For most gun makers designing a concealed carry pistol it’s been a race to the bottom: smaller, thinner and shorter — balancing defensive caliber options with the ability to be concealed, and largely leaving the comfort of carry to holster makers in the accessory market.

Well, get ready to take everything you thought you knew about concealed carry handgun design and throw it all out the window.

With a long line of revolvers and autos that held to standard, tried and true designs, Taurus USA is set to fundamentally change the way many handgun owners think about carrying concealed with the launch of its new Curve pistol.

Dubbed “The Gun You Wear,” the Curve is just that. One of the first handgun designs that attacks the actual shape of the gun in order to make it more comfortable to carry, the Curve literally contours to the body, allowing shooters to tuck the six-shot .380 inside the waistband without a hint of a print.

“We asked ourselves the question ‘are guns comfortable to wear?’ and the answer was ‘no,’ ” says Taurus USA Product Manager Rob Crescenzi. “We thought a gun should be made to fit the contours of your body.”

WATCH A VIDEO OF THE TAURUS CURVE IN ACTION AT WWW.SHOOTINGSPORTSRETAILER.COM

After three years of development and several patents built into its design, what emerged was a small, light handgun that offers a host of advantages other pistols in its class don’t. With an integrated LaserLyte light and laser molded into the frame, a heavy-duty clip mounted just under the slide and a trigger-guard mini holster that pulls off when the pistol is drawn, the Curve is ready for personal protection straight out of the box.

To help keep make the Curve as streamlined as possible, Taurus included an innovative “bore axis” sighting system, eliminating the need for iron sights that could snag on clothing during a heated draw. Add all those features together with an included extra magazine and Taurus Security System locking device and it’s hard to believe the Curve comes in at an affordable MSRP of $392.

Shooters seeing the Curve for the first time might be a bit skeptical about how the handgun actually handles. With its weird shape, curved magazine and boxy lines, can the Curve actually shoot when it counts?

After firing several boxes of .380 at an indoor range near Taurus’s Miami, Florida-based U.S. headquarters, it’s pretty clear the shapely Curve has no problem throwing lead down range. Most shooters experienced few if any malfunctions and the included laser sight made hitting the mark a breeze.

But like anything in life, the Curve isn’t going to be everything for everybody looking for the perfect concealed carry handgun. For one, sized similar to a smartphone, the Curve is little (think Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380). If you’ve got big hands and long fingers, the grip is a little tougher to negotiate and the trigger doesn’t break without negotiating a better pull.

And with the slight curvature of the magazine, it’s necessary to manually pull the spent mag out of the grip rather than let it drop to the ground for a reload.

The “small-grip-big-hand” conundrum also rears its ugly head when you tuck the Curve inside the waistband for concealed carry. It’s tough to gain a purchase on the gun for a draw since there’s not a lot of real estate to grab onto for a pull. That’s why keeping it as a pocket pistol might work best for the larger set, as the trigger guard holster conveniently loops around the shooters belt, pulling the holster off during a pocket draw.

Sure, nothing’s perfect. But there is no doubt Taurus pulled off one of the most “outside the box” concepts in the pistol market with its Curve. And for the smaller framed shooter or female who needs personal protection in a handgun that won’t stand out against tailored clothing, the Curve sets the bar high for a “gun you wear.”

Specifications

Caliber: .380 ACP
Action: Double Action Only (DAO)
Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
Barrel Length: 2.5 Inches
Overall Length: 5.18 Inches
Overall Height: 3.7 Inches
Overall Width: 1.18 Inches (0.88 Inches Grip)
Sights: N/A
Lights/Laser: Integrated LaserLyte System
Trigger Pull: 5-7 Pounds
Weight: 10.2 Ounces (Unloaded)
MSRP: $392

Materials

Slide: Carbon Steel
Barrel: Stainless Steel
Grip: Polymer With Metallic Subframe
Safety Devices: Loaded Chamber Indicator; Taurus Security System
Accessory: Trigger Protector
Holster: Integrated Side Belt Clip
Slide Finish: Matte Blue