Taurus Polymer Protector Series Revolver (.38 Special +P and .357)

According to the Taurus press release, their new polymer revolver is “a modern update on a classic design . . . built for those who want the best of old and new.” Or one of the hardest guns in the world to shoot accurately at anything other than bad breath distance. “Taurus’s new polymer hybrid frame makes the revolver lightweight and easy to carry.” I understand the need for concealability (even though the Polymer Protector has an exposed hammer ready to rip your jacket or pants to pieces and slow your draw to a crawl). I get the simplicity of a revolver. Thirty-eight is a lovely caliber, what with all sorts of modern rounds available for your dining and dancing pleasure. And anyone seeking the ne plus ultra in stopping power is well advised to shoot .357s. But as a primary defensive weapon, a small, plastic, snub-nosed revolver chambered in .357 makes a perfect second gun. Well, OK, maybe not perfect . . .

This 5-shot revolver is available in .38 Special +P or .357 Magnum ammunition models with blue or matte stainless finish. Additional features include a single action/double-action trigger, highly visible fiber optic front sight and ambidextrous thumb rest. The .38 Special + P model’s barrel measures 2.5 inches, with an overall length of 6.32 inches and weight of just 18.2 ounces. The .357 Magnum model’s barrel measures 2.5 inches, with an overall length of 6.32 inches and weight of just 18.2 ounces. Like all Taurus handguns the Protector Polymer comes standard with the unique onboard Taurus Security System® that allows users to securely lock the gun using an inconspicuous key-lock. MSRP $445 – $461.

Sold? Well before you plunk down the better part of five bills, find a lightweight rental .357 snubbie and fire off a round. If your hand isn’t stinging and the target has a hole where you aimed it, you’re good to go. Meanwhile, have you thought about .327 Federal?

I don’t want to steal Taurus thunder (much), but self-defense shooters looking for maximum stopping power with minimal recoil should check out a Ruger or Smith chambered in .327.

It’s a hell of a fast round that affords an extra charging hole (six or seven in the chamber) with no pain penalty whatsoever. Unless you include financial. While used guns in that .327 Federal are dirt cheap—enabling the move up to Ruger and Smith revolver quality—the rounds run around a buck a pop. Hence the inexpensive purchase price.

Alternatively, buy and carry the largest, heaviest gun you can. Just sayin’ . . .

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

38 Responses to Taurus Polymer Protector Series Revolver (.38 Special +P and .357)

  1. avatar2yellowdogs says:

    I’m not overly recoil sensitive, but my hand hurts just thinking about that thing in .357. I have a Taurus 85 in .38. It’s been a great little gun for all the reasons you’d expect. But making it lighter and chambering it in .357? No thanks.

  2. avatarSean Chen says:

    Interesting idea, as the polymer may even flex and absorb some of the felt recoil.

    If someone is looking to shoot .38, the Airweights are lighter.

    .357 in such a lightweight gun should be good for a few laughs.

  3. avatarBob H says:

    Taurus and Charter both make .327 federals as well. The Taurus 327 is steel snubbie with 6 rounds, and the Charter comes with either 2.2″ or 4″ barrels in stainless and holds 6 rounds.

  4. avatarDave says:

    I just picked up one of the polymer 45/410 judges last week and was very impressed with it.
    Here is the range report I posted in DefensiveCarry.com

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/defensive-carry-guns/120175-range-test-polymer-judge.html

    And yes it does kick, a lot. Put I had no trouble hitting with it at all.

  5. avatarChris Dumm says:

    The mighty .357 may be the last word in handgun stopping power (no other manageable handgun cartridge dumps so much energy into its target so quickly) but it is not the first choice for your snubnose revolver. Recoil from even the heaviest steel .357 snubbies makes 9mm subcompacts seem tame and civil by comparison. Five-shot cylinders mean you must spend your shots carefully, which these guns’ brutal ergonomics makes extremely difficult for even the most skilled shooter.

    As much as I love the .357 (I’ve owned three of them, including my 686) I’d go with a .327 and handload my practice ammo.

  6. avatarJoe says:

    At least it looks cool.

    I wonder how much the Chiappa Rhino would kick if it was made of (mostly) polymer…

    • avatarChris Dumm says:

      After several hundred rounds fired, my prediction is: not much. It’s already got a lightweight alloy frame, so switching the barrel shroud and grip frame to polymer would only shave off a few more ounces.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: if they get that trigger right, the Rhino will change the way we all shoot and think about revolvers. Until then…?

