Taurus .45 Colt/.410 Shotshell “Public Defender” Revolver


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 17, 2009




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Ever since Taurus introduced their Judge .45 Colt/.410 revolver about three years ago, they have been selling like beer at a biker rally. I first reviewed the Judge back in February of 2007, and subsequently their UltraLite version in October of that same year. The results are in: the Judge is one of, if not the number one, hottest-selling revolvers in the United States right now. I have received a lot of positive feedback on that revolver. People like the concept of a revolver that can shoot both .45 Colt ammo, and also be loaded with .410 shotshells for packing around where poisonous snakes crawl. As a trail gun in the South and Southwest, the Judge makes a lot of sense, offering versatility in ammo offered by few others. Also, for self defense, the Judge is quite popular. Depending upon the cylinder length, shotshells are available packed with three or five 000 buckshot, and at close range is a formidable weapon. I have little use for a .410 slug in the Judge, for if a single bullet cartridge is wanted, the .45 Colt cartridge is a much better choice.  Last time I checked, Taurus listed nineteen different versions of the Judge, including models with Crimson Trace Lasergrips, blued steel, stainless, UltraLite, and this newest compact version: the Public defender.

The Public Defender wears a two inch barrel and a bobbed hammer, but is otherwise pure Judge. The compact revolver weighs in at one and three-quarters pounds, which is lighter than the full-sized Judge, and only a couple of ounces heaver than the UltraLite, but more compact than either. The Public defender is a much more concealable revolver than its full-sized brethren, hiding well in a belt or shoulder holster. The sights consist of a square notch in the frame for the rear, and a fiber optic front dovetailed into the barrel rib. The bobbed hammer is grooved to facilitate thumb-cocking the weapon for single action fire, and has the Taurus Security System key lock at the rear of the hammer.  The Public Defender shown here is made primarily of stainless steel, and wears a satin finish. The cylinder holds five shots, and can be loaded with any standard .45 Colt or 2 ˝ inch .410 shotshell load.  The barrel/cylinder gap on the test gun measured five one-thousandths (.005) of an inch, and the single action and double action trigger pull weights measured four pounds, ten ounces and ten pounds, eight ounces, respectively.  The single action pull is very crisp, and the double action is smooth and even throughout its travel.

The Public Defender wears the Taurus Ribber synthetic rubber grips, which are very comfortable, and remove any pain from the gun’s recoil. Firing the Public Defender at ranges from arm’s length out to twenty-five yards resulted in predictable hits upon the standard human silhouette targets. At across-the-room distances, buckshot pellets all stayed on target, and the revolver fired to point of aim with the Winchester 000 buck that I was shooting. Number six birdshot was patterned at eight feet, to see how well the Public Defender would do on a snake at that distance, and it patterned extremely well. I also fired the revolver from the bench at twenty-five yards using .45 Colt ammunition, and keeping the hits inside a four inch circle was easy to do, even with the short sight radius. This is not target grade accuracy, but this is not a weapon that you will see on the line at the Olympics. This revolver is built for a much more serious job, and in that role of defending one’s life from the predators of this world, the Public Defender excels.

Rob Leahy, owner of Simply Rugged Holsters, has been right on top of things keeping leather ready for the entire line of Judge revolvers, including this new Public Defender. He makes a variety of holsters for the weapon, no matter your preference of carry. He has a very good concealable shoulder rig, along with his Chesty Puller across-the-chest rig, but my favorite is still the Sourdough Pancake. This belt holster is very versatile, allowing the option of strong side or cross draw carry. For sitting in a vehicle or on an ATV, I prefer the cross draw mode, as it keeps the weapon very accessible to repel carjackers or other miscreants as the need arises. I have heard that in some places, people are walking into gun stores and asking for the “carjacker gun”, in reference to the Judge, and that is an appropriate title for the weapon.

I am a fan of the Judge series of revolvers. I think that the weapon fills a niche that needed filling. The Public Defender is, in my opinion, the best version of the Judge yet, filling the same role, in a more compact, more concealable package.

Check out the entire line of Taurus firearms and accessories online at www.taurususa.com.

To order any of Simply Rugged’s fine leather, go to www.simplyrugged.com.

To locate a Taurus dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the Public defender online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

Jeff Quinn


For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:




Simply Rugged shoulder rig for the Public defender.



Simply Rugged's "Chesty Puller" chest rig.



Simply Rugged also makes a handy cartridge slide for the .410 shotshell.



Simply Rugged's "Sourdough Pancake" holster worn crossdraw, with cartridge slide.



Clever "Inside Out" straps quickly and easily convert the Sourdough Pancake holster for inside-the-pants carry.



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Click pictures for a larger version.


Taurus .45 Colt / .410 Shotshell "Public Defender" revolver.





Sights are fiber-optic front and fixed rear.



Hammer is bobbed to eliminate snagging, but still effective for single-action shooting.





Taurus Security System key lock.



"Ribber" grips are comfortable even with heavy loads.





Buckshot load to the head at 15 feet.



Two quick buckshot loads to head and torso at 15 feet.



Pattern of #6 bird shot at 8 feet show the Public Defender would really be a snake shredder!