Once or twice a year when a company wants to show off a new product to gun writers but still keep it secret, it has them sign a non-disclosure agreement, and that gets me excited because it means the company is going to be showing us something not just new but probably different.
The Curve is definitely different. Your first reaction upon seeing it will probably be, “What the heck is that thing?” Aesthetically it resembles a bar of black pumice soap that got a bit melted in the sun and only vaguely resembles a handgun.
At its heart the Curve is a 6+1 shot double-action-only .380 automatic with a 2.5-inch barrel and an integrated light/laser unit. It’s made in the U.S. and has a suggested retail of only $392. With its 10.2-ounce empty weight and 5.2-inch length it is easily carried and concealed, but there is a lot more to it than that. For one thing, the entire polymer body of the gun, including the grip, is curved—specifically, curved to wrap around your body (if you’re a right-hander) as you carry the gun on your hip or in your front pocket. Taurus is claiming this is a first, and it’s not lying.
The tagline for the Curve is “The Gun You Wear.” When the people at Taurus were showing us the Curve, one thing they mentioned was how nobody had ever designed a gun to fit the human body before. At the time my thought was, “That’s because engineers design handguns to fit the hand.” I was curious as to whether a gun designed to curve around the body would fit in the hand at all, much less comfortably. It does, or at least it is not uncomfortable. While the Curve’s curved grip does feel a bit unusual, it is as shootable as any other similar-size .380.
Currently there are no left-handed Curves and no plans for any. I did have a left-hander try the gun, and he was surprised it didn’t feel bad in his hand. But when he tried to conceal the gun so he could access it with his left hand, he found the Curve’s curve is all wrong.
My first question upon seeing the curved grip was whether the pistol is fed by a curved magazine. The answer is no. The magazine of the Curve is straight, but the polymer base pad is curved and contoured to fit the grip. In fact, the base pad is the magazine release; push in on the textured depression on the left side and the magazine will come out. This is not fast, but then again this pistol isn’t meant for combat but for the concealed-carry market. Actually, I think it is meant for a very specific niche of the concealed-carry market, a point I’ll get to later.
I wish the grip was a little longer so I could get all of my fingers on it. However, with its straight magazine and angled base pad, if the designers extended the grip, I don’t know if they would be able to use a straight magazine. The gun would also be harder to conceal, but this is always the trade-off with handguns: The easier they are to conceal the harder they are to shoot.
There are no external controls on the Curve—no magazine release button, takedown lever or slide stop. There is a slide stop, but it is internal, and you have to remove the empty magazine and rack the slide to get it forward.
The Curve has a magazine disconnect safety. I am on record as saying magazine disconnect safeties have no place on pocket guns, and I will repeat it here.
If for some reason the magazine in your gun gets dislodged, when you pull it out in an emergency instead of getting to fire the one round in the chamber, you instead get nothing and then have to figure out what went wrong. The only saving grace about the Curve is that due to the magazine release being on the actual magazine, and flush to the grip, dislodging it accidentally is much less likely.
There are aggressively textured strips on the front and back of the frame for gripping, and they will not snag on anything. The sides of the frame are smooth. There is a groove in the underside of the trigger guard right where the index finger of your support hand will rest if you’re shooting with two hands.
The laser/light module is integrated into the frame, and it features one red laser below two white LED bulbs. The factory sets the switch to turn on both the flashlight and laser, but it can be changed to just flashlight or just laser. The switch to activate the light/laser is a serrated button set flush in the housing on the right side of the gun, just forward of the trigger guard. The switch is pushed forward to turn the light/laser on and pushed forward again to turn it off.
The LED lights have a slight blue tint and put out 25 lumens. They seem brighter and are more than bright enough to identify a threat at typical self-defense distances. They are manufactured by LaserLyte, and there are windage/elevation adjustment screws for the laser. The module has a six-minute auto-shutoff feature as well, which many people will like.
While the provided switch works and is completely snag-free, I think the activation mode is wrong for this kind of pistol. Having to use your trigger finger to find a small non-protruding button as you’re keying on a threat and adrenaline floods your system is not a good combination. A pocket/compact pistol should have instinctive laser/light controls—i.e., squeeze the grip and it turns on. Taurus reportedly does have plans for a future Curve model without the light/laser module, and it should be even more affordable.
I think of the Curve as a pocket gun, but straight from the factory you have two alternative carry options with the Curve: a belt clip attached to the gun at the factory and a Kydex pseudo-holster that clips over the laser/light module and covers the trigger guard.
