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Taurus Judge, How Do I Loathe Thee

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.

[h/t: Tam the ma’am, of course.]

[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.]

{ 10 } Comments

  1. alan | October 14, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Fashion reigns supreme even in the gun world.

  2. Tam | October 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Not to pick nits, but your average Taurus Judge customer’s idea of “fashion” seems to run to holed denim and apparel items with team logos upon them. Just an observation.

  3. pdb | October 14, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Right, I don’t think it’s so much follow the leader as it is a failure of critical thinking skills.

    “Wow, a pistol sized shotgun that doesn’t hurt to shoot? I’ll take three!”

  4. Andrew Sarchus | October 14, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    The best (as in funniest) argument for the Judge I’ve heard yet was that you could shoot slugs out of it because everyone knows that shotgun slugs awesome. Of course a .410 slugs is lighter, slower and (I think) narrower than a .45LC bullet.

  5. DirtCrashr | October 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Even a rake can do a job on snakes. In .45 Colt I like my 1909 – how much smaller is a “Judge”?

  6. Snackeater | October 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know about you guys, but when I shoot prairie rats I usually leave my shovel and rake in the truck. And my rifle is generally sitting on the bench and not too handy. But it’s real easy to reach down to my side and pull out a pistol to dispatch the occasional snake. And the Judge does that quite nicely. Which is pretty much what it’s designed to do.

  7. Marco | October 16, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s a great weapon for self defense: The only (semi) hard part is making sure your attacker has one.

  8. George | October 17, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t know about you guys, but when I shoot prairie rats I usually leave my shovel and rake in the truck. And my rifle is generally sitting on the bench and not too handy. But it’s real easy to reach down to my side and pull out a pistol to dispatch the occasional snake. And the Judge does that quite nicely. Which is pretty much what it’s designed to do.”

    I’ve never met anyone in person who even mentioned the Judge’s potential use against critters.

    However, everyone touting the Judge has heralded it as a great defensive weapon, which is bullshit…

  9. DirtCrashr | November 13, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    This month’s Handloader magazine has an article on making .410 loads including an experiment with brace of 8-sinker shots held together with a thin wire, and a couple double-ought buck. Very 18th Century in-the-rigging kinda chain-shot thinking. Probably not legal everywhere (if anywhere) but the hole it made was suitably impressive.

  10. Gossip | March 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    As long as it hurls a piece of metal really fast at whatever I’m shooting and gets it away from me, it defended me pretty well

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