The Remington 870 is one of my favorite shotguns for protection. It is simple to use, disassemble, reassemble, and troubleshoot. It has incredible stopping power and the mere sound of racking a new shell into the chamber is universally known, and feared. But what if you want a tool that can do more than one job? If you want the potency of a shotgun, the conceal ability of a pistol, and the versatility to customize your weapon’s loadout to specific scenarios, you need the Taurus Judge.

Mark Miller wrote a great article about the Remington 870 and why he thinks it’s the best choice for home protection. I am not here to tread upon his article, instead I wanted to offer an alternative to the pump shotgun. As I get older, I find that my demands for weapons have started to change. Earlier in life, I would only ask a single job of a single weapon (deer gun, home protection, etc.). Today, I want a more versatile weapon; one that can do multiple things well.


The Taurus Judge will do everything a pump shotgun will with regards to home protection. You have tons of choices for rounds: .45 LC hollow-points, .45 LC cowboy (bear killers), .45 LC ball, .410 buckshot, .410 slugs, and the PDX1 410 (combines three defense disc projectiles with 12 plated BB shot) and many more. You can overcome the five-round capacity with speed loaders, which allow you to reload and get back into the fight quickly. I also use this pistol for bear/cougar protection while I am bowhunting. As an added bonus, if I encounter a grouse while bowhunting, I can easily dispatch it without ruining an expensive arrow setup (designed for a deer). The best I’ve done with my Judge was about 20m for a grouse.

Rethink Your Shotgun
(Taurus Judge ammo selection. Image courtesy of

Taurus Judge specifications/features

(Note: Specifications are specific to the specific model of Judge I own. Lengths, colors, finishes, and more can be customized.)

  • Caliber: .45 LC/.410 (3″ chamber)
  • Grip: Rubber
  • Capacity: 5
  • Weight: 36.8 oz.
  • Barrel length: 3″
  • Frame: Compact
  • Front sight: Fixed w/fiber optic
  • Safety: Taurus security system, transfer bar (TSS)

The Taurus Judge has an extended ejector rod, which assists in clearing the chambers for a faster reload. The Taurus security system (TSS) combines instant use with credible safety ( Utilizing a key, you can make the Taurus Judge inoperable. It cannot be fired or be cocked while this system is in use. One of the reasons I moved away from a shotgun as home protection is because I found it difficult to store in an instant-ready mode, while still being kept (safely) away from my kids. With the Taurus Judge, I can utilize any instant drop-safe or the TSS and keep it safely away from the kids.


Once loaded, literally all you have to do is pull the trigger. If you encounter a malfunction, pull the trigger again and the cylinder will revolve past the problem (no pump required). A button allows the cylinder to swing open, and you just push the ejector rod to clear the spent brass. Cleaning is also extremely simple; no major disassembly required. If you do encounter a problem (which is unlikely), simply ship the gun back to Taurus and their unlimited lifetime repair policy will make it all better. (This warranty is for the life of the gun, not the buyer, meaning you can still use this even if your Judge is a secondhand buy).

Rethink Your Shotgun
The 2″ barrel shown here (image courtesy of


Although there is a time and place where visibly displaying a pump shotgun has benefits, there are other times when doing so could cause more harm than good. If an event occurred where I needed to move my family through a panicked public (e.g. natural disaster, terrorist attack), I would prefer to be the only one that knew I had a weapon to defend myself and my family. Taurus has also created a kit for just such a disaster/attack, called The First 24 Judge Kit. It is specifically designed to help you through the first 24 hours of a catastrophic event.