Thursday, October 14, 2010

Here Come the Judge, Here Come the Judge

Tam at A View From the Porch has some unkind words about a popular handgun:

The continued sales success of the Taurus Judge and its spinoffs is the most damning condemnation of the general firearms and ballistics knowledge level of the average American shooter that I have ever seen.

And it's true. the Judge is a big, clunky, ponderous handgun that--contrary to what you'd assume about a "handheld shotgun"--fires some of the weakest shotgun shells around, 2 1/2" .410 cartridges, which are notably less powerful than common defensive handgun rounds. Taurus' attempt to fix this problem, the Magnum Edition Judge, makes the gun even longer and heavier, comically so, and manages to bring it up into the power range of a standard .45 or .357 handgun round. It's a gun that does nothing particularly well, and yet it sells like hotcakes to people who hear nothing more than "handheld shotgun".

But I'm not dismayed by the Judge's success. I think it's awesome. People buy all kinds of things based on hype and cosmetics without properly researching them. What the Judge's popularity means isn't that Americans are getting less literate in ballistics; it means that more guns are being bought by people outside the gun community. It means the market for guns is becoming a bit more like the market for cars and cameras and toasters. If there's one thing Americans can learn from foreign countries like Great Britain and New Jersey, it's that when only devoted enthusiasts are buying guns, gun rights are in serious danger. Long live the Judge, and long live underinformed consumers.

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