Smith & Wesson (S&W) Governor Review: Worth It?

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By John J. Woods •  6 min read

Even a moments delay in an actionable response can result in your demise.  Most Bug Out scenarios usually occur in bug out pistola panic state.  Sure you are supplied, packedand ready to go, but when the alarm goes off are you ready to go?  Maybe you get off a couple last minute cell phone calls to alert other family members or SHTF team partners just before 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.

Smith & Wesson Governs Bug Out Vehicle Defense

Your hope against hope is to slip through several rural communities bypassing any marauding souls looking to Bug Out Pistolconduct 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.

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 vehicleself-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

John J. Woods

John J. Woods, PhD, has been outdoor writing for over 35 years with over 3000 articles, and columns published on firearms, gun history, collecting, appraising, product reviews and hunting. Dr. Woods is currently the Vice President of Economic Development at a College in the Southern United States. Read his full interview here.