Gun Review: Smith & Wesson Governor (Take Four)


[I found this review by LC Judas in the comments’ section.]

Okay, originally I was in the impulsive gun market after a grip failure on a SIG Equinox. My resale would cover a Governor new. I wanted to see if the cylinder would handle hot .45 LC rounds without making me understand shrapnel from experience. I found nothing but indications that hot loads are a bad idea in this gun. After reading [TTAG’s initial take on the Smith & Wesson Governor] and all the comments included I have a couple things to add. The first problem is we have four crowds yelling here, not two . . .

There’s the “Smith & Season gimmick powered garbage” group who think this revolver is a set up for failure quality-wise from Smith because they have copied Taurus (for once), and Taurus is simply mediocre weaponry.

Then there are the folks who see the cartridges here as an incorrect assortment and believe this gun and its like are too niche and that since its questionably lethal—as there is lackluster shooting data on .410; handguns with cartridges are proven better self-defense guns. But exactly which handgun is NOT agreed upon here as we’ve all got different budgets and tastes and vastly different experiences.

Then there’s the crowd that the Governor/Judge was marketed to. Folks who think the cartridge selection justified the creation of this scatter-shot revolver platform. People who think that a revolver will never fail.

Then the .45 cult. People who believe that a bullet—any bullet at least 9/20″ wide—is God’s gift to ammunition. The people who are quoting history books instead of ballistic charts and scoff at modern numbers because they can.

I formed this idea of getting a Governor because I was in groups one and three. My issue: I can’t equate all the hype into facts, and I’ve already got an original Springfield Series 70 1911 that does most of my .45 business and has never failed once. The revolver round is not as common and not what sells this gun, I won’t pretend it is. My only consideration of this was the moon clips in tandem with the .410 but look at a .410 cartridge. If you cut it open you get a lot of lead as projectile at the target. Weigh it. THAT is what turned my head after hearing it took .45ACP as well.

It’s a lot of lead if you pick either the Winchester Supreme or the Federal 000 Buck. You get four .380ACP weight and diameter projectiles at the same speed as .380 at the same time. That or the disc powered death cloud from Winchester. Both promise a lot but neither is going to be safe outside of 21 feet as you can’t assure it will group tight enough to not hurt others nearby.

Nothing but practice with a reliable and accurate gun you’re familiar with is going to give you that confidence. A super short barrel shotshell sold as a spraying cannon of home defense bad guy oblivion isn’t a stable shooting platform—especially not for the idea of others in the line of fire. Does that mean blowing an ounce of any kind of shot into a small “from me to you” area is bad? Far from it. Weight speaks for itself but the following kills the gun:

The shotgun caliber is largely untested because Law Enforcement and professionals have no use for it. Then both Taurus and S&W have questionable reputations(as of now). There are better platforms that are more hand friendly, attractive and concealable in the .45 calibers. So not useless, simply an untested niche weapon that may suit you. But odds are it doesn’t. The Governor shines at a few things, but other guns are as good or better at doing them.

Don’t make it what it’s not and it will do as designed. Like it or not.

Related posts:

Click here for Chris Dumm’s review of the Smith & Wesson Governor
Click here for Roy Hill’s review of the Smith & Wesson Governor
Click here for Robert Farago’s review of the Smith & Wesson Governor