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Taurus produced its first , the Model 38101SO, in 1941 and began exporting its revolvers to the U.S. market in 1968 through a series of importers. In 1970, the Bangor Punta Corporation, then the parent company of , purchased 54 percent of Forjas Taurus, allowing the two firearms manufacturers to easily share information regarding design and manufacturing. In 1977, Taurus was purchased from Bangor Punta by its current owners and its ties to Smith & Wesson were severed. In 1980, after Italian arms manufacturer had completed its contracts to produce firearms for Brazil's military, Taurus purchased Beretta's manufacturing plant along with the tooling, technical drawings, and work force necessary to produce several different pistol designs. In order to more effectively tap the market, the company created a subsidiary, Taurus International Manufacturing Incorporated, also known as Taurus USA, in 1984.

The Taurus PT99 has undergone many revisions in design since it was originally produced in the mid-1980's. Early PT99's did not feature the third safety position decocker that is now standard. This feature was added to the second-generation models in the early-1990's, which also included the three-dot sights found on the Beretta 92F. A third revision in the late-90's changed the grip and slide design. The PT99 came with an adjustable rear sight and is compatible with PT92 magazines.