Review: Taurus 942 .22 LR Revolver

I don’t think I’ve made it any secret, but I am no fan of the .22 Long Rifle.  It’s just generally not my cup of tea. Nothing against you if it’s yours, but it has never really blown my skirt up. Though the Ruger Wrangler has found a place in my collection, I remain sort of generally unimpressed with the .22 Long Rifle.

Sometimes getting your hands on a thing can alter your opinion of it, though. When I pulled this gun out there were a lot of echoes of the Taurus 856 I reviewed about a year ago – a lot of the same features, in fact. I really ended up liking the Taurus 856 and honestly wish I’d held on to it. With that in mind I was completely prepared to set my bias aside in my review of the Taurus 942.

The Taurus 942 is a newly-released, double-action revolver holding eight rounds of rimfire ammunition. The 942 comes in both blue and stainless, in .22 LR and .22 WMR, and with 2- and 3-inch barrels. Currently only 2″, 22 LR versions are listed on Taurus’ website, but 3″ guns and .22 WMR versions are starting to pop up for sale online. The sample we were sent was the 2″, .22 LR, matte stainless steel version.

My initial impressions weren’t bad. Fit and finish were about what I expected: nothing to write home about, but also perfectly functional. Additionally, the Taurus 942 has a few features that best some other, much more expensive revolvers. One of which is the ejector rod.

The Taurus 942’s ejector rod has features I would like to see in all revolver ejector rods. It features a very nice, knurled portion. I don’t think the knurling is all that important – it’s really only used to tighten or loose the rod. On the other hand, it does look very nice. Much more importantly is the rounded tip. The tip is both wide and rounded, preventing the mildly perforated palm common with other, often much more expensive revolvers. Honestly, Taurus has nailed this feature.

Though it probably doesn’t matter much in practice, I had one of the very few brass-under-the-star malfunctions I have ever had with the Taurus 942. This was completely my fault as I didn’t get the gun vertical before depressing the ejector rod…and I was shooting .22 Short ammo. Still, this malfunction is uncommon enough that I was interested to see it.

Sights

At this point I am usually settling in to write about how I don’t like the tradition fixed front/rear trench. But not this time – the sights on the Taurus 942 are completely unique. The front sight on the Taurus 942 really isn’t any surprise. It’s a serrated black blade, pinned to the barrel. The serrations are nice and sharp and the sight is a nice ramp. Nothing to see here. The rear sight is something else, though.

Rather than a simple trench, Taurus actually gave this revolver a windage-adjustable rear sight! A horizontal groove is milled into the top strap that contains a rear sight blade. Just below it is an adjustment screw permitting left and right movement of the rear sight blade. This is a pretty nifty system, and I was actually very thankful for the ability to center up impacts quickly and easily. I don’t think it is perfectly executed but I very much appreciate the concept.

Aside from being adjustable, these sights are also, in my opinion, more visible. They sit just a bit higher than the standard gutter-style sight. I honestly wish more revolver manufacturers would take a cue from Taurus and be willing to try new things.

The one minor problem I had was a tendency of the screw to drift. During one shooting session the blade could move enough to alter impact by several inches. Were this my revolver I would probably attempt to get some light thread locker onto the screw. This certainly is not the only revolver I’ve reviewed requiring some post-purchase Loctite application.

Trigger

The double action trigger is fairly heavy. There’s not really any getting around it, and that’s one thing I don’t like about rimfires – it takes some force to reliably ignite them. This trigger comes in at an average of 11.625 pounds. That’s enough to feel fairly heavy but it’s far from the worst DA revolver trigger I’ve experienced. Unfortunately, the trigger doesn’t generate quite enough force to render the gun reliable; I’ll expound upon this more later.

The trigger itself is nearly ideal in size and shape, though. An ongoing complaint I have with the otherwise near-perfect Colt’s revolvers is the trigger design. The Taurus’ trigger is of an appropriate width. The edges are nicely rounded, and the face of the trigger is polished very smooth. Along with the sights and the ejector rod, this is another greatly appreciated feature of the Taurus 942.

The Taurus’ single action trigger was actually quite impressive at almost exactly 4 pounds and very crisp. Though I probably wouldn’t use this gun in single-action, the hammer is well-designed, too.

Shooting the Taurus 942: REliability and Accuracy

This is my big beef: I’d have a very hard time calling this gun reliable. Now, like many .22s this one was ammunition sensitive. It was more reliable with some .22 ammunition, and less reliable with others. Out of all the loads I fired – from Aguilla, CCI/Speer, Federal, Remington, and Winchester – only one single load was 100% reliable. That was the CCI Stinger which isn’t terribly surprising, though I only had enough ammo on hand to fire 32 rounds of it – hardly a comprehensive test.

