Dear Reader, I apologize for the delay in writing Part 2 of my XS Sights Taurus 856 Dot Sight review. In Part 1, I write about the sight itself and how simple it is to install while also covering some snub nose theory and why this type of sight makes sense. Part 2 is about my practical experience, and it just so happened that I spent several hours at the range shooting some basic defensive drills with both my Taurus 856 (and the XS Sights) in comparison to my Glock 42 not long ago for a different assignment. I couldn’t think of a better way than working these drills to also get a good hands-on grasp of shooting the Taurus 856 with the XS Sights Big Dot sight.

LIVE FIRE WITH THE SNUB NOSE

The three drills I shot with my Taurus 856 are:

  1. Gila Haye’s 5×5 Drill 
  2. Failure To Stop
  3. Justin Dyal’s 5-yard Round Up

All three drills are shot at distances of 5 to 7 yards and are extremely relevant in defensive shooting, which is the primary purpose of this Taurus revolver and XS Front Sight combination. This is not a precision revolver and these are not precision sights. For perspective, I spent my afternoon shooting at NRA B-8 targets or an IPSC A-Zone with a 3×5 index card–nothing smaller.

Shooting these drills for the other project involved a shot timer, the induced stress from said shot timer, dozens of repetitions drawn from concealment, 200 rounds of expended .38 Special cartridges and soaking rain. Short of getting involved in a defensive situation where I’d need a revolver [which I’d rather not], I think that my rain-soaked session shooting against the timer and multiple reps for each exercise with 200 or so rounds is a decent pressure-test in itself.

The objective of Gila Hayes’ 5×5 Drill is to shoot five rounds at a five inch circle from five yards away in five seconds or less. To formally clean this drill, the shoot needs to clean it five separate times with a total of 25 rounds fired. 

Failure To Stop is also known as the Mozambique and has been a mainstay of the defensive training world for several decades now. It’s so popular that Michael Mann scripted Vincent, Tom Cruise’s character in Collateral, to blaze down a street thug with his USP 45 and this technique. This drill has no official par time, but the idea is to shoot Failure To Stop as quickly as possible with clean shots. In the context of a double action snub nose, I think that Gabe White’s Dark Pin FTS Standard of 2.90 seconds is an excellent standard to strive for with these guns. It’s quite challenging and I can’t do it (yet). If you can clear the Turbo pin standards, get it on video and show the rest of us how its done! 

Justin Dyal’s 5-Yard Round-Up is a clever 10 round drill involving drawing and shooting, shooting from the low ready and shooting with either hand, all with par times of 2.5 seconds. In order to score, all shots must land inside the 10-ring of the B-8 from a distance of 5-yards. Mr. Dyal factored in his par times, the size of the scoring zone and the distance all as critical elements to prevail in a defensive shooting. With any snub nose, these times are challenging and keep anyone honest. I was not able to shoot this exercise cleanly during this range session.

Taurus 856 XS Sights

For fun, I’ll share my recorded times below:  

Taurus 8565×5FTS5YD Round Up
1.2.89 sec.3.38 sec.2.02 sec.
2.3.11 sec.3.88 sec.2.31 down 2
3.3.10 sec.3.54 sec.2.34 down 1
4.2.63 sec.2.96 sec.2.24 down 1
5.2.59 sec.3.16 sec.50 pts
Keep in mind that I’m posting my 5 best runs, not shot in any particular order. I failed the majority of my attempts. For 5-yd Round-Up, I failed also, with a score of 50/100.

XS SIGHTS OPINIONS AND OBSERVATIONS

(or stuff that I thought that mattered but didn’t)

I’ll confess that when I first installed the front sight on the revolver, I wasn’t pleased with the fact that the XS sight is rounded whereas the fixed rear sight channel on the 856 had a squared profile. At the time, I figured it would be better for the front sight to also be square and to have an elegant, symmetrical sight picture. Frankly, once the timer’s beep broke silence and I cleared my garment to free the 856 from its Dark Star Gear Apollo holster, how I thought the sight “looked” didn’t matter in the least. I was critically target focused and all I cared about was seeing whether that neon orange beacon confirmed my alignment with the targets. Because I was shooting against the clock, the last thing on my mind was whether the front sight had crisp squared corners. 

As a gun-nerd, the other thing I was overthinking and worried about too much was whether the height of the front sight would alter the bullet’s impact. Of course, ammo choice will certainly affect impact shifts, but the best thing to do for this situation is to find a load your specific revolver (and you) can shoot well. After that, it’s worth taking the time to find out where the best hold to get good impacts on the upper A-zone (Or 9-Ring of a B8) across the spectrum of defensive distances.  

Taurus 856 Snub Nose XS Sights
This photo is deliberately focused on the cylinder of the Taurus 856 Snub Nose Revolver. Even with the camera’s focus elsewhere, look at how that front sight jumps out like a beacon. That’s the same thing I want when I am shooting with target focus.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The orange hue of the photo-luminescent material works well across all lighting conditions including broad daylight. The sight itself is of very high quality and well-made. Because this is a coarse and not meant for precision, it works when paired with target-focused shooting. In Part 1 of this review, I wrote that the standard factory iron sights on the Taurus leave a little something to be desired. While my other Taurus 856 with the 3-inch barrel has a “similar” OEM orange sight (made by Ameriglo), it doesn’t hold a candle to the bolder and brighter XS unit. As you can see from my drill scores and times, running a snub nose quickly can be challenging, so why not add something to give it a better advantage?