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Taurus 856 Review

The Taurus 856 is a modern 6-shot, lightweight 38 revolver. It’s lightweight, holds six rounds, and is affordable. But is it the right gun for you? It’s purpose-built for self-defense. Find out in our Taurus 856 review.

Taurus 856 Review Sheathed Shaw Ammo

Taurus has been making revolvers for years. Initially, they made copies of Smith & Wesson series firearms.

Recently, Taurus has started making guns entirely of their design.

Throughout the years, saying Taurus has had quality control issues would be an understatement.

However, those issues do seem to be getting better.

You can pick up a Taurus revolver cheaper than other competing options, such as Ruger and Smith & Wesson. This is a significant plus for value-minded consumers.

Our Taurus 856 review is to help you decide if this budget-minded handgun is a good choice for you.

Taurus 856

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As stated earlier, this gun is definitely in the self-defense category.

It would make a good carry gun as well as a good glovebox, work truck gun. 

The Taurus 856 is sized similar to the Smith & Wesson J-Frame. The most notable difference is going to be the wider cylinder.

The Taurus 856 holds six rounds in a 38, as opposed to five rounds in a J-Frame. 

The cylinder does seem a lot wider when you have the gun.

That said, it’s not that big of an issue for concealment when it comes to carrying.

Taurus 856 Review right left

You could easily tuck this gun in a purse designed for on-body carry or into a small IWB holster.


Weighing in at a pound unloaded, the Taurus 856 isn’t what you would call heavy. 

It’s light enough that you can carry this gun jogging or doing other physical activities. That said, this will be just a little bit heavier than I would like for those activities.

I want my gun to weigh under one pound loaded when doing those types of activities.

While this lightweight is a plus for carrying a gun in a Taurus 856 Holster, it is a downside to shooting a gun.

We’ll cover that later.

Taurus does make a steel framed 856 that weighs significantly more. Much better to shoot but not good to carry unless you’re wearing a supportive belt.


The frame on the Taurus 856 is your standard revolver frame. Overall, the quality and fit, and finish seem good.

I’m impressed with how far Taurus has come over the last couple of years.

Taurus 856

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There are no sharp edges on the frame of the Taurus 856.

Instead, everything seems well-rounded, and I really can’t see any immediate design flaws when looking at this firearm.

Caliber & Barrel Length

Right now, the Taurus 856 is only available in 38 Special. The upside is they do offer this gun in both a two-inch barrel and a three-inch variant.

Three-inch variants are very awesome and a gun I’m thinking about picking up.

Taurus 856 Review front right

I currently own the two-inch Taurus 856.

The two-inch guns seem to have a more recoil than the three-inch variants, even though the three-inch variants only add a little bit of weight.

There aren’t a lot of three-inch revolvers out there, and I’m thrilled to see Taurus offering this with the Taurus 856.

The Taurus 905 is another Taurus offering that is similar in size but chambered in 9mm.

Versions of Gun

As stated earlier, the gun is available with both two and three-inch variants, but Taurus also offers a couple of different finishes.

For example, you can get the gun in two-tone finishes as well as black or stainless.

Taurus 856

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Taurus has never been known for having great finishes on their guns.

That said, I’m impressed with the finish on this Ultra-Lite. It’s not the prettiest finish in the world, but it does seem to be durable.

I didn’t expect to be saying that in this Taurus 856 review.

Taurus 856 Review Right

I’ve scratched this gun up quite a bit, and it’s not showing.

However, I don’t baby my guns by any means, and this finish seems to be holding up quite well.

I have friends who have stainless Taurus revolvers of new production, and their finishes also seem to be durable.


The capacity of the Taurus 856 being six rounds is a major plus in the small revolver world.

Most small revolvers, such as the J-Frame and Ruger LCR, tend to have five-round capacities when chambered in 38 Special. However, there are guns such as the Kimber K6s that have six-round capacities.

That said, that gun comes in at a much heavier weight since it’s an all-steel gun.

Taurus 856 Review cylinder stand

The Taurus 856 is the only revolver I’m aware of to be this small and light while still offering a six-round capacity.

Going from five to six rounds may not seem like a lot, but it’s significant if you look at it from a percentage increase.

