The National Shooting Sports Foundation's (NSSF) annual SHOT Show often serves as the launching pad for a variety of new firearms, optics and ammunition. While some companies are choosing to stick to their existing catalogs of products for 2022, due to high demand, Heritage Manufacturing, Inc. and Taurus Firearms are choosing to roll out some useful and unusual products for the new year. Here are five new handguns launching at SHOT Show, some of which are already lined up for more extensive reviews slated to appear here in the near future.
New for 2022 Heritage Rough Rider Rimfire Revolvers
One of the things that I like about Heritage Manufacturing, Inc. is its attitude toward its successful series of Rough Rider rimfire revolvers. They take their work seriously but they also recognize that customers purchase these scaled down single-actions for the pure pleasure that casual plinking provides. So in addition to offering models with classic Old West features, the company catalog also offers some outside-the-single-action-box models that will put a smile on enthusiasts’ faces.
Heritage Rough Rider TC Revolver
The new TC Rough Rider's initials stand for “Tactical Cowboy.” Although this model is unlikely to find its way into the tac-vest holster of a SWAT team member, it does incorporate popular features more often associated with modern sporting rifles and tactical semi-auto pistols than with single-action revolvers. The top of the TC’s receiver is outfitted with a 2.5" long 6-slot aluminum Picatinny optics rail that can accommodate a variety of micro red-dot optics. It also has a square notch at the rear which serves as a rear sight. The front sight has been upgraded from a fixed cowboy-type blade to a removable red fiber optic target sight.
The barrel has been extended to 6.5". The half inch of the barrel that extends past the front sight is threaded at ½ x 28 TPI to accommodate a variety of .22-caliber compatible muzzle devices including flash hiders, compensators and muzzle brakes. In keeping with its modern features theme, the TC's polymer grip is treated with a faux carbon fiber finish. The suggested retail price for this model is $212.88.
Heritage Rough Rider Barkeep Boot Revolver
In 2021, Heritage trimmed down the Rough Rider to its smallest profile yet when it launched the Barkeep series. Although it sported the same plowshare grip as the 3.5" to 6" models, the barrel is 2.68" long. Shortening the barrel this much means it's not long enough to support the spring-loaded ejector assembly that's usually attached to the right side of the barrel. Instead, Heritage provides a wood handled ejector rod with these short-barrel revolvers.
For 2022, the Barkeep series is growing with the addition of the Boot models. These Barkeep options are an exercise in shrinking the revolver even more. The plowshare grip frames have been replaced with birdshead frames, which were the concealed-carry grips of their day, and the barrels have been shortened to 1.68". This super snubby barrel length eliminates the ejector housing and the front sight. I'm interested to see how this model handles at the shooting range using the groove in the top of the receiver as a ‘gutter sight.’ The Barkeep Boot revolvers will ship with a choice of smooth black laminate, gray simulated pearl or snake engraved wood laminate grips with suggested retail prices ranging from $196.80 to $205.38 depending on the grip option selected.
New for 2022 Taurus Revolvers & Pistol
In the past, Taurus has had its ups and downs with quality control issues and has, at times, offered handgun models that could be best described as odd. But over the last few years the company has brought quality up to where it should be and kept it there. Innovative and useful semi-automatic pistol options have included the compact G3C 9 mm, the flexible rimfire TX22 Competition and the comfortable to carry GX4 “Micro Nine” pistol. The company's carry-sized double-action revolvers have improved as well with likable features and improved triggers, including options like the 8-shot 942 in .22 Mag. and the 6-Shot 856UL Ultra-Lite .38 Spec.
Taurus 327 Revolver
This year, Taurus is offering the new 2" barrel Model 327 double-action revolver. Based on the all-steel 6-Shot 856, it's chambered for the .327 Fed. Mag. revolver cartridge that was launched by Federal Premium Ammunition back in 2008. This cartridge was designed to provide performance somewhere in-between .38 Special +P and a light-load .357 mag. with a smaller diameter that allows for additional chambers in double-action revolvers. Guns chambered for the .327 Fed. Mag. can also safely fire .32 H&R Mag. and .32 S&W Long cartridges. The Model 327 will initially be offered in all-stainless steel or matte-black carbon steel configurations with textured rubber grips for suggested retail prices starting at $388.32.
Taurus Defender 605 Revolver
Taurus is also launching the new Defender 605 series of 5-shot .357 Mag. revolvers. These wheel guns take their finish and grip cues from the 3" barrel Defender 856 series chambered in .38 Spec. but with an all-steel construction. Choose from four different configurations, all of which have a front sight that has been upgraded to a bright outline night sight. Suggested retail prices range from $472.63 to $540.68 depending on the finish and grip options selected.
Taurus G3X 9 mm Pistol
The full-size G3 polymer framed, striker-fired pistol has done well since its launch in 2019. It has since been joined by the G3C compact version and models featuring the Taurus Optics Ready Option (T.O.R.O.) slide that supports the use of micro red dot optics. The latest version of this 9 mm pistol is a customer requested hybrid called the G3X. It blends the more hand-filling grip frame and 15-round ammunition capacity of the full-size G3 with the shorter, lighter slide assembly of the compact G3C. This split-the-difference design allows the G3X to carry more like a compact model while providing a better grip fit for folks with larger hands or additional rounds for those who want them. Having handled this one, I can say it balances quite nicely in a 2-handed grip. The first G3X will have a plain slide with a suggested retail price of $342.98. The T.O.R.O. models will likely be available in the future.