The SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show – THE annual gathering for the firearms industry – is going on now in Las Vegas.

So far, there seems to be more derivation and evolution than revolution.

A couple of years ago, Ruger had their biggest hit in decades, when they introduced their tiny LCP .380 caliber pocket pistol, a clone of the Kel-Tec P3AT. A bit before SHOT this year, they introduced a slightly larger pocket pistol in 9mm Luger, which looks remarkably like the Kel-Tec PF9 that’s been around for a while.

The Taurus Judge revolver, which became a monster best-seller a few years ago, has been sincerely flattered by Smith & Wesson, which brings out their Governor revolver. The Judge is a five-shooter which can accept either a .410 shotgun shell or a .45 Colt cartridge in each of its chambers.  The Governor will take a .410 shell, a .45 Colt round, OR a .45 ACP cartridge in each of its SIX chambers.

I suppose turnabout is fair play. The Taurus folks have been selling clones of S&W revolvers for many, many years, and selling them quite well, too.

Not to be one-upped, Taurus introduces its own latest evolution of the Judge, which fires a more substantial 28-gauge shell. Like last year’s version in .454 Casull/.410, it’s called The Raging Judge.

Personally, I think it’s going to be interesting to be in court when someone who used one in self-defense says to the black-robed magistrate on the bench, “I did it with a Raging Judge!”

But, hey, if you’re gonna play the names, be cool about it. You can always buy a Taurus Judge AND a Smith & Wesson Governor, and wield ‘em both, one in each hand. When you confront your next burglar and he runs away with no blood spilled (the way such things usually end), you can shout after him, “You’ve been put on probation by the Judge, and been granted a reprieve by the Governor!”

There’ll be more discussion here as the week goes on, and I’ll see if I can break the record I’ve established today for how many gun manufacturers I can get mad at me with a single blog post.


  1. North American Arms is jumping on this bandwagon too. They’re announcing a new 22LR minirevolver with a 1″ barrel optimized for shot-shell use – only the last 1/4″ is rifled. This makes it “rifled enough” for BATFE muster, but doesn’t really work and hence this thing patterns more like a smoothbore (also known as a “Paradox barrel”).

    It’s being called “2nd Year Law Student Clerking For A Traffic Court Commissioner”.

  2. Know this may sound like a weird request, but can you report on the .357 air gun from Crosman/Benjamin? It’s supposed to have some electronic air control system and be able to fire a 150 or so grain pellet at 1000 fps. Cool concept for medium game hunting ,I guess, but I’m really struck with the idea that it could be very useful for doing wrong. Just curious if you can see one up close and personal.

  3. I’m out here at SHOT as Media and you hit this one right on the cabeza. We were back at the hotel busily typing away when I took a break and read your post out loud to my punchy colleague. You gave us a much needed belly-laugh! Thanks!

  4. judge jury & executioner would be the logical progression of names…but that wouldn’t be politically correct I guess 🙂

    I really don’t see the appeal of these massive and awkward revolvers. They only add the ability to be able to use a .410 shell, big deal. It seems like a bad solution looking for a problem. I can’t see the appeal of these at all…but they are selling…so what do I know 🙂

    The govenor tips the scales at 29.6oz, is 5.5″ high, 1.75″ wide, and a whopping 8.5″ in length. I can think of many smaller, thinner, lighter, and more effective pistols and revolvers out there.

  5. Inflatus, I’m not familiar with an air pistol that delivers .38 Special +P+ ballistics, but will check into it. What was your source?


  6. Mas, I believe Inflatus is talking about the Benjamin® Rogue .357 Big Bore Air Rifle. It looks very interesting.

    The link states “According to professional hunter Jim Shockey, “The .357 caliber Benjamin Rogue offers more knock-down power than any .22 cal rimfire ranging from 150–300 foot pounds of energy.” The Rogue is a multi-shot repeater equipped with an innovative, micro-processor controlled valve that extends the firing distance and provides “accuracy and lethality out to 150 yards.

    By adjusting the electronically controlled settings, the Rogue is capable of short and long distance shooting making it appropriate for both small and large game hunting. The Rogue’s velocity ranges from 200 to 900 fps with knock-down power from 6 fpe to an astounding 300 fpe.”

  7. I don’t know if anyone cares about this, but our Rulers out here in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia have decided that the Taurus Judge and others of their ilk are really little shotguns and therefor cannot be sold or possessed in the People’s Republic. Yes, I know they are rifled, but facts never slow down the idiot legislators out here.

  8. For some reason I have a feeling that .357 airgun is going to cost more than a good SW PC .357…

    It seems like good airguns run a bit pricier than a good .22 for example so I can only imagine the cost of this one…

    I wonder if the ACLDN will be making an official appearance at the SHOT show.

  9. Mas;
    Can you try to get hands on the Kel-Tech bullpup shotgun that has been talked about for the last month or so? Seems neat with two magazine tubes that you can switch between.

  10. Jim March, good to see you here…love your sense of humor.

    Inflatus & David, you’re getting me interested in that .357 air gun.

