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S&W Governor - a home defense option?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by The Good, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. The Good

    The Good Well-Known Member

    Hey guys, it's been a while since I posted anything(wow, Feb. 3, 2009) but I wanted to ask about this gun because it's one of a few that I've been thinking about buying. I'm not gonna post about the other guns i'm considering buying because they're not home defense guns. The first thing I have to decide is if my next gun is for home defense or fun at the range, and I don't need any advice on that. Right now I'm just interested in hearing from people who own or have fired this thing.

    Just to give you an idea of my tastes my first fun was a s&w 642 for carry, my second was a sig p232 because I wanted to try carrying a semiauto, and my 3rd was a walther p22 to make my practice shooting much cheaper. I hit some hard times and had to sell two of them, so all I have now is my 642. I'm not sure if I chose to keep that one because it was my first, or because it was my favorite, but either way that's a special gun for a lot of reasons and to this day it'd be my first recommendation to anyone looking to buy a gun for conceealed carry.

    What I'm looking for in the S&W Governor is a home defense gun. In other words, I don't need concealment, but I do want the following:
    -comfortable in hands
    -reliable(to me this is the most important feature on a home defense gun. my walther jammed up occasionally but it didn't bother me because it gave me the opportunity to practice proper grip as well as clearing jams more efficiently. a gun intended for home defense needs to go bang every single time. One failure to fire is too many. Also, one of the reasons I go with a revolver for defense is if it ever didnt go bang because of a bad round I could in most cases just pull the trigger again and get the next round.
    -trigger pull?(what's the trigger pull like in double action? comparing it to the 642 would be helpful but you dont have to. what about single action?)
    recoil?(I'm expecting a fairly large amount of recoil considering the loads this thing takes, but I'm still interested in hearing about it. I'm not an expert shooter and i'm not especially strong. I'm actually recovering from leukemia. But like I said it's not for range shooting it's just home defense. I don't mind taking a little beating as long as it doesn't fly out of my hands and knock me out.

    One more question, this one's not really relevant, but just out of curiousity, hows it do a little further out at maybe 25 yards? the laser grips are an option so if the thing can actually hit a target i might get them. I have a feeling at that range I'd have about as much chance of putting a hole in the target as I would at writing my name on it with a really long crayon.
  2. hAkron

    hAkron Well-Known Member

    If you are thinking about shooting 410 out of it, do read up on the subjuct.
    http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot41.htm. 45 colt or 45 ACP would be better choices. As far as I'm concerned, S&W released the governor as a "Me too" entry into a niche market created by Taurus. Even giving it an uncharactoristicly S&W name to make it seem more like the Judge. It has its uses, but if you are looking to do some serious business, you might find there are better choices for this purpose. If you just want one then get one. No need to try to justify a legitimate use for it ;)
  3. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    It does wonderfully as a 45 Colt revolver - tritium front sight, quite accurate, good ergonomics despite the bulk of the cylinder, and chambered for a highly flexible cartridge. It also incidentally shoots snake shot (aka 410 #9 shotshell). ;)

    No reason that it can't do HD duty, so long as you leave the snake shot for the trail and stoke it with a decent 45 Colt load...
  4. natman

    natman Well-Known Member

    I agree about the suitability of any kind of shotshell load out of a revolver. The idea of using 410 shotshells for defense from a revolver is the biggest bunch of marketing driven nonsense ever. The rifled barrel will spin the shot and the patterns will be all over the place. Some will see this as a good thing "because you can't miss". I see it as you are guaranteed to miss, at least with some of the shot. You are responsible for what happens with every one of those pellets.

    The disc / shot combination ammo is more marketing driven BS. Those discs look pretty formidable - when you shoot them through paper. However the sectional density of those flat discs is laughably poor and penetration will suffer.

    As you point out, "You can shoot 45s in it!". If the OP already owned a Judge/Governor I might agree with you. But fortunately he doesn't, so my advice is: "Buy a real 45 Colt revolver". He will be far better served.
  5. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    I prefer G20 with low flash ammo for HD, but .45LC would also make fine home defense weapon. Besides making skeet difficult the .410 is next to worthless and in handgun other then snake defense truly worthless.
  6. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Well-Known Member

    Seem like it ought to be. I keep a 20 gage pump for that purpose, but using a long gun in tight spaces has potential disadvantages as does any choice. They make some pretty specialized shot rounds just for the .410 revolvers (if you can find them) now that are probably more effective than birdshot. In .45 Colt mode it is definitely proven, but will also sail through walls with the greatest of ease if that is a concern.
  7. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    There are much better guns for home defense, and much better handguns for that matter.

    If you want one, go for it, but after shooting a couple they are just a novelty to me.
  8. HexHead

    HexHead Well-Known Member

  9. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Well-Known Member

    I'll totally muddy the waters for you even further.

    I think that a long gun (carbine or shotgun) and a handgun serve two distinct, separate roles as home-defense guns. If I need to investigate a bump in the night, a flashlight-equipped long gun is far superior to any handgun I own. If I need to answer the door for an unexpected stranger? That's what the handgun is for.

