Does The Taurus Judge Polymer Work?

Taurus Judge Polymer, does it work? That's the big question and we're not entirely sure you'll like the answer.

Taurus Judge Polymer

  • Price: $536.99
  • Barrel length: 2.5
  • Caliber: .410/45 Colt
  • Action: Double Action/Single Action
  • Weight: 1.7lb
  • Capacity: 5

The Taurus Judge Public Defender Polymer is one of the most talked about guns for sale in recent times, but not always for the right reasons.

Critics wrote the Judge off before it arrived. Others tried it with birdshot or low quality buckshot and came away with the same negative conclusion. Both argued that the 2″ barrel simply does not work with shot designed for an 18″ barrel and a 12-Gauge helping.

Some wrote it off as an unworkable gimmick that simply couldn’t deliver on its promise.

In a way, they are right. But in a way they are also very wrong.

Judge Works Better Than The Internet Says

The matte black Taurus Judge Public Defender works, but you have to go with 00 Buckshot or the slugs that are purpose-built for the weapon and pretty devastating.

The slugs make the shrunken 2023 Taurus Judge Polymer a reasonable concealed carry weapon. Yes you will only get five rounds, but they will be mini shotgun slugs with some seriously advanced tech packed into their small frame.

Ammo is Mission Critical

It really is a shotgun you can hold in one hand, but you just shouldn’t use it with birdshot. That is all wrong for the Judge and the high flex frame and spiral in the barrel mean it spreads everywhere, within just a few feet.

You just look stupid peering through the blade rear sights down the fiber optic front sight line when that happens…

Buckshot fares much better in this matte black polymer frame and matte stainless cylinder beauty. The slugs are another league altogether, with a series of separate projectiles designed to group within 1.5 inches at about seven feet. That’s classic self-defense territory.

If you have one, try Sig Sauer’s 45 Long Colt bullets that have been cut deep for a massive deformation, tumbling and ripping when the bullet hits home.

Gel tests of this 230gr bullet have been outstanding and there’s no doubt in our minds. With that ammo, the matte black Taurus Judge Polymer is the real deal. And the matte brown, naturally.

But is the Judge Good Enough?

Here’s the final reckoning. Are the slugs actually enough to displace your regular CCW? No, is the simple answer, thanks largely to the five-round capacity and the slow reload.

It is 7.5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, which is Glock/Sig P320 Compact territory, if we’re honest. These compact 9mm handguns are better guns for self defense.

We wouldn’t dump a 17-round 9mm and two spare mags for that, ever. Or a 7 round 45 ACP mag. And if we want a revolver, the Smith & Wesson Airweight 357 Magnum is standing right there.

It is super light and weighs less than 1lb, but you could replace the Judge with  one of 10 polymer handguns that would do a better job.In fact we have 15 subcompact 9mm guns here and we’d take pretty much all of them first.

The Sig gives 15+1 rounds of 9mm. It’s not even close.

Judge Is Epic Tactical Mini Shotgun

I can, however, see a place for the Taurus Judge Public Defender Polymer. I would leave the slugs, load it with buckshot and then keep it as a truck gun or even home defense.

Taurus does indeed say one of its primary jobs is a safeguard against carjacking in their native Brazil. That makes sense…

You could even tuck it in a sock holster as your back-up. Then it’s an option, basically a mini shotgun in the palm of your hand, or a Taurus Judge 45 Colt, of course….

You could even have a few of these, loaded and ready to go in hidden mini gun vaults in your home. Again, you really have to value the buckshot over the increased capacity of a semi-automatic.

But it can work for some people, especially inexperienced family members that just want to point the gun and pull the trigger.

It’s also generally considered one of the finest snake guns known to man. If you live in a place full of feisty Rattlers then you need one of these guns, or the bigger, metal stainless steel Judge.

The best advice, as always, is to try this gun for yourself and see how you get on with that long double action trigger pull and what comes after.

Don’t believe the negative hype. The Taurus Judge Polymer is a different kind of handgun. Taken on its own unique and particular merits, I think you’ll like it.

History of the Taurus Judge

The Brazilian manufacturer introduced the original Judge back in 2006, based on the Taurus Tracker. It got the name after the company learned that a series of high profile Florida Judges had ordered the revolver for personal defense while on duty.

Revolvers beat semi automatics under heavy robes as you can fire them from a pocket without worrying too much about fouling the action. The double action trigger pull is a sufficient safety and the judges would likely face an attacker at point blank range.

You can order a 3 inch barrel, 4 inch or 6.5 inch in that gun. The Taurus Raging Judge, that can also handle 454 Casull ammo, is built on the larger frame. And the Taurus Raging Judge is suitable for home defense, bear defense and for discouraging wolves.

Now the model you see here came in time for the 2009 Shot Show and is based on the Taurus 85 frame. This is the concealed carry version. You will see 2 and 2.5 inch barrels advertised and essentially the rifled barrel means it is only considered a shotgun in California.

The Judge is not California legal, unsurprisingly…

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  • Nick Hall

    Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

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