Cylinder Latch

The cylinder latch on the Taurus 856 is very nicely rounded and very well designed.

It’s a standard Smith & Wesson style latch that you have to press forward to disengage.

However, it’s ergonomically placed when pushing it I don’t have to break my grip to drop the cylinder out.

Taurus 856 Review cylinder release

The cylinder itself seems well-built, and the ejector is relatively thick.

So I don’t have any durability concerns with this gun over the long term.


The original Taurus 856 guns came with a front sight milled into the gun. Now guns seem to be shipping with pinned front sights.

These are an improvement because they can be replaced.

You also have the Taurus 856 Toro Red dot revolvers. We’ve tested all of them and have our thoughts below.

Pinned Tarus 856 Sights

For revolver sights, they aren’t bad. But the rear trough still isn’t good. Naturally I tend to shoot high right when shooting fast because there is very little light gap between the front and rear sight. That makes it hard for me to get a solid sight picture quickly.

Original Taurus 856 Sights

The sights on the Taurus 856 leave a lot to be desired. If anything is going to get a negative on this Taurus 856 review, it will be the sights. But this is going to be limited to lightweight models.

The lightweight models have standard revolver sights, so I can’t complain that much as they’re on par with just about everything else out there. The front sight is milled into the gun so you’re stuck with what you got.

The steel-framed models have the ability to replace the front sight. The some of the guns ship with an Ameriglo front night sight with an orange outline. It’s pretty darn good for a revolver sight.

Taurus 856 Review sight picture

You’ll have to use multiple ammo types and find one that works well with this gun, not only the Taurus 856 but also your specific Taurus 856 in general, to account for manufacturing intolerances.

The rear sight on this gun is also way too narrow for my taste.

I’ll likely take some high-contrast nail polish or paint and paint the front sight just to provide a little more contrast when shooting this firearm.

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Taurus 856 Taurus Dot

These guns are a mixed bag. The dot makes the gun considerably easier and faster to shoot.

At 7 yards, I can shoot the iron-sighted guns and keep rounds in an A zone target with .35-.40 split times.

With the Toro I can get the same accuracy but with a split time of .25-.30 seconds.

A split is the time between shots. An improvement of approximately 25% is really impressive.

Originally I thought the double action trigger was the main limitation on shooting a revolver fast but it’s actually the poor sights.

The downside is the placement of the dot makes the gun much harder to carry and conceal. The dot forces you to carry the gun much higher, unlike dots mounted on semi-automatics which have a minimal effect.


The trigger on the Taurus 856 is available in a double-action-only variant or double-action, single-action. My variant has a hammer, so it is a double-action, single-action gun.

The trigger itself is pretty heavy and, really, your standard revolver trigger. That said, it feels like it’s on par with most Smith & Wesson J-Frame triggers I’ve felt.

It’s relatively smooth and easy to operate.

Taurus 856 Review trigger

The trigger has just a slight bit of creep in the single-action before a nice soft rolling break. It’s a concise and easy use single-action trigger.

No complaints there in the Taurus 856 review.


The hammer on the Taurus 856 is nicely rounded and doesn’t have any sharp edges. It also has nice aggressive texturing on the top of the hammer, making it easier to cock it back.

The hammer is also wide, further making the gun easier to cock.

Taurus 856 Review hammer

I think Taurus is paying attention to this gun’s little details, and I’m pretty pleased with it.


From the factory The Taurus 856 comes with multiple options. There are multiple aftermarket 856 grips as well.

Factory Taurus 856 Grip Options

The factory grip on the Taurus 856 is good. It’s small enough to conceal well and big enough to fill your hand.

Taurus 856 Review grip

This grip does help with recoil a little bit, but not as much as I would like. So I’ll probably replace this with something a little softer, like a Hogue grip which should give me more control over recoil.

They’re also tacky. This is great when shooting the gun, but it can be annoying when carrying the gun.

This can be fixed with a little Goon Tape but you’ll need to reapply the tape periodically as it’ll wear out with use.

Houge Monogrip

Some of the guns come from the factory with these grips.

They work okay but don’t do a great job of reducing felt recoil. But they are still better than the factory rubber grips Taurus makes.

They are very tacky and definitely benefit from an application of goon tape.

