Taurus Spectrum Review Update:
This is an update to my Taurus Spectrum Review article last updated in August of 2019.
This is the last time I’ll update this article with new content. I have resolved that this is not a good gun to rely on for self-defense due to the number of malfunctions it has while shooting.
It malfunctions with all sorts and brands of ammunition. This is strange to me because the review process didn’t start out that way. If you read through my initial findings, it started out good.
Then as the gun was fired more and was broken in more, it got less reliable. For hopefully obvious reasons that’s not good.
Because it’s not a good gun I sadly have to keep it. I cannot in good conscience sell a gun that sucks and would cause another person to potentially get hurt.
It does play a role in my home defense strategy, as it’s a gun that I keep in a private location in a room I’m not normally armed in.
If a break-in occurs when I’m in that room, unarmed, I will resort to using this pistol and remember that I will have to clear malfunctions on my way to a better defensive tool.
If you’re in the market for a cheap 380 gun, I recommend the SCCY CPX3 which is pictured below with the Taurus during a range trip. The SCCY recoils less and has not malfunctioned once.
It is a much better pistol.
Disclaimer: I do want to say that this pistol is one that I’ve had for a few years now. There is a chance that Taurus worked out any bugs with it, as I haven’t shot another one recently.
August 25, 2019 Update:
I’ve had the Taurus Spectrum for a while now, and I admittedly don’t shoot it that often because it is not very good and it is hard for me to shoot with my massive hands.
Part of the problem I’ve had is the trigger guard is just too small for my sausage sized fingers and my trigger finger actually gets beat up a bit. If you keep reading this past the update, you’ll understand why. But, suffice it to say that it’s not my favorite gun to shoot.
I have been promising an update to my Taurus Spectrum Review, so I just recently went to the range with it to see how it would handle a few other types of ammunition.
This little .380 ACP pocket pistol really only likes certain kinds of ammo–which isn’t that good. I’ve shot various kinds through it to include some dirty, cheap Winchester White Box, and now Blazer Brass, with the above pictured Hornady hollow points.
I originally stated in the first review (below this section) that I wouldn’t carry this gun as my primary, but might consider carrying this gun as a backup. I have changed my mind about this, and no longer believe that I’d carry this gun for self-defense period.
Every magazine of hollow points I shot had a stove pipe. A stove pipe happens when the gun starts to return to battery before the already fired case is fully ejected. This is what that looks like:
These consistent stove pipes are reason enough to not carry this gun for self-defense. The last thing any of us wants or needs is to have to clear a malfunction on a gun when we need it most.
What follows is the rest of the Taurus Spectrum Review, as followed by my initial thoughts regarding the strange way it was released to the market.
Taurus Spectrum Review (March 14 2018)
I’ve been following this gun for over a year now, first released back in SHOT Show, 2017, then sort of re-announced a couple months ago at the same show, this year. And then, I got a phone call from my buddy at Xtreme Gun Worx, in Emmaus PA that he just managed to get two of these little pocket 380 guns in, and offered to sell me one.
I brought it to the range, and fired 300 rounds of three different kinds of ammo through. So far I’ve had two stovepipes, a few light strikes, and a few instances where I do what I call “short-stroke” the trigger.
Taurus Spectrum Reliability:
One of the main things I want to get across in my Taurus Spectrum Review, is that it was more reliable than I thought it would be, even though it isn’t that reliable.
I want to say that, those light strikes occurred when I was shooting steel cased TulAmmo, and the stovepipes only occurred after the firearm was nasty with residue from the Tul and Winchester White Box ammo I ran through it.
Also, this pistol is capable of just pulling the trigger again on a lightstrike until it goes bang.
And, the little Taurus Spectrum handled the Federal Ammunition I was using like a dream. I have to admit that I went into the shooting session concerned, at best, but came out of it pleasantly surprised. Because, again, it was more reliable than I thought it would be–even if it still malfunctioned more than it should have.
But, this little pocket 380 isn’t perfect. Considering that this is a gun I bought for $250, was I really expecting it to be? No. In fact, I was expecting it to be much, much worse. I thought for sure I’d have more than the two malfunctions I did have. Let’s start with the positives of the .380 Taurus Spectrum
More often than not, it went bang when I wanted it to. I burned up 300 rounds of ammo in quick fashion. I got it hot and sticky, and it was raining and wet outside. The inside of this little pocket gun looked like it ran a tough mudder, and for the most part, it still worked with the better ammo.
I do want to say that, as far as shooting and reliability is concerned, the Taurus Spectrum does prefer being clean, and the stovepipes did not happen until I gunked it up with Tul and White Box Winchester.
