There is a certain familiarity with Taurus snub-nose revolvers, and well there should be, as most of the company’s earliest (and now classic) five-shot, short-barrel wheelguns were based on S&W J-Frame models produced in the 1950s, beginning with the Chief’s Special (later the Model 36), various Airweight models and the distinctive, hammerless DAO Model 42. All of these can still be found among the dozens of snub-nose models available today from Taurus, but the legendary armsmaker has had more than a few memorable ideas of its own, including polymer-framed revolvers like the Model 605 in .357 Mag, the Model 85 polymer .38 Special +P, the Taurus 380 Mini Revolver in .380 ACP, the Model 905 chambered in 9mm and the 2.5-inch-barreled Judge Public Defender in both steel and polymer-framed .45/.410 models. These are truly compact powerhouses for concealed carry use. And there is the new Taurus Model 85 View, the smallest .38 Special ever with a 1.4-inch barrel, a scant 9-ounce carry weight and an alloy frame with a translucent Lexan sideplate exposing the internal workings of the hammer and trigger mechanisms.

With choices of traditional steel, titanium or alloy (Ultra-Lite) frames, and options of .38 Special +P or .357 Mag chamberings, all Taurus snub-nose revolvers employ a transfer bar internal safety that prevents the hammer from striking the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. In addition, Taurus revolvers have a Security System, a keyed lock at the base of the hammer that, when engaged by inserting the key (gun must be unloaded) and rotating it one quarter turn clockwise, prevents the hammer from being cocked and the trigger from being pulled until the system is manually unlocked with the key. Cosmetically, this is less obtrusive than other locking systems used today for double-action/single-action (DA/SA) and double-action-only (DAO) revolvers.


Taurus 85 UL Gray
Taurus 85 UL Gray

Taurus snub-nose models have a rounded butt configuration. They are fitted with energy-absorbing rubber grips that have a pebble grain finish on the sides and combat-style finger grooves in the frontstrap for a more secure hold. Almost all snub-nose models have a traditional rear sight channel in the top of the frame and a ramped blade front, while a few offer a fixed or windage-adjustable rear sight. All models feature a large, angled cylinder release with a checkered surface. Hammer guns have a checkered thumbpiece, and all models (except the View) have shrouded ejectors. It is old and new technology in harmony, creating an entire series of snub-noses that fit the average hand, easy to operate, accurate at average combat distances and easy to carry concealed in a shoulder, belt, IWB, ankle or pocket holster.

RELATED: Taurus Stays Bullish On Defense

Taurus’ build quality, innovation and caliber diversity make its snub-nose revolvers among the most trusted in the world today, and its classic early 20th-century designs round out an entire line of snub-nose revolvers suitable for concealed carry in any century.

The Taurus Model 85 and Model 605 both offer a unique combination of calibers in a small-frame, five-shot concealed carry design that features a fully shrouded ejector, oversized rubber grips with a finger-grooved frontstrap and a ramped front sight. The Model 85 has the classic lines of the S&W Chief’s Special and is offered in .38 Special +P. The Model 605 chambers .38 Special +P or .357 Magnum calibers and is also available in 9mm, making it an ideal backup to a 9mm semi-auto. These SA/DA revolvers are available in blue or stainless finishes.

Ultra-Lite Models

Taurus 855 Ultra-Lite
Taurus 855 Ultra-Lite

Taurus Ultra-Lite models use an aluminum alloy frame to reduce carry weight and are available with all of the same features as other Model 85 revolvers chambered in .38 Special +P. There are two principal versions in blue or matte stainless finishes, and carry weight is reduced from the standard Model 85’s 21 ounces to a very modest 17 ounces. All models are double-action/single-action and have an overall length of 6.5 inches. An Ultra-Lite version of the Model 850 CIA hammerless is also available.

