Return Of The Two-Gun Man


Today’s thoroughly modern version of the two-gun man is satisfied by Taurus’ offering of a semi-automatic Millennium G2 9mm pistol and a companion CT9 carbine. Usually when we hear “semi-automatic rifle” we mostly think of the AR platform overwhelmingly chambered in .223.

Classes are offered on how to use the .223 in a self-defense mode and it is often touted as the perfect home-defense rifle. The .223 is an excellent cartridge for many uses and the AR is a well-proven design, however is it the best choice as a home-defense carbine? In my mind, at least, it is much more than is needed for shooting at ranges which will normally be very up close. It is more power and range than needed. I broached the subject with several other shooters as I talked to them of the new Taurus carbine and they all agreed with me the 9mm carbine concept made a lot of sense as a home-defense carbine.

The arguments against the 9mm as a self-defense cartridge ended long ago with the coming of modern ammunition. We have many choices available today which make the 9mm a highly effective self-defense cartridge when chambered in a pistol and perhaps even more so from the barrel of a carbine. One of the problems urban dwellers have to consider is where a loosed bullet is going to wind up. There is no technology which allows us to call them back, and the 9mm jacketed hollowpoint is less likely to penetrate several walls and wind up someplace it shouldn’t be. Add to this the fact that 9mm ammunition is usually less expensive, certainly a lot less noisy and exhibits less recoil, which can be very important when used by younger shooters or seasoned citizens.

Someone once asked Border Patrol Chief Inspector Bill Jordan how he got that unyielding Border Patrol campaign hat to conform to his head. He remarked the thinking was backwards. The hat did not conform—the head did. Our bodies are remarkable in many ways and especially the ways they can mold to different situations. This is especially true with the hands often being forced to conform to an unyielding gun grip. So it is especially gratifying, at least to me, to pick up a pistol and find it conforms perfectly to my hand just as it is with no alterations required. That is exactly what the PT111 Millennium G2 felt like the first time I gripped it and nothing has changed since. Everything simply feels right, even though this is a compact pistol and I have a relatively large hand. As small as the grip frame is, there is still room for all three fingers and the trigger finger naturally falls to the trigger.

The Millennium 9mm G2 utilizes a 12-shot, double-stack magazine in its minimum-sized grip frame. The frame itself is polymer and has molded-in stippling front, back and on both sides. There is also a depression on either side to accept the side of the thumb. On the left side we find a thumb safety and a slide stop. The black steel slide has cocking serrations above these two features and the slide is relatively easy to operate. In addition to the thumb safety, there is a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide and also a trigger safety in the center of the trigger itself. A fourth safety is the firing pin block, which is designed to prevent the firing pin from going forward and striking the primer until the trigger is in its final rearward position.

Sights are excellent being of the 3-dot variety with the rear sight adjustable for both elevation and windage. I had no trouble sighting in the G2 for various types of ammunition. Nine different loads were tried through the Millennium and this little Taurus performed flawlessly and accurately. At no time were there any failures to feed or eject. In addition to the factory sights, the G2 has a single-slot mounting rail in front of the triggerguard and this was utilized by installing a LaserLyte Center Mass Rail Laser for shooting in low-light conditions.


The LaserLyte Center Mass Laser is a compact unit and nicely fits in the
space between muzzle and triggerguard on the Millennium G2’s single-slot frame rail.


The LaserLyte CM-MK4 is a unique red-dot laser sight in that the center-aiming dot is surrounded by a ring of eight other dots. The circle grows at approximately 1 inch for each yard of distance. With its shotgun pattern-style sight, it is very quick and easy to acquire a target. We often hear of the appearance of a red dot on a bad guy’s chest causing him to cease and desist immediately. Imagine the effect of nine such red dots!

The Taurus Millennium G2 comes with two magazines, each having an extension at the bottom for accepting the little finger as well as matching up with the stippling for a very secure feeling. There are many compact double-action, semi-automatic 9mm pistols out there. This one offers everything anyone could want for a price tag less than $350, and the LaserLyte has a price of $165. The two of them together make a very effective self-defense package for just a little more than $500.

The CT9 G2 companion 9mm carbine has a multi-faceted personality. It can serve as a highly effective close-range self-defense carbine, would certainly work for varmint eradication and small-game hunting at reasonable ranges and is especially effective in the grandest of shooting sports: plinking. We are living in a time when ammunition is neither as affordable nor as easily accessible as it was before the post-election feeding frenzy kicked in. However, 9mm is still the easiest and least expensive centerfire ammunition to be found.

