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Taurus built its first revolver in 1941, and the company has grown tremendously since then. There was a time when Taurus was known mainly for the competitive price points of their firearms. But, over the last 15 years, Taurus has established a reputation as an innovative force in the firearms industry.

Taurus’ recently best-known designs include their Judge revolvers, which shoot .45 Colt cartridges and .410 shotshells interchangeably. The Judge proves that Taurus knows “big,” but you may not know that Taurus is equally adept at the other end of the spectrum. If we take into account all the available material options and chamberings offered on Taurus pocket pistols, you would have a choice between 25 highly concealable handguns that can provide peace of mind when you can’t carry a full-sized pistol.

Ultra-Lites & Minis

Taurus began as a revolver manufacturer, so it is no surprise that revolvers make up a big part of Taurus’ pocket carry offerings. Reliability is paramount in a weapon you are going to stake your life on, and no handgun is more reliable than a good double-action revolver. Taurus has models chambered for calibers from .22 LR to the potent .357 Magnum.

The 4-inch-barreled versions of Taurus’ 94 in .22 LR and 941 in .22 Magnum are often seen on the hips of sportsmen out in the field, but the 2-inch-barreled versions of these revolvers are viable choices for self-defense. For many years, I have recommended .22-chambered revolvers and autopistols for people who are recoil adverse or can’t practice sufficiently with harder-recoiling centerfire arms. And, .22 ammunition is cheaper, which allows for lots of practice. High-velocity hollow points, especially in .22 Mag., have more stopping power than .38 Special roundnose slugs. Chambering these revolvers in .22 provides another advantage over their centerfire brethren: more rounds in the cylinder. The 94 carries nine rounds of .22 LR, while the more-potent 941 holds eight rounds of .22 Mag. An alloy frame keeps the weight low for comfortable, all-day carry.

Taurus has taken the popular .380 autopistol round and put it into a highly concealable double-action-only (DAO) revolver, known as the Mini Revolver. The Mini is smaller than a typical J-frame-sized revolver. With its 1.75-inch barrel, bobbed hammer and low-profile adjustable sights, the Mini Revolver is very pocket-friendly. And, with good, jacketed-hollow-point ammo, the .380 has proved itself to be a viable, close-range self-defense round. The Mini is a five-shot revolver that loads the rimless .380 rounds by using Taurus Star Clips, what the rest of us call moon clips. It is available in polished blued or stainless steel with a very aggressive bead-blasted matte finish.

Wheelguns with More Power

If you carry a 9mm autopistol as a duty gun or as a full-sized self-defense arm, Taurus has you covered. The 905 allows you to carry a backup revolver chambered for the same round. Like the Mini .380, the 905 chambers the rimless 9mm by using Taurus’ Stellar Clips. This system allows fast reloads since a Stellar Clip loaded with five rounds of 9mm ammo is essentially a self-contained speed loader. Loose rounds can be loaded into the chambers and they will fire, but the extractor won’t eject them without a Stellar Clip. You’ll have to get them out one at a time, Wild West-style. At 22 ounces, the all-steel 905 isn’t the lightest pocket revolver, but those extra ounces help to control 9mm recoil.

The CIA 850 isn’t the Central Intelligence Agency’s official handgun. In Taurus’s parlance, CIA stands for “Carry It Anywhere”—which is just what you’ll be able to do with this compact wheelgun. The CIA is a five-shot DAO revolver with a fully shrouded hammer. It is very pocket-friendly. The CIA is available in both .38 Special and in .357 Magnum, in a slightly heavier version. The .38 Special-chambered guns are +P rated. This gun is what I would call the quintessential pocket pistol. It has a small size, snag-free styling, revolver reliability and a cartridge sufficiently powerful to defend your life.

The 605 Poly Protector in .357 Magnum is one of Taurus’ new revolvers. It features a light polymer frame that will stand up to harsh abuse. The five-shot 605 Poly Protector is chambered in the powerhouse .357 Magnum cartridge. The 20-ounce, lightweight revolver has a partially shrouded hammer to help minimize snagging, but the spur is available for single-action shooting. The 2-inch barrel is topped by a red fiber-optic front sight.

Small-Cal. Semi-Autos

Taurus has updated its line of small blowback-operated .22 and .25 autopistols to include polymer frames. The 25 PLY is chambered in .25 ACP and weighs less than 11 ounces. Fully loaded, the 25 PLY only weighs about 13 ounces. The barrel tips up to let you load one round in the pipe without racking the slide. This gun is DAO, and in a semi-automatic, that’s what I want for pocket carry. There is a frame-mounted thumb safety as well. Some out there discount a gun chambered in .25 ACP, but I’ll bet none of them would volunteer to be shot by one. Even if this isn’t your primary defensive handgun, it is so small and light that it can easily be carried as a backup piece.

The polymer-framed 738 TCP is the lightest autopistol in the Taurus lineup. At 10.2 ounces, it is even lighter than their .25-caliber polymer-framed semi-auto. The 738 is a DAO, striker-fired pistol. Its polymer frame comes in basic black or flamboyant pink. The steel slides are available with a blued finish or stainless steel. One of Taurus’s new options on the 738 TCP is a black-finished stainless steel slide. I really like the black frame, black stainless slide combination. Its corrosion-resistant properties make it a perfect pistol for humid climates.

Slim 709 & 740

The 709 and 740 Slim series of pistols show off some of Taurus’s innovative ideas. At first glance, the 709 and 740 look like typical striker-fired pistols with a short-reset trigger. And indeed, the Slim pistols do operate in that mode most of the time. The rearward motion of the slide cocks the striker, providing a crisp, single-action-like trigger pull. But, in the event of a failure to fire, the Slim pistols give you a second-strike capability. If you need a second strike, the trigger resets to give you a long double-action pull that draws the striker back and releases it. This can be a lifesaver. If you have a light primer strike in a serious situation, you could be in real trouble unless you have a second-strike capability.

Frames on the Slim line are made of polymer, and slides are available in either blued or stainless steel. Slim pistols are less than an inch thick, so they can be concealed very easily, and the polymer frames keep the weight manageable. But they are chambered in real fighting calibers: 9mm and .40 S&W. In .40 S&W, the 740 Slim is one of the most powerful, true pocket pistols you can buy. For more information, visit taurususa.com or call 305-624-1115.

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