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Summary: Paul Markel’s review of and rating for the Taurus Judge revolver, including a range report, photos, pricing, specs and user ratings. (Click here to see all of Markel’s pistol reviews.)
The Taurus 4510TKR revolver, nicknamed the Judge, is a five-shot revolver chambered for .410-caliber shotshells and .45 LC ammo. It’s now available in several configurations, but the original Judge featured a steel frame with a cylinder designed to accept only 2.5″ shells. In 2009, Taurus extended the cylinder to allow shooters to chamber all manner of .410 shotshell ammunition, including 3″ shotshells.
This review contains basic info on all Judge models but focuses on the 3″ cylinder models.
The Judge is a double-action (DA) revolver with a 3″, rifled barrel. Up front you find a red/orange fiber-optic front sight. The rear sight consists of a square notch cut along the top of the frame.
The double-action pull is very smooth for a factory gun, and the single action has a crisp, positive feel. The trigger is wide and smooth as you would expect on a DA revolver. The cylinder release is polished and rounded. Those of you out there with scarred thumbs from the square, sharp releases of old magnum wheelguns will appreciate that.
The Taurus Ribber grip is probably the gun’s most important yet underrated feature. This soft rubber grip has been gracing the company’s DA revolvers for a number of years now and quietly doing a tremendous job. The grip gives you a solid purchase on the big gun and fills in the gap between the trigger guard and the grip frame, an area that has historically produced the greatest discomfort and pain for magnum revolver shooters. The matte stainless finish and black grips offset each other nicely.
As noted above, the Judge is available in a variety of configurations:
- 4510TKR-3B and 4510TKR-3SS: These models are built on a steel frame with a 2.5″ cylinder with either a 3″ or 6.5″ barrel, and available finishes include blue and stainless steel.
- 4510TKR-3SSR: This model is built on a steel frame with a 2.5″ cylinder, a 3″ barrel and a stainless steel finish. Additional features include a picatinny rail and a ported barrel.
- 4510TKR-3BUL and 4510TKR-3SSUL: These models are built on Taurus’ Ultra-Lite alloy frame with a 2.5″ cylinder and a 3″ barrel, and available finishes include blue and stainless.
- 4510TKR-3BMAG and 4510-3SSMAG: These models are built on a steel frame with a 3″ cylinder with either a 3″ or 6.5″ barrel, and available finishes include blue and stainless steel.
My 3″ cylinder model is certainly not a pocket pistol—it tips the scales at 36.8 oz. empty. By comparison, the original Judge weighs 29 oz. That extra steel adds 7 oz., but it also dampens felt recoil. Overall length of the gun measures 9.5″. As an added feature, all Taurus pistols include the Taurus Security System with two dedicated keys.
As this gun is definitely out of the ordinary, my range testing time needed to be a bit unique as well. My test fodder came from Remington and included 3″ shotshells loaded with #6 and #7.5 birdshot as well as 2.5″ slug ammo. According to Remington, the solid lead slug weighs 87.5 grains.
Rather than simply fire at paper and cardboard, I wanted to test out these common types of .410 ammunition on realistic material and see what kind of damage and penetration I would get. My first stop: the local home store, where I picked up .5″ drywall/sheetrock, insulation, .5″ plywood and 2″x4″s. From this material I constructed an interior wall façade. The “wall” consisted of a layer of sheetrock, one layer of fiberglass insulation, one layer of .5” plywood and finally another layer of sheetrock. I transported this barrier to the range along with a silhouette target frame and Bullet Test Tube material.
Once on the shooting range, I set up the wall in front of a silhouette target clothed in a cotton T-shirt. The head of the target was poking up over the wall. From a distance of approximately five yards I fired the #7.5 shot load followed by the #6 load and finally the .410 slug.
Upon close examination, I discovered that the #7.5 shot had failed to penetrate the first layer of sheetrock. Much of it was stuck in the dry wall, and some was actually lying on the table.
The #6 shot penetrated the first layer of sheetrock but failed to exit the other side. Not surprisingly, the lead Foster-type slug passed all the way through the wall, through the target and ended up in the berm down range.
For the next portion of my testing, I placed a layer of Bullet Test Tube material onto the silhouette under the shirt. The gel like material measured roughly 2″ thick. Firing the #6 shot into the target, I found that most of it passed through the gel material but didn’t have enough force left to exit the cardboard target backing.