VZ Grip

These are G10 grips, and I really didn’t care for them. They don’t allow you to get a high grip on the gun and transfer a lot of felt recoil into your hand.

VZ also makes J frame grips which I’ve used and they don’t have the same affect.

It’d be nice to see them take those designs and make them for the Taurus Small frame guns.

Taurus 856 Viridian Laser Grips

I’ve mounted these on one of my guns but I haven’t shot them much. They do decent with recoil.

They aren’t very good in full light but they work great in low light.

Aftermarket Taurus 856 Grip Options

These grips offer quite a few alternatives.

Pachmayr Grips

They look good, and the fitment is excellent, but they seem to fall short like the other options. They have a considerable amount of recoil, and it is really thin at the top.

That thin portion really transfers felt recoil into your hand. If they’d change the shape a bit the grip would be a lot better.

Amazon Taurus 856 Wood Grips(Handigrip)

Poor fitment and lots of felt recoil makes these a disappointment. For what they cost, I would expect a lot more. They were $65 and at $10, they would have been too expensive.

Altamont Taurus 856 Grips

I haven’t had the opportunity to try these. They do look promising.

Uncles Mikes grips

In concealment and profile, they look similar to the Hogue Monogrips, but cover the backstrap as well.

They work and have a good texture.

You don’t need to wrap them in goon tape, and they handle recoil very well. Unfortunately, they’re no longer being made, so you have to try and find one used.

If you can find one, it’s not cheap.


The aftermarket for the Taurus 856 is almost non-existent.

Currently, there aren’t many holster options, and that’s something we’re working on rectifying. There aren’t a lot of accessories for this gun besides the grips.

The sights are milled into the gun, so you can’t replace those. And the only natural area for improvement is the grip and the trigger.

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You can have a gunsmith work on this gun to smooth it up slightly. Not many people will do that. So I doubt the company will come out with aftermarket springs kits and trigger parts to smooth out the trigger on the Taurus 856.


Aesthetically the Taurus 856 is going to differ depending on the finish and variant again.

But, in my opinion, the three-inch guns are beautiful. They’re just very proportional, and they look great.

The black finish isn’t the best-looking out there. And if I had the option, I probably would have gone with the stainless finish.

The stainless finish on the Tauruses just looks better, in my opinion.


Shooting the Taurus 856 ultra-lite is a handful but the steel-framed Taurus 856 Defender is much more reasonable.

Shooting the Taurus 856 Defender 3 inch

This gun isn’t a joy to shoot but it’s not bad. With its weight, I expected felt recoil to be similar to or less than my Smith and Wesson 640 Pro this stock grips.

I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation but why this is as the 640 pro is barely lighter than the 856.

Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. It’s still manageable to shoot, but after 1 box of 158-grain ammo or 3 boxes of 132-grain, you’ll be ready to end your range day.

There are a lot of grip options, but the 856 series just aren’t that good for felt recoil.


Recoil is reasonable, and it’s something I can deal with. 

That said, this is not a fun gun to shoot. 

You’re going to shoot this gun just enough to remain proficient. This is not a gun you’ll want to learn to shoot revolvers with.

This is not a gun you’ll want to sit there and put a couple of hundred rounds through in a day’s range session. 

Taurus 856 Review Shaw Blade Ammo

I really would like to get my hands on one of the three-inch variants as I have a feeling those might be a little bit easier to shoot.

One of my favorite guns out there is the Ruger LCR in 38 with a three-inch barrel.

The reason for this is that a three-inch barrel helps tame the recoil on such a lightweight gun. I’m hoping that the three-inch barrel on the Taurus 856 will do the same.


MSRP on the Taurus 856 varies from $341 up to $440. You can usually find these guns for 50 to $75 below MSRP. 

At that price, these guns are an exceptional value. When Taurus’s quality control wasn’t quite there, I don’t think these guns had a lot to offer over something like the Smith & Wesson J-Frame or other lower-priced Smith & Wesson offerings.

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That said, when the Taurus 856 comes in much lower than Smith & Wesson and Ruger models with a similar setup, it’s hard to ignore the Taurus.

If you’re on a budget and you were looking for absolutely the most value for your dollar, then I would check out the Taurus 856.

