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Old 12-05-2016, 09:55 PM
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Default Using the S&W Governor as a self defense weapon ?

Anyone using a Governor for your night stand weapon ?? Or as a varmint pistol out on the farm ??

I've thought of getting a Governor for a varmint gun living here out in the country and for a home defense gun that my wife could use also if needed .. How is the recoil with the 410 shell ?? I've shot a 410 rifle a few years back but that was with 3 inch rounds and they would seem rather stout in a hand gun I would think .. have looked on u-tube but it really doesn't demonstrate how much recoil there is .. and the S&W uses 2 1/2 inch 410 rounds verses the 3 inch rounds in most 410 rifles .. being able to shoot .45 Colt/.45 Auto/.410 I think could be a real advantage ..

At about 29 oz the pistols mass should help with the felt recoil

I like the ability to use any one of three different rounds in the same pistol .. even a mixture of the three different rounds at the same time intrigues me !! But must say I'm not a wheel gun person not owning any presently the last one 30 some years ago .. have had many autos since then ..

Any info would be greatly appreciated !!
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Old 12-05-2016, 10:18 PM
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Don't have a Govener. I do have a Taurus Judge that was purchased before the Gov. was available it's a 2-1/2" chamber with 3" barrel. At ten yards, the pattern from the buckshot shells is pretty lethal looking. It's been a few years since I've shot it, but as I recall the #4 buckshot patterned better from this particular gun that the discs in the other brand. The .45 Colt rounds shot ok. Really didn't shoot for groups since the PD rounds cost over $1.00 each. Bottom line, at in the house range, the .410 buckshot rounds are certainly appropriate for self defense.
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Old 12-05-2016, 10:49 PM
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Many people poo-poo the Governor and Taurus Judge. I do not. I prefer to have it when I'm a camp host. It's an intimidating firearm by itself and most defensive gun uses don't involve discharging the weapon.

The .410 defensive shells are fairly stout but won't knock you on your butt. I enjoy shooting mine.

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Old 12-05-2016, 11:33 PM
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Hello, for some reason the gov. Doesn't get much good pr on this forum. I love mine, I got a judge when they first came out, and like it. I sold it the day after I got a governor. It's my yard, farm,tractor, walk in the woods. I reload and love 45LC! Mine is most accurate with 45acp, did I mention I love moon clips! I carry mine in a shoulder bag or owb holster. Go gov. And you want regret.
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Old 12-06-2016, 02:17 AM
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I picked up a Governor specifically as a possible carry piece. With the new Winchester defensive 410 loads, the three wadcutters and load of BB's in each shell should pack a lot of wallop without a lot of risk of overpenetration.
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Old 12-06-2016, 03:55 AM
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If I was going to use the Governor for self defense, I would load it with 45 Colt, probably Speer Gold Dot 250 gr.

A .410 shotgun might be a good choice for small game, I wouldn't want to rely on it to stop human beings and the ballistics don't get any better out of a short barrel.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:26 AM
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I see it as nothing other than a fun/novelty gun. The Box-O-Truth did a good job putting the Judge through the wringer; same thing applies to the Smith. It would be OK with 45LC for SD but then I'd rather have a 25.
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Old 12-06-2016, 11:31 AM
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I bought a 3" chamber, 3" barrel stainless Taurus Judge and installed Crimson Trace laser grips. It is used as a nightstand gun and occasionally carried as a snake gun loaded with 3" shotshells.

