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Taurus Executive Grade 856 .38 Special Plus-P Revolver

Our editor jumped at the chance to give the Taurus Executive Grade 856 .38 Special Plus-P revolver a spin. Here's what he thought of this special wheelgun.

Taurus Executive Grade 856 .38 Special Plus-P Revolver

Longtime readers of Shooting Times know that I like revolvers, especially double-action wheelguns, and I jump at every opportunity to report on new ones. So you won’t be surprised to learn that I exercised my “editor’s prerogative” once again and conducted our evaluation of the new-for-2022 Taurus Executive Grade 856 six-shot .38 Special +P revolver. Taurus has done something pretty special with this gun.

The big news with the Executive Grade revolver is, as Taurus states, it is assembled by “dedicated product specialists” in a “dedicated assembly room” at the state-of-the-art Taurus facility in Bainbridge, Georgia. These technicians are specially trained and handwork each Executive Grade 856. It is the first handgun in the Executive Grade series, which Taurus describes as “a collection of the company’s leading personal-defense firearms that will be given this level of quality and refinement…..”

As to specific features, the small-frame Executive Grade 856 has a handtuned double-action-only (DAO) trigger mechanism; a bobbed hammer (Taurus calls it a “concealed” hammer); a 3.0-inch barrel with a recessed muzzle crown; a black, striated ramp front sight that is pinned to the barrel (an extra AMERIGLO tritium dot sight with an orange outline was also included in our case, and it would be an easy task to switch out the all-black front sight); and Altamont deluxe checkered walnut grips. The fixed rear sight is a traditional groove down the topstrap. Construction is stainless steel, the finish is handpolished satin, the trigger guard has been “improved,” and the backstrap is contoured. This special gun has custom engraved markings, and the cylinder chambers are chamfered. The revolver comes in a TSA-approved, lock-compatible, black Pelican Vault hard case with a die-cut foam interior, along with a letter from Taurus’s President & CEO. It’s covered by a limited lifetime warranty, and the MSRP is $689.

Taurus Executive Grade 856 38 Special Plus-P Revolver

I’m pleased to report that the revolver’s performance at the shooting range was just as special as its features. My shooting results with five factory loads, ranging in bullet weight and style from 110-grain jacketed hollowpoints to 148-grain lead wadcutters, are listed in the accompanying chart, and as it indicates, at 25 yards, the DAO Executive Grade 856’s average accuracy for three, five-shot groups with each load ranged from 1.95 to 3.71 inches.

That’s quite good, considering the gun can be fired only in double-action mode. I tried my best to cock it single-action-style, but I couldn’t do it. While the trigger can be staged, there is no fullcock stop. That said, the trigger mechanism was easy to manage. The double-action trigger pull averaged 14 pounds, according to my RCBS trigger-pull scale, which compares favorably with other DA revolvers in my experience; however, it is a bit on the high side. (Most other double-action revolvers I have measured had DA trigger pulls around 12 to 13 pounds.)

Before anybody gets too critical, I realize 148-grain lead wadcutters are not generally used for self-defense, and that’s really what this DAO revolver is built for, but I always shoot this type of target load whenever I evaluate a .38 Special or .357 Magnum revolver because in my experience it is the most accurate ammunition of the caliber. For example, in my .38 Special Clark Custom Model 1911, it averages just over an inch at 25 yards. Obviously, the Executive Grade 856 isn’t a target-style handgun, but as the results with the target ammo show, it’s capable of very good accuracy.

The special hands-on attention to ergonomics and aesthetics given to the Executive Grade 856 is exciting. I can’t wait to see what Taurus has in store for this up-level series of handguns.

EXECUTIVE GRADE 856 SPECIFICATIONS

  • MANUFACTURER: Taurus, taurususa.com
  • TYPE: Double-action-only revolver
  • CALIBER: .38 Special +P
  • CYLINDER CAPACITY: 6 rounds
  • BARREL: 3.0 in.
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 7.5 in.
  • WIDTH: 1.41 in.
  • HEIGHT: 4.8 in.
  • WEIGHT, EMPTY: 25 oz.
  • GRIPS: Altamont deluxe checkered walnut
  • FINISH: Hand-polished satin stainless steel
  • SIGHTS: Groove rear, pinned-in ramp front
  • TRIGGER: 14-lb. DAO pull (as tested)
  • SAFETY: Transfer bar
  • MSRP: $689
Taurus Executive Grade 856 .38 Special Plus-P Revolver Accuracy and Velocity Chart



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