If you want a very close range handgun that is big and looks menacing like a gun from the movie Blade-runner or something…then the Judge is for you. I personally think the Judge is one of those handguns that appeals to people that just like to be different. The gun hit the market around 2007 causing a big buzz, which still to this day continues on. There are several versions of the Judge on the market now. The model we tested is the all polymer frame “Poly-Defender” with a 2.5 inch barrel that shoots both the .410 shot shell and the .45 Colt (aka the cowboy round). Either of which would surely leave nasty holes in your target.
At first glance the gun is very intimidating because it looks absolutely huge. The cylinder size plays tricks with the eyes making the gun seem much larger than what it actually is. But in reality it’s not much larger than most other revolvers. The polymer framed version of the Judge is lightweight; but most of the weight is from the long metal cylinder making it a little heavy towards the end that goes boom. It takes some getting used to due to the small grip and overall balancing of the gun.
The gun has a 5 round capacity, which seems sort of low for a self-defense gun, but then again it is a revolver. The .410 ammunition can be used for a wide variety of things making the possible uses of this gun seemingly endless, however the .410 shells have more recoil too, so you’ll want to keep that in mind. The .45 Colt ammo can be a little trickier to figure out because there are lots of different types of .45 Colt ammo, and some of the “hotter” loads should really only be used in larger framed firearm for fear of a possible pistol failure or detonation. The .45 Colt cartridge is a hunting round technically, designed to take down deer and black bear, so you will want to keep that in mind before going all out on it for personal defense use, etc. Still, the fact that you can swap and shoot several different types of ammo, like you would in a shotgun, is still pretty handy.
The 10.5 pound trigger was pretty smooth on the pull and the red fiber option front sight was easy to put on target. The big plus of this gun, unlike other handguns, is the ability to switch up ammo types. As I stated above, with the Judge you have the option of going to a handheld shotgun or the option of putting a big hole using a .410 slug or the .45 Colt round. If you’re one to follow the phrase “variety is the spice of life”, then this is your gun.
As I pointed out above, the fiber optic front sight was nice, but the rear fixed “square groove” cut sight is kinda weak in my view. The gun also has a very small ribbed grip. The gun felt as if it was leaning forward when shooting and at times felt as if it would fall out of my hands. The recoil was a lot better than I expected though, even when shooting the .410 shot shells; but that’s not to say it was great. Recoil will also depend on the type of ammo you’re using, so you need to train with this gun using multiple types of ammo to really nail it down. But, in my opinion, no matter how much you train with different loads; the stock ribbed grip will just be too small for average sized hands. My biggest issue with the gun is its inaccuracy, which has to do with the shallow cut barrel to minimize disruption of the .410 shot shell loads. The gun shot all over the place at 15+ yards with very little consistency when we test fired at our paper targets. This is no doubt an up close and personal firearm and should be treated as such.
After our testing we classified the Judge as the perfect anti-car jacking gun due to its ammo load, which is also what Taurus markets it as; but that’s not to say it’s the only good use for it. It’d be great for camping, hiking, or being used as a rancher’s side-arm also.
As for a daily carry or home defense gun, I wouldn’t recommend the Judge for several reasons: weight, size and ammo type. Sure there are a number of ammo choices for the Judge, its just most of them I wouldn’t consider precision defense purposed rounds. The gun does have a certain cool factor to it and it is fun to shoot, but I just couldn’t imagine using it in a defensive situation with lots of people around (that aren’t targets). Now if I was out camping and was attacked by a black bear or was being chased by a horde of zombies during the apocalypse, this would be right up there in my top picks. All in all, it is a decent gun and does what it’s supposed to do….whatever that means to you.
[Rating: 1 through 5 Stars] = Overall Rating: ★★★
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