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Tara TM-9: What a Tangled Web of Intrigue for a Crappy Gun

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Tara Aerospace is an arms factory in Montenegro that was privatized around 2013 or 2014, and a major stake in it was purchased by one Heinrich Thomet (formerly of Brugger & Thomet, and then the basis for a character in “War Dogs”). The first firearm the new Tara produced was the TM-9, and it was not very good.

The basic design concept is fine – it’s a modern style of service pistol; polymer-framed, striker-fired, and chambered for 9x19mm. It has interchangeable grip backstraps and a rail for a light (no optics cut; it was too early for that). Where it differs most obviously from other options is the use of a true double-action-only trigger. The striker is fully forward at rest, and the trigger pull is responsible for fully cocking and then releasing it. This makes for a very long and heavy trigger, but it also simplifies the trigger mechanics and obviates the need for a manual or trigger safety.

The first production of TM-9 pistols was not of particularly good quality, but the factory needed money and so a batch was sold to a European distributor. They were not intended to end up in the US, but did end up purchased by Century, who brought them into the country and then discovered that they basically didn’t run reliably. Slides not going fully into battery was a major issue in particular. While trying to figure out how to deal with this, Century secured a deal to sell them all to Gander Outdoors, which planned to have them all overhauled by America’s Gunsmith Shop. Before that was completed, though, Gander decided to just abandon gun sales entirely and sold the guns back to Century as a loss.

Some began to get out onto the market, and American buyers were pretty annoyed at the reliability problems (not that you would know it form the generally-positive reviews in the gun press at the time). Having never intended the guns to get to the US, Tara’s answer was to declare that the early production guns were actually only intended for use with “rubber bullets” and were never supposed to be sold as live guns at all (the notice is on their web site, which I cannot link to because of Youtube rules). The gun in this video is specifically listed in their warning by serial number, by the way.

Eventually, Century sold the remaining TM-9s to Centerfire Systems, who is now blowing them out pretty cheaply, with full visibility of this backstory (for the record, I acquired this one before the sale to Centerfire). Tara, meanwhile, is trying to sell their newer and presumably better model to Century, who so far refuses to buy any until the “rubber bullet” warning nonsense is removed form Tara’s web site.

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