Taurus Defender 856
Courtesy Taurus
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Taurus, manufacturer of premium handguns for personal defense, hunting, and sport shooting, has just released the all-new Taurus Defender 856 revolver.

Based on the original Taurus 856, the Defender 856 was developed for those who favor the easy carry, low profile, and comfort of a compact revolver in a package that performs across all environmental and lighting conditions.

Unlike most compact revolvers, the Defender 856 features a factory-installed front sight post with an integrated tritium vial, allowing for quick sight picture acquisition in the lowest light conditions. To ensure fast sight alignment in elevated ambient light conditions, the front sight post face surrounding the tritium element is bright orange. This combination gives the Defender 856 true all-light performance, which is essential for a go-anywhere personal defense handgun.

Taurus Defender 856
Courtesy Taurus

Chambered for .38 Special +P ammo, the Defender 856 boasts a six-round capacity and DA/SA action with a transfer bar safety. The barrel length is three inches, making it short enough for deep concealed carry while delivering a sight radius for accuracy at distances beyond the personal space zone. The longer 3-inch barrel also delivers increased muzzle velocity (vs. 2-inch barrels) for more decisive terminal performance. Unlike most 3-inch barrel revolvers, the Defender 856 comes with an extended ejector rod for quicker tactical reloads.

The Defender 856 debuts in four standard models—all featuring an ergonomic Hogue rubber grip for maximum recoil absorption and a no-slip grip. These include a stainless-steel frame with matte finish, ultralight aluminum alloy frame with matte finish, stainless steel frame with black Tenifer finish, and an aluminum alloy frame with hard coat black anodized finish.

Taurus also offers the Defender 856 in two upgrade versions featuring special grips and finish treatments. The Two-Tone model has a stainless-steel matte finish frame and barrel with a black cylinder. This color combination pairs well with an aggressively textured VZ grip in matching gray and black. Shooters who appreciate solid hardwood grips can opt for the Tungsten Cerakote model Defender 856 (frame, barrel, and cylinder) with a stylish Altamont walnut grip.

Taurus Defender 856 Specifications

  • Caliber: .38 Special +P
  • Frame Size: Small
  • Capacity: 6 rounds
  • Action Type: DA/SA
  • Barrel Length: 3.0 in.
  • Overall Length: 7.5 in.
  • Overall Height: 4.80 in.
  • Overall Width: 1.41 in.
  • Finish: stainless steel matte, aluminum alloy matte, stainless steel black Tenifer, aluminum alloy hard coat black anodized, stainless steel matte/black, Tungsten Cerakote
  • Grip: Hogue rubber, VZ black/gray, walnut
  • Front Sight: tritium night sight w/bright orange outline
  • Rear Sight: fixed
  • Safety: transfer bar
  • MSRP: $429-$477 (depending on configuration)

To learn more about the new Defender 856 revolver or to see the full line of Taurus handguns, visit TaurusUSA.com.

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      • It isn’t hard — all you need to do is actually carry and shoot a Taurus revolver instead of running your mouth about what you think you heard from some guy on the internet.

        • They used to make fun of Charter Arms Bulldogs a long time ago too. The son of sam killer changed their thinking about that revolver.

        • Chris, revolvers do jam and when they do lock up, sometimes they can become impossible to get freed up. There’s many, many causes of this and you can find them yourself with almost no effort or at least with minimal research.
          I’m waiting for Ruger to drop a 3″ LCR in .38+P except with a 6 shot cylinder as opposed to the 5 shot cylinder they sell now. With that reduced weight and great trigger, I’m thinking it would sell terrifically.

    • Overall, I think the gun seems nice. 6 shots in a j-frame sized revolver is great, and a 3″ barrel is great (unless you want to pocket carry).

      Those grips though. Man are they gaudy looking. Taurus really excels at trashy looking designs.

  1. What does it weigh?!? This looks OK. If I get another revolver it has to be 357 though…

  2. Taurus and premium are words that don’t belong together.

    This was nothing but an advertisement.

  3. Actually really like the concept. The 856 2” has been getting great reviews all over the web, the only detractor is the non interchangeable front sight post.

    • Looks like a simple roll pin holding the front sight.
      Give the folks at trijicon, mepro, tru-glow, etc a few months and I’ll bet there will be options.

  4. An aluminum frame ought to be strong enough for 38s, so the concept isn’t bad. I would have to actually shoot this, but those teeth on the back of the grip look uncomfortable to me. Unfortunately this was an advertisement and not a review so we really know nothing about this piece that Taurus didn’t think we needed to.

  5. I like the way Taurus’ look over Rugers and Smiths. Too bad they can’t get consistent with the QC.

    I’ve been looking for a big bore and don’t like that my choices are between an ugly Ruger, a Hillary holed Smith, a questionable Charter or a sexy Taurus that’ll have to be sent back as least as many times as a Keltec.

    • I know it’s a sample size of one, but if you know how to function check a revolver, you should be ok. The ones that work keep on working. My taurus revolvers have been some of the most reliable I’ve owned.