The CCI Velocitor, Remington Viper, and Winchester Varmint HE were in the second tier of ammunition fired in the Taurus 942; I had two malfunctions with each in 56 rounds of Viper and 32 rounds of Velocitor. Out of those four unfired rounds, 50% ignited on a second strike.

The Aguilla and Remington Golden Bullet were the worst of the bunch. For every eight rounds chambered, three or four would fire on the first time around, and one or two of the remaining cartridges would fire on a second strike. The only cartridge I would feel remotely comfortable loading up for any serious purpose would be the CCI Stinger.

Overall, out of over 350 rounds fired, I experienced a reliability rate of – generously – somewhere around 70%. The rate of unreliability made shooting a bit of a headache, and somewhat limited the scope of this review.

Accuracy with the 942 wasn’t terrible. I fired several groups at five yards, shown below for comparison. This isn’t a statement on the inherent accuracy of the gun or the ammunition – just a demonstration that a decent group at a realistic range is possible.

There is a reason I fired these groups at five yards; they tended to open up pretty dramatically beyond that distance. I can’t swear to why, but I will call your attention to the forcing cone.

It is very large. How large? The photo below should answer that question better than words can. The forcing cone is extremely generous, perhaps to make up for a wide tolerance variation in cylinder timing/lockup. Again, I can’t swear that this impacts accuracy, but it certainly can’t help anything.

A Comparison: Just for Fun

The 942 seems designed as a self-defense revolver. Just for the fun of it I decided to compare it to another self-defense handgun of about the same size and costing in the neighborhood of the same money: the Bersa Thunder. Keep in mind this is just an informal comparison, just for the fun of it. If I had $300 and needed a gun RIGHT NOW, which would it be?

The size of the two is real close. Both are 4.6″ in height, with the Taurus being just a tad longer at 6.6″ versus a clean six inches. Obviously the Bersa is quite a bit slimmer, as well. The capacity edge goes to the Bersa at 8+1, as does the caliber edge: .22 LR just doesn’t hold up against .380 ACP. Which brings up the topic of recoil. The small .380s are sort of infamous for their punishing recoil. In fact, I owned an early Ruger LCP that I let happily sold, but the Thunder’s 16-ounce weight (and larger grip) makes recoil somewhat more manageable. Your mileage may vary. The Taurus is also a much heavier gun, at 23 ounces unloaded.

As a counterpoint to the Bersa’s recoil is the Taurus’ heavy, 12-pound trigger. It’s tough to shoot quickly. As a counter-counterpoint is the Bersa’s complicated action: a DA/SA with a decocker. Also, the version of the Bersa that I have on hand (I am housing it for a friend who moved to England) has a very thin safety/decock lever, making removal of the safety somewhat difficult. And believe it or not, the sights make the Taurus’ sights look pronounced. The point? Neither of these guns are ideal for a defensive role, but I was compelled to mess around with them anyhow.

Accuracy was probably about the same with both. The group below was fired with the Bersa Thunder at 5 yards. That’s about as good as I could do with the Taurus, and honestly quite acceptable.

I decided to mess around a little more. I ran two targets out to three yards. I set a timer with a random delay, and began at a position of retention. On the beep I presented and emptied each gun as quickly as I could. The results?

Bersa on the right, Taurus on the left. Neither is group is terrible, nor terribly impressive.

The results on paper were not terrible. For some reason I had a tendency to shoot to the right with the Bersa. With the Taurus, the faster I tried to go, the higher my shots strayed. What about the time? I ran each gun three times. You will noticed that times dropped with each repetition, as I got used to the guns. I definitely hit a wall with the Taurus, though. The times were:

Bersa Taurus
4.41 sec 4.07 sec, 1 light strike
3.26 sec 3.43 sec
2.91 sec, 1 malfunction 3.26 sec
2.87 sec 3.16 sec, 2  light strikes

Times with the Thunder started out a little slower but picked up and pretty easily bested the DA revolver. One other caveat to that: I was firing 9 rounds from the Bersa rather than eight. Unfortunately, I reached a hard limit with the Taurus 942 in pulling the trigger as fast as I could physically manage.

