Let us count the ways!
For those of you late to the game, the Taurus Judge is a very large revolver that is advertised to fire both .410 2 1/2″ shotshells and .45 Colt cartridges. It sells for about $450 depending on version, weighs in at 30oz unloaded and is about 8″ from snout to tail.
It has been touted as an ideal self-defense tool for every niche from anti-carjacker to backwoods gun to bedside companion.
The reality is, it sucks at almost everything!
Firing shotshells, it does not offer enough barrel to give adequate velocity to birdshot or buckshot. Penetration even at close distances is too shallow to generate decisive wounding effects. Additionally, the rifled barrel will throw shot in a “donut” pattern at distances beyond about 7 yards; a ring of poorly spaced shot with a big hole of nothing in the middle. Past 7 yards, the Judge loaded with shotshells may not hit anything when you need it to, and the shot is too dispersed to do much even if it does. Even from a sporting length shotgun barrel, even using 3″ .410 shells, the cartridge is inadequate for personal defense.
Firing .45 Colt revolver cartridges, the Judge is probably fine, but you can easily find 5 shot big bore revolvers that are a lot smaller and handier to carry and shoot if you do not desire the requirement of shooting .410 shotshells.
Either way, the Judge happens to be manufactured by Taurus, who has historically demonstrated lackadaisical quality control and indifferent customer service. If you find yourself entranced by the Judge, I suggest deciding what you like better, a .410 shotgun or a .45 Colt revolver, and purchasing one of those from a reputable manufacturer.
The Judge does apparently do quite a job on snakes. But so does a shovel.
In conclusion, the Judge is a poorly thought out, flashy and gimmicky piece of junk that wouldn’t have stood a chance in the marketplace if American shooters understood terminal ballistics. The Judge’s single redeeming feature is that it serves as a marker for lack of clue. If you find someone espousing the Judge as an implement of self defense, disregard everything that person says and back away slowly.
[Update! Weerd gets in on the hate! Note the pic of him poking his not small fingers through the Judge's frame. This is not a small gun, folks. If you think you can carry a Judge, you can carry a real gun.]