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Most of the revolvers I’ve ever owned have been from Taurus. I used to believe revolvers were the more reliable gun, but every Taurus revolver I’ve own has had some major malfunction. That includes triggers that could lock into single action, cylinders that wouldn’t advance, and right a broken Judge whose cylinder wouldn’t lock into the gun.

I gave up on Taurus revolvers, but recently Taurus has had made some serious changes in leadership, machinery, and quality control. At SHOT, I saw their optic-ready TORO revolvers and was intrigued. Fast forward a few months, and I now have a Taurus Defender 856 TORO in my hands.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
The Defender 856 isn’t pocket size, but its compact. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Optics on revolvers aren’t new. Plenty of competitors and hunters have long made use of optics. What the new TORO Defender series does differently is bring mini red dots to smaller, defensive-oriented revolvers. Specifically, it uses the popular Shield RMSc mounting footprint that lets you use a wide variety of small red dots that come from SIG SAUER, Holosun, Shield, Riton, and a more. I used a Riton 3 Tactix MPRD 2.

Ammunition for this and all TTAG reviews is sponsored by Ammo To Go. You can support TTAG by shopping at Ammo To Go for ammunition and more.

The Defender 856 TORO

The Defender 856 TORO series presents an interesting mix of old-school appeal with a dose of modern in its place. Red dots on revolvers are an interesting idea. Unlike an automatic, the slide isn’t moving, so the optic is put under less stress. It’s also easier to track the dot and get back on target with a stationary red dot. The downside is that the optic sits higher and adds some bulk to a compact revolver.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
The 856 Defender TORO is small, but capable. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The 856 isn’t new. It’s an evolution of the classic Taurus 85. However, the 856 holds six rounds rather than five. The Defender model of the 856 features a 3-inch barrel. Taurus chose this model and the .357 five-shot Defender 605 to have the TORO feature. The 856 is bigger than a snubby, but still quite compact. It’s not a pocket carry revolver, but it would easily fit into an IWB holster and be carried very comfortably.

The Defender 856 TORO comes in both a matte black finish as well as stainless. The stainless model has a nice finish and cleans up easily, too. I shot the hell out of this thing and it needed some cleaning along the way.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
The small frame 856 Defender TORO has a 3-inch barrel which I prefer. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Mounting System

The Defender 856 TORO comes bare with a typical top strap. Across the top sits a pair of screw holes. The gun comes with a plate, and attaching it is as easy as twisting an Allen key. A little thread locker goes a long way here. With the plate in place, you can add your optic of choice. One challenge you have to face is the fact the optic sits relatively high relative to the bore axis.

That means you need to have a generous elevation adjustment to get the optic zeroed. Some optics might not have the elevation adjustment range necessary to get zeroed (a shim system might work). The Shield RMSc, the Riton, and Holosun micro optics work, but you might run into issues with others.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
The Riton red dot worked well in this role. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I didn’t have any issues zeroing the red dot other than my own relative lack of experience with revolvers. It took a little more time than I’d like to admit, but a table, a bag, and some slow, patient shots got me on target, and the gun was zeroed at 20 yards.

If optics aren’t for you, the Defender 856 has a fairly nice front sight. It’s pinned, all black, and can be replaced if you want to change it out for a night sight or something bigger.

At the Range

I’m no revolver guy. I like revolvers, but I haven’t spent a whole lot of time shooting them. I’m not very good with them, so the Defender 856 TORO was an education. The gun and a bunch of FMJs were not only educational but made for a good workout. At least for my hands.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
Bucking Horse Outpost has great deals on .38 Special (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The trigger isn’t bad, but it doesn’t necessarily impress. It’s on par with a basic Smith & Wesson revolver trigger. It’s not as smooth as the Ruger LCR, but not bad by any means. In fact, it steadily got better as I dry-fired and shot the gun, shaking off that new feeling and getting better as I went. After it got dirty, the trigger became a little gritty and sluggish. A little oil and an AP brush on the cylinder and inside the frame got it smoothed out once again.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
Its got a little buck to it. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Red dots mean that the sight radius doesn’t matter. The dot makes that disappear. With that in mind, any accuracy issues are entirely on me. I’m learning a lot about double-action triggers with the Defender 856. At 25 yards shooting single action only in an off-hand position, I landed every shot into the face of a Sage Dynamics target.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
Not too bad for an amateur revolver shooter (Travis Pike for TTAG)