The holster has a lanyard made of common 550 paracord, and you’re supposed to attach the lanyard to your belt and then stuff the pistol down inside your waistband. As you draw the pistol, the holster pops off the gun. This actually works. The pistol itself is so free of sharp edges that stuffing it down inside your pants without a proper holster isn’t a problem. However, because it is so small, and curves to fit your body, getting it out and into play quickly isn’t so easy.
The front of the Curve looks unusual. This is because they cut the end of the barrel to match the curved profile of the slide. I like the way it looks and think it has to have some slight effect on reducing muzzle rise much the same way the slant break on the AK-47 does.
The slide has a low profile, with fish scale-like texturing at the rear. Even with the fish scales there isn’t a lot to grab onto. There is a loaded-chamber indicator in the top of the slide.
<h2></h2>Now you know how the <a href= "http://www.taurususa.com/whats-new-the-curve.cfm" target= "_blank">Curve</a> gets its name. For right-handers at least, it will fit the contours of the body. The magazine, however, is straight; the base pad follows the curve.
One thing you’ll quickly notice is the slide doesn’t have sights. Pocket guns without sights or with minimal or crude sights are nothing new. This type of firearm is, after all, designed to be used for self-defense at spitting distance.
You will notice a white three-armed cross etched into the rear of the slide, with the center of the cross at about the same spot as the center of the bore. Taurus refers to this as a “bore-axis sighting system for instinctual shooting.” The idea here is that the shooter is supposed to point the pistol at the threat, and the crosshair is the sight.
This bore-axis sighting system is a lot like Communism: It sounds like a great idea until you actually try to implement it in the real world: using actual people. In daylight you’re going to be looking over the top of the gun at the threat, not at rear of the slide. In marginal lighting or darkness you’re going to have the flashlight on, and the rear of the gun will be a black silhouette and you won’t be able to see those crosshairs at all even if you try.
On the writer junket we shot early production Curves, and we put well over 1,000 rounds through the small guns in a short period of time. These types of guns rarely go through more than a box or two of ammunition in a lifetime, and we didn’t lube them while we were on the range. There were only a couple of malfunctions that I saw, and I can’t be certain they weren’t user induced (big hands and small, unfamiliar guns sometimes don’t mix). I didn’t have any malfunctions, but I did find the “bore-axis” crosshairs were almost impossible to use on the well-lit indoor range. I either aimed the gun by looking over the slide or used the laser—and then I could shoot it as well as any other DAO .380.
Throughout our marathon shooting session none of the lights or lasers on the guns failed or had problems. That may seem commonplace, but it’s not. It’s quite common for lasers especially to blink off during firing due to poor electrical contacts. The LaserLyte laser/light units on the Curves didn’t suffer from this.
Trigger pull on my sample was smooth and didn’t stack, and it broke at a relatively crisp 6.5 pounds. Trigger pull distance wasn’t bad for a DAO. My only issue was how the trigger did not break until very close to the front of the frame. This is not a striker-fired gun but instead has a hammer, and it can be seen moving as you pull the trigger through the slot in the rear of the slide. At no point does it protrude from the slide. The pistol does not have a restrike capability.
I wish the trigger broke a little bit sooner, but to be honest I have the same complaint with just about every pocket gun on the market. The decent trigger allowed me to shoot up to the gun’s potential. However, because the gun had no sights I had to use the laser to do all of my accuracy testing, something I’ve honestly never had to do before. Like I said, the Curve is a bit different.
The Curve comes with two six-round magazines, the Kydex holster with lanyard and keys for the internal lock, all in cutouts inside a curved orange pistol case you are not likely to lose inside your safe.
Taurus says the Curve won’t print against your clothing and make itself known. I think this is correct. It isn’t shaped like a gun, has no sharp edges and of course is curved. It is specifically designed to have a non-gun profile, so if you put it in your pocket instead of inside your waistband it won’t print like a gun. Here the designers were eminently successful. In a back pocket it looks like a wallet.
As far as the design of the Curve goes I think it is aimed at first-time gun buyers as much as it is anyone else. It looks more like a gun-shaped iPhone case or a Taser than it does a handgun. Because of its looks and the integrated light/laser, it has already gotten some attention from the mainstream press. Anything that brings more people to the gun-owning side of the fence is a good thing. I can see it being marketed as a “self-defense system” in non-firearm publications.
It is a rare firearm whose design survives intact first contact with the consumer. There are always tweaks, enhancements and alterations. User feedback is always an important part of the product evolution, and I’m guessing user feedback will result in Taurus adding sights to the Curve somewhere down the road. Hopefully it will also change the switch for the light/laser and get rid of the magazine disconnect safety.
Whenever you step outside the box, you take a risk. Kudos to Taurus for taking the risk. I don’t think the Curve is perfect, but it is exactly what the company wanted it to be and does what its designers intended it to do.