The Clash Of Taurus 38 Special Holsters

LAST UPDATED: August 6th 2017
GUIDE: Chris Browning

Just as a car needs the right tires, a carry gun needs the right holster. Those of us who carry know the importance of finding the “sweet spot”, in regards to a gun-holster-belt combination. When looking for Taurus 38 special holsters, consumers will find a wide variety of alternatives.

In a search for the ideal option, I’ve selected the DeSantis Pocket-Tuk. The Pocket-Tuk best fills my needs for a versatile, durable, simple holster for a blue-collar gun like the Taurus five-shot revolver.


Consider Revolver Characteristics Before Buying a Taurus 38 Special Holster

Capacity

Anyone who carries a revolver as their primary carry gun will eventually have to defend their choice of a wheel gun over a semi auto. Invariably, the argument will settle on the ammunition capacity factor. The five or six shot capacity of most carry revolvers is dwarfed by the common semi auto used for personal defense.

A low ammunition count is surely a disadvantage in winning a gunfight, unless you subscribe to the popular 3-3-3 rule. The 3-3-3 rule says that most confrontations with a firearm occur at a distance less than three yards, take less than three seconds of elapsed time, and use less than three shots.

Though it makes some sense, there is controversy as to the origination and validity of this rule. It seems to originate with a former New York Police Department firearms instructor, Frank McGee. The “rule” was used to train law enforcement officers, rather than armed civilians.

Low capacity also means the gun will need a reload sooner. Reloading a revolver is a skill which must be practiced intensely, if a shooter expects to execute the procedure under fire.

Speed loaders and speed loading strips can help, but the fact remains that you are trying to put five little bullets into five little holes, while under the effects of adrenaline. Reloading a semi auto is more straightforward. Stick the big magazine into the big hole in the butt of the gun.

Capacity doesn’t only affect the outcome of a gunfight. It can also dictate how we use the gun in a non-defensive role. For those of you who like to go to the range every weekend, be prepared to spend more time loading your revolver. Of course, you’ll go through less ammunition and save some money, I suppose.

If you intend to train with your revolver, be advised that in a two-day defensive handgun course, it isn’t uncommon to shoot up to 1,000 rounds. You should get good at reloads after those 200 occasions to practice.

Throw out the capacity debate if you’re carrying your Taurus 38 Special as a backup gun. This is an entirely different role for a pistol. Any backup gun is better than no backup at all.

Concealment

Revolvers are pretty much on-par with semi autos when considering concealment. Both can be concealed on various parts of the body. Holster manufacturers offer options for belt carry (inside and outside the waistband), ankle carry, and pocket carry for revolvers. Shoulder holster rigs are available, as well, though I doubt they are used by many people for a small Taurus 38.

Two dimensions affect concealment of handguns on the waist. The first is the thickness of the gun. Thicker guns stick out from the waist more than thinner guns, and increase the chance of printing. The thickest point on a revolver is the cylinder. The Taurus Model CIA 850 is 1.4” at its widest point.

In contrast, the Glock 26 semi auto (comparable in size to the Taurus) is only 1.18” thick. The other dimension affecting concealment is the size and shape of the grip (or butt). Longer grips protrude more from the belt line and are more apt to print.

Reliability

I challenge you to find any credible, measurable data pertaining to revolver or semi auto reliability. The internet is littered with anecdotal and philosophical notations on reliability, but there are few statistical facts. Both amateur and expert opinions vary.

What can be logically stated is that all machines fail. Whether it is a billion-dollar jet airplane or a $500 pistol, over time, every machine will malfunction. No revolver or semi auto pistol is 100% reliable. You may wish to consider the impact of malfunctions, rather than enter into the arena of revolver vs. semi auto reliability.

Most malfunctions in semi auto pistols are easily corrected. Tap the magazine to ensure it is properly seated next to the chamber. Rack the slide to eject the potential cause of the malfunction and load the next round.

None of this applies to a malfunction in a revolver. When a revolver malfunctions (which may be rare), sometimes the best course of action is to execute a reload. This assumes the malfunction hasn’t locked the cylinder in place, rendering the gun as useful as a small hammer.

Though a revolver may have fewer incidences of failure, those failures oftentimes cause the gun to be inoperable. Semi autos are easier to fix. Either way, you should train with your gun.


Top 5 Holsters for the Taurus 38 Special

Let’s examine my top pick and consider some other alternatives.

1. DeSantis Pocket-Tuk

DeSantis Pocket-TukI really appreciate the versatility of the Pocket-Tuk’s design. A five-shot revolver lends itself nicely to pocket carry, either in a backup role or a deep concealment situation.

Like most pocket holsters, the Tuk features a winged based, causing the holster to be retained in the pocket during the draw. The suede construction is durable, yet pliable enough to fit other handguns in your carry rotation.

With the provided hex key wrench, the included belt clip can be attached for use as an inside the waistband (IWB) holster. If you are using a Taurus 38 as your primary (or only) concealed handgun, carrying on the belt makes a lot of sense.

