I reviewed the Taurus 856 T.O.R.O. here shortly after its 2023 SHOT Show release. Taurus caught most in the industry by surprise with it, including holster makers. Taurus allowed that there were a few companies specializing in Kydex holsters working on holsters to fit T.O.R.O. models. One of them was Harry’s Holsters. I reached out to the company’s president, Harrison Jones, and he explained that he was working on a prototype, aptly named the “Monocle”. He graciously offered to send one of the prototypes for trial.
Jones told me he had used a 3D printer to build a mock-up of the Taurus mount because he hadn’t gotten his hands on a T.O.R.O. at that time. He superglued it to a conventional 856 and used that to shape his holster. He explained how the optic changes the ride height and weight distribution of how the holster sits. Jones wanted to make sure the holster lived up to his expectations before he released it for consumers.
The Monocle arrived with a striking brown finish as opposed to the conventional black. The one-piece Kydex was folded over in a “clam shell” style with a single tensioning screw that also anchored the folded sides together. The external edges that have “body contact” are nicely rounded and finished. The holster features a built-in wing at the rear with a shelf being slightly built up in the trigger guard area. The Monocle features a single Discreet Carry Concepts (DCC) 1.5” Mod 4 Universal Gear Clip to affix the holster to a belt. The clip is attached to the holster with two Phillips head screws; It allows for a bit of vertical adjustment. The attachment points in the holster body are cut to allow a little horizontal adjustment in the way the belt clip rides.
The 856 T.O.R.O. with a Holosun 407k fit perfectly in the holster and seated fully with a pleasing “click” that could be felt and heard. I added a little tension to the screw and adjusted it to my liking. The 856 with the Holosun (fully loaded with Federal 120 gr. Punch ammo) weighs exactly 28 ounces. As Jones pointed out, that’s a different problem than securing an alloy-framed, five-shot snub, many of which come in at under a pound fully loaded.
I photographed the holster with a Coyote brown, single-ply nylon belt in my original article for the aesthetics. The weight of the steel 856 dictates a stiffer belt to help manage its weight. A Mastermind Tactics Specialist belt (purpose built for AIWB carry and chemically stiffened) was the right tool for the job. After a little experimenting, I adjusted the DCC clip to allow its top to favor a little towards 12 o’clock. This caused the butt of the gun to lean back slightly towards my hip. The gun balances well there for me, the top edge of the Holosun rested just inside the top of my pants and stabilized the gun. The built-in wing on the holster body worked to keep the butt of the grip from flopping outwards.
Carrying the TORO/Monocle
My initial testing of the Monocle was limited but favorable. It performed well in the time that I had before submitting the article. I wore it on a few hikes in hot conditions and on a few short errands in different vehicles. Since then, the 856 in the Monocle has become my most carried handgun. I typically wear a t-shirt underneath and a short-sleeved, summer camp shirt untucked to cover it. The holster does a great job concealing the Taurus and the optic hasn’t been an issue. It hides as well as a 2” gun with no optic carried in a similar fashion.
The holster is very comfortable. I have carried it for long days with no complaints—standing, walking, seated, and driving. I find the 856 more comfortable to wear in the Monocle than optic equipped semiautos of a similar size. The holster body keeps sweat off the gun and optic, even in sweltering NM summer heat. The Monocle stays put when drawing and allows a sure presentation. The gun returns to the holster cleanly and positively. I love this holster and recommend it fully.
ALL BASES COVERED
Based on my positive experience with several steel-framed Taurus 856 revolvers, I purchased a 3″ barreled 856 Ultra Lite. It carried well in the prototype Monocle, as did a 2″ Ultra Lite that I was testing.
Since I was on an 856 bender, asking my wife for a pair of Viridian Laser grips for my birthday seemed appropriate. She graciously obliged and I installed the grips on the 3″ Ultra Lite.
I had assumed that the prototype Monocle wouldn’t accommodate the Viridian-gripped 856, because the Icon holsters I was also evaluating for the Ruger and J frame weren’t compatible with laser grips, but the Monocle’s Kydex was perfectly formed to accommodate the laser port of the Viridian grip panel. I’m happy to report the Monocle works well with any 856: 2- or 3-inch barrel, optic and/or Viridian laser grip equipped. Golf clap to Harrison Jones on that, please. Well done!
Harrison confirmed they were able to make the holster laser grip compatible (Viridian and Crimson Trace) because the clip mounting method didn’t interfere with the laser. The production version of the Monocle will retain this feature, along with a slightly taller wing, improvements to belt engagement, and an optic cut that has been altered to maximize concealment. He is hoping to start shipping the Monocle soon.
The Icon 2.0
When Jones sent the Monocle, he asked if I had any interest in testing the Icon 2.0 for conventional snubbies as well. I enthusiastically agreed and asked for one to fit a J frame S&W or a Ruger LCR.
When the box arrived, Jones had packed Icons for both. The holsters arrived unassembled, with encouragement to view the Icon 2.0 instructional video on Harry’s website. The short video gave clear instructions on how to adjust the fit to the carrier’s preference and how to install all the hardware.
I set up both Icons and secured the screws on the DCC Monoblock with the included “Vibra Tite” thread lock. The Icon features a wing that’s a separate piece that rides behind the DCC clip. The Icon’s surfaces and edges are rounded to enhance wearer comfort. A tension adjustment screw rides just below the trigger guard on both variants.
Icon Wear Test
I found both Icons to be solid and comfortable holsters, the thoughtful design features lending to excellent concealment. On a recent trip to California by way of commercial flight, I opted for minimalist armament with a Ruger LCR .38. I took the Icon along and carried the boot gripped LCR in it everywhere I was legally permitted to do so under LEOSA.
The LCR weighs 14.9 ounces loaded with 110 gr. Corbon DPX. The Icon made the little gun disappear. There were times I almost felt like I forgot it in the hotel room- that speaks volumes to the comfort and concealability of the combination. I don’t normally trust wearing only an untucked t-shirt to hide a gun, but the LCR in the Icon made that possible.
I have adopted the Icon as a home carry holster. It’s comfortable for lounging or to check the mail or do yard chores. The DCC Monoclip will hold the holster securely (even beltless) for these short sojourns. It takes away any excuse not to be constantly armed. Like the Monocle, both the Ruger and the J frame snap positively into the Icons. Presentations and reholstering are clean and smooth. All these holsters cover the trigger guards entirely and allow a full grasp on the revolver. It’s clearly designated on the website, but the Icon 2.0 is not cut for Crimson Trace style laser grips. The guns will not seat fully into the holster with laser grips installed.
Handling a holster from Harry’s leaves no doubt that Jones is an end user. In his former life as a realtor, he needed a holster that would reliably hide a gun with that profession’s manner of dress. He struggled to find holsters that were adequate, so he decided to make his own.
Harry’s Holsters are well designed and well built to provide dependable service and long-term comfort while keeping your handgun covert. Check them out, and tell Harry that RevolverGuy sent you!
All images courtesy of the author, Kevin McPherson