Taurus monopoly. But you can avoid that. Please do.