At fifteen yards in a supported position, firing all rounds double action, I grouped everything in the black. The gun is certainly more accurate than I am, but if I had to use it defensively, I would feel comfortable doing so.

Riding the Bull

The Defender 856 TORO might not be a snubby, but it’s still a compact revolver. The grips are quite small, and I have big hands. Those small grips don’t fit me well, but neither do any other small revolver grips. I might replace these with VZ grips, but these are so compact and concealable that I get the point of them.

The grips are small, thin, and hard. They left the center of my hand tender after all the lead I sent downrange. That was a lot of ammo in very little time, but still worth noting.

The little wheelgun has some buck and jump to it, but the red dot makes it easy to get right back on target. It’s not too difficult to pull off fast strings of fire, and I sailed through some failure-to-stop drills without much difficulty.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
This group as fired all double action at 15 yards (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The cylinder release is the S&W style design and it works perfectly well. The ejector rod is full-length, which I also really like. Reloads are quick and cases drop free quickly and efficiently. I’ve already ordered some speed strips and a speed loader for this thing.

Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver
The full-length ejector rod is a nice touch. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I used 500 rounds of law enforcement Speer Lawman ammo for the entirety of my testing. It’s a fairly basic FMJ load that worked well. In blasting through that stuff and tenderizing my hand, I had zero issues with the Defender 856. It held together well, every round fired, and the cylinder never stopped, and the hammer never failed to lock. The gun just worked and that’s ultimately what’s most important.

Specifications: Taurus Defender 856 TORO Revolver

Barrel Length 3 inches
Overall Length 7.5 inches
Height 4.8 inches
Width 1.4 inches
Weight 23.5 ounces
Caliber 38 Special (+P capable)
Capacity 6
MSRP $460.99 (about $350 retail)

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):

Accuracy * * * *
In short order, I’ve seen a crazy degree of improvement with my revolver shooting in the short time I’ve had the Taurus Defender 856. It’s more accurate than I am, and the addition of a red dot makes it super-easy to shoot accurately and quickly.

Ergonomics * * * ½
I like the cylinder release, I love the ejector rod, but the little grips beat my big hand up. They are super-small for concealment. That’s a problem with all small revolvers with small grips. It was tough for me to get a good grip on the gun. Concealment always has its compromises.

Handling * * * * 
Recoil is what it is. The Defender 856 is no light magnum, thankfully, but it will jump on you a bit. Not terribly much, but you’ll know you’re shooting a compact revolver.

Reliability * * * * *
What can I say? It always goes bang. Nothing went wrong. The plate and optic remained in place. I would trust this gun to save my bacon, and that’s the first time I’ve said that about a Taurus revolver.

Overall * * * *
I think Taurus has a damn fine concept down with the TORO series and the Defender 856. The red dot has helped me quickly become a more competent six-gun slinger. It’s reliable and accurate, and while it might tenderize your hand, it won’t fail you in a fight.

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  1. Interesting how this article clearly states that this is not pocket size.

    Kinda depends on the size of the pocket dontcha think?

    • Looks like it wouldn’t be much bigger than a sp101 so could be an option if you are not into fitted suits or skinny jeans.

      • SAFEupstateFML,

        If anything the 856 is probably the same size or even smaller than the Ruger SP101.

        • Probably right especially regarding possible thickness but if you can fit one I would imagine the other wouldn’t be a problem in the pocket.