I bought it as a 3" .410 shotshell handgun. I have other .45 ACP, .45 Colt, and .454 Casull handguns with better rifling than the Judge or Governor for accuracy.
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Old 12-06-2016, 12:15 PM
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"I've thought of getting a Governor for a varmint gun living here out in the country and for a defensive gun that my wife could use also if needed"


I get quite a few women in pistol classes. Half of them that bring a gun start the conversation with "XXXX bought this gun for me and I hate it." If she likes shooting a large hard kicking gun as her first handgun, she is very unusual. And the implication that it will somehow make up for no training and poor shooting is a common myth; it won't.
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Old 12-06-2016, 12:21 PM
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Good lying around the house pistol. I've got two ACP, a slug, a triple copper disc, and two Long Colt in mine. As for the naysayers, and there will be plenty, I know I don't want to get shot with it . . .
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Old 12-06-2016, 12:28 PM
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I've never owned either, but have been tempted many times to purchase one! However, ANY gun you can shoot accurately, regardless of caliber is the one you want to be using as a personal defense or whatever use you come up with! I keep a S&W Backpacker in 44mag loaded with 44spls as my EDC and night stand gun...so to each their own!
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Old 12-06-2016, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKFC05 View Post
"I've thought of getting a Governor for a varmint gun living here out in the country and for a defensive gun that my wife could use also if needed"


I get quite a few women in pistol classes. Half of them that bring a gun start the conversation with "XXXX bought this gun for me and I hate it." If she likes shooting a large hard kicking gun as her first handgun, she is very unusual. And the implication that it will somehow make up for no training and poor shooting is a common myth; it won't.
You injected all those thoughts as they are not mine !!

I didn't say any thing about lack of training that she has or that it would be the first pistol she has shot .. I didn't say anything other then she would use it also .. As she shoots my 40 Compact and my Sig P229 Legion in 40 S&W .. along with several other pistols and has been shooting for over 40 years I really don't think she would have any more trouble shooting it then you probably would !!!! Maybe even less !!
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Old 12-06-2016, 03:27 PM
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It could suffice as a self-defense weapon, but the same can be said about pretty much any handgun. There are much better choices available. When there are as many naysayers(including nearly every professional defensive shooting instructor) as there are regarding the Governor(and Taurus Judge), I think it wise to take notice as there are likely very good reasons for the opposition even if you don't understand it.
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Old 12-06-2016, 05:51 PM
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You injected all those thoughts as they are not mine !!

I didn't say any thing about lack of training that she has or that it would be the first pistol she has shot .. I didn't say anything other then she would use it also .. As she shoots my 40 Compact and my Sig P229 Legion in 40 S&W .. along with several other pistols and has been shooting for over 40 years I really don't think she would have any more trouble shooting it then you probably would !!!! Maybe even less !!

Good to know. Then if you both like it, that's the one to get.
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:31 PM
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While I've never owned or shot one, the reason is because I do not "get it" about these types of handguns.

As I guy that owns way more handguns then he could ever need, the reason I've never owned a .410 handgun is because I see it as nothing more then a joke (or as one said much nicer, a "novelty").

But hey, if it floats your boat, go for it.

But I think you need to give a bit more consideration to it's use as a handgun for personal defense.
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
Good lying around the house pistol. I've got two ACP, a slug, a triple copper disc, and two Long Colt in mine. As for the naysayers, and there will be plenty, I know I don't want to get shot with it . . .
What kind of groups do you get with that assortment of ammo?
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:58 PM
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I have a governor and it is a lot of fun to shoot at my local indoor range. The 45ACP's are easily controlled one handed I practice both left and right handed with them. The 45 long colt are two hands, they give quite a kick but are manageable. With 410's I shoot only Hornaday slug with 2 35 cal balls at the range, it's what they have in stock and the bullet trap would bounce back anything smaller than 00 buck, it hits a bit harder with the 410's than the 45LC in my opinion.

If you plan on using 410's a lot then a lot of practice in recoil control would be called for.

Currently the Gov has three 410's 3 plates and 25 balls and 3 45LC loaded while it sits ready in a safe.

