When I visited Taurus a couple of years back, their head honcho Mark Kresser showed me the gun he carries. It was a Model 85 that he had the boys in the back modify for him. His little wheelgun had a short barrel and a cut-down stock that gave him just enough real estate to grip and fire it. It also disappeared in his suit coat or pants pocket. That was the inspiration for the Taurus View . . .
Kresser’s gun, though, didn’t have the View’s most famous feature, the peek-a-boo side panel. In what will be seen, depending who you are, as either a brilliant marketing move or a ridiculous gimmick, the View gives anyone who wants to look a bird’s eye view of the revolver’s clockwork as it cycles via a Lexan plate on the gun’s right side.
While they probably would have rather used transparent aluminum, Taurus says they formulated the polycarbonate polymer plate so as not to crack under the attendant stress of cycling rounds through a firearm. Time will tell. Until then it seems plenty scratch-resistant and we hear that, if you tire of the peep show, they’ll have a standard aluminum replacement plate out next year.
Forget about the view the Brazilian made View affords, though. The real story here is the revolver’s size. How small is it? This little guy apparently didn’t listen to his mother, took up smoking at age 11 and never cut back. It’s the little wheelgun at the end of the line that will cry wee wee wee all the way home.
Taurus put a lot of thought and some unique design work into making the double action only View about as concealable as a 5-round revolver can be. First, they cut the weight down by using a titanium cylinder and barrel on an aluminum frame. We’re talking seriously svelte here.
A standard small-frame revolver (think 642 Airweight) tips the scales at 15 oz. Not bad, right? Compared to the 9 oz. View, Smith’s venerable pocket rocket is downright portly. And a standard steel +P-rated 85 is a veritable sumo wrestler at 21 oz. The View’s amazingly bearable lightness of being in your pocket makes a huge difference in portability and all-day comfort.
Taurus also made this thing about as physically small as it can possible be. It sports nicely rounded edges and with that bobbed hammer, there’s nothing to snag during a draw from concealment. They cut about a half inch from the length of a standard snubbie barrel. They also gave the View a grip that’s pretty much the minimum required to give you enough to hang onto — you’ll get about a finger and a half on it. But they didn’t even stop there.
In order to make the View conform to your form (as long as you’re a righty) they went so far as to contour the stock. Uh huh, the frame and grip panels have a slight curvature that reduces the print of the gun under your shirt or its outline in your pocket just that much more. And no, it’s not enough to affect accuracy.
Which brings us to actually shooting this thing. The first question that popped into my fevered brain when I first picked up a View at the SHOT Show was, “OK, how much is this thing gonna hurt when I shoot it?” The answer: a lot. No really, shooting the View is downright painful and it’s no mystery as to why.
When you combine the revolver’s minimal mass with a grip you hold with your thumb and about 1.5 fingers, touching off a 130gr. range round causes some serious shucking and jiving in your hand. That motion means pain and plenty of it. If I’d had a glove with me on my first trip to the range, I’d have used it. Sadly, I’d left mine at home. Ouch.
Though Taurus doesn’t recommend the gun for +P loads, I ran some 110gr. Hornady Critical Defense through it, too. The gun came away fine, but my hand barked at me like a rabid Doberman. I managed to put 150 total rounds down range before I finally gave out and asked RF for combat pay. The moral of the story is this thing is a personal defense gun, not one you’ll ever want to shoot for fun.
The View’s DAO trigger is actually pretty good. The gun’s rated at a 10lb. pull, and without the benefit of a pull weight gauge, that feels about right. It’s a very smooth pull with some slight stacking before the break.
As for accuracy, despite the pain the gun was accurate enough. As accurate as any other snubbie you’re going to shoot. The View has the standard channel running along the top leading to a low profile fixed blade front sight. Not that you’re ever likely to use it. Like any snubbie, the View’s every bit an up close and personal, last ditch self-defense weapon. Something you’re most likely to poke into a bad guy’s ribs, pull the trigger and badaBING! you end up with some of him all over your nice Ivy League suit.
Taurus packages the gun with two more features, one you’ll want to use and one you won’t. Like all of Taurus’s revolvers the view has the Taurus Safety System a key-lock device that disables the gun. Leave it alone and forget it’s there. The other potentially more useful item included is a free one year NRA membership.
In the end, though, the View probably won’t be seen as your typical snubbie. Plenty of potential buyers will look at it and see it as a curiosity. They’ll be too distracted by that window into its inner workings. But that’s missing the larger point and isn’t really what the View is all about.
With its uber-compact size and feathery weight, this is a gun that you’ll be more than happy to slip into a pocket without thinking about it. The fact that it punishes your hand when you pull the trigger is really beside the point, since it’s decidedly not a firearm you’ll ever be plinking with. And if you ever do have to use it in a defensive situation, a sore palm will be the least of your concerns. Boiled down to its essence then, the View is a nicely made, exceptionally concealable gun that lets you carry five big boy rounds in supreme comfort. And what’s wrong with that?
Caliber: .38 Special (not +P rated)
Capacity: 5 rounds
Weight: 9 oz.
Barrel length: 1.41”
Cylinder and Barrel: Titanium
MSRP: $599 (about $450 street)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Fit and finish: * * * *
This is a nicely made revolver. The trigger is good, if a tad on the heavy side. And based on the uniquely visible clockwork, a fair amount of care went into the gun’s assembly.
Ergonomics (carry): * * * * *
There’s no question — this is the most easily-carried revolver on the market. With its ultra-light weight and bobbed/curved grip, it virtually disappears on your waist or in your pocket.
Ergonomics (shooting): *
Masochists rejoice. No firearm I’ve ever touched off has been more painful. The combination of minimal mass and tiny stock means the View will pummel your palm. This is not — repeat not – a range toy. Wear a glove to fire it when you take it out to ensure initial function.
Accuracy: * * *
It’s as accurate as a full-size Model 85, or any other snubbie for that matter at self-defense distances. The View is designed as a last ditch personal defense weapon. You won’t be using it to pop cans off a fence rail at 20 yards.
Overall: * * * *
You’ll get past that see-through side plate in about 20 minutes. That’s when you’ll realize you’re left with a highly concealable, uber-comfortable carry gun that lets you keep five rounds of .38 caliber dissuasion in your pocket all day long with no bother at all. It’s a gun you’ll (really) hope you never have to fire. But it’s also one you’ll probably have with you if you ever do.