July 14, 2009

Taurus CIA .38 Special +P

For carry purposes, a short-barreled (snub-nosed) revolver has many welcome attributes, including ease of concealment, maneuverability, ease of presentation, and comfort. The short barrel makes the gun easy to hide and handle, and having smooth surfaces can help minimize incidental contact during carry that can irritate or scrape one’s skin. One such gun is the .38 Special +P Taurus CIA, which has an enclosed hammer like the Centennials.

As well as with regular cartridges, we tested with Strike Three ammunition from Advance Tactical Firearms of Las Vegas, Nevada, (702) 362-7750. These rounds are multiple-projectile cartridges that disperse upon ignition. Whereas frangible ammunition disperses on impact, Strike Three sends three different slugs downrange separately with every shot. Hence our five-shot groups printed 15 different holes. The three projectiles consist of two spheres and a disc that we weighed out to be a total of approximately 116 grains. Effective range is described by the manufacturer (Armscor of the Philippines) as being zero to fifteen yards.

The Taurus CIA revolver is as close a straight-out copy of the Smith & Wesson Centennial revolver as you can get. This was a fortunate choice, because by emulating the the Centennial series, Taurus picked up on one of Smith & Wesson’s best designs. The main difference in design between the two is that while Smith & Wesson limits the use of a coil mainspring to their smallest J-frame models, this system is used throughout the Taurus lineup.

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Courtesy, Gun Tests

To our eyes, this is a knock-off of the Smith & Wesson Centennial revolvers. But so what? That's a great design executed well in the CIA gun.

The CIA is an all-steel revolver, so naturally it is heavier than the 360S or any of the alloy revolvers available today. At 27 ounces it could be considered a heavyweight among five-shooters, ranked by weight neatly between the Smith & Wesson 640 Centennial and the Ruger SP101. However, these other guns are chambered for .357 Magnum, and the CIA, despite being listed in numerous publications as a magnum revolver, is chambered for .38 Special only.

Its finish is matte stainless throughout, and its two-inch barrel is shadowed by a full underlug that is cut away to completely enshroud the ejector rod. Lockup is aided by a spring-loaded detent on the crane, a feature becoming standard on all Taurus revolvers. We couldn’t help but notice that the spring rate on this detent pin is much heavier than on the other Taurus models we’ve tested.

The rubber grip completely encloses the frame and does a very good job of aiding the shooter’s hold and insulating it from blast. The supplied sights, which consist of a channel cut into the top strap and a serrated ramp, gave us a usable sight picture despite not being presented in contrasting colors. A key lock at the top of the backstrap locks the firing mechanism.

We found this model to be one of the best Taurus revolvers to date. The trigger is typical Centennial in feel and response. That is, its long stroke can be pulled straight through or staged. In this case, staging creates a moment of pause where the shooter can enact a separate press similar to single action. Our accuracy data was collected using a slow but consistent press without staging. While both the 360S AirLite SC and the Taurus CIA liked the Black Hills 125-grain +P ammunition best, the CIA proved more accurate, shooting the smallest group overall at 1.5 inches for an average of 1.9 inches measured center to center. The CIA was also way ahead firing Winchester’s 150-grain lead round nosed bullet, a respectable 3.0 inches at 15 yards. Velocity from this all-steel gun was substantially higher as well. With limited barrel length, the extra 75, 94, and 160 fps that the CIA produced from the Winchester, Black Hills and Strike Three cartridges respectively should come in handy.

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The CIA trigger's long stroke can be pulled straight through or staged.

Of course, the CIA will not fire the .357 Magnum, but going to this cartridge for a small gun is never a pleasant experience for the shooter. In firing the multiple-projectile Strike Three cartridges, the collective group size was almost half that of those fired from the Smith & Wesson. But, is a smaller group preferable in this case? To say yes would mean that we prefer that the energy be carried further and delivered in a more concentrated manner. Certainly, this would read that the effective range of the Strike Three ammunition fired from the Taurus CIA is measurably further than in the case of shooting the Smith & Wesson 360S. The CIA proved to be 100 percent reliable with all ammunition without a hint of failure to ignite.

