Check out the Curve at Taurus: http://www.taurususa.com/curve
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Thrown for a Curve
The all new Taurus Curve is out in the wild and no longer the purview of a lucky few early reviewers. I recently had a chance to put it through its paces. I am of two minds about this gun. I want to somehow dismiss it as nothing more than a list of features added to a small .380 auto, but I won’t because of how the gun shoots and small details I appreciate from muzzle to butt.
Caliber: .380 ACP
Grips: Polymer Grips
Capacity: 6 +1
Weight: 10.2 oz
Barrel Length: 2.5″
Safety: Magazine Disconnect, Loaded Chamber Indicator
Trigger Type: Smooth
Handling the Curves
When I picked up the gun for the first time, I quickly understood the name. The whole gun is built with a curve to the frame that allows it conform to the human body. I believe a handgun’s job is to be comforting first and comfortable second. As a card carrying skeptic, I was concerned that a steep price would be paid by the gun-in-the-hand for the comfort of the body-friendly shape.
With the first firing grip on the gun, I no longer noticed the swoop of the Curve. I did notice the index dot on the front right side of the frame for my index finger. The control of integrated laser/light is easy to reach and control with the extended index finger. When my index finger reached the trigger I was again surprised by the trigger pull. It was long but smooth and predictable; what I would expect in a pocket carry gun with no external safety. The attention to detail found on this small weapon shows that a real shooter was on the design team. The rough texture applied to key areas of the grip contribute to a secure purchase. A notch correctly placed for the index finger of my support hand on the underside of the trigger guard lent itself to a correct firing grip.
When firing this demure concealed carry pistol, I noticed that recoil is noticeably less than most guns in its class. The magazine release is cleverly located on the left side near the bottom of the magazine. It is reachable with the right-hand thumb and nearly impossible to release accidentally.
I can’t say if the barrel of the Curve contributes to the shooting ability but the design is truly unique. It is a bull design with a reverse crown. The real show stopper is the top slant cut to the barrel resembling that on some AK’s with a matching cut on the slide. If it is effective at taming muzzle rise, I’d expect to see the design in other pistols soon.
(As an aside–check the muzzle in the image at the top of this page. That prototype Curve didn’t have the slanted barrel.)
Grading on the Curve
This gun has some real slippery curves. The first and most concerning is the complete absence of sights. The good marketing folks at Taurus added three milled lines filled with white paint on the rear of the slide and called it the integrated Bore-axis sighting system. I followed the instructions in the manual to use the lines with the two ears of the Loaded Chamber Indicator. This proved to be slow and difficult even when compared to the almost nonexistent sights on the KEL-TEC P-3AT. At night, you can forget any attempt at using this method.
You can add the LED / laser combo from Laser Lite for just $100.00 more. The laser is moderately visible in low light and (as is to be expected) completely useless in the daytime. The lights are small, and they aren’t going to stand up to a comparison to a typical add-on weapon light.
Some lawyers somewhere are pleased, but I am baffled by the magazine safety. Taurus even seems to apologize for it in the manual: “Magazine disconnectors can be dangerous for a number of reasons.” They know mag disconnects are dangerous–so why include it in the design? There’s no good answer. The gun won’t fire when the mag is out, so you better not accidentally drop the mag.
The TAURUS SECURITY SYSTEM (TSS) is a key lock that renders the gun inert. This creates a gun that will not function. As an added bonus, Taurus clearly warns you: Never engage the TSS with the slide in the open rear position or the hammer back in the cocked position. This will result in permanent damage to your pistol. I recommend leaving these keys in the box and forgetting about them. But if you need the lock for some reason, it is there.
The good folks at Taurus include a minimalist holster that covers the trigger guard and has a length of para cord forming a loop. The idea is to secure the cord to your belt with the gun in your pocket. When danger is imminent, the Trigger Protector will stay attached to you when the pistol is drawn. We tested the concept from all of the possible carry methods, and it works well enough. There didn’t appear to be any way to easily dislodge the Trigger Protector while the gun was in your pocket.
The Slide Clip is designed to hold the gun inside the waist band without requiring a holster. It does this as designed. However, it is cumbersome to draw the gun with a natural draw stroke. You have to reach in and push the gun up, exposing the butt. This is not impossible, but also not intuitive–at least at first. The clip can be used to secure The Curve inside the waistband, too–though it may be too tight to get over some belts. The only way this gun really made sense to me was right front pocket carry. I ditched the clip and used the trigger protector.
The Bell Curve
So who will The Curve appeal to? Not an easy question. Gun nuts love new guns, and The Curve is certainly that. After the novelty of the new wears off, what then? The Curve isn’t a range toy. Nor is it meant to be. I think these will be carried a lot more than they ever get shot. And that’s where The Curve’s true potential really seems well executed. This is a comfortable gun to carry.
And if you’re going to carry it, you need to shoot it. Regularly. The gun isn’t punishing, like some mouse guns intended for pocket carry–so you won’t have excessive hand fatigue. And there’s a lot you can practice with daily dry-fire drills, off the range. The magazine changes will take practice. As the holster options are limited, you may need to practice a new set of draw motions. Be safe. Work with it. Once you have it, take it to the range and acclimate to the sights with live fire.
Ranging the Curve
In all honesty, The Curve is a complex gun. When the concept was first announced, we knew it would be a tough sell. Taurus has taken a huge leap with this pistol. And they weren’t content with simply re-engineering a polymer frame. No, they threw everything they had at the design. It would be great if a new idea came out of the ground fully formed but most gun concepts mature over generations of evolution. I think The Curve will benefit from evolution.
Still, The Curve is more than a proof-of-concept. It seems to me like Taurus had a list of features they’d designed independently, and put them all on one gun. Most of these features are innovative. And everything works, to an extent. I predict that one day we will look back and recognize that The Curve was a precursor to a new type modern self-defense gun.
I will close with this. I was able to produce respectable groups using two-hand and strong hand only grips. I fired the gun at 5 yards and was surprised by the results. I shot left handed and it took a little effort to make it work. I would not call it a desirable method. All told, the gun functioned flawlessly for the duration of my range work.
Respectable accuracy and flawless function? These are both really strong selling points. In this country, the average gunfight occurs in under three short yards of distance. At that distance, with adrenaline running, sights become an after thought. Would The Curve be my first choice for this gun fight? No. But The Curve has filled a seasonal role, and very easily.
If there is one distinct benefit to the design it is that the gun doesn’t print like a gun. You can fit it in a pocket. You can conceal The Curve when you can’t conceal some of the compact 9mms out there, so there’s no excuse to leave it behind. Unless you’re just not wearing pants.