Concluding Thoughts

The Taurus 856 is a good option if you’re looking for a lightweight revolver with a six-round capacity. Understand it still has the downsides of a lightweight revolver. 

This gun is going to have a fair amount of recoil for its size. The quality of Taurus products seems to be improving. 

That’s giving me a lot to like about this gun.

My biggest complaint is going to be the sights. There’s nothing you can do to improve them, except to paint the front sight. 

Taurus 856 Review right stand

So you’re still going to be stuck having to test a variety of ammo and find which one shoots to the point of aim, point of impact with your gun.

But considering all its competitors have the same issue, I guess I can’t complain too much.

I hope our Taurus 856 review has been helpful, and please comment with your thoughts and opinions on this gun below.


  • Price
  • Finishes and Options


  • Finish
  • Recoil

53 Replies to “Taurus 856 Review”

  1. Charles Ray says:

    Seriously, is this “Harrison” guy mentally retarded?

    1. Victor says:

      Are you? You wrote nothing of value or even care to explain your position. The review is easy to read and thorough. I’m sure you would have done a much better job but you have no website or business in which to share your abundant knowledge with others.

      1. Robert A Phillips says:

        Yeah I agree. Kind of an ass.

    2. Rick says:

      You just identified the problem with online comments. You said nothing at all, but because no one knows where you are and you’d never say that to someone’s face, you post an insult. Don’t agree with the review? Just say so and tell us why. Otherwise go back to your video games.

    3. Bob says:

      Not likely, but it is very likely that you are Chuck.

      Maybe a flag comment feature is needed on this site so we can dump idiotic comments like Chuck’s.

    4. Steve Roemer says:

      Lemme guess, you voted for Biden and sneak around on gun sites badmouthing knowledgeable folks…Take your Moms Red Ryder and get back in her basement…

    5. Clarence says:

      Idiots and trolls are the bane of social media, and account for needless foolish behavior. Please get a life.

    6. Pocketgunner says:

      “Is he mentally retarded”? I would ask that question about you. What nonsense. Great reviews, one of my favorite and I have been shooting for decades and a very avid shooter and range Officer. His reviews are spot on. My question to you is why disrupt a good review with this crap? If you have a legitimate question then just ask, otherwise move on.

      1. That’s a BIG 10-04. I thought it gave alot of information.

    7. I have the all steel 2″ 856 and the S&W 642 J-frame, I find myself carrying the Taurus more often. I’m not saying S&W is inferior, it’s how the Taurus fits and feels in my hand and I find it very accurate.

  2. The 856 Taurus six shot revolver stainless steel review was excellent.
    It was concise, it gave the “pros and cons“ and delivered an understanding as to its application, it’s purpose, and more importantly ,a relevant meaningfulness as to how you use this weapon and how appropriate it would be for self-defense.
    The author was fair and balanced as to Taurus’s history of their Q/A and some of the enroads- they have made recently to shore up earlier issues of less than quality craftsmanship and workmanship. The author also adressed the price point and the obvious ballistics as well as the “practical use of this weapon for self-defense“. Overall it was well done.

  3. Hank Ebinger says:

    I thought that your review was both very informative and thorough. It reaffirmed my reasons to purchase one.

    1. Harrison says:

      Glad you found it helpful!

      1. Rod says:

        Recently purchased the 605 taurus and find it a great gun. Like you said the sights are problematic but grip and functions are,good. Did you find the cylinder release Alitalia high for speed loader use?

      2. Larry says:

        I also found your review very helpful. I’ll be ordering my 856 in Stainless in the AM. Hard to beat the price when compared with similar S&W or Ruger revolvers.

  4. Harry Jackson II says:

    Very good and thorough review.

    1. Marvin Dunkentell says:

      Just purchased my first one and can’t wait to test it out at the range!!

  5. Ken says:

    I purchased the 3” version, and it doesn’t seem to have sighting difficulties that you mentioned. Trigger pull, both SA and DA is heavy, stacking and has a lot of creep, but is getting better with dry firing. It is a good serviceable revolver. It prefers heavier weight bullets.

  6. R Jonah says:

    The newest iteration or it may be just the all steel version has a pinned sight. You can put the night sight from the 3 inch on the 2 inch.

