Taurus introduced that it was releasing optics prepared revolvers days earlier than the 2023 SHOT Present. That they had put an optic platform on two small body revolvers; the 605 (a 5 shot .357 magnum) and the 856 six shot .38 Particular. Props to Taurus for selecting carry weapons as their first revolvers to be so geared up. I learn someplace that they requested their prospects late final yr what they wish to see the corporate construct. The response was sturdy for crimson dot-capable carry revolvers, in order that’s what Taurus constructed. That deserves repeating; they requested their prospects what they needed. What an idea!
Mike confirmed from the 2023 SHOT Present that Taurus wasn’t teasing an introduction someday down the road- the guns actually existed! He spoke with Caleb Giddings, Taurus’ Media Director, and expressed our curiosity in securing a pattern to check. Caleb was ok to get a stainless 856 T.O.R.O. (Taurus Optic Prepared Possibility) headed my manner.
The gun arrived at my FFL every week into February. Unpacking it revealed a no-nonsense, however good-looking, compact revolver. The utilitarian, bead-blasted end contrasted properly with the shiny set off, hammer, and thumb piece. The three-inch barrel permitted a full-length extractor rod and had an underlug operating its entirety. The gun sported a checkered hammer and a easy set off, the width of each have been proper for a gun of this function. It wore rubber grips secured by a roll pin close to their base. The grips had molded checkering on the perimeters and again strap together with a shallow thumb relaxation on each side. The sideplate had the Taurus trademark bull head silhouette on it together with “Taurus Int’l Mfg Bainbridge, GA.” The serial # was scribed on the proper facet of the barrel, and on the body above the “856” designation. The left facet of the body was branded with “Taurus Armas Made in Brazil”. The caliber designation “.38 SPL*” was engraved on the underside floor of the underlug.
The flat rib atop the barrel ended with a pinned in entrance sight, a black serrated ramp. Like all 856’s, the mounted rear sight was a notch milled into the highest of the body. Like no 856 earlier than it, this one had a plate low mounted like a saddle simply in entrance of the rear sight opening. It’s affixed to the body with hex head screws fore and aft within the heart of the plate. The underside of the plate is relieved to take a seat as little as attainable; milling the highest strap for an ultra-low mount (like on an auto slide) isn’t prudent. The screws ran down the middle of the rear sight monitor and obscured visible entry to the entrance sight; the plate’s coming off if you wish to use the iron sights.
I bought a Holosun 407K after Giddings confirmed he was sending the gun. Taurus designed them to be appropriate with optics sharing the Shield RMSc footprint, and the Holosun 407K is constructed to that commonplace. Deciding on an optic on this class insured that the cylinder would nonetheless be the widest a part of the gun for concealment functions. The scale of Holosun’s Okay sequence match up nicely with the scale of the 856.
The Holosun 407K lined up completely with the screw holes and raised round tabs that index and safe the optic. It’s an ideal match for the T.O.R.O. mounting plate.
There was one mounting hiccup, although. Holosun offered two units of mounting screws with the 407K, and sadly they have been too lengthy to make use of with the T.O.R.O. plate. Looking out via my meager stash of accrued screws produced no winners, both. A buddy who makes use of plenty of pistol optics loaned a toolbox filled with all issues RDS. I rummaged via it, and after making an attempt many, discovered a ziplock bag with two small screws meant to safe a MOS cowl plate on a Glock slide (M3x.5x8mm). They have been an ideal match. Blue Loc-Tite was utilized, and the screws have been torqued to Holosun’s specified inch kilos.
bench take a look at
As soon as mounted, I spent the night doing dry shows from a prepared place and was capable of constantly discover the dot if I didn’t get sloppy. The empty 856 with optic put in weighed 25.4 ounces, in line with my scale. The appear and feel of the optic have been proportionate to the gun, and so they deal with nicely collectively. It doesn’t look awkward or really feel clumsy.