        • Pocket carry one daily just need to make sure it fits your pants/gait. Mutual weave and of all things Calvin Klein on the straight cut work great. Khaki and dress pants can be tricky and typically end up with a 365

      • Frame wise it’s a little slimmer than an SP101, but the cylinder is wider due to fitting 6 instead of 5. Something like 1.41” inches and 1.345” for the SP. The Taurus would “feel” smaller because it’s lighter weight and overall less beefy than the SP. The Taurus also has the superior grip imho.

        • Beretta Waylon,

          I absolutely LOVE the “full” grips (with total pinky-finger support) on the Taurus 605 and 856 Defenders.

          Those grips are also a lot easier for woman with smaller hands to grip as well.

          And I would gladly accept an extra 0.065 inches of thickness to increase cylinder capacity from 5-rounds to 6-rounds.

        • Yep, either super baggy and can hide a Shockwave, or like my daughter’s jeans, painted on and can’t hide a folded dollar bill. I swear hers carry a Sherwin-Williams tag🙄.

      • “It would have to be an awfully large pocket with the optic mounted.”

        Mark, try modern cargo pants, the ‘tactical’ ones I have has decidedly deep and roomy front pockets I could easily pocket carry a mid-sized semi-auto with *zero* difficulties. They are *massive*, compared to regular dress pants. It’s the ‘Tru Spec’ brand. The auxiliary lower front pockets are large, easily devouring a full-sized smartphone with ease, and a bunch of smaller pockets for lights or whatever :

        EDIT –

        I just tried out pocketing my full-sized Glock 17 Polymer-80 clone in those pants, and I bet even with a red-dot optic, that pocket could handle it with *ease*.

        Consider a wardrobe update… 🙂

  2. This revolver appeals to me. One of my favorite revolvers is a S&W model 65 three inch round butt. I installed a set of Pachmyer Professional on it. Lose the red dot sights.

    • Gadsden Flag,

      I highly recommend the Taurus 856 revolver with the three-inch barrel and full length grips (which are still small). Size-wise they are just barely larger than a j-frame. And yet they have a 6-round cylinder. The trigger is very good (although not outstanding) in both single-action and double-action. Plus Taurus fabricates it out of stainless steel.

      • The question I have is, and I hope someone knows the answer, if the red-dot battery in it dies, is there a slot cut in that red-dot so you can co-witness on the front sight?

        I’m just weird in desiring a redundancy in sighting if a battery dies… 🙁

        • Wouldn’t that depend on which red-dot sight you choose? The gun does not come equipped with one but will accept several models.

          From the photos in the review by Shooting Illustrated, you can’t use the topstrap channel for sighting with the red dot installed. (Obviously.)

        • Geoff PR,

          I refuse to use battery-operated optics on any self-defense platform for the very reason which you stated: said batteries could fail rendering you unable to aim your self-defense firearm.

          If someone has very poor eyesight or never attains “combat accuracy” marksmanship ability after extensive training/practice, then a red-dot optic is probably right for them and they just have to live with the risk of their battery failing for whatever reason. Note: such a person could significantly mitigate that risk of battery failure if they simply replace their battery proactively every 6 to 12 months–or sooner if they shoot their handgun often.

  3. From the article:

    [The grips] left the center of my hand tender after all the lead I sent downrange.

    That is solely due to shooting 125 grain target loads out of a small and light revolver and will happen with all makes/models.

    For perspective, I know three women and two men who compared “comfort” when shooting a Smith and Wesson j-frame revolver (shooting .38 Special 125 grain bullets) versus a large-frame .44 Magnum revolver (shooting 240 grain Magnum–albeit on the lighter side for Magnum power level but still definitely Magnum power level). Everyone agreed without hesitation that the j-frame revolver was significantly more uncomfortable to shoot than the large-frame .44 Magnum revolver.

    • When I had it, my scoped 7-inch .44 mag SuperRedhawk was pain-free to shoot, as long as I had good ear pro on. It was wild, I could actually *feel* the concussive blast propagate front-to rear through my teeth when I lit one off.

