The Taurus Judge — A Unique Survival Tool

Personal defense doesn’t have to be ultralight. If you’re going to carry a concealed handgun everywhere you go, you might be interested in some of the .380 guns out there. But if you’re looking for something for the nightstand or the car, or an open carry snake-shooter on a wilderness trek, the Taurus Model 4510, aka “The Judge,” is something you should consider. It comes in several variants, as mentioned below.

The Judge is a unique survival tool because it turns your fist into a shotgun. This is an incredible tactical advantage when you have to draw, target, and shoot very quickly under high-stress conditions.

Overview of the Taurus Judge

  • Introduced as the Model 4410, the all steel model weighed 36 oz. unloaded. The new 4510 weighs 29 oz. That’s heavy for concealed carry, but it sure helps abate the hefty recoil of a .410 shot shell. If you do want something to carry, try a very cool variant called the Public Defender.
  • Comes in stainless steel or blued steel.
  • Three barrel lengths are available — 3, 4, and 6.5 inches.
  • Shoots .45 colt and .410 bore shot shells.
  • Not considered a short-barreled shotgun under the brazenly unconstitutional National Firearms Act because the barrel is rifled.
  • Two cylinder lengths are available — 2.5 inches, and 3 inches for magnum shot shells.
  • Has a bright orange fiber-optic front sight for intuitive target acquisition.
  • Ribbed rubber grip to ease the recoil.
Watch the video review [note: I demonstrated the Judge’s spread pattern at 9 and 12 feet with #6 shot]:

Impressions after shooting the Taurus Judge

This gun is extremely versatile. When used with shot, the rifled barrel disperses the shot pellets more rapidly than they would do from a smooth bore. If you shoot a bad guy with 3″ (magnum) 000 buck, you’ll hit him with five 9 mm diameter pellets. They will travel at 1100 feet per second, and each weighs about 70 grains. So your bad guy will be get 5 new 9 mm holes with each shot. Think about that.

These pellets will spread about 7 inches at 12 feet and about 12 inches at 20 feet, so of course patterns like this are suitable only at close ranges. But the point is that this gun is superbly suited for its intended purpose — personal defense at close range. This has got to be what makes this gun so popular. Indeed, it is Taurus’s best-selling firearm.

Looking down the barrel

In most cases, a gun used in self-defense is never even fired. You see why?

The Judge cylinder holds 5 shots

Put five shells of 3-inch 000 Buck, and that's potentially TWENTY-FIVE 9mm holes in your assailant.


Spread Pattern at 12 feet with #6 shot

This high-contrast image clearly shows the spread pattern of the 3-inch barreled Judge. The target was shot from 12 feet.


Load patterns can be customized as desired. For example, in a personal defense application you might load the first two shots with #7 or #8 shot for maximum spread. Your first shots might only sting an assailant, but they’ll distract him and disable his attack. A face shot will possibly blind him. Then two or three follow-up shots with 000 buck will eliminate the threat entirely.

On the other hand, if you’re mostly concerned with venomous snakes, you’ll probably want to stick with #7 or so.

This kind of weapon is ideal for someone who needs a personal defense weapon but doesn’t train to professional levels of skill in target acquisition and shot placement under extreme stress. Essentially, this gun is for shooting bad guys at extreme close range like in the confines of your car, your bedroom, or the side lot of your house.

Concerns about shooting .45 Colt in the Magnum cylinder

Some critics of The Judge have expressed concern about the long freebore (unrifled part of the cylinder) the bullet has to travel before entering the rifled barrel. However, at least one reviewer has reported outstanding accuracy, “on par with any ‘pure’ .45 Colt revolver on the market.”


Though a little heavy to be my first choice for concealed carry, The Judge is my personal choice for bedside and vehicle defense. A shotgun revolver… that’s hard to beat.


7 thoughts on “The Taurus Judge — A Unique Survival Tool”

  1. Excellent article on the Taurus….well-covered.My choice for a survival-handgun is a Ruger SP101 w/2 & 1/2" bbl. length, chambered for .357 Mag., at 27 ounces its a bit heavy, but handles most heavy loads with a bit of a snort n’ buck, but does quite well, as I’ve gotten good with practice, and turn out some fair groups @ 15 and 25 yrs., even with the short bbl. Well, all the best.
    Warduck !

  2. Good job Sno. If you get the chance I would love to see a review on the S&W Governor. With an extra shot and that legendary Smith & Wesson quality, the Governor has got to be a home run. I have yet to get one in inventory.
    Just a word to the wise. As a dealer I have noticed on more than one occasion that Taurus has some quality control issues. I have sent back several Judges to have the cylinder replaced because the chambers were not bored square with the flutes, making for a weak cylinder wall. So folks need to inspect the gun they are buying very carefully before they make the purchase.
    Keep up the good work..

    1. That’s good to know, many thanks for the heads-up. I always tell people, be sure to consult your friendly neighborhood gun dealer before buying a gun!

  3. Great review. I have been enamored by "The Judge" since it was first released. One question I have, with a .410 shell, what is the muzzle flash like? During the day not a problem, but at night, would the flash be like a .357? Just curious? Keep up the great work.

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    Fantastic website. Plenty of helpful information here.
    I am sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious.

    And naturally, thanks to your sweat!

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