Smith & Wesson and Taurus both make revolvers capable of firing .410 gauge shotgun shells as well as .45 Colt and .45 ACP (in moon clips). The Smith & Wesson Governor holds six rounds of ammunition and the Taurus Judge holds five. The are both considered handguns rather than short-barrel shotguns because the barrels are rifled. If they were smooth-bore they would require the owner to register them as a short-barrel shotgun with the BATFE, and pay $200 for a tax stamp from the Treasury Department (as with machine guns and suppressors).
In my humble opinion (and I’m sure that there are many people who will disagree with me) I consider these firearms to be novelties and not serious self-defense gear. But wait?! It’s a shotgun! How can it not be a serious fighting tool? First, the .410, whether you use rifled slugs, buckshot, or birdshot, is a pathetically anemic performer out of a full barred shotgun. If you fire it out of a two to four-inch barrel you will be getting only a small fraction of what little potential stopping power that the round can offer. The shotgun rounds will only be effective at very close range. If you want to shoot any distance farther than 10 yards will have to shoot the .45 Long Colt or .45 ACP (on moon clips) handgun ammunition. Rather than shoot .45 Colt or .45 ACP ammunition out of the giant revolver, I’d rather shoot them out of a firearm specifically made for that ammo (and carry more rounds in the firearm with most .45 ACP offerings). If I want a shotgun I’ll shoot a 12 or 20 gauge regular size shotgun rather than .410 out of a “micro barrel”.
Of course I don’t want to be shot with one of these revolvers, but when I’m analyzing what is going to be the most effective handgun (in terms of stopping power and cost) for me to purchase and carry, these .410 revolvers don’t add up. Please feel free to scroll down to the bottom of the page and post friendly and informative comments with any of your experience with these firearms. I’d love to hear them. You might convince me to give them another chance.