Shooting the Taurus USA 2018 Product Lineup

Over the last couple of years, Taurus USA has hired a handful of experienced engineers from around the firearm Industry. To complement the new talent, Taurus also opened a state of the art manufacturing and R&D facility here in the United States. These moves signify a commitment to both quality and innovation. Recently, Taurus invited a handful of writers to the Quail Creek Plantation, which is located two hours south of Orlando, Florida to demo some of their new products for 2018. The event was spread over the course of two days and gave us writers ample opportunity to shoot all of their new pistols. During the demonstration, we got to talk to the engineers and key personnel from the company, and get some pointers from pro shooter, Jessie Harrison.

The Pistols

Taurus Raging Hunter

The Taurus Raging Hunter is a behemoth of a revolver that is optimized for hunting tough game at close range. The project started when several Taurus engineers took the Taurus Raging Bull and added an aluminum barrel shroud and MIL-STD 1913/Picatinny rail. The aluminum barrel shroud moved the weight of the pistol towards the shooter’s hand and shaved off some ounces. The Taurus Raging Hunter has an 8.375-inch barrel and is chambered in the hard hitting .44 magnum caliber. Ports near the muzzle and cushioned insert grips help mitigate recoil. The Pistol would be perfect for chasing feral hogs through the thicket or shooting whitetails from a tree stand.

Shooting Impressions

Looking through the Aimpoint red dot, I focused on a piece of steel 25 yards away and slowly squeezed the trigger. I was delighted to see my round hit exactly where I was aiming. I quickly fired off the last 5 shots in the cylinder and found myself grinning ear to ear. Double action was smooth, and single action was nice and crisp. The ports kept me on target, and the pistol felt relatively balanced. Weighing in at 55 ounces/3.43 lbs I didn’t find the Raging Hunter to be obnoxiously heavy (For reference, a loaded Glock 19 weighs 29.98 ounces/1.87 lbs. A Smith and Wesson 686 with a 6-inch barrel weighs 45.8 ounces/2.86 lbs.). Overall the weight, balance, cushioned grips, and gas ports made the Raging Hunter a joy to shoot. If I lived in a heavily wooded area that had a lot of feral hogs, sneaking around the bush at night and shooting pigs with a Taurus Raging Hunter and a PVS-14 night vision monocle would be done on a regular basis. I enjoyed shooting this pistol, and I think you would too. The Taurus Raging Hunter has an MSRP of $919.

Taurus 1911 Commander and Officer

In 2005 Taurus introduced a moderately priced full size 1911, the Taurus 1911. For 2018, Taurus expanded their 1911 lineup with the Taurus 1911 Commander and Taurus 1911 Officer models. Both models feature an extended beavertail, Novak front and rear sights, textured polymer grips, and checkered front and back straps.

Shooting Impressions

I am a big fan of 1911 pistols, and the station that featured the Taurus 1911 Commander and Taurus 1911 Officer models was probably my favorite of the whole event. Not only did the station include 4 steel targets that mimicked a shooting stage, the stage was manned by professional shooter and Taurus USA Team Captain, Jessie Harrison. I ran scores of rounds through both the Commander and Officer models and found both pistols to run flawlessly. During my strings of fire, Jessie offered some minor tweaks to my grip which immediately improved my shooting. The Taurus 1911 Commander and Taurus 1911 Officer models have an MSRP of $609.

Taurus Model 856

Immediately after shooting the giant Taurus Raging Hunter, I got to shoot a revolver that felt like a toy, the Taurus Model 856. The Model 856 is a 6 shot, SA/DA revolver that is chambered in 38 Special and has a 2-inch barrel. The revolver features soft rubber grips which can soak up a little bit of recoil and provide a secure purchase for an end user’s hands.

Shooting Impressions

Shooting the Taurus Model 856 was a lot of fun, and I had no problems hitting steel plates dead-center at 15 yards. I ran scores of rounds through the 856, where it was almost too hot to hold and the pistol performed flawlessly. The Model 856 has an exposed hammer spur, which made the pistol easy to cock for single-action mode. Shooting the Model 856 in single action mode, I found the trigger to be crisp and clean. Double-action was a tad gritty but wasn’t bad. I sincerely doubt I would notice the “grit” if I was trying to pull the Model 856 from concealment and get rounds into someone’s face and torso. Not only is the Model 856 compact, but it is light. Weighing in at 22 ounces, the Model 856 would be perfect for concealed carry. The Taurus Model 856 has an MSRP of $329.

Taurus Spectrum

Remember when I said that Taurus poached a bunch of engineers from around the Industry and built a state of the art facility here in the United States? Well, the first pistol to come out of that factory was the Taurus Spectrum. The Taurus Spectrum is a svelte, compact pistol that is designed for concealed carry. One feature that really stood out was the lack of sharp edges on the Spectrum. This form factor serves two purposes, one is to negate snagging clothing when drawing the pistol, and the other is to mitigate pinch points while the pistol is in use. The backstrap and slide have a polymer insert that is designed to increase grip when holding the Spectrum or racking the slide.

