With the growing
number of states passing better laws governing the concealed
carry of personal defense firearms, more and more people are
exercising their God-given right to carry a handgun. Most would
agree that if the need arises to defend oneself with a handgun,
a large caliber in a full-size weapon is the best. However,
for most of us, we must balance the need for power with the
convenience of concealability, weight, and bulk. A large,
powerful handgun that you leave in the pickup or car is of no
use after you leave the vehicle. That is why most citizens with
a concealed carry permit usually end up carrying a smaller,
lighter handgun as a compromise.
One of the most
popular handguns to carry these days is the .38 caliber five
shot revolver with a two-inch barrel, and for good reason. These
little snub-nose revolvers are a great compromise of power,
portability, and concealability. The most popular of these
little thirty-eights are made of lightweight materials, which
make them much more comfortable to carry in the pocket or purse
on a daily basis. For some, however, the recoil of a .38
Special in a lightweight revolver is bothersome, and not
conducive to good shooting. The recoil in some of the
newest, lightest revolvers can be more than intimidating
to all but the most seasoned shooter. Thinking of the .38
Special as heavy recoiling is hard to understand for those of us
who shoot heavy magnums on a daily basis, but recoil is always
relative to the weight of the firearm, and perceived recoil can
be fierce in a lightweight gun.
To someone looking
for a lightweight carry revolver with less recoil than the .38
Special but more power than the Rimfire twenty-twos, there is
now a very good alternative: the .32 Magnum. Taurus has
been manufacturing pocket size thirty-eights for many years, and
has now introduced what may be the ideal platform for a pocket
sized .32 Magnum. The Taurus .32 Magnum Ultra-Lite revolver has
all of the features that make for a great little carry gun. The
.32 Magnum cartridge, properly loaded, offers good penetration
and reasonable power in a compact, controllable package. The
Ultra-Lite weighs only seventeen ounces and has a two-inch,
I recently received
for testing one of these Taurus Ultra-Lite .32 Magnums, and
continue to be pleasantly surprised by its performance. The
overall quality of fit and finish is excellent. The Ultra-Lite
is constructed of aluminum alloys and stainless steel,
with a matte finish and a compact, yet hand-filling synthetic
rubber grip. The grip is short in length to aid concealability,
but offers good control of the little six-gun. Yes, it is a six-gun.
The thirty-two Ultra-Lite carries one more round than most .38
Special small frame revolvers, resulting in a twenty percent
advantage in available firepower. That could be important. One
more round could make the difference in deciding the outcome of
a confrontation, although I believe that the main advantage of
the .32 Magnum over a thirty-eight is that of lesser recoil.
The trigger pull on
this little Taurus is very conducive to good combat accuracy.
The double-action pull is smooth and registered just over ten
pounds on the trigger scale, with the crisp single-action pull
breaking at three and one-half pounds. One of the most notable
features on the .32 Ultra-Lite is the ported barrel. There are
three ports on each side of the front sight. I was concerned
that these ports would significantly reduce velocity in the
short barrel, so I set up the PACT chronograph to see how the
short ported barrel would negatively effect the power of the
cartridge. The velocity readings were, surprisingly, comparable
to those achieved from a four and five-eighths inch non-ported
barrel, losing less than 80 feet-per-second with most loads
One of the better
loads fired a 100 grain cast bullet at over 900 feet per second
from the two-inch barrel.
from the Taurus was negligible, allowing rapid firing of the
full six shots as fast as I could pull the trigger, and was
definitely milder shooting than a comparable .38 Special. No
misfires or malfunctions occurred at all with the Ultra-Lite.
One surprise did occur, and that was the accuracy of the little six-gun.
While the .32 Magnum is noted for displaying excellent accuracy,
I was surprised at the ability of the short-barreled Taurus to
shoot relatively small groups at twenty-five yards. One six shot
group went into a bit over two inches, with most loads grouping
For a small, light
carry gun that provides a good balance of recoil and
power, the Taurus Ultra-Lite .32 Magnum deserves consideration.
It is well-built, reliable, and has the Taurus hammer blocking
Security System that is key-activated and unobtrusive.
Ed. Note: - for
a more comprehensive review of the Taurus Security System, see
Jeff's article at Taurus Model 941 .22 Magnum Revolver
- Boge Quinn
Check out this and
all Taurus products online at: www.taurususa.com
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