Defending the Judge

Got a rather long passionate email about the Taurus Judge and everything that is good about it.  The problem though… is that it’s still a Taurus Judge… in .410.  See, regardless of the benifits of the Judge… It’s good at neither shooting the .45 Colt or the .410…

It’s quite true that there are people that have unrealistic expectations about The Judge. It’s not a “monster-slayer,” but you could also say the same thing about a number of other guns out there. (This is mostly due to TV and movies, coupled with a general intellectual laziness whereby most people will see said movie, say, “OOOH, That’s cool! I want one,” and never bother to do their homework. Most serious gun owners actually know better anyway.)

That said, The Judge does have some good points that shouldn’t be glossed over. If you do, you’re just as bad as the people mentioned above.

The primary purpose of this gun is anti-snake. Most ranchers carry some kind of light rifle or shotgun, (at the very least in a vehicle) while they are surveying or doing some kind of work on their property. It is not possible or convenient to carry said shotgun or rifle for every single conceivable task or location. It is significantly more convenient to carry something in a holster attached to one’s hip than slung across one’s shoulder. (I would LIKE to carry my M1-A, and, although it’s perfectly legal in Texas, it’s inconvenient on a motorcycle, and worries the sheeple, which is necessary grief! I CAN carry my concealed handgun.)

I had an uncle who was deathly afraid of rattlesnakes, (just shy of paranoid, but for good reason!) His primary method of ridding himself of a known rattlesnake was to run over it with a vehicle, and then chip its head off with a shovel while the snake was pinned. This worked well if one had a vehicle and shovel. He’s been in situations where he was missing one or both. To make matters worse, they sometimes bite without rattling, and killing one with just a shovel requires that one get unnecessarily close to the snake.

With The Judge, if you see a snake that you can’t avoid or work around, one or two shots with #9 shot will take care of it. That give you three extras, “just in case.”

That which applies to the rancher applies to the fisherman who is concerned about water moccasins, (which are VERY aggressive!) or bears. The Judge is indeed weak tea vs bear, (even with Speer Gold Dots,) but the revolver will “dual-hat” between .410 and .45LC, and sometimes that’s a better choice overall.

A good secondary purpose would be small game and / or light varmint at close range. As above, it’s easier to carry than a long-gun.

A good tertiary purpose would be anti-carjacking in areas where one is paranoid about over-penetration. This is a bigger concern if you live in a big city, and not so much for a small town or country. Then again, in such areas, carjacking is less of a concern.

The Judge would not fit in the role of skeet shooting, unless you’re insanely good and want a challenge, or are a dingbat, and like the idea of shooting skeet with a handgun.

The Judge is too big to conceal unless you are a big-and-tall person wearing the right clothing with the right holster. Even then, there are better choices.

For home-defense, there’s very little reason not to have an actual shotgun.

That said, don’t be too hard on The Judge. Educate the people who have Holywood ideas about guns and their capabilities.


26 thoughts on “Defending the Judge”

  1. For snakes my SBH w/1 CCI .44 spl shotshell will serve the same purpose but against bear a good hard lead .44 magnum is proven medacine. I don’t know why the S&W Govenor isn’t taking any of the Judge’s thunder…it is the same principle except the S&W comes with those 2-shot moon clips for .45ACP or .45GAP to add to the cylinder mix.

  2. I have a friend with health problems living in a 40′ motor home. He has a lot of firearm knowledge, ex special forces. After much discussion, he got a Judge that is holstered in the driver’s seat area and a Bond Derringer .45 Long Colt/.410 for a carry weapon. Given his physical limitations including eyesight and stroke after effects, his “home”, and his daily activities, these two seemed the best choice for him.

    In his case, it was all about the right tools for the job.

    Just a note. I’ve never seen a mechanical device better made than the Bond.

  3. What the judge does it does pretty well, but it is a niche weapon, imo.

    It’s an excellent snake gun, no argument there. Rats and other critters as well, I suppose.

    It’s versitile. Depending on the model, one might fire .410, .45colt, .45acp or .45 gap
    through one. I’m not sure if .45 auto rim will run through the judge or not.

