Go Old School: Taurus Releases New 3” Defender, Eight-Shot .22 Revolver – SHOT Show 2020

Click HERE to learn more about Taurus.

You’d be hard-pressed these days to find a law enforcement agency still issuing .38 revolvers, but that doesn’t mean the time-tested design is going anywhere. Wheel guns are just as cool as ever, and Taurus just released two models sure to please any old-school aficionado—no matter their age.

We stopped by the Taurus booth at this year’s SHOT Show 2020 to check out the new revolvers for ourselves.

Taurus 942

Taurus spokesman Olivier Colombier told us that customers have been asking for the 942, and now the company has answered the call. The 942 is a DA/SA 8-shot revolver chambered in either .22LR or 22WMR, and Taurus plans to offer a variety of barrel lengths and finishes.

Customers can opt for either a 2-inch or 3-inch barrel, and Taurus will offer both barrel lengths with either a matte silver or matte black finish on the stainless-steel construction.

The 942 is a hefty little firearm at 23.6oz, which will help control the recoil of the 22WMR and it gives the gun a pleasantly solid feel in the hand. But Taurus also plans to release an ultralight version of the 942 constructed with an aluminum frame, which makes the already-small gun even easier to conceal and carry all day.

Plus, the 942 is safe to dry fire.

Depending on the configuration, the 942 comes with an MSRP between $363 and $377.

Click HERE to learn more about the Taurus 942.

Taurus 856 Defender  

If you’re looking for something with a little more bite than a .22, Taurus also released the 856 Defender at this year’s SHOT Show. Taurus released the 856 last year, but they’re responding to customer demand with the 856 Defender.

“We’ve had a lot of demand for more of a carry package with a 3-inch barrel,” Colombier said.

The 856 Defender is a DA/SA six-shot revolver chambered in .38 Special and features a 3-inch barrel. Like the 942, it comes in a wide variety of configurations, including two ultralight models and a model featuring Altamont wood grips. The ultralight models use an aluminum frame and weigh only 16oz while the standard models use a steel frame and weigh 35oz.

Colombier also pointed out the extended ejector rod and bright orange front night sight, both of which come standard on all 856 Defender models.

Depending on features, the 856 Defender can be had for between $429 and $477 MSRP.

Click HERE to learn more about Taurus.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Hank February 25, 2022, 9:43 am

    When can I buy the 327 fed mag 3” ???? And we’re.

  • Willie-o January 26, 2022, 8:21 am

    I’ll try this (1)…..ONE last time. None of my last few comments have made it past “awaiting moderation” stage. No issues elsewhere. Anyway, I’ve tried checking into the Taurus revolvers being offered with 3” barrels – both the .38spl and the .357mag, but nothing can be found on their website. As stated in my initial unposted comment, I’m still waiting for them to send me the return label for my authorized warranty replacement as outlined in the class-action lawsuit. I have their defective Millenium Pro .45acp, which they are replacing with a base model 9mm. It was that or $200 if I remember correctly. They keep coming out with all these new models/variants, but still have OLD, unfinished business. Enough of it that all I keep hearing is how behind they are (their excuse). Why I even considered another Taurus product amazes even me. I want my LONG OVERDUE replacement 9mm that I’m owed – even though it should’ve been a .45acp like I originally purchased. Then I’ll likely be done with Taurus. I’ll either try a Kimber or just stick with pre-lock S&W’s.

  • john t anderson June 9, 2020, 3:31 pm

    i,m a gun store owner and am interested in purchasing some of your handguns, could I get a information book ?john,s guns, at 179108 bass landing rd. eland, wisc, 54427

  • Rod March 18, 2020, 8:06 pm

    It’s March already and no one has available the 3” 856. Even Taurus will not answer when they will be available.

  • steve friess February 3, 2020, 2:07 am

    I own a 9 shot Mach 2 and I love it.
    It gives me something between a LR and a 22mag for velocity. Never could figure out why it was discontinued. It cost me $185.00.

  • Ej harbet January 26, 2020, 8:00 am

    I owned a model 94 3inch in the early 90s.it was a 9shot but the pawl had to have small teeth to turn a 9shot cylinder.those would wear at high round count and fail to complete carryup and lock.the 8shot is definitely a improvement.I always loved the 3inch barrel length for a all purpose revolver.to me it hid as well as a 2inch and was as accurate and powerful as a 4inch.best of both worlds in one gun.

  • Alan January 24, 2020, 8:04 am

    Good to see that Taurus is bringing back these little .22’s. I am glad that I have a older version with screw adjustable rear sight instead of the drift type. With all the different .22 ammo out there it is easier to make adjustments to point of impact with a screw driver.

  • Mike in a Truck January 23, 2020, 4:18 pm

    23.+ ounces to “control the recoil” of a 22 magnum? Bwhahahah! My S&W 351 PD weighs 11oz + or -. Oohhhh the recoil, my hand- ouch ouch!

  • Don Tros January 23, 2020, 1:29 pm

    Yeah, interesting. I will say however that the one they are calling stainless is not. It’s just a coating over regular steel. I have one that was in the bottom of my safe before I put in the golden rod to help with humidity and it rusted badly. I know stainless will also rust but when I removed the rust, the coating just came off and the bare steel was showing, clearly not stainless.

  • srsquidizen January 23, 2020, 10:56 am

    I own Colt, S&W, Ruger and Taurus revolvers. The Bull isn’t the best but it is “for the money.” Wheel guns are still ideal for civilians who just need quick, simple, reliable defense–it’s not their job to get in shootouts apprehending criminals where you don’t want to be the one who runs out of bullets first. That’s why today’s LEO carries something with a big double-stack magazine, not because it’s a better gun. The design Sam Colt first made a marketable product will never be obsolete. It’s good to see companies like Taurus offering new revolver models that are affordable what with Colt nowadays bringing out $1500 safe queens.

  • James January 23, 2020, 9:41 am

    I have the older 22wmr by Taurus ( always wondered why they discontinued it ). Snubbie , bootgrip, airlite . Great for home defense . Huge muzzle flash to scare off bad guy ( like he’ll know what caliber it is , in reality) Doesn’t go thru 4-5 layers ( or more) of sheetrock ( a .38 Spl will , i know , don’t ask ). 8 shots , no recoil . Ease of operation/wife can use it . If that isn’t enough to deter , it’s time to get serious > the 12 ga with 8 rounds of buck ( with barrel mounted flashlight) should be plenty.

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