Tara TM-9: “perfection” from Montenegro

By Miguel C. Gil

It would be a mistake to dismiss the Tara TM-9 pistol as just another knock-off of the trend-setting Glock.

Yes, it is without a doubt Glock-inspired in its design. Yes, it falls under the economy priced category. And yes, it is made by a Balkan company that many of us have never heard of ‘til recently—the Tara Group.

But our initial range session with the TM-9 left us with a very good first impression, indeed! We were left with the impression that this 9mm Luger (Para), 17+1 shot capacity, striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol can truly stand on its own merits.

Tara TM-9: This is a well-built, no-nonsense 9mm Luger (Para) pistol from the Republic of Montenegro. It boasts modern features like an ambidextrous magazine release and inter-changeable back straps. (Photos by IGG)
Tara TM-9: This is a well-built, no-nonsense pistol from Montenegro. It boasts modern features like an ambidextrous magazine release and inter-changeable back straps.    (Photos by IGG)

Our range session was made possible by Filipino shooting champ and entrepreneur Jethro Dionisio, whose company, Jethro, imports the TM-9 directly from Montenegro. Jethro is the exclusive Philippine distributor of Tara products.

Lineage

Buying a previously unheard of product from a little known country may not seem like a good idea at first. But in truth, Montenegro has a long and very well-established weapons industry. This former Yugoslavian state was supposedly the origin of some of the finest East bloc firearms ever made. It shared this distinction only with then East Germany. Yugoslav and East German AKs were widely considered as markedly superior to those made in Mother Russia!

Gun Details

At first glance, the TM-9’s similarity to the magnificent Austrian pistol is undeniable. When one field strips the gun, those similarities are only amplified. Its dimensions and overall features are similar enough to the popular Glock 17. Yet, it is by no means a “clone” as it has certain key features that are uniquely its own.

Natural pointer: The TM-9 instinctively points straight, in the author's opinion. It comes with a good set of 3-dot sights. (Photo by IGG)
Natural pointer: The TM-9 instinctively points straight, in the author’s opinion. It comes with a good set of 3-dot sights. (Photos by IGG)

Briefly stated, the TM-9 has an overall length of 187mm (7.36 in.), an overall height of 139mm (5.47 in.), its barrel length is 113mm (4.44 in.) and it weighs 750 grams (26.4 ounces) unloaded.

One feature that stands out is its grip design—which allows the pistol to sit very low on the web of the shooter’s hand for optimum recoil control. The TM-9’s grip angle is also such that it will probably point straight for most shooters… unlike other pistols which tend to point upward unless consciously leveled.

The Tara’s striker-firing trigger system is dubbed Double Action Rapid Engagement or DARE. In simpler terms this is a double-action-only with a very short and light reset. It is “second strike” capable—a feature which seems to be in vogue with many tactical professionals nowadays.

Slim grip: The TM-9 has a wide magazine well for seamless reloads. But its grip is slim enough for those with smallish hands, like the HDJ publisher, to gain good recoil control. (Photo by IGG)
Slim grip: The TM-9 has a wide magazine well for seamless reloads. But its grip is slim enough for those with smallish hands, like the HDJ publisher, to gain good recoil control. (Photos by IGG)

The TM-9 slide appears very solidly built, if somewhat boxy in appearance. There is a lot of metal in the upper half of the gun… which probably accounts for 90% of its overall weight. As per the Tara catalogue, the slide and barrel, which are machined from stainless steel blocks, undergo a special process for corrosion-resistance and surface hardening.

Firing impressions

Our date with the TM-9 took place at the Jethro Firing Range in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City.

We started out with a series of 5-shot strings just to get the feel of it. Pretty soon, it was clear that managing this relatively lightweight pistol was quite easy—thanks to its recoil-absorbing polymer frame and the usually benign 9mm Luger cartridge. It also had a decent set of sights in the popular 3-dot format, which we found easy to track even under recoil.

What really stood out about the Tara pistol was its excellent trigger action! There was just enough resistance to ensure safety, but not too much to ruin your shot. The potential contribution of the TM-9’s smooth and even trigger action to accurate shooting under stress cannot be emphasized enough.

