Is Taurus a Good Brand for Revolvers


Feb 27, 2024
I'm thinking about picking up a Taurus 856 Executive Grade 38 Special when at the store this weekend. I've heard Taurus is a pretty hit or miss brand, perhaps more so at the lower tier end of things, but I think that was mostly with pistols. How is their reputation with revolvers?

I personally have owned a dozen or so Taurus revolvers over the years, from 22 to 44 Magnum, but mostly in the 38/357 catagory. I have never had a problem with any of them, but I'll admit that I have never tried to wear any of them out, nor have I kept them long enough to shoot them extensivly. Still I have never seen anything to make me think poorly of them, other than the finish on some of them wasn't up to say Smith and Wesson standards, but they weren't intented to be either. I sold/traded them off for something else I couldn't live without.

I just bought a Taurus 327 that I've put 100 rounds through on it's only trip to the range. It seems to continue the pattern of "nothing fancy but it works." If I didn't have a dozen Smith and Wesson and Colts in 38/357 I'd think about one of those 856's. Nice looking revolver IMHO.
I think Taurus has a pretty iffy reputation in general. Why not buy a gun that has an outstanding reputation if you are going to use it for anything important. Otherwise, why worry about it?
I have (counts on fingers) 4 Taurus revolvers. They work. a 2" 856 is my EDC.

My last service experience, a year or two ago, was positive.

My advice is to inspect it as you would a used gun. I usually point people to Jim March's revolver checkout document. Barrel clocking, pushoff, endshake, buggered screws. Measure cylinder gap with a feeler gauge. Don't know what those mean? Read the doc. If the sales guy flicks the cylinder closed, pass. Check sideplate screws for tightness. (Not a defect, per se, but something to keep on top of.)

The "Executive Grade" is a primo version with some things that you may or may not care about. Worth getting vs. the standard 3" Defender version? Your call.
I got an 856 UL version last year and think they are good. The cylinder has a reputation of binding, but from my experience if you can clean and oil the cylinder mechanism when needed, not an issue, works good. Honestly, at the price point, it is nicer than I thought it would be, came with 2 sets of grips and I thought the night sight was a nice touch for a lower end priced revolver. I didn't expect any nice details, but they are there - and reviewing compared to ruger or S&W comparable models, the Taurus features are a little different and to me better to be honest, and 6 rounds compared to Ruger's 5 in their LCR revolvers, so - for what it is Taurus did a nice job with this revolver. I wanted an UL, and it is light. If I wanted a really good pistol, not a tool/carry piece I might have gone a different direction and spent a lot more.
I am still on the fence about Taurus. I have 2 revolvers from them which have been solid thus far.

I was excited about the Executive 38. However, the one I handled was not impressive. Maybe, I had high expectations for it, but the trigger was not great and neither was fit/finish. So, I would definitely look at the one you're going to buy first. A standard model with a trigger job may be a better option if they are all like the one I saw/handled. However, that is a sample of 1 so........
The vast majority of them are 100% adequate.

But on the internet, you will hear about the 125% that aren't.

Do your due-diligence when purchasing. Check cylinder gap, endshake, and lockup. Test the trigger - this seems to be the biggest complaint. People want one thing in a trigger. Then the trigger on some gun they purchase - often sight-unseen and untested - isn't what they hoped it would be. Now I ask, whose FAULT is that?

If you want a beautiful, and perfectly machined gun, did you REALLY expect that at a discount price? Whose FAULT is that?
People raise cane about the Bodyguard 380 I carry daily. They go on-and-on about how cheaply-made it is, and how the trigger is awful, and how some guy shooting some particular brand on the internet was getting 50% misfires. All of that is true. But it is exactly what I expected it to be. and it meets my needs 100%. It functions 100% with the ammo I carry. I only fire it once or twice a year. It works every single time. With its "visible mold-lines" and heavy trigger. Heck it even misfired once on some cheap GECO brand ammo. Probably not really the ammo's fault. Hard primers. Maybe that way for a reason. Don't shoot any more GECO. Problem solved.

Its all in matching what you want, and what you expect, with what you reasonably should expect for the money.

These discussions always remind me of this:

BTW, that Taurus in the OP is pretty.

If you order it off the internet sight-unseen, understand the risks.

If you buy a DAO gun, don't milk the trigger, then complain about how awful it is. Think about what a DAO trigger is intended. Pull the trigger like you mean it, and don't treat it like a target pistol. And don't complain about the meager sights. If you want a gun to act like a target pistol, buy a target pistol.
Here is my take as a S&W snob.

Taurus is a very mixed bag and their QC comes and goes, more often going than coming. The joke in the USPSA Revolver division circle is Taurus revolvers are fine but you need three. The one you're shooting, the spare in the range bag, and a third back at Taurus being repaired; rotate frequently.

