The new Taurus 380 Mini combines a legacy of handgun action with a semi-autopistol chambering. The 380 Mini is a close relative of the Taurus Model 905 revolver, which is chambered for the 9x19mm round.

Gun Details

The 380 Mini is a five-shot, double-action-only revolver with a 1.75-inch barrel. A hand-filling rubber finger-groove grip encircles the round butt frame. One item of note: The crosspin in the frame that helps keep the grip from shifting is not centered in the lower frame as is found in S&W revolvers. So if a grip change is desired, while S&W grips might otherwise fit, a work-around will be needed or Taurus-dedicated grips must be used.

The 380 Mini has decent sights, uncommon with small-frame centerfire revolvers. It has an integral ramped and serrated front sight, while the rear sight is a flat, black, smooth-faced metal blade, which fits in a cut in the topstrap. This sight is adjustable for windage by moving it in its slot using a very small slotted screw at the top right side of the frame. Such an adjustment is easy—if you have a very small screwdriver. Fortunately my friend who was along to help had one, saving me the embarrassment of using a knifepoint to do the adjustment and no doubt marring the gun’s finish in the process.

The trigger is smooth-faced and rounded, but its rear edges are abrupt—not sharp, mind you—but with the slow trigger pulling needed for accuracy work, this became uncomfortable.

The 380 Mini is double-action-only as mentioned earlier, but it does have an exposed hammer from which the single-action capability has been removed, as has the hammer spur. The body is contoured and polished such that its shape follows the curved lines of the top rear of the frame. This all makes the outline of the 380 Mini just that much smaller, with no hammer spur to catch on anything.

In the lower rear of the hammer body is the unobtrusive Taurus Key Lock. Two hexagonal keys are provided. Turning the key 180 degrees to the right (with the gun muzzle pointed away from you, of course) locks the firing mechanism but still allows opening the cylinder for loading, unloading and cleaning.

The fluted cylinder releases and moves easily on its crane when the thoughtfully shaped and checkered cylinder latch is pushed forward. I particularly appreciate the lack of sharp edges on the latch, as I invariably get nicked on my right-hand thumb due to recoil when firing this-sized revolver if it’s chambered for anything above .22 LR. To load the 380 Mini, five cartridges are inserted into the Taurus Stellar moon clip and then the package is loaded into the swing-out cylinder.

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  • Mario Distasio

    In Jan 2013, I purchased the 380 Mini revolver. It
    was the worst firearms purchase of my life! The trigger is horrible. But more
    than that, the cylinder would jam at least 3-4 times out of every 50 rounds. To
    free the jam the cylinder had to be rotated manually, as the trigger cannot be
    depressed once the cylinder jammed. This is a terrible situation for a firearm
    intended for concealed carry! Since that time I tried cleaning, polishing and
    working in the revolver. After running several hundred rounds through the
    revolver, the jamming (and trigger) never improved so this year I sent the
    revolver back to Taurus for a warranty repair.

    While it is true Taurus has a lifetime warranty,
    Taurus customer service is horrendous. First, I had to ship the revolver back
    to them at my expense. Next, while their on-line tracking system acknowledged
    receipt of the revolver, the status never progressed past under review. So after
    3 months, I called Taurus. I was informed that the revolver was unrepairable
    because the frame had been improperly drilled with some of the holes (including
    the one for the firing pin) misaligned. Taurus offered to ship a replacement
    revolver to an FFL but the catch is that I’d be responsible for the FFL fees.
    This presented a problem for me as the FFL fees for handguns is expensive in my
    home state of Maryland as a result of legislative changes that went into effect
    in Oct 2013. Without going into all of the details, it would cost me about $200
    to receive the handgun from an FFL because I do not have the Maryland handgun
    purchasing license. I tried explaining this to Taurus and asked if they could
    either send the replacement revolver directly to me, which is permitted under
    Maryland law (I even gave them a link to the state police website), or provide
    a refund. Taurus refused and referred me to their policy on their website.

    Two points are noteworthy: 1) It is unknown how
    wide-spread this the problem is. All I know is that my revolver was
    manufactured incorrectly and Taurus’ quality control did not detect the
    problem. Taurus is returning my revolver with a letter saying that it is
    “unsafe”. I do not know how many other “unsafe” Taurus revolvers
    are out there but Taurus seems to be in no hurry to warn its customers. 2)
    Taurus is hiding behind its company policy (posted on the website) to explain
    the fact that their remedy for the unsafe revolver would result in extensive
    charges to their customer. The fact that Taurus’ sloppy manufacturing and poor
    quality control resulted in a unsafe firearm being delivered to their customer
    and the fact that the customer had this unsafe firearm for 2 years does not
    seem to bother the company.

    As a result, I cannot recommend the 380 mini
    revolver and advise against having any dealings with Taurus.

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