Taurus announced a .380 ACP revolver that is supposed to be smaller and lighter than the model 85 .38 Special. Not normally found in a revolver, the new .380 is a five-shot that may make for a very good backup gun. Modern .380 ammo makes the caliber more reliable than in the past. Whether carrying this new Taurus .380 revolver on an ankle or in a pocket, a smaller gun with similar stopping power as a .38 will no doubt be appealing.
Of course, Taurus’ quality control is always an issue for me. I’ve had a variety of problems with the company’s semi-automatic pistols, but its revolvers seem to do ok. (Ed. note: I’ve tested a number of this company’s pistols, most recently being the Taurus Spectrum review. Unfortunately, I’ve had poor experiences with many of them. The most recent, the Spectrum, has been a major disappointment.)
For me, I think I would still prefer a .38 Special +P revolver, but for people who prefer the .380 ACP this could make sense. This handgun uses moon clips (Taurus calls them “stellar” clips because of how they look) to hold the cartridges in place and makes for easy extraction of the spend brass from the cylinder.
The gun is double-action-only and has a bobbed hammer. It is not fully shrouded or concealed like the Taurus CIA line of revolvers. This means there isn’t a hammer spur to grab onto a pant leg or other cover garment.
While a bit unusual to see the relatively low powered cartridge chambered in a wheel gun, there are plenty of autoloading cartridges that are found in modern revolvers. Most frequently, the .45 ACP is seen in large frame revolvers. However, there are other cartridges associated with pistols that can be shot in revolvers: the 9mm and .40 S&W are two that come to mind.
The .40 caliber wheel guns are somewhat uncommon – dare I say rare? – but the 9mm is available from at least four companies currently: Charter Arms, Ruger, Smith & Wesson and Taurus. While the .380 is a relatively soft shooting round in a revolver, the 9mm is very stout indeed. Many people do not realize, but the 9mm +P is rated for the same pressures as a .357 Magnum.