Taurus Model PT58 HC Plus

Manufacturers such as Remington, Savage, High Standard, Browning and Beretta have long produced diminutive .380s for those wishing to have a very small pocket-sized pistol for protection.

That's all well and good, but there are folks who prefer a bit more substance in their fist. I think they will like Taurus' PT 58. It's a .380 Auto built on Taurus' medium frame. For those familiar with the Taurus line, the Model 58 is basically a scaled-down Model 92.

Forged slides come in carbon blue, stainless steel, or the PT 58 Plus, which is stainless with gold accents. While the .380 Auto is certainly no wrist breaker, the alloy frame--also forged--is extremely comfortable in the hand. Vertical serrations grace both the front- and backstrap. The rear of the grip frame is arched, a design I prefer.

The frame is highly polished and looks really good. The magazine release--located in the traditional spot behind the trigger--drops the magazine easily when depressed.

Above it is the slide release. Forward is the disassembly lever, and rearward the ambidextrous safety lever.

Taurus' locking system is located on the arch of the backstrap. A loaded-chamber indicator is found on the right side of the gun.

There is no magazine disconnect, so the PT 58 will fire even if the magazine is removed from the weapon.

The front of the trigger guard has a reverse curve. The trigger itself is polished smooth and broke at six pounds single action, 10 pounds double action.

The length of the barrel is 3.25 inches, and the feed ramp is polished smooth.

Sights are three-dot; the rear is drift-adjustable for windage. The slide is matte-finished with generous cocking serrations at the rear.

Takedown is simple. Drop the magazine and pull the slide back to clear the chamber. Let the slide run forward, then press the disassembly latch release while you rotate the latch clockwise until it stops in a bottom, vertical position.

Compared to other guns of its ilk, the.380 Auto Taurus Model PT 58 is quite large. The PT 58's robust extractor serves as a loaded-chamber indicator, and the ambi safety comes standard. The PT 58 Plus sports a highly polished frame and gold-accented controls for a sexy look.

Pull the barrel/slide assembly forward off the frame. Remove the recoil spring and barrel. For general cleaning and maintenance, this is as far as you have to go. Reassemble in reverse order.

The gun has a 20-round capacity--for more than other .380s--and is fun to shoot. There is a generous magazine pad that adds to the length of the frame, making it comfy for those with large hands.

Because it's larger than most .380s, recoil was com-fortable. Balance--even with 20 rounds in the mag--was superb, which certainly added to its almost uncanny pointability. Firing rapid fire was a cinch. The gun met my defensive requirements without reservations.

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