Taurus has been manufacturing revolvers for nearly 75 years and has been one of the few wheelgun manufacturers that has taken the tried-and-true revolver design and made it innovative, appealing and reliable, especially for concealed-carry holders.

Any concealed carrier considering a personal protection weapon has three concerns: safety, concealability and power. Taurus snub-nosed revolvers have all three covered. Safety is a main concern when considering a weapon for concealed carry and revolvers are some of the most inherently safe weapons available. Taurus revolvers have a transfer bar built into the mechanism in all the company’s models, from the classic Model 85 line to the innovative Model 605 series. The transfer bar prevents the hammer from striking the firing pin unless the trigger is fully pulled rearward. In the event of a drop, the revolver will not accidentally fire. Taurus also adds its Security System into each revolver, allowing the owner to disable the revolver via a key. Users can opt to use this feature when storing the revolver or not.

Secondly, snub-nosed revolvers were designed for concealability. Generally defined, a revolver with a barrel less than 3 inches is considered a snub nose. Taurus’ lineup of snub-nosed revolvers have abbreviated barrels and overall lengths that make then easily concealable, even if you wear size 13 combat boots or size five pumps. The thickness of Taurus revolvers is about 1.25 inches, making them quite comfortable to wear in an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster, coat pocket or bag. Taurus also pays attention to the outside edges of its revolvers to make them as snag-free as possible. The CIA is good example of a Taurus snub nose made for deep concealed carry where a snag-free gun is a must. The newer Model 85 with Convertible Hammer makes concealability and usability more convenient, but more on that later. Taurus has also gone to lengths to lighten its revolvers through the use of lightweight metals, like those featured on variants of the Model 85 series, and polymer frames, like those on the Model 605 line.

Firepower is the third concern. If there’s too much recoil, a user may not be able to effectively fire the gun accurately, so Taurus manufactures a wide range of calibers in snub-nosed revolvers from the easy-to-shoot .38 Special to the powerful .357 Mag. Some are also chambered in calibers designed for semi-automatic pistols, like the .380 ACP and 9mm, allowing a concealed carrier to pair a revolver with a pistol. Round capacity is typically five rounds in a centerfire caliber, which can be more than enough firepower for personal protection.

Snag-Free Backups

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Model 650 CIA Blued

The CIA (Carry It Anywhere) series helped revive the hammerless concealed-carry revolver design. The CIA was designed for simplicity, ease-of-use and concealed carry or backup. The hammer is fully enclosed in the frame so there is no hammer spur to snag on clothing and the revolver is double-action-only (DAO). The average trigger pull weight on the CIA is about 9 pounds. It is a long, heavy pull that is perfect for a high-stress encounter. In the moment, the trigger pull weight will seem a lot lighter. The surface of the snub-nose’s trigger is smooth.

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The CIA Model 650 revolver is only 1.3 inches thick, has an overall length of 6.5 inches and weighs only 23.9 ounces unloaded. It is a small package that makes for easy portability, yet it packs five rounds of .357 Mag ammunition. This requires the control of an experienced shooter, but it gives the user real firepower in a close-range gunfight. The rubber grips do as good a job as possible with .357 Mag loads to help reduce felt recoil. The front of the grip has finger grooves as well as fills the space behind the triggerguard that can whack a shooter’s fingers. These grips offer a good handle on this powerhouse. For training, users can also opt for .38 Special. The CIA Model 850 offers a doable compromise. It is chambered in .38 Special +P for slightly less felt recoil.

Sights on the Taurus 850 and 650 models are basic. A groove is milled into the top of the frame as a rear sight; a small ramp front sight is milled into the barrel. The ejector rod is enclosed in a lug under the barrel and is not full length, so that means it only ejects empty cases out partially. Use gravity to purge empties fast by rotating the muzzle skyward while pushing the ejector rod. Both matte stainless and blued finishes are available for the 850/650.

Magnum Power

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Model 605PLY Stainless

The Taurus Model 605PLY series offers the same .357 Mag firepower as the CIA but in a package with a lightweight polymer frame and stainless steel cylinder that weighs only 20.2 ounces unloaded. Light in weight but not firepower, the 605PLY is chambered in .357 Mag and holds five rounds. The ribbed rubber grip is a bit larger to help absorb felt recoil. A red fiber-optic front sight sucks up available light and in darkness gives users an edge for more precise aiming. The rear sight is a notch molded into the frame. The hammer is shrouded for a snag-free exterior yet gives the user the ability to thumb back the hammer and fire the handgun in single-action (SA).

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If a five-round capacity in .357 Mag or .38 Special doesn’t meet your requirements, how about seven rounds? The Model 617 uses a compact frame and packs seven chambers in the cylinder. There is a detent in the yoke to lock it into the frame. The ejector rod is extended so empty cases shuck faster and easier. This revolver is constructed of stainless steel with a matte finish. The weight is 28.3 ounces unloaded, making this revolver hefty but not uncomfortable to carry concealed. The grips have a pebble finish texture and finger grooves for a firm grip.

Semi-Auto Siblings

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Model 380

A semi-auto caliber chambered in a revolver is possible with Taurus’ Model 380 and Model 905 designs. The Model 380 is built on a small, lightweight frame and has a five-round capacity in .380 ACP. It is DAO as the hammer is bobbed. With the 1.75-inch barrel, the Model 380 only weighs 15.5 ounces unloaded. The Model 905 is slightly larger and chambered in 9mm. Another difference is it has a hammer spur so the revolver can be operated in SA and DA modes. Blue and matte stainless finishes are available for either of these revolver models. Both allow a user to pair up a revolver with a pistol, allowing them to only purchase one type of ammo.

Next-Gen Wheelgun

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Model 85 Convertible Hammer

The backbone of Taurus’ snub-nosed, conceal-carry revolvers is the Model 85. This series delivers five shots of .38 Special +P firepower through 2-inch barrels. All Model 85s have fixed sights and textured finger-groove grips made of rubber. Three frame materials are available—steel/stainless, ultra-lite alloy or polymer. The different frame materials mean the weights of the revolvers vary. Steel/stainless variants weigh 21 ounces, ultra-lite alloy models weigh 17 ounces and the polymer-framed guns are 18.2 ounces. All Model 85s have an overall length of 6.5 inches.

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The new Model 85 with Convertible Hammer allows users to switch from a hammer to a hammerless revolver with a twist of the hammer spur. Just twist the hammer spur and it can be removed to enhance concealment and lessen the risk of snagging when drawing the revolver. The blued steel and matte stainless steel models, because they are the heaviest in the series, offer less felt recoil. The tradeoff is they are heavier and less comfortable to conceal carry. The Ultra-Lite Model 85s are lighter than the steel/stainless and polymer models. They offer a lightweight, metal revolver that is more comfortable for concealed carry, but it will have more felt recoil. The Model 85 with a polymer frame is similar to the Model 605—polymer frame, blued steel or matte stainless steel cylinder—but it is chambered in .38 Special +P. At 18.2 ounces, this snub-nose affords a user a good trade-off on power for controllability and weight.

For more information on Taurus’ line-up, visit or call 800-327-3776.

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