      Zero recoil pain, and mass of that scope did wonders in taming muzzle flip when the big *BOOM* came out to play… 🙂

  4. Most of the revolvers I’ve ever owned have been from Taurus. I used to believe revolvers were the more reliable gun, but every Taurus revolver I’ve own has had some major malfunction. That includes triggers that could lock into single action, cylinders that wouldn’t advance, and right a broken Judge whose cylinder wouldn’t lock into the gun

    Slow learner, huh? Yet here you are with another Taurus revolver to review.

    • Cloudbuster,

      I have heard a lot of reports of quality and/or durability defects with Taurus revolvers–and virtually all of those reports seem to refer to firearms manufactured 20+ years ago.

      As far as I can determine, Taurus firearms manufactured after 2010 or so seem to be on par (in terms of manufacturing quality and durability) more-or-less with Ruger or Smith and Wesson.

      Will recently manufactured Taurus revolvers withstand 10s of thousands of rounds? I have no idea. At the very least they seem to be just fine, though, for casual use including occasional self-defense. And given their price at gunstores, they seem like an excellent value for casual use cases.

      • I’d buy another new Taurus revolver in a heartbeat. I have a Taurus M44 – 6 1/2″ 44 mag that I bought a couple of years ago to go on a hunting trip with my son. It was my first revolver and I bought it because the guy we were going with recommended it as an inexpensive option for a first timer. I’d heard all sorts of horror stories, but this thing is put together really well. I’ve put loads of (really expensive!) ammo through it and the only issue I’ve had was that the ejector felt sticky when I first got it, and that cleared up with use and cleaning. I paid about half what my son paid for his Colt anaconda and even though his is prettier, I like shooting mine better. I think the single action trigger on the Taurus is great and the factory rubber grips are comfortable. I wish it had been tapped for a scope from the factory like the Colt, but not enough to pay double.

  5. “Most of the revolvers I’ve ever owned have been from Taurus. I used to believe revolvers were the more reliable gun, but every Taurus revolver I’ve own has had some major malfunction.”

    WOW! An admitted slow learner??

    All of the revolvers I own are S&W with the exception of a number of Colts, SA and double action, plus a couple NAA minis and. FA .454 Casull and I couldn’t be more happy with them.

  6. Huh. Never a hiccup with either of my 85s or Rossi M68 clone. Had a PT111 fail on me.

    Question: did Taurus fix the early snafu where they were sending the incorrect mounting plate for the optic, which made it hard to zero?

  7. I’ve three Taurus’. All bought in the late 80s, early 90s. Never have had an issue with any of them.

  8. Not pocket size??

    I can carry a 5.5″ Ruger Redhawk .44 mag, in a leather pancake holster, in the front pocket of my cargo shorts or cargo pants and cover the protruding grip with an untucked shirt. (I carry two speedloaders in the cargo pocket). As long as I’m wearing a belt so my pants don’t sag, nobody is the wiser. I’ve attended neighborhood BBQs and regularly go grocery shopping carrying as such, and no one has batted an eye.

    • Johnny LeBlanc,

      I’ve attended neighborhood BBQs and regularly go grocery shopping carrying as such, and no one has batted an eye.

      That’s because everyone who glanced at you and noticed the huge bulge in your pants thought it was your schlong–and did not want to be caught staring at you.

      • Well I routinely carry a 7.5 inch Ruger .480 in a chest rig all summer. As long as I keep my down vest on no one has ever noticed. Although thinking about it, it may be the lime green speedo ( got to have a place for the reloads) and jungle boots that may be distracting others too.

        • I am sure I have questions but no idea on where to start so going with congrats on finding a way to conceal carry a appropriate size 480.