Comments (22)

Our Private FTP details: www.0daymusic.org Tiesto, Carl Cox, Benny Benassi, Martin Solveig, Rusko, Crookers All available genres: Commercial, Dance, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic, Hardcore, Hardstyle, Hip-Hop, House, Jumpstyle, Pop, Psychedelic, R'n'B, Rock, Techno, Trance, Others, Alternative, Ambient, Avantgarde, Bass, Beat, Blues, Classical, Country, Dance Hall, Folk, Funk, Gangsta, Indie, Industrial, Instrumental, Jazz, Lo-Fi, Metal, Punk, Reggae and Music Videos! www.0dayvinyls.org David Guetta, Above & Beyond, Sander van Doorn, Ferry Corsten, ATB, Skrillex www.0daymusic.eu www.oron.cz www.oron.dk www.oron.ee www.oron.lt www.oron.se www.filestube.eu www.filestube.lt www.mediafire.lt www.0dayvinyls.org Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Diplo, Gabriel & Dresden Lady GagaTiesto, Deadmau5, The Chemical Brothers, David Guetta, Carl Cox and Empire of the Sun are exclusive performers Duran Duran, Underworld, Armin van Buuren, Moby, Kaskade, Erick Morillo (live), will.i.am, Sasha (Vortek live), The Disco Biscuits, Avicii, Fedde Le Grand, ATB, The Glitch Mob,

Posted by: Housebatze | December 8, 2013 8:46 PM    Report this comment

Our Private FTP details: www.0daymusic.org Tiesto, Carl Cox, Benny Benassi, Martin Solveig, Rusko, Crookers All available genres: Commercial, Dance, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic, Hardcore, Hardstyle, Hip-Hop, House, Jumpstyle, Pop, Psychedelic, R'n'B, Rock, Techno, Trance, Others, Alternative, Ambient, Avantgarde, Bass, Beat, Blues, Classical, Country, Dance Hall, Folk, Funk, Gangsta, Indie, Industrial, Instrumental, Jazz, Lo-Fi, Metal, Punk, Reggae and Music Videos! www.0dayvinyls.org David Guetta, Above & Beyond, Sander van Doorn, Ferry Corsten, ATB, Skrillex www.0daymusic.eu www.oron.cz www.oron.dk www.oron.ee www.oron.lt www.oron.se www.filestube.eu www.filestube.lt www.mediafire.lt www.0dayvinyls.org Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Diplo, Gabriel & Dresden Lady GagaTiesto, Deadmau5, The Chemical Brothers, David Guetta, Carl Cox and Empire of the Sun are exclusive performers Duran Duran, Underworld, Armin van Buuren, Moby, Kaskade, Erick Morillo (live), will.i.am, Sasha (Vortek live), The Disco Biscuits, Avicii, Fedde Le Grand, ATB, The Glitch Mob,

Posted by: Housebatze | December 8, 2013 8:46 PM    Report this comment

Our Private FTP details: www.0daymusic.org Tiesto, Carl Cox, Benny Benassi, Martin Solveig, Rusko, Crookers All available genres: Commercial, Dance, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic, Hardcore, Hardstyle, Hip-Hop, House, Jumpstyle, Pop, Psychedelic, R'n'B, Rock, Techno, Trance, Others, Alternative, Ambient, Avantgarde, Bass, Beat, Blues, Classical, Country, Dance Hall, Folk, Funk, Gangsta, Indie, Industrial, Instrumental, Jazz, Lo-Fi, Metal, Punk, Reggae and Music Videos! www.0dayvinyls.org David Guetta, Above & Beyond, Sander van Doorn, Ferry Corsten, ATB, Skrillex www.0daymusic.eu www.oron.cz www.oron.dk www.oron.ee www.oron.lt www.oron.se www.filestube.eu www.filestube.lt www.mediafire.lt www.0dayvinyls.org Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Diplo, Gabriel & Dresden Lady GagaTiesto, Deadmau5, The Chemical Brothers, David Guetta, Carl Cox and Empire of the Sun are exclusive performers Duran Duran, Underworld, Armin van Buuren, Moby, Kaskade, Erick Morillo (live), will.i.am, Sasha (Vortek live), The Disco Biscuits, Avicii, Fedde Le Grand, ATB, The Glitch Mob,

Posted by: Housebatze | December 8, 2013 8:46 PM    Report this comment

I have had a few Taurus reviolvers and haven't had any problems with them or the Rossi's and S&W's I have had either. Any gun can have problems and usually can be easily fixed. Taurus' lifetime warranty is hard to beat and their service is excellant. While the CIA is too heavy for an ankle holster it would make a great pocket carry.

