A “Curve” for Comfortable Carry: Review of the Taurus .380 Pistol

Taurus Curve .380
Taurus Curve .380

Taurus has announced a new semi-auto pistol for the concealed carry market. They market it as “The gun you wear,” since it is form fitting. It is called the “Curve” and is a body-contoured .380 ACP with some grip changes that make it comfortable to wear for concealed carry with claims that it is “print-free” and comfortable in any position on the body. The entire gun has rounded edges and the grip is bowed or curved to the right so it will conform to the hip and waist and match the body shape of a right-handed shooter. The intent is to make it more comfortable to carry, so folks will actually carry it. The Curve is small, lightweight, double-action only, U.S. made, and about the size of a smart cell phone. Taurus is marketing it as a revolutionary design with nice built-in and standard features for concealed carry. Taurus sent me a Curve to review, but they have not paid me nor influenced me for my opinions, so what follows are my genuine ideas. I field tested the gun and want to share its specifications, features, pros and cons, my opinions, and some of my students’ feedback about it. I asked a group of students to give me their opinions after shooting it, to supplement my opinions. Here are the specifications for the Taurus Curve:

Curve with Standard Built-In Laser Sight & Lights and Straight Mag
Curve with Standard Built-In Laser Sight & Lights and Straight Mag

TAURUS CURVE SPECIFICATIONS

Model Taurus Curve- 180 CRV
Caliber .380 ACP
Action Double Action Only
Capacity 6 + 1 rounds
Barrel Length 2.5 “
Overall Length 5.18 “
Overall Height 3.7 “
Overall Width 1.18 ” (.88 in grip)
Weight 10.2 ounces (unloaded)
Sights No Iron Sights; Cross-Hair Bore Axis; Three Lines Cross on Slide
Trigger Press 5-7 pounds
Materials Slide: Carbon Steel; Barrel: Stainless Steel
Slide Finish: Matte Blue
Grip Polymer with Metallic Subframe; Curved Grip
Safety Devices Loaded Chamber Indicator; Taurus Security System
Accessory Trigger Protector Guard
Holster Integrated Side Belt Clip
Feature #1 Integrated LaserLyte System: Light and Laser combination
Feature #2 Locked Breech to minimize recoil
Feature #3 Magazine Disconnect
Feature #4 Includes 2 Magazines
MSRP $392.

OPINIONS – COMMENTS OF TEST GROUP & AUTHOR 

Taurus Curve .380
Taurus Curve .380

PROS

  1. Small & Compact: Only 5.18 inches long and .88 inch wide across the grip
  2. Lightweight: Only 10.2 ounces weight unloaded (slide is carbon steel; barrel is stainless steel)
  3. Light & Laser sights combined: Integrated into gun as standard equipment (does not stickout from gun’s  shape); 3 Modes: Laser and light, light only, laser only (after 6 minutes unit automatically turns off)
  4. Very Concealable: Small & narrow frame for deep concealability; all edges rounded; narrow width
  5. Built-in Clip on gun frame: Standard holster substitute if preferred; clips to belt, pants, pocket
  6. Contours to body of right-handed shooter (comfortable with no sharp edges at all)
  7. Accurate up close to within 8-10 feet
  8. Detachable Trigger Guard with built-in lanyard; nice for pocket/belt carry that is fast & easy to deploy; helps minimize negligent discharge
  9. 3 Modes for Light and Laser: Can hold switch down for about 8 seconds to use just laser, just light, or both concurrently
  10. Moderate price for included features

CONS

  1. Very Long and hard trigger press (as with some other double-actions) in Double Action Only
  2. No External Iron Sights, but designed for close quarters, up-close combat, probably not using your sights
  3. Grip was small and bottom pinky finger (bottom two fingers for some) dangled beyond magazine
  4. As of now, model only designed for right-handed shooters (a left-handed model will probably follow)
  5. Capacity only 6 rounds
  6. Magazine removed by pinch and pull method: difficult for several (one lady with arthritis could not remove the mag); no traditional mag release button, but mag disconnect; no slide lock lever
  7. Light and Laser combination button activation takes practice for trigger finger to smoothly & quickly swipe
  8. Practice required to quickly remove & replace Takedown Pin for field stripping 
Taurus Curve Range Test
Taurus Curve Range Test

RANGE TEST OF THE CURVE

I recognize that small carry and backup guns are designed to be used for up-close and personal self defense. Mostly point and shoot without use of the sights. So, I chose to shoot the Curve at only close distances of 3 to 10 feet. After cleaning the Curve, I went to the range to shoot it. I clean and lube all new guns thoroughly before firing them for the first time. When breaking this gun down for cleaning, I found it very time consuming and difficult for the first 3 times I tried. Now remember I am not a mechanical wizard. I found the takedown pin was very tedious to remove and to replace, especially without scratching the frame and I used only a plastic dowel. A TIP is to place a plastic dowel or paperclip under the round pin surface in the recessed groove in the slide; then lift and remove the pin completely from the frame. As my learning curve improved, it was very easy to handle the pin and get it in place. Another TIP is to regularly check to make certain the barrel and spring do not get out of proper placement when trying to insert and remove the pin.

I took the ammo I had available, which was Blazer Brass .380 ACP ammo, 95 grain FMJ, about 100 rounds. The first few times I shot the new gun, I had several malfunctions, failures to eject and failures to fire. I had NO failures to feed, which I anticipated because of the curvature of the frame exterior which houses the magazine. However, the straight magazine inside the curved base did not cause any failures to feed. After shooting about 25 rounds and getting accustom to adjusting my grip with my two fingers sometimes dangling below the mag, I then had no malfunctions or stoppages at all with the remaining 75 rounds.