    A lot of goodies from the Colt Detective Special work with 856.

    Precision and Wolfe both have springs kits.

    I’ve moved my S&W 337 Airlite to an ankle or driving holster and the 856 to primary carry.

    I found that after years of carrying a 2in snub, the 3in Defender really slows my draw. I didn’t think that inch would matter…but it does.

    Thanks for the article.


    1. patrick maiers says:

      Jonah I have the 2″ and the 3″ and I like both !!

  7. I have my TAURUS 856 UL-aluminum frame(15.7 ounces)-matt black-(mfg. FEB. 16 2019)-(purchased for $279.99 MAY 25 2019 NIB)-is factory original with rubber grips–is my EDC-use an ALLEN SPIDERWEB size 00 pocket holster-keep in a hard “POKEMON” zipper box with gun lock and .38 snap caps inside-carry HORNADY CRITICAL DEFENSE 110 grain FTX standard pressure #90310-gun is beautiful- accurate and perfect in every way-is a SUPER shooter-i love it !!!

  8. Raymond J. Butts Jr. says:


  9. John Weber says:

    I have the all steel Taurus 856 with a 2 inch barrel. I find it very accurate and so far reliable. I previously had an 85 UL that I thought the world of after about 2 years of moderate shooting the trigger lock decided to activate itself and I couldn’t unlock it. I got rid of it. Next I went with a 2″ 856UL and when staging the trigger I’d get misfires. Afterwards I swore never another, but I decided to give the all steel 856 a try and do far I’m very, very pleased.

  10. Don Van Winkle says:

    Great review sir! Spot on. I looked at many .38 SPL revolvers and the prices on used S&W, Colts, & Rugars are way too high. $699 down to $559. The Taurus 856 Defender in 3” barrel is $419 brand new so I got it,

  11. Robert says:

    Hello, Just purchased this cool little revolver her in CA where we are so limited. So I’m in the 10 day waiting period. Question how do we know if we have the .38+P or not? Thanks for the review.

  12. Esteban says:

    I have the all steel blued 2″ and like it. The recoil is not an issue as I am not a small guy. I did replace the Taurus grip with the Hogue as I don’t like my pinky to be lonely. In the nightstand I have Hornady Critical Defense for personal defense.

  13. Lone Rider says:

    Good review of a decent gun. I’m a fan of these myself. On my second (Foolishly traded the first, wanted a replacement). Both stainless 2″. The first one had the front sight integral to the barrel as on the review model; new one has a pinned front sight. Both work excellent and the grip though ugly is very comfortable. I’ve been shooting less than a year and can hit the center area of the target one handed with one so recoil isn’t that bad, once you get used to it. Non ‘newbie’ shooters will probably have an easier time than even me. The stainless steel version I have (not ultralight) probably helps in this regard. I will say the finish on the second one seems slightly poorer is a cosmetic way; the caliber stamping under the barrel is of uneven depth, as if the stamp was off its center axis, and a few of the chamfered edges on the frame are not as even as I’d like. I personally don’t care about this, and yes I know this is nitpicking but figured I’d mention it. Still, for the price you cannot beat one of these. And the single action trigger pull is smooth. They are fun to shoot, big enough they aren’t a pain to shoot, small enough to wear, and yes you can get holsters for them; mine resides in a 1791 brand deerhide holster which was listed as fitting the taurus 856 when not in use at the range. In a pinch they will tend to fit most non-kydex / plastic j frame holsters, just snugly, but then unlike kydex leather stretches.

  14. Robert Phillips says:

    I have the all steel 856 so not the ultra light model. I wanted it for the little increase in weight. I enjoy shooting in and use it as my carry off and on in.

  15. Michael says:

    I swore off Taurus in the 90’s after experiencing poor quality with several of their revolvers. But, the 3 inch Defender caught my eye and with the low price I took a chance and I am so glad I did! This is the revolver I’ve wanted S&W to make for years. I have been quite impressed with this revolver and it is real close to becoming my primary EDC.

  16. Randy Lunsford says:

    Has anyone ever drop tested this model . I have both the hammer and non hammer models and was wondering if dropped will they fire .

