Handguns > Revolver

Taurus M380 IB Mini Revolver

This new little revolver boldly blends the low recoil of the .380 ACP with the simplicity of a double-action only revolver.

2/1/2012

Some firearm manufacturers stick doggedly to their tried-and-true catalogues of products, offering a new grip color here or a change in sight options there. But Taurus is boldly trying out new shooting options that some might not have even considered. Taurus is especially attentive to rethinking and reworking the short-barreled defensive revolver. Snubby wheelguns maintain a quiet but loyal following. Men and women looking for a simple and reliable defensive option often choose small revolvers because they are easy to carry and conceal. And as one of the smallest options yet introduced, Taurus now offers the M380 IB Mini chambered in .380 ACP.

The M380 is not chambered for .38 Spl. like most of the defensive wheelguns in this category and it’s not a “J-Frame” either. Instead, it fires .380 ACP cartridges using Taurus Star Clips—more commonly known as moon clips—to hold fresh cartridges and to eject the spent cases. This revolver dodges the label "J-Frame" because of its reduced dimensions. That's where the "Mini" in the name comes from. The barrel, frame and cylinder have all been trimmed down to take advantage of the smaller .380 cartridge,  while the grip, trigger guard and trigger are all still the same size as a typical .38 Spl. The result is a lighter, more compact revolver that still feels good to hold and to operate.

Revolver Features
The blued M380 arrives from the factory with a five-shot cylinder, compact rubber grip and 1.75-inch barrel. The hammer spur has been removed to give the revolver a no-snag profile, which makes it a double-action only handgun. Although the trigger is longer and heavier in double-action mode, it proved to be smooth with a slightly shorter travel distance than might be expected. The overall fit and finish of this revolver is good, with the cylinder and yoke demonstrating a tight lock up.

A nice touch that's rarely found on this type of gun is the low-profile, adjustable rear sight. Usually shooters are stuck with learning how to use whatever sight picture arrives on a snubby revolver, but a minor adjustment to the rear sight of this gun moved shots to the center of the target right away. The M380 also has the Taurus Security System installed, a life-time repair policy and five .380 ACP Taurus Star Clips in the case.

With all of the positive features of this handgun in mind, a burning question remains: Why shrink a snubby revolver to chamber the .380 ACP? After working with this little gun, some good reasons for this choice come to mind. First and foremost is the opportunity to effectively reduce the size of the revolver without reducing its shootability. Unlike some of the now popular tiny pocket rocket semi-autos on the market, this gun has plenty of grip and trigger to work with for regular, comfortable practice on the range.

Next is the reduced level of felt recoil this cartridge and gun combination has to offer. It presents a useful middle ground between the ultra-mild, but less effective, .22 Mag. and the thump produced by standard or +P loads available in .38 Spl. With the .380 ACP currently enjoying a revival due to the aforementioned pocket autos, a wide variety of soft shooting quality defensive hollow points are readily available. And if the logic holds that the .380 is an adequate stopper from a tiny automatic, then it's a bit hypocritical to dismiss it for use in a compact revolver. 

One more reason for chambering .380 in a revolver is also one of the oldest reasons: ammunition compatibility. During the first and second World Wars, revolvers were chambered for .45 ACP to allow the soldiers who received them to share ammunition with those personnel who were armed with semi-automatics. The same principle holds true today. If you already own and shoot a .380 auto, or you want an ammunition-compatible revolver for a loved one to carry, then you can add the M380 to your defensive catalog without having to shoulder the expense of adding yet another caliber.

At the Range
The M380 proved to be a positive handgun to shoot within the parameters of its intended role as a personal protection firearm. If you are looking for a target shooting pistol, the M380's 1.75-inch barrel and double-action-only trigger will leave you disappointed. But if you are looking for a compact and reliable close-range defensive revolver, and you are willing to put in the practice all snub guns require to master, then you've come to the right product.