I like to close out a shooting session with the Gov by a round of 410's, they seem to help clean the gun. My normal pattern with the slug and 2balls at 10 yds is about 4 to 6 inch line going down and to the right.
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:25 AM
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What kind of groups do you get with that assortment of ammo?
From the end of my hallway, good enough to make any aggressor decide that he/she has something better to do somewhere else . . .
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:41 AM
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What kind of groups do you get with that assortment of ammo?
I get minute of bad guy that should be more than adequate.
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:04 AM
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Good lying around the house pistol. I've got two ACP, a slug, a triple copper disc, and two Long Colt in mine. As for the naysayers, and there will be plenty, I know I don't want to get shot with it . . .
Just curious, what's the thought process behind the loads?
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:07 AM
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Just curious, what's the thought process behind the loads?
Because I can. It's a hallway gun. 20-25 feet max. They'll all go in the ten ring with purpose at that distance. I stage it so the triple disc comes out first. Only thing that gives me trouble is I have to put the two ACP's in a row . . .
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:18 AM
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Because I can. It's a hallway gun. 20-25 feet max. They'll all go in the ten ring with purpose at that distance. I stage it so the triple disc comes out first. Only thing that gives me trouble is I have to put the two ACP's in a row . . .
Interesting. Why do you have to put two 45 ACP in a row? Design? And what's up with the triple disk thing? Is it a hard hitting round?
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Old 12-07-2016, 02:40 AM
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Interesting. Why do you have to put two 45 ACP in a row? Design? And what's up with the triple disk thing? Is it a hard hitting round?
think the reason is the 45 ACP's have to use a moon clip because the case is shoulder less .. and the clips come either in a full 6 shot moon clip or a 2 shot partial moon clip .. so you have to load the 45's in multiples of 2 or 6 according to which clip you have .. they come with both and are pretty cheap .. least believe that is the reason(s) ..
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Old 12-07-2016, 02:54 AM
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my governor shoots quite well and I see no problem with it as a SD gun...the 410 rounds are entirely manageable
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:35 AM
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think the reason is the 45 ACP's have to use a moon clip because the case is shoulder less .. and the clips come either in a full 6 shot moon clip or a 2 shot partial moon clip .. so you have to load the 45's in multiples of 2 or 6 according to which clip you have .. they come with both and are pretty cheap .. least believe that is the reason(s) ..
This ^ ^ ^ ^. As for the triple disc, it's an interesting option to the 000 buckshot rounds . . .
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:57 AM
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Good lying around the house pistol. I've got two ACP, a slug, a triple copper disc, and two Long Colt in mine. As for the naysayers, and there will be plenty, I know I don't want to get shot with it . . .
Sure would seem to make a ballistics analysis, or maybe coroner's analysis interesting, but I really know nothing about that except from TV, movies, and internet discussion !
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:01 AM
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My Judge groups better with the 000 buck than the discs. Both group pretty well at 15 ft. Fist size group or more properly "pattern".
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Old 12-07-2016, 02:30 PM
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The issue with 410 out of a handgun is the lack of velocity behind all that potentially useful buckshot. Buckshot's light weight means that if you take enough heat off it, it can start to fail, and you might be throwing large numbers of less than effective projectiles. I've never said for sure that the 410 handgun is without merit, but criticism's of it certainly do have merit as well.

As for the discs, I'd say they are completely and utterly in every single way inferior to round ball in reality. Ball and buckshot are virtually even, meaning they resist tumbling and even if they tumble in terminal performance, they are guaranteed to crush nearly identical cavities every time; the short flat disc runs the risk of flipping and presenting a least surface of resistance crush path which can actually minimize its effectiveness, i.e. you shoot a quarter at someone expecting it to crush a quarter size crush cavity but instead it flips sideways and instead cuts a disc path through that does very poor damage, and very little cavitation.

tl;dr Ball and long conical resist flipping at best in terminal ballistics, or in many cases can take advantage of it, whilst the short conical disk is at high risk of being flipped from its most destructive trajectory and face to the least. We don't even have to get into the lack of weight, and obviously it not only suffers from lack of sectional density but also stability.