Let’s also talk briefly about reliability of the Bersa, as I’ve thoroughly explored the Taurus’ reliability. In a word, it malfunctions, and frequently. Fortunately, in all the rounds I’ve put through it (not many) every malfunction has occurred on the last round in the magazine. Most people would rule it out entirely because of that. Let’s think about it for a second, though. The Taurus is an eight-round gun that I seriously doubt anyone is planning to reload in a fight. I would treat the Bersa similarly: it holds nine total. If malfunctions consistently occur only on the last round, it, too is effectively an 8-round gun.

Not an uncommon occurrence. The last round tends to jam up like this. It isn’t hard to clear as the round wants to stay with the magazine, but it’s certainly not optimal.

I honestly don’t think either of these are outstanding carry options, and I’d probably try to discourage anyone from carrying either of these. The Taurus is big, heavy, hard to shoot, and extremely unreliable for what it is. If I had $300 bucks and these were my options I’d have to go with the Bersa. If the Taurus 856 were in the running this would be a completely different conversation, though.

The Bottom Line

If you want a .22 just to have a .22, I think there are better options out there for less money, like the Ruger Wrangler. If you want a defensive handgun, I’d consider the Taurus 856 in .38 Special. If you need a .22 revolver because of recoil sensitivity I’d stretch the budget a bit and go for a Ruger LCR. Alternatively, I’d maybe consider the Taurus 942 in .22 WMR, as the Magnum cartridges tend to be a bit more reliable (and I would certainly be open to reviewing the Magnum-chambered 942).

It doesn’t please me at all to write an unflattering review. I expected to be just as happy with this revolver as I was with the Taurus 856, but I can’t give an enthusiastic review of this revolver. The value is just not there for me on this one. I’d be very hard-pressed to recommend the Taurus 942 for anyone. That said, this isn’t an indictment of Taurus revolvers generally. As I’ve said, I really enjoyed the Taurus 856, and I am completely open to exploring other options from Taurus. This one just wasn’t it, unfortunately.

The Taurus 942 comes with an MSRP of $392 (matte black) to $410 (matte stainless). As with all Taurus firearms, the 942 enjoys Taurus’ lifetime warranty, so if you do experience an issue you can get it resolved, free of charge.

Author: Justin

Justin Carroll is a former MARSOC Marine and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving service after eight years in the U.S. Marines, Justin continues his involvement with a variety of government agencies to this day. Justin began RevolverGuy.com in late 2016 with an simple idea: provide an source of high-quality information for revolver enthusiasts.

21 thoughts on “Review: Taurus 942 .22 LR Revolver”

  1. Shame that the Taurus did not do better for you, Justin. It seems based upon the trust 85 platform. Though I carry a K6S as a pocket gun now, I tote my 30-year old 85 fishing, because it the the one gun I would choose if I had to lose one in the lake. Yet this cheap gun never malfunctions. Got it from a friend’s dad in the late 90s.

    Those who are recoil shy might choose an all-metal 85 or the 856 and shoot mild .38s, rather than a .22. The gun you review might make a good venomous-snake stopper, but I have the 85 for that, too.

    I like the form of the Thunder, but I do not trust it. I shoot a friend’s well, same guy whose dad sold me the 85. They both love cheap guns. I do not. The Thunder jams a lot, or fails to go into battery, often after the first round, even with various magazines. That makes it a one-shot gun.

    Many times I have tried to convince him to carry his dad’s other 85 but he thinks the Bersa will work as his EDC gun, if he ever needs it.

    I hope so, but it is a gun that I tell folks to avoid, save as a range toy.

    1. I would like to have the opportunity to try another sample of this gun – I wanted it to work and did everything I could to get it to work. \

      The Bersa comparison was totally a whim! I was loading my range bag, saw it…and ended up writing about. I actually really like the form-factor. If this were a “standard” version of the Thunder (not the “CC”) with normal sights and a wider decocker/safety, I might actually be interested to see if I could get it running reliably.

      Anyway, that said, I am still very open-minded about Taurus guns and look forward to testing some more of them.

      1. I hear of Thunders that run great. Might be uneven QC at Bersa. It seems a simple-enough design.

        So is the 1911, but there are some makers’ 1911s that never seem to run well. My Springfield, luckily, functions impeccably well.

        Anyhow, bring on the Taurii. I am curious about how other wheelguns they make compare.

  2. That’s a great report, buddy, and very fair. It would be interesting to see if Taurus Customer Service could identify and fix the problem.

    That forcing cone looks like it was cut for a .32!!!

    I love .22s and it’s disappointing this one didn’t do better. I have some experience with an older Taurus 94, and it didn’t suffer from these reliability issues. Sounds like a .22LR LCR would be a better investment if you were interested in this format.

