Taurus 445 Ultra-Lite

Taurus sent their Model 445 Ultra-Lite for T&E review.  This five-shot DA/SA revolver is chambered for the .44 Special cartridge.

Taurus 445UL-1

Included in the box:  Instruction manual, Allen wrench, and two internal lock keys.

Taurus 445UL-2

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Taurus 445UL-3

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Revolver specs:

                                                                                           Manufacturer:  Taurus Int.
                                                                                           Model:  M445SS2UL
                                                                                           Caliber:  .44 Special
                                                                                           Capacity:  5 rounds
                                                                                           Weight:  21.0  oz.
                                                                                           Length:  7.0625 in.
                                                                                           Height:  5.25 in.
                                                                                           Width:  1.527 in.
                                                                                           Barrel:  2.105 in.
                                                                                           Trigger pull:  DA-9 lbs. 9.5 oz. / SA-3 lbs. 8.9 oz.

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Taurus 445UL-4     Taurus 445UL-5

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Taurus 445UL-6Taurus’ rubber “Ribber Grip” (ribbed for your pleasure).

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Fixed notched rear sight   –   Serrated front sight
Taurus 445UL-7     Taurus 445UL-8

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Smooth trigger   –   Knurled hammer spur   –   Cocked   –   Transfer bar   –   Keylock Security System
Taurus 445UL-9   Taurus 445UL-10   Taurus 445UL-11   Taurus 445UL-12   Taurus 445UL-13

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Trigger pull average (Lyman digital gauge):  SA-3 lbs. 8.9 oz.   –   DA-9 lbs. 9.5 oz.
Taurus 445UL-14     Taurus 445UL-15

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Cylinder release   –   5-chambered cylinder   –   Ejector rod
Taurus 445UL-16     Taurus 445UL-17     Taurus 445UL-18

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Breech face   –   Forcing cone   –   Muzzle
Taurus 445UL-19     Taurus 445UL-20     Taurus 445UL-21

Taurus 445UL-22Coupled with the snub-nose, the .44 caliber bore presents an intimidating prospect.  The ultralite alloy frame of this medium-sized revolver helps keep the weight to a minimum while the sponge-like ‘Ribber’ grip provides cushioning and fills the hand.  I’m interested to see how this combination fares on the range.

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Range report:

Temperature was 70° F.  15-20 mph variable south wind.  Speer, Hornady and CCI/Blazer ammunition was acquired for the test.

Taurus 445UL-23     Taurus 445UL-24

Taurus 445UL-26Velocity results were first priority.

Shooting Chrony F-1 Master set at 10 ft.   -   Primer strikes appear sufficient
Taurus 445UL-25     Taurus 445UL-27

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Velocity results:

                                                                         Speer Gold Dot 44spl 200 gr. GDHP……………661 fps
                                                                         Hornady Critical Defense 44spl 165 gr. FTX…..881 fps
                                                                         CCI Blazer 44spl 200 gr. JHP……………………..758 fps

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50 ft:

5-round groups were fired from a bench at 50 feet.

Speer GDHP   –   Hornady FTX   –   CCI Blazer JHP
Taurus 445UL-28     Taurus 445UL-29     Taurus 445UL-30

Note:  Targets’ Bullseye – 2″ dia.;  outer – 6″ dia.
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B-27  Silhouette
5-round groups – offhand
Taurus 445UL-31
Head:  Speer – 3 yds.
Thorax:  Hornady – 5 yds.
X :  CCI Blazer – 7 yds.

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Taurus 445UL-32At the range, groupings were low at 50 feet from the bench.  This was with the top of the front and rear sights level with a dead center hold.  While the groups were acceptable for a defensive handgun the ammo tested hit consistently low; Speer Gold Dot averaged five inches below POA, Hornady was four inches below POA, and CCI Blazer 3 inches below POA.  Moving to offhand at practical defensive ranges and a B-27 target, I compensated by adding approximately 1/8th inch of front sight to adjust point of impact with favorable results.

Going into this review I was concerned about the felt recoil of a lightweight short-barreled revolver in a big-bore chambering.  However, after my range time I found this was not an issue.  The manageable recoil could be attributed to the grip design or the relatively mild .44 Special.  Through 120 rounds there were no malfunctions and the handgun performed flawlessly.  The single-action trigger pull broke cleanly with no takeup while the double-action was smooth without stacking.  A flat metallic gray finish and satin nickel accents gives it an attractive yet subdued appearance befitting a practical carry gun.

Overall my impression of the Taurus 445 Ultra-Lite was favorable.  Furthermore, concealable wheelguns in .44 Special are few and far between, and I am glad to see that Taurus has taken notice of this underrepresented cartridge.  I would not feel ill-equipped with 1000 grains of .44 caliber firepower.