View To Thrill

Taurus 85 View, taurus, taurus gun
Taurus 85 View

The new Taurus View resets the standard for small concealed carry .38 Special revolvers. The ultra-lightweight View tips the scale at a remarkable 9 ounces (empty). Reminiscent of cutaway display guns, the View’s alloy frame has a clear Lexan right sideplate that reveals the operation of the trigger and hammer mechanisms. Although limited strictly to .38 Special (no +P rating), this is the smallest five-shot .38 Special revolver on the market with an overall length of 5.67 inches, 1.35 inches in width (cylinder) and 3.5 inches in height. With a 1.41-inch barrel (measured from the front of the cylinder, the actual exterior barrel length is just 1 inch), shaved hammer and cut-down grips, this is the most “pocketable” .38 revolver ever. It’s available in standard matte alloy finish or a rose-colored alloy.

RELATED: Gun Review – The Taurus 85 View .38 Special Revolver

Model 380 Mini Revolver

Taurus 380 Mini, taurus, taurus guns, Taurus 380 Mini
380 Mini

Available in blued and matte stainless steel Ultra-Lite models, the Taurus Mini Revolver in .380 ACP delivers Taurus’ exclusive five-shot cylinder, soft rubber grips, a low-profile, windage-adjustable raised rear sight and a ramped/serrated front. Its small size and light weight frame make it a perfect choice for law enforcement professionals or for concealed carry use.

RELATED: Taurus 380 Mini Ultra-Lite

This DAO revolver comes with five stellar moon clips to allow loading .380 rimless cartridges. With a fully shrouded barrel and ejector measuring just 1.75 inches in length, and a carry weight (empty) of only 15.5 ounces, this is one of the smallest revolvers available.

Judge Public Defender

Taurus Judge Public Defender .45/.410
Taurus Judge Public Defender .45/.410

The Judge Public Defender snub nose is a 2.5-inch-barreled revolver on a platform evolved from the Model 85. It has an elongated frame and cylinder built to chamber .45 Colt defensive ammunition (like Hornady Critical Defense 185-grain FTX) or 2.5-inch .410 gauge 000 shotshells. With an overall length of 9.5 inches, a height of 4.5 inches, a carry weight of 28.2 ounces and a rounded/shaved hammer, the gun is relatively easy to carry concealed in a belt holster worn at the 4 o’clock position. The Public Defender has excellent close-quarters stopping power with 000 buckshot or .45 Colt defensive loads, and any combination can be used. The Judge Public Defender uses impact-absorbing rubber grips and is highly manageable, even with high-velocity ammo. It is available in a blued finish or matte stainless.

Polymer-Framed Precision

Taurus 605 PLY +P, Taurus, Taurus Guns
605 PLY +P

Taurus is a pioneer in polymer-framed revolvers. The Model 605 PLY series is more than a just revolver with an injection-molded frame; the polymer is an integral part of the gun that is bonded to an all-metal skeleton underneath. To build the guns, Taurus places a full steel frame into a special mold and the polymer compound is injected around the frame and bonded to the metal. The subframe is the gun and could actually be fired without any polymer around it! It is a delicate manufacturing operation done under great pressure, but you end up with a polymer frame over a steel skeleton that are one. This level of durability allows Taurus to build polymer-framed revolvers capable of withstanding +P ammunition pressures and large-caliber loads up to .45 Colt/.410. There are two .38 Special +P/.357 Magnum models, all with 2-inch barrels. The standard is blue with polymer frame, and the optional is a matte stainless cylinder and ejector with a polymer frame. Polymer Model 605s have an overall length of 6.7 inches and a carry weight of 19.75 ounces. There is also a .38 Special +P Model 85 version with an overall length of 6.5 inches and weight of 18.2 ounces.

.45/.410 Versatility

The Taurus Judge models have been one of the company’s great success stories over the years with various models chambered for the potent .45/.410 gauge combinations. The standard 2.5-inch-barreled Judge Public Defender has an overall length of 7.5 inches and a carry weight (empty) of 28.2 ounces. The Judge Polymer cuts overall carry weight by 5.2 ounces, to 23 ounces. The gun also has a full-size hammer for easier SA use. Although the gun is lighter in weight, recoil management is not reduced, and the gun is actually a little easier to handle due to its unique frame configuration.

For more information, visit or call 800-327-3776.


This article was originally published in the 2015 issue of CONCEALED CARRY HANDGUNS. Subscription is available in print and digital editions below.

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