Taurus recently introduced the new 856 into their expansive revolver line. The DA/SA action and 2-inch barrel on the 856 optimizes on-body or off-body carry, and home defense usage.
The 856 is a reliable 6-shot .38 Special revolver that features soft rubber grips, making it comfortable to shoot at the range while the double/single action increases speed and accuracy for follow up shots. The 856 is offered in either a matte black or matte stainless finish. Known for its easily managed recoil impulse, the .38 Special round of the 856 can accommodate ammunition ranging from light target loads to self-defense rounds. The little concealed carry Taurus 856 revolvers are imported by Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc., of Bainbridge, Georgia and are Made in Brazil.
Detailed Description: The Taurus 856 Ultralite Double Action Revolver is purpose built to be the easiest and lightest weight concealed carry revolver perfect for self defense scenarios. This .38 Special revolver holds 6 shots and features a comfortable soft rubber grip. It has a fixed serrated ramp front sight along with a fixed rear sight. The 856 UL features a single/double action trigger system with a spurred hammer. The reliable and affordable Taurus 856 is an excellent choice for the legally armed citizen. Whether you’re new to firearms and looking for your first gun, or an experienced shooting needing a good solid revolver for your collection, the Taurus 856 Ultralite will serve you well for years to come!
Caliber: .38 Special, +P Rated
Action Type: DA/SA
Barrel Length: 2”
Weight: 22.10 oz.
FRAME SIZE: Small
OVERALL LENGTH 6.55″
FRONT SIGHT Serrated Ramp
REAR SIGHT Fixed
SAFETY Transfer Bar
The small and ultra-light 6-round Taurus 856 revolvers have plenty of color options to offer just about anyone shopping for a .38 Special +P caliber self-defense arm. These concealed carry guns are designed around a 2” long barrel, keeping all the dimensions down for efficient packaging. Thus height is 4.80”, width 1.41” and overall length is only 6.55”.
There are two frame categories: steel or aluminum. The barrel also comes in two varieties: alloy steel or stainless steel. The steel frame can be had as either alloy steel or stainless steel. These guns weigh 22.1 ounces. Then there is the lighter aluminum Taurus calls “ultra-light” frame guns that weigh 15.7 ounces, or almost one pound. These come in stainless steel, matte black or various anodized colors.
Mechanically, the 856s are DA/SA (double-action/single action). The transfer bar safety protects from accidental discharge if dropped. This is an important safety feature. It works as follows. The transfer bar stays out of the way until the trigger is pulled. In this design, there is normally a gap between the hammer and cartridge. When the trigger is pulled, the transfer bar fills the gap between the two permitting contact.
Most 856s feature rubber grips with texturing and ribbing on the sides and back respectively. They also have two finger recesses. Several models eschew rubber grips in favor of extremely durable and mesmerizing patterned G10 polymer VZ Operator II Grips Made in USA by VZ Grips of Florida.
Taurus 856 Ultra-Lite Double-Action Revolver conceals well and packs a punch, with a full 6-round cylinder. The 856 Ultra-Lite features an alloy frame, a steel barrel and cylinder. The exterior metal has a matte finish. Textured, rubber grips absorb recoil and enhance user control. A fixed, ramp front sight and a fixed, groove rear sight acquires quickly, and interfere minimally when drawing the weapon from a holster, pocket, or purse. An exposed hammer allows you to cock and fire the revolver in single-action mode for precision accuracy, or fire instinctively in double-action mode. A transfer bar safety mechanism prevents the hammer from striking the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled fully to the rear. The 856 Ultra-Lite also utilizes the Taurus Security System (TSS), enabling you to disable the weapon completely with the turn of a key. The 856 Ultra-Lite Double-Action Revolver is an affordable and reliable self-defense gun that’s easy to learn how to operate, and quick to deploy in an emergency.
The handgun is chambered in .38 Special and is +P rated. At the range, it ate a variety of ammunition, including Hornady Critical Defense 110-grain FTX, Remington Wheelgun 158-grain round-nose, SIG Sauer Elite Performance 125-grain FMJs and Inceptor 77-grain ARX. Firing offhand, the best five-shot group at 7 yards was 0.771 inches with the Hornady. At 10 yards, offhand, it nailed a five-shot group of 0.702 inches with the Inceptor. It sure seemed to like those frangibles.
Through 600 rounds and two different shooters, the 856 cycled reliably with no failures of any kind. But if you’re thinking revolvers can’t have failures, you’re wrong. They may fail less than semi-automatics, but fail they can — and do. Believing your gun is infallible because it’s a revolver could get you into trouble someday. When a revolver does fail, it requires an experienced gunsmith; your personal workbench won’t cut it.
The 856 is a double-action/single-action gun, so you’d better be capable of accurately firing double-action. Practicing with your gun only in single-action would be a serious mistake — and one you’ll regret if you’re ever forced to defend your life. For this reason, a smooth double-action pull is preferable. My Lyman Digital Trigger Gauge measured the double-action trigger pull at an average of 9 pounds, 3 ounces and the single-action pull at 3 pounds, 8 ounces. The pull itself does have some grit and stacking ahead of the break. It is neither an ideal trigger nor a bad one in my book.