        • Well I “may” get a similarly sized Taurus 605 Defender in 357. Had 2 Taurus 38’s both 85’s. One Ultralight. It’d be more of a counsel gat but they are easy to carry. Not interested in optics as I believe 3″ barrels are more point & shoot(the 3″ 605 has night sights). Just spitballing here🙄

        • IWillNotComply,

          Outstanding ensemble!

          Please share your fashion consultant’s contact information so that the rest of us who are fashion-challenged can get similarly fantastic advice.

        • Uncommon_sense
          Mostly it’s been from a “Lady” outside a public school that reads to children in the afternoon. Quite the sharp dresser and “her” makeup is great too.

        • Safe, Yeah it’s a Red Hawk. I’m guessing I’ve got about 1300-1325 rounds through it in ten years. It’s a handful with full power plus rounds, ie Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, my brothers reloads running a 380 grain at 1290fps. That being said IMHO the felt recoil and muzzle blast are similar to warm 44 magnum, when you go down in power with it, but still not something I go out with on Saturday afternoon and run 150 rounds through. Plus I wasn’t joking about the chest rig, it’s really the only way to carry it around in the woods, the 7.5 barrel slapping your leg around makes for a unpleasant journey after a mile or so.

        • IWillNotComply,

          I also carry a large/full-size revolver (.44 Magnum with a LONG barrel) when I am out in the woods and a chest rig–or shoulder holster which is bordering on the same thing–is the only practical way to carry such large revolvers.

          Furthermore, it becomes VERY difficult to draw a large revolver with a long barrel out of a hip holster. Drawing from a chest rig or shoulder holster is MUCH easier and FASTER.

        • While I am more eyeing the Blackhawk for 480 the Redhawk in 44 has been great all around (especially with cautious excursions into bubba’s pissin hot reload territory) But looking at availability I will probably have to wait a while for single action unless I want to collect Redhawks.

        • IWillNotComply:
          I almost couldn’t stop laughing long enough to congratulate you on winning the internet for today. Thanks for making my day!

  9. Well I “may” get a similarly sized Taurus 605 Defender in 357. Had 2 Taurus 38’s both 85’s. One Ultralight. It’d be more of a counsel gat but they are easy to carry. Not interested in optics as I believe 3″ barrels are more point & shoot(the 3″ 605 has night sights). Just spitballing here🙄

  10. former water walker,

    Regarding your above commentary (which I edited slightly):

    Well I ‘may’ get a similarly sized Taurus 605 Defender in 357. It’d be more of a counsel gat but they are easy to carry. Not interested in optics as I believe 3″ barrels are more point & shoot (the 3″ 605 has night sights).

    Consider the Taurus 856 Defender with three-inch barrel instead of the 605 with three-inch barrel. Aside from caliber, they are identical and you get a six-shot cylinder with the 856 model versus a five-shot cylinder with the 605 model.

    When you said, “It’d be more of a counsel gat,” I assume that you were thinking of the center console in a vehicle. (I am not trying to be a grammar/spelling stickler–I am honestly trying to understand your comment.) That is perhaps THE ideal application for this revolver in my opinion. Couple that with the fact that they are also very easy to carry as you mentioned–and that is why I intend to acquire more than one.

    I also agree that this revolver series with three-inch barrels are optimized for engagements at contact distances and therefore your “point & shoot” concept is spot-on.

    Back to the model 856 (.38 Special P) versus the model 605 (.357 Magnum) question: shooting .357 Magnum out of such a lightweight revolver is brutal and deafening. I will also argue that .38 Special plus P with careful selection of loads/bullets is equally adept at stopping a human attacker at contact distances. Two such choices of loads/bullets which are supposed to be outstanding at stopping human attackers at close range are the proven “FBI load” (158 grain semi-wadcutter hollowpoint with muzzle velocity around 900 feet-per-second in P out of a three-inch barrel) and 150 grain full wadcutters (velocity also around 900 feet-per-second out of a three-inch barrel).

    A while back I gave a lot of thought to this specific line of Taurus revolvers–especially the model 856 versus model 605 option–I landed squarely on the model 856 and have not given it a second thought.