    1. Harrison says:

      They both have a safety device with a block that has to come between the firing pin and the hammmer for the gun to go off. The hammer isn’t long enough to hit the firing pin without that block. That block is only pushed up when the trigger is pulled.

      1. Eric Van Brihen says:

        Thanks for the review. I have a question that I think relates to the answer you just gave. Previously I used an S&W J frame with an internal hammer. But I wanted to have the extra round and just bought a Taurus 856 with an exposed hammer. Now that is freaking me out a bit, like the hammer getting caught on something and causing an accidental firing. In the Taurus manual that I have in my hand it says “Generally we believe Taurus revolvers should be carried with an empty chamber under the hammer. Under most circumstances, this provides the best balance of readiness and safety” Now I’m confused because that would put me back in the same position as my S&W 5 round. Any technical comments on this issue? It sounds like the trigger would have to be pulled as well, so on a drop or accidental bump back on the hammer alone an accidental firing is highly unlikely? I like revolvers because they’re sort of good proof but I want to make sure that I understand this issue, especially with the exposed hammer. Thank you.

      2. Harrison says:

        It should have a hammer transfer bar that has to move up to the hammer will hit it and then the bar hits the firing pin mounted in the frame. That bar isn’t supposed to move up without pulling the trigger.

        Back in the day when the firing pins were mounted directly to the hammer carrying on an empty chamber made sense. The Manual might be a holdover from that time. Judging by your email and name you’re outside of the US. I have no idea if Taurus isn’t makae the 856 with the hammer mounted firing pin for other markets.

  17. John Weber says:

    Well it’s 4 months later since my last reply and I’m still very satisfied with my all steel 856 in stainless steel. I noticed on my 856 the front sight blade can be replaced. I might add I recently picked up an S&W 642 and the point of impact is 4+ inches to the left at 5 yards and the barrel/sight are canted to the right. I sent the gun back to S&W I was told it’s going to take at least 5 to 7 weeks before they get to it. The point I’m making is this, with my experience the only new guns I’ve had no issues with are Henrys and Glocks all others like S&W and Ruger have quality control issues. Ruger deals with it it quickly and politely. As for S&W well 5 to 7 weeks tells me they’ve been sending out a lot junk or they just don’t give a damn. It seems like only Taurus is chastised for quality control issues when it’s acceptable for other manufacturers that are priced considerably higher. Back to my 856 I’m very satisfied and I guess Im lucky I got a good one.

    1. JT says:

      I love mine it was perfect out of the box see my full comments in this thread

  18. Bob says:

    Thanks for the thorough and detailed review Harrison, it has helped me to decide for purchasing this revolver. Good price at Palmetto State Armory for the concealed hammer model – $299.

  19. Jim says:

    What would you replace front sight with? Would hogue grips add any length? I have big hands and would like to have my pinkie supported.

  20. Cliff B. says:

    I just won the bid for this gun tonight, sight unseen – I’d never heard of it – during the auction at our local shooting sports association annual dinner (funding 2A education and training). I payed more than MSRP, but it was for a charitable cause and I’d recently decided I wanted to add a carry/self-defense revolver to my arsenal. I can’t pick it up until tomorrow (NICS check and all that), but I look forward to getting my hands on it. Your review has given me assurance that I’ve obtained a reasonably priced (not withstanding the charity markup), well made weapon. Thank you.

  21. Bill Schmidt says:

    Well written review. I just completed my CCW training with the 856, never having fired it before, and it worked exactly as the author described it. My first day my groups were scatted and they never were impressive but it is a very suitable piece for what its intended use is. I shot 200 rounds in two days without incident and I’d trust my life with it’s reliability. Please let me know when you come up with a suitable holster as the over the counter nylon ones let the weapon fall to the ground in an out of level condition.

