According to my sources, Taurus hasn’t been able to keep up with demand for the 738 TCP pistol — and for good reason. The 738 is reliable and easy-to-conceal, chambered in the popular .380 caliber. So why has Taurus introduced what appears to be a replacement for the 738?

Ergonomics, particularly the new Spectrum’s double-action only trigger. The handgun’s relatively wide trigger makes the pull feel much lighter than the listed seven t0 nine pounds. I was reminded of the excellent double-action triggers on some of the older Smith and Wesson revolvers.

Courtesy Dean Weingarten

Taurus includes two magazines with the pistol: a six round and a seven round with a magazine extension.  The magazine extension has an innovative rebated pinky finger spot slightly back from the grip. Most magazine extensions angle the extension forward and down in front. This extension goes down and back. It fit the hand very well.

The pistol’s frame has slightly softened areas to reduce felt recoil. The engineer in me suspects it will work as designed. Even a small ability to dampen recoil will likely be noticeable in the very small, light, pistols.

The sights are fixed and large enough to be used. If they’re correctly regulated, they will be serviceable. The minority of people who actually shoot often, and like to make the most of each pistol, would be better served with a simple adjustable sight, perhaps drift adjustable. Most people are not going to be taking coyote at 40 yards with this sort of pistol.

I know a couple of expert shots who have done it. The capability is likely there, if the sights can be made to work. Small pistols are often very accurate. It takes an accomplished, practiced shooter to get the most out of them.

The Spectrum weighs 10 ounces unloaded — slightly bigger and wider (.07 inches) than a Ruger LCP. Both are extremely small, concealable pistols. The proof, of course, will be in the shooting. That will have to wait until production runs become available, probably sometime later this year.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

Jeremy S. additions to Dean’s post:

One interesting item of note is that the Spectrum was designed in the U.S. by a new team of U.S.-based engineers. It is also made 100% in the U.S.

Color combination options are vast.

Recommended For You

59 Responses to Taurus Spectrum .380 at SHOT Show 2017

  1. Well that’s kinda’ cool in a retro way. I had a TCP. Worked fine. And the 5lb. trigger was GREAT. Taurus needs to work on their QC of existing pistolas. Sights falling off,triggers breaking and mag releases falling out in the latest 111g2 iteration. And slowwwww customer service.

    • The TCP has the best double action trigger on any .380 I’ve ever felt. It’s actually the nicest double action trigger that I’ve felt, period. Great little pocket .380. I hope this one comes close.

        • I’ve got both and find the TCP to have the better trigger. My TCP has also been completely reliable.

          I have had only one problem with my PT111 G2, but Taurus sent me a replacement recoil spring within one week (and I was on hold for only three minutes). It failed after 1,000 rounds. YMMV

        • TCP is a solid gun and the trigger is absolutely fantastic. Of course, it isn’t a true double action in that the slide must cycle to reset it. The Spectrum, on the other hand, really is DAO and the trigger pull does all of the work. It is not as smooth as the TCP’s.

          Taurus is talking a big game about the Spectrum not only looking neat but running like a top. They’re proud of the functional engineering that went into it in addition to working with industrial designers and ‘ergonomists’ to get it to look and feel right.

          We’re looking forward to thoroughly testing one out. Ideally, we’ll have Tyler shooting a pink and robin’s egg blue one 😉

        • I like my TCP but true double action is an excellent theoretical feature if they can keep the good trigger and reliability.

          Do they come in just black? 😳 I’m not really into colors on my gun….

        • Joel,

          When the Spectrum was announced a while back, I recall seeing a photo of one that was all black with a stainless slide (the little “grip panel” on the slide was black, too). It was pretty sharp looking.

      • Jeff, I kindly disagree (at this point). Recently bought PT709 Slim mags for the father-in-law for Christmas. Turns out manufacturing changed the mag design in 2009, the year after he bought his PT709, and these mags were a hair too wide. Called CS up, talked to an actual representative within two minutes, who would resolve the magazine issue as soon as I mailed in the old ones. I hastily got off the phone without an address, and days later went to actually mail in the magazines. I called customer service back up to get an address, and spoke with this exact gentleman again, who had my replacement magazines on his desk with my name on them. I just mailed them off two days ago, and I am pleased to say that I haven’t had better customer service than Taurus this year. Fingers crossed they actually mail the replacements to me, so I don’t have to redact my statement.