  7. avatarRalph says:

    Okay, I’m a freak. I like recoil. But shooting a .357 from a lightweight snubby is like sticking a wet finger into a 120V outlet. It won’t kill you, but you won’t want to make a habit of it. The .327 in a lightweight snub is just as snappy. Hell, even plain-vanilla .38Spl can dampen the enthusiasm of the recoil-challenged, to say nothing of +P rounds. But with a ported barrel, recoil is reduced to something approaching a high-five.

  8. avatarJohn Fritz says:

    I owned a Taurus Model 651B2 .357 revolver for years. It was the very first gun I purchased to carry after I got my LTCF back in 2000. It was well built, simple and never failed to go bang even after having well north of a thousand rounds of .357 goodness shot down its little pipe. I would consistently put all five shots in three inch groups standing about nine yards from a target. The recoil was, well, not that bad. At least not in my humble opinion. It certainly wasn’t bad enough to make me not want to shoot the thing. And I was always amazed at the accuracy of it.

    I regret getting rid of it (traded in part for a 2003 Para P1445S) and became instantly interested when I saw this new 605PLYB2 introduced. For a gun as small as the 651 is, it gets heavy quickly on your hip. The 605 weighs in at 19.75 oz compared to 25 oz for the 651. So that’s a significant weight savings. And Taurus doesn’t offer an Ultralite revolver chambered in .357 so there’s another reason to pay close attention to the 605. Unless I read a review here that this gun is a total piece of junk, I’ll be buying one.

  9. avatarmiforest says:

    call me a wimp, but I think all snubbies should be steel. 32 H&R or 32 SW long will work for practice ammo in the 327 guns.

  10. avatarMonte says:

    For CCW, weight is the key selling point. Anyone who has packed a piece for eight hours knows that a full-size 1911 literally makes your hip go to sleep by the end of the day. So for marketing purposes, lighter is better.

    Besides, when the CCW customer looks at these lightweights, the thought is, “If I do ever pull this…and actually have to SHOOT it, the last thing I’ll be worrying about is if it stings my hand.”

    Which is true. Nobody ever noticed recoil in a gunfight. If they did, I’ve never heard it mentioned. I should hope that if you find yourself in such a situation, the only things in your head are: center mass, front site, squeeze. In that order. Repeat.

    I agree though, that to shoot all day, this thing would be as enjoyable as a root canal.

    • avatarBen says:

      I couldn’t agree more with this comment. I purchased the Taurus 605 Poly knowing full well that .357 would be a heck of a round to shoot through the compact light weight gun. However, I doubt that will be a consideration ifI’m threatened and need to use it. The most important tthing is that it is compact and lightweight making carrying the gun easy, and it will be more than capable at stopping a threat chambered with .357 mags. And honestly, the handle feels wonderful to me… so all this talk about bad ergonomics amounts to personal opinion and nothing more.

  11. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    The best way to adjust to the recoil on this cute lil gun is to first shoot my snubnose 500 and then this baby will fell like a 22.

  12. “Bad Breath Distance”? Very apt. Nobody wants a second try after five rounds out of my Charter .44 Special Bulldog.

  13. Everyone to his own taste, but for years I carried a Kimber 1911 in .45 in a fanny pack. I really didn’t notice the weight. I recently switched to a Paraordnance P12, simply to have more rounds in the magazine.

  14. avatarCaleb Longstreet says:

    While having a snubby is always a must in anyone’s collection, the debate of .357 vs. .38 and/or .327 Federal continues to go on…..one often overlooked caliber for a snubbie is the venerable (yes, I said that) .32 HR MAGNUM round in a snubbie. Check out the ballistics before you balk…..

    Advantages: lower felt recoil (is there really any other kind), 6 rounds versus 5, and ample ammunition supplies….no worse than .327 Federal……the .32 H&R magnum is manageable……I own a SW 442 for years and ANY .38 +P is a HANDFUL…..heck, even 124/125 GR JHP are pretty stiff as well…….the thought of touching off a .357 round, in the dark, point-blank and perhaps in close quarters is almost unimaginable…..too much blast…..not really that much pick up in speed for roughly the same weighted bullet…..great fireworks show though…..For the mere mortals out there, it would seem that a snubbie in regular load .38 or 327 Federals is more sensible…..or even better yet, take a hard look at a .32 HR MAG…..I believe Taurus is the only manufacturer left that makes this snubbie in that chambering…..SW used to and if they did again, I would buy it in a heartbeat……It’s quick to point and you get 3 tries at the plate with double-taps….probably more than enough for 90% of any imagined scenarios that I can think of????

  15. avatarMike hamman says:

    Has the author of this piece fired this particular weapon?

