Revolvers that fire autopistol rounds are nothing new. In 1916, Joseph Wesson of Smith & Wesson invented the moon clip, which allowed autopistol cartridges to be ejected by a revolver’s star ejector. Moon clips were used to allow 1919 Colt and S&W revolvers to fire .45 ACP rounds when 1911 autopistol production couldn’t meet the high demand during World War I.
For a long time, the .45 ACP was the only autopistol round to be used in revolvers, but that has changed dramatically over the last few years. Now manufacturers are offering revolvers chambered for 9mm, .40 S&W and even the powerful 10mm cartridge. Taurus makes a couple of revolvers chambered for autopistol cartridges, and the 905 is their 9mm offering.
The Taurus 905 revolver is a J-frame-sized, five-shot pocket pistol. With the widespread availability of similar pistols chambered in .38 Special, you might wonder about the need for a 9mm pocket revolver, but it is an excellent choice for several reasons. First, the 9mm is one of the most popular calibers for full-sized pistols in use today. The .40 S&W has rapidly gained ground with law enforcement, but many departments still carry 9mm weapons, as do most of our American troops. Among civilian shooters, the 9mm is ubiquitous. And if you are reading this, there is an excellent chance you own a 9mm pistol for duty use or self-defense. A smaller gun in the same caliber makes sense for backup or for when the larger weapon can’t be concealed.
These days, super-small 9mm autopistols have become all the rage, but if you feel more comfortable knowing your lifesaving backup gun is a jam-proof, double-action revolver, you should seriously consider the Taurus 905.
The 905 is an all-steel revolver. Taurus currently offers the revolver with either a stainless steel or blued finish. The 905 has a 2-inch barrel that fully shrouds the ejector rod. This looks good, adds some useful weight up front and protects the ejector from snagging or bending. The fixed sights are well designed, with a thick, serrated front sight and a wide, square-notched rear sight. The sights are fast to acquire and present a good sight picture.
The grips on the Taurus are made out of stippled rubber. They have finger grooves and a small palm swell on each side. The rubber grips fully enclose the gun’s backstrap, which provides some cushioning during recoil, but to be honest, recoil from a 9mm isn’t that cataclysmic, even in a small package like this.
The five-shot cylinder rotates counterclockwise, and the individual chambers are reamed to accept 9mm Parabellum rounds and headspace them on the case mouth, just as an autopistol would. That means you can load and fire loose 9mm rounds without the necessity of using a moon clip. This can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in a tight spot and don’t have a loaded clip handy.
Even though you can load and fire the 905 without a clip, you cannot use the ejector without one. With the rimless 9mm round, the 905’s star extractor has nothing to hold onto without a clip. Taurus calls their clips “Stellar clips” rather than moon clips, and they do look like five-pointed stars. Taurus provides five of these Stellar clips with the revolver. They are made out of thin, tough spring steel. For someone like me who is used to six-shot .45 ACP moon clips, the five-shot 9mm stellar clips will look tiny but work well. Just note that the 9mm Stellar clips are very sensitive to the ammunition you use. I tested the 905 with four brands of ammunition, and the Stellar clips held one brand very tightly, two other brands acceptably well, and one brand was held so loosely that the rounds just fell out of the clips unless I kept a firm grip on them with my fingers while loading. So it’s important to test your rounds.
This was also a good opportunity to try moon clips from Tom Kilhoffer of TK Custom, who makes high-quality, aftermarket moon clips for a wide assortment of revolvers. I ordered 10 of them and they held every brand of ammo tightly. I carried loaded TK moon clips in my pocket for hours without losing a round.
The 905 has an exposed hammer, so it can be shot in either double-action or single-action mode. While it’s unlikely that you will use the single-action option on this type of gun during a gunfight, I still like having the ability to do so. The 905’s trigger pulls are acceptable, with the double-action pull breaking at 13 pounds and the single-action pull measuring 5 pounds. Those are not light trigger pulls, but too light a trigger can be a problem on a fighting gun. The double-action trigger pull is very smooth and breaks crisply. The smooth-faced trigger feels excellent during fast double-action shooting. The single-action trigger is excellent, breaking cleanly with no creep or overtravel.
