The Judge Gun vs The Governor

The Judge Gun vs The Governor. Which Of The .410 Boat Anchors Should I Get?

Some people just want a .410 revolver, and this leads some people to ponder whether to get the Taurus Judge vs Governor by S&W. Since Smith and Wesson is such a long-lasting and trusted brand, some people wonder if you can get the same gun, just made better, by opting to not get the Taurus.

The answer? Well, really it depends on which one you end up liking more. The gun is going to hold up no matter which brand you buy. The frame and cylinders are tanks.

You don't really get so much more in features for one to be clearly better than the other, so you'll have to decide which you think is the better concealed carry revolver for you.

Taurus Judge

The Judge Gun by Taurus

So, why would you go with the Taurus Judge vs the Governor?

For starters, you get a lot more in terms of choice. There's a base model in blue steel or you can get in stainless. There's a compact model, the Judge Public Defender with a 2.5-inch barrel instead of the typical 3-inch barrel of the standard gun, and a half-inch shaved off the grip for easier concealment.

If you want to get one a bit bigger, the Judge Magnum series has longer cylinder to accommodate 3-inch shells.

If nothing short of a true hand cannon will suffice, there's also the Raging Judge. The Raging Judge beefs up every piece of the gun that can be beefed up, because that gun is made for .454 Casull rather than mere .45 Colt. After all, even .44 Magnum isn't enough for some people. You'll need a heck of a gun belt, though; the Raging Judge weighs in at 60 ounces with the 3-inch barrel.

So, a lot to choose from if desired. That said, let's get into the specs.

The base Taurus Judge is 9.5 inches long, 1.5 inches wide and stands 5.1 inches tall. It weighs 29 ounces and holds 5 shots of either 2-½" .410 gauge shells or, if one prefers, .45 Colt. All models wear a red fiber optic front sight. The base model has a rear sight notch cut into the top strap, the Raging Judge has a raised rear sight (part of the frame) and the Public Defender has low-profile rear sights.

This is a double-action revolver, so trigger pull will be an issue for all of you plastic fantastic fanboys out there. You'll have to tactical cowboy up too, because you're looking at a double-action pull between 8 to 10 pounds - it depends on the gun you get - and single-action pull of about 4 pounds.

MSRP starts at $589 for the base model Judge or Magnum Judge, $509 for the Public Defender and $1,089 for the Raging Judge.

Smith and Wesson Governor

The Governor Gun by Smith and Wesson

The Governor is Smith and Wesson's take on the Judge concept. Since S&W is arguably the standard by which other revolvers are judged (pardon the pun) why shouldn't they make their own version?

The Smith and Wesson Governor, however, has a whole lot less in terms of options. You can get scandium alloy with black PVD finish - with or without Crimson Trace grips - or stainless steel, and that's it. The scandium frame models come with a tritium night sight in the front, the stainless model wears a black ramp. All models have a rear sight notch cut into the top strap.

All models have a 2.5-inch barrel and chamber 2-½" shotshells only, so no magnum version. Plenty of S&W magnums, but not in this gun. Certain specs remain the same across all models. Specifically, the gun stands 8.5 inches long, 5.5 inches tall and 1.75 inches wide. The scandium models weigh just under 30 ounces, the stainless model weighs 30.3.

Trigger pull weights are about the same, about 10 pounds in double action and 4 pounds in single action.

However, the Governor has a party piece. Smith and Wesson, being the clever people they are, machined a recess into the cylinder of about 0.025 inches. What for? Moon clips. You can shoot .45 ACP as well as .45 Colt and .410 gauge shells. The larger cylinder also accommodates one extra round, so you get 6 instead of 5.

Smith & Wesson has reduced the number of models down to two, both on a scandium alloy frame. You can choose a stainless model with a steel front sight and a black PVD finish model with a tritium night sight. MSRP is $865 for the stainless model and $925 for the black model. 

Taurus Judge vs Governor. Which Is Better?

Guys at the shooting range

What's the difference between the Taurus Judge vs Governor from Smith and Wesson? Which is going to be better? Well, that depends on a few things.

The Governor has a bit more attention paid to the details. The trigger will be smoother and will get smoother with use in double action (it is, after all Smith and Wesson) though the Taurus has a lighter single-action pull. You get 6 shots instead of five. The grips will probably be a little nicer as not everyone cares for the rubber radiator grips on Taurus revolvers.

Also, let's face it. The recessed cylinder for moon clips is a stroke of genius. That allows you to do a lot more shooting because .410 and .45 Colt aren't cheap. Granted, neither is .45 ACP (compared to 9mm or .22 LR) but it's cheap compared to any other .45 caliber round.

Don't even talk about Auto Rim. It's a non-starter, and everyone knows it.

Okay, so what would tip one in favor of the Judge over the Governor?

The Public Defender model is easier for daily carry, as it weighs 27 ounces unloaded. Not a lightweight by any means, but not too far removed from many compact pistols. However, it is still enormous; it's about the size of a Sig P226 but only holds 5 rounds.

So the Judge is a little slimmer. It is also a little smaller overall, so if you wanted to carry it, the Judge or Public Defender by Taurus will be a little easier. If you intend to carry it, that is; for most people, the Judge or Governor is a home defensegun through and through.

Ultimately, you'll have to decide for yourself. Handle both, shoot both, see if there's one you prefer over the other. That will be the one to get.

About The Author

Writer sam hoober