Alpha .357 

Having seen a number of detailed articles about the Alpha, I though I would just stick to what fellow shooters have asked, Is it any good? Is it as rough as it looks?

Well the first answer is yes, it shoots just fine, well lets' just say as well as a Taurus. Leading can still be a problem with low velocity HBWC, same as the Taurus, but on the whole it holds its' own on the accuracy front.

Finish is a little, shall we say agricultural. There are no real features or nice touches, a bit like a family saloon car, a bit dull, but functional. The blueing on the this one is a little better than some I have seen, but is still a little rustic. The case ejector rod is just a simple rod, no checkering or feature to it.

The only real worry though was the double action. This seemed to be very sloppy and was not very positive. This led me to start to doubt the faster, or double taps in Police Pistol competitions. I felt more relaxed when shooting slow fire target.

There are a few positives with regards finish though: The grippes are very nice, a very comfortable fit for small to medium hands, and look as if they have come off a more expensive firearm.

The daft rod coming out of the grip is a better shape than the original Taurus, and for me was just on the correct position for support in off-hand shooting.

However, the best feature for me was the weight. It was quite a bit lighter than the Taurus making it easier to hold on target, even with one hand before the wobbles set in. This has been achieved partly by an aluminium sleeve over the barrel and the slightly smaller all round dimensions.

Everything looks a little less robust than a Taurus, and though they have clearly been proofed to the same pressures as a Taurus, I would not feel confident in myself to fire a silhouette round, 158 gr jacketed bullet on top of 14.9 gr of 2400. I am not saying that it is not up to it, the Alpha just does not inspire confidence in me personally for heavy loads.

The Alpha is cheaper however, and retails around the £515-£535 mark, not bad as some are offering a Taurus at £645, but have been offered at £595 for older stock.

What do you get for your money? When I bought my Taurus, it was thrown in a Tesco bag and that was it, oh I did enquire about the screwdriver, and after a funny look from the dealer and some mumbling under the breathe he found one and threw that in the bag also.

This is not so with the Alpha. Firstly you get a nice hard plastic foam lined case, made to measure. Spare iron sight blades with a choice of thickness between a fine or thicker foresight. And finally, a nice cleaning mini kit with brushes rod, etc.

Is it worth the saving when compared against a Taurus? No not in my view, but then again I don't think the Taurus is worth £600. Not easy really, having been a pre- gun ban shooter, that had a mint SW Mod 19 that cost £270.