    Other than those two points, I’m assuming that most sales are due to hype.
    More than once, hanging out in gunshops I’ve heard people comment on the judge
    being that pistol you can put a shotgun shell in, generally with a bit of awe.

    Undeserved awe, yes, but with load development for the .410 moving right along,
    that might change. I would really like to see a .410 fletchette load, myself.

    I carried a .410/.45colt derringer for years while working at a hotel.
    The limited penetration of the .410 was the reason I chose that weapon.
    Mind you, it wasn’t the only weapon I carried. The .410 was for use up on the floors
    and interiors, and as a backup. I carried a .38 for other areas.

    But in the end, really, the judge has been selling like hotcakes, and anything that gets
    more people to become gun owners can’t be that bad.

    And +1 on the bond derringers.
    They are built like a tank that was assembled by a swiss watchmaker.


  4. I sure don’t remember anyone (internet gurus, gun rags or shop workers) touting the .410 as a great self defense weapon before the revolvers. Now, all of a sudden, it is an excellent HD/SD slayer. Flavor of the week. I have seen reports of people carrying .410 slugs in it. Really? That is why it is able to shoot 45LC.

  5. Espousing about the legitimate pros and cons doesnt change the fact that it is still a novelty gun.

  6. Its a morons gun of choice. I can not believe how many of these I sell. I even tell people my honest opinion on them, and they’re still so enthused they buy them.

    Heres what I do if I see a snake. I leave it the fuck alone and walk away. You’re out of your goddamn mind if you buy a $500 hand cannon because you’re worried about snakes. You are way more likely to get bit fucking around with one than leaving it alone.

  7. No snakes up here, but the Judge does sell in two niche markets. First, to people who don’t have the second idea about self-defence (they do have the first idea-get a gun. Second, the longer barreled models sell as ‘snowmachine guns’, something to carry when you’re out in the Bush on your snowmachine. Wild West Guns will thread the end of your barrel and fit a choke they make so the Judge can actually shoot more like a shotgun and you know, be useful.

    1. That’s skirting the grey area of the law with putting in a choke. Handheld shotguns are a serious no-no. But since the barrel is rifled, they get away with it.

      1. I’m pretty sure that they modeled it after the TC .45/.410 choke. It’s removeable like a suppressor.

  8. Don’t have the Judge but I do have the Bond arms Snake Slayer. I recommend safety glasses if you are shooting anything at close range with a 410 shell out of a very short barrel because the shot has a tendency to bounce back in your face due to the severely reduced velocity. I found this out testing the Bond on an empty plastic bottle. I also have found that it isn’t hard to just shoot the snake in the head from 3 or 4 paces with one of my other pistols. The Bond is a very cool little conversation piece though and is extremely well made. Just not practical.

    1. This is why I have never understood using a “snake gun.” It is either close enough that I can hit it with my carry pistol or it is far enough away that I don’t care.

  9. I bought a Public Defender a couple of years ago.

    It’s fun out at the range, but that’s about it.

    The .410 action at the range is entertaining. Its performance with pipsqueak 45LC rounds is underwhelming. Trigger pull is heavy but fairly smooth.

    I’ll most likely be trading it for a compact .38 or .357, or even a .327, and not feeling the least bit bad about it.

  10. I have tried forever to talk with people about the Judge, and am almost to the point of just smiling and patting them on the back.


  11. I know it’s impractical as hell. I know I’m far better off with a .357 Taurus Tracker, with seven shots, not five, and better rifling and cylinder gap.

    But it’s so honking big, it just can’t help but make me smile as a safe queen or something just to toy around with.

    For serious business, you’re so much better off with a 686, 686-Plus, or ,357 Tracker. And just to put George’s panties in a bunch, I’ll throw in the Ruger GP100 and the SP101 4″ Kit Magnum. 😉

  12. It’s not my thing. I’d never carry it, or buy it. But, if a person wants one, just because they think it’s cool, I’m not going to bash on them. Nor am I going to bash if they choose it for CCW. My attitude on CCW is, exercise your right to do it. If a Judge is what you want to lug around, so be it. You are the one having to contend with weight and concealment challenges. As far as .45 Colt for a defensive round, well, I’ve been to enough homicides from the puny .22 and .380, I’m not really going to roll my eyes at a .45 Colt.