Formal accuracy testing was conducted from the bench using five consecutive, five-shot groups fired into targets set at a distance of 7 yards. Accuracy proved to be consistent at this range, with no single shot group exceeding 2.25 inches. The two best single five-shot groups of 1.50 inches were produced by DoubleTap's 80-grain Barnes X jacketed hollow points and Hornady's Critical Defense 90-grain FTX. The best five-group average of 1.70 inches was produced by the Hornady load. Second place went to Winchester's 95-grain PDX1 jacketed hollow points with an average of 1.85 inches, followed by the DoubleTap load with an average of 1.95 inches. All of the test ammunition fired and functioned flawlessly, and the level of felt recoil it produced with a variety practice and defense-grade .380 ACP loads was always in the comfortably mild to moderate range.

Working with the Star Clips provided by Taurus was an interesting change of pace. The Star Clip is a thin stamped, spring steel device. As the name implies, it clips five rounds of ammunition together in a circular pattern that lines up with the cylinder chambers. All five rounds, along with the clip, are pressed into the cylinder at once to load the gun. As handy as the Star Clips are for loading, their primary function is to give the ejector something to press against so the rimless .380 cartridges can be ejected.

The .380 ACP cartridges are head spaced off of the cartridge case mouth. This means that cartridges can be loaded and fired without a Star Clip. Shooting without the clip just means spent cases will have to be poked out of the cylinder one at a time using a tool or a cleaning rod. I did have three cartridges that would not lock into place in one clip or another. They would simply fall out. This rare event was solved by swapping out the cartridge or the clip being used.

I mention this to let folks know that part of preparing their revolver for self-defense will be to make sure their spare rounds fit tightly into the extra Star Clips they choose to carry.

Final Thoughts
The Taurus M380 IB Mini .380 is a light, compact, reliable defensive revolver. Its reduced dimensions make it comfortable to carry in a purse, pocket or anywhere else a small snub nosed revolver would fit. The adjustable sights, comfortably sized grip and modest recoil make it a pleasure to practice with. A snub-nosed revolver in .380 may not be a defensive option you would have thought of, but Taurus did.

Manufacturer: Taurus; taurususa.com
Model: 2380121UL M380 IB
Action: Double-Action-Only Revolver
Caliber: .380 ACP
Finish: Blued
Grips: Rubber
Sights: Fixed Front, Adjustable Rear
Barrel Length: 1.75”
Overall Length: 5.95”
Height: 4.80”
Width: 1.35”
Weight: 15.5 ozs.
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Twist: 1:9.84” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: 5 Star Clips Included
Suggested Retail Price: $430 (Blued), $461 (Stainless)

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57 Responses to Taurus M380 IB Mini Revolver

Larry Wrinkle wrote:
February 19, 2014

Great little gun. The wife loves it. Trigger is not too bad and it shoots accurately. Much easier to hold than the mini 380 autos and similar DA trigger. People who poopoo 380s never volunteer to get shot with one.

chuck wrote:
September 27, 2013

first and last taurus i will buy timing was off was only hitting 2 out of 5 so sent it in and was told up to 6 weeks after a month i called customer service and was told that it will be at least six weeks ,so on top of buying a lousy gun im getting lousy service plus my wife cant pull trigger back so its going to cost me another 150 dollars for a trigger job.im a stupid man could have bought a smith and wesson or anything else

Robert Keahey wrote:
March 23, 2013

I bought a brand new 380 revolver ,to everyone and Taraus . This gun is not worth a plug nickel whoever thought of this gun art to be fired!!!! It will not fire and taraus gun company will not answer telephone or email or fax! Don't nobody buy taraus guns they are not worth a plug nickel. And I am going to do free advertisement on the back of my pickup truck to warn everybody not to buy taraus firearms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eldon Whitaker wrote:
January 31, 2013

Just purchased a m380 for 240 new amazing what is avaible when all the popular guns get bought up. Love it can consistly hit a pop can at 7 yards.

jim wrote:
January 27, 2013

say what you want and beleave , but with the right belt and holster you can carry concealed 95% of all handguns .

Pat wrote:
January 18, 2013

I just purchased the M380 mini Taurus. Yea, the trigger takes 2 fingers to pull BUT I won't accidentally shoot myself! I am 57 year old female and never owned or shot a gun in my life. I love this little gun. It fits my hand perfectly and with little recoil, it is fun to shoot. I wanted something that I would not be afraid of or afraid to use and this is it! I really like it alot.