The gun also, surprisingly because it’s so tiny, feels good in my hands. It doesn’t exactly fit my hands well, but it feels good enough with the extended 7-round mag inserted. Speaking of the magazines, they’re “Made in Italy,” and while it’s too early to speculate what that means, I’m hopeful it means they’ve outsourced to a specific company.
With such large hands the 6-round magazine makes it very difficult to hold onto once the shooting starts, but I suspect Taurus’ primary market with this pistol, which isn’t my big 300 pound burly butt, will take to this gun well.
The Taurus Spectrum takedown and reassembly is very easy via a small screw on the side of the gun. One thing I’m never a fan of, though, is needing a tool to take a gun apart. A flat tipped screwdriver is recommended, but I found that a brass case works just fine. So, in theory, just as long as you’ve got a round of ammo, or some spent casings, you should be able to dis and reassemble this little gun with ease.
To put it back together is literally just lining up the rails on the slide and frame, pulling it back, and it locks automatically taking any guesswork out of it. Of course, I’d recommend doing a function check to see if it still works properly.
Taurus Spectrum Accuracy:
This is a small, concealed carry pistol that is meant to be hidden on your person. It comes with snag-free, integrated, non-adjustable sights. But, I was able to utterly destroy my 9-inch paper plate out at 7 and 10 yards with rapid and slow fire rates.
Overall, the Taurus Spectrum is as accurate as the shooter is at self-defense distances. Would I shoot competitions with it? Not likely, but that’s not what this little pocket pistol is for. It’s for self-defense, which happens at those yardages.
Totally unrelated: Here’s our list of the best 22 pistols out there.
Taurus Spectrum Negatives:
Now let’s move on to the negatives. This is an under $300 gun, and it feels like it. Other guns in this price range don’t always have a cheap feel, but the Taurus Spectrum does, at least it does to me. Maybe you’d disagree.
The main negative I’d want you to take away from my Taurus Spectrum customer review is that the trigger leaves a lot to be desired. The first thing I noticed, as well as the guy at the gunshop, is that the trigger (feels) gritty (but actually isn’t).
This is one of those things that cannot be easily explained, but needs to be felt. The trigger also stacks upon itself which I’m not a fan of. It’s not excessive, but it’s felt.
In true DAO (double action only) fashion, it’s got a very long, safe pull to the rear, and a very long reset. I have no issues with a long pull and a long reset, by itself, and most people won’t have an issue. But, my problem here with such big hands, is that I kept doing what I call short-stroking the trigger.
I don’t want to say that this is the gun’s fault as much as it is my genetic makeup. After some troubleshooting, I figured out that my larger than average trigger finger would hit the smaller than average trigger guard before it resets fully. I would make the mistake of pulling the trigger to the rear again on follow up shots, but hadn’t allowed the trigger to reset.
After consciously pushing my finger to the front as far as it would go, I don’t have this issue any longer.
The ergonomics and controls of the gun are fine, for the most part, but I do have a few issues here as well. The main one being that the slide-stop is nearly non-existent. I know why it’s like this, when you take into consideration that the gun is rounded and designed for a snag-free draw, that’s the point. There is no slide-stop lever to snag.
Therefore, I can see some folks with less than calloused hands getting cut thumbs attempting to disengage it, even when the slide is pulled to the rear to release the tension.
Furthermore, while I’m not the biggest fan of hitting the slide-stop as a release to send a gun into battery, I believe it’s always beneficial to have that option should your support hand become damaged in a fight.
And, while the rounded edges and integrated, non-adjustable sights are great for a snag free draw, you can’t hook them onto anything to open the gun’s action if needed, in a one-handed battle. I know it’s a stretch, but I still feel like it’s important enough to point out.
Slide Serrations and Overmolding:
Finally, at the end of this Taurus 380 Spectrum review, we talk about the soft-touch slide serrations and grip overmolding. For the most part, it serves its purpose okay. The grip with the panels suited me fine and was a decent, comfortable slip-free surface.
However, it was raining out when I tested this gun, and at one point, my hands got wet and the slide panels got a bit slippery.
I personally don’t have a hard time manipulating the action on any gun I’ve ever handled (with the exception of a .44 Auto Mag until I learned how to do it properly), but it was slippery.
I can imagine some folks having a difficult time if their hands get slippery. It may not seem like a big deal, but in a fight for your life, with bloody or sweaty hands, is that a chance I’d take? Probably not.
In fact, I’m a firm believer of stacking as many pluses on my side as I possibly can. That way, I can go home to my family at night.
Also, on the topic of the rubber serration type things on the slide, it looks like one of them is loose. It’s not coming out yet, but it moves when I push on it, and I’m thinking that’s not supposed to be happening.