This Taurus Carbine looks and feels much like a Modern Sporting Rifle. The stock and forearm are both black synthetic, with the buttstock being highly skeletonized. The pistol grip is angled just right and quite comfortable with security being added by a slight bump, which fits between the 3rd and 4th finger of the shooting hand. There is no recoil pad as none is needed, but rather the stock is fitted with a synthetic serrated buttplate.

The CT9 comes with two 10-round magazines whose capacity is quite puzzling to me as less than half of the magazine is utilized. These magazines could easily hold 20 rounds. Magazines are easily inserted and the magazine catch located in front of the triggerguard is easy to access and also releases the magazine positively. This magazine catch, although easily accessible, is surrounded and protected from accidental or negligent operation. The operating handle is on the left side above the center of the forearm and is both easily accessible and easy to operate. The forearm is large and grooved for a comfortable and secure feeling. This carbine has an ambidextrous safety, which rides just above the pistol grip and is easily operated (up for safe and down to fire.)


The Redfield Counterstrike dot/laser sight adds options for sighting.
The CT9’s rear sight can be moved to suit your individual preferences or just removed.


The Redfield Counterstrike has flip-up lens covers and tethered caps
for the windage and elevation turrets. Note the control panel on
the left side of the sight to activate the red/green dot, the
intensity level and the on/off switch for the laser. The laser
has separate windage and elevation adjustments.


The Taurus CT9 currently only comes with two 10-round magazines.
Perhaps in the future, higher-capacity magazines will become available.


The rail-mounted front sight can be positioned anywhere the shooter desires.
John found it must be removed to employ the laser of the Redfield Counterstrike.

Anyone who likes Picatinny rails will be overjoyed at the way this carbine is outfitted. On the bottom of the forearm we find a 12-slotted rail for attaching a flashlight or laser sight, while the top of the receiver has a full-length rail extending from the buttstock all the way to the front sight, allowing for many options in attaching optics.

Sights consist of globe-style front sight with a white-dot post in the center, matched up with a 2-position folding rear sight, which allows the use of a square sight with a white outline, or by flipping the sight forward, a peep sight comes into play. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation and windage using the special tool supplied by Taurus.

A feature I really like with these sights is the fact they can be adjusted to match the shooter eyes. Both the front and rear sights feature a sight lock which, when moved up, allow both sights to be moved back and forth on the rail. I took advantage of this feature, moving the rear sight approximately 6 inches to the front, making it much easier for my eyes to focus.

I started out, as I do with most new firearms, shooting over the chronograph while settling it in and cleaning out any oil in the barrel. After about 30 rounds I got a misfire. I worked the bolt to eject the cartridge and got another misfire. My friend Denis is always a good helper to have along and he stripped the carbine down, pulling out the breechblock and the firing pin.

As he pulled the firing pin assembly out of its channel he heard something drop on the concrete pad we were on and whatever it was bounced off into the surrounding SW Idaho desert sand never to be seen again. He then cleaned out the channel and the firing pin itself, put everything back together, and the carbine went back to work and is still working. The only thing we can surmise is the sound he heard hitting the concrete was a metal shaving that did not get completely washed out after the CNC machining. This is another example of why every firearm should be thoroughly test-fired before used for any serious purpose.


John shot these targets with the CT9 Carbine at 25 yards (top). It is certainly accurate enough for home defense as well as small-game hunting. Reliable with all loads tested, the G2 was accurate with CCI and Federal American Eagle.


As he pulled the firing pin assembly out of its channel he heard something drop on the concrete pad we were on and whatever it was bounced off into the surrounding SW Idaho desert sand never to be seen again. He then cleaned out the channel and the firing pin itself, put everything back together, and the carbine went back to work and is still working. The only thing we can surmise is the sound he heard hitting the concrete was a metal shaving that did not get completely washed out after the CNC machining. This is another example of why every firearm should be thoroughly test-fired before used for any serious purpose.

Just as with the 9mm Taurus pistol, I was also aided in shooting this carbine by use of a special optical sight. Redfield has just come forth with their new Counterstrike dot sight. This unique sight is more than just a red dot sight allowing a choice of either a red- or green-dot sight by pressing the selector button and then you have 11 different illumination intensity settings available. The Counterstrike mounts on the top rail with one large nut, which makes it rock-solid. Windage and elevation adjustments are 1/2-MOA click adjustable and one feature especially appreciated is the fact the knob covers are tethered to the knobs to prevent loss.

