Taurus 856 – First Impressions


FTC Notice: I purchased the gun and ammo with my own money.

Curious to see if the Quality Control at Taurus has gotten better, I purchased a Taurus 856 recently. I specifically did not buy the Executive Grade because I wanted a two inch snub.

My initial impression is favorable. Its trigger is good; smooth and not excessively heavy. Definitely comparable to my old S&W Model 36 no dash. The machining is good and the sights are much better than the ones on my old Model 36, although that’s not saying much.

The first live fire range session wasn’t extensive but it was good. It shot to the point of aim and grouped as well as could be expected given the lighting conditions at the indoor range I went to.

The first thing I did was to shoot the LAPD Retired Officer Qual as a warmup. Then I shot the same course with the Model 36 as a comparison. They performed comparably.

Next, I shot the 856 at 5, 7, and 15 yards to compare Point of Aim with Point of Impact. The 15 yard Point of Impact was fine. The flyer is from the shot that I fired just as the shooter next to me touched off a round from his Glock 27. Indoor range operators prefer to put two shooters next to each other even when there are only two shooters on a 12 position range. Why this is I have never been able to figure out but it’s a consistent pattern.

Taurus has apparently changed the stainless steel they use. The 856 didn’t get too hot to handle after 25 rounds the way the last stainless Taurus snub I bought 20 years ago did. It was no warmer than the Model 36 at the end of the session.

The rubber stocks were noticeably more comfortable than the splinter grips of the S&W. I’ll be putting a different set of stocks on the 36 for future range work.

HKS speedloaders for the Colt Detective Special (DS-A) fit the 856 fine. So do my Safariland speedloaders but those are quite hard to find now.

The orange safety ring included with the revolver has held up to several hundred snaps in dry practice. This is also an improvement. I destroyed the last one within a few dozen snaps.

There’s a back story on the purchase. During the bioweapon plague, some friends gifted me the funds for a pistol as a birthday present. Originally, the plan was to get a red dot equipped pistol, probably a SCCY. However, I’ve decided to return to my roots so I bought the snub instead since there are plenty of red dot instructors but not many snub instructors actively teaching. I’ll be using the Taurus for the four month Snub Nose Revolvers – Hands-on Shooting Tier of my Patreon page. Link to Patreon page That should be a good test of its durability, accuracy, and handling qualities. Many thanks to my friends for the gun, I’m really enjoying it so far.

So far so good. Next live fire session will be at my gun club so I won’t have anyone touching off rounds next to me and I can test the gun more extensively.

3 responses

  1. I have three 856 revolvers. One exposed hammer, one concealed hammer and an 856 executive grade. All three shoot to point of aim and have held up well with 148gr Wadcutters and Buffalo Bore 150gr hard cast rounds. The executive grade points very well for me. I used the wood grips and then switched to a Viridian Laser grip and it still points very well. If you keep your bullet weight in the 148 – 158 grain range, you will get point of aim/point of impact range. Lighter bullets (Hornandy 110 gr Critical Defense) will impact below the point of aim at longer distances. All in all, Taurus hit the mark with this model. It’s a very effective gun at typical snub distances.

    Capt. MEM

  2. Your good shooting makes the LAPD Retired Qual look harder than it is. Not saying that’s bad, just that you shoot it very well.

    I’ll have to try it next time I’m at the range and make sure I can shoot it too. It’s no FAST drill, but it’s better than nothing.

  3. I bought a 856 3” for Tom Given’s Master Instructor class. It came with a “Sig-like” hi-visibility front sight with Tritium insert.

    My impressions mirror yours. I shot the 2nd highest score in the class and it did not malfunction (unlike a number of pistols by high-end manufacturers).

    Respectfully yours,

    Steven P. Cline The Deadeye Method 210-551-6882


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