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Verdict on 'The Judge'

A Product Review

August 27, 2010
Bill Waugaman

Taurus has been producing 'The Judge' line of revolvers for several years now. In talking to the owners of some local gun shops, they told me that this handgun is one of the most popular revolvers they sell. This is understandable for various reasons, but a lot has to do with the effective marketing and advertising by Taurus. If you go online and search 'Taurus Judge review' or check in the major firearms magazines, you will find dozens of reviews by various writers, nearly all of them touting the greatness of this handgun. I succumbed to the allure and chose to do my own review of The Judge. Since Taurus could not send a Judge for evaluation, a stop to a local gun shop and I was the owner of a Model 4510TKR-3SS, 3" barrel, 2 1/2" chamber. At first, I was really excited about The Judge and enjoyed shooting it. Having different people shoot The Judge for this review, including some law enforcement officers, everyone had the same initial impressions as mine. However, the novelty wore off for me and I began to notice some nuances. This is the first time in 10 years of writing firearms reviews that my overall opinion is less than favorable for a firearm. The Pro's The Taurus rubber grip is outstanding. It is quite comfortable and does soften the recoil. The matte stainless finish is well done. The single action trigger pull has a nice, crisp break at 3 pounds with very little creep. The Con's (based on my 'off the shelf' purchase) Taurus did not return any calls made requesting specific or technical information about The Judge, such as cylinder/barrel clearance. For double action, the trigger starts to move at 8 lbs., is not smooth and takes 9 lbs. for full travel to release. There is about 2.5 of rotational movement in the cylinder (.033" on the cylinder circumference). The front orange fiber optic sight leaves a lot to be desired. The fiber optic quality is only noticeable in bright sunlight or direct light. The cylinder release button had to be pushed forward until it comes in contact with the cylinder shroud before releasing the cylinder. The barrel is not true with the vertical axis of the frame. The Judge shot 3-4" high at 25' with .45 Colt ammo and open sights; there is no sight adjustment for elevation. The Crimson Trace Laser Grips solved this. However, 2" groups is the smallest I could get at 25 feet, groups at 50 feet were around 4" at best. When decocking the hammer, the hammer can hang up mid-release if the trigger is held close to the point where the sear releases (two other people with their Judge had the same problem). There were some positive aspects that came to light during the review that are not representative of the actual Taurus Judge. For example: the barrel did not get hot when shooting .410 shells; the ability to mix/match .45 Colt and .410 shells in one handgun; the .410 personal defense ammo (see other article) made The Judge appear better than it really is by overshadowing some of the short coming. Even though The Judge leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion, this revolver is successful in spite of itself. I believe that a similar revolver from Ruger or Smith & Wesson would far exceed the quality of the Taurus Judge (based on The Judge used for this review). MSRP for the Taurus Judge 4510TKR-3SS is $592; street price varies substantially on this model and other models in The Judge line. Editor's Note: Read Bill Waugaman's sidebar story on 'The Judge', titled "The Ammo Makes The Judge" in the Sept/Oct issue of Ohio Valley Outdoors magazine.

First Published August 2011

Article Photos

The Taurus Judge

Fact Box

Even though The Judge leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion, this revolver is successful in spite of itself.

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