We’ll see if it falls out with continued use, because my next go around when I update this Taurus Spectrum review, will show it using some common self-defense hollow points, and a few other brands of ammo.
Shooting +P ammo and the like with higher pressures is not recommended by Taurus for the Spectrum, so I will not be testing them out the next go round when I give another update on this little pocket .380 ACP gun. There will be a video to follow this written Taurus Spectrum review in the very near future. I just need to finalize some things.
Would I recommend the Taurus Spectrum as a primary self-defense weapon? Maybe, but I’m not going to, yet. I need to test it some more, with a few different types of ammo.
So far, though, it goes bang nearly every time which says something about the engineering, even if it isn’t perfect. Would I carry the Taurus Spectrum as a backup gun? Yeah, I think so.
The rest of this page covers my first impressions of the Taurus Spectrum, and some of the issues that I think it had getting to where it’s at right now. What follows is not a part of the Taurus Spectrum Review, but may be worth your while to read —
The New Taurus Spectrum, First Impression
[Old Update]: I was able to get in front of a representative from Taurus at the NRA’s Annual Meetings on April 27th 2017, and they confirmed a ship date of mid to late June for the Taurus Spectrum.
Update Number 2: While I had to wait for a good amount of time to talk to a representative from Taurus, on the Spectrum, I had someone confirm a few things: First, I’m told that the Spectrum will be having a hard release this May. This person also told me that they are taking orders for the pistols, and some have started shipping.
When I asked him what was taking so long from its release last year to the time where they’re actually being shipped, all he said was ” we wanted to be happy with it.” In all honesty, while it is frustrating to have to wait for so very long, I do believe that it is better for everyone that they waited until everything was how they wanted it.
Whatever the problems were, though he didn’t confirm nor deny that there were any problems, hopefully they have everything worked out. I did find it strange, however, that they weren’t at the range this year for Industry Day at SHOT Show. I talk more about range day/industry day and why I thought they weren’t there last year even thought they announced this pistol that week, more in the original article which follows below.
In summary of this update, they’re apparently taking orders and will be shipping in May.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about Taurus’ new pocket pistol, just yet because I haven’t shot it. I’ll get to more on this in a minute.
Taurus never disappoints on ingenuity, but will it be a quality firearm? Only time will tell at this point, but I do have my red flag raised, thus far.
Well, for starters, this colorful new addition was released at SHOT Show 2017. However, Taurus did not have the Spectrum at the range for members of the media to test out. This can only mean one of two things. The first one, is that it tells me that there may be issues with it from the onset.
Or, they could just be ramping up excitement for their new, .380 pocket pistol.
Personally speaking, a gamble like that may not pay off for the struggling gun maker, with clear quality control issues on some guns. I’d wait to release a new gun until it runs flawlessly. That way, it doesn’t seem in the least bit fishy that you’re doing a soft-release on a gun during the same time when everyone else does hard releases on their own guns.
Another time of year for new gun releases is the NRAAM, which is right around the corner, at the end of next month and is also very heavily covered by the media. It may have been beneficial to just wait until the annual meeting for release.
What I can say, positive, about the Taurus Spectrum so far, is that it did fit in my hand well enough that I feel like it could get the job done if I had to carry one (I have ginormous hands). Also, it looks to conceal well with a snag-free design.
And, from first glance, I did like the feel of the soft-touch panels, during the short time I saw it at the Great American Outdoor Show, in Harrisburg.
Having said all of that, more mixed emotions come about when I start to think about all the colors the Spectrum is available in. While some of the colors on this DAO, striker-fired .380 pistol are pleasing on the eye, I feel that most gun makers miss the mark when they produce such glamorific guns.
When it’s all said and done, most shooters (though certainly not all), both men and women, would prefer basic colors to the eye-popping ones that draw the attention of people who should not have guns. For those gun owners who don’t teach their children properly, a gun that looks like a toy could be an issue.
And, some of these color schemes do make it look like something a child would play with.
The price tag is nice, and, depending upon the options you choose, you can expect to pay just over (or under) the $300 mark. That’s a good price, set to compete with some other guns with a much more proven platform, like Ruger’s LCP II.
I can honestly say that I hope it does well. I hope it works, is reliable, and is fairly accurate at the close ranges it’s designed for. I’m one of those guys who would rather see every gun be reliable than poke fun at those that aren’t.
Because at some point, someone will depend on this gun to save their life, and the goal is to have a firearm that does the job. Therefore, I hope the Taurus Spectrum does well.
What do you think about this colorful little pocket pistol?
Have you seen my top 20 best 9mm pistol picks yet? If not, give it a read to see if you concealed carry gun made the cut.
What did you think about my Taurus Spectrum review? Let us know in the comments below.