Read more at Taurus: https://www.taurususa.com/
Buy an 85 on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=taurus%2085
Taurus has been bullish about innovation. The Curve, one of the most widely discussed pistols of 2015, has a lot of features that may very well shape the way we think about concealed carry guns. The View was less controversial, though the gun is destined to be a collector’s item. The clear Lexan panel shows off the inner-workings of the gun the way some glass panels on the backs of watches show off the movements. But neither of these guns have taken major market share from their competition.
We’ve already covered one of the new additions that Taurus is launching this year; the TCP with cocking wings looks to be fully evolved and ready to roll out. The other is just as simple and intuitive. The 85, a cornerstone of the Taurus line-up, has been a very traditional approach to the revolver. Some materials have changed, and there are finish options to choose from–but the basics are rock-solid-wheel gun. One decision for those looking for a concealed carry gun has been to buy an 85 with a hammer, or an 85 without. The best available compromise was the zero-profile, fully shrouded hammer option.
Now there’s a new 85 on the way. This one has a full hammer. If you don’t want a hammer spur getting in the way of concealed carry, you can remove the spur. While this leaves the bulk of the hammer itself exposed (at least during the travel of the trigger during a double action pull), there’s nothing protruding to catch on clothing during the draw.
How easy is it to remove?
The action, at least in how I will describe it, is easy. After making sure the gun isn’t loaded, you simply twist the spur itself, clockwise, from the 12:00 position to the 3:00 position. When the spur is twisted, it can be pulled free. It takes practice to get it out. Inside the hammer, a detent pin is held in place above a spring by a rolled steel pin. That detent pin indexes a channel in the spur. Twisting the spur pushes the pin down. As the spur twists, the detent picks up another channel which runs out at the edge of the spur (which allows the spur to be pulled from the rest of the hammer).
It takes practice, at first. The model I have was very stiff. It has loosened up significantly as I’ve played with it for two weeks. In between each of these sections, as I think about what comes next, I fiddle with it. I push it in and out. And it is now easier to get the spur to twist and it pops free.
With the spur in place, the hammer cocks like any revolver. There’s no chance that it will shoot loose, or shift when you thumb the hammer. With the hammer pulled, the gun runs just like a revolver with an internal hammer. I dry fired from inside a bag, and from inside several style of coats and I never had a single issue with the hammer hanging up or biting loose material on the way back to the pin.
So enough about the innovation. How does it shoot?
The 85 is tried and tested. If you need an economical .38, this is on your short list. The double action pull is breaking around 10 pounds, and the single action breaks at 4 pounds. The break is clean. I’m not so hot with this gun in double action mode–at least from an accuracy perspective. I’m fully capable of working from the holster, and making solid shots, but I can’t split hairs like I can with some of the heavier guns on the market. And I think that’s it. The small frame and light weight of a snub nosed revolver means I’ve got to pull the trigger a fair distance, and against a 10 pound pull.
Single action is different. I can adjust my grip, keep the sights locked on the target, and the clean break means spot on accuracy. Even from the two inch gun, I was seeing great results. From reasonable self defense distances, I could keep 5 shots in one ragged hole. From 25 yards, I saw a lot more distance between the shots, but I was still within 8-10 inches of point of aim (and most of those were just slightly wide left).
That’s likely me. I found that I shoot the 85 slightly left. When I first unboxed it, I chalked the drift up to trigger control. Whenever I encounter a new gun, I’ve got to learn the nuances of the trigger. That’s natural. And I’ve got large hands, so finding the right position on the grip that allows really clean trigger manipulation requires practice. After working with this one for a couple of hours, I was still hitting just left of point of aim. If it were a gun meant for target shooting, I’d be more concerned. As a self defense gun, I’m perfectly comfortable with the way this gun performs (or the way I perform with it).
I’m enamored with the whole concept. I was having a discussion with a cousin this past week about what gun to get for concealed carry. He had a couple of intended uses in mind. He wanted a gun that was reliable, and one that he could conceal, and one that would not be adversely affected kicking around in a tool-box. In short, he wanted an 85. This is the type of gun you will never baby. With proper maintenance, it will run forever. The .38+P rating makes it versatile. You can run light loads all day long on the range and never feel the hand fatigue. You can ramp up the power for carry. While the cylinder limits you to five shots, you have the confidence that the gun points naturally, is capable when aimed, and isn’t going to jam.
This 85 has the extra perk of the removable hammer, making it even more adaptable. And the phosphate finish on it is nice, too. Most of the others in this line are blued–which looks sharp, but requires more maintenance. No this is a one-gun solution for a lot of folks who are looking for a simple workhorse. And at the price? The 85 line can be found at retail for somewhere north of $200. As materials and finishes and options are added, they go up–but reasonably.
Read a review of the Curve: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/carrying-the-taurus-curve/
Buy a Curve on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=curve
Read a review of the 85 View: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/taurus-view-glowing-innovation-or-glitzy-gimmick-new-gun-review/
Buy a 85 View on GunsAmerica (there’s only one!): https://www.gunsamerica.com/913456484/Taurus-85-VTA-38-Special-P-1-41-Inch-Barrel-Aluminum-Finished-Frame-5-Round-2-85001.htm