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Two Decades with the Taurus Judge

Two Decades with the Taurus Judge

Two Decades with the Taurus Judge
18 June, 2024
Logan Metesh

“Look, in the gun case! It’s a shotgun! It’s a revolver! It’s the Taurus Judge!” OK, so Taurus didn’t modify the Superman introduction when they came out with the Judge, but I really wish they would have.

First introduced in 2006, the Taurus Judge is a five-shot revolver that’s capable of firing .45 Colt pistol cartridges or .410 bore shotshells. Now, almost 20 years later, it’s available in a wide variety of different models and configurations and has spawned similar guns from other makers.

(Smith & Wesson introduced the Governor in 2011.) Considered by some to be gimmicky, the gun’s numbers don’t lie. The Taurus Judge continues to sell well, year after year, both on the new and used gun markets. People have found value and purpose in this versatile revolver, so let’s take a look at a few of the different versions of the Taurus Judge.

Taurus Judge Revolver

Taurus Judge

The plain ol’ Taurus Judge is the one that started it all. The OG, if you will. At its core, the original Judge is a double-action/single-action revolver with a 3-inch barrel, fixed rear sight, and a fiber optic front sight.

The entire gun - frame, cylinder, and barrel - is built from steel. Despite being built on a compact frame, this is no pocket pistol.

The gun weighs 29 ounces empty and is 9.5” long overall. It can fire either .45 Colt or .410 bore shotshells up to 2.5” in length. A Magnum version is also available that allows you to chamber 3” .410 bore shotshells for a little extra power.

It is perfect for a walk in the woods and provides excellent protection from snakes or other vermin you may find on the property.

The Judge is available in two finishes: matte black oxide and matte stainless steel. Black guns are made from an alloy steel and the stainless guns are made from - yep, you guessed it - stainless steel. Regardless of the finish, both guns come equipped with black synthetic grips. In addition to the standard 3-inch barrel, you can also get the Judge with a 6.5” barrel. The extra 3.5” in length brings the weight up to 32 ounces empty.

Taurus Judge Home Defender

When is a shotgun not a shotgun? When is a revolver not a revolver? When it’s the Taurus Judge Home Defender. Outfitted with a 13-inch barrel, this gun uses a section of Picatinny rail for a rear sight (there’s no front sight) that allows you to easily mount the optic of your choice on it.

Given that this gun is designed for home defense, a pistol red dot goes great on the gun. There’s also a section of Picatinny rail on the bottom of the handguard where you could mount a light or a laser.

The purpose of the longer barrel and handguard is to give you optimum control on the gun in a possible life or death situation. It can fire either .45 Colt or .410 bore shotshells up to 3” in length, so you can optimize the loadout for your specific needs.

The Judge Home Defender is made entirely out of alloy steel and is available only in a matte black finish. It has an overall length of 19.5” and weighs 58.6 ounces empty.

Taurus Public Defender Revolver

Taurus Judge Public Defender

The Public Defender model of the Taurus Judge is a bit more sleek than the regular Judge model. While it still weighs 29 ounces empty, the 2-inch barrel is an inch shorter than the original Judge and the overall length is 7.75” instead of 9.5” overall. It still fires .45 Colt or .410 bore shotshells up to 2.5” in length.

While the size difference isn’t huge, the reduction in barrel length makes the gun a little easier to carry. Since .410 shotshells aren’t exactly designed for precision shooting and this gun is intended for more up-close applications, you don’t have to concern yourself with accuracy or velocity loss that stems from the shorter barrel.

Like the original Judge, the Public Defender has a fiber optic front sight and a fixed rear sight.

There’s also a Poly version of the gun, which comes with a frame that’s finished in a black polymer. The barrel on the Judge Public Defender Poly is also longer: 2.5” instead of the 2” standard. It can also be had with a matte stainless finish on the cylinder. The weight difference between the Public Defender and the Public Defender Poly is just two ounces, with the former weighing 29 ounces and the latter weighing 27 ounces.

Taurus Judge Executive Grade

Life is too short to carry an ugly gun, and the Judge Executive Grade knows this. Taurus has added the Judge to their hand-fitted line of Executive Grade models. Each Judge Executive Grade gets special attention.

These guns are assembled by hand in a separate room by specially trained gunsmiths, the action is hand tuned for a smooth double action trigger pull when quick follow-up shots are required, and a crisp, clean single action trigger pull for when you need to make a shot that’s a bit more precise, and they receive a hand-polished satin finish, and the presentation grade wood grips help control recoil while looking sharp when compared to the standard black synthetic grips offered on other models. As expected, it can fire .45 Colt or .410 bore shotshells up to 2.5” in length out of a 2.5” barrel. The Judge Executive Grade is only available in stainless steel and it weighs 36 ounces empty.

marksman holding Taurus Judge T.O.R.O.

Taurus Judge T.O.R.O.

At this point, you may have realized that, with the exception of the Home Defender, none of the Judge models give you the ability to put a red dot on the revolver. Well, that all changed with the Judge T.O.R.O., which stands for “Taurus Optics Ready Option.”

Taurus Judge T.O.R.O. revolver front night sight

The Judge T.O.R.O. comes from the factory already drilled and tapped in the top of the frame’s rear sight groove to accept an optics plate that is compatible with the popular Holosun K footprint. You can easily install the plate with just two screws and then use the optic of your choice.

Taurus Judge T.O.R.O. revolver optic mount

Or, if you so desire, you can remove the optic and the two screws holding the plate in place and you’re back to a standard revolver configuration with a fixed rear sight and a fiber optic front sight. Available only with a 3” barrel, these revolvers are 9.5” in length and weigh 37 ounces empty.

The Judge T.O.R.O. models are available in stainless steel or matte black oxide finishes and in the regular, 2.5” .410 bore shotshells or the Mag length that accommodates 3” .410 bore shotshells.

The Judge’s Decision

With more than a dozen different makes and models of the Taurus Judge for sale on the market today, it’s safe to say that there’s one out there that’s right for you.

Is the Taurus Judge a good gun? Absolutely. Whether you want to conceal the shorter Judge Public Defender, protect your household with the Judge Home Defender, have something that stands out on the range with the Judge Executive Grade, or step into the 21st century with an optics-ready revolver by way of the Judge T.O.R.O., your choices don’t end there.

You’ve also got to choose which finish option you want, which barrel length you prefer, and last but certainly not least, which loads you plan on carrying.

Aftermarket parts and accessories are readily available, so you can swap out grip types and materials, change fiber optic front sight colors, switch to night sights, and find the right holster that fits your model with your barrel length in a carry method that works best for you.

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