  13. I don’t like them because they replaced some pretty decent .45 Colt revolvers with these ugly abominations. They need to bring back their .45 snubbie.

  14. I agree with some of your points but why is it that everyone who is a critic of a judge does not talk about the magnum judge?

    So far, nothing beats my Raging Judge Magnum.
    This weapon has a 3″ cylinder and a 3″ barrel and weighs almost 4lbs fully loaded and that solid stainless steel weight makes all recoil/rise as easy to handle as shooting a 9mm. The pistol grip is also a custom soft foam with a hard rubber strip that seats perfectly with your palm and gets rid of painful kickback issues. The fiber optic sight works very well, even in low light. With the versatility of ammo loads that this weapon offers, you can have the ability to respond to any threat with the force required to keep you safe. This revolver holds 6 rounds and will shoot any 2 1/2″ or 3″ 410. shotgun shell, longcolt, or 454 casull rounds up to 300 grains. I like to change the loads depending on where I am or will be going. If you live in the inner city (like me) I like to keep my 1st round 3″ 410. PDX1 so the shotgun round won’t go through my house and kill an innocent person outside or in the next house over. My second round is a longcolt 255 grain hollow point, if it is even needed. Third, fourth, and fifth rounds go shotgun – longcolt – shotgun, and a 454 casull 300 grain hollow point for my last round so there is never any doubt that you just fired your last shot! As with all wheel guns if you just pull the hammer back about 1/4″ it frees the cylinder so you can spin it to whatever round you want to fire. I have fired almost every single handgun caliber there is and NOTHING beats a 454 casull round. They are extremely accurate, use high quality propellants so there is minimal smoke clouds from firing, and once you start shooting these rounds you will know without a doubt why they are used to hunt grizzlies & moose! The Raging Judge Magnum also comes in a 6″ barrel length for serious hunters who want to mount a scope or whatever to the built in rails. The power, versatility, and FEAR this weapon projects makes it the best handgun I have ever owned. At 10 yards I put all 6 rounds with-in the head of the badguy on the target and I kept it for proof as that was the best I have ever shot!
    As a last tip to all the gun lovers out there I will share this tid-bit, an all stainless steel handgun can be made to shine like chrome if you use some MOTHER’S POLISH and a dremel!

    1. *Quote*
      I have fired almost every single handgun caliber there is and NOTHING beats a 454 casull round.*Quote*
      I would like to introduce you to the .460 and .500 S&W.
      Personally, I dont want my guns to shine like chrome.
      10 yards, 6 in a coffee can… I would hope that most practiced shooters could do that.
      Who have you scared with your revolver?
      Step loading seems like a good idea at first blush, however it pretty much goes out the window in actual IM GONNA DIE!!! stress use.
      In general… “Serious Hunters” use hunting firearms.
      You CAN do your hunting with the judge, then again I knew a guy who tried to take a deer with a 12 gauge and #4 shot… seriously. Just because you can doesnt mean that you should.
      When hunting that much free bore cant help.
      Shoot what you like… just dont convince yourself that it is something that it isnt.
      As for what I carry and depend on? This usually comes up in these demonstrations of Manhood Waggling…
      1911 in .45ACP, 1911 in 10mm, and a .44 magnum.
      In the house it is a shot gun or semi auto 9mm submachine gun.


  15. I paddle around all Summer long here in Cottonmouth territory but have yet to feel the need to buy a novelty gun just for the theoretical attack that has never (and most likely won’t) ever happen.

    As for “Mr. Raging Judge” – Jesus man, it’s a 4-pound chunk of mediocre gun making, not a bloody religion – give us a break.

    1. +1.
      If I want to launch .454’s at anything, with something stainless weighing 4 lbs…lessee…I’ll take the 16″ Rossi/Puma 92 for 5(ish) lbs, Alex…and throw that group at 50 or 100 yards.

      And it holds 10 rounds.

      -Gino, who walks around snakes, even when packing.

  16. Snakes. When I lived in Brazoria county, I never had a problem dealing with cottonmouths with anything other than a hoe or a canoe paddle.

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