The Taurus Judge series of .410-firing pistols proves that aggressive marketing can sell ice to Eskimos. The self-defense pistols aren’t ideal for handgun buyers seeking stopping power or concealability. Why are so many otherwise intelligent people purchasing — and presumably carrying — these enormous hand cannons? Let’s go to the tape . . .
There I am, minding my own business, when someone familiar with my firearms fascination will come up and elbow me gently. “Hey, man. I got somethin’ I wanna show you. Check it out. I’m carrying a Taurus Judge revolver. These things are great for self-defense!”
Without exception, I smile. When they offer to show it to me, and I politely decline. I’ve seen them and I’ve shot them. When they detect my distinct lack of enthusiasm, the petulant pistoleros are not pleased. “You don’t like the Judge?”
No. No I don’t. For one thing, it’s too damn big, Only a Taurus Judge could make Dirty Harry’s famous large frame revolver, a Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum (“blow your head clean off”) look sort of compact.
While nobody I know carries a Model 29, I know plenty of folks who regularly carry a Judge on their belts. I wonder if the American Chiropractic Association hasn’t sponsored a round of advertising for The Judge. Anyway . . .
Depending on the time, place and whether or not I like the person, I gently suggest other options better suited for daily concealed carry against short range two-legged critters, let alone for home defense. If they tell me they’ve loaded their .410 shot shells with birdshot — to minimize over-penetration concerns — I may try to educate them.
Just because a Judge is big doesn’t make it the be-all end-all self-defense tool.
Yes, the Judge fires a shotgun shell. I suppose that makes it a shotgun, of sorts. But with precious few exceptions, .410 projectiles fired out of handguns — even at close range — simply don’t penetrate tissue deeply enough to quickly and efficiently stop a perp’s progress.
[Gun store salespeople sometimes suggest multiple strikes from buckshot, discs or other projectiles as a viable alternative to adequate projectile penetration. Not so.]
Yes, slugs launched from a .410 bore shotshells don’t penetrate deeply. Probably because it weighs 90 grains and comes out of the Judge’s muzzle at roughly the same velocity as a .380 Auto round. Imagine a gun store trying to sell someone a .380 that holds five rounds, weighs nearly two pounds loaded and looks bigger than a four-inch version of Dirty Harry Callahan’s heater.
Then there’s the rifling. In some loads, that rifling spreads those buckshot loads all over the place. A portable “street sweeper” might appeal to those who think aiming is over-rated. However, ambulance-chasing lawyers will love you if an errant pellet (or ten) injures or kills an innocent.
Yes, you can use The Judge to fire .45 Long Colt. But if you really like that caliber in a self-defense gun, you can get a .45 Long Colt six shooter with a shorter barrel length that’s smaller, more accurate, easier to conceal and did I mention holds six rounds instead of five?
Folks can do a lot better than a Taurus Judge as their everyday carry piece. More ammo, better ballistics, better penetration and stopping power all in a package that’s smaller, lighter and easier to conceal.
Thankfully, most of us will never need to use our defensive pistol for defensive purposes at close quarters. Hopefully for those of us who do, we will have something besides a Taurus Judge in our hand.