For easy adaptation to changing defense, target, and even hunting needs, the Taurus 692 Tracker is one of the most versatile handguns you’ll find.
by Bob Campbell
Most firearm enthusiasts enjoy diversity in their shooting platforms. While striker-fired EDC pistols get most of our attention, after a while, it’s refreshing to pick up a revolver and have some fun. When that revolver allows you to shoot a broad selection of handgun ammo, there’s even more to like.
The newest Taurus revolver is among the most interesting and innovative the company has ever manufactured. The 692 Tracker is a double-action/single-action revolver with a swing-out cylinder, meaning you can shoot it in either double-action or single-action modes. The cylinder holds seven rounds, giving the relatively compact Taurus .357 Magnum an advantage over traditional six-shot-capacity revolvers. While there are other seven-shot revolvers, the Taurus Tracker is among the most compact. There are also longer, 6.5-inch barrel versions suitable for hunting and competition.
My evaluation model is a matte blue finished revolver with the three-inch barrel, non-fluted cylinder, and ported barrel. The grips are the famous Taurus “Ribber Grips”—essentially ribbed rubber that gives a bit during recoil. The grips also keep the hand separated from the steel frame. The result is plenty of adhesion and comfort.
While the 692 is a credible choice for personal defense and field use, a major advantage is the included second cylinder chambered in 9mm Luger. This gives the shooter the option of using .38 Special and .357 Magnum cartridges in one cylinder and 9mm Luger in the other. Previously, most dual-caliber revolvers have been single-action .22 Magnum/.22 Long Rifle types. The 9mm cylinder may be fired with 9mm cartridges, but since the 9mm doesn’t have a cartridge case rim that extends to the ejector star, spent cases must be picked out one at a time. Taurus supplies what it calls stellar clips for easy loading and unloading.
Many shooters will prefer to use the revolver as a 9mm, as this is the most popular handgun caliber in America. There is no denying the power advantage of the .357 Magnum, and for those willing to master the caliber, it offers decisive wound potential.
In the past, dual-cylinder double-action revolvers were not feasible for many reasons. Fitting each crane and cylinder to the revolver and preserving the barrel cylinder gap and timing seemed unworkable. Taurus got it right in a unique manner. Previously, a revolver cylinder was removed by removing a screw in the frame. The Taurus features a plunger on the right side of the frame that is pressed to release the cylinder, allowing an easy change. Remarkably, each cylinder is properly timed and the barrel cylinder gap remains tight after each cylinder change.
This revolver is quite attractive with its all-black finish and unfluted cylinder. Each cylinder is marked for the caliber, so no mix ups there. The revolver features good quality, fully adjustable rear sights and a bold post front sight. The trigger action is smooth in the double action mode. The single action trigger press is clean and crisp.
I began firing the revolver with several .38 Special loads. These included handloads with modest charges of WW 231 powder. I also fired a good quantity of Black Hills Ammunition 158-grain lead “cowboy loads”—pleasant, accurate, and affordable.
The revolver is easily controlled. Shooting in double-action mode, I fired at man-sized targets at 7, 10, and 15 yards. The grips, trigger action, and sights provided good results. Moving up the scale, I also shot Black Hills Ammunition .38 Special 125-grain JHP +P loads. This revolver proved easily managed with .38 Special loads and more accurate than most.
Moving to the .357 Magnum, things became interesting. I had on-hand two loads from Black Hills Ammunition. One is the fast-stepping 125-grain JHP and the other the deeper penetrating 158-grain JHP. The 125-grain JHP retained 1340 fps velocity in the short barrel 692—a good number for personal defense. Recoil increased but the revolver was not unpleasant to fire. The grips have a lot to do with this. Concentration on handling recoil and the trigger action is required. The .357 Magnum generates enough muzzle blast to startle shooters, and this is what causes flinching—more so than recoil—for most shooters. The Taurus 692 Tracker is as controllable a revolver as I have fired in .357 Magnum. Results were good, giving a trained shooter a high degree of confidence in this handgun. The muzzle ports seemed to reduce recoil but did not add offensive blast.
At this point, the revolver gets a clean bill of health as a handy, fast-handling, reliable, and accurate .357 Magnum. But what about the 9mm cylinder?
I depressed the plunger in the receiver and quickly snapped in the 9mm cylinder to explore the possibilities. I began with the Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain FMJ. There was little recoil and a mild report. Accuracy was similar to the .38 Special. I can see the 9mm cylinder as a good option for economy.
Picking the cartridge cases out one at a time isn’t that time-consuming for the casual shooter. Clipping the cartridge cases in 7-shot stellar clips, things became more interesting. A conventional revolver must be tilted muzzle up for cartridge case extraction. Otherwise, spent cases may hang under the ejector star. Likewise, the muzzle must be as straight down as possible to facilitate loading. With the stellar clips, all cartridge cases are ejected smartly even if the muzzle isn’t straight up. Loading is less fumble prone than loading one at a time, and with practice is sharper than loading with a speedloader—the clips are loaded with the cartridges in the cylinder rather than the cartridges inserted and the speedloader dropped. This system has much merit in a revolver intended for personal defense. I fired several rounds of the powerful Black Hills Ammunition 124-grain +P JHP with good results. While the load clocked nearly 1200 fps, recoil is modest.
During the test, I deployed the revolver from a Jeffrey Custom Leather belt holster. This is a quality, attractive, and well-designed holster that offers good retention. It is a among the few holsters that rides high and offers good security and can double as a concealed carry and field holster. Draws were crisp, allowing me to get on target quickly.
I find the Taurus 692 to be an exceptional revolver. The combination of loads makes for great versatility—from powder puff practice and small game loads to +P loads suitable for personal defense and finally full power Magnum loads for field use and defense against larger animals. This is the ultimate Tracker and my favorite Taurus revolver. A price check shows the revolver available for under $500.
- Black Hills Ammunition .38 Special 158 grain (780 fps)
- Black Hills Ammunition .38 Special 125 grain JHP +P (970 fps)
- Black Hills Ammunition .357 Magnum 125 grain JHP (1340 fps)
- Black Hills Ammunition .357 Magnum 158 grain JHP (1160 fps)
- Black Hills Ammunition 9mm Luger 115 grain FMJ (1090 fps)
- Black Hills Ammunition 9mm Luger 124 grain JHP +P (1180 fps)
Specifications: Taurus 692 Tracker (#2-692031)
- .38 Special +P/.357 Mag/9mm Double
- Two Cylinders
- 7 Rounds
- 3″ Ported Barrel
- Single Action/Double Action System
- Ribber Grip
- Fixed Front/Adjustable Rear Sights
- Medium Frame
- Smooth Trigger
- Transfer Bar Safety System
- Overall Length: 8.14″
- Overall Width: 1.5″
- Overall Height: 5.66″
- Overall Weight: 35 oz
- Matte Taurus Blue Finish