  16. avatarBob says:

    Just picked up a one of these beauties in .357, blued cylinder. Grip was much more comfortable than ths S&W or Ruger. $340 out the door price. Imediatly went to the local range and put 100 38 special and 50 .357 magnums down range. I have to say that the recoil was much less than I expected from a stubbie. (I usually shoot 9mm through a Ruger P-85 or Taurus Slim) The SA trigger is very nice and the DA pull although heaver than I would like is very smooth. Not a fan of the rear sight as I am much more comfortabl with a 3 dot line up, but something I can live with. All in all I reall like this litte revolver with the big bark!

    • avatarJohn says:

      I bought one of these the other day. I’ve put close to 100 rounds through it of. 38 and. 357. It has shot flawlessly and the recoil is very manageable. I’d recommend this pistol to anyone. I’m very pleased with it.

  17. avatarBob says:

    Wanted to add a side note on holsters. I went loking for a leather molded OWB holster. J frame holsters are too small. What I found is a Taurus Judge 2 1/2 – 3 inch Public Defender holster fits perfectly. Specifically I purchased a Tagua paddle holster PD3-140.

  18. avatarjohn says:

    How can you publish reviews on guns you haven’t fired and call
    yourself “the truth about guns?”

  19. avatarJon says:

    How in the world did Taurus make a revolver that’s got way more polymer than the LCR 357 and way less steel, and is a hair smaller, but still weighs over an ounce more (and over 2 ounces more if you by the specs listed on each website)!?! It boggles the mind.

    Way to go Taurus, another home run :rolleyes:

  20. avatarD.J. says:

    It’s funny. My wife who is 5’4″ & 120# put 50 rounds through the .38 Special a couple days ago and not once complained about recoil and put all but 2 into a standard silhoutte at 7 yards. I fired 10 rounds from the hip at that range and put 2 in the stomach and 8 in the chest. The first 4 shots I fired from this weapon where touching.And let me tell you after carrying my Kahr MK40 in my pocket all day, this thing feels like air. Bigger is not better with concealed carry, lighter. Yes, the .38 is antiquated BUT proven. And you only have 5 shoots. If you cannot defend yourself with 5 shots will 2 or 3 more really help you. And you can actually afford range time with a .38 which is what makes the difference. Confidence in your skills, familiarity with your weapon and practice is what will keep you alive.

  21. avatarj. v. says:

    not an expert on any of this–but i keep practicing with my rossi 357, blued steel, rossi 38 4″ barrel, judge 3″ barrel, and just bought this poly protector. It comes with two ribber grips–one smaller to conceal better–and one more full-sized. i used the smaller ribber grip intentionally–as i plan to conceal carry this–trading off with my bersa thunder–fired 20 steel 357′s through it at an indoor range (i was limited on time). recoil wasn’t as bad as i thought–no pain. this isn’t some cheap plastic–rock hard polymer combined with the ribber grip felt good. obviously it was loud–also shot a flame which was pretty cool. shot from 7 yards to 25 yards. made half in the silouhette. first time i had shot it and was in a hurry to make an appt. bottom line–i now own three rossi and two taurus (owned by same company)–and i think they make great guns–for the money. i agree that if you write about something–you need to actually shoot it to give an honest evaluation–not just copy/paste what the manufactorer is saying and then making assumptions. I’d like to see a video of him shooting it, etc.

  22. avatarL.T. says:

    So my buddy bought the Taurus Protector in .357. I told him he was nuts to buy such a small framed .357 revolver. 2 weeks later he told me he did not like it as he has huge hands and it don’t fit well. Of course I told him I had to have it. So I bought it from him. I have shot 50 rounds of .357 and 50 rounds of .38. Yes the .357 had a huge recoil but only to be expected. The .38 rounds had very little recoil comparative. My personal opinion is this is a great carry weapon as it is light and easy to conceal. If you don’t want all the recoil use the .38 rounds. I am a Glock fan and always will be but like I said it is a great carry weapon and looks cool.

  23. avatarTwitch says:

    I am about to get the taurus 85 32 sp and I have been looking at what some have said about this gun and it sounds good,I have had 357,45s and 380 thunder I think I will like this will let you know

  24. avatarTwitch says:

    well when I left reply be fore I said wrong size of Gun I ment the 85 38 taurus polymer, well I got this gun and I may not know a lot about guns but have HAD A FEW AND THIS GUN IS RIGHT ON THE MONEY I shot it at 1o ft’ then 15 yards and I hit it 18 times out of 20 with in 2″ of bulls Eye it dose kick a little but you don’t fell it very much before you knock it you have to try it it is allsome thanks TAURUS

  25. avatarTZH says:

    before I got a pocket .380 for CCW, I used to fanny pack or IWB an Armscor M206 .38spl 6 shot snub. that thing was all steel. because it was heavy, recoil was no issue at all. I still enjoy shooting it once in a while after I run out of my .40 reloads.

