American Rifleman | Evaluate: Taurus 942 Revolver
by B. Gil Horman –
Saturday March 27th 2021
With the persistent pursuit of semi-automatic things over the past few years, some other really fun action types seem to have fallen by the wayside. This is especially true for rim fire weapons. Don’t get me wrong, I like semi-automatic .22 LR pistols as much as the next type, but the younger generation of shooting enthusiasts may not know how much fun and value up close can be found in compact rimfire revolvers.
One company that has offered a variety of affordable, small rimfire revolvers over the years is Taurus USA. However, I’ll admit that when I first picked up a Model 94 in the mid-1990s, I wasn’t particularly impressed. The brand new 4 “blued model that a dealer gave me was not as well made as I would have liked, as there were dents and scratches in the finish. And the double-acting trigger wasn’t just bad, it was miserable too. It had to be somewhere north of 15 pounds with a gritty feel to boot.Needless to say, that particular revolver didn’t follow me home, and I found I turned to other manufacturers for pretty 22-inch wheel guns at one point.
A right view of the Taurus 942 revolver.
Recently, however, things have been improving for Taurus. In 2019, the TX22 Rimfire and G3 9mm pistols proved to be solid shooters, especially with their affordable prices. The 856UL Ultra-Lite 6-Shot .38 Spl. Showed a clean print and a significantly improved quality control. For 2020 I took the Taurus 1911 Commander in 9 mm for a test drive as well as new variants of the 856 and G3. They also worked reliably with the quality and consistency I had hoped for. When I heard that Taurus would be discontinuing the Model 94 in 2020 and replacing it with the new 942 range, I thought it was time to give these compact rimfires a second chance.
Like the other snub-nosed pistols from Taurus, the rimfire model 942 is a double-acting revolver that is heavily influenced by the classic Smith & Wesson design. As of this writing, there are a total of 11 models to choose from, which are chambered in .22 LR or .22 WMR, commonly known as the .22 Mag. Options include 2 “or 3” kegs with a choice of models in blued steel, stainless steel, or lightweight with aluminum alloy frames.
A top view of the Taurus 942 hammer and visor.
These pistols are made with the Taurus Model 85 small turret frame with the same barrel, making them comparable in size to a Smith & Wesson J-Frame or Ruger SP101. The 8-shot cylinder with a diameter of 1.34 inches and the rounded trigger guard are the same as on the Centerfire models, as is the grip frame. This means that the 942 line has the same external dimensions and grip frame configuration as the 5-shot and 6-shot line. 38 Spl. Compatriots. As a result, it is compatible with a wide range of existing grip enhancements and holsters, including the Galco Gunleather Scout 3.0 IWB mentioned in a previous Model 856 review.
For this test, the model 942 that caught my eye was the stainless steel model with a .22 mag chamber with a 2 “barrel. The pinned, jagged ramp sight is pretty typical of revolvers in this class, but this Visor is a bit unusual, instead of a milled square notch at the back of the top strap, Taurus decided to give the 942 a drift-adjustable visor blade. It has a no-frills, low profile that is completely inconspicuous with a tiny drift adjustment screw on the left I wouldn’t mind seeing this configuration of sights on more compact carrying revolvers.
A look at the eight-round cylinder of the Taurus 942 open.
The barrel has a full bottom flap that serves as a cover for the short, knurled ejector rod. The ejector is 0.22 LR in size, which means that the 0.22 mag that has been consumed longer will not be extinguished. Cartridge cases out of the cylinder, unless you tap hard on the floor with the ejector star. The fluted cylinder pivots to the left of the frame and rotates counterclockwise.
Although the frame has a matte, bead-blasted finish, the ejector rod, smooth trigger, wedge-shaped cylinder release, and hammer have a more polished finish. This is a single-acting and double-acting revolver, meaning the short, checkered hammer spur can be used to manually cock the revolver for single-acting fire. The compact rubber handle lies comfortably in the hand and is easy to hold on to.
A closer view of the cylinder, cylinder release and frame markings on the left side of the Taurus 942.
It has a slim profile with a more aggressively textured back strap that clings to the palm of the shooting hand. The sides have a cast-in checkerboard pattern with thumb rests and finger grooves along the front strap. It’s an ideal fit for a wide variety of hand shapes, especially a soft-shooting revolver like this one.
