Review: Taurus Curve 380 ACP

   03.30.15

Review: Taurus Curve 380 ACP

I recently acquired Taurus Curve 380 pistol for testing. I found interesting the concept of an extremely thin gun created to be more marketable to women, and I wanted to get a closer look.

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The pistol ships in a highly visible hard case with fitted foam. The manual does contain an explanation of the mini-holster design use, but it’s not very helpful without an illustration.

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Extra magazine with pinch-pull design

At first glance, Curve looks odd. It has a block-shaped profile created by the laser and the light built in under the barrel. One or the other or both at once can be used.

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Two LED lights are positioned above the laser. It’s not clear why the primary aiming device is positioned with such great offset from the muzzle. Turning the light/laser module upside down would have cut the offset in half. The module runs on SR44W or three 357 batteries. Battery change requires 1/8″ hex wrench.

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Worn under jeans or even yoga pants, the shape looks just like a phone inside your waist band. The slight curve of the grip echoed in the pistol it’s name allows it to lay flush to the back of your right hip for comfort.

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The grip has slightly textured back strap and is thin, yet blocky. The problem with this is that I can’t get a firm grip all the way around with either hand; there is space between my palm and the grip panel.

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Pinch-pull design magazine

It also comes with an extra magazine, which has a pinch and pull design.

There is no magazine release on the gun itself. Instead there is a thumb and index finger grip that you “pinch and pull” in order to change it out. Not a good thing when it comes to fast reloading in a defense scenario.

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The pistol also has a belt clip just under the slide on its right side to hook onto your pants and a plastic trigger guard shield that attaches to your belt. That eliminates the need for a bulky holster and cuts down on printing or snagging on your clothing. Unfortunately, that also slows down the draw. I had to reach into my jeans and slide my hand in between the pistol and pants in order to get a decent grip.

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When drawn, the plastic trigger guard pops off easily. The frame is polymer with a steel slide and a steel barrel that is slanted at the end in order to fit with the lines of the slide. The slanted muzzle also acts as a recoil compensator.

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Slanted barrel to fit with end of slide

So for concealability it is excellent, and Taurus can pat themselves on the back for that. However it’s not very lefty friendly for concealability or overall use. The switch for the laser and light is on the right side–again, anti-lefty.

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Right hand only light/laser switch

With the red laser invisible in broad daylight, it’s not clear how the gun is to be aimed in daytime. The painted centerline on the back of the side isn’t very helpful, in part because it’s even closer to the shooter than the front sight would have been, making it hard to focus on it and the on the source of danger at the same time.

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By default, both light and laser turn on. Holding the switch for five (!) seconds switches to laser only mode. Five seconds more, to light only. Five seconds more, back to both on. The mode can’t be selected quickly  during a fight.

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Chambered round indicator

The clip on the side to hook onto your waist band is also on the right side. If you don’t use the waistband clip on the side, you can still wear it on your left hip and attach it to your belt with the trigger guard tether, but the pistol will not sit flush against your hip because of the way it is curved.

There are no visible sights, though there is a printed centerline indicator on the back of the slide that you use to supplement the laser. Just don’t expect to sharpen your marksmanship with this pistol as it’s more for defense only and mostly works for point shooting. The Curve sports a polymer double action only trigger, which isn’t too horrible if you like DAO. I prefer a three pound single action trigger myself, but the very long pull is a plus for holsterless carry, as the pistol has no safety.

After this inspection I took it to the range to see how it handled different ammunition, all at 5 yards, including G2 RIP Research 62gr frangible hollow points, OATH Tango 75gr defense ammunition, OATH Halo 90gr match grade ammunition, HPR 100gr TMJ, and HPR 90gr JHP.

Target one, with G2 RIP: 1.1” group, tolerable recoil, half dollar sized group well above the point of aim. The laser can be adjusted for elevation, but the instruction manual recommends aiming at the bottom of the target to get a center hit. The recoil pushed the grip into the palm of my hand, making the muzzle flip quite manageable. However, with the grip being so square and not flush with my hand, the recoil did not feel good to my palm. On the plus side, the grip shape and texture promote secure retention.

I used the OATH Tango defense ammo on the second target. More muzzle flip, manageable but my group was not very tight this time, at 3.75”. Point of impact was even higher. The recoil was still not comfortable for my grip.

By the third target, shot with OATH Halo nonexpanding ammunition, I was getting more accustomed to the recoil and muzzle flip, however it was still not very comfortable to shoot. The 2.75” group was mostly due to increased muzzle flip with higher powered ammo.

For target four, I used HPR 100gr TMJ ball ammo, which for some odd reason was easier to control. My 2” group is tighter than my groupings with the OATH ammunition, but larger than my grouping with the G2 ammo. The recoil is still unpleasant, which seems to be a pattern with the Curve. During this round of testing, the slide locked back as if empty before the last round was discharged, the last cartridge remained unchambered in the magazine. The Curve made it to 27 rounds before first malfunction.

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I fired the HPR JHP ammo at target five, with a 3” group. This ammunition had less felt recoil than the two OATH loads but more than G2 RIP.

The lack of accuracy made me wonder if I was having an off day with my marksmanship. I used my Dan Wesson ECO .45 ACP, a fairly heavily recoiling compact 1911, to test that theory. Every single round hit on top of one another and dead center, for a group under an inch. It was not just me shooting poorly that caused the large groups with the Curve.

To keep more with the purpose of this firearms, I tried rapid fire with full magazines center mass on two silhouette targets. The first I used the laser alone without the vestigial painted-on sight. The grouping was large but not far off center. The second target I only used the bore axis and the result was the same. Groups were 5-6”, indicating that the trigger control was the limiting factor.

In my opinion, Curve can work for a novice shooter who doesn’t do range time on a regular basis and isn’t too concerned with marksmanship beyond a couple of stops. But the user would need to be right handed. I can’t recommend it for left hand dominant individuals. It’s easily concealed but not easily drawn, which is not a good thing in a self defense scenario. I myself prefer a firmer grip with better fit for my hand.

If Taurus made grip panels that could curve it to either the left or right hip and the grip itself was more rounded, I would be more inclined towards recommending it for carry purposes. Also, I would add an additional switch for the laser/light on the left side, as well as a grip-mounted magazine release for quick reloads. I consider these features essential for self defense use. I applaud Taurus for trying to think outside the box, but I don’t think this gun is ready for serious use just yet.

Photos by Oleg Volk
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