Pete wrote:
December 31, 2012

I purchased the M380 mini. I made the mistake of not dry firing it at the dealers. When I got home I was amazed at the very high trigger pull. I contacted Taurus. I was informed the pull was 11 pounds!!! Try holding the Mini on target while overcomming 11 pounds of pull on the ball of you finger. Rapid fire is not possible. I bought it in late November. Anybody want to buy a gun????

Greg wrote:
December 09, 2012

I think your Final Comments sum Taurus as a company. They seem to think of everything. Taurus is easily the most forward thinking LARGE firearms manufacture in the world today.

Charles wrote:
July 25, 2012

Taurus offered and may still offer a revolver for the 9mm round. Very similar to this except my example does not have a bobbed hammer. FWIW I carried a Taurus 5-shot hammer less lightweight .38 Special for several years and now carry the Ruger LCR in .38 Special.

Mobius wrote:
May 08, 2012

Got a SW Airlight wheelgun for my wife but even after some gunsmithing the trigger is too stiff for her. Looking into the 380 here as an option because I have a Ruger LCP 380. By the way, forget those expensive belt pouches for concealed carry and check out some of the ones made for Smartphones. I bought a Proporta Universal Cordura belt holster for less than $10. Fits my LCP nicely and even has extra pockets for spare magazines or whatever.

AutogunNY wrote:
April 29, 2012

...the best self defense piece, is the one you have with you...my better half is 5'2" and 110lbs, she shies away from the .38spl. recoil. I think the .380 Mini is a great idea, (so far). I can't wait to try one out.

Joseph Longo wrote:
April 25, 2012

What is a good iwb tuckable holster for the m380 revolver. I love this gun just need a holster

Joseph Longo wrote:
April 25, 2012

What is a good iwb tuckable holster for the m380 revolver. I love this gun just need a holster

Bolweevil wrote:
March 26, 2012

The .380 out of a 4"+- barrel has the same muzle energy as a .38spcl out of a snubbie. So this thing is less, if you're counting. This one would go bang every time tho, unlike some .380 autos. I would think Fed. Exp. FMJ +p would be the way to go here. Yes alloy frame would be nice, but you could'nt wear this thing out running a box a week thru it, and your woman would appreciate the help of the stl frame w/the recoil. Somebody here remarked on the accuracy of the .380 as wanting. I don't think so. Superb accuracy in fact. I'd take this in a heartbeat over some silly little rimfire. Having said that, we all know that nothing beats a 230gr. FMJ .45 moving anywhere above 750FPS for reliability and effect, aye? A 180gr. .40 anywhere over 900FPS works almost every time as well. At any rate, I'm gonna check one of these out for summer casual. ~:-)

walkin' trails wrote:
March 04, 2012

I never had much use for the. 380 because bullets were a lot more expensive clmpare to. 38 or 9mm, and accuracy sucked in anything I ever shot. It should be noted that the military didn't get into any large scale,long term CQB engagements until years after adopting the 9MM so its shortcomings in FMJ configuration didn't appear until this past decade. I don't imagine 40 ball is alm that much better. Modern HP ammo in 9 and. 38 have made them perform so much better, but everything I've read about. 380 is that HP expansion is still not that reliable. If a .380 worked for someone trying to lawfully defend themselves, that is great. I'll still stick with something bigger.

Iraqivet wrote:
February 26, 2012

Taurus is my carry piece most days.I have Two N.A.A.minis in .22LR and .22Mag for very conceled carry,but I prefer the Taurus 709 Slim.The polymer/stainless 709 has adjustable sights and a manual safety.My Glock in an inside the pants holster has me wondering !! The 709 Slim has not hiccuped with factory ammo,or reloads both mild and hot.The 9mm may not be the best defense round but that 1911 in the safe doesn't help in tough times.Besides the military is forced to use FMJ rounds,not the quality Hollowpoint +P or Hydrashocks available to the public.It all comes down to practice with your carry gun,with flashlights,no lights and low light.Shoot often,feel confident,and help suport the ammo manufacturers in this tough economy.