This .22 Mag. Version of the 942 weighs 23 ounces. unload. Some people might wonder why I wouldn’t go with a lighter 17.8-ounce. Aluminum frame model in the cheaper .22 LR cartridge. I like .22 mag and I don’t get as many opportunities to turn it as I want. This cartridge has more impact than .22 LR, which can be useful in the field if the revolver needs to be pushed into a defensive role in an emergency.
As for the weight of the revolver, I’ve shot some exceptionally light .22 LRs, like the feather-light 11.7oz. Smith & Wesson 317 Kit Gun. The models with reduced weight are more comfortable to carry, but the heavier all-steel versions are more stable when the longer, heavier double-acting trigger is used. It’s a matter of personal preference and in this case I went for the extra weight.
Overall, the fit and finish of this 942 was a huge step up from the 94 model I looked at years ago. No dents, no scratches and all components fit together neatly. I couldn’t find anything to complain about. At the shooting range, I was ready to lean into a heavy trigger with a gritty feeling, but it didn’t.
The bull 942 with the three different .22 mag ammunition choices used in testing.
The trigger was smooth and clean, and had a double acting trigger that was a little over 12 pounds. and a single-acting pull of 4 lbs. 13 oz. The trigger stroke is similar to that of the Model 856, which makes the 942 a suitable understudy for those centerfire snub gun fans who want to work on their trigger control with less expensive ammunition. The revolver ran flawlessly throughout the test process with no mechanical or ammunition malfunctions.
With a short barrel .22 Mag. Revolver, I have seen better results with bullets in the 40-gram. or heavier weight range. Light bullets are designed to fly out of gun barrels quickly, but a 2-inch revolver barrel just doesn’t give the bullets enough time to build up much speed. From that 23-ounce. Pistol, the felt recoil of all .22 mags. The loads tested were mild and easy to control. But be prepared for a louder report and more muzzle flash than you’d expect from a .22 LR.
The Taurus 942 rests on a shooting range on the track during testing.
Formal benchrest five-shot group accuracy tests were conducted at 7 meters. with a Lab Radar Chronograph for measuring the bullet speed for 10-shot strings. Brownings 40 gr. The BPR jacketed hollow point averaged 1,064 fps muzzle velocity with a single best group of 1.95 inches and a five group average of 2.19 inches. Fiocchi Performance Shooting Dynamics 40-gr. wrapped Softpoint load with 1,051 fps and a best group of 1.98 inches and an average of 2.14 inches. Hornadys .45-gr. Critical Defense FTX is specifically designed for short barrel revolvers. It produced a speed of 1,079 fps with a best group of 2.04 inches and an average of 2.15 inches.
Happy to report my break from Taurus USA compact rimfire revolvers has ended. I wanted the 942 series to pass the pattern because it has suggested retail prices that are nearly 40 to 50 percent lower than competing models. Real-world prices are even lower, which balances the cost of these revolvers with several popular semi-automatic .22 LR pistols.
The 942 is a practical companion that can be combined with your favorite rimfire rifle. It can be used for pest control with rimfire grenades, tossed in a pack for casual flashing in the wild, or as a low-recoil, defensive defense option. And if you like compact rimfire revolvers just because shooting is fun, then the 942 deserves your consideration.
Manufacturer: Taurus USA
Model: 942 Rimfire (2-942M029)
Action: double-action / single-action revolver
Caliber: .22 WMR (.22 Mag.)
Frame size: Small
Frame surface: matt stainless steel
Barrel, cylinder & dates: matt stainless steel
Handle: Compact textured black rubber
Visor: Stapled serrated ramp
Visor: Drift adjustable square notch blade
Safety: transfer bar
Double-Action Trigger Pull: About 12 lbs. (as tested)
Single-Action Trigger Pull: 4 lbs. 13 oz. (as tested)
Barrel length: 2.00 “
Overall length: 6.60 “
Height: 4.64 “
Cylinder width: 1.34 “
Weight: 23 oz. unload
Capacity: 8 rounds
Gun grooves: 6
Accessories: cable lock, instruction manual
MSRP: $ 408
Holster: Galco Gunleather Scout 3.0 IWB $ 89