Talking with a couple of dealers from different parts of the country, each mentioned customers interested in carrying one of these .410 shotshell/.45 Colt revolvers in their vehicle for use against carjackers. Of the guns in this increasingly popular chambering, the Taurus Public Defender Polymer and the Smith & Wesson Governor seemed promising for this niche usage.

Both are nicely made double-action revolvers with noticeably long cylinders to handle 2 ½” shotshells. Both will also handle the .45 Colt round, and the Governor will handle .45 ACP cartridges. Due to the long cylinder, neither really qualifies for easy concealment. At 7.65 inches overall, the Public Defender is almost an inch shorter overall than the Governor. This is a consideration for bringing either revolver into action while seated in a vehicle, especially behind the wheel and wearing a seat belt.

Carry Considerations

The thinking on using one of these revolvers seems to be that if loaded with shotshells a driver can deliver a lot of projectiles against a potential jacker quickly. There is some logic here, but the question becomes what clothing is the attacker wearing and what shot loads are being used? The most popular choices include a 00 Buckshot load holding three buckshot projectiles and a Personal Defense PDX load with either BB shot atop a slug or BB shot with three “defense disks.” At the range a carjacker is likely to be engaged these should penetrate normal winter clothing.

Another consideration in using shot loads is that a carjack scenario is most likely to take place in an urban environment where bullets that travel farther retain more possibility of hitting a bystander. As a result, the use of shotshells may be—and
may appear to be—a more “minimal use of force.”

On the other hand, .45 Colt has a very sound reputation as a manstopper, so putting a couple of heavy .45 Colt bullets into a jacker should stop him fairly quickly. The range should be short enough—otherwise it might be hard to justify a shot—that center-of-mass hits firing double action quickly should be relatively sure. Once again though, to be responsible in an urban environment, if .45 Colt is chosen, Glaser Safety Slugs might be the answer to prevent overtravel or overpenetration. For the Governor, if .45 ACP is chosen to allow faster reloads with moon clips, then Glasers offer a good option as well.

An option a lot of shooters who use the .45 Colt/.410 revolvers choose is to load the first two chambers with shotshells using anti-personnel loads and the remainder of the chambers with .45 Colt. Since I normally carry a .45 Auto as a belt gun, if I chose to carry the Governor specifically as a car gun I might consider loading it with .45 ACP. However, that would preclude using shotshells due to the moon clips. Besides, I would have spare magazines for my hip gun and would expect to use the revolver only initially to deal with a person or persons attempting forced entry into the vehicle. Given that view, if the Taurus or S&W revolver as an initial-engagement weapon, the extra round in the Governor’s cylinder has some appeal. And, speaking of the cylinder, I would assume that the longer cylinder might have some intimidation factor for at least some potential carjackers, thus causing them to depart without needing to be shot—and that’s always better!

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