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Taurus has launched a new sub-brand, in effect, to bring impressively high-quality firearms to market through its existing manufacturing, sales, and distribution channels. Perhaps akin to how Toyota created Lexus or TRD, or Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center line.

Called “Executive Grade,” it will be a line of Taurus models given special, hands-on attention during production to create more refined, higher-end finished products. The first of these is the Executive Grade 856 .38 Special revolver.

If you’re thinking something along the lines of “Taurus? What? No way. I’m not paying for some allegedly high-end gun from a budget-oriented company” let me just say two things right up front: it’s still only $689 MSRP (and typical retail prices will likely be a hundred bucks less), and from everything I can see and feel it’s worth every dang penny of that.

My trade show booth cell phone pictures don’t do this gun justice, because the hand-polished satin finish is truly great in person. It’s just exactly what I think a stainless wheel gun should look like. It isn’t brushed, it isn’t polished, it’s just this perfect satin that’s even and flawless everywhere.

My close-up of the Altamont walnut checkered grip was blurry so I’ve stolen the pic above from the Executive Grade landing page. All four Executive Grade 856 examples that I saw in the booth had very nicely figured walnut and the grips were finished to a very high degree and fit the frame without a minor gap anywhere. They also feel good in the hand.

Intended for carry use, this .38 Special +P revolver sports a bobbed hammer and is double action only. The trigger on each gun is hand tuned by a ‘smith, and after dry firing all four of the guns in the booth I found them all equivalently smooth, light (for a double action), and consistent.

Overall, if you couldn’t already tell, I’m very impressed based on extensive fondling at Taurus’ NRA booth. We’ll get our hands on an Executive Grade 856 for either Jon or Dan to check out since they have a lot more revolver comparison time under their belts than I do. I have enough, though, including some super high-end ones, to know that this is a lot of gun for the price if it shoots half as good as it’s fitted, finished, and tuned.

Heck, it even comes in a genuine Pelican Vault case with custom cut foam.

No Taurus logos or other markings were added to the outside of the case, either. That’s a lot of restraint for a company to show! Funny that not touching it is something I consider a nice touch.

Stay tuned for a review in the not-too-distant future. If you’re a revolver guy or gal, this is one to keep your eye on.


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  1. Executive? How politically incorrect of them…just saw another new offering from Taurus selling for $441 on gunbroker namely their G3 Tactical. MSRP is $589. Going after the Turks🙄

      • Did they title it ” AR -the Anamorphous Ruse” ? Has anyone noticed how it has gone from assault rifle, to assault style rifle, to assault style weapon, to now being referred to in the Uvalde news orgy as being a ” Semiautomatic Style Weapon”…. the smoke is fading and the mirrors are starting to show.

      • ‘Getting a lot wrong…’

        So how are AR15s any different than anything else 60 Minutes ‘reports’ on?

  2. No specs given but that looks like a 3 inch barrel. My son has an 85 with a 3 inch tube and it is much more accurate than the traditional 2 or under snubbie tube.

    I’ve used enough Taurus revolvers to not be shy about buying one. Never used one of their semi’s.

  3. I bought 2 Taurus 85 snubbies when I started law school for my wife and I. They gave good service. This new one looks like a winner and I would be in the market for one or two. I hope it has a round-butt version.

  4. I’ve always wanted to buy a Taurus revolver, but the bad reviews have scared me away. I hope this new line works out for them. As Alan said above, I can’t wait for their .357 and .44 magnum offerings.

    • “….357 and .44 magnum offerings…”

      agree. I would be interested in .357. Heck, they should have started with those calibers. I can’t remember the last time I saw .38spl on any shelf.

      • Maybe Taurus is following Colt’s Snake Gun reboot? I think the .38 special Cobra was the first, followed by the King Cobra, the Python, and the Anaconda.

    • A buddy of mine had a .357 Mag Taurus revolver way back when, it was a pretty solid shooter and I always meant to get one of my own. But that was in the early ’00s and I have no idea what they’re like now.

    • As I understand it, at least the Raging series and maybe the Tracker series are up for Ruger only loads.