        • That is true, Taurus has finally fixed the CS issues. I’d buy one of these in black but not the patio colors. Need a dependable, reliable .380 for a certain girl I know. I like this as a purse gun/ hidden gun. And why not? Thanks Taurus!! I really like what you did here, made in the old USA is always a plus

        • Do not know when Taurus made all the changes to the 709 slim. But I can tell you the New ones are junk. I’ve bought & was instrumental in others buying at least 10 older design 709’s.They were a Best Buy.(07/2015 G&A)Bought a new one this last Black Friday. I can tell you the fit & finish is junk, the feed ramp is no longer tapered & polished, the entire upper slide will not interchange, nor will the lower. Maybe the sights ? And the super gritty trigger? Customer Service?
          48 days & still waiting.

    • ^This
      I agree.
      Love the 100% USA design/build.
      I like my TCP and will be awaiting this at the LGS.
      Very cool & different w/o being obnoxious.
      Hope it fits my pocket holster.
      Hope it runs +P’s also.

  2. My TCP had FTF issues and also liked to throw spent brass at my face… Then bought the PT111 G2 from its online reputation of great quality for the price, but dang that trigger sucked bad! No more Taurus for me…

    • Funny, my TCP does exactly the same thing! Not every round. Not even every session. But I’ve been left with a forehead bruise on more than one occasion when an errant casing pinged off it.

      And I had the dreaded trigger failure with my TCP after just 30 or so rounds through it. Taurus Customer Service fixed it (after initially trying to charge me a “bench fee” to repair a warrantied firearm!), and when I got it back I did a fluff ‘n buff and a couple of other minor modification suggestions I found on the internet. The pistol has been 100% since, and eats every ammo I feed it, but I still have some nagging doubts about long-term reliability. But the size and trigger are really excellent for this market segment, and I’d really like to consider this an EDC.

      • I’d like to like the Taurus line, but it’s just hard to be OK with all of the reported issues. I’m glad your TCP is functioning well now, but in my opinion you shouldn’t have to modify a firearm in order for it to work correctly. It should work new out of the box. If there are things that can be done to improve reliability, it should be done at the factory as part of their manufacturing. Just my opinion.

        • “you shouldn’t have to modify a firearm in order for it to work correctly. It should work new out of the box.” Couldn’t agree more. Fired every one of my MANY Rugers right from the box, not one single malfunction. Almost the only brand I own; will be if they bring out a pump or semi shotgun. (Many brands got sold off).

        • I try not to become hooked on just one brand, but I have to agree with the Ruger statement. I own two Ruger pistols. An American Compact 9mm and an LCP II. They have both been flawless out of the box. They just simply work. They also look good doing so. Build quality on both is fantastic. I think that they take a lot of pride in their products. They also seem to listen to customers when they make revisions and updates to their firearms. Their customer service seems to be fantastic also. I called them about a concern I had with one of them, and they assured me that it wasn’t a problem, but that they would send me a replacement part to make me feel better at no charge. Three days later I had a new part at my door along with a polishing cloth as a thank you for being a customer. Very happy with the help they provided. I’ve heard some horror stories about warrant repairs from Taurus. People have been without their guns for months sometimes, which doesn’t seem very fair to me. I’d be pretty upset that I don’t even have the gun I paid for because the manufacturer is sitting on it for whatever reason until they get around to servicing it. Not cool.

        • I did not plan on being an (almost) only Ruger owner, but when the several other brands disappointed me, they had to go. I also have had the unique opportunity to shoot & work on many other brands; again not finding them to my liking. I hope Ruger is working on a pump or semi shotgun so that I can add it.

  3. My 738 was a piece of garbage. The trigger broke (free movement of the trigger without moving the sear) after less than 300rds. If Taurus wants to become a serious contender in the self defense industry, they need to spend the money to fix the hit-or-miss reliability and durability of their pistols. With the Ruger LCP now selling for ~$40 more, I’m not sure how they are selling out of TCPs.