If you are going to shoot 410 for multiple projectiles, 000 buckshot would appear to be the choice, and copper discs are a very poor choice.
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Old 12-07-2016, 03:08 PM
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"I've thought of getting a Governor for a varmint gun living here out in the country and for a defensive gun that my wife could use also if needed"


I get quite a few women in pistol classes. Half of them that bring a gun start the conversation with "XXXX bought this gun for me and I hate it." If she likes shooting a large hard kicking gun as her first handgun, she is very unusual. And the implication that it will somehow make up for no training and poor shooting is a common myth; it won't.
A large gun is easier for her to control without a lot of practice since she doesn't shoot that often. She also prefers revolvers, which I think is wise. As for the HD role, it's as good as any. As a camp/trail gun, it would be very versatile whether defense or a varminter. It's like a .500 S&W. If you want one, that's great and if it does a good job for you then that's even better.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:13 PM
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I do not own either one. I am a revolver guy but these 410/45 from Taurus and Smith seem out of balance with the extra long cylinders.
And just my opinion, both are ugly.
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:59 PM
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Sorry, I missed out on this thread. Where did the skeptics go? Usually this topic brings much controversy. I load mine with 3 Federal 000 buck followed by 3 Lehigh Maximum Expansion modified .45 rounds made expressly for the Governor/Judge. The silence against the Governor on this thread is really quite disconcerting ?? I feel like I'm whispering.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:55 PM
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As for the discs, I'd say they are completely and utterly in every single way inferior to round ball in reality. Ball and buckshot are virtually even, meaning they resist tumbling and even if they tumble in terminal performance, they are guaranteed to crush nearly identical cavities every time; the short flat disc runs the risk of flipping and presenting a least surface of resistance crush path which can actually minimize its effectiveness, i.e. you shoot a quarter at someone expecting it to crush a quarter size crush cavity but instead it flips sideways and instead cuts a disc path through that does very poor damage, and very little cavitation.

tl;dr Ball and long conical resist flipping at best in terminal ballistics, or in many cases can take advantage of it, whilst the short conical disk is at high risk of being flipped from its most destructive trajectory and face to the least. We don't even have to get into the lack of weight, and obviously it not only suffers from lack of sectional density but also stability.

If you are going to shoot 410 for multiple projectiles, 000 buckshot would appear to be the choice, and copper discs are a very poor choice.
Of course, nobody wants to reality test your theory about copper discs by standing at the end of my 20 foot hallway at 3 am, do they? I'll load all six the same for a valid evaluation . . .
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:42 PM
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I don't know much about these guns. What size throats does he governor have? How much jump does a 45 Colt bullet make before entering the throat? What's the bore diameter on them? What size slugs/balls are in the handgun defense loads for .410?
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:47 AM
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Before you go run out and buy one watch this:


I understand it's a judge but it gives you an idea of the power of a 410 out of a short barrel. Hickok went to 00 buck before it would even penetrate a piece of thin air duct tubing at 7 yards. The spread on 00 buck at 7 yards is about a foot wide meaning any distance beyond that would result in praying that one hits the target.

Would it be good for varmints? Potentially but it's nothing I would want to bet my life on.

I would buy a small 38 special before I would buy this, unless the person shooting it is a horrible shot and needs that wide spread to hit anything
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
Good lying around the house pistol. I've got two ACP, a slug, a triple copper disc, and two Long Colt in mine. As for the naysayers, and there will be plenty, I know I don't want to get shot with it . . .
I wouldn't want to get shot with a pellet gun either, but it would be my last choice to use if someone broke in my house.

