I’m going to say something that is probably going to get me laughed right out of the room.
The Taurus Curve is a brilliant pistol design.
For those of you who know me, I want to assure you that I’m not being the slightest bit glib or sarcastic.
Many of my peers in the industry—the vast majority of whom are far better shooters than I—think that the Taurus Curve may be the worse handgun ever to be brought to market. To them I say, “heck, it isn’t even the most horrible handgun brought to market by Taurus.”
These critics are making, I think, the mistake of thinking of the Curve as they would a traditional handgun, marketed to and purchased by a traditional shooter.
They are looking at the qualities that they would look for in a gun, based upon years of experience as shooters, with dozens of firearms through their hands and thousands (if not tens or hundreds of thousands) of rounds downrange.
These experienced shooters are used to seeing a certain layout, certain features, and certain performance.
They look for accuracy, reliability, durability, simplicity, quality, mantainability, and support.
But the Taurus Curve isn’t aimed at these experienced shooters, and I’ll be stunned if the marketing of the Curve even stays in gun magazines. I fully expect them to be placing ad buys where you would expect to find H&M, Lululemon, or Urban Outfitters.
The Curve is not a gun for shooters.
While I know precisely no one within Taurus, I strongly suspect that the pistol was the work of a team as focused on new shooter marketing as their driving factor, with engineering coming a distinct second (or perhaps third) when it came to conceptualizing the pistol.
Taurus is well aware that the new shooter market is young, urban, and female, and the Curve seems designed to echo a certain look that is in their comfort zone outside the world of firearms, and is less scary to them than a traditional-looking gun.
Guns & Ammo has the “first look” article that everyone is talking about, and they’ve given the pistol a thoroughly shameful tongue bath talking up the good (or at least interesting) points of the design. You’ll note upon reading it that they were long on what was new, unique, and distinctive, but didn’t have a single word to say about how well the design might work as a defensive handgun.
Frankly, whether the Curve is practical or it works for self-defense is utterly irrelevant. It isn’t going to be shot anyway.
What matters is if the Curve will sell, and as Taurus has already proven with the stunning success of the Judge family of .45 Colt/.410 revolvers, they know how to market and sell tons of handguns that industry experts feel are absurd.
So what is the Curve audience?
While I don’t know the specific details, I suspect that the Taurus Curve is designed for young urban adults who feel the need to own a handgun as a talisman against “evil,” but who don’t intend to become shooters.
They’ll likely talk to friends or so a little basic internet research about features before purchasing, but they’ll mostly be driven by intangibles, like the wow factor, whether they think it looks cool, and of course, marketing copy designed for a consumer-driven world.
The Taurus Curve is a gun designed to look like a fashion accessory and not a firearm, and is purposefully as chic and unoffensive as an iPhone.
I’ll be stunned if they don’t sell tons of these.
I’ll be stunned if you ever see them at the range.
But as absurd as they look, they may be the “gateway drug” to draw people into our gun culture.
I hope that Taurus is successful for that reason alone.