The world of revolver manufacturers is limited; outside of boutique manufacturers that make high-end revolvers, only a select few companies mass-produce revolvers. Pretty much every shooter has heard of famous manufacturers Colt and Smith & Wesson. These two giants of the handgun world boast nearly two centuries of crafting high-quality revolvers for shooters around the world.
But there is another company which rightly deserves acclaim for its wheel guns; that company is Forjas Taurus out of Brazil, better known to most shooters as Taurus International or just plain Taurus.
Taurus was founded in 1939 originally as a tool and die manufacturing company. Their first handgun model, the 38101SO was produced in 1941. In 1968, they began to export their pistols to the United States. In 1970, the parent company of Smith & Wesson, Bangor Punta Corporation, purchased a controlling interest in Taurus. This partnership allowed both companies to leverage each other’s strengths in the gun design and manufacturing world. Many of the basic Taurus revolvers could pass for a Smith & Wesson product at first glance and Taurus hasn’t been shy in using that to their advantage in the marketplace.
In 1977, Taurus was sold to its current owners which severed the relationship with Smith & Wesson. This left the new owners with the opportunity to develop their own products.
Many owners would see this challenge as a setback, or would simply develop a line of products that mimic the competition’s best sellers. Instead, Taurus used this opportunity to develop new and innovative products which have grabbed hold of the marketplace. Shooters’ attention, and thus their money, has been taken away from the major brands. Taurus went from a relative unknown to one of the big three manufacturers in only a few decades.
Their product lines begin with basic .38 caliber service revolvers such as the model 82 which is very rugged and reliable with its S&W DNA. They also produce a very successful line of pocket carry revolvers which are sold under their own name as well as their subsidiary brand, Rossi Firearms. From there, however, the company rapidly branched out to more unique models. Taurus is the manufacturer of the well-known Judge series of revolvers. These hulking handguns are designed to fire both .45 Long Colt revolver cartridges and .410 shotshells. Sold as close range personal defense firearms, they were initially not well received because Taurus was relatively unknown. Savvy marketing and partnerships with ammunition makers turned that around. Specialized shells were developed which capitalized on the performance offered by this unique firearm.
With that, Taurus jumped to the head of the line in innovation. Their 992 series was among the first successful model of revolver which allowed for easy switching of cylinders. With a push of a button, the entire cylinder and yoke can be removed in one piece. Their Raging Bull series of big bore revolvers have been made in nearly every caliber from .218 Bee up to .500 S&W Magnum. With barrel lengths ranging from 2 inches to 8 inches, they are widely favored for self-defense as well as hunting.
Taurus is well-known for its willingness to experiment with exotic metals for firearms’ construction. In addition to using steel, the company has also added aluminum and titanium to its manufacturing practices. Almost every model is offered with a titanium frame which makes them some of the lightest firearms in their class. This even includes their large caliber hunting models.
Fortunately, Taurus thought ahead and barrel porting is available as a factory option as well. This is another area where Taurus was “in on the ground floor,” so to speak. Many companies offer this as a custom option that costs extra, but Taurus considers this standard equipment. Barrel porting involves drilling a series of holes in the top of the barrel near the muzzle of the firearm. This allows the muzzle blast and firing gasses to vent upward on firing which reduces much of the recoil and muzzle rise, making the big guns much more comfortable to shoot, especially when combined with Taurus’s signature rubber molded grips.
They were also at the forefront of the industry in offering polymer framed revolvers. These firearms use steel and aluminum only where absolutely necessary; otherwise, the rest of the firearm is made of a polymer compound. This is similar to how GLOCK pistols are made. This resulting combination is an economical, yet lightweight firearm ideal for concealed carry usage. These two factors make them the most popular models sold.
Taurus also makes a successful line of automatic pistols, which were initially copied from the Beretta series before being replaced by entirely in-house designs. They have become almost as well-known, if not more so, as their revolvers. Their direct copy of the Beretta 92, in particular, has found a lot of favor among shooters and in Hollywood, where it is often used as a stand-in for the more expensive pistol.
Whichever model of Taurus revolvers you choose, you can buy with confidence knowing they are a fantastic quality firearm sold at a reasonable cost. They are available in every finish and caliber you can think of, from .22 to 9mm and up. All Taurus products are backed with a lifetime warranty to the buyer. As a result, many Taurus owners send their firearms back to Taurus for repairs or to a local gunsmith for replacement Taurus parts.