Why the assortment of cartridges? Unsure of which will actually do the job?
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Old 12-15-2016, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Mister X View Post
It could suffice as a self-defense weapon, but the same can be said about pretty much any handgun. There are much better choices available. When there are as many naysayers(including nearly every professional defensive shooting instructor) as there are regarding the Governor(and Taurus Judge), I think it wise to take notice as there are likely very good reasons for the opposition even if you don't understand it.
I don't know about "naysayers, including nearly every professional shooting instructor", that seems a bit outlandish. I have seen many whom endorse the .410/.45 revolver as well as ballistics tests that illustrate its lethality. The Judge/Governor originally received poor reviews due to improper choices in ammunition during their conception. Fast forward to 2016 and there are a myriad of potent self defense platform loads available for these revolvers.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:54 PM
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I have the Taurus Judge and love it. Bird shot is fine for snakes and scaring varmints but for anything else #4 buck is the minimum. They make plenty of loads designed for handguns including Hornady Critical Defense 410 Triple Defense. It starts with a 41 caliber FTX Slug followed by two 35 caliber round balls T 750 fps and 294 ft-lb. I don't think you want to get hit with that. And that's only the 2.5" round. There are many other rounds designed for a handgun that are shown in many YouTube videos. The Lehigh Defense Maximum Expansion comes to mind as being almost as long as the 410 shells and expands to almost an inch. You really need to watch the YouTube video. There are many other great loads featured on YouTube as well so before you make your decision, get all the facts. Mine is a blast to shoot and everyone that I let shoot mine thinks so too. Including a young lady.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brasky View Post
Before you go run out and buy one watch this:

The Judge - YouTube

I understand it's a judge but it gives you an idea of the power of a 410 out of a short barrel. Hickok went to 00 buck before it would even penetrate a piece of thin air duct tubing at 7 yards. The spread on 00 buck at 7 yards is about a foot wide meaning any distance beyond that would result in praying that one hits the target.

Would it be good for varmints? Potentially but it's nothing I would want to bet my life on.

I would buy a small 38 special before I would buy this, unless the person shooting it is a horrible shot and needs that wide spread to hit anything
Wouldn't use buckshot for a self defense round .. but the self defense rounds he shot looked like they did very well and grouping was better then I though at 7 yards .. 4 rounds the equivalent of a 32 round hitting someone at the same time in a group the size of a softball .. I would think a couple of rounds of that on target would do the job ..
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:07 AM
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I was lucky enough to find a barely used Governor. The double action is one of the smoothest I've seen in a production gun. Definitely a lot lighter than my other midsized Smith & Wesson .45. Of course, the best scenario would be the sight of 6 big holes bringing proceedings to a quiet halt.
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Old 12-16-2016, 01:00 AM
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I hope you got a great deal on your governor.

I wouldn't have one.

So many better choices for sd.

Too big for what it can do.

Doesn't do anything well.
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Old 12-16-2016, 01:49 AM
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From the end of my hallway, good enough to make any aggressor decide that he/she has something better to do somewhere else . . .
With all the different ammunition going off, the perp will likely assume that he's walked into an ambush by a platoon of soldiers.

I think those that shoot small game, pests or are around snakes could find one useful. I'm just not one of those people. There is no reason why it wouldn't make a good house gun.
If you want to carry it, fine, too. It may raise questions though about why you needed to carry a shotgun the size of a pistol.
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:56 AM
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With all the different ammunition going off, the perp will likely assume that he's walked into an ambush by a platoon of soldiers.

I think those that shoot small game, pests or are around snakes could find one useful. I'm just not one of those people. There is no reason why it wouldn't make a good house gun.
If you want to carry it, fine, too. It may raise questions though about why you needed to carry a shotgun the size of a pistol.
The reason one would want to carry a shotgun the size of a pistol is that you would be sending the equivalent of 4 copper plated projectiles approximately the size of a 9mm with each trigger pull at 850 fps. Within 21 feet these projectiles would be devastating. Back them up with Maximum Expansion .45s made for the Governor and you've upped your game. The shotgun has just become a pistol.
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Old 12-16-2016, 06:11 AM
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I am underwhelmed. It lacks capacity, especially given its size. The .410 is of debatable effectiveness from the short, rifled barrel. Hybrid disc/birdshot loads like the Winchester PDX1 are of dubious effectiveness, with the discs penetrating as little as 6" in some ballistic gelatin tests (10% medium gel, single layer of denim). The discs themselves don't expand in any meaningful way.