  4. Big ol’ Hillary hole sitting over the trigger…yuck! Taurus can keep all of their junk, for real. How are they still in business? Spend the extra $40 and get the Ruger.

    • Extra $40 bucks for a Ruger is money very well spent; having a damn gun break (Taurus) when you need it most is more expensive (hospitalization and/or funeral costs).

  5. My daughter has had a 9mm Millenium Pro for almost 8 years. Her only complaint is the muzzle blast is rather loud. She has never reported any issues with it.

  6. Cant wait to get one of these. Kinda looks like a laser gun from flash gordon.

    All the kel tec knock off 380s had some problems. Whether its keltec, taurus, or ruger, they were 250 dollar guns….

    Ive had nothing but good experiences with taurus customer service. Friend bought a judge at gun show, not a gun guy, it was missing some parts. Sent it back to taurus they fixed it up good as new, no charge had it back in a couple of weeks. As a kid my first pistol was there 9 shot 22 revolver. I shot it to death, thousands upon thousands of rounds every weekend for years, to the point the cylinder would not always rotate. Sent it in, 3 weeks later its back with a new cylinder. They offer bargain / value firearms with a vortex like forever warranty, what other firearm maker does that?

  7. Apparently the big trend this year is guns that look like toys, I’m not sure anything good can come from that.

    • I tried the Curve, what a ridiculous piece, but not as bad as the View. What a surprise when the clear plastic cover broke.

  8. I would love to have one but I figure my TCP will last me the rest of my life. I shoot a magazine through it every 3 or 4 months to make sure it is working correctly and it always is. I was a Taurus basher like many others that have responded but I bought a couple and changed my mind. I figured if they lied to me when they bashed the Hi-Point, they would probably be the same way with Taurus and they were. Gun snobs will be gun snobs.

    • So, saying a Ruger or Walther is a higher quality firearm and pointing out Taurus and Hi points lack of quality control and crappy customer service makes one a gun snob? If so, snob me up! I have seen Hi points shipped broken in the box and have seen Taurus revolvers frozen as solid as the iceberg that hit the Titanic. Just because you have had good luck so far, doesn’t mean others are gun snobs…they’ve just seen/heard all the horror stories. There IS a reason why most “quality” pistols cost 400+ dollars.

      • Yep, you fit the snob profile. I once bought the internet horror stories until I started looking for them in the real world. I didn’t find them so I bought a Hi-Point. It was fine and after I bought a lighter S&W to replace it, I traded it for a Taurus revolver. It was also fine so I figured I was really lucky because they didn’t have any problems. I then pushed my luck and bought a new TCP. I must have been the luckiest human in the world because it performs fine and is sitting on my hip as I speak.

      • “Dampen” as a term to describe the reduction of felt recoil is valid.

        Very few Mall Ninjas or gun snobs are properly educated – nor are they cognizant of Engineering terminology.

        As an Engineer with more than one sheepskin, I have designed, deployed and implemented numerous mechanical, electrical, electronic, chemical, and software-based devices and or methods to dampen impact, vibration, ringing, reactions, recoil, etc.

  9. You want a cheaper, but trustworthy gun..I like the Taurus in it’s previous versions, as the PT 709 etc. Always worked in a pinch. Maybe not our first choice in a back alley shootout but still something better then a sharp stick.
    I’ve seen better, and I’ve seen a hellava lot worse for the money. Better to be packing a Taurus then to be unarmed..fact!!

    • I had thought that packing a Taurus was the same as being unarmed,,,,,but this new American Designed & Made Spectrum hopefully changes that. Will actually check it out.

    • Read my note below on my new 709Slim..l Highly recommend the older models.
      Taurus still advertises with pictures of the older version.. All the reviews l’ve read was the older version..Now for the newer version. Best invest in a $99 dollar cobra, Jennings, before wasting your money on a new 709. Not to mention the wonderful Taurus Service..

  10. I have to say that women do buy based on colors, and these options at a low price will probably make the Spectrum the defacto carry pistol for women.

    • It’s been my experience that most women who actually carry a gun aren’t the kind who buy based on color choices. The ones who buy a gun because they think it’s pretty usually shoot it once or twice then leave it in the dresser drawer thereafter.