The extractor rod had a beneficiant throw of 13/16” and its finish was nicely formed to be used, as Justin famous in his assessment of the 856 in 2019. The rod’s journey was a bit gritty at first, nevertheless it settled in properly with a bit use. The cylinder lock-up was agency and tight, the yoke latch offers strong contact up entrance. The set off wasn’t nice, nevertheless it was good; the double motion pull was easy when rolled straight through. A gradual, deliberate press revealed a bit hitch close to the top that gave an ideal staging level if that’s the case desired. The thumb piece was comfortably formed and gave constructive operate. The general match and end of this pattern was excellent.
The subsequent day, I ended at an indoor vary to zero the optic. I shot some Federal 130 grain FMJ stuff to familiarize and get the sight within the ballpark. Influence was initially excessive, and I needed to dial the elevation down fairly a bit. I fine-tuned it with 125 grain Remington Golden Saber +P hundreds. It received near bottoming out the optics vary of vertical adjustment, however a zero was achieved with the 125’s at ten yards.1
The 856 delivered tight teams on demand at that distance. The +P hundreds have been nice to shoot and controllable via the steel-framed gun. I shot from 5 to twenty yards, confirming the zero, and put 77 rounds via the gun on the transient journey.
As of late, I keep away from indoor ranges until I’ve no alternative due to the lighting. It’s tough to amass a very good sight image beneath indoor lighting with iron-sighted handguns, as my eyes age. The attention doc tells me it’s regular, nevertheless it’s absolutely irritating. The hazy sight image sometimes produced on black B8 targets with iron sights disappeared that day. The 6 MOA crimson dot gave a definite, clear intention level. It’s onerous to overstate how rewarding it was to have the ability to hit with confidence in that gentle. Sending 125 grain bullets precisely to level of intention with a small, short-barreled .38 was a welcome bonus. Palpable mirth!
I shot the 856 outside in mid-February, the temperature was about 40 levels Fahrenheit. Numerous hundreds have been chronographed; The three” barrel delivered vital velocity enhancements over 2” .38’s.
Due to the way in which the mounting plate sits, utilizing the iron sights within the occasion of optics failure isn’t an possibility. I turned the crimson dot off and used the define of the “television display” to bracket the physique of an IPSC silhouette at 10 yards. Six, rapid-fire rounds resulted in 4 hits within the “A” zone and two simply left into the “C” zone, mainly centered. Using the identical method at 5 yards for headshots resulted in 3 out of three slightly below the “bank card” zone. If the crimson dot goes AWOL, utilizing the window of the display as your “BUIS” nonetheless permits acceptable hits out to intermediate ranges.
The 856 and Holosun mixed to supply nice outcomes taking pictures one-handed drills, headshots and failure drills, and managed pairs on a number of targets. I taped an index card within the “A” zone and shot 5, 125 grain Golden Sabers at it from 25 yards. The rounds hit to level of intention in a gaggle that might do a service revolver proud. The 856 ran completely, with no extraction or ejection points for a complete of 118 rounds. The grips remained comfy and assisted with recoil administration.
The 856 may be recharged with HKS Okay Body (#10) or Colt Detective Particular (DS) speedloaders, however each would cling up a bit throughout reloading. Scrutinizing the grips revealed they have been relieved extra on the left facet than the proper for speedloader use. I eliminated the grips and the loaders labored easily (together with Safariland K frame Comp II’s). If this gun have been mine, I’d relieve the left facet of the grip a bit extra.
an necessary lesson
The 856 had 195 rounds via it, so a cleansing was so as. The proprietor’s handbook gave no information on eradicating the cylinder, one thing I habitually do when element cleansing revolvers. I eliminated the yoke screw and found that it was a three-piece meeting. No downside. I pulled the yoke from the body and located that it was meaningfully linked to the cylinder. Not like a Smith & Wesson, however I may now give the bore and cylinder a correct cleansing.
Upon reassembly, I found the cylinder cease had grow to be fairly flaccid. Hmm. I spent a while on U-Tube to no avail. Referring to the exploded components diagram within the proprietor’s handbook indicated that there ought to be a spring and plunger extending from the rear of the yoke barrel. Mine had a gaping, mocking, black gap. Drat. These two components exist to offer wanted upward stress on the cylinder cease.
