Yes, for someone on a tight budget, it's the most gun you're going to get for your money, and I would reccomend 1. For someone that wants to get 1 and shoot it bone stock-go for it. All 3 of the Taurus handguns I currently own have been 100% reliable. I've also seen several other Taurus handguns-especially later made examples, and all have been 100% reliable. It does feature most of the popular "bells & whistles" parts out of box. As for a basis for building a custom, which I bought it for, no. The most suprizing Taurus I have is an Millienium pro .45 which shoots dead on out of box at 18 yards-and small groups too! It's the ONLY firearm I have, other than the tiny Ruger LCP I have that I havn't done ANYTHING to-even no trigger job.
The reason I viewed it (PT1911) as basis for custom is it's hard even for a gunsmith to order all the "enhanced" parts it has for the same amount of money as the complete gun. The only way you can come close is to go with Essex frame/slide and I'm SURE you know how much work they require. I still havn't totally handfitted slide/frame/link/bushing to my satisfaction, but feel once I do, accuracy SHOULD improve at least by 1/2"-1". It's doing pretty good at 2"-2 1/2" honest groups at 50 yards considering that's a compilation of ALL the different types/weights I've fed thru it. I can consistantly hit pop cans out to about 60 yards slow aimed fire now. It's also easy to hit multiple IDPSA targets with while being timed. NO WAY I'm going to embarrass myself by posting my sslllooowww times though.