    I’d imagine that this polymer wonder from Taurus would be adequate since its good w/ +P. I’ve handled it and they’re very pretty. I was skeptical about a polymer snub but I think I would be happy to own one of these. I’m not worried about the exposed hammer, a little creativity could get around that.

  26. avatarGlock man says:

    .357 mag Isn’t that bad from a polymer revolver. Try shooting an ultra lite 44mag and you’ll think .357 mag is a peach.

  27. avatarBrittany says:

    My husband just bought the .357 Magnum for me with the blue cylinder. I am used to carrying a Sig 226 as my concealed. At 5 feet tall and 120 pounds it is hard to conceal. I have been shooting for most of my life and if I can handle my mom’s Taurus .357 Marnum Raging Bull and my husbands Para litehawg this shouldn’t be a problem. I understand that for some picking this gun up and shooting rounds down range could be an issue for those that are new shooters. But don’t disregard the fact that it is a great weapon with a small frame and a big foot print. I carry .357 hollow points and I know that I will only need 1 or 2 rounds to defend myself and my family. I love this new gun in my collection. I have definitely shot worse. I like the poly because if I have to conceal it in my purse it will take less damage from my keys and asp and knife. The gun fits nicely in small hands and is overall very smooth. Very Happy.

  28. avatarLil' Mike says:

    As Clint Smith of Thunder ranch would say..carrying a gun is supposed to be comforting not comfortable.
    I bought the 38+P poly model. WHY ? Because in a short barrel a 38+P is comperable to a .357 w/ less recoil and muzzle flash.
    Just FYI for you newbies…;-]

  29. avatarLil' Mike says:

    The exposed hammer IS NOT a problem . I carry mine in an Uncle’ Mike’s pocket holster and it literally disappears in a pocket of my shorts . As long as I don’t wear tight jeans I can keep it in the pocket and it draws out very well with no hang ups.

  30. avatarcharles goodwin says:

    just purchased one of these on Sunday at gun show. shot it for the first time on monday and loved it. as i get older my shooting accuracy is not as good as before. the first 15 rounds from this weapon were all within acceptable body mass for self defense shooting. obviously am not a competition shooter. after 30 rounds i felt no appreciable pain in my hands. in the past i have tried many small revolvers trying to find one for conceal carry. i carry a large pistol, 1911 or judge, openly most times. this is the first one that has not left my hand in misery. love it, carries very well. the finish has a few snags, but for the price, i paid $339.00, i can smooth it out myself very easily. as i said, i would recommend at least giving it a try if your looking for a very light, nice shooting little gun.

  31. avatarKevin says:

    The poly protector is a fun gun to shot. Recoil not much different than my 605 SS. It feels great in the hand. The poly may not be for everyone but I’m happy with mine.

  32. avatarManoj Choudhry says:

    I want know, what are abavel Taurus (.38 special +p ).
    Please reply my email id

  33. My wife has the .38 and I have the .357 for our carry weapons and have put hundreds, if not thousands of rounds through them with nothing but satisfaction for what they are; combat weapons only. (The ribbed grips are genius! My wife shoots her .38 with no issues, and we oth awe and smile at the flash bang of the 158 grain .357 round going down range. More gun than our PT 24/7 Compact 9mm? Yes, but not the hand torture you hear of with other snubies out there. The secret is those ribber grips!) You see, in the state of Indiana, in most cases, if you have to aim, you’ve broke the law. No stand your ground, if you can run, you must do so. Don’t get me wrong, we have weapons at home that are highly accurate and less lethal as a shot, but have mags full ready to go. Defending the family at the castle is a different discussion. For what they are, these Polly wheel guns do the trick! I love having the hammer as anyone who knows the true combat round gets a second to think if they hear that “click!”

  34. avatarKevin says:

    When at the range I prefer shooting .38s in my Poly .357 but for carry I use 25 grain .357. I only have 5 shots and they have to count. Harder to control of course but I can still hit the target at 10 to 15 yards and my AR can cover anything past that. If you want a reliable conceal and carry gun that is comfortable to carry, packs a punch and is great to look at then this is a good choice. I think the Polt .38 +P is also a good choice if you feel the .357 is a little too wild for you.

  35. avataranother Kevin says:

    What’s all the fuss. if you want a carry gun with a punch the poly .357 works great if you only are going to take 5 shots. If you plan to shoot a 50 count box through it use 38 specials.

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