Howard M. Kjos wrote:
February 17, 2012

What barrel lengths does the 380 c0me with? I would like about a 4 inch barrel

Mack Missiletoe wrote:
February 14, 2012

No no no! I want a revolver in .32 H&R Magnum sporting adjustable iron sights. It should have a very small frame since the cartridge is smaller than .38 and also no under barrel lug as it is ugly to me, unless it is a heavy-recoiling revolver. Make one in SA and another in DA. I'd love a Ruger Bearcat in .32 H&R Magnum (5-shot) and also a Ruger Single six (6-shot). Thanks! :D

Gary wrote:
February 09, 2012

SSG Rock asks a very important question: How does barrel length affect velocity? Shortening a .357 Magnum barrel can quickly turn it into a .38 Special. Shortening a .38 Special barrel can turn it into, well, wishful thinking. Reloaders, with chronographs, can fine-tune their loads and come up with the best combination available. Others are at the mercy of the ammunition manufacturers and their optimistic advertising. If you have access to a chronograph, you owe it to yourself to check out your real-world velocity and see if your defensive choice is still credible. Here is a site that will keep you entertained for quite a while. It is called Ballistics by the Inch and will give you an education about the relationship of barrel length and velocity, cylinder gap, and actual ballistics from a wide sampling of guns. Enjoy! http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/index.html

Pat B wrote:
February 08, 2012

The one draw back to the jag wear-like conceals is that some target such protuberances on ones belt for theft since, as you point out, most carry some form of costly electronics within similar belt-mounted cases - such thefts are common within shopping malls here in sunny, scenic Detroit. And they'll put up quite a fight to get it off of you. Tough to draw your defensive piece while the perp's hanging off of it :o)

SSG Rock wrote:
February 08, 2012

I am befuddled as tio why they didn't go with an alloy or scadium frame if they were looking for light/compact. That would really help sell the trade-off of using a puny round. has anyone done ballistics comparisons w/.38 snubbies? A lot of the .38 advantage is lost with a short barrel.

Gary wrote:
February 07, 2012

If recoil is a problem, then a .380 or a 9mm certainly beats throwing rocks. But what I am hearing is that "It is so small and cute and it fits in my pocket." These small guns, et al., have become a fashion accessory rather than a serious problem solver! Now I know that concealment, without a shirt or coat covering a holster, is the problem here and if you could make a .40 or .45 disappear you would gladly opt for more power. So here is how you hide your weapon in plain sight. http://www.jagwear.com/jagwr2-3.htm The only "catch" is that they have a pull cord but if you attach a key ring to the cord it looks like that is what it is for. I have used one of these for years with my Kahr P40 and nobody has ever given it a look. Like the ad says, everybody has a phone or some electronic device on their belt these days. Another option is this: http://www.tommysgunpack.com/PhotoGallery.asp?ProductCode=1 Where I live (Colorado) tummy packs are so common you look naked with out one. And notice that these, unlike most others, do not have a tattle-tale draw string. I have two of these, one for my Ruger Alaskan .454 and another for my Taurus .41 Titanium Tracker. So now you have two choices for carrying an adult weapon: a "formal" leather Jagwear or a "casual" nylon Tommy's.

James P wrote:
February 07, 2012

Its true like the 5.56 the 9mm for combat is not any good(the wars in Iraq and afgan has taught us that) but any gun is better than no gun, and options are nice. That being said the price is high comparable to an auto, again its an Option. Just cause you wouldnt carry it, would you want to be shot by it? Not I.

Gary wrote:
February 07, 2012

For information on the military replacing the 9mm: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/08/army-pistols-with-a-shot-at-replacing-m9-82811w/ For information on the FBI replacing the 9mm: http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi_10mm_notes.pdf For the straight skinny on stopping power: http://www.gunthorp.com/Terminal%20Ballistics%20as%20viewed%20in%20a%20morgue.htm

Ed wrote:
February 07, 2012

@Gary Check out North American Arms. http://www.northamericanarms.com/ I have one and it is very reliable and inexpensive.

MattO wrote:
February 07, 2012

I had a Taurus .38 special I really liked. I traded it for a Taurus PT 24/7 I enjoy. I also carry a Taurus .380 and was looking at getting a Bond Arms .45. I am rethinking mow. I like the looks of this gun.

LuAnn Smith wrote:
February 07, 2012

I owned the Taurus Snub nose chrome plated in 1985 it was great I may buy another !Love Taurus !

