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When a friend of mine told me he found the ultimate handgun I had to say I was a bit skeptical. Sure, it sounded great to fire a heavy duty pistol round and a shotgun shell, but seriously what would you use it for? Seems I had a lot to learn.

Taurus has introduced a handgun perfect for the outdoorsman. Imagine hiking on the way to your favorite tree stand and finding one of the denizens of the forest blocking your path. Granted most will either run or slither off, but some, like the cottonmouth, is no respecter of size. So unless you are a master of the dance while loaded down with your gear, firepower may be your only option.

Chambered for the .410 shotgun shell, the Taurus Judge packs an effective package of shredding power to reliably send the slithering monster to his eternal reward. However, if the troll blocking your path stands upright in challenge, the Judge also fires the .45 Colt cartridge - a half inch diameter hole going in and an hole you can't cover your hand with coming out.

"The Judge" is the appropriate name for this five-shot revolver. Weighing in at just under 36 ounces, the Taurus Judge comfortably holsters on the hip or across the chest, ready to dispense justice at both long and short distances.

The elephant in the room is always the question its use as a self defense weapon. The .410 shotgun shell proves that this revolver is a close range proposition. At ranges greater than twelve feet, the shot pattern opens rather quickly. So distance is a factor to keep the pattern tight enough to assure a quick kill. Keep in mind the added dimension of the shot gauge will determine whether the carjacker who jerks your door open and demands your vehicle, receives a face altering birdshot or a closed casket funeral.

At distances longer than twelve feet, .45 Colt loads is the answer. Accuracy is what you would expect for this tried and true load. Recognize that the Taurus Judge is not meant to be a paper-punching target revolver, but rather a practical and versatile fighting weapon. One online recommendation I saw suggested two number four shot load followed by three hollow points might be the ideal for conflict resolution.

In my experience, the trigger pull was smooth in single action measured a clean four and three-quarters pounds. The double action measured in at noticeable but reasonable nine and one half pounds. All told, this is a lot of fun to shoot! The Taurus 'ribber' grips and padded back strap are both comfortable and recoil reducing thus taking the bite out of the Judge's bark.

Versatile and attention getting. Pack extra ammo for all of the guys at the range who want to shoot it. See more gun reviews on at Facebook / YankeeTactical and coming soon at Coming Soon - Future home of something quite cool
 

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I'll pass, the terminal ballistics of the .410 shotshell, even with 3" #4 shot do not exceed the .45 acp. I would prefer a compact semi auto in a serious caliber, with 7 rounds and the ability to reload in a flash, than a wheel gun that is bigger than a blunderbuss. Not many speedloaders out there for .410 shotshells...lol

I could see the practical use for this gun as a trail or field back up,a snake killer maybe, but the "personal defense" marketing spiel doesn't make that much sense to me. This isn't the first time this has been marketed, it didn't sell then, and I don't think the CCW crowd will buy into this hype either...sorry
 

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I picked up one of these bad boys and fitted it with a Crimson Trace grip. With the .45 Colt I shot nice groups at 15 yards and got good patterns from several different .410 loads. Since I got this for "bump in the night" scenarios at home, a rail for a light would have been useful, but I'm sure I can find a good workaround. To me, the only downsides were the slow reloading issue and the 5-round capacity, weight not being a big issue for a nightstand gun.

In the meantime, Smith & Wesson have come out with their six-shot Governor which can handle everything the Taurus can plus .45 ACP in 2, 3, or 6-round moon clips. You can load this puppy up with what ever .45 Colt, .45 ACP, or .410 mix 'n match combo you want and have full-moon .45 ACP clips for rapid reload if needed. The only real downside I see is the cost; you're looking at about a grand for a Governor with a Crimson Trace grip sight. In any event, this is my number two priority for purchase after I get a quality AR lower for my Wilson 300 ACC Blackout upper when I get back to the states in March.

I consider Governor (or Taurus) as a not unreasonable candidate for SHTF status given it's versatility in regards to ammo and reasonable concealibility with outdoor clothing.
 
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