  22. Bill Schmidt says:

    Thank you

  23. Kurt Krueger says:

    I’d like to add my 2 yen. I have the 3″ bbl stainless 856. The author did a good job in his review, but I’d like to add a few things. He is right about the sight. Mine came with an orange sight with a tritium dot in the center of the sight. It’s too small and if you used the tritium you’d shoot high. Totally worthless to my standards. I put a Hi-Viz on my LCR and it made a world of difference. Hi-Viz doesn’t make a sight for the 856. Called them twice. Maybe if more people complained they may make one. When I bought it, the cylinder would roll further than it was suppose to. I sent it back. It came back with a repair explanation but it didn’t fix it. Sent it back. They replaced it. Yeah, it took 8 weeks but Taurus honored their word. It came with a black sight if you didn’t like the tritium. I changed it and painted the front bright orange and the back bright green. Since its a defense weapon you have to see the sight in bad lighting. Hello Hi-Viz, do you copy? I load my own 38’s. Using Titegroup at 3.8grs with a 158gr SWC I’m getting 800+ fps. I’ve measured 100 fps difference between the 2′ and 3″ bbl. I’m also no fan of the matte stainless finish, hard to clean. But overall, I’m keeping it. Since I don’t train like everyone else it’s going to take a few more boxes before I can put my full trust in it. It’s a test all my guns go through. What bums me out is finding out Taurus came out with the Gaucho SAA after I bought a….oh, never mind.
    Good review.

  24. Justin says:

    Thank you for the review. I had been contemplating buying a Taurus weapon, and had heard some unsavory comments about them. Glad to see that the quality has improved. I will likely purchase one of the .38 special revolvers some time in the near future.

  25. JT says:

    I bought this exact revolver back in FEB 2022. I installed a VZ Cyclone grip and a Galloway spring kit. I’m all in for about $420, not including tax, shipping or FFL. The grip fills my hand improving purchase and the spring kit turned the trigger action smooth and easy as butter. I just got back from a range day and have to say that after about 350 rounds I am very impressed with this revolver. I rapid fired this gun at about 7 yards and had no problem hitting the 9 ring on every shot. I tried that with my stock Glock 19 and couldn’t do it. I highly recommend this revolver and I’m going to buy one for each of my sons.

  26. Mike says:

    I have a couple of 856 revolvers. For the money they are reliable life savers if you practice with them. That’s what they need to be.

  27. Robert A Phillips says:

    This will take anyone to a front sight for this revolver that comes with the 3 inch model. Made by ameriglo.

  28. Rich says:

    What knife do you have featured in these photos?

    1. Harrison says:

      It’s a shaw. The Bladesmith passed and it’s no longer made.

  29. Walter Von Ahn says:

    I think all these small J frames are basically point and shoot. If you need a better sight you need a better and bigger gun.

  30. Angie says:

    Thanks for this thorough review! Being a woman who travels, I purchased the 2” stainless 856 tonight and can hardly wait to pick it up at my local retailer! I have a semiautomatic 9mm. already that is large and bulky. I decided several months ago that I wanted a revolver this time for personal protection. In a crisis of fear, a revolver will allow me to have no confusing thoughts or hesitation about the safety mechanism or racking the slide; just aim, squeeze that trigger, and shoot! I have absorbed your wise opinion and I’ll head to the gun range straightaway to hone my skills. As a woman traveling alone, I already feel more peace and confidence knowing I’ve got a fighting chance. I’m following your recommendations and looking for a new grip to help with recoil. Thanks for “telling it like it is” and helping me get mentally prepared to become more proficient with this fine addition to my “home”!

  31. John W Wall says:

    I, for one, appreciate your candor. I live on a strict budget, in that I a 76 year old retired DEA special agent and former fire arms instructor with DEA feel it is important to give the intended user information he/she can appreciate and prepared to deal with it. Thanks again

  32. Warren says:

    Just bought the 856 3 inch vz grip. Love it shot great right out of box. Has a fiber optic front sight. Shot 50 rounds not much recoil and very accurate. Under 500.00 I would recommend.

  33. Steve says:

    I really dont understand the recoil claims. With the steal framed snub nose variant its hardly noticeable. I have never fired a .38 where it was worth thinking about frankly. .357 in revolvers this size can be a different matter but .38 just isn’t very noticeable.

  34. D.J. Magee says:

    I bought the 856 for my wife. I find revolvers to be reliable and repeatable – low manipulation, great stopping power with great accuracy at 7-10 yards. Being an inexperienced shooter, she is able to put rounds in the bullseye repeatedly and manage the recoil very well. One of very many guns I have that she is excited to shoot and learn marksmanship skills. I would recommend this firearm to anyone.

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