    People forget that many home invasions start with a daytime knock on the front door.

    My HD handgun is small, kept handy, and easy to drop into a front pocket. It has to be unobtrusive and it has to be within reach of my hand whenever I might need it. It is not kept in my bedroom, and it is not equipped with a bulky light.

    My HD long gun is a Mossberg 590 stuffed with slugs, with a powerful flashlight built into the foregrip. It lives near the bed and I would not trade it for any handgun if trouble seemed near.

    A big handgun in the bedroom is the worst of both worlds. It is far better than nothing if your situation makes a long gun impractical, of course, but the primary value of a handgun is that it is the weapon you have for those times when you didn't think you'd need a weapon at all. The whole point of a defensive handgun is concealability and availability. HD at night is one of the few times when the far-superior long gun is a practical alternative.
  10. s4s4u

    s4s4u Well-Known Member

    What he said. It makes no ballistic sense to disperse the energy of a single projectile into several smaller ones that are going to hit in relatively the same place at short range and who knows where at long range. Penetration will be sacrificed and energy will be lost. Plus, the long leade will offer less than stellar accuracy with bullets. If you want a shotgun, get a shotgun. If you want a 45, get a 45. Don't waste good money on this marketing gimick, IMO.
  11. The Good

    The Good Well-Known Member

    " You are responsible for what happens with every one of those pellets. "

    This is a great point and i have to be honest it's something i didn't think about.

    Thanks everyone for all the honest insight.. I definitely appreciate the wisdom. One thing i should point out that attracted me to the gun is my interest and study of survival and preparedness. I've developed an instinct to go for things that have multiple uses. This isnt a survival item but i still have that instinct.

    Im gonna keep asking about this gun because i still find it somewhat appealing for a few reasons. First of all im not convinced that .410 shot is impractical for self defense. Yes the patterns are gonna scatter.. But my neighbors are nowhere near close enough to be threatened and i only have two other occupants here and they share 1 room.

    Someone said just buy a real 45 colt revolver. Im interested in hearing about good options for this and im interested in what advantages a 45 colt revolver has over this one which shoots 45 colt plus two other loads. My mind is open and im ready to learn
  12. natman

    natman Well-Known Member

    Don't follow it in this case. HD is the place for the right tool for the job, not a Swiss Army knife.

    The wide patterns are only part of the problem. If you shoot buckshot from a revolver, the pellets flatten out and form discs. These are very light for their diameter and will not penetrate well. This is referred to as having poor sectional density. If you don't understand what sectional density is and why it's important, do a Google search and read until you do. Start by rereading the Box O'Truth article linked above.

    The fancy "self defense" 410 loads preflatten the discs, but they still have poor sectional density. It looks impressive as heck on paper with all those 45 caliber holes, but it's just an illusion. What you want is a hole where you want it to be and deep enough to do some good.

    You've got this backwards. The question should be "Why should I get this 5 shot mechanical kludge over a 6 shot revolver that's better balanced and better looking just to get two other USELESS loads?".

    As far as 45 revolvers go, there's the S&W 625 in 45 Colt or 45 ACP. Or a 45 ACP semiauto. Any of these would be a far better choice for HD than a Judge / Governor.
  13. DAdams

    DAdams Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't be my first choice and it would not make a top 10 list either.
  14. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

    they also make caliber reducers from 45 lc to 38/357
  15. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    To further decrease the accuracy of an already accuracy challenged gun?...
  16. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    The Governor is a six shot, using a K/L grip frame and a lightweight frame. It's as accurate as my Model 25's, no less balanced, and less expensive to boot.
  17. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Well-Known Member

    load a quality .45 colt hp and call it a day. NO "RUGER ONLY" LOADS! It is not a magnum and should not be treated as such.
  18. suemarkp

    suemarkp Well-Known Member

    I think the only 410 self defense load worth considering is the federal OOO buck load. It doesn't seem to deform like the other buckshot loads (must have harder pellets). So it has a decent pattern (pellets are in a straight line) and decent penetration. I've tried a bunch of others, and all have issues (lack of penetration, poor patterning, etc). I have not tried the Hornady load. Looks interesting, but I think I'd rather have 4 sufficient projectiles than three, even though one of those three is larger and heavier.

    I'd consider this gun only if you want to shoot round balls for defense (they won't go as far as a bullet), or want to shoot other shot loads (e.g. #4 on grouse or #9 on snakes/rats) with the same gun. Otherwise, a pure 45 colt or 45 ACP gun would be better.
  19. s4s4u

    s4s4u Well-Known Member

    If you can get clsoe enough to a grouse to kill it with one of these guns you may as well carry a net and take it live and then you can breed them.
  20. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    I never thought much of the Judge/Governor type guns either until I shot a friends. Accuracy with .45 Colt at SD/HD ranges was as good as from my J-Frame. Accuracy from the specialized SD .410 loads was also good and from what I saw it do to firewood and tree stumps, I sure as 'ell would not want to stand in front of it. While it would still not be MY first choice for a SD/HD firearm, it is not the poor choice many of the hecklers try and make it out to be.

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