    • Well I have the Taurus .44 magnum 4 inch and have run heavy handloads thru it and not one issue ever. Lock up is tight, nothing came loose, etc. Contrast that with a new S&W 442 I bought that after 20 rounds, and no fire. Primers not hit, nothing. Sent back to Smith and turns out metal shavings impaired the hammer to firing pin. So who’s got better QC? Taurus 92 works fine thank you. Nicely finished also. Now I do admit the Taurus Curve .380 was not good, wouldn’t eject a live round when you tried to unload it. Had to pry it out. Sold it. So every brand may have issues from time to time. Had a a Glock 36 .45 ACP. Malfunctions up the ass with standard factory or hot handloads. Sold it. Ruger 22/45. Issues with FTF/FTE with various .22 ammo. Sold it. But I have 7 other Rugers that are fine.

    • But I’ll still be able to use my LCR when you Taurus disappears into the “Taurus Twilight Zone” for repairs. My brothers Taurus was gone for 11 weeks for repair and when he got it back the barrel was a different color than the rest of the gun, but they had awesome excuses, “we changed our finish process so that’s just the way it is” and “we’re doing inventory so we will fix your gun when we complete that”.

      • I’ve heard their customer service isn’t very good. Ruger has a good reputation. I wouldn’t know since I’ve never had to send my Ruger in for repairs.

        • Taurus’ doesn’t have Customer Service. They have what I can only explain as, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” Horrible…it is theirs to improve…not with any more of my $$

  6. I have the original 856 in steel. It is a very well made gun and I like it a lot. I don’t see much of a reason to get another but I guess variety is what Taurus is doing to increase sales.

    • Have a model 85 snubby, ultra-lite with titanium frame, steel barrel and cyl. Added laser grips. No complaints.

  7. Love the format, hope the consistency is where it needs to be.
    Need to see one of these in person and compare to the Charter Arms ‘Professional’ 7-shot .32 H&R Mag.

  8. SOooooo…why wouldn’t you just get a M82 4″? I’m thinking a M65 3″ would have made a bit more sense.
    I’m still happy I picked up a M85 before Taurus decided to drop a very popular revolver so they could add “1 more round”….what me bitter…..NO…..well maybe……just a little bit.

  9. I love the concept of this revolver with the steel frame (which will probably weigh about 24 ounces). Seems like a really nice balance between barrel length, weight, size, and cylinder capacity.

    I have shot revolvers chambered in .38 Special that weigh 16 ounces. Recoil is surprisingly unpleasant. Add an extra 6 to 8 ounces and they become a lot more fun to shoot.

  10. I own two Taurus firearms. Both are very reliable weapons. Both have had 1200+ rounds run through with a couple of FTFs each. Thankful to have not had the experience of some of you.

  11. Never thought I’d say it, but I’ll take a new Taurus over a new Smith & Wesson. At least until Smith gets rid if that trigger locking device. On this model get rid of those soft Houge grips replace them with VZ subdued checkering or Spiegel smooth wood, etc.

    • I’m likely getting a Taurus G3 as my next gun. Best reviewed Taurus EVER…I’ve never had a problem with 5 Tauruses.

      • That Taurus G3 looks like a great choice. The full-size and its weight (24 ounces) will make it a nice and easy shooting pistol for 9mm Luger. And if you can purchase it for close to $300 locally, how can you go wrong?

    • Gadsden Flag,

      As far as I know, all Taurus revolvers have firing locks built into the hammer which require a tiny hex key (basically an Allen wrench) to lock or unlock.

      Also as far as I know, all Taurus revolvers come from the factory with that hammer firing lock disengaged (able to fire) and I have never heard of anyone ever experiencing a failure of that firing lock that prevented them from firing when unlocked.

      Personally, I really like Taurus revolvers. They seem to have excellent factory triggers and go bang every time. For close-range engagements, I would trust them any day of the week. Speaking of trusting them, I carry a Taurus .44 Magnum revolver with a 6-inch barrel for self-defense against large animal attacks when I am camping and hiking.

  12. Taurus USA is coming in strong. They maybe, should of opened their operation in the USA under a new name; possibly giving the nay sayers the opportunity of a fresh look.

  13. I have the view that Taurus is capitulating/preparing for a “sea change” in the way of S/A weapons…..

  14. Change the manufacturer to Smith and Wesson or Ruger, and you might be on to something.

    Not one dime to Brazilian junk made in dirt floor sweatshops by peasant kids.

  15. I own an S&W Airweight. I don’t understand some of these comments. This is NOT a target pistol; it was designed for self-protection. Luckily you’ll never have to use it .

  16. I have some Taurus revolvers and pistols to,I have never had any trouble with them. I also have some smiths , Rutgers and a kimber that I had to send back . So all guns have company,s have that you just don’t here many people say anything ,because they don’t want to et you no they paid good money for a lemon!

  17. I have some Taurus revolvers and pistols to,I have never had any trouble with them. I also have some smiths , Rugers, and a kimber that I had to send back . So all guns have company,s that have Issues but I don’t here many people say anything ,because they don’t want to let you knowthey paid good money for a lemon!

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