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Taurus Defender 856: Everything You Want, Nothing You Don’t



Gun enthusiasts and concealed-carriers the nation over know that when push comes to shove, the snub-nosed revolver remains a top choice for self-defense scenarios due to its simplicity and reliability–and with the release of its all-new Taurus Defender 856 revolver, the company has demonstrated once again their deep understanding of the tactical considerations of CCW. It’s obvious that its development began with the motto “Don’t Mess With Success” and ended with “Keep It Simple, Self-Defenders.” This little wheelgun was designed to give you everything you want…and nothing you don’t.

One of the biggest challenges to overcome for revolver carriers is that most snubbies are really only designed to put rounds on target at what is affectionately known in the self-defense community as “bad breath distance.” There’s actually nothing wrong with that at all; most self-defense scenarios take place within a 10-yard radius, and usually far fewer. That said, it’s extremely frustrating to practice and train with some of them because they tend to lack a decent set of sights, and their short sight radius amplifies the tiniest variations in point of aim. The Taurus Defender 856 was conceived to combat those tendencies.

Based on the original Taurus 856, the Defender 856 was developed for those who favor the easy carry, low profile, and comfort of a compact revolver in a package that performs across all environmental and lighting conditions. Unlike most compact revolvers, the Defender 856 features a factory-installed front sight post with an integrated tritium vial, allowing for quick sight-picture acquisition in the lowest light conditions. To ensure fast sight alignment in elevated ambient light conditions, the front sight post face surrounding the tritium element is bright orange. This combination gives the Defender 856 true all-light performance, which is essential for a go-anywhere personal defense handgun.

Chambered for .38 Special +P ammo, the Defender 856 boasts a six-round capacity and DA/SA action with a transfer bar safety. The barrel length is 3 inches, making it short enough for deep concealed carry while delivering a sight radius for accuracy at distances beyond the “bad breath” zone. The longer 3-inch barrel also delivers increased muzzle velocity (vs. 2-inch barrels) for more decisive terminal performance. Unlike most 3-inch-barrel revolvers, the Defender 856 comes with an extended ejector rod for quicker tactical reloads.

The Defender 856 debuts in four standard models—all featuring an ergonomic Hogue rubber grip for maximum recoil absorption and a no-slip grip. These include a stainless-steel frame with matte finish, ultralight aluminum alloy frame with matte finish, stainless steel frame with black Tenifer finish, and an aluminum alloy frame with hard coat black anodized finish.

Taurus also offers the Defender 856 in two upgrade versions featuring special grips and finish treatments. The Two-Tone model has a stainless-steel matte finish frame and barrel with a black cylinder. This color combination pairs well with an aggressively textured VZ grip in matching gray and black. Shooters who appreciate solid hardwood grips can opt for the Tungsten Cerakote model Defender 856 (frame, barrel, and cylinder) with a stylish Altamont walnut grip. The MSRP is $429-$477 depending upon the configuration you select. To learn more about the new Defender 856 revolver or to see the full line of Taurus handguns, visit

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that, right now, you can sign up to win another of Taurus’ famed line of defensive handguns, the Judge! This revolver, chambered in .45 LC/.410 bore, is part of our Stay Home, Stay Safe 4.5K Guns & Gear Giveaway! Click on the link in that last sentence to enter–it’s free of charge, and runs through midnight on May 8. Best of luck to you!




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