Recently, I had the pleasure of taking the Smith and Wesson Governor to the range. My first impression of this big S&W wheelgun is that it is a ton of fun. The  Governor is a multiple caliber handgun. It fires .45 ACP (with moon clips), .45 Colt, and .410 gauge shot shells, so I tried out some of each to get a feel for how it handled with each caliber.

Smith and Wesson Governor Range Review -
Big gun. Big fun. Image courtesy of

For anyone who already has some experience shooting .45 ACP, shooting with the Governor won’t be surprising. It has a little kick to it, but only slightly more than what I’m used to from shooting .45 semi autos. Which makes sense considering that, as a revolver, the Smith and Wesson Governor has no recoil spring to dampen perceived recoil.

Shooting the .45 Long Colt was a little more fun. The recoil is more pronounced, but still manageable. Conveniently, one doesn’t need moon clips to shoot the .45 LC rounds. Just load up the six shot cylinder, aim, and fire.

.410 is a notably “punchy” round when fired through a handgun, such as the 2.75″ barreled Governor. However, it falls short of the hefty recoil experience shooting .500 Magnum through the S&W Model 500 delivers.

The Smith and Wesson Governor’s sights are a low profile notch and blade. The blade front sight features a white dot while the rear sight while a channel in the top of the frame serves as the snag-free front sights. The setup is slightly different from some of the other notch and blade sights featured on S&W revolvers. For example, the 686P has adjustable rear sights and a red ramped blade front sight. Overall, the Governor’s sights are still easy to align.

This large Z frame revolver would not be feasible for this reviewer to carry, but it is an option I’d consider for home defense. My only compunction about using the Smith and Wesson Governor in that setting is the inability to mount a light or other similar low light aiming assistance. If I were to purchase the Governor for that purpose, I’d also want to look into laser grips or night sight options.

Even if I choose not to use this handgun to defend my loved ones at home, it’s a dynamite time at the range, in all three calibers.

Photo courtesy of YouTube

by Destinee

In addition to writing for The Arms Guide and her personal blog, Destinee is also a vlogger. She publishes videos on weapons, gear, and fitness on her YouTube channel every Tuesday and Thursday.