Bringing the hateraede

It is no great secret that I am not a fan of the Taurus Judge. However, today Tam and pdb say it much better than I ever could. With bonus QOTD honors to pdb for this line:

The Judge does apparently do quite a job on snakes. But so does a shovel.

This isn’t a blanket condemnation of Taurus firearms. I had a PT-92 that really was a great gun and digested over 10k rounds; I also deeply covet their .38 Super PT1911 if for no other reason than it’s one of few factory available .38 Supers. But the Judge…I just don’t get the Judge. There is nothing that Judge does that can’t be done better by another gun; as one of the comments at Tam’s points out, the M&P45 can readily digest the CCI .45 ACP shotshells which will wreck snakes just fine, and you get more rounds in the mag, it’s easier to reload and actually lighter than a Taurus Judge.

I seriously don’t get it.


  1. Can’t fit a shovel in your pocket.

    I kinda understand why people bash Taurus so much. People tend to automatically bash non-pedigree guns, I get it. I have a friend that had one of their first 1911’s and never had an issue with it.
    I personally want one of their .38 or .357 revolvers just to finally have a DA revolver.

    1. Nick, it’s not about “non pedigree”. I don’t bash PT92s, and I don’t have enough experience with their 1911s to bash or not bash them. But I’ve shot a lot of Taurus revolvers, and for the most part they were uniformly poor. It’s not about bashing, it’s about recommending guns they work.

      1. I wasn’t implying that you were bashing. I have known a lot of people that just blindly bash Taurus across the board, no matter what.

  2. “People tend to automatically bash non-pedigree guns, I get it.”

    No offense, but Taurus also turns out a lot of lemons. Their early polymer framed pistols developed frame cracks. Their SAAs were also very hit or miss. Ditto their S&W clones. Everyone seems to like the PT92/99, mostly because of the safety, but other than that…

    “the M&P45 can readily digest the CCI .45 ACP shotshells which will snakes just fine”

    Really? Have you tried it? A lot of autoloaders have trouble feeding and more importantly cycling on the shotshells.

    1. Jeff, I can’t say I’ve personally tried it, I’m just repeating what someone else testified to. But even if it didn’t, a 325 Night Guard certainly would.

    2. “No offense, but Taurus also turns out a lot of lemons. Their early polymer framed pistols developed frame cracks. ”

      Just like the early Glocks, right?

      I try not to judge (no pun intended) any make of gun by their past crapola that was turned out. As long as they are willing to improve and try new designs I say more power to them!

      Remember the ‘pedigreed’ companies had their own problems when they were new, the good ones learn from their mistakes and come up with a better product because of it.

      As to snake dispatching I’ll stick to my Redhawk in 44 mag, by changing the ammo it can handle anything from mice to bears. Shot loads in automatics generally do not cycle the action, you have to rack the slide for each shot.
      Advantage: Revolver.

      BTW, why not just use the 45ACP ‘as is’? Great practice. I’ve been known to shoot grasshoppers with my 380 as practice time (great fun to see them explode too) and I’ve cut snakes in half with my 45, who needs shot loads?

  3. I’ve had several people tell me they were getting a Judge for self defense and this bothers me quite a bit. I understand why they have the assumption, Taurus’ marketing tells them this is the intended pistol for that purpose and that is a horrendous case of false advertising if I ever did see one.

    First thing I explain to them is that .410 is horrible at stopping a person. It’s for snakes, birds, and other small furry critters and that’s about it. I’ve pointed more than a few of them to the Box O Truth where they test the .410 to proof just how inadequate it is for self defense.

    Sure .45LC is a decent enough man stopper however .357 is even better, more readily available, cheaper and can be had in a more appropriately sized revolver.

    In my mind the true purpose of the Judge is as a trail gun, something reasonably compact you can load .410 in to kill snakes and such and also load .45LC in to killer larger game or the hypothetical hook-hand man from all the campfire horror stories you heard when you were a kid. It’s the kind of thing that would fit well in a backpack if you were camping and couldn’t afford the space for a larger weapon.

  4. .45acp won’t carry the same amount of shot that a .410 will, nor the same caliber. Until you’ve unloaded on that rabbit eating the wife’s flower, you don’t know what an awesome amount of fire power a Judge sends down range. For a packing around the ranch gun, it’s just about ideal. You once said that sometimes you take shooting too seriously, a Judge is a fun gun to plink with, give it a shot.

    1. I have no problem with the Judge as a toy, if people want to spend their money on it that’s not my problem. I have issues with it being advocated as a serious pistol for defensive purposes.

      You’re right that the CCI .45 ACP round doesn’t carry as much shot as a .410 shotshell, but the problem is that you don’t NEED all the shot that a .410 shotshell carries in pistol format to whack a snake. I have personally seen and dispatched snakes with .357 shot loads, so the .410 just seems…redundant.

      1. I definitely agree with Caleb that the Judge is an un-necessary toy!

        It does nothing a 44mag can’t do and it looks butt ugly doing it in my opinion.

  5. I’ve currently got 5 Taurus revolvers in various calibers and frame sizes plus a close relative has another one (gift from me). I must be real lucky as none of them have had any issues. Two of them are small frame 357’s which should be more prone to issues when shot mostly with magnum rounds.

