There have been two model number designations for this firearm, the 4410 (no longer produced) and the 4510 (current). Both model numbers are essentially the same revolver, and any 4410 or 4510 will yield basically the same performance. It got its name "The Judge" in 2006 when Bob Morrison, Executive Vice President, learned that judges in high-crime areas of Miami, Florida were purchasing the revolver for personal defense in their courtrooms, and after Morrison investigated further, the model designation was changed from 4410 to 4510 to more accurately reflect the revolver's versatility (.45 Colt + 410 shot → "4510"). Taurus International reports that the Judge is their top-selling firearm.
Though Taurus deliberately designed the Judge to fire shotshells, the Judge does not qualify as a "short-barreled shotgun" under the National Firearms Act of 1934 as its rifled barrel makes it a regular handgun. However, the Judge is considered a short-barreled shotgun under California state law, which has a broader definition of "short-barreled shotgun," and the Judge is thus illegal to possess in that state. The rifling is shallower than normal, giving single-projectile loads less stabilization than they would receive in other handguns while reducing the rapid dispersion of the shot from shotshells. Taurus developed the shallow rifling after numerous experiments to find rifling that worked well with both types of ammunition.
The Judge, a derivative of the Taurus Tracker, comes in three barrel lengths (3", 4" and 6.5" - Tracker), two cylinder lengths (2.5" and 3"), and two finishes (blued and stainless steel). The 3" barrel model also comes in two weight classes, the standard steel construction (29 oz currently, 36 oz previously) and alloy-based "Ultra-Lite" (22 oz currently, 24 oz previously). Felt recoil can be significant with the Ultra-Lite series, due to its light weight, especially with .45 Colt rounds. As of December 2008, spur-less hammers remain available with all short-barrel lengths of The Judge. Crimson Trace laser grips are available for standard models of this firearm.
At the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show in January 2009, Taurus introduced several new models of the Judge. These have been labeled the Public Defender series and are based on the Taurus Model 85 frame. As with the original Judge, these shoot five rounds of either .45 Colt or .410 shot. Taurus is positioning the Public Defender series as a concealed carry piece. Taurus also introduced the tactical R Ported. The Taurus 4510TKR-3SSR (stainless steel) and 4510TKR-3BR (blued) offer a 3″ ported barrel with a Picatinny rail.
In 2010 Taurus introduced the "Raging Judge Magnum" which was designed to be chambered for the higher pressures of the .454 Casull wildcat cartridge along with the regular .45 Colt and 3" .410 shot shells. Previously, if .454s were fired from a regular Judge, the gun would explode, so Taurus designed the Judge so .454s could not be chambered into it. The Raging Judge features a cushioned backstrap grip pad for recoil, an extended ejector rod, a large six-round cylinder, matte stainless finish, firing pin block safety, fiber-optic sight, dual lockup cylinder, security lock and a vented barrel available in either three or six inches. The Raging Judge was created to allow the Judge to fire .454 Casull rounds, which would cause a normal Judge to explode under pressure, even though they fit. This is why all Judge models feature a cylinder block which prevents .454 Casull loads from being placed into the slots.
In 2011 at SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada Taurus introduced the Raging Judge XXVIII chambered for 28 gauge shot shells. After much confusion of whether or not the Raging Judge 28 would be considered an ATF regulated firearm, Taurus International President and CEO Bob Morrison stated that the Taurus Raging Judge XXVIII would be available in the U.S. sometime in late 2012.
Taurus makes a carbine variant of the Taurus Judge revolver along with its partner company, Rossi. The carbine is known as the Taurus/Rossi Circuit Judge.
It comes in the original combination chambering of .410 bore and .45 Long Colt, as well as the .44 Remington Magnum chambering. The Taurus/Rossi Circuit Judge has small blast shields attached to the cylinder to protect the shooter from hot gases escaping between the cylinder and barrel.
The carbine has a butt stock and forend made of either Brazilian hardwood or plastic and uses a fiber optic front sight. An optional Picatinny scope mount base allows the user to mount a sight on the top of the frame and a choke is inclded for turkey hunting.
Shot shells in .410 bore are not considered especially effective in personal defense; for instance, there are only three (21⁄2" shell) or five (3" shell) pellets in 000 buckshot, a common defense round; this compared to nine in the more common 12 gauge shell. However as of 2008 Taurus has addressed this concern with the release of the Judge Magnum which can fire 3" shot shells. The 3" shot shell 000 buckshot version contains 5 pellets, which makes it more effective as a self-defense round.
Federal offers ammo specifically designed for the Judge. The 21⁄2" 000 Buckshot contains 4 pellets. While the Judge's cylinder bore is adequate for higher-powered single-projectile loadings such as the .44 Magnum or .454 Casull, the gun is not designed for the high chamber pressures that these cartridges generate and thus could explode if they are used with it. To prevent this, the cylinder bores are choked to prevent successful chambering of rounds larger in diameter than the .410 shotshell and longer than the .45 Colt.
Taurus introduced the Raging Judge Magnum based on their Raging Bull model to address this issue; the Raging Judge Magnum safely chambers .454 Casull as well as .45 Colt cartidges.