    Tim from CO, Marty Hayes and several more of the staff and advisors of ACLDN will be at the show, but I don’t believe the organization will have a booth. You know the players: if you’re there, keep an eye out for ’em!

    Chem, I’d love to get my hands on a Kel-Tec bullpup 12 gauge, but I don’t know how soon they’ll be shipping T&E samples.

    best to all,

  11. We like the plain, direct boots on the ground of both your blog and the podcast, so who cares what the manufacturers think.

    Keep’m coming.

  12. Mas, thank you. Next step would be for Glock to make an Austrian .410 of some sort. The name would be obvious: “Governator”…

    Hey, you’d like this: ever seen a holster specifically intended to give the average “leftie” a paradigm shift without a clutch?

    It’s also adjustable for both tilt angle and ride height, and can strap onto and off of the belt without taking the belt off (via the buckle). The holes up and down each side are alternate belt attachment points. It auto-adjusts to any belt width, while holding as close to the body as a pancake rig…or better, because once you tighten the buckle it “grabs” the belt and pulls.

    Backside makes it obvious how it works:

    I normally carry high forward crossdraw. If I walked into your class and you didn’t want crossdraw on the range, in under a minute I could drop the ride height, switch to forward tilt and wear it as a conventional strong-side.

    I’d show you the sights on that gun except…I’m not allowed to. It’s a one-off prototype unreleased design by Tim Sheehan at Goshen Enterprises…emphasis on “unreleased” so far. Danged if I know what a DA would make of that :). The holster is specifically designed to hide it from view.

  13. Ah, that’s too bad, a small booth might have attracted some attention and maybe even sponsors for the ACLDN. But word-of-mouth works as well and who would want to be stuck at a booth with all cool stuff at the SHOT show?

    Totally random question, do they allow CCW in the exhibit halls?

    @Jim March- Any more information on that holster? Sounds interesting.

    Speaking of holsters, there is a new leather and kydex holster that has a kydex shell and leather insert. Looks interesting as well.

  14. Hey Mas check out Sigarms they got one there 1911 at that show 22lr. Umarex Colt put out 1911 in 22lr that full load very nice things. Para Ordnance put out nice stuff at that show.Remington got enhanced model r1 1911 pistol on display that up grade r1.Nighthawk Custom has 1911 verson of there guns in 22lr called the NHC. Your 1911 dream land this year. With ever flavor taste one can desire there this year.

  15. Would someone please tell me that I’m not the only to have read Jim March’s post and then immediately checked out NAA’s website . . .

  16. It is pricier–about three times pricier than an entry-level .22, I think. But it may–or may not–be a lot quieter. And at close ranges (out to forty yards or) should hit a lot harder. And–this part is both interesting and perhaps worrying–in most parts of the country, should be easier to obtain.

  17. A “Raging Judge”? Sounds like the folks at Taurus are full of Raging Bull. Maybe a gun company can make a gun called the “Raging President” in honor of our Dear Leader, or “Raging Senator” for various angry, loud mouthed politicians like Feinstein and Schumer?

  18. Tim:

    Because of the custom sights I had to do my own leather. The basis for this idea was an old Tim Grover design now sold by Ted Blocker:

    That was the “starting point”…but it’s not where I ended up :).

    The “core” holster part that surrounds the gun is similar to the CC1 or for that matter, a “California Slim” type period western rig – it’s not wet-molded to the gun. A “skirt plate” of very heavy leather attaches to the core at the top and bottom – at the bottom where that line of stitches are, at the top bolted on via the two conchos. There’s an inner “half liner” coming up from the bottom on the inside and folding over the top – that’s what the conchos are attached to. Which means there’s still one more layer of leather between the concho screws and the gun.

    The inner half-liner is there to get between the gun and the stitches that hold the decor piece (formerly a broach, now with holes in the edges and stitched down to the inner holster core. An oval hole is made in the skirt plate to expose it. I could use turquoise or any similar jewelry in that role.

    The holes in the edges of the skirt plate are different mounting points for the cord that buckles this rig to the belt. The cord is 550 paracord so it’s not going anywhere. The double-ring buckle setup means it’s “infinitely adjustable” as opposed to a conventional holes-based buckle. So I can pull it exactly as tight as I need, and it will adjust itself for any belt width within reason…past 4″ it’ll get tricky :). The leather strap part of the buckle is tapered so that once tightened it stays put all day. It can be backed out easily enough if I need to put the whole rig in, say, a courthouse’s lockbox.

    The upshot is, I’ve got a leather rig that adjusts as to tilt and height like one of the plastic rigs, but rides as tight as a pancake.

    Here’s one I made for a friend’s Ruger P85Mk2 (a heavy gun) before I worked out the “adjustability” part:

    Note the ride height available – the entire triggerguard is above the beltline. In the case of my NewVaq357, the entire *cylinder* is above the beltline when I carry it in that same high-ride crossdraw location.

    Anybody is free to make their own. The belt attachment system with the adjustability feature is under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution license – if you post pics of yours link back to any thread like this one where I posted mine (the “attribution” part). If you want to make them commercially, cheap licenses are available :).