.410 revolvers happened to make a lot of noise in the self-defense community when they debuted a little over a decade ago. With the ability to shoot both a .45 Long Colt and a .410 shotshell, it instantly split the community in two. While it was marketed as a pocket shotgun, many can see its practical use in close quarters. On the other hand, people have also made a fair argument against these guns, saying that there are better alternatives.
So if you’re looking to get a self-defense gun and happen to pass by these versatile weapons, then you should first consider a few of their pros and cons. A better understanding of these weapons will help you make a more educated decision.
The Best .410 Revolvers to Buy
The Taurus Judge is the gun that started it all back in 2007, with the first rendition of the revolver to load both .45 Colt and .410 rounds. Since 2007 though, the gun has seen many improvements in both its design and functionality, being able to address many complaints that people had about it.
The best thing about the Taurus Judge is the different variations that you can find of it. There is the standard 2.5-inch version of the gun, along with the extended 3-inch version. There are plenty of barrels to choose from, and they all support the .410 and the .45 Colt.
Since it started the trend, the Judge lacks a few of the perks and quirks in its later variations. It is too bulky and heavy for concealed carry, unlike the public defender, or cannot support bigger rounds for small to mid-sized games, like the Raging Judge.
Smith and Wesson Governor
Smith and Wesson is a pioneer of the revolver market and were not looking to give up its share to Taurus. Therefore, they threw their hat into the ring with the Governor, a revolver that could handle .45 Colt, .410, and .45 ACP. The ACP rounds instantly made it a hit, as many shooters preferred it to the .45 Colt.
Smith and Wesson’s decades of experience crafting revolvers shine through as the grip is comfortable and easy to manage. The weight distribution of the gun is also impressive, as it is still on the heavier side but manages to be easy to maneuver. And while it is still not a gun that is good for concealed carry, it is perfect for home defense.
Smith and Wesson suggest using all three rounds to create the mixed effect for maximum defensive capabilities.
Taurus Raging Judge
The final gun that we will be mentioning is the most powerful .410 revolver that can also chamber three different rounds. The Raging Judge can work with a .45 Colt, .410, and .454 Casull rounds, easily making it the revolver with the most stopping power.
The gun also comes with rubber grips that absorb recoil and a heavy frame. This is not the type of gun that you can carry concealed, but it is certainly one to keep when out hunting. The .454 can be very effective in putting down any predators while .410 shotshells will be better at taking down small games. Granted, there is a range issue with this gun, and the gun has impossibly heavy recoil.
The Pros and Cons of a .410 Revolver
Even though one might think that a pocket shotgun is the ultimate self-defense weapon, the truth is a little more complicated. Looking at the disadvantages and advantages can help you better understand both sides of the argument.
The first very obvious advantage that comes with a .410 revolver is that it can support both .45 Colt and .410 shotshell rounds with ease, allowing you to switch between the two with ease. They do not need any type of extenders, and both rounds tend to fit very easily.
Another major benefit of getting a .410 revolver is very powerful in close quarters self-defense. These loads pack quite the punch and are very deadly at about five or six feet, making them great for encounters in smaller homes. Even smaller .410 pest rounds have plenty of stopping power, perfect for any type of home intruder.
Since the .410 guns were mainly designed as pest rounds, they can be very good for that too. A single bullet can stop most small games as well, making it a great gun to carry with you on a hike. But its effective range greatly diminishes after six feet, becoming a pellet gun.
Finally, these guys are very fun to shoot. Whether practicing in the range or casually plinking, you will not be having a bad time. And while the recoil can be a lot to handle, it can give a very powerful feeling.
All of the guns that carry the .410 ammo are very bulky and heavy, making them difficult to handle. While it is lighter than a shotgun, it can still be too heavy for some people to reasonably use in self-defense situations.
Finally, the biggest disadvantage of the .410 ammo is that it is not very practical. Each gun comes with a rifled barrel, which means that the shotgun shells will spin as they exit the weapon. The extra spin makes it not the best shotgun, as a target more than five or six feet away is fairly safe in comparison.
Since the barrel only has partial rifling, the .45 Colt rounds are not effective either. Therefore, you are usually getting a worse version of a shotgun and a .45 Colt revolver.
These .410 revolvers are some of the best in home defense and not much else. Even on longer barrels, the gun does not have enough range to reliably shoot down anything more than pests or small game at more than six feet. But the smaller range is what makes it so effective in close-quarter situations. So if you have a small house and want something that specializes in closer encounters, then these revolvers are your best choice.