PLAY: Despite the Author’s relative unfamiliarity with the TM-9, he instantly found it very easy to manage. Note the pistol’s lack of muzzle-rise even during rapid fire. (Video by IGG)

While we only shot at the 7-meter target, it was quickly evident that the TM-9 possessed all the practical accuracy needed in a defensive pistol. Making tight groups at this range, even under rapid fire, was effortless. What is most important, at least to us, is the fact that there were no malfunctions whatsoever during our fairly thorough range session.

Home defense?

After trying out the TM-9, we were left with the firm impression that it would make an excellent general-purpose defensive sidearm. We would certainly want to have one in our home. And that is the best endorsement we can give to any product!

*SRP: Php 29,950 (w/ two (2) magazines, cleaning kit & carrying bag)

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12 thoughts on “Tara TM-9: “perfection” from Montenegro

  1. No price? How much does it cost? I find it interesting to consider as a glock counter-option but you mentioned it as an affordable alternative without stating how much it costs vis-a-vis Gastons classic. Thanks

    1. here is no need to pull the trigger in order to disassemble the firearm. This helps to prevent accidental discharges during cleaning procedures, and there are two more additional internal safeties:

      The firing pin safety, which blocks the firing pin within the channel right behind the breach-face, until the trigger-bar has been moved rearward by the trigger, the safety remains active.
      The firing pin reset spring, which guarantees that the striker remains in the engaged position at all times and cannot float freely in the firing pin channel. The combination of these internal safeties explains why it is not necessary to have any external levers to prevent the firing-pin from penetrating the breach-face unless the trigger is pulled.

  2. There is no need to pull the trigger in order to disassemble the firearm. This helps to prevent accidental discharges during cleaning procedures, and there are two more additional internal safeties:

    The firing pin safety, which blocks the firing pin within the channel right behind the breach-face, until the trigger-bar has been moved rearward by the trigger, the safety remains active.
    The firing pin reset spring, which guarantees that the striker remains in the engaged position at all times and cannot float freely in the firing pin channel. The combination of these internal safeties explains why it is not necessary to have any external levers to prevent the firing-pin from penetrating the breach-face unless the trigger is pulled.

  3. i have been a G17/G19 user ever since, but after checking your reviews,im considering having one TM-9. one way to find out. thanks HDJ.

    1. The TM-9 pistol can be adjusted to an individual shooter’s hand by changing the grip size. Each pistol set is delivered with 3 different back-straps which, can be mounted by simply using the built in armorers tool. They are available in the sizes Small, Medium and Large and change the trigger-distance (from trigger point to the beaver-tail). The pistol is supplied with the large size fitted as standard.

  4. “But in truth, Montenegro has a long and very well-established weapons industry. This former Yugoslavian state was supposedly the origin of some of the finest East bloc firearms ever made. It shared this distinction only with then East Germany. Yugoslav and East German AKs were widely considered as markedly superior to those made in Mother Russia!”

    This is completely wrong. Montenegro has absolutely no weapons industry, and is the origin of no weapons. The Yugo AKs are from Serbia’s Zastava Arms, which has a history of producing firearms since the mid 1800s. You can’t just take their history and attach it to Montenegro just because Montenegro was once in the same federation of states as the country where the Yugo AKs are from. Also:

    “And yes, it is made by a Balkan company that many of us have never heard of ‘til recently—the Tara Group.”

    It’s not just you, no one, not even in Montenegro, has heard of that company til recently, because it didn’t exist. It was just established a few years ago by taking over a fuse and pyrotechnic cartridge manufacturer,, and has zero Montenegrin invention in it. It’s just a shell company from some Swiss shell company that really doesn’t exist, can not be found and has nothing to do with weapons. Why? Beats me. Probably money laundering for the Montenegrinian elite politicians who were smugglers 15 years ago and have dirty money, today’s Montenegrinian drug mafia bosses or their Swiss drug distribution partners. Arms and weapons is a very good way of doing that because they are goods that are under state control. For example: You control the state, you also have this money laundering company, then you arrange that the country’s military or police buy weapons from your laundering company, of course for a high price, et voila, you have just laundered millions of dirty money into clean money that you took from the tax payers. Exports only help with that operation and allow you to wash clean even more of your money.

  5. @Montenegrin citizen actually it was a military factory before called :
    KRUŠIK 4. NOVEMBAR – Mojkovac (established 1982)…. It was a part of Krušik – Valjevo….New owners – make a new company – Tara Group (Tara Perfection , Tara Precizion and Tara Aerospace)…and they make really good weapons …so I dont see purpose of your comment…

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