      • Wrong again; bucko.

        My wife carries 100% with a Pink LCP. She wouldn’t have bought it if aftermarket Hogue pink grips were not available at the same time.

        Every one of her friend’s guns that I have seen is similarly spectrum enhanced.

        Your experience may be different, but first you need to actually meet some women.

    • I showed it to my wife who very much likes pretty things and she said “Do they have a black one because if I pull a gun I want it to look like a real gun.”

  11. When did Taurus start making guns in the US? Not a Taurus guy, I was just curious how long they have been making guns here.

  12. Good on Taurus for firearms innovation
    The curve and now the spectrum
    These may or may not become popular, but Taurus is certainly trying to shake up the gun world
    And a retro look with colors will definitely appeal to women

  13. Does anyone know when these guns will be available for purchase?

    Re customer service, in 2015 it took Taurus 3 months to mail me a set of grip screws for my PT100. Glad to hear it’s better now.

  14. Are/will the magazines be made in the USA also? Or Brazil like most other Taurus mags including the well regarded PT738 TCP. Any of the different Taurus mags I’ve handled have seemed somewhat on the crappy side. Not very nice prices. Poor for and finish, cheap, low quality steel, etc. I’ve seen a few springs break also. It would be nice is Taurus would source some quality mags from Mec-Gar or another quality OEM. Now onto the ‘Spectrum’

    Taurus has been spending a lot of money on their “cosmetic” design and gimmicks as of late with guns such as the ‘Curve’ and this new ‘Spectrum’. The ‘Spectrum’ looks interesting. Definitely different from the traditional gun styling we are used to. I’m sure they will sell well with women and millennials, but I don’t know if the traditional crowd will like the styling. I’d like to check one out once they reach the stores, but I don’t think Taurus will ever build something on the same level of mechanical engineering, fit and finish, materials, reliability, safety, and over all quality as something like the newer Ruger LCP II which I own and absolutely love so far, or Beretta, Sig, etc. I want to like the Taurus line. They offer some decent “looking” guns and what seems to be good price points, but they have such a poor history of reliability, quality, safety, and customer service. Maybe they should spend less money on marketing, fancy IKEA-like designs, and concentrate more on SAFETY, lack of defects, reliability, AND quality over fancy, trendy designs. How much “value” is there in a gun that goes click instead of boom, or goes boom when it shouldn’t for that matter. The million-plus safety recall definitely has not helped Taurus’s image, nor does it offer any reasurance to potential buyers. Just my thoughts…

  15. I bought a Taurus PT709 slim about 5 years ago. I was truly impressed. 2015 G&A did a single stack shootout, just confirmed something l already knew. ( 2015 l also purchased one for my Son)Nov 2016 Black Friday special l ordered a another. I received it Nov, & to my dismay found it to be a completely cheapened version of the original. What a piece of garbage. Gone is the fit & finish, polished tapered feed ramp, good trigger pull. And what is with the super gritty trigger that hangs up half way thru the pull?? Didn’t even fire the piece of junk, sent it to Taurus with side by side pictures of the old 709 & the new. I call it bait & switch, THEY STILL USE PICTURES OF THE OLD MODEL for advertisement. As of 01/24/2017 still waiting for return. ….Worthless

    • I have one of the first ones manufactured also, and it has been flawless. I know people who have recently purchased one, and even the triggers are different.

      • UPdate PT709 ….The other night l received a(asked for) call from a Taurus supervisor,…It had to be their cleaning lady, way to apologetic with zero answer’s.. Called again today a 01/27/17. A flunky told me the same thing, were within our policy & It will be returned within 6 weeks…..I asked if anyone could count at Taurus, it’s been like 46 days+…..l really gave them heartburn when l told them l was retired & l have a lot of time to keep calling..

        • Taurus CLAIMS to be getting better; if this is better it is still horrible. If you want a pistol in different colors, SCCY & Ruger make a whole bunch of colors, with new ones always being added at Ruger. Revolver; Charter & Ruger have a bunch of interesting color schemes. Every time a Taurus starts to look interesting, I think of what could (and too often does) goes horribly wrong.. They really do need to improve their product, people are trusting their very lives with their product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *