The link below shows an interesting promotional video of the Taurus Judge, a 5-shot .45 cal revolver also chambered to use .410 shotgun shells.
I've always liked .410. A long-barreled .410 shotgun loaded with 000 buckshot is actually much more lethal and useful for home defense than is generally appreciated by those favoring larger gauge shotguns. A .410 has practically no "kick," is easy to aim, and the shot is safer to use in many situations, such as home defense, where a bullet from a handgun or rifle is more likely to penetrate interior and exterior walls.
The .410 "000" buckshot shell fires shot pellets of about .36 caliber. The 2.5 inch shell holds 3 pellets, the 3 inch shell holds 5. Even in a pump-action model shotgun, this allows for an impressive rate of fire, with each pellet striking (at close range) with power comparable to a .44 Magnum, and with minimal spread at short distances, e.g. across the living room.
However, in the past I have not been impressed with short-barreled weapons that fire shotgun shells. This is because the power is greatly diminished and the spread of the shot is so great that the number of pellets reaching the target can be pretty low. Derringers designed to fire .410 shells are especially poor because of their very short barrels and tiny grips that make it difficult to hold onto when firing without changing your grip, e.g. firing with the middle finger while laying the pointer over the top. With bird shot, I have had the experience of firing a .410 derringer at plywood from only 6 feet and finding that none of the pellets either hit or penetrated the target. Not a great recommendation for self defense.
The Judge seems a bit better--it has a longer barrel than most .45 derringers, a good grip and of course 3 more shots than an over/under 2-banger. But the problems with spread and penetration seem to persist according to the reviews I've seen. The video below tackles these objections head on and recommends the judge for a very specific purpose--putting down a carjacker at nearly point-blank range. For this purpose, the wide spread of the shot would seem to be an advantage, and the lack of penetrating power might not matter as much since you'd presumably be going for a shot to the face, neck and throat.
Here's the video demo:
If anyone has had the opportunity to fire the Judge or similar weapons, I'd love to know your impressions; doubly so if you've used it in a self-defense situation or know accounts of those who have. Thanks.