Taurus has launched a new sub-brand, in effect, to bring impressively high-quality firearms to market through its existing manufacturing, sales, and distribution channels. Perhaps akin to how Toyota created Lexus or TRD, or Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center line.
Called “Executive Grade,” it will be a line of Taurus models given special, hands-on attention during production to create more refined, higher-end finished products. The first of these is the Executive Grade 856 .38 Special revolver.
If you’re thinking something along the lines of “Taurus? What? No way. I’m not paying for some allegedly high-end gun from a budget-oriented company” let me just say two things right up front: it’s still only $689 MSRP (and typical retail prices will likely be a hundred bucks less), and from everything I can see and feel it’s worth every dang penny of that.
My trade show booth cell phone pictures don’t do this gun justice, because the hand-polished satin finish is truly great in person. It’s just exactly what I think a stainless wheel gun should look like. It isn’t brushed, it isn’t polished, it’s just this perfect satin that’s even and flawless everywhere.
My close-up of the Altamont walnut checkered grip was blurry so I’ve stolen the pic above from the Executive Grade landing page. All four Executive Grade 856 examples that I saw in the booth had very nicely figured walnut and the grips were finished to a very high degree and fit the frame without a minor gap anywhere. They also feel good in the hand.
Intended for carry use, this .38 Special +P revolver sports a bobbed hammer and is double action only. The trigger on each gun is hand tuned by a ‘smith, and after dry firing all four of the guns in the booth I found them all equivalently smooth, light (for a double action), and consistent.
Overall, if you couldn’t already tell, I’m very impressed based on extensive fondling at Taurus’ NRA booth. We’ll get our hands on an Executive Grade 856 for either Jon or Dan to check out since they have a lot more revolver comparison time under their belts than I do. I have enough, though, including some super high-end ones, to know that this is a lot of gun for the price if it shoots half as good as it’s fitted, finished, and tuned.
No Taurus logos or other markings were added to the outside of the case, either. That’s a lot of restraint for a company to show! Funny that not touching it is something I consider a nice touch.
Stay tuned for a review in the not-too-distant future. If you’re a revolver guy or gal, this is one to keep your eye on.