I still think a .410 revolver is silly.

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I think I’ve made my feelings clear regarding the concept (if not the execution) of the Taurus Judge/S&W Governor revolvers. As self defense guns, which is how they’re marketed, they make no sense for a wide variety of valid reasons. What’s amazing to me is that people will say “that’s all true, but I think they still have a place for snakes and carjackers.”

I’ve talked about the former already. A large portion of my family lives and ranches in rattlesnake country, and I spend time there on a regular basis. I can tell you for a fact that a) the preferred snake gun is a .45 Colt using CCI shotshells, and has been for decades; and b) it’s rarely used – only if a snake is found in a yard, around a house, or in a work area where the chance of encounter is extremely high. People who live in snake country already know these things and visitors to snake country have no business shooting snakes, so the Judge doesn’t make sense. (Even with the amount of time I spend in snake country, I not only have a never shot a snake I don’t even bother to carry snake loads. If I see a snake, I just put distance between us and have done so many times.**)

The carjacking scenario is just as silly. Aside from the fact that very few have practiced deploying any gun – let alone a Judge – in the confines of an automobile, what makes this gun any better than any other gun for the purpose? Trolling some of the less sophisticated gun forums will reveal comments like “a .410 shotshell to the face would make any carjacker think twice.” Umm, yeah, a .22LR would do the same thing. Just about any gun would make just about anyone “think twice.” What’s the point, again?

The consensus of Judge fans seem to think that the close ranges of a carjacking scenario are ideally suited to the .410 shotshell, but their reasoning is missing. Do they believe that the shotshell will make it easier to hit their assailant? At that distance it’s no more sure than a single, more effective, projectile launcher. Will it have more immediate effect? Unlikely, since it has less penetration than a single projectile. No matter how I look at it, I cannot find a rationale for the .410 from a revolver making a better anti-carjacking round than any other, but it’s one of the most common justifications for the things.

I’ve practiced the use of a handgun from inside a car, and I can’t see where a Judge/Governor would especially useful. Yet the concept inexplicably lives.

(My anti-carjacking strategy? I drive a vehicle that no one in their right mind would ever want to carjack, and I keep the doors locked. From my research those two things eliminate more than 99% of the potential threats. For the remaining 1%, I have a non-shotshell-firing handgun with which I practice regularly and realistically.)

-=[ Grant ]=-

** – true story: my wife and I were at one time considering buying some property in a very rural part of south-central Washington state, which is rattlesnake country. We were looking at an old homestead which was along – we didn’t know this at the time – “Rattlesnake Creek”. We were tramping around, looking at an overgrown corral area, when I spotted something on the ground. It was green, spotted, and looked for all the world like one of those plastic inflatable snakes one sees in carnival midways. I thought it was a discarded childrens’ toy when I noticed its head move. I was perhaps three feet away at this point, uncomfortably close, and slowly backed away. It was a green rattlesnake!

I’d never seen one of that color, and this one seemed content to stay where he was. He was fully stretched out, not coiling or hissing or rattling, even though he knew I was there. He didn’t mind me, and so I didn’t mind him. I squatted down to get a closer look while at the same time motioning to my wife to freeze where she was. After a while I got tired of staring at a snake who wasn’t doing anything, so I went on my merry way. The snake, for his part, slithered off to do whatever it is green rattlesnakes do.

When I got home I checked out a herpetology site from one of Washington’s universities. It turns out the snake I saw was a very uncommon subspecies of the North Pacific Rattlesnake, and is noted for a peculiarly non-aggressive behavioral trait: it tends to stay motionless until a threat has passed, the snake equivalent, I suppose, of ostrich behavior. This lack of a self-defense initiative would tend to explain why they’re rare.

I did not feel a need to shoot the thing.



About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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