Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Taurus Judge Promoted as Anti-Carjacking Weapon: Help or Hype?

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.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check Out the newest Taurus commercial. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWFGsTsNxa8. It was actually filmed in Oregon.

Zak Johnson said...

Good ad, catchy slogan. The spread on the 000 shown in slow motion is tighter than I expected; not sure the watermelons are representative of sufficient penetrating power or not. Thanks for the link! Fun ad.

brian r said...

I am mildly interested in the Judge as another carry piece. With the 000 buck shot the 2.5" shells are delivering 3 rounds of about 70 grains each at about 1300 fps if I remember correctly. plus each piece of shot is about the same diameter of a .38, .357, or 9mm round. I think this would be very potent at close range. The spread is excessive if the target is very far (even across the room), but as a close quarters (very close) weapon, I think it would be great. Remember that .45 Colt cartridges can also be utilized and they are a proven man stopper. Out of the judges short barrel, I doubt that over penetration would be a problem with the .45 Colts either.

Zak Johnson said...

Yeah, the .410 "000" is .36 caliber. It's very effective out of a long barrel. I know somebody who bought one I may be able to test out soon--I'll let you know how it goes.

2block said...

I have a Taurus Judge .45LC/.410-3". I don't know how good the .410 is for self defense but this gun is really fun to shoot. It is a heavy gun so I can hit something with it, I have a .38 Smith ultralite and it keeps wanting to jump out my hands. With .45 colt I got 2" groups at 20', which is very good for me. With .410-3"000 buck I got a 7" pattern at 10' and a 13" at 20'. Like I say this is fun to shoot, cans, bottles, pine cones, etc. Hell if I had a trophy room I would mount an old refrigerator door on the wall I killed. What I don't like nowhere on the gun is marked what caliber it is. I slipped a .444 marlin in the cylinder and it fit perfect, that means a .44 magnum will fit and fire. Maybe all Taurus revolvers are like this, never owned one before.

2block said...

My mistake, did find where it said caliber and gauge.

Zak Johnson said...

Be careful with that. I know someone who put a .32 into a .32-20 and nearly ruined their gun, and their hand.

2block said...

Taurus calls it a magnum. 45 colt isn't a magnum neither is a .410 3" shot shell but this gun is a blast to shoot.

Anonymous said...

I own the Taurus Judge and I enjoy the weapon very much it does have limitations and is not a super weapon ! I do wish that Taurus would make a Judge with an interchangable .45 ACP cylinder as .45 Colt ammo is hard to find and when it is located the price is out of sight ! When I hike in the mountains here in Northern Arizona I carry my Judge with .45 Colt followed by .410 buckshot in the cylinder , the .410 #8 shot is nearly worthless beyond 15 feet as pentetration is very poor , good only for snakes at around 10 feet or less ! Remember the lower the number on the .410 shot the larger the shot and the greater the penetration ! Also be aware that California does not allow the Judge or any of the shotgun derringers ! So shooting a carjacker in California could bring you a possible lawsuit if you are traveling thru California !

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Taurus Judge is allowed in the State of Michigan ? Just got a letter from my uncle in sterling Heights Michigan the other day , a friend stopped by for a visit and on his way home had to stop in Detroit for gas , unfortunately he was heldup by two car jackers who tryed to steal his car and then shot him to death when he refused to give them his car keys ! He may have been alive today if he were carrying a weapon preferably the Taurus Judge !

Anonymous said...

I never realized it before but the Taurus Judge is a great little gun to carry in some of the remote or back country roads if a person does any hiking or bike riding , as on occasion I have seen packs of stray dogs and these animals can be extremely dangerous , I know an individual whose wife was riding a bike on a remote country road here in Northern Arizona and was attacked by several large stray dogs and bitten very badly ! The Judge besides being a good anti-carjacking weapon is a great hiker's gun , I would carry the weapon loaded with one round of shot buckshot followed by one round of .45 Colt , good stopping power for anything man or beast !

Anonymous said...

Have a 6.5" Taurus that is so much
fun to shoot shotshells, slugs and
000 buck. At 21 ft., I used some
Remington Game #6 Loads and the new
Federal Premium #4 Defense loads.

The Federals, the most expensive
were also the most disappointing.
Only a few pellets touched the
target. The Remington peppered
the target very well. So well in
fact that although is doesn't
group as well as carjacking dis-
tance, it would still cause a lot
of problems and perhaps end a
conflict.

I hope to use it for small gamme
and deer ,but I must tryout farther targets. Gun was sent to
Florida for repairs. I believe
the high velocity of the shotshell
and slugs loosened it up a bit. It
is the most fun gun one could shoot.

Anonymous said...

I own both the Taurus Judge and the Bond derringer .45/410 , today I took the Bond derringer to the range and shot a few Winchester #8 2 1/2 inch shot shells ! All I can say is that the Bond derringer is a very well made derringer but does not hold a candle to the Taurus Judge ! I aimed at a target , a jar lid about 4 inches in diameter at about 8 paces and only 3 of the #8 shot even hit the target ! Hitting any target with the short double barrel of a derringer is very difficult as you will either hit too high or too low a problem you will not have with the Judge . And also any shot smaller than #4 is almost worthless in the derringer as there is so little penetration , at 10 paces the #8 shot did not even go completely thru a plastic bottle , just one side , so if you use the shot in your Judge or derringer avoid the small shot #7 and higher ! The best thing going for the Bond derringer is that you can change barrels and can shoot .22 LR thru .45 Colt and .45ACP . The .45 Colt or the .45 ACP are real self-defence calibers !

Anonymous said...

