In 1974, a large contract for the Beretta 92 was issued by the Brazilian army, for which Beretta set up a factory in São Paulo, Brazil. This factory was later sold to the Brazilian gunmaker Taurus (Forjas Taurus S/A ) in 1980, after the contract had expired. Shortly thereafter, Taurus began using the original Beretta machinery to make their own pistols, which were a copy of the original Beretta 92 design, which was not being produced at that point. They did this without the need for a license and they also did not have to pay royalties, as the patents had since expired.
Like the Beretta, the Taurus PT92 utilizes the open-slide design where the upper portion of the slide is cut away exposing much of the barrel itself. The original PT92 was exactly like the original Beretta 92, though it was also unusual for the time in that it featured a squared trigger guard for supporting the index finger of the opposite hand while firing, a feature which was subsequently introduced to the Beretta 92 with the 92SB-F (92F) model in 1985. The Taurus PT92 is less expensive than the Beretta 92 in most cases.
Despite being based on Beretta designs, there are fewer similarities between modern Berettas and the Taurus than most would think. The PT92 has a straight grip while the 92FS is curved. The PT92 also takes flat-bottomed magazines, has a thicker trigger guard hook and an accessory rail for mounting optics. There is also no slide-mounted safety/decocker, a feature of modern Beretta pistols. This is an easy way to spot if it is a Taurus or a Beretta. The grips are also different, as the decocker/safety is on the frame rather than on the slide. The slide serrations on modern Taurus pistols are also much wider and deeper than the ones on a Beretta.
The Taurus PT92 has undergone many revisions in design since it was originally produced in the early 1980s. Originally, very early models of the PT92 (made between 1982 and 1983) was a near-exact copy of the original Beretta 92, featuring the non-ambidextrous safety, round trigger guard and, most notably, the heel-mounted magazine releases and shiny plastic grips. However, this design was quickly replaced by the current magazine catch location. Nonetheless, magazines for the Taurus PT92 often have cuts for both magazine releases. Early PT92s and PT99s did not feature the third safety position decocker that is now standard; this feature was added to the second-generation models in the early-1990s, which also included the three-dot sights found on the Beretta 92F. A third revision in the late-90s changed the grip and slide design (which now has wider cocking serrations than PT92s manufactured before 1997).
More recently (as of 2005), Taurus has begun manufacturing the PT92 with a thicker trigger guard hook) and built-in accessory rails on the frame, a feature found on the newer Beretta M9A1, a military upgrade of the Beretta 92 from which the PT92 is derived. While 15-round magazines were standard for the PT92 for many years, Taurus now manufactures 17-round magazines for the gun in order to give it comparable firepower to the Glock 17, and aftermarket 30-round magazines are also available. Despite the many design changes, the Taurus PT92 still retains many of the design elements from the original Beretta 92, such as the shape of the trigger and the location of the safety. Other versions of the PT92 include the PT99, which has an adjustable rear sight and a taller front sight, the compact PT92C version, and the PT100 and PT101, which are .40 S&W versions of the PT92 and PT99, respectively.