      • Governor,

        Taurus’ Raging series of revolvers are built like tanks (as are Ruger’s New Model Super Blackhawk and possibly their Redhawk series of revolvers) and therefore able to handle Magnum +P loads–according to the ammunition manufacturer Buffalo Bore.

        I don’t think Taurus’ Tracker series can handle Magnum +P loads, although I could be wrong on that.

        • I’m just waiting for somebody (anybody) to make a +p .357 magnum load, because that would truly be awesome. But I fully expect to go to my grave having never seen one..

    • Jimmy Beam,

      I have had extensive access to and use of two Taurus revolvers chambered in .357 Magnum and two Taurus revolvers chambered in .44 Magnum. I absolutely love all of them. Their factory triggers are very nice. They seem to be plenty accurate–especially for self-defense purposes. Fit-and-finish of the metal frame is somewhere between excellent and outstanding. And all of them were 100% reliable.

      My only complaint is that their stock grips on their .357 Magnum revolvers are too thin for my liking–I like a fatter back side of the grip which distributes the recoil force into a wider section of your palm. On the plus side: there are aftermarket grip options which are fatter and, if you choose, have beautiful wood grains. I consider those revolvers with gorgeous aftermarket wood grips to qualify as “barbecue guns”. (In case you are unaware of the “barbecue gun” term, that refers to handguns which are beautiful and something that you wear around a barbecue with friends to show off their beauty.)

      In a nutshell: I would purchase a Taurus revolver in a heartbeat.

  5. You’d think that for paying for the ‘executive grade’ they’d throw in a hammer spur.

    • Governor,

      If Taurus decided on concealed carry as their exclusive use case for this revolver series, then a bobbed hammer (which only allows double-action fire) is highly desirable since that increases your odds of a smooth draw from concealment. (A traditional hammer is hook-shaped and able to snag on clothing when drawing from concealment.)

      Important note: Taurus also eliminated the rear blade sight which screams that Taurus totally optimized this series of revolvers for concealed carry and drawing from concealment. I really want one (or two or three).

      • I understand the reasoning behind the bobbed hammers, but I long ago developed the draw method of covering the hammer with my thumb which negates the possibility of the hammer spur getting hung up on clothing.

        If you’re truly dedicated (see – Jerry Miculek) DA is good out to 400 yards or so, but for those of us who spend more time at work than at the range,
        DA is good for 10-15 yards and SA is best beyond that. Personally, I prefer options.

        • Governor,

          All good points. I guess you have to go with a Ruger SP101 if you want a revolver with a traditional hammer and without a rear blade sight.

          Side comment: as much as I love revolvers, I still carry my full-size semi-auto pistol everyday for self-defense against humans and modest sized animals. When I am out camping, hiking, or hunting, then I carry my large .44 Magnum revolver in a shoulder holster. I keep thinking/wondering if there will ever come a day when I carry a revolver rather than my semi-auto pistol for everyday carry.

          To be completely honest, I am deeply entrenched in the merits of having a single-action trigger and 15 rounds of .40 caliber, 180 grain ammunition at the ready without having to reload–as well as the thinness of my pistol which disappears against the side of my body when I pull a shirt over it. (People who carry everyday and know that I carry everyday are never able to visually verify that I am armed–even when they are trying to see my handgun on my hip.) I have not found a compelling reason to opt for a revolver over that platform other than “woods defense” where I may have to put down a seriously angry/aggressive 270 pound white-tailed deer buck or a 500 pound black bear.

      • Except for the grips. That full size square butt grip is optimized for target shooting and/or appearance, not concealed carry. If I were going to carry it, those grips would come out off first/

  6. .38Spl? What is it 1898 undergunned and for cowboys? Yawn

    As ALWAYS TTAG can’t disclose where it’s made. US or Brazil?

    • Images 4, 6 and 9 clearly show a large stamping on the left side of the frame that says “Taurus Arms Made In Brazil”.

  7. Can’t stand the butt-ugly matte stainless finish on Taurus revolvers. Looks too much like gray plastic.

  8. “Executive Grade” Taurus?! I nearly choked on my grits. I hope this is TTAG satire, because it’s comedy gold.

  9. So this is going to get as much attention as a regular gun from any other manufacturer.

    Check out the Kimber K6S 3″ – now there’s a fine K-Frame revival.


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