In addition to the choice of either a red or green dot, a third option is a red laser. While the dots can be accessed without removing the front or rear sight, to use the laser it is necessary to remove the front sight as it sits right in the path of the laser. The Redfield Counterstrike is guaranteed 100 percent waterproof, fogproof and shockproof; it is powered by a CR-123 battery, which runs up to 5,000 hours on the lowest setting, and 500 on the highest. This sight has a future for use on several of my carbines.

Very few of us will ever find ourselves having to use our firearms in a serious self-defense situation. If we do, it is comforting to know we have excellent equipment. In the meantime we can enjoy them for target shooting, plinking and practice. This pair of Taurus 9’s fit well in all categories.

The Story Of The TWO-gun Man


The CT9 Carbine (above) has modest recoil due to the 9mm cartridge. Making
productive hits was aided by the new Redfield Counterstrike dot/laser
combination sight. John found shooting the Millennium G2 (below) a
pleasure due to the ergonomic grip, which fit his hand well.


Way, way back in the early days of this magazine, so long ago I was still a teenager, Kent Bellah of Texas wrote the Handloading column. I learned a lot from Bellah in those early years when it came to handloading, and even now nearly 6 decades later, two of his feature articles are still vivid in my memory. He was the first to write of the then-new .44 Magnum in these pages and even before that, an article of his that really caught my imagination was entitled “The Two-Gun Man Comes Back.” At the time he had a Smith & Wesson 3-1/2-inch .357 Magnum and had Ward Koozer of Arizona convert a Model 1892 Winchester to .357 Magnum as a companion levergun to his sixgun. It made a lot of sense to me at the time and still does.

In theory at least the idea of a handgun/rifle combination goes back to the late 1830s with Sam Colt’s Paterson revolver and companion revolving carbine. These were both cap-and-ball of course, and whether anyone combined the pistol and rifle in the short time they were produced is unknown at least to me. With the coming of fixed ammunition firearms the stage was at least set for the two-gun man. Thanks to Oliver Winchester, the first truly successful repeating levergun arrived with the 1860 Henry followed up by the 1866 Winchester both chambered in .44 Rimfire. Companion revolvers followed with the introduction of the Smith & Wesson Model No. 3 American initially chambered in .44 Centerfire, soon offered in .44 Rimfire, and the modern age of the two-gun man began.

In 1873, Winchester introduced their first levergun chambered in .44 WCF, now mostly referred to as the .44-40, and within 5 years Colt chambered their Single Action Army for the same cartridge. Then came combinations in .38-40 and .32-20 and the idea of a sixgun/levergun combination was thoroughly entrenched in the shooting world. With the coming of the 1892 Winchester, shooters had a much stronger levergun to combine with their 6-shooters in the same three calibers.

With the arrival of more modern rifle cartridges, such as the .30-30 and .30-40, the idea of a common chambering for both sixgun and levergun lost some of its luster. It began to return with the above article written by Kent Bellah and then the introduction of the .44 Magnum sixguns by both Smith & Wesson and Ruger, followed by leverguns from Winchester and Marlin as well as the Ruger semi-automatic .44 Magnum carbine. Today, especially thanks to Cowboy Action Shooters, we have a proliferation of single-action sixguns and leverguns chambered in companion cartridges.

Companion single-action sixguns and leverguns provide a lot of shooting fun and also work well in the hunting field. One of my all-time favorite writers and friend John Lachuk struck a deep chord within my soul in the mid-1960’s with his statement about the Marlin .44 Magnum levergun to the tone of if he had his choice, he’d grab his .44 Magnum sixgun and levergun and head for the hills. I didn’t realize how important sixgun/levergun combinations were to the Taffin Family until I took stock and found out we had versions chambered in .22 Long Rifle, .22 Magnum, .32 Magnum, .327 Federal, .32-20, .38-40, .44-40, .38 Special, .44 Special, .45 Colt, .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum and .44 Magnum. This means in a year’s time we shoot a lot of sixguns and leverguns chambered in the same cartridge.

Today we are thoroughly entrenched in a semi-automatic world when it comes to shooting. Yes, there are thousands of us dinosauric shooters still clinging to our sixguns and leverguns, but the semi-automatic is definitely king today.
By John Taffin

HPR Ammo
P.O. Box 2086, Payson, AZ 85547
(888) 966-8477

30 N. Alamos Dr., Cottonwood, AZ 86326
(928) 649-3201

14400 N.W. Greenbrier Pkwy.
Beaverton, OR 97006
(800) 538-7653

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