Posted by: William D | July 19, 2009 4:38 PM    Report this comment

I'm not an expert on wheel-guns, can't speak with the knowledge of most of the commenters above. But I've fired quite a few .38 snubbies at the range, and I own a couple of S&Ws - an ancient model 31 (recycled police lieutenant's gun from the '60's, won't handle +P, but a lovely old sweet-shooting gun) and a 637 airweight. I've noticed a couple of friends at the range with Taurus snub guns that had problems after they'd been fired until hot, but never when they were still cold. From that I'd gather that you can likely trust a Taurus snub gun to perform when needed, since it wouldn't be hot, so it may be an acceptable carry-gun. But I'd prefer a gun that I can fire extensively at the range -- practice makes proficient, if not perfect. I want to be completely comfortable with my carry-gun, so I'll stick with my S&W snubbies.

Posted by: Jim Farwell | July 18, 2009 12:12 AM    Report this comment

I had a Taurus Model 92AF, the finish was not as good as my issue Baretta 92. Both guns were virtually identical due to mil specs, however the protective coating was peeling off my Taurus and the parts had rough edges compared to the Baretta and had only been shot a fraction of which my Baretta was shot. I just don't think Taurus has the quality I demand from my weapons compared to other makes. With that said, I don't think their crappy guns however when putting my life on the line I perfer better quality.

Posted by: Robert J | July 17, 2009 6:50 AM    Report this comment

Have a TaurusM85UL 2"SS in 38+P shoot it often no hicups carry some good pocket gun

Posted by: flogger11 | July 16, 2009 5:47 PM    Report this comment

Oddly - and in view of all the problems posters have had with revolvers - the Taurus PT1911 is a real winner. Lots of folks at the ranges I go to use them regularly and speak highly of them. Some LEO's carry them as duty weapons.

Posted by: tedwhite@cableone.net | July 16, 2009 4:40 PM    Report this comment

Have an 850 Titanium-13.5 oz. One of the best snubby's I've ever owned, and I've owned a lot: S&W 36, 37, 637, 640, 642, 940 (remember that one?). Taurus: 85, 85CH, 431, 445, 631UL. Charter: Undercover, 44 Bulldog. Colt: Detective Special, Magnum Carry. Ruger: SP101.

Liked them all. Not one of the above ever failed to fire. Practical self-defense accurracy was acceptable for everyone. Colt Detective Special had the smoothest trigger. I can carry anything from my 850 (13.5 oz to my 1911 (39 oz), Glock 19, SR9, Kahr P9. The one you will find one me 90% of the time is the 850. It's also the one I practice with the most. That's the bottom line: don't practice at the range with your mid to full size guns, but then carry a snubby. Practice with your carry gun; if you can get hits with the snubby, you'll get hits with everything else. Be safe.

Posted by: coondog1963 | July 16, 2009 4:18 PM    Report this comment

Have an 850 Titanium-13.5 oz. One of the best snubby's I've ever owned, and I've owned a lot: S&W 36, 37, 637, 640, 642, 940 (remember that one?). Taurus: 85, 85CH, 431, 445, 631UL. Charter: Undercover, 44 Bulldog. Colt: Detective Special, Magnum Carry. Ruger: SP101.

Liked them all. Not one of the above ever failed to fire. Practical self-defense accurracy was acceptable for everyone. Colt Detective Special had the smoothest trigger. I can carry anything from my 850 (13.5 oz to my 1911 (39 oz), Glock 19, SR9, Kahr P9. The one you will find one me 90% of the time is the 850. It's also the one I practice with the most. That's the bottom line: don't practice at the range with your mid to full size guns, but then carry a snubby. Practice with your carry gun; if you can get hits with the snubby, you'll get hits with everything else. Be safe.

Posted by: coondog1963 | July 16, 2009 4:18 PM    Report this comment

I have a Titanium 850 CIA with Laser Grigs. Carry it as a backup. Is lightweight and reliable. Although it heats up fast when shot fast during annual quals it has never locked up on me. Liked it so much I bought another and gave it to my Dad as an XMas gist. I do agree that Taurus quality is hit and miss. An old Model 96 22 LR went out of time in 50 rounds. Two PT 22s keyholed everything put through them. A PT 1911 has been back to the factory for warranty work twice. Conversely a PT 92 has never failed me, a Model 431 lives in my nightstand and the two 850s have been awesome.

Posted by: James W | July 16, 2009 3:13 PM    Report this comment

My last three Taurus revolvers, all purchased new, have had issues. Mod. 941 cylinder was constantly binding - it wemt back to Taurus and they did fix it pretty promptly. Mod. 85 the cylinder stopped revolving altogether - it'll be going home to Miami next. Mod. 94 the star rubs against the recoil shield and causes the cylinder to drag in one spot. I'll never buy another Taurus handgun, they're just a notch above Saturday night specials. Live 'n learn.