I carried out the “armorer’s crawl” in all components of my residence that the disassembled revolver had travelled. After two fruitless hours, I admitted defeat and shamefully emailed Caleb Giddings for a bail out. Due to him (additionally to Cody Osborn and Alejandro Delgado from Taurus) for getting these components swiftly sent- and my apologies for being an fool. Externally, the 856 handbook of arms is equivalent to a S&W, however they differ internally. The “yoke screw meeting” components are small and simple to lose. Launching the cylinder cease plunger and spring will render your trusty 856 unserviceable, as I found. I share my ignorance to forestall you from having to be taught these classes the onerous manner!
Extra photographs fired
Once I can discover it, 125-132 gr. FMJ ammo has been operating 55-70 cents a spherical. To alleviate value a bit, I loaded some Missouri Bullet Co. 125 grain coated RNFP’s for observe stuff. Loaded on a max cost of Hodgdon’s low strain Path Boss powder, the Missouri bullet averaged 822 fps from the 856. It shot cleanly and pleasantly and hit to the zero; the slick RNFP’s gave hassle free loading from strips and loaders.
Whereas testing handloads, I shot 5 Golden Sabers at a B8 taped to a Silhouette at 50 yards. There was a noticeable cross wind, and it was a battle to not chase the crimson dot because it wobbled on and off the black. Even so, all 5 stayed on the 8 ½ by 10” paper the B8 was printed on. Once more, I felt just like the optic made the 856 carry out like a much bigger gun. The ten yard zero had proved sensible from 5-50 yards.
I had snagged a few of Federal’s new +P 120 grain Punch ammo to check out. It delivered velocity within the 1,000 fps vary and grouped nicely. It had much less blast and flash than the older era Golden Saber and confirmed nice promise as a carry load for the 856.
A casual comparability was carried out towards a barely bigger S&W Mannequin 65 Okay body, additionally a 3” gun with mounted sights. I had beforehand painted the entrance sight orange and the rear black to make them extra seen. This gun has a manufacturing unit double-action-only hammer with a decent set off pull. The Taurus held its personal towards the Mannequin 65. The 856 shot tighter teams indoors with all three rounds fired at 10 yards and with the Golden Saber at 15 yards. The 65 shot a barely higher group at 20 yards, however the 856 hit to level of intention, the place the 65 hit excessive. My sight image within the dim gentle with the 65’s iron sights was terrible as usual- I believe muscle reminiscence had so much to do with the 65’s hits being nearly as good as they have been. Should you’re affected by previous man eyes, I’ll say it again- taking pictures the T.O.R.O. indoors is a borderline revelation.
I’m now at 376 complete rounds fired (83 of them, .38 Particular +P) via this pattern, with zero issues. I believe that’s a really credible efficiency. I do know I’ve seen different, factory-new weapons give up nicely earlier than that mark.
BlackPoint Tactical’s website confirmed that they provide their Standard OWB holster for a 3” 856. I emailed them about one for the RDS geared up T.O.R.O. model. They have been fast to reply and suggested they might construct their Mini WING IWB for the optic geared up revolver. No less than for now, the OWB may be had just for the iron-sighted 856.
Harrison Jones (the president of Harry’s Holsters) despatched me a pre-production prototype of their aptly named “Monocle” AIWB holster to take a look at. Jones was ready to get his palms on an precise gun for thorough testing after I wrote this. He had 3D printed an optics plate and superglued it on a non-T.O.R.O. 856 to mildew prototypes.
Jones identified that including a dot modifications journey top and weight distribution on a revolver extra so than a semi auto, and he needed to get it proper earlier than releasing a holster. Bravo on that. His holster arrived as I used to be ending this text and I received to put on it for just a few days. I’m happy to report that it’s comfy, hides nicely, and optimally positions the optic geared up 856 for this mode of carry. It gives a bit adjustment with the belt clip to stability and place the holster to particular person desire. Jones is aware of what he’s doing, and it exhibits with this holster. I imagine he has gotten it proper and the Monocle can be a superb alternative in case you favor AIWB carry.