Overall, I was impressed with the ease and accuracy of rapid fire hits for this aging codger with way less than perfect eyesight and emerging cataracts. My first 5-6 shots rapid fire out of the gun up close at 3 feet, 6 feet, and 9 feet were decent hits for this up-close instinctive shooting (after some practice shots and grip adjustment.) A TIP is to follow the Instructions Manual that says to aim your Curve pistol properly “The point of aim is at the bottom of the ‘bull’s eye’.” So I learned that means to have your sight picture well BELOW the bullseye to about 3-4 inches lower for better hits. I usually prefer a center-mass hold or sight picture and most of my guns are manufactured that way, but not the Curve. Of course, for each gun and/or model and manufacturer that will vary, so get to know your particular gun. I was pleasantly surprised that the recoil was very manageable, the slide was easy to rack, and that the large majority of my hits were on the 9-inch paper plate, after I adjusted my sight picture and grip.

The trigger press was very long, but smooth, and hard for this guy use to single-action 1911s. I measured the trigger with my Lyman Trigger Gauge and over 10 trials it averaged between 6 to 6.5 pounds. The reset was longer than I am use to.

CONCLUSIONS

I believe this handgun should be considered as a Backup Gun (BUG) for very close encounters and I do recommend it for your personal consideration as a BUG. The Curve would be a very concealable BUG, although my preference is for a 9mm caliber, rather than the .380, even for a BUG. I do, however, recognize that shot placement is very important, as well as caliber consideration, comfort, and easy concealability.

My students and I were impressed with the Curve’s accuracy for a little short-barreled, lightweight .380 gun, especially for extremely closeup targets. It was fun for us to shoot, after we became use to the grip and features. I found I had to grip the gun very firmly for better accuracy, more so than usual for me, and to get familiar with adjusting my grip with my fingers dangling past the end of the mag. The need for the addition of an extended magazine floorplate is very obvious to prevent fingers dangling and this would make extended shooting sessions far more comfortable and enjoyable.

I shot the ammo I had available which was only 100 cartridges of Blazer Brass .380 FMJ, 95 grain. Best to fire at least 200-300 rounds through any new handgun to ensure reliability and familiarity. The recoil was very manageable for this 10.2 ounce, ultra small, and very concealable pistol. Of course, it is not designed to be a competition pistol nor for mid to long-distance accuracy, without iron sights.

Some students (left-handed shooters) commented that it curved the wrong way for them, so hope the left-hand model will follow. Also, manipulating the LaserLyte button also gave some testors concerns. They had to press forward for about 8 seconds to activate or change mode of the light-laser function, which can seem like eternity in a gunfight. Sometimes, racking the slide turned the light/laser off or on, so a standard grip switch might help, as well as practice.

With the intent of eliminating the need for a holster, the Belt Clip on the frame and the trigger guard do that if you attach the trigger guard lanyard to your belt. So, you can either clip the gun inside your pants or just drop it into a pocket and with a quick and firm pull, the trigger guard comes off and the gun is ready. But it does take some practice to safely do this. Be careful and practice with an unloaded gun!

Bottom line: The Curve is an interesting backup gun with several nice features for you to consider for your personal protection.

P.S. Just learned in April Taurus requested a “return” of the Curve (note this is not a “recall” as there are no safety or quality issues.) Here is the statement the Taurus Director of Marketing gave me:

“We recently discovered that a batch of the new Curve™ pistols left our facility without the caliber (.380 Auto) prominently displayed. We are requesting that these firearms are returned to us for proper marking. There are no quality or safety issues with these firearms. The marking error has been corrected and we are currently producing and shipping Curves to meet the significant demand for this product.

We have been in contact with our dealers, distributors and retailers and are in the process of getting the products they had in stock sent back to us. Given the excitement surrounding the Curve, many firearms have already been purchased by consumers. Our Customer Care team is ready to expedite the return and marking process and can be reached at 1.800.327.3776 by selecting Option 1 for Customer Care and then pressing 8 for priority service. More information and directions on how to return a firearm for marking are also available at www.taurususa.com/curvereturn. We are grateful for all of the support for this exciting, new and different product. We take quality and meeting our customers’ needs very seriously and apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our Taurus® fans.”

Continued Success!

Contact

Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc.
Miami, FL 33014
305-624-1115; 800-327-3776
www.Taurususa.com

Photos by author and manufacturer.

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever. 

© 2015 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.

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"Col Ben" is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as "Expert" in small arms. He is a Vietnam-era Veteran. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor. Ben recently wrote the book "Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection" (second printing) with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters. His reference book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at FloridaHandgunsTraining.com. Contact him at ColBFF@gmail.com.
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Cobranut

Some good design ideas here, but that sure is a clunky LOOKING gun. 😉

Col Ben

I applaud Taurus for trying to think outside the box and the Curve is one of the most innovative personal defense handguns to come along recently. It is sleek with rounded edges for great concealability and the holsterless design with built-in laser and light will attract folks. While it’s easily concealed, you must practice its draw for self-defense confrontations. Everything has pros and cons. I don’t like the painted centerline on the back of the slide without regular sights. I like my sights, even though this is for close-up tactical encounters. A grip-mounted mag release for quick reloads would be helpful. An extended magazine floorplate would help the dangling fingers. Many positives and some negatives, so personal preference for you. Wish it was a 9mm, but I did buy one for a backup. Success!

Karl Murphy

Savage and Colt made some really svelte .380 acp pistols I carried as BUGs, I also carried a customized Colt Lawman snubby .357 Magnum, now there are better choices for backup guns, any number of concealable 9mm pistols, the Taurus curve is a design that might fill a special need, just not mine.

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smalltowndude

Cons, 9: It looks hideous.

Bob Bobington

i just wish they would make it a bit bigger so it fit in your hand