Wish that one day Taurus will come out with interchangable cylinders for their Judge , .45 ACP and maybe the ultimate a .45/70 cylinder an Alaskan survival weapon , for the back country of Alaska a weapon to defend one's self against polar bears if needed or to use in Africa against a lion attack as a backup side arm !

Anonymous said...

As a side note to my earlier comment on the .45/.410 derringer , I was at a local gun show here in the State of Arizona a few years back and I noticed an American Arms derringer for sale in the .45/70 caliber for $200 , the individual who was selling the weapon also included a life time suppy of ammo with the gun which was one box of .45/70 bullets ! The seller told me that one box of bullets is all I would ever want to shoot in that gun in my life time ! He was selling the gun after only shooting it once and having the weapon fly out of his hand and hit his wife on the head who was standing behind him ! This is also one of the big advantages of the Judge over any of the shotgun derringers , you have a real grip to put your hand around ! I once owned the American Arms derringer in the .44 magnum caliber , shot it only twice before I sold it as it was the most painful gun I ever shot ! Take a hammer and hit the web of your hand very hard , and you will get an idea what shooting a .44 magnum derringer is like ! God , did that hurt !!!!

Zak Johnson said...

I had the same experience the first time I fired a .45 derringer--sailed right over my head. I found it was easier to handle if you put your pointer finger over the top of the derringer and then pull the trigger with your middle finger. But the limitations of the derringer described by several others above still apply. American Arms does make other derringers with a 6-inch barrel and more substantial grip, which some people have recommended as snake guns. My feelings are that the derringer is simple an historic curiosity with not much value as a defensive weapon, especially since new .380s and even some .45 semi-autos are nearly as small and concealable as a .45 derringer. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd never carry a derringer for self-defense unless there were no other options, and even then a knife might still have the edge.

Anonymous said...

I had a rather good laugh the other evening , on one of the other web sites an individual said that the North American .22 mini-revolver was the perfect hiking or trail gun to carry ! Carry against what ? A small single action .22 with almost no rear sight at all , a gun that a person would use to defend themselves against what ? Mountain lions , bears , a pack of wild dogs or a gang of dope crazed thugs ? Just picture yourself facing a large fast moving mountain lion with a mini-revolver with no rear sights ! The Taurus Judge is the best weapon made for carrying on the trail , for snakes buckshot or #6 or larger shot , larger animals both four legged and two legged , buckshot , .410 slug or the .45 Colt ! The North American mini-revolvers are well made but not practical as a wilderness trail defence weapon , for a female jogger in say Chicago's Grant park or New York City's Central park with a necklace holster the mini-revolver is ideal .

Anonymous said...

Just an important word of advise to all of the owners of the Taurus Judge , with the high cost of ammo especially .45 Colt and being hard to find right now , once in awhile reloaded ammo can be found at yard sales or swap meets especially in the Western States , know the individual well before you buy any reloaded ammo ! Sometimes .45 Colt ammo has been loaded to the power of a .45 magnum , this could be at best cause damage your gun or even cause injury or death to yourself or someone standing near you , so always becareful when buying reloads from strangers !

Anonymous said...

A storey that appeared today on the news wire , August 17th , and one more reason why carrying the Taurus Judge could save a person's life . In the State of Georgia a college professor and his wife were attacked and killed by a pack of nearly a dozen stray dogs ! The bodies were discovered nearly 24 hours after they were brutely attacked on a remote country road their bodies were horribly mutilated ! The Taurus Judge would have been saved their lives !Something always to think about before hiking even in so called safe remote areas !

Anonymous said...

The Taurus Judge is far superior to any of the shotgun derringers , last week I decided to shoot one of my .45/.410 single shot derringers not a Bond or an American Arms derringer but a rather small off brand derringer that shoots not only the .45 Colt but the 2 and a half as well as the 3 inch shot shells !I fired two #7 .410 shot shells 2 and a half inch shells at a paper back book which was at about 10 paces ! Well needless to say I was most disappointed as most of the shot did not even hit the book ! And the shot that did hit the book only penetrated about 20 pages ! A big blast alot of noise and recoil but nothing to show for it ! I only fired two rounds as the recoil was terribly painful from that little gun ! My web of my hand felt like it had been hit with a hammer !

Anonymous said...

The other day I was reading one of the latest gun magazines and I seen an article about some of the newest pistols and revolvers that will be offered to the public this year , Taurus will be offering two new "Judges" one calibered for the .454 Casull , which will also shoot the lower powered .45 Colt and the .410 shot shells ! Needless to say this will really have some knock down power , a great survival weapon great for use up near the artic circle against polar bears or used as a backup weapon in Africa against lions ! The other Taurus Judge will be a carbine similar to the old Colt revolving rifle , interesting but do not think that weapon will be that popular ! I bet that Taurus in a year or two will offer a Judge in the ultimate .45 caliber , the .45/70 !

brian r said...

I just saw that the Judge will also now be offered with a polymer frame similar to Ruger's LCR.

Gary said...

I just purchased a stainless steel judge with a 2.5 inch chamber and a 3 inch barrel. I reall like this new gun. For those of you who would like to fire .45acp from the gun, guess what... you can!!! All you need is a moon clip. I purchased two of them from my local sporting goods shop for the judge and had no problem firing .45acp from it with the moon or Steller clip as it's called. Not that being said, the ..45acp was not the most accurate round from the judge. I have not jet tried the .45 clolt ammo from my judge but I will at some point I'm sure. One thing that I did find is that if you want an excelent self defense round try the new federal 000 buck round. It has four .36 cal copper clad pellets in a plastic cup. When fired the pattern is extreamly tight.At about 15 to 20 feet you can cover the pattern with your hand and will penetrate 1/2 inch plywood easy. The Judge combined with this new Federal round makes the Judge a self defense weapon to be respected by the owner and feared by the bad guy.
Gary