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We at all4shooters.com definitely know our guns and have our good share of experience with most commercial and military firearm designs.
This doesn't mean that we weren't left a little bit puzzled when we first saw the prototype of this revolver (which back then was dubbed the RT-85 "She") at the 2013 edition of the IWA expo in Nuremberg, Germany.
Doubts turned into curiosity when the final production-grade design was showcased again this year, first at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, then again at the IWA expo in Germany.
Now, over one year after the first prototype was showcased in Nuremberg, this odd pocket revolver is being launched on the United States civilian market, and may soon be marketed in Europe and elsewhere as well.
We are of course talking about the 85-VTA "The View" model, the oddest revolver design ever conceived by the Brazilian Forjas Taurus group.
Following the rise in the demand of compact, easy-to-use defensive firearms to be carried concealed by women and first-time buyers, particularly in the United States, the Taurus firm − through its north-American branch, headquartered in Miami (FL) − went on to launch a revolver that would maintain a tried-and-true technical layout (more specifically, the one of the Taurus model 85, one of the Company's most highly regarded products) while at the same time remaining easily recognizable.
The Taurus 85-VTA "The View" revolver sports a double-action-only trigger with a spurless hammer that integrates a safety lock, a long-established factory feature of Taurus firearms.
When engaged with a factory-issued key, the safety lock will prevent the sear from working; an excellent solution should the gun be stored for long times, unloaded and with no possible use in sight. Even in the event of a theft or an unauthorized access (e.g. by a kid), the gun will remain inert and harmless until the safety lock is disengaged by the key holder.
The Taurus 85-VTA "The View" revolver is built around a machined lightweight aluminium alloy and sports a stainless steel, partially rifled 1"-barrel and a titanium cylinder with five chambers.
The only available (and perspective) caliber as of today for the Taurus 85-VTA is the well-established .38 Special, although "The View" is certified for +P loads.
A small, fixed front sight alings with the top frame channel for quick target engagement; the grip sports black, slip-proof checkered, rigid polymer grip panels with a stylized Taurus logo.
What makes the Taurus 85-VTA "The View" revolver unique in the market is the clear high-stenght polymer (Lexan) window located on the right rear portion of the frame, providing a quick and direct view on the moving sear parts: trigger, springs, transfer bar, hammer, and so on.
Unless real-time inspection of these parts is required (e.g. in case of an unlikely malfunction) this feature is of little to no actual use in real life.
Nonetheless, the clear side panel still represents a good piece of conversation (even more so that the strenght of Lexan is of no concern in that specific point of the gun!) and makes the Taurus 85-VTA "The View" revolver immediately recognizable from any competing design.
The Taurus 85-VTA "The View" revolver is 127mm/5" long overall and sports an overall weight of merely 250 grams/9 oz. empty, which makes it one of the most compact revolvers on the market, and probably the lightest overall: a perfect, incospicuous choice for 24/7 concealed carry.
The design is available in two variants: the baseline model (85-VTA) sports a light grey surface finish; the 85-VTAP model comes instead with a light grey barrel and cylinder and a pink frame.
The Taurus 85-VTA and 85-VTAP "The View" revolvers are currently in limited distribution in their primary intended market (the United States of America), with street prices ranging from 400 to 600 US$ approximately. We of course expect them to become cheaper as soon as higher quantities are available.
As far as international distribution is concerned, there's nothing established yet. European shooters and gun enthusiasts from the rest of the world will thus have to wait until more details are made available by Taurus or by its international distributors.