Reason wrote:
February 07, 2012

The 380 isnt the worst thing you can carry but I agree with people saying to much money for to little gun. I own a taurus judge with 3 inch barrel and cylinder that shoots either 45 lc or 410 ga and only paid about twenty bucks more for it brand new.

Cymond wrote:
February 06, 2012

15.5 ounces is disappointing for a gun this size. Seriously Taurus, you can shave an ounce or two from that.

Northman wrote:
February 06, 2012

As one of the previous commenters stated, Taurus already makes a small revolver that shoots 32 Hornady Magnums. They also make a 6-shot 327 Magnum small frame revolver that is quite snappy and more powferful IMHO than a 380.

John wrote:
February 06, 2012

GREAT DEFENEIVE ROUND. Uh huh. Even after spellcheck it's still underpowered.

Sacorbi wrote:
February 06, 2012

Everyone listen to Gary. Only big guns can wound or kill people. Too many people buy and try to use more fun than they need or can safely handle because of that kind of ignorant advise.

Isaac Arnold wrote:
February 06, 2012

I would have liked to have seen some muzzle velocities. Given the barrel/cylinder gap and the short barrel length, I bet the bullets are moving slow. I say .38 "Mo Bettah."

Jim wrote:
February 06, 2012

My wife cannot handle or will even shoot a caliber above 9mm. So if I can find a wheelie than is not a 22 I'm game. I carry the Ruger LCR 357. I used 38+P for target practice and she will not shoot it. So I commend Taurus for this wheelie if it can hold up. We own two of their 9mm's and are happy with them except they are to heavy to carry as a ccw.

james wrote:
February 06, 2012

I am in firm belief bigger is better. But no matter how big the weapon is if you can't shoot it then get something smaller. Yes the military is unhappy with the 9mm but you are talking about shooting against people with gear on and hardball ammo. I don't care the caliber as long as you are proficient with it. Dead is still dead wether its a 22 or a 500 s&w magnum. Learn to hit your target. I think this revolver is good for a women just learning to shoot.

zoics wrote:
February 06, 2012

ammo is expensive - why bother!

Eric wrote:
February 06, 2012

its not a "J" frame beceause it isnt a smith J is a designation of size from smith and wesson. The price is suggested actual gun store sales price is usualy less.

Steven wrote:
February 06, 2012

to Gary, what military ever declared that the 9mm was a disappointment? The US Armed forces adopted the Beretta M9 nearly 30 years ago. I know the feds work slow, but 27 years is a long time to continue using a caliber that is such a huge disappointment.

John wrote:
February 06, 2012

Why .380? Ammo is hard to get, and there are vastly better cartridges far more suited to use in a revolver. Silly idea! Why not another .38, or .32 H&R? Personally I'd opt for a .327 Federal in a revolver. Keep the .380 for small autos. Better yet, 9mm for a small auto. Guess the .380 fad just escapes me.

Joe wrote:
February 06, 2012

For any confused gun snobs out there, Taurus guns are made with Beretta tooling. So its basically a beretta with a different name. Google it if you dont believe me. Taurus provides great firearms!

jim wrote:
February 06, 2012

as an ex-LA County Paramedic, I have seen more people killed by a 22 caliber than any other

Karl wrote:
February 06, 2012

"Anyone want to bet this won't be in the Taurus catlog for more than a year or two...?" I'll take that bet! I've already seen one in the display case at my local gun shop!

Snarky357 wrote:
February 05, 2012

Not exactly my first choice, but remember Taurus is a Brazilian company. Many South American countries (and maybe European?) limit civilians to .380/9mm Browning.

Wayne wrote:
February 03, 2012

I paid much less for a Taurus 357 revolver. I think it's too high.

Jake wrote:
February 03, 2012

Adjustable sights, Why? how about no sights 1.75 inch barrel. Who uses sights in close combat?

Jake wrote:
February 03, 2012

It would appear a lot of development effort went into a round already formatted in other concealed 'weapons' .380? I think it's a bit pricey for what it offers the shooter ....I KNOW! how about a .38 'J' frame?

mitch wrote:
February 02, 2012

I am one of those revolver guys. I own autos, but tend to enjoy wheelies more. I'm always glad to see more options on the market.