That said my brother has a M44 that has been a very good reliable revolver even after several thousand rounds of some reasonably full bore 44 Mag ammo. Dad's light weight (aluminum frame) Taurus Judge has been reliable too for several hundred rounds of 410 and 45 Colt.

That said I have an S&W M29 that is configured nearly identical to my brother's M44. Both 44 Mag, N-frame sized revolvers, with 6.5 inch full under lug barrels. When you stand there holding both and shooting both one right after another you feel the quality of the S&W over the Taurus. The fit and finish and operation is just a bit tighter and smoother and you really feel it handling them and shooting them at the same time. If you can wing the money the S&W will be a better gun but if you get a good Taurus they are very serviceable revolvers, if you get a bad one... woe unto you. (S&W has had their QC issues too, to a lesser degree, and anyone buying a revolver is this day and age would be wise to inspect closely before putting money on the table.)

I have only shot a couple of Taurus revolvers that belonged to friends of mine. They liked them very much and would not part with them.

I was also curious about these Executive Grade revolvers. I found this statement on their website:
Boasting its own production room and dedicated product specialists, the 3-inch 856 is the first born within the exclusive Taurus® Executive Grade line—and the first of its kind. Finely tuned to exude the highest levels of style, quality and innovation, it’s a true double action 38 Special +P revolver that’s ideal for discerning shooters who value a smooth trigger pull and even smoother timing. The 856 is handsomely adorned with a custom hand-polished satin finish that can be admired by all. A custom trigger system along with an improved trigger guard and backstrap enhance comfort and performance...

I would probably feel pretty good about their Exec. Grade revolvers after reading that.
Truth is I decided I don’t want another 6 gun in .38 or their Judge - that is what I was curious about to begin with. I talked myself into and out of both of them…a couple of times now. 😆
I vastly prefer S&W, but have a good deal of experience with Taurus - including older ones - and suspect that most of the bashing comes from people who haven't used them much. Nearly all of the ones I have used have been perfectly adequate guns. No, they were not glittering examples of craftsmanship, and no, they didn't have perfect triggers, and no, they weren't capable of winning any Olympic events. For a general purpose range/carry/duty gun, however, I would have been comfortable with any of them.
I have two Taurus DA revolvers (.22lr/mag and .357 mag) and both have been solid firearms and never had a single problem. Hearsay says their customer service is lacking but I have no personal experience.
I have no plans to buy any Taurus revolvers in the future but I wasn't rally planning on buying the ones I have now until I handled them at the local gun shop. I have no plans to sell them or part with them.
All of my other handguns are Rugers.
I have a current Taurus 856. 2" bbl, rubber Taurus grips. It's as good and reliable as any other handgun I own. In fact, my next one will be the 3" model with the vz grips.
I've had a few Taurus revolvers over time and disposed all of them.
I will never buy another Taurus.
I have over forty revolvers at this time and NEVER had an issue with Ruger or Smith & Wesson revolvers.
Pay a little more and get more quality or go cheap and have cheap.
I only have experience with my 445 44 Special stainless 2 inch. It has been great but I did buy it new about 25 years ago. I carry it a lot.
Taurus revolvers here:

856 HyLite Magnesium 6 shot snub no +P
669 L frame 357 Mag 4"
94 9 shot 22 4"
94ulss Ultralight Stainless 9 shot 22 snub
44 - 8 3/8" 44 Mag

No problems to speak of. No returns to mothership. In fact, the 94 4" and the 44 were both replacements from Taurus for 2 PT22 that came apart at the seams on me.

Have plenty of S&W, no Colt revolvers. Drooled over several Diamondbacks but never threw down.

The new Executive line looks nice but I have yet to fondle one.
If you are lucky with a good one, great enjoy it while it last. If you weren't in the prior list, pray for the manufacture to give an ETA of the part you might need.
No, not comparatively to SW, Ruger, or Colt.

For the cost of the 856 executive you can find a used example of one of the above and you'll be better off.

Look for a model 10 or 64, used sp101 or gp100, sometimes model 65s show up for around 500.

I say this as a former owner of a taurus model 856, model 85, model pt 92, ply 22, g2c, judge...i think that's all maybe. Oh, the little tcp as well.
As an over a decade long (former) Taurus fan and verbose defender, I cannot recommend them. A Ruger SP101 isn't much more expensive than the Taurus Executive, but it's a much better revolver built by a company with a much better track record and reputation. The newer 856 revolvers are hit or miss reported by TaurusArmed forum members who actually own them. I started a thread about whether I should trade my Taurus 85 for the new 856 before I wanted the extra round and pinned front sight. The overwhelming response was NOT to do it, and the reasons why were with various on going issue they've personally had AND customer service horror stories.

When they were $200 and S&W and Ruger where $500-$800, it was worth the gamble for me. In the $450-$500 range, I rather put a $650 NIB Ruger on layaway or save $150 more to buy it outright. It will be worth it in the long run and grand scheme. It will also retain it's resale and trade value unlike a used Taurus will.
Last edited: