Survival Gear Review: Smith & Wesson Governor

Smith & Wesson Governor Gun Review

Even a moments delay in an actionable response can result in your demise.  Most Bug Out scenarios usually occur in a panic state.  Sure you are supplied, packed and ready to go, but when the alarm goes off are you ready to go?


By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to


Maybe you get off a couple last minute cell phone calls to alert other family members or SHTF team partners just beforeSurvival Gear Review Smith & Wesson Governor Pistol the power grid fails, shutting down the com towers.  You steer out of the driveway; through the residential amazement where unprepared people are still dazed by the news of the collapse and onto the less traveled back road to your Bug Out Retreat.  All planned and practiced well in advance.

Your hope against hope is to slip through several rural communities bypassing any marauding souls looking to conduct any preemptive strikes on the unsuspecting locals.  But how do you defend yourself while on the move or temporarily stopped while confined in a vehicle?  Your success in this is crucial, albeit essential.

The Case for Wheelgun Work

Have you ever tried to engage a long gun inside a vehicle?  How many times did the muzzle get buried in that soft cushiony roof lining material?  How about the buttstock hanging up on the center console, steering wheel, shift lever, or seatbelts?  What about the range of motion?  It isn’t much better even with a collapsible tube stock is it?  What about covering the zombie slipping up the far side rear fender?

From inside a vehicle wielding a long gun either shotgun or rifle is a tough proposition even for the well trained, Smith & Wesson Pisol Review Governorproficient prepper.  It takes lots of practice and some special skill sets to point, aim, and score with a long gun out the window of a moving or suddenly stopped vehicle.  While a scattergun with heavy shot could offer some unique points of advantage in these situations, a rifle might not be a good choice at all for this specific task, especially if potential targets have already rushed into the 10-foot critical contact danger zone.

So, for the sake of argument here let’s take it aside or move that debate to the forums where you guys can club that horse stone dead.  For our purposes we are going to accept the overwhelming proposition that the handgun is the way to go for immediate self-defense deployment from inside or either side of a vehicle.

The next debate is which handgun, and which caliber.  Any handheld firearm you, your spouse, kids, or other traveling companions can use effectively with confidence is a best bet.  That could be a six shot revolver in .38 Special, a Glock 17, Kimber 45, or a Desert Eagle in 44 Magnum or just about anything in between.  Skip the .22, and .32 for this action.  Consider a .380 with defensive bullets as a bare minimum for this work.

However, for your consideration I offer up another recommended firearm option that I have personally adopted for my in-vehicle close range defensive out the window handgun.   This is the new(ish) Smith & Wesson Governor.  Read on.

3 Problem Solvers – .45 Long Colt, .45 ACP, & .410

The Smith & Wesson Governor is a six shot, cylinder loaded revolver.  It can be fired either single action with a cocking of the external hammer, or double action by simply pulling the trigger.  The most unique aspect of this firearm is that its chambers can handle three distinct rounds, the .45 Long Colt, .45 ACP, and the .410 gauge 2.5-inch shotshells in any interchangeable combination the user wishes to load them.  This defines awesome firepower!  The Governor also comes equipped with cartridge clips to hold multiple rounds that can be loaded at one time.

Survival Pistol Review S&W Governor

This flexibility option fits perfectly into a Bug Out vehicle self-defense scenario.  With an adversary approaching your ride with a menacing look a couple blasts of Winchester .410 PDX1 Defender loads with three plated defense disks and 12 BB’s would likely divert their attention.

If not, then follow up shots with PDX1 45 Colt, 225 grain, bonded jacketed hollow points ought to change the course of events.  Winchester also makes this defense load in the 45 ACP as well with a 230 grain, bonded jacketed hollow point bullet.

Another appropriate ammo selection would be Hornady’s new Zombie Max 45 auto loads using their new 185 grain, Z-Max bullet pumping out a muzzle velocity of 1000 fps.  This bullet design is an ideal choice for close quarter’s encounters.  The ammo box even offers instructions on the back panel on how to recognize zombies.  I think if you become threatened during a Bug Out that you will know who the bad guys are.

The Governor is manufactured with fixed sights the front with a Tritium Night Sight dovetailed into the barrel and the Smith & Wesson Governor Pistol Reviewrear being a classic Smith and Wesson sight groove cut along the top of the frame strap.  The alignment in pointing the barrel to the target comes natural.  The grip is a synthetic rubber model that affords a solid, good feeling grip.  The exterior finish of the Governor is a matte black offering no reflection.  The gun is a very handsome piece of engineering.

The revolver itself is manufactured from a Scandium alloy used in the frame with a stainless PVD cylinder.  The gun’s weight is only 29.6 ounces with an overall length at 8.5 inches, height of 5.5 inches and 1.75 inches wide.

A Holster For The Governor

Holster wise owners of the Governor need to look to the Hunter Company’s basic leather hip holster #1145 made specifically to fit this firearm.  Couple that with their #145 cartridge belt to make a great combination.  The holster is a thumbsnap model that securely holds the revolver with a slight forward cant.  Slip this on their own belt that has loops to hold both .45 Colt ammo and .410 shotshells.  Hunter leather is top grain and well stitched for long term service.  This set up will work well for any prepper’s needs.

Things can get tense during a Bug Out roll scenario.  There is no way to know what perils might arise on any highway once the citizenry begins to realize that things are not normal.  At some point if your escape distance to your secure camp is lengthy you will have to stop even momentarily for relief.

You may encounter friendly folks looking for help, or gangs looking to steal your stuff or mess with your person or passengers.  You will have to determine which and be prepared to defend yourself as necessary.

For me, being able to deploy a handgun out the window or near the vehicle is my choice of response.  The Smith & Wesson Governor gives me the option of three different effective rounds offering close quarters defense as well as two rounds to deploy solid hits at some distance out.  This makes the Governor the chief executive of my state of affairs.

All photos by Dr. John J. Woods

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{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

@preppernow April 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

I recently purchased this amazing firearm for just this reason. It has also become my first defense firearm in my home. Of course my Model 870 Tactical is close by too.

Thanks for the heads up on the holster and belt too. Added them to my Amazon wishlist.


Terry May 1, 2013 at 6:30 am

Agreed… Just added the holster and belt to my wishlist too. It looks like a must have and is very well designed!


Instructor April 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

How can you review this pistol and not the Taurus Judge series of pistols. THEY invented the revolver shotgun. I'm starting to loose confidence in you guys. The S&W is a good pistol but the Taurus is better and cheaper. You will pay more only because it say Smith and Wesson. How stupid is that???


TexPrep April 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Can the Judge shot the 45ACP now?


Tyler April 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm

It will but not without moon clips


David / Sharpie April 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Only the older ones had enough cylinder clearance for moon clips, if you want the new one to you would need to take it to a machinist and have it ground down a bit.


Instructor April 3, 2012 at 3:18 am

WHO CARES??? My Sig 1911 does that just fine. Besides are you going to carry 3 types of ammo for one gun?


TexPrep April 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

It was a simple question, not some sort of attack on you. Perhaps the review was about The Governor and not the Judge as the reviewer only had access to the The Governor? Who knows?, Since both guns have very similar shooting capabilities it would be a safe bet that both would fit the overall requirement set by the reviewer.

BTW Carrying three types of Ammo makes as much sense as carrying two types of ammo in this review,


new to prepping May 24, 2012 at 7:38 am

thats is actully not true the njudge only holds 5 shots. govener wins.

Some Idiot April 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm

The more options you have in a single weapon, I think, the better you are to find more ammo to use in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI. Now this might not be your primary use weapon but at least you have one weapon as a backup that accepts multiple ammo types for a variety of situations.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm

"word" to that. Frankly, where everyone else usually starts with a handgun, shotgun and rifle in mind, from day one of prepping I like to add a 4th "must have" to the list:

* 1 firearm that can fire a variety of ammo types, that's the ideal Bug-Out gun for me!

Sapper4 April 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

The point is the weapon can shoot three types of ammo, doesn't mean you are going to carry tree types of ammo. The weapon gives you more versatility…


new to prepping May 24, 2012 at 7:36 am

no. the ability to shoot three different kinds of ammo means ammo scavenging is now easier. personally i prefer the 357. but i,ve been taking a look at it.

oh and case you didn't know, 357. also allows you to shoot 38 special and 38 special +p.


MrMachinist October 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Ruger has a 357 mag convertable that you can shoot 38 special, 9mm and I think 38 super through.

Guest September 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Ruger's SP or New Vaquero lines of wheelguns are basically
indestructible .357's. Practice with cheap .38's and carry
the more expensive magnum rounds or at least +P

MrMachinist October 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Are you going to carry 2 types of ammo for your judge AND carry your Sig AND 45acp ammo for it?
Have multiple ammo choices for ONE gun is a good thing in a SHTF situation.


Guest April 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

Look up MIL, Inc. Thunder 5. Taurus only invented bad quality guns to sell at a cheap price. Not saying they dont shoot well or function properly but the attention to detail when manufacturing a firearm is not well know in BRAZIL. The Governor is made in America and it shows when you hold the firearm.


Instructor April 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Have you ever fired a Taurus??? I have fired BOTH Taurus and Smith and Wesson pistols. IMHO the Taurus pistols have a better trigger than the S&W. They are smoother, lighter and have a shorter reset. Pay more for a Smith if you want. I'll buy more ammo with the money I save.


MrMachinist October 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I take the gun that is built the best, which would be the S&W, anyone that calls themself an “instructor” should know better than to bet their life on a Tuarus.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Taurus guns only work well until they don't anymore,
that's why they all have a Lifetime Warranty…


@preppernow April 5, 2012 at 11:08 am

I have to disagree. Shot them both now and the Governor with the same ammo as the Judge has a better patter. Plus, if I want I can also shoot .45 ACP in the Governor.


Irish-7 June 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I own both Governor and Judge. I prefer the Governor for several reasons: 1) Larger, better to handle. 2) Increased round capability. 3) More versatile in that .45 ACP rounds are in greater supply than .45 LC. 4) Judge is my first Taurus. I've owned a Smith & Wesson Model 19-5 .357 MAG since 1985. It has never jammed or failed to fire.

The 6th shot out of the S&W may be the one that saves your life. I bought the Taurus as a small, concealable weapon to cache in event I cannot make it home or to Bug Out Location,


A B Davis June 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Taurus is NOT better, maybe cheeper, but NOT better!


MrMachinist October 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Agreed, Taurus’ are the worst!


Guest September 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Not the worst by far. Certainly not in the Top 5, though…


bill July 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

this is a 6 shot revolver. The judge has 5.
One extra shot can make a rather large difference – I’m sure that you agree although I do like the Judge, as well


willie the kid August 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

the taurus is an okay gun and yes the first of its kind. but taurus doesn't produce as high of a quality firearm as smith ans wesson. i can say this because i own many calibers by both mandufacturers. plus the smith and wesson holds 6 not just 5 like the taurus. it is cheaper but it also feels that way in your hand.if you don't think you will ever need the higher quality name or the extra bullet it carries, avoid the governor and stick with the judge. i own both and they are both good guns but the smith is just all around better in my opinion


Bayfield July 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm

The Thunder 5 was the first. Taurus Judge was a low quality copy. The Gov. is a Rolls Royce compared to the other two. I have one of each. The Taurus will be sold. The Thunder 5 I will keep, not many made, and a little collectible now.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Your name is "Instructor" and you can't recognize that The Governor is a far superior fire arm? You're not just paying for the S&W name, which frankly carries a lot more weight than Taurus, you're paying for an extra round in the cylinder and the .45 ACP capabilities, which The Judge does not offer. Also, it's not a "revolver shotgun" it's a revolver that can fire shot shells and no, that's not the same thing.

Furthermore, Taurus has been ripping-off S&W (as well as Colt, Beretta, Sig, etc.) for decades. That's their entire business model, "knock-offs for less" which explains their Lifetime Warranty. No one but you holds it against a respectable arms manufacture to take back a piece of their competitor's profit after 3 decades of corporate thievery.

What are you, the Instructor of "Butthurt Over Having Bought the Taurus too Soon" ???


praharin January 12, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Ok, myth 1: taurus didn't invent this, as has been established with other replies, the Thunder 5 (as seen in the movie "Three Kings"). So, S&W isn't stealing the idea any more than Taurus did. Myth Busted. Myth 2: If I were to buy the judge, I'd then want to have the cylinder machined to accept moon clips (If such a thing even exists for a 5 shot 45, haven't looked). What's that cost? Last I checked… $125 for the machining, and $75 for 10 clips. What was that price difference again? Myth Busted. I've handled both at the LGS, and the S&W is also light years ahead in fit and finish, IMO. Seems like there's an obvious winner here with these considerations.


13th Legion April 5, 2014 at 9:48 pm

You also might pay more because S&W is made in USA as opposed to Brazil.


USGuns April 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hope you tighten up that "loose" confidence – to say a Taurus is better than good old US S&W is heresy – they're cheaper for a reason, and that is quality. I WILL pay more because it sayS Smith and Wesson.


Instructor April 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I've shot both. To pay more for a Smith because it's a Smith is STUPID!!!!


I know more than you August 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Well, you are paying more for it because it is a better gun- holds more rounds- shoots more types of ammo- duh!!!!
also – Taurus quality has been going steadily downhill!!


MrMachinist October 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Incorrect “instructor”, to buy a poorly made pistol simply because it is less expensive is stupid. The S&W will outlast the Taurus in the long run, especialy if it’s a SHTF situation.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm

"amen" to that, brother. Just sold a Model 10 that would have been 100 years old in 2014, still shot well enough with all original parts…


Wheeler April 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Just another .45ACP. What’s wrong with something new for once? The Judge did indeed spread the 410 pistol hype. But if you research into it, the 410 round fired from a pistol is completely incompetent at ranges more then 15 feet. Purely short range self defense. And I WOULD NOT suggest using a 45 colt as a close range self defense round. Indeed, it packs a punch, but it has no splatter, its extremely slow, and at close range it simply creates a hole. a 45ACP is slightly better but I would definitely NOT rule out the .22lr as a short range defense round. Not in this case, where weight and mobility are a key factor. Knockdown power isnt everything you need, dispite what your favorite gun mag might say. Knockdown power is only measured if the bullet doesnt exit, but if the bullet carries its weight out the other side, “knockdown power” is “he’s still coming at you” power.

And if you’ve ever shot more then a couple S&Ws, you would know their form-fitting grips take some getting used to, and I would not recommend you using a S&W grip for a quick gun. That half a second it takes you to get your fingers properly in their respective grip grooves could be the determining factor in life or death.


CaptBart April 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Just a 'point of order' if you will. First the "extremely slow", "no splatter" .45 Colt has been sending folks to meet their Maker for over a century and a half or so. Second, while the .45 Colt cowboy round is limited to around 800 fps pushing a flat nose lead slug, a modern load in .45 Colt can have a muzzle velocity in excess of 1500 fps and plenty of expansion.

I use my .45 Colt revolver as a self defense weapon (yes it is SAA) on occasion and because I am proficient with it, I do not think I am inadequately armed. If you know your weapon and select the proper ammo, any gun can be an adequate defensive weapon.
"And if you've ever shot more then a couple S&Ws, you would know their form-fitting grips take some getting used to, and I would not recommend you using a S&W grip for a quick gun." OK, I have shot more than a couple S&W weapons. Carried them for years but I would NOT recommend you carry ANY gun for a self-defense weapon unless you had practiced with it and were comfortable using it. If you are not "used to" the gun, it is NOT an adequate protective arm for you at this time. One shot stops are a Hollywood myth, always have been, short of an explosive round or something like a .50BMG probably always will be; we should get over it and pay attention to the real world.

What "new" thing are you advocating we look at for a concealed carry sidearm? While I don't argue about the effective range of a .410 out of a pistol, the point of the article was close in defense. I carry shot shells in my .45 for dog walking. I'm counting on the limited range to avoid downrange damage to innocent bystanders if I'm confronted by unfriendly dogs.

While the .22LR has been used as a defensive round and professional groups have used them effectively, it is not the best pistol round for self defense. I like .22's and have a .22 revolver but it is not my first choice for defensive use.

Just my not so humble opinion.


Vic Ferrari April 9, 2012 at 6:57 am

Sorry Wheeler, but in tests done by the FBI years ago, the 45ACP was next in line to the 357 magnum in stopping power.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Right, the Judge/Governor guns are ideal within their own engineered parameters
(carjacker and/or home invader distance), but otherwise there's simply better
.45's out there to choose from. I just look at the .410 capabilities as back-up ammo
scavenging in a Bug-Out situation, which leaves you with, in the case of Taurus, a
mediocre .45 and in the case of the S&W, a "meh…" .45, but if that's your thing
then more power to you. I really like to recommend these guns to women who
are having one of those "That's it, I've had it! I'm buying a big, scary gun!" type
mental phases. No one's gonna keep going at a girl who draws a gigantic hand-
cannon like one of these things. My wife's nicknamed them the "Compensators"


the Lion November 5, 2013 at 9:27 am

Lot to be said about a .22 as a short range defense load that it is relatively quite is right up there, one does not want to attract BOOMING noise attention if one can help it.


EdfromtheOzarks April 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I've not shot the S&W yet. The weight makes me wonder how much muzzle flip this is going to have when firing .410. A friend let me shoot his Judge and even a 2.5" with #9 shot felt like alot of recoil. The .45LC PDX1 felt tame in it though. Wasn't real impressed with the action on the Judge, felt rough to me.
The S&W seems like a great choice for its ability to take a variety of ammo. While the .45LC isn't that common, the other 2 sure are. Sure makes sense to have a multi caliber weapon without any conversion parts, or moon clips, to lose track of. I'm honestly surprised it took so long for a review of it. I would like to see a head to head comparision of Govenor vs Judge if you could get your hands on one. Good review, thank you Dr.Woods.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Yea, head-to-head review! Let's put this thing to bed, you've already
done the Henry AR-7 vs. Springfield M6, so let's have it…


sam April 2, 2012 at 5:49 am

Yeah the taurus series of judges and their brothers have been around for a while. If the point of the article was to emphasize the effectiveness of the .410 round in close quarters, then you should have just mentioned those. The Judge magnum in 3 inch chambering is far better than these 2 3/4" jobs any day though. This is not an everyday carry item, so I could care less if this piece is 'smith and wesson built to last' , which is suspect anyway. Another new item that already existed years ago. Everyone has thrown their two cents in about pistols in close quarters by now, but the point of the article was to review a new product that isn't really a new concept.


Michael Messina April 2, 2012 at 8:27 am

Sure, nothing's new under the sun. But S&W took an interesting offering from Taurus and improved it by adding more ammo flexibility. That alone is useful in the PAW considering you can run 3 different types of ammo, one of which is considerably more common than the other two. That's a big deal if you're having to scavenge or dealing with scarcity issues. It's an interesting concept in the sense of giving you more to run with, and more selection if necessary. Those 4 000 buckshot pellets in the 410 federal loads are nothing to sneeze at either. They offer excellent penetration and a lot of power for such a small gun. 3 inch magnum offerings would be nice in terms of additional flexibility but realistically it's overkill for something not designed to shoot past 15 feet.


sam April 4, 2012 at 5:32 am

Pray that you don't lose the moon clips or it's useless for the .45 ACP rounds, and if the S&W isn't chambered for 3", you're losing a pellet from that 000 buck round you mentioned earlier. Maybe it's a nice gun, but don't tell it's a revolutionary idea when it's been around for a while, ya know? Just my thought, I'm sure it's a nice piece, but I mean hey they even stole the naming convention (Judge-Governor), c'mon……


Minarchist_1776 April 2, 2012 at 8:27 am

Just pointing out that trying to shoot .45 ACP ammunition in a weapon chambered in .45 Colt is not the world's best idea unless the weapon has specifically been designed to do that.

(1) The SAAMI maximum average pressure for the .45 Colt is 14,000 psi. For the .45 ACP the industry pressure limit is 21,000 psi. Unless you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the weapon you are using has been designed to take the higher pressure of the .45 ACP then trying to shoot that ammo in it would not be conducive to your long term survival.

(2) S&W provides moon clips for use in their revolver in order to provide for proper head spacing as well as extraction of .45 ACP ammo. At a minimum attempting to fire .45 ACP ammunition in a .45 Colt double action revolver without moon clips means that the rounds won't extract normally and will have to be pushed out individually using a pencil or other similar object. Furthermore, without using moon clips there is nothing to prevent the .45 ACP ammunition from going so far into a .45 Colt chamber that it can't be fired.

(3) Regardless of whether or not one uses the Taurus or the S&W 410 gauge/45 Colt I doubt that it's going to be that accurate much beyond point blank range. If for no other reason than a .45 bullet is going to have to travel further to engage the rifling in the barrel than it would in a revolver chambered for .45 Colt only. Ditto for .45 ACP. Granted that there is a niche for short range weaponry, just realize that the weapon you're planning on using is so limited.

Ruger makes a Blackhawk Convertible single action revolver that will take .45 Colt and .45 ACP ammunition depending on which cylinder is installed in the weapon. The .45 ACP cylinder has chambers that are tapered to match .45 ACP ammunition and headspaces the ammunition on the case mouth. While I don't own one of these revolvers I do own and use other Ruger revolvers and have been impressed with their ruggedness and reliability. If you really want the ability to swap back and forth between .45 Colt and .45 ACP ammunition then one of these may be what you're looking for.

Regardless, unless you know that your double action revolver is rated to handle both .45 Colt and .45 ACP ammunition and you have the moon clips to do so, do not fire .45 ACP in a weapon chambered for .45 Colt. The .45 ACP has 150% of the operating pressure of a .45 Colt, won't extract and won't headspace properly without moon clips.

If you are dealing with a single action revolver then you really don't want to fire .45 ACP in a weapon chambered for .45 Colt as there is a higher chance that the weapon hasn't been designed to take the increased pressure. Moon clips won't help in that situation given that single action revolvers use a different extraction system than a double action revolver. If you want to play that game with a single action revolver then get Ruger's convertible model with the extra cylinder. Otherwise stick with just .45 Colt.


CaptBart April 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Minor quibble to an otherwise good post.

The .45 ACP cylinder has chambers that are tapered to match .45 ACP ammunition and headspaces the ammunition on the case mouth.

I own the Blackhawk in .45Colt/.45ACP and the cylinder is not tapered. There is a small ridge in the cylinder that hangs up the shell case at the right depth. I really like one gun that is a backup for both the .45ACP AND the .45 Colt.


Minarchist_1776 April 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Oh no! I've been quibbled!! Aaagh!!! :-)

At any rate, my bad. I knew there was a ridge in the cylinder chambers, but I thought they were also tapered as well. Granted that would have made for some interesting machining but given the stuff that's being done and literally taken for granted these days …

Changing the subject somewhat, if one wanted to get slightly funkier with the S&W Governor then in theory it should also be able to take .45 GAP ammunition using the moon clips and .45 Auto Rim without moon clips. I know that S&W does not say so in their literature on the piece, but the .45 GAP is just a slightly shortened .45 ACP, and the .45 Auto Rim was specifically designed to be used (without moon clips) as a replacement for .45 ACP in revolvers that would have otherwise needed moon clips to handle that round.


CaptBart April 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm

That is an interesting concept. I wonder if anyone at S&W would care to weigh in on that possibility. You are right, they should fit and if the pressures aren't out of line, they should work OK. Don't know about the ballistics but it shouldn't be a problem, IF it is safe to shoot.

Big IF, of course. I wonder what S&W's take is on those rounds.


Minarchist_1776 April 2, 2012 at 6:37 pm

The .45 Auto Rim has an operating pressure of 15,000 cup. Note that's copper units of pressure NOT psi. I can't find information on the .45 GAP in any of my reloading manuals.

Apparently there is no direct conversion between copper units of pressure and pounds per square inch. Wikipedia states:

"Since a longer duration, lower pressure pulse can crush the cylinder as much as a shorter duration, higher pressure pulse, CUP … pressures frequently register lower than actual peak pressures (as measured by a transducer) by up to 20%."

The .45 GAP, while not listed in my reloading manuals, still seems to be a going concern as Glock is manufacturing their G37, G38 and G39 pistols in that caliber. After surfing around on the internet I found a technical report by Speer on the .45 GAP. It is loaded to "+p" pressures for a .45 ACP (23,000 psi) and there were several changes made to the .45 ACP case to produce the .45 GAP case in addition to simply shortening the case. Given that information trying to use it interchangeably with .45 ACP in moon clips in a revolver might be iffy. One of the changes made was to the cannelure of the .45 GAP cartridge so it might not fit the moon clips that well if at all.…

alg April 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

its just a another 410 revolver we forget where this all started with a two shot deringer in 410 an 45 longcolt i give taurus a lot of credit . If they are aloud to bring out their 28 ga wheel gun thats a real defensive handgun


Instructor April 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm

My dad has a Bond Arms Derringer in .45 Colt/.410 and it is a GREAT shooter. I am able to bust target at 21" with .45 Colt ammo with no difficulty.


MrMachinist October 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Great, 4 shots less than the S&W…..


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm

My mother bought that gun too, then decided it was too much of donkey-puncher.
My fiance' carries it now on occasion because she's a sadist, that' the real niche.

.410, being only effective at point. blank. range. is best suited in a derringer IMHO


Rastus McGee April 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Ya'll R to sererious ..plug'em and grow t'matters, little lead won't hurt too much iff'n your not the bad guy !


ReadyNV April 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm

No one has mentioned the round capacity: Taurus Judge 5 rounds, S&W 6 rounds, not a big deal until you are under fire and need to reload !


portlandian April 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Glock 22: 15+1 rounds of .40 and far, far easier to reload.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

actually, a lot of people have mentioned that now…


Jeff Wise April 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm

That is a mean looking firearm! I really like the spurless hammer ones that don't tend to get caught on clothing and other things when you need it in a pinch.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:30 pm

yea, like you'll be carrying The Judge in your front pocket, right…


Mr. G April 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm

First off: How is that you recommend .380 ACP as a "bare minimum"? This caliber sucks! Not only does it cost more than 9mm, it also has 30% less pound per square inch hitting power than the respective 9mm. Strange proposition to say the least, but it is of course very subjective.
Now, fast forward to the the Governor: This firearm is a fine defense tool, however I wouldn't want to shoot a high caliber revolver from a vehicle (quote: "in-vehicle close range defensive out the window handgun") due to ill-controlled recoil that would keep you off target as you can't really find a good position to shoot, especially 180 grain + p + hot loads. Most of your shots will be off-target.
Seriously, you're also gonna go deaf while doing that. A car is not a horse and you you are not free riding.
If I am in vehicle and driving fast, I would NOT be shooting. If I am stopped, I'd reach for my AK/AR before rolling out of the car.
Nothing against S&W – it is a fine revolver, its just the purpose and in-out-of-vehicle application that raise my eye brows about this article.


CaptBart April 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

OK, the minimum for a gunfight is the biggest caliber you can actually get hits on – the bare minimum is the one you have with you at the time you need it for real! I'm on record as a big bore bigot and nothing has ever happened to change that. Given that, my daughter can't handle the recoil of a .45 or even a 9 Mak in a concealable handgun so she carries a .380! The gun you can get hits with is the one you need to be carrying on a daily basis. During the summer in Houston, I often have a Kel Tec P11 as it is one I can conceal in summer attire. I'd rather have a .45 ACP but concealment issues force me to a smaller pistol. Mission dictates caliber, caliber plus mission dictate platform.

I agree about the vehicle. If I'm in a vehicle I'm not shooting! I AM driving out of the kill box OR I'm exiting the vehicle to get out of the kill box. Either way, if I have to be shooting from inside a vehicle I have blown it very, very badly.

That said, the Governor and the Judge do fill a need, especially in the tall and uncut. No, I do not have one and I think I have the niches taken care of in another fashion but for fishing (snakes and gators), walking the dog (rabid skunk, pack of feral dogs), protection as I walk my acreage, or making the BGs duck while I exit my car and RUN are all valid uses for such a weapon.

I've handled both, like both, but I don't see a mission need for this weapon in my case. Others with different defense needs just might see the use for a side arm that chambers the same round as either their .410 shot gun or a .45 Colt/.45 ACP handgun. I have a Blackhawk as a backup for both my .45 Colt and .45 ACP. I know a guy who has a Blackhawk that handles .357/.38/9mm. What's not to like?


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm

It's not awful, I carry a Cheetah .380 everyday. I mean, it's the gun I prefer, not the caliber, but with 15 rounds I never feel naked. Many of us have laid men out with a single punch, the whole "knockdown power" argument is all tall talk anyway – it's not gonna bounce off!

Now, if I were a cop on patrol in crackhead hell then I'd want something with a bit more "oomph" but since I'm not in the habit of exploring derelict warehouses in the dead of night, I feel pretty comfortable.


Tommy from Chicago April 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Hey guys,

Great review! I came here looking for a review with a “prepper” mentality already on my mind. I’m pleased to see I’m with the right crowd. Most of the other articles are trashing this weapon mainly because it’s not the best in any category. I also see alot of people trashing it because it’s a copy of Taurus, or “Derringer was first” which I have to say, WHO CARES? Whatever has the most options, has the largest magazine, and fires good wins regardless of the brand.

If SHTF, one of the best things to have is options and since this can shoot 3 different types of ammo, that greatly opens your options up. If I happen to bug out the door with limited ammo, I can feel alot better about the possibility of finding more with the ability to shoot both shotgun shells or .45 ACP/Colt! This would be a nice weapon to store on my yacht or cabin.


reisa April 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Exactly. There's a lot to be said for versatility, especially if finding ammo becomes a reality. There is no one perfect weapon.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:42 pm

"on his yacht"


Instructor April 4, 2012 at 9:20 am

Did I mention that I HATE gun SNOBS?!?!?!?!


MrMachinist October 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm

If hating poorly manufactured imported guns that you can’t trust to save your life is being a “snob”, then lable me a “snob”.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:43 pm

then why are you so hard-on for The Judge? you just shot yourself down, bro…


fourthrowe April 4, 2012 at 11:50 am

Am I the only one who notices that we are taking firearm advice from a guy who in his profile picture is violating 50% of the rules of firearm safety? (that is unless his target is in fact the camera)


Mr. G April 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Yep, you're correct!
Rule 1: Gun is always loaded (even when its "not")
Rule 2: Point in the safe direction until ready to acquire target
Rule 3. Don't point the firearm at anything you aren't willing to destroy (camcorder?)
Rule 4. Know what's behind the target (what's behind your camcorder?)
Rule 5. Keep your finger off the trigger until target is acquired and you're ready to shoot


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm

perhaps he really was trying to shoot the camera?


David / Sharpie April 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Clint Smith has done the same thing, yet, people still listen to him


MrMachinist October 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I was thinking that looking at the lame photo to, plus it’s just in bad taste!


Instructor April 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm



bamaman April 5, 2012 at 7:47 am

Wheel guns are great and the big caliber ones mitigate the ammo capacity.

Semi auto's are great too but if I take the risk of malfunction, which they all have, then i want at least 15 rounds, preferably a 17 plus one Glock.


Tommy April 8, 2012 at 2:42 am

What I want to know and no one has mentioned here is. What happens to the cylinder after firing a mess of 45 ACP's, then you try to stuff a 2 1/2" shell into the same hole. Doesn't the heat/dirt have some effect on the cylinder? Between that and the fact that the 2 shorter cartridges have to jump almost 1 1/2" BEFORE hitting the rifling, affecting accuracy, makes me suspect to both these weapons. Anybody else have these concerns? Or are they baseless?


Roldy May 11, 2012 at 8:47 am

My friend has a Taurus Judge and he hasnt had any problems switching the 45 LC and 410 shells, couldnt tell you about the ACP though. Technically, yes the 2 shorter cartridges should have their accuracy slightly affected but we havent noticed any difference with the 45 LC


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm

I'd be more worried about melting the .410 shell, but I'm with you about the rifling and shot jump. Honestly, my preferred form of Judge would be the Circuit variety…


Charles June 25, 2014 at 6:47 am

I have fired the governor and i have never had a problem. I have shot ACP then loaded 410 and LC with no problems. I have fired LC at a man sized target at a hundred yards and hit the target. That is accurate enough for defense. If i can change their mind that far out then I have met the objective.


hillbillywildman April 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I have shot the taurus judge, and it hurt my hand. I had Carpal tunnel surgery a few years ago, and know that if you shoot that darn thing very long, you will end up with “tramatic carpal tunnel” which means from the impact over and over again. the THUNDER 5 has the same problem. I have a Super Commanche 410/45lc with 11.5 inch barrel for survival. I have a S&W 357 sig for personal defense. But getting to the 45/410 pistols, winchester has the PDX rounds that work VERY WELL out to about 15 yds in a taurus judge shot bullseyes with all 3 wafers 8 out of 8 times by me and my 72 year old father.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

LOL – my wife calls them the Winchester "PMS" rounds!


hillbillywildman April 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

yes tommy, you better clean that cylinder after shooting very many 45lc through any gun before shooting 410 rounds or you will have to dig out the spent casings… good point to make. but, if you have something to clear out the powder residue and maybe oil, like a slick rag on a string, this works very well. And sorry, I have a 357 mag for Personal Defense, not a SIG.


mike from tucson April 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I haven't fired the Judge in low light. I'll bet it puts out a pretty good flash with regular 410 bore, maybe not so much with the ammo made for it.


portlandian April 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm

The .45/.410 is a cool idea, and intimidating. Yet in the end, I just never can convince myself that, in a real-world situation, 5-6 rounds from one of these revolvers would be preferable to 13-17 rounds of 9mm or .40 from most any modern tactical pistol with quality defensive ammo. I'd take a Glock or Sig over any revolver — these things are about as reliable as an AK. As far as the truck gun scenario goes, 6 rounds might be enough if you're just hoping to return fire and drive off, but if TSHTF (your vehicle gets disabled or is cornered), you're really going to want that extra capacity and faster, easier reloads, right?


T.R. April 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Agreed , but I do give them credit for making a dual caliber weapon . I would like to see more , perhaps not as handguns but in small carbines . Perhaps a 30.06 / 303 /or 308 and a 20 gauge combo in a carbine , both semi auto .


rjburk July 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm

You have to hit what you aim at….a 6 shot revolver or 17 rd Glock does not matter….17 misses does not count….I have 2 Glocks and they are useless if I miss….


Kiljoy616 December 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm

But you can miss way more than 6 rounds. When SHTF 6 shots and who drives while you reload. I will stick with my Springfield and my 17 round clips the more the better. Not planing to go to war just get the douchebags away from me and my family as we bug out.


Ben228 April 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Love the concept, HATE the felony conviction for pocession in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia! I’ll go with my XD 40.


T.R. May 14, 2012 at 4:39 am

Yeah , too bad states dont have the right to vote another state OUT of the union .


wesp22 April 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I'll stick with my G21with plus two mags…that equals 15 rounds of .45 ACP +P 230 grain HP's.

Lighter, concealable and definitely more effective and cheaper.


Bayoucajun April 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

Don't forget shotshells made for handguns. They are pricey, but they are available in most handgun calibers.


T.R. April 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Kel-Tec KSG , very small , high capacity , more versatile , it has two 7 round feed tubes in a triangle design , this means you can have buckshot in one tube and slug in the other , ready when you need them just by choosing the feed tube .


Mike May 9, 2012 at 11:05 pm

KSG is a great firearm but you still need to work the action PLR 16 just point and shoot or if you want put a lazer on it and really do some damage


Mike May 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Did I say surefire mags 60 or 100 rounds! what not to like!


Mike May 5, 2012 at 12:09 am

PLR 16 short and 30 rounds of kick ass 5.56


Capt. Kirk May 7, 2012 at 2:23 am

I owned a Taurus Judge and after shooting the S&W Govenor I sold the Judge and got the Govenor ! The fit & finish of the S&W was 100% better , it fires better (trigger pull) I like that it shoots 45 ACP , it’s just a all around better. Built handgun .


Bill Norris May 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

Of course the idea about personal defence is to defend yourself within 25 feet. Anything further out and you'll be charged with murder. They will say you could have run away. Since most self defence fire happens within 6 or so feet, if you miss with a single bullet, it doesn't matter what you are carrying for defence. I would rather have three discs projectiles, the size of a 380, spreading out a bit in case my aim is off.


Odinson June 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm

What I like about this gun that, in theroy and practicality, this is a perfect survival gun. when building my kit, when it comes to guns, I choose weapons that use common ammo. It's much easier to find .357 Mags, 45.ACP, 223. .308Win, and 12 gauge shot shells in a survival situation than any other specialty ammo. Not that i ever want to (and I cannot emphasize how much i don't) but the kind of situations I'm planing for may require me to scavange or steal ammo. easier to find ammo like I said. If i have a gun that can fire three different types of fairly common ammo, than restocking is much easier.


rjburk July 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Lead in flesh stops confrontations, I am not a fan of these 410 handguns, but a few pellets in the face of an attacker may be all it will take to stop confrontation. We have all seen the video's of a Police Officer and criminal empty there weapons and no one is hit…..doubtful that I will ever buy one of these handguns, but they do have merit…..unless you have been in a gunfight don't Judge what may or may not work…..IMO any pistol in any caliber is better than no pistol…..


Reacher 6 December 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Carry the Governor around the homestead, to the mailbox, over the creek in back etc. After I bought it, I tried various .410 shotshells, .45 Colt and .45 ACP. The small shotshells pattern like crazy; at 10 feet, 4s, 6s etc. have a pattern about 3' by 3'and uniform. Wouldn't want to catch a faceful of those! The 000 buck load was interesting. At 6 feet the pattern was about the size of a silver dollar; at 12 feet it was a dinner plate. the 21 foot pattern was interesting; with a center-mass hold, the four pellets were just below the nose, high in the right chest, just to the left of the solar plexus and just below the navel on the silhouette. Thought this was a little strange and shot a couple more. Each time they strung vertically. Further than that and they were off the paper. Wouldn't want to catch four of these either.
Had some initial concerns about accuracy of the .45s. given the jump from case mouth to forcing cone, but was amazed how accurate it was. Standing on my hind legs, 255 grain hardcast TCs, two hand hold, shooting single action at 21 feet, you could cover the group with the palm of my hand. At 25 yards it was smaller than a dinner plate. Double action was a little bigger but not a lot.
Not my daily carry weapon, but I have it with me all of the time around the house.


vvespicoiii February 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

In response to "Instructors" comment above, it is apparent he has little to no experience with Smith and Wesson guns. I own many S&W guns and never had a problem with any of them. Now, he states that the Judge is better than the governor. Pal, you are completely wrong! First, I've shot both and the governor is simply more accurate. Besides, it does hold 6 rounds as opposed to the Judge's 5. Next, the Governor is american made! When you fire these guns, it is drastically noted, how much better the Governor shoots and the quality of its feel is far superior to the Judge.


jeff smith March 12, 2013 at 10:41 am

It always amazes me of the idiots that give advice ,that no not what they speak of! #1 I have stopped a deadly threat at 20 feet with a s&w gov, loaded with 410 buckshot ,I have dispensed of 240 # russian boar at 25 yards using 45/ 240 grain long colts,both shots were under stress.To whom it may concern engage your brain before your mouth!!!!!


Steve A. July 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm

LOVE this gun! It's such a great car defense weapon. I've been debating between this and the Taurus Judge. Even though this one has a few hundred dollars more on the price tag, it shoots the .45 ACP, which I have a stock pile of. Great review! Similar to some of the ones we are doing over at the Handgun Project.


charlie August 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

the thunder 5 was 1st revolver in 45/410


John November 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm

C’mon. The Judge is not even comparable. It is built in Brazil with fit and finish like a Yugo.


Joe January 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Governor costs $200 more; Judge wins!


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