Taurus Model 85

Description

The Taurus Model 85 is a small-frame revolver chambered in .38 Special and .38 Special +P.

The Model 85 is a family of concealable revolvers with the sub-models mostly varying in aesthetic features like grip, material and finish.

They all feature a double/single-action trigger except for the 85CHULT, which is only double-action because it has a concealed hammer. The Model 85 can fire .38 Special +P rounds, which discharge at a higher pressure than standard .38-caliber cartridges. Typically .38 Special +P, typically used by law enforcement, should be used with a weapon that fires .357-caliber cartridges, but the Model 85 is the exception. It has two innovative safety features: the transfer bar and the Taurus Security System (TSS). The transfer bar is a mechanism that prevents the hammer from striking the firing pin unless the trigger is fully pulled to the rear. And, TSS is a lock and key device. A user can lock the revolver so the trigger, safety and hammer cannot be moved.

Taurus recommends the Model 85 for law enforcement and concealed carry.

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Specifications

85B2UL
Caliber:
.38 Special
.38 Special +P
Grip:Rubber
Capacity:5
Sights:Fixed
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Ultralite alloy/blue
Size:Small
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.taurususa…
Weight:1.0625 pounds
Barrel Length:2"
Twist:1 in 16.5"
Length:6.5"
Height:4.28"
85B2ULPRL
Caliber:
.38 Special
.38 Special +P
Grip:Pearl
Capacity:5
Sights:Fixed
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Ultralite alloy/blue
Size:Small
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.taurususa…
Weight:1.0625 pounds
Barrel Length:2"
Twist:1 in 16.5"
Length:6.5"
Height:4.28"
85CHULT
Caliber:
.38 Special
.38 Special +P
Grip:Rubber
Capacity:5
Sights:Fixed
Features:Concealed hammer
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Ultralite alloy, titanium
Size:Small
Trigger:Double-action
Website:http://www.taurususa…
Weight:0.85 pounds
Barrel Length:2"
Twist:1 in 16.5"
Length:6.5"
Height:4.28"
85MULTI
Caliber:
.38 Special
.38 Special +P
Grip:Rubber
Capacity:5
Sights:Fixed
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Ultralite alloy, titanium
Size:Small
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.taurususa…
Weight:0.85 pounds
Barrel Length:2"
Twist:1 in 16.5"
Length:6.5"
Height:4.28"
85SS2UL
Caliber:
.38 Special
.38 Special +P
Grip:Rubber
Capacity:5
Sights:Fixed
Action:Revolver
Material/Finish:Forged aluminum alloy/matte stainless steel
Size:Small
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.taurususa…
Weight:1.0625 pounds
Barrel Length:2"
Twist:1 in 16.5"
Length:6.5"
Height:4.28"
MSRP$430.00

Editor Review

Another Snubby? ... Maybe Not

As a shooting instructor in Ohio, it is easy to take note of the guns students choose for concealed carry. Few, if any, are as common as the lightweight short-barreled revolver, which is known far and wide as the “snubby.”

In this case, the gun being reviewed is the Taurus model 85 Ultra-Lite, which is an excellent example of the breed.  All of the Taurus 85 variations are nearly identical mechanically and have the same basic handling characteristics as the Ultra-Lite. So, if the lightweight choice isn’t for you, finding another option among the various model 85 offerings is easy.



The sample gun has a nice deep blued finish and is rated for + P .38 special ammunition. While the gun itself might easily handle a diet of hot ammunition, the lightweight makes shooting any of the hotter offerings a true test of shooting skills. That means most owners carry the gun a lot, but only shoot it a little.

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

Based on the Smith and Wesson standard, the levers, sights and manual of arms for the little Taurus are familiar to anyone that has handled a revolver in the last 50 years.  From the factory, Taurus fits the Ultra-Lite with a medium sized set of rubber grips, a great option that will save many owners the cost of buying replacement grips.



The cylinder release and hammer spur have checkering that is rough enough to offer a good gripping surface but not so rough as to wear on fingers and clothing. 

Despite the relatively low price, the Taurus offers excellent fit and finish.  But, fit and finish isn’t what makes a good concealed carry gun.

But is it reliable?

Unless the gun goes bang each time the trigger is pulled, it is useless as a self-defense tool because your life may truly depend on it. Reliability is an area where the Taurus truly excels due to the mechanical simplicity of its revolvers. They are also simple to operate for the first five or six shots depending on the specific gun’s capacity. 

In every range session with the Taurus over a month-long period it was reliable to the point of being boring.

Since the rear sight is little more than a groove in the revolver’s top strap, accurate shooting at distances beyond 15 feet can be challenging. Adding to the difficulty is substantial recoil with all but the tamest .38 special loads. Still, the gun performs up to the standard of other snubby revolvers, which are designed as up close and personal defense tools.



Options for how to carry a lightweight snubby are nearly unlimited. Pocket carry is one of the more popular options, but it should be noted that a holster with a trigger guard is still recommended to keep the gun from firing inadvertently.

The Verdict

Simply stated, the combination of size, weight and stopping power make the Taurus Model 85 snubby a great concealed carry option for civilians and off-duty law enforcement officers.

If you are looking for a carry revolver, make sure to try one out – you won’t be disappointed.