    The Remington Golden Bullet has given me more problems than any other rimfire load, so I’m not surprised it led your misfire hit parade.

    1. That’s cool. It doesn’t change anything I said; I do wish more manufacturers would play with stuff like this rather than doing what they’ve always done.

  3. It’s strange. I would expect a .22 revolver to handle virtually any .22 LR/Long/Short ammo no problem, but I’ve encountered reliability problems myself with my High-Standard Sentinel.

    My High-Standard did not like Sellier & Bellot Subsonic .22LR. For whatever reason, the cylinder didn’t want to advance, or struggled to advance, or whatever. I don’t think it was because of built-up lead fouling causing the issue, as I was able to switch to shooting Aguila .22 CB and CCI .22 Shorts no problem.

    I guess for revolvers, CCI and Aguila seem to be the best brands for rimfire. Anything else is probably best for my .22 rifle only.

    1. Axel, a Sentinel is the only gun I’ve ever sold, and I regret it. That revolver had a grip that felt wonderful in the hand.

      My sample was broken when acquired. After a bunch of tinkering, I determined it had severe endshake—enough so that the hand couldn’t get a good enough grip on the ratchet to turn the cylinder. I cut some makeshift shims out of a soda can and disassembled the cylinder and rod assembly to see if I could fix it. It worked perfectly, but I figured those redneck shims wouldn’t last long, and I didn’t want to tear everything apart again and replace with some proper ones from Brownells, so I sold the gun. I sure regret that now! It wasn’t a looker, with its scarred-up phosphate finish and cheap-looking plastic grips, but it could shoot pretty decently. Should have kept it.

      Maybe there’s an anomaly in the S&B case dimensions (a fatter rim?) causing the case heads to rub on the recoil shield? Another possibility is that the cases are thrusting and backing out, causing the friction. Whatever’s causing it, the easy solution is to use different ammo, like you did.

    2. I will agree with you on CCI, but I had nothing but trouble with Aguila. I had closer to (maybe greater than) 50% failure rate with the Aguila “Super Extra Hollow Point” load pictured in the article. I fired the whole box and I don’t think I ever had more than four rounds go “bang” on the first strike.

  4. Very informative write up. The external qualities of Taurus have come a LONG way over the last 25 years – probably owing to the one time incestuous relationship with Smith & Wesson (Bangor Punta). I agree, it does have some nice features that should be on more of that category of guns.

    As for the forcing cone . . . back when cowboy shooting started up in the 1990s, I used to rethroat a LOT of Ruger single actions for the soft low velocity lead bullets that were mandated. Rugers and most of the later Colt SAA came with a 18 degree forcing cone, which is rather short. Recutting them to an 11 degree angle made for a much less disruptive introduction of bullet to bore.

    That said, most short action rimfire revolves are going to be problematic. I say most because my wife has a 1956 vintage alloy frame S&W M43 (before it was actually numbered) in .22LR, and it has the older longer double action hammer stroke. It has yet to fail to put a solid thump to the cartridge rim. I had (many ages ago) a S&W M34 Kit Gun that was rock solid reliable. I’d be inclined to shake the tree at Taurus here in South Jawjah, and see what they say.

    I happen to be one who loves the .22LR — I can get a lot of trigger practice in for less money and zero brass collecting. It is also relaxing to just hit the small steel plates with instant gratification. Depending on a .22LR for self defense; however, is a whole nuther matter.

    It is rather sad, actually, because the quality of military guns that have come out of Brasil over the years have been top notch – their M98 Mausers of the early 10th Century, their FN licensed FALs, their M1911A1 assemblies (made for Springfield Armory) even their Beretta M92 pistols (pre-Taurus). Somehow, the commercial end of things doesn’t get the same attention.

  5. Thank You for the comprehensive review! I’ve read about this model and was curious as to it’s reliability. Your article was most informative and answered a lot of my questions.

  6. Try cleaning debris/oil from between the cylinder and the extractor star. It doesn’t take much to act as a shock absorber and cause misfires. I have a Colt Official Police in .22 that will misfire if too much oil accumulates in the area referred too.

    1. Thanks Brett, that’s a good input. I suspect the misfires were caused by something else though, as they began right from the box, and the gun was clean. Still, that’s an excellent tip to think about when we’re having a problem like that.

  7. I think the sweet spot with the 942 is the 3″ 22 WMR versions. 22 WMR has good velocity and penetration out of a 3″ barrel, much better than 22 LR, the rounds are better made, more reliable, and use real jacketed bullets.

