The Hobby Gunsmith

Auto Shooting-

We finish the Taurus PT-92

9mm Auto and test the 22 conversion.

This is the final installment of the Taurus PT92 9mm pistol. We will provide the results of our final testing with the new Millet sights on the gun along with the test results of the Ciener .22 long rifle conversion kit.

   Our first attempt to use this gun resulted in disappointing results. Bullets went all over the target and we could not hold on the target enough to hit a bullseye at ten meters. We initially assumed the problem was with the worn barrel, but decided to move forward on the project by replacing the very annoying sights and the excessively tight springs. Our results showed us how important it can be to have good sights on a gun.

   Our initial testing was done on an indoor range with no adverse wind conditions. The best pattern we achieved was about six inches across at ten meters. We considered this to be terrible for a gun that should be capable of shooting a decent pattern at 25 meters.

   We responded to the sight problem  by installing Millet adjustable sights, which replaced both the front and rear sights. It was hoped the flat black sights with a white outline would improve our ability to hold a good sight picture.

   We replaced a variety of springs in the gun, which made the trigger a lot easier to pull in both double and single action modes. With these modifications completed, we loaded up some bullets and went to the range for a little testing. What a difference the sight modifications made.

   With the new modifications in place, we were able to hold a pattern of about two inches at ten meters while hand holding in on a windy and gusty day. The pattern would have been a little tighter if we had not flinched a few times while shooting. We consider this to be a significant improvement over the original configuration and made the modifications worth the effort. We now have no plans to replace the barrel on this gun.

Target pattern with the new sights installed on the 9mm Taurus. 

   Even though 9mm ammunition is some of the least expensive available, a lot of continued practice can burn through a lot of money in a short time. To get more practice at a reduced cost we can try reloading our own ammunition or we can practice with a .22 caliber gun that allows us to use inexpensive ammunition that's readily available in bulk from some of the discount stores.

   There are two problems with shooting a .22 for practice. The first is that it will be a different gun with a different feel. The second is that the recoil will be much different on the .22 and practice will be less effective. The second problem can be mitigated by the knowledge that even in a lowered recoil situation, the shooter can develop target acquisition and trigger skills even though the gun will recoil differently.

   The problem of a .22 being a gun with a different grip and trigger pull makes the option of a .22 even less attractive. Although a person can learn a lot about shooting by practicing with a .22 that is different than the competition gun, the best option would be to find a way to use the Taurus to shoot the less expensive .22 long rifle bullets.

   The answer was with the Ciener .22 Caliber Conversion kit from Jonathan Arthur Ciener. This kit was advertised to allow us to shoot .22 long rifle ammunition in any one of the firearms listed in their catalog. The price was reasonable so we purchased one for testing.


The Ciener conversion comes in a nice blue plastic container that keeps the parts in their places.

   Ciener advertises the conversion can be done in just a few minutes and the gun will look, feel, and handle just like the 9mm version of the weapon. They also claim the gun can be returned to its 9mm configuration by simply reinstalling the original slide. This seems to be an easy promise to make if the entire slide and magazines are replaced with new ones.

   The kit needed no instructions to complete the conversion. Simply drop the magazine, release the slide, and remove the 9mm slide and barrel assembly, lock the Ciener slide into place, and insert the new magazine. The conversion is complete and ready to shoot in less than ten seconds.

   The quality of the conversion parts from Ciener is outstanding. The new slide appears to be sandblasted and polished stainless alloy with a style that duplicates the original Taurus slide. The only noticeable difference between the Ciener and the Taurus is that the Ciener barrel appears to be parkerized instead of the polished appearance of the Taurus barrel. The magazine appears to be a heavy cast aluminum piece that is sandblasted to give it a matte finish.

The black barrel of the Ciener conversion.

   There is only one slight difference in the functionality of the two slides. The Taurus 9mm slide will remain locked back and open when the magazine is empty like most automatics we have shot over the years. The Ciener slide does not have this feature and will return to the closed position when the gun is empty. While this may cause minor difficulties in attempting to simulate a reload on the clock, it simply means the shooter will have to count rounds to know when the gun is empty, and will have to cycle the slide after the reload. Neither is a serious problem in a gun intended only for practice.

The well made magazine that is thick enough to properly fit the grip of the Taurus while holding the .22 rimfire ammo.

   All other functionality was maintained in the conversion. The slide lock still works exactly like the original, the safety on the gun still locks up into place and prevents the slide from being cycled, and the safety lever can still be pushed down to decock the hammer.

The Ciener 22 conversion slide and magazine installed on the gun.

   We took the kit apart and oiled everything before taking the gun to the range for testing. The kit comes apart very much like the original Taurus and can be done by anyone without any tools or specialized knowledge. A few minutes with some gun oil and a little cleaning and oiling of the barrel made the gun ready for the range.

   We started our range practice session by shooting the gun with the 9mm barrel and slide in place to baseline the new sights and to get the feel for the gun with its new parts. We found it to be enjoyable to shoot and felt the 9mm project was a good one. Then it was time to change it over to a .22 and do more practicing.

   Out with the 9mm magazine, off with the 9mm slide, on with the .22 slide, and in went a loaded .22 magazine with ten rounds. The Ciener comes with dovetailed sights that are not really adjustable so we didnít know what to expect when we pulled the trigger. The sight picture was similar to the original Taurus sights, but are much better defined and easier to use. We would not have changed the sights on the Taurus if they had been as good as these are on the Ciener.

The Ciener .22 chamber and feed ramp in place and fully functional.

   The first pull of the trigger provided a pleasant first shot. The gun fired properly, the first shot went right where the sights were pointing when the hammer released, and the recoil was slight. The second shot placed a hole right next to the first and we just kept shooting until the magazine was empty. This conversion was doing everything Ciener had advertised and did it very well.

The pattern of the Ciener conversion at ten meters on a very windy day.

   Other people on the firing line became interested in what was going on. There was only one pistol in front of me and they were hearing the clinking of 9mm rounds one minute and the tinkle of .22 rounds the next. Two other shooters became interested in the little conversion kit and asked to shoot it. Both were impressed with the quality of the kit and the very different feel of a low recoil and inexpensive shooting from a gun with an otherwise full-size look and feel.

   The price paid for the conversion was less than the purchase price of a practice .22 and I didnít have to wait ten days to start shooting as I would if I had purchased a practice gun. The kit makes a single gun serve two purposes, which provides a little more economy in the package. The Ciener conversions are available through Brownells for $219 with one magazine. Additional magazines can be purchased for $40.00 each.

   A second problem arose as we were testing the .22 conversion. This gun is so much fun to shoot that it's no longer just a practice gun. It has become a favorite gun for both my son and myself. It balances nicely, shoots smoothly, and the .22 conversion makes the gun a lot of fun to plunk at a few cans.

   We wholeheartedly recommend this conversion kit for anyone wanting to save costs while practicing, or is just looking for a reliable .22 pistol and has one of the gun frames necessary for the conversion. The Ceiner .22 conversion is available for a variety of firearms including: Colt Gold Cup, Colt Commander and Officer models, Colt 1911A1, Browning Hi-Power, Baratta 92/96, Taurus PT92/99, ten different models of Glock pistols, the AR-15, the M-16, The Ruger Mini-14, the AK47/S, and the Thompson SMG.