A couple of years ago I was asked to prepare a review of defensive loads for the shotgun. During this workup I performed a similar test on a rack of beef ribs. The ribs and meat measured no more than 1.5″ thick. From seven yards, I fired a load of #7 shot from a 12-gauge shotgun. Not one pellet passed completely through the meat/bone combination.
The last penetration test I performed featured the .410 slug vs. the Bullet Test Tube. From about 5 yards, I fired the slug into the tube. The entrance hole was considerable. After returning home from the range I split the tube and discovered the slug had caused a permanent cavity in the material about 5″ deep and completely fragmented. Six separate pieces of the lead projectile were recovered.
Keep in mind the one-fifth ounce equals approximately 88 grains. The slug was moving at better than 1,600 feet per second out of the Judge when it struck the Test Tube.
What can we take from all this? Surely birdshot at close range will cause a horrific surface wound on a human attacker. On a venomous threat, such as a rattlesnake, it would prove devastating.
When it comes to two-legged predators, however, we must understand there are three basic classifications: Type 1, 2, and 3. Type 1 will surrender or flee from a determined show of force—the display of a firearm will send them running. A Type 2 attacker will stop only after some type of harm has occurred. The wound or injury may not necessarily be life-threatening, but the fact that they have been injured will deter them.
The last classification is the Type 3, a determined and deadly predator who has no fear or regard for the display of a weapon. This predator will only stop when their body has been damaged to the point they’re physically unable continue. Many of those in the Type 3 category are narcotic drug users, their minds so polluted and rotted by poison that they have not the sense or rationality to fear even an armed defender.
The problem you as a good citizen face is that you won’t know the threat you face until it has materialized. Will the mugger melt away at the first sign of resistance, or are they determined to take what they want regardless of the cost?
Some would argue lack of penetration is a good thing in the event of a home/apartment invasion in which innocents might be in another room. That’s certainly something to consider. If over-penetration of interior walls is a definite concern, then birdshot loads might be viable for you. However, you must keep in mind the limitations of such a load.
Overall, the Judge gets high marks for quality, construction and handling. Even with the “magnum” 3″ shell it was easily controllable. The fact that you can chamber such a wide variety of ammunition makes it a most versatile firearm. Snakes, varmints and two-legged predators can all be dealt with.
The key to using the Judge effectively is knowledge and training. Load it with the right ammunition for the task you hope to accomplish.
Be smart, be safe, and keep shooting straight.
Paul G. Markel became a United States Marine in 1987 and served his nation honorably during peace time and at war. Among the many hats he has worn in his career, Markel has been a police officer, professional bodyguard, firearms instructor and gun writer. Markel is the creative director and host of “Student of the Gun,” a weekly television show airing on the Sportsman Channel (www.studentofthegun.com). Visit his Web site at www.paulmarkel.com.
|steel||.410, .45 LC||5||3″||2.5″||9.5″||5.1″||1.5″||29 oz.|
|steel||.410, .45 LC||5||6.5″||2.5″||12.5″||5.1″||1.5″||32 oz.|
|steel||.410, .45 LC||5||3″||3″||10″||n/a||n/a||36.8 oz.|
|steel||.410, .45 LC||5||6.5″||3″||13″||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|alloy||.410, .45 LC||5||3″||2.5″||9.5″||5.99″||1.76″||22.4 oz.|
Pricing & Shopping
MSRP: $589–$629 (depending on model)
Retail: $499 (6.5″ barrel, 3″ cylinder, stainless) @ Brownells—
Retail: $469 (6.5″ barrel, 3″ cylinder, blue) @ Brownells—
More Photos, & Video
On camera: Check out Hickock45’s video review of the Taurus Judge.
10 thoughts on “Taurus Judge”
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I purchased the Judge as a self defense pistol for my wife.
I spent 6 years in the USMC and 41 years in law enforcement where I helped originate the SWAT team in 1973 for my agency.
The Judge misfired 1 or 2 rounds out of every 5 using several types of ammo including Winchester high base 6 shot and Winchester PDX1. The pistol had a light strike). Yet the next time I fired the same light strike rounds they fired. I have fired hundreds of pistols and this is the first new pistol with a failure to fire issue. Be very careful about purchasing this pistol made in Brazil.
