Welcome to another edition of TFB’s Wheelgun Wednesday, where we explore the vast world of revolvers. This week, we’ll take a look at one of Booligan’s latest builds, the Taurus Ultra Snubby Handgun, or TUSH for short. If you’re not familiar with Booligan, he loves 3D printing and modifying guns; so much so that some of his projects have already shown up here on TFB. This snubby revolver started life as a Taurus 856 Ultra Light, chambered for six rounds of .38 Special, but Booligan wanted an extra short, pocketable revolver, and in the process this Ultra Light wheelgun became extra ultra lighter.
Wheelgun Wednesday @ TFB
Booligan was kind enough to show off his tush, I mean, Taurus Ultra Snubby Handgun project with us. He describes his desired goals and processes below.
BOOLIGAN’S TAURUS ULTRA SNUBBY HANDGUN- TUSH
One of my favorite things is to take an otherwise normal gun and basically butcher it into something barely resembling the base gun both in looks and in functionality. Usually, this means a huge drop in usefulness, but occasionally one of these “meme guns” actually has a touch of utility. Let me introduce you to project TUSH, or Taurus Ultra Snubby Handgun.
Years ago, Taurus created the “View”. An ultra lightweight ultra snubby 5 shot .38 SPL revolver with titanium parts and a clear side plate that showed the inner workings. These came in around 9.5 oz with a 1.4” barrel. Ridiculously light. So light that it actually lost its +P rating as the harsh +P recoil imparted into the featherweight frame would often cause rounds to jump the crimp, the side plates would occasionally break (resulting in the Taurus No View with a solid side plate), and the titanium parts made them expensive to obtain. The product didn’t last long and only exists now as an interesting footnote in tiny revolver history.
Cut to my own shenanigans. I wanted to make the smallest, lightest 6 shot +P capable revolver that I possibly could. I started with a model 856UL which is already a very svelte little revolver. Coming in at just shy of 16oz empty, it is one of the lightest 6 shot .38 SPL revolvers on the market already.
We can go smaller.
First things first, the barrel had to go. I like round numbers, and 1” sounded good to me. So I cut the barrel down to exactly 1” from the forcing cone to muzzle, and shaped it to resemble the normal Taurus barrel profile. This also required me to shorten the ejector rod, and then cut a groove in it to still allow disassembly. It’s stubby, maybe 1/4” long, but still lets you break the seal on fired casings and have easy ejection. I also bobbed the hammer to prevent snags on draw and allow you to have a higher grip on the gun for better control without the hammer spur hitting the web of your hand.
The grip frame was the next project. I cut off quite a bit of the grip frame in order to reduce weight and shrink the profile down for less printing when carried. I then custom designed and 3D printed grips to fit this new profile and still provide something resembling comfort and control.
The grips were the biggest project, honestly. I went through half a dozen iterations before landing on the current pictured design. Initial fire testing showed a major flaw in the previous “winner” and required a redesign with a wraparound backstrap to prevent the frame from slamming into the web of your hand. This new design is comfortable (ish) and doesn’t print too bad when carrying. They’re actually 3D printed out of wood filament which smells like wood burning while it prints. The pictured grips will be stained a bit darker now that I’ve confirmed that they work well.
The end result is a revolver that comes in at 11.97oz empty, under 15 oz fully loaded. Enough mass that it won’t jump the crimp with +P ammo, but low enough that it disappears on your person. That low mass makes it a handful to shoot even with normal target ammo. +P is pretty punishing, but able to be handled thanks to the ergonomic grip design. Aiming is… kind of a thing that can be done with this gun. Basically using the rear sight as a trench sight to get it roughly on target. I’ll likely drill and tap a basic front sight at some point But this thing isn’t designed for benchrest precision accuracy, it’s a pocket carried “get off me” gun for contact distances that delivers a handful of hurt to the target. It is loud, bright, and violent. It cuts an imposing image on the receiving end.
Accuracy is “minute of bad guy” at 7 yards. You’ll get them all on the central torso if you practice. Beyond that, hopefully you brought something else. This is a belly gun, designed for extremely close distance shooting. Rounds appeared to be stabilized when hitting the target, but even if you’re keyholing, at near contact distance, does that matter?
I initially carried it in my pocket without any sort of holster. Heavy double action trigger pull, nothing else in the pocket, as safe as possible. But I wanted to reduce the printing a bit more and found an old Uncle Mike’s #4 pocket holster in the box o stuff and it fits in there perfectly. Reduces printing, just looks like car keys in the pocket and when drawing, the holster stays in the pocket really well. It’s an excellent grab and go option for when you don’t want to carry something bigger, where you otherwise may need to plan your outfit around your firearm.
It started as a joke just to see what the result would be. But then I kind of fell in love with it and with the concept as a whole. This is boringly reliable, and absolutely disappears in my pocket. It delivers a startling amount of firepower in a tiny package. There are obvious questions of terminal ballistics, however, tests of the slightly larger Taurus View showed that +P rounds delivered very useful velocities (exceeding 1000 FPS) and good expansion and effect on target. I plan on throwing this over a chrono to see what the results are, and it may be a fun platform to test out some non traditional short barrel optimized handloads. Think stacked wadcutters pushed by fast burn powder.
Maybe one day Taurus can bring back something similar, just more attainable with less exotic materials. In the meantime, I’ll keep hacking away to make my own.
Booligan made a funny YouTube short video, almost like an advertisement you can view HERE, on his YouTube channel.
Even though the TUSH is very purpose-driven for pocket carry and not overly accurate, I enjoy these projects to see different takes on existing firearms. I love the personalization and goal-oriented builds that go further than the “one size fits most” factory product. What do you think about TUSH? Would you carry something like this? If you enjoyed this one, you’ll like his next project, the “Small Claims Judge.”
Thanks to Booligan for sharing this project with us. You can see more of his projects on Instagram @BooliganShootingSports, or check out his website BooliganShootingSports.com.
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