Although there are many differing opinions regarding suitable self-defense handguns, few disagree with the wisdom of the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) system. That is, anything not absolutely necessary to the effective—and fast—operation of the handgun should be eliminated. In other words, carry a no-frills, plain-Jane, get-it-done type of handgun. Since a self-defense handgun will only be utilized in a dire situation, when your life depends on its use, it must be accurate, easy to shoot and most importantly, reliable. The Taurus Model 605 B2 meets those criteria.
At the first glance, the Model 605 B2 reveals key K.I.S.S. characteristics. Marketed in the small revolver line, the high-luster blued Model 605 B2 is not Taurus' smallest revolver, but weighing 24 ounces and measuring 6 1/2 inches long and slightly more than 4 3/4 inches tall, it makes for an easy carry option. Add to this a 1:16.5-twist, 2-inch "snubby" barrel topped with a fixed ramp front sight and rear square notch, all of which make the Model 605 B2 quick to draw from concealment or a holster and provide fast on-target sight alignment. The barrel has no recessed crown, because this revolver is designed to remedy cose-range threats, any nicks and scratches that might harm the rifling will have very little impact on downrange performance. Besides, the elimination of this step keeps production costs down, which in turn saves the consumer money.
To aid purchase and control during recoil, even with moist hands, the Model 605 B2 has stippled rubber grips. There is a slight palm swell mid-length and two finger grooves to help provide a solid hold—a good thing considering its .357 Magnum chambering. For most shooters, the small finger will slide beneath the bottom of the grips when in hand. Thankfully, the rubber grips extend to cover the rear portion of the trigger guard to protect the middle finger. Inset into both grips are small, brass-colored medallions with the Taurus insignia.
Both the trigger and hammer are color casehardened. The trigger has a smooth face and broke in the single-action mode at 4 pounds with little discernible creep or overtravel, yet it went to 12 pounds, 4 ounces in double action. Its coarsely checkered spur widens to .35 inch to ease the cocking burden. The Model 605 B2's hammer is equipped with Taurus' Security System, an additional safety feature that prevents the revolver from functioning when engaged.
Pushing forward on the cylinder release latch allows the cylinder to swing open to the left, but it requires a second hand to complete the task, as the cylinder fit is very tight. Checkering on the face of the latch helps eliminate slippage. The fluted cylinder measures 1.572 inches holds either five .357 Magnums or .38 Specials, depending on the user's preference.
At the range the small Model 605 B2 had some big surprises. The revolver had a strong preference for Hornady's Custom 140-grain XTP jacketed-hollow-point ammunition, producing an impressive five, five-shot-group average of 1.94 inches from a sandbag rest at 25 yards. Not far behind were the 125- and 158-grain loads, which also turned in respectable, though larger, groups. Any of the three test loads would suffice for defensive handgunning. On a couple of occasions three of the bullets left a nice cloverleaf pattern, only to be enlarged by ensuing fliers. Regardless, the accuracy potential of the Model 605 B2 was well beyond what I expected and more than acceptable for self-defense shooting. At 25 yards the groups printed approximately 2 1/2 inches to the right and an inch or so low, and because the sights are fixed, the user will have to either match the ammo to the gun or compensate to hit really small targets. This is not a factor at closer, self-defense ranges.
The other big surprises were stout recoil and high muzzle flip. Although the Model 605 B2 is an all-steel revolver, when stoked with hard-hitting .357 Magnums, it is a handful to control. This is exacerbated by the small grips not allowing the little finger a place to aid in holding the gun. Shooting a few magnum rounds here and there probably wouldn't be too bad, but an extended day at the range is less than fun. Practicing with .38 Special ammunition, then using .357 Magnums for protection, would help alleviate this, as .38 Special loads were a joy to shoot in the Model 605 B2.
After accuracy testing was complete, I put the Model 605 B2 through the wringer in more realistic scenarios. I placed a silhouette target on a large cardboard box and paced off 7 yards. Shooting from several positions—lying on the ground, kneeling and standing upright—and over and around obstacles, the little Taurus pointed naturally for me, and sight acquisition was immediate. I almost exclusively kept all rounds in center of mass, even when firing as a fast as I could take an aimed shot. In total, I went through more than 150 rounds without a single failure to fire or extract.
So what would I change about the Model 605 B2? Actually, there is very little that needs attention. However, because this revolver is destined for self-defense work, I would like to see some fine grooves on the face of the trigger so the trigger finger is less likely to slide off in a tense moment. Too, the double-action pull weight could be lightened to a more user-friendly level. Lastly, I would appreciate a cylinder that opened a bit easier. Other than that, this $390 revolver is ready to fulfill the purpose for which it was designed.
I found a lot to like about this pocket-size revolver and little to criticize. Its accuracy rivaled that of some high-end revolvers I have tested, yet here is nothing fancy about the Model 605 B2. Then again, it wasn't intended so. It was built to protect life and limb, a task it's more than capable of doing.