Posted by: CHARLES S | July 16, 2009 2:53 PM    Report this comment

I'll wait for the Charter Arms C.A.R.R. in .45 ACP. Probably be waiting a long time...

Posted by: CHUCK S | July 16, 2009 2:19 PM    Report this comment

never had any problems with the cia when i had it and the trigger was MUCH smoother and less gritty than the Smith. carry 38+p in the Smith and they shoot tolerably and accurately especially with laser grips. will put ctc laser grips on new 650cia

Posted by: greg h | July 16, 2009 12:49 PM    Report this comment

The cia does exist in .357 Magnum. I had one and sold it to get a 340pd. the trouble with the sw is it is TOO LIGHT for the 357 loads. they are not pleasant to shoot and in a real situation may affect the accuracy too much on a follow up shot or shots. Kind of wish i had the cia back so i have actually been looking to repurchase one.

Posted by: greg h | July 16, 2009 12:44 PM    Report this comment

I like my Taurus Revolvers to date I have the 650 2", 627 4",617 2" DAO, 608 4", 605 2" in the past I have had the 905 DAO 2", 66 4", 94 4", and 2 / 85s in 2". One of the 85s had to be sent in for repair. I did not maintain my 617 correctly and broke it, my falt, and sent it for repair. Both Guns were repaired, no questions asked, in a short time. The Snub Guns are my Carry Guns and all have smooth Actions. I feel I can trust my life to them and they seem to be more accurate than I am. I work in a Gun Shop. I can have and carry any Gun I want. We have sent all types and makes "back" for repairs. Taurus by far is not the leader in Guns we have sent back. Cheap Guns are not the most Guns to be sent back. As far as I can recall are largest sent back Gun was an American Co. that makes small exspensive Semi-Autos. I Vote For Taurus Revolvers.

Posted by: Chup | July 16, 2009 12:24 PM    Report this comment

I have a Tarus (4" BBL 38 special) which siezes up when warm also. Tarus guns are not in the same league as S&W or even the old Colts. I once had a Tarus 22 revolver (model 94?) this gun was so bad I threw it away.

Posted by: TOM M | July 16, 2009 10:36 AM    Report this comment

As with Stuart's problems with his Taurus revolvers, so with my Taurus and a similar Rossi. As soon as they got hot the cylinders would seize. I now have a Smith&Wesson Model 36. No more problems.

Posted by: tedwhite@cableone.net | July 16, 2009 9:52 AM    Report this comment

I have had several Taurus revolvers, including the 650. None was reliable. The 650 was pretty, accurate, and I truly enjoyed the apparent 2-stage trigger. Too bad it did not go bang every time. Most of my Taurus revolvers had rough ejector center pin channels, rough rough ejector rod center pin tips, weak ejector center pin springs. The result was seizing of the cylinder after firing one or a few rounds. Moreover, several Taurus revolvers failed to fire due to light strikes. One had an inadequately small cylinder gap, which also led to seizing. Shame on me for being suckered by a pretty gun so many times. My Tauruses: 606, 650, 905, 941, 445, and 450. As soon as the 445 is fixed, my safe will be forever free of Taurus revolvers.

Posted by: esq_stu | July 16, 2009 9:01 AM    Report this comment

I'm a Taurus fan, own an all-steel 85 which lives in my car and a 617 which is mainly a range gun. I agree that the size of a .38 snubbie is great for carry, but an unloaded weight of 27 ounces kinda defeats the purpose. I carry a S&W 637 airweight snubbie, weighs about 15 ounces and you barely know it's there. The size makes sense, but the weight is a deal-breaker ... my 85 shoots great and has never failed, but it's not a gun I would carry unless it was the only one I owned ...

Posted by: BILL S | July 16, 2009 8:50 AM    Report this comment

I own one of these guns and this is partially correct... The model 850CIA is .38 special only but Taurus also makes a 650CIA that chambers .357 magnum... So if you are looking for this same weapon with the availability of .357 look at the 650CIA...

Posted by: cctc2006 | July 16, 2009 8:45 AM    Report this comment

I'm sure this is a nice gun but I'll take my S & W 640 .38/.357 any day and I for one do not feel it's unpleasent to shoot. I've shot 125 grains up to 180 grain .357 cartridges with not a problem.

Posted by: pitdogg | July 16, 2009 8:33 AM    Report this comment

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