Usually, I’d go for a bobbed hammer on a gun this dimension, the optic’s larger profile diminishes its profit. I’ve no intention of ever taking pictures the 856 in single motion mode, however the exterior hammer has one other use. Pulling it again 1 / 4 inch will disengage the cylinder cease and permit the cylinder to be manually rolled round its orbit. This confirms there are not any excessive primers on chambered ammo that might drag and even lock up the gun. It’s good to have that peace of thoughts in case you carry a revolver in hurt’s manner.
The 856 Defender is mainly a 3” J body sized gun with a 6 shot Okay body cylinder. It’s the right dimension and weight for a carry .38 in a holster at your midsection. I’ve nothing towards the .357 Magnum, however I positive like this gun in a .38 Particular. It’s straightforward to shoot nicely, and you’ll shoot all of it day with out creating early onset arthritis. The three-inch barrel facilitates launching fashionable 120-130 grain JHP’s at 900-1,000 fps: a superb stability between ballistic effectiveness and controllability in a gun of this weight.
The 856’s set off was respectable from the primary press and has gotten higher with reside and dry fireplace. In order for you a match set off, purchase a match gun. This set off is healthier than these in lots of revolvers that value twice as a lot. The 856 T.O.R.O. is an unpretentious however extraordinarily succesful revolver that yields distinctive worth at its 460.00 retail value. The Holosun 407k will set you again one other 225.00. For 685.00, you may have a concealable revolver like no different proper now. Mounting that optic handily offers with the 2 greatest (and nearly common) gripes now we have with snub revolvers: crappy sights and chosen ammo not hitting to the sights.
Should you adopted Caleb Gidding’s writings earlier than he employed on with Taurus, you’ll acknowledge his fingerprints throughout this T.O.R.O. undertaking. Hats off to him and the Taurus crews in Georgia and Brazil- they’ve given us an important gun within the 856 Defender. The T.O.R.O. mannequin makes it even higher.
1. Editor’s Observe: Justin is busy testing a Taurus 605 T.O.R.O. revolver for RevolverGuy as we converse, and found his Holosun optic had inadequate inside adjustment vary to zero the gun at longer distances. His optic was grouping about 18 inches excessive at 20 yards with the .38+P ammo he was utilizing, and he had inadequate adjustment vary to decrease the purpose of influence.
This information level, mixed with Kevin’s expertise of almost operating out of elevation adjustment along with his 856/Holosun setup, prompted me to achieve out to Taurus’ Caleb Giddings for more information about Holosun compatibility.
Caleb confirmed they began to obtain comparable experiences concerning the Holosun optics operating out of elevation adjustment from media and shoppers after the SHOT Present, and he’s at the moment testing quite a lot of optics to be taught extra concerning the challenge. As of press time, Caleb experiences he’s had no issues with the Primary Arms Micro Reflex Sight, and could be comfy recommending it as a consumer-grade possibility. He’s additionally working with optics from Shield, Swampfox, and different corporations, and we anticipate to get extra suggestions from him about their efficiency, quickly.
For what it’s value, the weapons I fired on the 2023 SHOT Present Media Day have been all geared up with the Riton Optics 3 Tactix MPRD, and appeared to be correctly zeroed for us. Riton provides Taurus with optics for his or her GX4XL and TX22 pistols, amongst others, so Taurus already had them obtainable to slap on the T&E weapons for SHOT. They appeared to w0rk nicely, over an intensive day of taking pictures.
Caleb experiences that Taurus is already taking a look at an engineering repair to get rid of the problem, and make sure the sight base is correctly angled to help common selections just like the Holosun. For now, although, RevolverGuy readers have to be conscious that some optic/ammunition mixtures will not be appropriate with the T.O.R.O. sequence revolvers, and so they might have to pursue alternate options to realize the specified zero. -Mike
2. All photos courtesy of the writer, Kevin McPherson.
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