Founded in São Leopoldo, Brazil, Taurus Armas manufactured its first revolver in 1941. In 1980, the company acquired a former Beretta factory in São Paulo and used the machinery to begin producing semi-auto pistols. Two years later, the firm established its American subsidiary, Taurus Holdings (also known as Taurus USA) in Miami, Florida, to import Brazilian-made firearms. Along the way, Taurus also purchased Rossi and Heritage Manufacturing, which produce Old-West-style revolvers and long guns.
In 2019, Taurus Holdings moved to its current headquarters in Bainbridge, Georgia, where it manufactures all Heritage-branded firearms, imports all Rossi firearms made in Brazil, and manufactures thousands of Taurus-branded firearms every year while importing the rest from Brazil.
Taurus handguns are known for being very inexpensive — sometimes costing just over $200 — which is a possible explanation for why they regularly show up at crime scenes. In data collected by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund from police departments in 31 cities, Taurus was the third-leading manufacturer of recovered crime guns in 2021 with 6,525 firearms, or 13 percent of all recoveries.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) also found that between 2017 and 2021, Taurus was the third-leading manufacturer of traced crime pistols and the second-leading manufacturer of traced crime revolvers, representing 12.2 and 15.9 percent of all recoveries in those categories, respectively.
It is unclear what measures Taurus takes to secure its supply chain to prevent its products from entering the illegal market. For example, information is not publicly available on whether Taurus requires its dealers and distributors to secure their firearms, flag questionable customers, or report the results of ATF compliance inspections and crime gun trace requests. The company’s website identifies several dealers that the ATF cited for multiple violations between 2015 and 2017.
Considering the lack of legislative or regulatory action in this regard, gun manufacturers should, at a minimum, adopt stronger public codes of conduct to hold their distributors and dealers accountable in securing supply chains.
Taurus has also developed a reputation for manufacturing defective pistols that fire unintentionally, sometimes wounding and killing their owners. The company has settled several lawsuits, including a class action for $30 million, regarding pistols that could discharge on their own, even with their safeties activated.
In 2007, during one of the lawsuits brought against Taurus, the company’s then-CEO admitted that he didn’t believe Taurus personnel tested the pistols it imported before distributing them. One of Taurus’ lawyers also testified that the company had fought at least 35 lawsuits in Brazil related to pistols misfiring.
Taurus’ recalls can be found in our database of firearm recalls and safety bulletins.
Taurus handguns have been used in at least three mass shootings, including the Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton, California, in January 1989 and the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseberg, Oregon, in October 2015.
Taurus accepted a taxpayer-funded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan worth over $3 million in June 2020, despite record-breaking, industry-wide gun sales during the onset of the pandemic. Notably, Taurus is headquartered in the state of Georgia, which did not have extensive pandemic lockdowns. The loan was later forgiven in July 2021.
Taurus also promotes retailers who offer “shoot now, pay later” financing. Under the “Buy Now” heading on the company’s product pages, prospective buyers will find a link to Guns.com, which offers financing through Credova. Buyers may not even need to make their first payment for 30 days.
Taurus has manufactured several firearms designed for concealed carry. For years, the company has manufactured guns specifically for concealed carry, including small revolvers and pistols. In the past, Taurus offered easy-to-conceal Spectrum pistols in a wide range of colors in an appeal to a wider range of consumers, as well as the Curve, a pistol that lacked aiming sights but had a curved profile to ride more comfortably on a person’s hip. More recently, Taurus has followed Sig Sauer’s lead with the P365 by creating “micro-compact” pistols pistols that hold upwards of 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition but can still fit within a pants or coat pocket.
Taurus is a leading industry supporter of the NRA. The company is ranked first on the NRA’s list of “Top 10 Industry Allies,” meaning it sponsors NRA events, donates guns for Friends of NRA raffles, and helps recruit new members. In fact, Taurus includes a free NRA membership with every firearm it sells. (Taurus subsidiary Heritage Manufacturing is also ranked sixth on that same “Top 10” list.)
During the 2003 NRA convention, Taurus presented NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre with a giant “check” for 10,000 new NRA members, leading LaPierre to comment, “No company has done any more than Taurus in working with the NRA to get our membership levels up.”
Taurus has also partnered with gun shops to offer discounted firearms and create new NRA members. For example, a month-long promotion in 2015 with two gun shops helped recruit “more than 1,000” members, and in 2018, Taurus took part in the NRA’s “100K Challenge” to recruit 100,000 new NRA members.
Finally, Taurus is also one of six companies that joined in the NRA-ILA’s “Partners for Patriotism” campaign to match $1 million in donations ahead of the 2020 election.