• Taurus Mod.85 "Defender": a classic for personal defense

Taurus 85 Defender: a classic for personal defense

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Taurus 85 Defender: a classic for personal defense

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The Taurus 85 Defender revolver in .38 Special is one of the mainstays of the Brazilian gun maker, a top-seller for concealed carry in the U.S. It still represents a good choice for anyone looking for an affordable and easy-to-handle personal defense gun

The model 85 is one of Taurus' best-selling models

The model 85 is one of Taurus' best-selling models

At a time when both US and European people are discussing with great attention about personal defense issues, those looking for an effective firearm to protect themselves and their loved ones should be always very aware of their needs and their capabilities alike.

One of the main reasons why revolvers – special consideration given to .38-caliber, small-frame models – enjoy a good level of popularity despite the dominance of semi-automatic firearms is that many first-time gun buyers and shooters at large, mostly in Europe but also in the U.S., would still rather go for a revolver than for a semi-automatic handgun which they may not have the time, or will, to practice with in order to gain the necessary level of training to remain proficient under stress.

Right side of the Taurus 85 Defender revolver

Right side of the Taurus 85 Defender revolver

Left side of the Taurus 85 Defender revolver

Left side of the Taurus 85 Defender revolver

Revolvers themselves evolved as the years went by, but it's still hard for the most modern and innovative models to beat the popularity levels of the most classic, tried-and-true model whose validity has been proven over and over in the past decades.

A five-shots, rapid-fire group at 2 meters

A five-shots, rapid-fire group at 2 meters

Among those is the Taurus 85; first introduced by Brazil's top gunmaker in 1985, this small-size revolver has been upgraded all through the years to match the evolution of the needs and tastes of shooters worldwide, but its core design remained basically unchanged.

The baseline variant of the Taurus 85 is known on the European market as the "Defender", available in a blued and a bright polish stanless variant. The frame is manufactured out of steel, but the revolver is also available with a polymer or titanium alloy frames.

The cylinder of the Taurus 85 Defender revolver holds up to 5 cartridges

The cylinder of the Taurus 85 Defender revolver holds up to 5 cartridges

A close-up of the pivoting cylinder and the manual ejector

A close-up of the pivoting cylinder and the manual ejector

A view of the trigger: the revolver can be used in single or double action

A view of the trigger: the revolver can be used in single or double action

The five-shots cylinder and the 2" barrel are also manufactured out of steel. The grip is the only component that's manufactured out of composite material; it's rubberized, and sports gripping surfaces on both sides.

Aftermarket grips for the Taurus 85 revolver are also available from a plethora of manufacturers and distributors, given the popularity of the design – particularly in the United States, where it remains one of the top sellers in its category.

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver offers an "ultra-fast, ultra-reliable, lightning-quick" double-action trigger with the possibility to cock the hammer manually for single-action operation. A transfer bar dubs as an automatic safety feature, preventing the hammer from striking the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled fully to the rear.

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver is available in black and stainless variants

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver is available in black and stainless variants

A view of the fixed sights of the Taurus 85 Defender revolver

A view of the fixed sights of the Taurus 85 Defender revolver

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver features a slip-proof rubberized grip

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver features a slip-proof rubberized grip

The frame of the baseline Taurus 85 revolver is manufactured out of steel

The frame of the baseline Taurus 85 revolver is manufactured out of steel

It's no wonder: the Taurus 85 is a mainstay on the international concealed carry market, and is heavily reminiscent of the classic Smith & Wesson designs that dominated the American market for decades.

The cylinder push button is located on the left side of the frame, just behind the the blast shield. The cylinder is unlatched by pressing the button forward, just like in any Smith & Wesson revolver.

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver is a classic, extremely compact snubnose design

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver is a classic, extremely compact snubnose design

The rubber grip of the revolver

The rubber grip of the revolver

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver is an excellent choice for concealed carry

The Taurus 85 Defender revolver is an excellent choice for concealed carry

Snub-Nose revolvers are small, practical. easy to hide and easy to use, but not always as well easy to manage. These are in fact pistols designed for self defense use, intended to be used at short distance, usually well below 5 meters.

A 5 shots group: single-action, slow fire at 12 meters

A 5 shots group: single-action, slow fire at 12 meters

But exactly because they are normally used in defensive situations, it is very important to be able to use them in double action, althought they can be used in single action also.

Anyone having had the possibility to shoot a revolver knows that double action rapid fire shooting is not somthing you can improvise, especially with short barreled, small size revolvers. Double action shooting with this kind of revolvers needs a lot of training and experience.

In short words, instinctive rapid fire double action shooting is difficult and the recoil is an issue. But at the end of the story, there is one valid concept: if you want to use a firearms for sel defense purposes, you have to train yourself and know your gun. 

The Taurus 85 is definitely one of the very few models that a first-time buyer should seriously look at when selecting an affordable and easy to use personal defense gun.

Taurus Defender - Technical specs

Distributor

For Europe:

Prima Armi Srl

Model

Mod.85 Defender

Typology

Revolver

Caliber

.38 Special (certified for +P ammunition)

Action

Rotating cylinder

Trigger system

Double action, with manual single-action available

Safeties

Automatic transfer bar safety
Manual TSS (Taurus Security System) locks the gun for safe storage

Capacity

5 rounds

Barrel

2" / 51mm
Six right-handed grooves, 1 twist in 16.½"

Sights

Fixed front and rear

Weight (empty)

533 grams (18.8 oz)

Materials / Finishes

Blued or stainless steel

Price

See your local dealer for availability and pricing