The belt carry method usually means easier access and quicker draws in a defensive situation. Having that versatility is a plus, in my book.

Features
• Suede construction
• Dual purpose pocket holster and inside the waistband belt holster
• Adjustable and removable plastic belt clip
• Open top design with reinforced mouth
• Tuck-able belt clip
• Winged pocket retention base

Advantages
• Versatile design allows for IWB and pocket carry
• Rough suede and wing retain holster in pocket during the draw
• Cant of the gun is adjustable
• Plastic belt clip can be replaced if worn or broken
• Tuck-able strut allows for more concealment on the waist

Disadvantages
• Not form-fitted to Taurus models
• Pocket carry retention may not suit your IWB carry needs

2. Blackhawk Leather Speed Classic Holster

BLACKHAWK! Leather Speed Classic HolsterOutside the waistband (OWB) carry is a viable option for pistols in the size range of the Taurus 85 and its variants. If you seek the comfort and solid retention of a wet-formed leather holster, you might consider Blackhawk’s Speed Classic.

Formed holsters tend to increase gun retention, ensuring your handgun stays in place until you need it. Some people don’t like the tight fit, but after a break-in process, your revolver should have the right combination of retention and ease of draw.

Features
• Leather construction
• Wet molded form
• Trailing belt loop attachment
• Friction retention
• Elastic aided, open top design
• Right and left-handed models available
• Fits Taurus 85 and Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers

Advantages
• Formed to the gun providing tight retention
• Belt through attachment for secure placement
• Durable leather
• Comfortable OWB placement in 3:00-5:00 position

Disadvantages
• Leather requires a break-in period
• OWB placement is less concealable

3. New Barsony Pocket Holster

New Barsony Pocket HolsterFinding the right pocket holster can sometimes be a challenge. One must acquire the proper combination of holster, pants, and gun, in order to achieve the best fit. New Barsony offers an alternative which may fit your needs.

Lightweight nylon is comfortable and versatile. The materials in the New Barsony Pocket holster surround your revolver in a foam-padded sheath which breaks up the outline of the gun. Over time, the foam may wear out, but this affordable option might be the answer for that one pair of pants which don’t fit your other holsters.

Features
• Laminate Cordura nylon construction
• Pocket holster design
• Waterproof, closed-cell foam padding internal material
• Slick nylon interior
• Fits left and right pockets
• Flat bottom with pocket retention wing

Advantages
• Lightweight, comfortable materials
• Rough Cordura retains holster in pocket when drawing
• Holster shaped to maintain itself in upright position
• Ambidextrous
• Can be used with multiple handguns

Disadvantages
• Foam padding may wear out, decreasing concealment in pocket
• Not exclusively fitted to Taurus models

4. Relentless Tactical: The Ultimate Suede Leather IWB Holster

Our offering from Relentless Tactical is another IWB option. If the Taurus revolver is your primary carry weapon, an IWB holster may be a preferred alternative. IWB offers good concealment.

The steel belt clip is a good compromise between belt retention and ease of wear. A good thick belt may be required to ensure the holster doesn’t slide around.

Features
• Handmade, suede leather construction
• Fits most 38 special and J-Frame revolvers
• Lifetime warranty
• Steel belt clip attachment
• Inside the waistband design
• Right and left hand models available

Advantages
• IWB design allows for quick draw
• Better concealment than OWB holsters
• Works with multiple revolvers

Disadvantages
• Not form-fitted to Taurus models
• Cant of the gun is not adjustable
• Belt clip may allow holster to slide on belt
• Less retention than heavy leather and plastic alternatives

5. Fobus Standard Paddle Holster

Fobus Standard PaddleIf you’re not into leather, but still want to carry on the belt, consider the Fobus Paddle Holster. Paddle holsters attach to the body via a plastic tab which inserts between your belt and your pants.

A lip on the inside is designed to catch on the belt during the draw. Paddle holsters are quick to put on and take off. They work well if you have to frequently remove your gun from your body.

Features
• Injection molded, high density plastic construction
• Contoured paddle belt attachment
• Passive retention system
• Outside the waistband design
• Formed to fit Taurus 85 and 605 models

Advantages
• Durable plastic not susceptible to moisture or stretching
• Formed-fit allows for passive retention of the gun
• Quick to put on and take off

Disadvantages
• OWB is less concealable
• Curved paddle may limit carry positions on the body
• Belt attachment may be less secure


The Winner

I love the versatility of the DeSantis Pocket-Tuk. If your preferred method of carry is on the belt, but you still want the option of carrying your Taurus 38 special in your pocket, the Tuk is a serious contender for your holster needs.

Our Pick
 DeSantis Pocket-Tuk
Best Taurus 38 Special HolsterDeSantis Pocket-Tuk

I really appreciate the versatility of the Pocket-Tuk’s design. A five-shot revolver lends itself nicely to pocket carry, either in a backup role or a deep concealment situation.

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If other IWB holsters don’t fit you well, a product with adjustable cant, like the Pocket-Tuk, may be the solution you’ve been looking for.

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