Shooting Impression

I hate baby guns and I cannot shoot them worth a damn due to my giant hands. With that said, I was pleasantly shocked when I loaded up the Spectrum and started hitting steel plates at 15 yards with near perfect accuracy. The trigger had a very long pull, then hit a wall and broke clean. I could appreciate the travel, especially since this pistol was designed for concealed carry. My only complaint was the inserts that allow one to assist in racking the slide where not aggressive enough. With that said, I didn’t have a problem racking the slide. One thing to note is that even though the Spectrum is a tiny handgun, there was very little recoil. I would personally carry this pistol if I needed a small carry solution.


Getting to meet the engineers of Taurus USA and see their hard work was a very positive experience. Taurus is often perceived as a company that imports inexpensive products with dubious quality. I see that perception changing as Taurus USA rolls out new and exciting products that are still affordable, yet quality. A big thank you to Taurus for the invitation and to Quail Creek Plantation for the hospitality. Great event. Looking forward to seeing what Taurus USA debuts at the 2019 SHOT Show.

Visit Taurus to learn more by clicking here.

***Shop GunsAmerica for your next Taurus Pistol***



{ 10 comments… add one }
  • ron lunsford June 30, 2021, 1:04 am

    I have a tx22 with a 16 round clip can you get a 10 clip for this pistol

  • Chuck in Phoenix July 13, 2018, 12:41 pm

    Junk, I\’ve had to send them off to the factory straight out of the box because of timing issues…
    Owning one is kind of like owning a Dodge Pick Up, looks ok bit it\’s still a Dodge.
    I have to admit though, it is a step up from a Glock.

    • J smith December 25, 2018, 3:58 pm

      You are a troll. Glocks aren’t junk, their reputation is pretty well documented, and what that has to do with Taurus is beyond me, except to show everyone how ignorant you are. BTW, I’ve owned over 20 Taurus revolvers from 22lr to 480 and have shot thousands of rounds out of them. The only one I ever had an issue with was the 380 revolver an issue with the hammer spring. No problem, fixed it with a $10 spring pack from brownells. So, by your logic, the Browning’s, (several in fact) and the Rutgers and smith and Wesson’s that I actually had to return to their shops were all junk cause they had issues? I’m perplexed!

      The only reoccurring issue I’ve had with Taurus is the cycling ear lock can become sticky. Polish it up, apply some lube and no issues.

      I’m sure you speak from vast experience.

      • Tony August 9, 2020, 10:59 am

        I just bought a 7 shot 4” ported .357, seems like a great gun. Your comment is most welcome.

        I am eyeballing a Raging something in .44!

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn July 9, 2018, 4:33 pm

    I bought a Spectrum a few months back.. Took it to the gun club\’s range and fired – or attempted to fire – 75 rounds from various manufacturers, including a few high quality domestic brands.. Fully 19 rounds failed to fire on first firing pin contact, several did not fire on second contact and a few did not fire on third contact.. I sent the pistol back (not an easy assignment as Taurus makes contacting itself a chore. I finally did a \”live chat\” that I found sort of sequestered on the firm\’s home page)… It took a while to get the pistol back and by then I had bought a concealed carry revolver.. The Spectrum? Well, it\’s going up for sale at a swap meet scheduled for this Saturday… I\’m simply not going to trust my life to a pistol with which I have no confidence.

    • Blue Dog July 9, 2018, 7:33 pm

      My wife took a liking to the blue and white Spectrum that was featured on the cover of a popular firearms publication several months ago. I think she liked the color even though she is not prone to that kind of thing most of the time. I finally got to handle one and out of the box, the slide would not rack. I saw a slotted button on the side of the gun and figured it was some sort of lock so I turned the button expecting the slide to unlock, but the slide came off the frame. I did get the barrel out of the slide pretty easily to get the zip tie out of the barrel and getting the slide back together was more of a challenge than I expected. That barrel and guide rod situation is henky at best. The slide was pretty easy to get back on the frame and the slide worked with the zip tie having been removed, at least it worked there at the gun counter. I did not shoot that mickey mouse operation. When I got home, I told my wife that I would not recommend that pistol to my friends and family and would not want to trust her life to it.

      I know gun snobs and Taurus snobs and I pride myself on not being a gun snob and having solid (even though they are at times, personal or individual) reasons for disliking the guns that I dislike. I don’t have a problem with most Taurus products but the Spectrum made the short list real quick.

  • Irish-7 July 9, 2018, 11:43 am

    I own a Taurus Judge Public Defender and Rossi Circuit Judge. The elongated shape of the Public Defender makes it quite concealable, actually fits in a front pocket. Reminder to those who own the Circuit Judge, UNLIKE the Judge, there are 2 different chokes for firing .45 Long Colt bullets and .410 Gauge shot shells.

    • Hatchetman July 9, 2018, 7:44 pm

      I’ll second the Circuit Judge, that’s got to be one of the most fun things to take to any shooting range. It just has such a unique feel to it and is pretty accurate for being essentially a revolver with a long barrel and rifle stock.

      • Irish-7 July 17, 2018, 1:19 am

        Did you change chokes when switching from bullets to shot shells?

  • Willy July 9, 2018, 9:38 am

    It’s an okay pistol. It feels good in my hands, especially with the 7 round magazine. The trigger? Ehhh, it’s okay for a defensive hand gun. The gun is reliable. I would not make much of the accuracy past 7 yards. But for a defensive hand gun, if you do your part in aiming, it will do okay for you. I have other micro .380 pistols I like better. But I won’t say stay away from the Spectrum.

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