    I’ve been shooting for decades, and have always loved revolvers. I am not recoil sensitive, and 357 magnum is my favorite revolver round (and lever round). That said, even for defense, I think a pretty good case can be made for 8 22 WMR rounds compared to 5 38 rds out of a 3″ snub. 22 WMR penetrates better, it is easier to keep on target so can be fired more quickly, and you get 3 extra rounds. Rimfire DA triggers are heavy but manageable, but the SA trigger is great, and you can fire surprisingly fast using SA with practice.

    All that said, defensive carry is not the only use for a revolver like this. Where this gun really shines is as a trail or kit gun. 22LR or 22 WMR are much better rounds to put small game on the fire than 38 or 380, or to dispatch a rattler, and you can carry a lot more 22 ammo lightly in your pack or tackle box than the larger centerfire rounds.

    Pretty good dog walking gun too, if coyotes, etc around.

    This is a great trail gun, and a niche defense gun.

    1. I don’t agree with much at all here. We have a 3″ WMR version on the way from Taurus (or, at least in the order pipeline). I really have high hopes for it, and agree that you could make a strong argument for eight rounds of .22 Mag over 5 of .38, all other things being equal.

      I would disagree about this particular exemplar as a kit gun. While I’d be OK shooting man-sized targets at 7 and in, I really had a hard time being precise with it beyond that distance. I’d need a little bit more reliability and accuracy before I ventured anywhere with this as my only revolver.

  8. Funny.

    The rear sight is very like the rear site on the early Ruger SP-101’s in .22 and .32 H&R.

    I have one of each. I thought they were strange, but they work fine.

  9. I’m not a 22LR person either which is why my 22 ammo is so old. Bought a sp101 22 last winter because it matches our GP and SP 357s. Any reason is a good one. Well, the old ammo fails way more than the new ammo. At least you just pull the trigger
    and move on. Shooting wood bees with shot shells is a hoot.

    1. I’ll have to try shooting wood bees! I certainly have plenty of them around here.

      I agree generally about pulling the trigger and moving on. Unfortunately I don’t want live .22 rounds scattered all over my yard, so that means taking a some extra time to fish them out. And, I don’t want a bucket of struck .22 LR rounds…so I usually take the time to try to get them to go off. All that extra ammo handling really got tedious.

  10. Hey I loved your review and I actually just got my 942 In last week. Iv fired some blazer, Winchester wild cat, and Winchester white box bulk in it with no hiccups. Also shot short and quiets and I experienced a similar hang up when not tilting the gun properly. Mine hasn’t had a misfire yet. I’m actually carrying it now in a desantis pocket tuck holster designed for a j frame with some cci stingers in it.
    Also the funniest thing is that this has replaced my normal ccw which is a Bersa Thunder cc.
    I think your gun must have been a dud. Or maybe the black ones perform better? lol

  11. I purchased two of these little .22’s and one shot flawlessly while the other had the same problems you described. Only in double action mode however would I get failure to ignite, single action all went bang in both guns. With that information I figured the hammer spring was just strong enough to fire a round as long as all other components were working properly.

    Having two guns I was able to compare the two and I found that the gun that had the issues, the firing pin was a little longer and pointed while the gun that shot flawless had the typical anvil style seen on most rim-fire guns. After inspecting some fired cases from both, it was clear that the problem gun just didn’t have the same amount of surface indention as the reliable gun did. I looked like the pin wasn’t shaped correctly.

    So not wanting to send it back and knowing I had a little extra length on the pin to work with, I pulled out my leatherman and with a little judicious filing I set out to flatten out the pin, sure enough when I was done, it went bang every time.

    I took my time and and removed just a little material then re-tested the gun. With every test the reliability got better and better until it functioned flawlessly. I only had Remington Golden and Federal bulk white box on hand for ammo but both worked great the rest of the day, about 500 rounds in total.

    Now for the disclaimer…. I do not recommend you working on your guns and modifying them in anyway, this can lead to negligent and/or accidental discharges causing injury or death bla, bla, bla. If you’re not comfortable working on it yourself you can always send it back to Taurus, I believe they have a lifetime warranty on their guns.

    That being said, if you are having issues, inspect the firing pin, it may be the problem. I’ve always worked on my own guns when I could, and I know when I have a problem that’s “over my pay-grade” and leave those repairs to the pro’s but this problem I was able to fix it right in the field with the file on my leatherman Rebar.

    Hope this helps someone….

    1. Thanks for the tip. Personally, I’ve always been of the belief that a gun shouldn’t need repair right out of the box.

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