John wrote:
February 02, 2012

No matter how small the gun, or "weak" the cartridge - the gun you are carrying when you need it is far better than the heavier, more "powerful" gun you left in the safe at home. At the distances most self-defense shootings occur, accuracy and rapidity of repeat shots are far more important than individual bullet effect, so the small gun that one can shoot well and quickly is better than the large gun one may fumble with, or be unable to recover adequately from the first shot's recoil/blast. Most defensive civilian defensive gun carriers are NOT "gun people", just like most cops are not, and they don't worship at the altar of John Browning. Any new gun on the market that gets more good people carrying is a good thing.

ED650 wrote:
February 02, 2012

THE 380 IS A GREAT DEFENEIVE ROUND. MY PERSONAL FAV IS THE EXTREME SHOCK ENHANCED PENETRATION ROUND (EPR). IT WIL STOP A 400LB BOAR WITH ONE SHOT,DRT,A SHOULDER SHOT @ 15 YDS. I KNOW FROM AN UNWANTED EXPERIENCE. MOST DEFENSIVE SHOTS ARE FIRED AT LESS THAN 7 FT AND IF IT WILL STOP A BOAR @ 15 YDS ...I KNOW IT WILL STOP A BAD GUY

Norm wrote:
February 02, 2012

Taurus sells another small revolver that has considerably more punch, without moving up to the 38 special. It is the model 731 in 32 Hornady magnum, and it is a six shot.

Jim wrote:
February 02, 2012

I'm at a loss to understand why the ejector system developed by S&W for the 9mm model 547 has not been more widely used for shooting auto-ammo in revolvers. This design does not require moon/star clips and seems very reliable. You can load from a speed-loader and eject with one push on the rod. Would appreciate comments on this question.

Jerry in AZ wrote:
February 02, 2012

I'm not familuar with the Taurus Security System, but ANY non-removable security is a turn off for me. I hate paying for the R&D and manufacturing of someting that I don't want. Second, the bobbed hammer is also a turn off.

Gary wrote:
February 02, 2012

My problem with the glorification of small-caliber handguns for self defense is that the less educated might buy one simply because some "expert" wrote "The Taurus M380 IB Mini .380 is a light, compact, reliable defensive revolver" and "A snub-nosed revolver in .380 may not be a defensive option you would have thought of, but Taurus did." Do you notice a pattern when it comes to the word "defensive?" There should be a warning at the bottom of the article stating: the FBI gave up on the .38 Special +P and 9mm and the military has declared the 9mm a huge disappointment. And to be aware that the .380 is even less powerful.

ecovelli wrote:
February 02, 2012

I once got a lecture from an NYPD officer about how stupid the department was for going with the 9mm and how the .45 1911 is the ONLY defensive handgun. When I asked him how he carries it during certain situations off-duty, he said he has a little .32. The lesson is, you carry the biggest caliber you can shoot and carry comfortably at a particular time. That might be a .22 one day or it might be a .45. I have elderly patients who would have trouble shooting a .38 special, so this might be a good alternative for them. Some people don't like the imprint of a J-Frame, so they might like this. Also, don't dismiss the .380 with a good load, it is a very decent round.

Reader wrote:
February 02, 2012

I don't think Taurus or the writer is saying this is the best way to go. They're trying to provide EVERYONE with a carry option. Not everyone can handle large calibers, and a small gun is better than no gun.

Gary wrote:
February 01, 2012

The cheerleaders at all the gun zines are doing their best to brain wash their readers into believing that any gun capable of making a sound resembling "bang" is suitable for self defense. Power no longer matters. Assuming that is true, why would anybody go to all the trouble of lugging around a .380 and putting up with all that recoil when a shirt-pocket-sized .22 short rim fire would blow away any bad guy that ever tried to ruin your day? After all, more people have been killed with the .22 than everything else and they do go bang. Now, if only some manufacturer would come out with a .22 micro rim fire in a weapon that fits into the watch pocket of my jeans, I could trade off that over-sized, over-powered .22 short. And to think that we once believed in some guy named Jeff Cooper.

Pete wrote:
February 01, 2012

Anyone want to bet this won't be in the Taurus catlog for more than a year or two...?