The 905’s hammer is equipped with the Taurus Safety System. This is essentially a hex-head screw that resides on the back surface of the hammer. To lock the gun, you insert a hex key into the screw and turn it clockwise for a half turn. That backs the screw head out of its recess and leaves it standing proud of the hammer. That raised screw head impinges on the frame if you pull the trigger or try to cock the hammer, effectively locking up the action. It is unobtrusive, easy to use and completely effective.
I tested the Taurus 905 at the range with four brands of ammunition, and the 9mm snubbie showed some definite preferences. During the test, I fired each type of ammo through the Taurus out to 25 yards from a bench. I know a pocket pistol like this is unlikely to be shot at 25 yards, but unlikely isn’t impossible. I like to establish a baseline for accuracy at 25 yards. After that I fire five 5-shot groups off-hand from the 10-yard line. This gives me a good idea of how the pistol will perform under the conditions it is likely to be used. After that I chronograph the load on my Shooting Chrony.
First, I shot the 905 with Black Hills 124-grain jacketed hollow points. This has been one of my favorite factory 9mm loads. It is loaded pretty hot, and it is generally really accurate. From 25 yards, I shot a 3-inch group, which isn’t bad for me with that short sight radius, even from a bench. Moving up to the 10-yard line produced a series of groups that averaged 2.25 inches. My best group was 1.5 inches wide, and my worst group with the Black Hills ammo measured only 2.75 inches wide. Velocity for the 124-grain slugs was clocked at 1,090 feet per second (fps). That is pretty zippy for that bullet weight. This is an accurate, hard-hitting round. And the Stellar clips securely held the Black Hills brass. I could carry loaded clips in my pocket for reloads with no problems. It should be noted that it did take quite a bit of effort to eject the cases from the revolver, however. Again, test your 9mm loads in the gun before you plan on carrying it—you don’t want that to happen in a situation where you’re under fire.
Next, I tested Remington’s 115-grain jacketed hollow-point rounds. From the 25-yard benchrest I shot a 3.75-inch group. Moving up to 10 yards, my five groups averaged 2.75 inches. The best group with the Remington JHPs measured 2.5 inches while the widest group measured 3 inches even. This load’s average velocity was 1,092 fps—virtually identical to the heavier Black Hills rounds. Spent Remington cases kicked right out of the cylinder with easy pressure on the ejection rod, though the Stellar clips had a tougher time maintaining a good hold on the case heads.
The third brand of ammunition I tested was Federal’s American Eagle 124-grain FMJ rounds. These bullets turned in an average velocity of 972 fps. The 25-yard group measured 4 inches. That was the largest 25-yard group of the day, but it did considerably better from 10 yards away. The five 10-yard groups averaged 2.25 inches, and my best groups measured an inch across. My worst group was only 3 inches in diameter. The brass from this load ejected easily and fit securely in Stellar clips. Overall, this is a good choice for practice ammo.
I saved the best for last: Winchester’s 115-grain SXZ9. This is good stuff—definitely one of the best standard-velocity 9mm self-defense loads on the market today. It turned in an average speed of 1,104 fps out of the 905’s 2-inch barrel. The 25-yard group measured 3 inches. From 10 yards, the SXZ9 rounds really delivered the goods. My average group measured 1.75 inches. My best group was just under an inch, and the worst group of the five was 2.5 inches wide. This is really excellent performance in my hands. With its hotter loading, I was concerned that the 905 would have a tougher time ejecting the SXZ9 brass, but the empties kicked right out. The Winchester brass was also a good fit on the Stellar clips. When I carry the 905, this is the ammo that will be in it.
If you carry a 9mm, the 905 is a no-brainer as a backup gun. And even if you don’t carry a full-sized 9mm, the Taurus 905 is a good choice for anyone who wants a small snub-nosed revolver for self-defense. Today’s 9mm ammunition is so much more effective than most .38 Special loads that it definitely gives the edge to the 905—without being as loud or difficult to control as a .357 Magnum snubbie. It is a sensible, effective choice. For more information, visit taurususa.com or call 305-624-1115.