Wheelgun Wednesday: Taurus Judge Home Defender or Fake Pretender?

Adam Scepaniak
by Adam Scepaniak

The Taurus Judge, in my estimation, might be one of the most misunderstood, overhyped, and underrated revolvers ever made. Are they meant for shooting snakes in the South, or grouse in the sticks up North, or masked muggers in Chicago? Nobody knows. All of the above? This wheelgun can moonlight as nearly anything you want it to be, and that is why when I saw the new Taurus Judge Home Defender I chuckled thinking, “Here’s another meme version of the Judge.” Yet, the longer I ponder the efficacy of an absurdly long-barreled revolver that shoots shotgun shells I thought Taurus might be onto something. So, in this week’s edition of Wheelgun Wednesday, I am going to contemplate the question of whether or not the Taurus Judge Home Defender is actually a legit home defender, or merely a fake pretender? Let’s dive in!

Wheelgun Wednesday @ TFB:

Taurus Judge Home Defender .45 Long Colt / .410 Gauge

So, before we posture this hypothetical of whether the Taurus Judge Home Defender can protect you from that catalytic converter thief breaking into your garage at night, let’s set a baseline for what we’re working with here. If you missed our announcement article of the Taurus Judge Home Defender, here are some cliff notes on the specs of this new iteration of the classic and iconic Judge:

  • Cartridge: .45 Long Colt / .410 Gauge (3″ Magnum)
  • Capacity: 5 Rounds
  • Rear Sight: Picatinny Rail
  • Action Type: Double-Action / Single-Action (DA/SA)
  • Special Features: Extended Ejector Rod, Picatinny Rail
  • Barrel: 13″ Alloy Steel w/ Matte Black Finish & 1 in 16″ Right-Hand Twist, 6-Groove Rifling
  • Frame: Alloy Steel w/ Matte Black Finish & Transfer Bar Safety
  • Cylinder: Alloy Steel w/ Matte Black Finish
  • Overall Length: 19.5″
  • Overall Height: 5.8″
  • Overall Width: 1.9″
  • Overall Weight: 58.6 Oz (Unloaded)

So, what’s new?

If you’re thinking, “It’s a big Judge. So, what’s the big deal?” You’re not wrong in your assessment, but you need to look a bit closer. The Taurus Judge Home Defender has such a long barrel (13″ overall) that you actually get a handguard to grip. You also have the real estate available for a generous Picatinny rail over the top strap of the frame and even a short section of Picatinny rail underneath the barrel forward of the handguard. With this much Picatinny rail all over a revolver, Taurus still made this wheelgun look tasteful and not over-the-top, Tacticool. You have the ability to add modern accouterments without it looking like something hailing from Kel-Tec’s cocaine R&D department.

Other elements that remain the same are the chambering of .45 Long Colt and 3″ .410 Gauge shells, an ergonomic rubber grip emblazoned with the Taurus logo, and a clean matte black finish. Those are all things that you would come to expect from a Judge. So, with the melding of old and new, what does one do with this?…

Taurus Judge Home Defender: Fake Pretender or True Home Defender?

So, here we are. If you purchase one of these revolvers from a firearm retailer and you buy into the home defender moniker, how should we set this up?… With the Picatinny rail across the top strap of the frame, I would put a micro red dot on this thing just like Taurus displays in their marketing pictures (Holosun micro red dot pictured throughout). Then, whether you are in your garage flushing out the catalytic converter rapscallion, or plinking cans at the range, you can more easily see what you’re giving ballistic attention to.

Second, I would use that chunk of Picatinny rail on the handguard for a flashlight, laser, and/or flashlight/laser combo. I won’t debate the merits of which one of those 3 is best for defense, but if you have that Picatinny real estate, you might as well put it to use. Then, you can illuminate a situation, drop a laser on it, or both.

Finally, you need to get yourself to the range and practice with this tank of a wheelgun. Are you going to shoot it traditionally (both hands on pistol grip with proper form)? Or, will you have your dominant hand on the pistol grip and non-dominant hand on the handguard? I’m not saying one option is better than the other, but however you’re going to roll with this thing, you need to be all-in, fluent, and accurate with it.

final thoughts: Taurus Judge Home Defender

So, what is my verdict on this wheelgun?… Is it a home defender, or a fake pretender? Popular opinion be damned… I believe it is an actual home defender – good job, Taurus. Will I be purchasing one and deploying it for said home defense? No, but all the “pieces” are here. I have a Gucci Glock I built that is barely recognizable as a Glock anymore that is a nightstand gun. I also have a Springfield Armory Echelon kitted out for defense (ya’ll forget I’m Springfield’s #1 fan). What makes those pistols fit for home defense are their micro red dots, high-lumen flashlights, and years of use that I can manipulate them and clear potential malfunctions in my underwear, half-asleep. And, what did I say anyone should do if you splurge on a Taurus Judge Home Defender for home defense: get a micro red dot, a flashlight, and train with it.

Will the purists be mad about this revolver that it has a modern Pic rail and a silly long barrel? Probably. Will the manly men be insulted that people think .45 Long Colt is sufficient for defense, and we should be using a bigger cartridge? Maybe. Should you care? No. I believe it is Daniel Y from TFB who likes to say, “It is OK to own a gun simply because you like it.” Home defense or not, if you think the Taurus Judge Home Defender is rad, go get yourself one. Life is short. Buy the gun. Live, love, laugh. Crush your enemies. Something like that.

Check Prices on Taurus Judge Home Defender Revolvers

As always, let us know all of your thoughts about Taurus, the Judge Home Defender, and my incoherent ramblings in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.

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Adam Scepaniak
Adam Scepaniak

Editor | AllOutdoor.comWriter | OutdoorHub.comWriter | TheArmoryLife.comWriter | Tyrant CNCWriter | MDT Chassis SystemsSmith & Wesson Certified ArmorerGlock Certified ArmorerFirefighter/EMSCity CouncilmanInstagram: strength_in_arms

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2 of 26 comments
  • MattB MattB on Dec 04, 2023

    I never understood why they never made a .410 revolver with a smooth bore. Then it would actually be useful.

  • XT6Wagon XT6Wagon on Dec 05, 2023

    .410 home defense? Ammo is annoying to find and accuracy is questionable.

    20g break open shotgun will be be better gun if you don't want 12g.