    And yes, I’ve had a variety of S&W revolvers. They all were traded off as they didn’t work out. The only one with issues I put down to needing a spring kit installed and the cylinder had some slop (which could be fixed I know). Now this was an early ’80’s vintage Model 13 so I wasn’t going to hold anything against that particular gun, it just needed some TLC.

    At first I felt similar to you about the Judge. But after reading more about it my opinion changed. The gun is a defensive gun for people who might not be serious shooters. Plus there are some decent to good defensive shot loads being released by the big ammo companies for this gun as well. I’m not likely to get one but I wouldn’t recommend against one if asked about them. I also don’t live in snake country.


    1. The problem with the “defensive shot loads” for the Taurus is that they’re lousy for defense. They don’t offer nearly the kind of penetration you’d see from a 115 grain 9mm JHP; the gun is huge and unwieldy, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

      1. My impression with the defensive shot loads is that they are intended for distance measured in feet not yards. Here’s an article where this is discussed (Judge sections starts towards the bottom of the page):
        The part you’ll be interested in (or not depending on the openness of your mind) is on page 4.

        At across the room (or vehicle) distances four or five pellets of OOO should do just fine. Penetration is not likely to be lacking.
        Sorry, you’ll need to select 410.

        I’m not sold on using the small pellets like the secondary projectiles in WInchester’s PDX load. There I completely agree with a lack of penetration but those primary discs (or whatever one wants to call them) should do well.
        There are links on the left side to the individual load.


      2. It’s because the idea of a shotgun in your pocket sounds awesome and scary. Even if it’s firing snake loads, just think of the blast from that giant barrel at close range!

        I can see the appeal if you base your defense decisions on pop culture instead of FBI ballistics tests. I think most people buying them “think” that a load of .410 birdshot shot close range is more effective than 9mm. I hope their misguided theories never get tested.

        1. What do you actually know about the FBI tests? Did you know that they were arbitrary, arrived at by only a small part of the group called to set them up? NOT a majority. They are also very specific to the FBI agents scenarios, and certainly not to actual civilian self-defense.

          The actual distances quoted for self defense are from arms length to about ten feet. They are frontal shots, against unarmored targets.

          Now, go back and look at the Judge. It’s NOT meant for CCW, never been advertised as such. They are shown as fine anti-carjacking tools, where the range is measured at under four FEET.

          We tend to IMAGINE ourselves into scenarios out of some sci-fi book, while in reality we will face a single, unprofessional adversary, using an unfamiliar weapon. Remember, criminals hate being shot with even a .22 rim-fire. In the entire non-LEO world, the percentage of pro armed robbers, who actually are proficient with their weapons isn’t going to be very high. In the case of your meeting them, they will have control of the situation before you even know that it’s happening.

          1. Jim, if I attempt to follow your logic, then I should just carry a cap gun, because the sound of it going off will scare the average criminal in to submission. Personally, I’d rather carry something that I know I can hit with that is also going to deliver fight stopping hits during a dynamic incident.

  6. Hehe, that just gave me a wicked thought, a 12 ga. Automatic pistol.

    Ultimate “the idea of a shotgun in your pocket” pistol!

    Unfortunately it would probably be as big or bigger than a Desert Eagle……..

  7. Get the Sep 2010 issue of SWAT magazine. You will see tests that prove the Taurus Judge sucks as a defensive weapon. Listen to the preview in the ProArms podcast 060. I think Tom Givens of Rangemaster in Memphis doesn’t like the Judge. I don’t think the ProArms people like it either.

  8. Ill make sure to tell my wife that is NOT a proficient shooter that she needs to forget about the Judge for self defense. Dont worry that you can point and shoot with a better chance of hitting the BG with MULTIPLE projectiles.

    Instead honey grab the dang shovel from the garage and beat the BG to death with it. You know your 90 pound frame is just going to be heck on that poor bad guy!

    Hate the Judge or misunderstand it all you want. sometimes it is about peace of mind not just KILLING power. My wife has no desire to be a victim but has no desire to go to the range every week to practice shooting he M&P 9.

    in the heat of the moment when your trembling with fear, i think your odds of hitting your target are better with 3 or 4 pellets as to 1 9mm round. just my thoughts on why it makes sense to have one.

    Kinda like your air conditioner…you may not need the biggest one available, but it sure will make you more comfortable!

    1. Shaner, the one issue with the “untrained shooter” argument is that in actual use, the shot pattern on the judge out to 5 yards is so tight that you have to aim the pistol as precisely as you’d aim a regular handgun. Then you’re handicapping yourself to 5 rounds in a pistol that is the same size as a modern 9mm or .40 S&W that holds anywhere from 10 to 15 more rounds of ammunition and is generally easier to shoot.

  9. The Taurus Judge exists for the same reason Harry Potter does. To control our children. I am not being anti, or pro, either example, BTW. I like NAA revolvers, .22 WMR. My reasoning is, a belly, or FACE, full of anything fired from one, will get the FULL attention, of the recipient. It could go good, it could go bad, in way to many different ways. What would you like a potential victim to point at you? Harry Potter’s magic wand? Yes, I know that a .410 is a gun for experts, so is a .22. Having a gun is a good thing. It being handy is, IMO, a better thing. And no, I don’t own a Judge. If anyone ever points one at me, I will pray my ass off.

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