1,000 Round Review: Taurus TCP .380 ACP

Every once in a long while I come across a tool that I absolutely have a dislike for. As a qualifier for this; when we buy mass produced guns we need to be aware that all firearms have their quirks. I can buy the same model that you will buy and they can be drastically different. Everything from what ammo the gun prefers to how functional it is can have night and day changes. Most gun enthusiasts are also aware that Taurus has a somewhat spotty quality control history. I have now owned 3 different Taurus models and have been somewhat lucky until now. This gun has reinforced several things for me that I needed to be aware of. One, the most important, is that you must train with what you carry. Anything from tasers to guns to knives, get training and use it! Otherwise you will not be ready when it is needed. This will also allow you to find any of the tools shortcomings or flaws in order to address them accordingly.

I purchased this Taurus TCP .380 ACP pocket pistol on a deal with my roommate (we both bought one on Black Friday) and I took it out to the range. Typically I like to put 200-500 rounds through a gun before I put it into my every day carry. My goal with this gun was to have a backup for my main firearm when needed. I was able to get through about 250 rounds before making a holster and starting daily carry with it in an ankle holster. I had several minor malfunctions that I attributed to bad ammo (my first .380 pistol so it was receiving the benefit of the doubt) and due to to it being a backup I figured the malfunctions were few and far between enough for me not to worry. Upon doing about 25 hours of dry fire training I started to notice several of the shortcomings of this firearm. One is sights, the front and rear sights are actually milled out of the slide itself. Not adjustable, no dot to speak of and also in no way replaceable. Also if you have seen my other reviews you will notice a trend, I love to modify and tinker. There is not much, if any, aftermarket support for this pistol. Granted I know that a great portion of the 2a community doesn’t want modifications to their firearms, however it is nice to have options. So after using some high-visibility paint to the front sight blade, I decided to keep with the dry-fire and live-fire training to see if I was just being especially picky without reason. The trigger seems gritty and has several stages that make it difficult to get through the 10+ lb pull consistently.

I encountered issues after an additional week of dry-fire training, finishing the training I reloaded my magazines and carried it for a couple days. During this time I had been looking at the S&W Bodyguard due to it having a lot of the replaceable features and aftermarket support the TCP lacks. My sister recently had turned 21 and was looking for something small so I decided that a new gun for me and giving her my Taurus would work out fine. I took her to the range, loaded up a magazine and with some training unloaded first I then allowed her to try it live. She pulled the trigger, no bang. Bless her, she immediately stopped, set the gun down in a safe direction and asked for help. I picked it up; tap, rack & no bang. Pulled both cartridges off the ground and noticed that there was no primer mark. End of the day I ended up giving my sister one of my old reliable favorites, a CZ 70 that has seen better days from holster wear but has never failed me in 10 years.

I sent the TCP back to Taurus and waited several weeks. I will say this, Taurus was very efficient and pleasant to deal with during the repair process. The firing pin had broken during the previous dry-fire training (I was using Snap-Caps aka dummy rounds) and it appeared to have just sheared off about 2-3 mm of the tip, making the firearm no longer functional. I got it back and took it out to the range, 200 more rounds and the lugs on the barrel sheared off. Sent it back again, and got it back. Obviously at this point let’s just address the elephant in the room and acknowledge it is highly likely I received a lemon. I was in no way going to trust this gun with my life but that is based out of my own experiences, I have spoken to several owners of the same gun that had zero issues with theirs. Finally I was informed that they were replacing the pistol entirely free of charge. The new gun has about 1,000+ rounds through it and ended up being traded for another firearm. As far as I have been made aware it is still ticking along, however this has made me far more conscious of my gear and how I test what I rely on every single day. I will in no way say that all Taurus are bad, just take this lesson and be aware of my failings so that we can keep moving forward in the future.

NcStar Advance Dual Optic Review- 1,000 Rounds

NcSTAR Advance Dual Optic 3-9×42 Rifle-scope w/ Flip Up Red Dot

@ 1,000 Rounds Later:

I received this item for review about 2 months ago, very excited upon arrival due to it being a budget cost optic a lot easier for most to afford. NcStar has been moving up in the optic world offering budget level red dots and variable scopes, they have been truly coming up with some very innovative designs. Part of that is the flip-up red dot mounted to the top of the scope body. I believed that this would be a nice option for open division in 3-gun this year.

Opening the box, I was very impressed with the packaging and materials included. It comes in a cardboard box, inside of that it has a heavy-duty stiff zippered container that is well padded. Has easy to read and understand instructions, a lens cleaning cloth and all the tools needed for adjustments. This scope feels great in the hand, not too heavy but fairly rugged and the buttons seem durable. This optic comes with a quick-release mount for any standard 1913 picatinny rail! (Fairly rare at this price point) For the variable optic which is 3-9x zoom the adjustments are 1/2 MOA per click. Clicks are audible and tactile, which I like.  The flip-up red dot is certainly unique, and was the part I was most excited to see.  On the left side is a button you can push to set activate the lens and pop it up. The red dot is automatically turned on when you flip it into working position. This is nice due to not worrying about it draining the battery when not in use.

So how durable/accurate is it? Well, through the course of a little over a 1,000 rounds I had zero point of aim/point of impact shift. I did a drop test at 4′ on several points of the optic with rifle attached (unloaded!) and then took it back out to the range. The variable optic shrugged off the hits and kept very accurate. One caveat to that, and the only gripe I have, is that the red dot adjustment no longer functions. No matter how I attempt to use the windage and elevation screws, it is set at where I first zeroed the red dot. This is disappointing. It isn’t the end of the world but it is a point of concern. I will be contacting NcStar to see if they can repair or replace the red dot in order to fix this issue.

The variable optic part is the best part of this setup to me. It is a standard mil marked reticle and has been extremely serviceable at the range getting ready for competition. Adjustment of the zoom is quick and easy, it is tight in the movement but extremely smooth to manipulate. I recommend getting a scope throw lever however to make it that much faster on adjustments.

Overall Score: 5 out of 10. (I took off a lot of points for the red dot adjustment breaking, if the company resolves this quickly and the new one doesn’t have this issue I will adjust the score accordingly)

Should you buy one? Well if you want a great range toy that is innovative and easy to use buy one. The MSRP is about $160 so it is a great budget option. I would not recommend it as a field condition ready optic, however it is nice to see more innovation in such a unique new package.