And if you don't use .410 ammo of limited effectiveness at distances longer than "too damn close", well, you might as well have brought a .45 Colt or .45 ACP.

I am far more comforted by conventional handguns firing conventional self-defense ammunition. I value consistency and versatility over Mass x Velocity and marketing. Quality defensive ammo is quite effective on its own without gimmicks. Simple 9mm +P carry ammo has probably laid low more bad guys--and saved more lives--than a .410 handgun could ever dream of.
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Old 12-16-2016, 09:48 AM
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Again, watch from 6:10 in.

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Old 12-16-2016, 12:51 PM
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That video illustrates my point well. The disks are sideways in the block, indicating they did not crush an optimum path through the block, they slipped sideways to provide the least surface area and resistance. The disks turn sideways and cut a think crush cavity, and even then penetration was inferior to ball buckshot. I've seen another video on disks doing the same thing, can't find it now, it shows they are a backwards design, the whole disk thing never made sense since day one.

If one is to choose the .410 handgun, 000 buckshot is the best of all options, and the disks are a novelty. And the BB's? They did fail, 4-6 inches in block, considering skin, they would have not hardly gotten into a man, and almost certainly not deep enough to hit or damage anything of value. That PDX load looks worse every single time I look at it.
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Old 12-16-2016, 03:04 PM
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That video illustrates my point well. The disks are sideways in the block, indicating they did not crush an optimum path through the block, they slipped sideways to provide the least surface area and resistance. The disks turn sideways and cut a think crush cavity, and even then penetration was inferior to ball buckshot. I've seen another video on disks doing the same thing, can't find it now, it shows they are a backwards design, the whole disk thing never made sense since day one.

If one is to choose the .410 handgun, 000 buckshot is the best of all options, and the disks are a novelty. And the BB's? They did fail, 4-6 inches in block, considering skin, they would have not hardly gotten into a man, and almost certainly not deep enough to hit or damage anything of value. That PDX load looks worse every single time I look at it.
I own the PDX but won't load it as the BBs are useless. But the Federal 000 buck is a different story. In the ballistics video above, all 4 copper plated pellets passed clean through a 12" block. The results are similar amongst other ballistics tests I've seen.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:03 AM
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My brother has a Taurus Judge 2 inch with a 3 inch barrel for his "car gun" when traveling. He loads it with 0000 buck (4 pellets) which should be sufficient for any carjacker. It's not his normal carry gun, but he likes having it in his little truck.
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brasky View Post
Before you go run out and buy one watch this:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qRlry5KH6I0

I understand it's a judge but it gives you an idea of the power of a 410 out of a short barrel. Hickok went to 00 buck before it would even penetrate a piece of thin air duct tubing at 7 yards. The spread on 00 buck at 7 yards is about a foot wide meaning any distance beyond that would result in praying that one hits the target.

Would it be good for varmints? Potentially but it's nothing I would want to bet my life on.

I would buy a small 38 special before I would buy this, unless the person shooting it is a horrible shot and needs that wide spread to hit anything
Before you go out and buy watch this, devastating!

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Old 12-18-2016, 11:35 AM
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I wouldn't want to get shot with a pellet gun either, but it would be my last choice to use if someone broke in my house.

Why the assortment of cartridges? Unsure of which will actually do the job?
Oh, they'll all get it done. I like variety . . .
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Old 12-24-2016, 06:50 PM
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Governors and Judges always struck me as the answer to a question nobody asked.
But, I can see from this thread some folks clearly like em. It's good to have choices.

There are a couple over in the classifieds right now.
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