    • Ehhh…38 is pretty weak. And I also realize the new Rossi 3″ 357 holds 6 rounds if heavier. Console gat more for the wife as it were. I usually have a semiautomatic with a least 13 rounds of 9mm available. 5 or 6 rounds won’t stop a horde but 13 rounds may! And I usually have 2 magazine’s at hand. 38 is quite limited🙄

      • I agree that .38 Special can be lackluster with most loads. As I stated, though, 150 grain full wadcutters and 158 grain semi-wadcutter hollowpoints are supposed to be effective/proven self-defense loads.

        Nevertheless, if you really want .357 Magnum, I like your idea of the Rossi with the 3-inch barrel. It is a tiny bit larger although that gets you a six-shot cylinder. And its extra 3.8 ounces helps reduce felt recoil a bit more.

        Whatever you decide, remember that pretty much all handgun platforms are weak-sauce in terms of their ability to immediately physically incapacitate an attacker. That being the case: reliability, ammunition capacity, and accuracy are typically far more important than large/Magnum calibers.

        Last, but not least: with the exception of terrorists and stalkers, virtually all attackers will immediately start retreating when you produce ANY handgun (of any caliber and bullet selection) and start shooting. Thus, having any handgun of any caliber puts you WAY ahead of the curve.

        • Disagree. Weak sauce? Cartridge performance is of prime importance. More important than capacity. How many videos are there on the Internet of cops plugging round after round of 9mm into a perp and nothing happening?? Remember, .44 mag is recommended for bears, not 9mm.

          I’d rather hit a perp in the hand with a .44 magnum than center mass with a 9mm. The perp’s gonna lose the hand and go into shock from rapid blood loss.

          If there are multiple attackers (3 plus) with firearms, capacity isn’t going to help you, anyway.

          Performance over capacity any day of the week.

        • Johnny LeBlanc,

          In my comment above, the key words “… pretty much all handgun platforms are weak-sauce …” implicitly recognizes that a few handgun platforms are NOT weak sauce, such as .44 Magnum.

          At any rate my comment applies to the handgun platforms that 99% of the population carry in public for self-defense against human attackers, which is the context of the featured revolver in this article.

          Throw in my exclusion of terrorists and stalkers and it becomes apparent that having ANY handgun with 6-shot capacity or greater for self-defense VASTLY improves your odds of surviving almost all attacks.

  11. just a quick question on the 158 gr. semi wadcutter, 900 fps, it should still cut a round hole if using a 2″ barrel—i sure it will loss some velocity, but still a wadcutter—been using the 150 wadcutter in a lcr, it’s fun with the magnum, but i can.t stop waving to the crowd after each shot—

    • anon,

      I believe that the 158-grain semi-wadcutter hollowpoint “FBI load” will cut a round hole through paper targets. If that bullet strikes a human attacker, I believe that it will start with a round hole which will get even bigger although somewhat uneven if the hollowpoint bullet expands.

      As for shooting that out of a j-frame revolver with a two-inch barrel, I believe the muzzle velocity on a standard .38 Special (not plus P) load is around 830 feet-per-second which is just fine. Remember that the vaunted .45 ACP shoots 230 grain bullets with a muzzle velocity around 850 feet-per-second and no one scoffs at .45 ACP’s muzzle velocity.

      The key to the wounding and incapacitation potential of the .38 Special 158 grain “FBI load” and .45 ACP 230 grain bullets are the same: both feature “heavy-for-caliber” bullets which are virtually guaranteed to penetrate really deep on human attackers and thus tend to be effective “man-stoppers”. And both platforms penetrate deep, in spite of their unimpressive muzzle velocity, because their bullets are HEAVY.