Why you folks test this weapon with birdshot is beyond me, the new .410 defensive ammo now on the market is designed just for this handgun, PDX1, Federal OOO buckshot, critical defensive type of ammo is nothing like our fathers .410 rabbit gun. The devastating effect is mind boggling on a human torso at 5-7-10 yards this not for the faint of heart, a lot of barrel flash,recoil and loud report ..it’s a protective weapon built for one purpose ….,
Not sure Fire Arms News gives it a thumbs up as I read on 2/23/16.
Please comment for those you and the manufacturer to date. These responses read are the real deal. Why test a weapon for self defense with a comparison to hunting game?
Since the weapon is reported as failing to fire with rounds: what changes or specifics must be in order to rely on the Judge?
What does the manufacturer and the community say?
Need help for a daughter who is turning 21 in April this year. I am not a Green Horn.
Today is tomorrows truth. If you are willing to help ,sound off!
Four specific Judge comments. Tested 3″ Judge with 4 different ammo types this past weekend.
-1- Colt .45 rounds work fine, but apparently aren’t available in frangible type which raises concerns about collateral injury to bystanders &/or family members in other rooms given likely travel distance and retained lethality.
-2- Remington .410 3″ PDX self-defense shells are 1/8th longer than wheel, meaning you can’t even close it. Several otherwise knowledgeable firearm store employees had zero idea about this.
-3- Remington .410 2.5″ PDX repeatedly “wheel jammed” after firing, apparently due to an over pressure caused by the slugs/disks which pushes the shell casing backward a tad, jamming the pistol action altogether. A real problem, although 2x out of 10 rounds it didn’t happen. Not good.
-4- Federal .410 2.5″ Buckshot w/ 4 000 pellets mechanically function well. No issues except past 30′ begin to fly or spread outside single torso silhouette, so unimpeddled, direct collateral injury risk raises its ugly head and suggesting prudent ammo decisions about choices and sequencing variety.
Otherwise, nice weight, manageable recoil, clean operation with “correct” ammo, discharge noise considerable in confined space (won’t help tinnitus or ear sensitivity), nice muzzle flash, awesome likely visual presentation impact IF intruder is capable of paying attention, and presents same inside-the-belt, holstered concealed carry profile as my 1911s.
I do agree with comment about testing with bird shot loads as major testing element. For firearms like this, would seem more appropriate to ID ammo categories like: crawling & legged varmints; feral & wild dogs; small game like javelina; large cats and bears; and two-leggeds, because Judge appears to be rapidly gaining fans among the less experienced and less knowledgeable.
It’s good to remember there are CCP instructors who do not require range operation & performance, etc. because their states don’t address it, unlike the NRA curriculum.
Thanx for listening.
Just a follow up on the comment I made back in Oct 2014, I pen this in Apr 2016, since my comments on defensive ammunition made for the Judge I can think of at least 7-10 additional defensive ammunition that are now made just for this handgun, all the major marque ammo companies are now producing some type of round to use with this defensive weapon, if my recollections are correct it was in the top five handguns purchased. As stated b4 it was developed for ONE purpose and ONE purpose only, an up close and personal defensive weapon, not a rabbit or varmit hunting gun. At 5-7-10 yards the destruction with a round such as PDX1 or Federal 0000 is unreal, there are many tests of these rounds professionally done on YouTube, one is done by ShootIngTheBull, he IMHO is the epitome of ballistic testing on the Internet … So the bottom line again is forget #8 shot and use the ammo that it was developed for anything else you defeat the whole purpose of the weapon …..
Are you able to load .45 AND 410 simultaneously?
@ Bob: Yes!
Took my Judge (3″ chamber) to the range with a variety of .45 colt and 410 ammo. All functioned very good and had no failure to fire on the first pull of the trigger. 000 buckshot rounds do spread out quite a bit @ 10 yards but they all still impacted inside of the torso of the target. PDX1 round was quite accurate @ 10 yards. Absolutely no difficulty with emptying empties.
I have miss placed my specs on my Taurus Judge
My DM starts…. DM991848 is it possible to receive a copy of the operation of and cleaning of this weapon.
I rather a hard copy than a UTube or website please. Thank you
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