      • Standard pressure .38 Special “service loads” with 158gr lead bullets have been claimed by the factory to do 755 ft/sec at the muzzle for 100+ years now. That was normally measured from a 6″ revolver, or occasionally a 4″, if not an unvented 4″ pressure barrel, making that figure pretty optimistic from most real-world firearms. The old 1970s “FBI load” in .38 Special, the 158gr lead hollowpoint loaded to +P pressures, was claimed on the box to do 900, give or take, depending on which company loaded them, normally from a 4″ vented pressure test barrel, and usually did 850-900-ish from a 4″ revolver in the real world. From a 2″ revolver it is very unusual for the FBI load to get even 850 and very frequently doesn’t break 800, depending on production lot, barrel-cylinder gap, chamber throat diameter, ambient temperature, and so on. From a 4″ duty revolver the bullet will usually deform somewhat in soft tissue, sometimes even through fairly heavy clothing. From a snubby, not so much. The velocity just isn’t there, not even with a bullet swaged out of pure dead-soft lead.

        Is it better than a sharp stick or harsh language? Yes. I’d recommend just about any decent quality .380 over any revolver in .38 Special, though. Same power as the .38 from a snubby, more magazine capacity, faster reloads, almost always much better sights, triggers generally much more usable under stress, lower recoil, faster follow-up shots, and the semiauto is always going to be much thinner and flatter, lacking the revolver’s big fat chunky cylinder, therefore more concealable. Snub-nose DA revolvers, with their tiny, vestigial sights, tiny sight radius, and twelve pound triggers on a twelve ounce firearm are the single most difficult category of firearm to shoot accurately in a hurry under stress, bar none. Even a mushy stock Glock trigger walks all over any revolver trigger where usability is concerned. I can shoot DA fairly well in a hurry, but I’m a hobbyist, and even for me it requires significantly more effort and concentration than with any modern striker-fired service pistol.

        I am, mind you, not personally a fan of the .380 cartridge. It is marginal. For the past 30 or 35 years, you have had a choice between expanding bullets that may fail to penetrate adequately, or nonexpanding bullets that make icepick wound tracks, and prior to about 1990, in .380 there was only roundnose ball, plus hollowpoints that didn’t expand a bit even when shot into blocks of dense, heavy duct sealing putty. But the same is true for .38 snubbies. With .380 the list of loads that give both 12″+ of penetration in calibrated ballistic gelatin and reliable expansion after heavy clothing is very short. The same is true of .38 Special with +P ammo, and I don’t know of even one standard-pressure .38 round that expands at all when fired from a snubby, much less expands AND reaches adequate penetration depths. If I have to pick one, and I have tested the .380 and know it runs reliably, I will go with the .380 every time with no regrets.

        And there are now slim subcompact 9mm pistols only very slightly larger and thicker than the smallest .380s, so I regard both .380 and .38 Special as obsolete cartridges. A subcompact 9mm with 7+1 or 8+1 does everything much, much better than either of those. Neither .38 nor .380 brings anything to the table.

        I suppose someone will say “automatics ain’t reliable,” to which I can only suggest checking a calendar. It is 2023, not 1923, and there have been improvements in the state of the art, especially if you know enough to avoid potmetal “gangbanger gats” and imports from countries that haven’t yet figured out sanitary drinking water. “Automatics are too complicated!” Learn your equipment and train to use it. “What about shooting from your coat pocket, huh? I saw a guy do it in a black-and-white gangster movie once!” To which the kindest response I can formulate is, “doesn’t that make it hard to see your front sight, friend?”

  12. IWB holsters for revolvers with optics are a bitch – the optic winds up jammed inside the waistband against your belt.

    • Try Tucker Gunleather. The have an IWB revolver holster that has kydex clips instead of belt loops so the gun stays put. I use it for my GP100’s with great results. The Kydex will keep the optic above the belt line.

  13. Purchased new 605 earlier this year.
    At about 200 rounds the cylinder fell out.

    Fourth Taurus. Three semis, one revolver. All failed.
    There is no ‘improved quality.’

    Taurus 605 = last time I’ll be that stupid.

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