By Doug Howlett, Gun Digest
When the Taurus Judge first popped on the scene sometime around 2007, the big bore wheelgun, capable of firing virtually every .45-caliber round ever developed as well as .410 shotgun shells, was regaled for its novelty more so than respected for its true intention: to create one bad ass defensive handgun. But regardless of what drove the initial interest in the Judge, the interest was indeed there, and has continued so that Taurus continues to add configurations to the line (there are now at least a dozen models of the Judge) that continues to garner plenty of fans—no small feat in this age of semi-auto handgunning.
Thus it is no surprise that when Taurus approached Aimpro Tactical’s Mike Shain about teaming up to develop a line of customized Taurus handguns, among the first models worked on was a Judge. For the one pictured here, Shain started with a standard Model 4510TKR-3B Judge with a 3-inch barrel, blued finish and 2 ½-inch chambering for either .410 or .45 Long Colt rounds. The revolver’s overall length is a compact 7 ½ inches for such a big bore gun and tips the scales at a mere 29 ounces. As standard, the model comes with fixed sights, including a fiber optic front sight.
“The Judge is such a cool handgun and has become so popular because shooters can mix and match the ammo. Some manufacturers are even making special rounds just for the Judge,” says Mike Shain, owner of Aimpro Tactical (aimprotactical.com) in Colorado. The company opened in 1995 primarily as a training and consulting business with Shain using his background in law enforcement as the driver. They soon moved into customizing and building special tactical Mossberg shotguns.
“I’ve been wanting to expand into the pistol and revolver area and the planets have finally lined up for us,” says Shain. With the Judge, Aimpro Tactical applied its performance package to the traditional double-action revolver offering.
First, they break the entire gun down and polish up and fine tune the double-action operation to make it as smooth as possible. The forcing cone on the barrel is recut to 11 degrees and the barrel is chamfered to 45 degrees. By chamfering the charging hole or chamber of the cylinder so that it blends better with the ejector star, loads feed much more easily, and quickly, especially when speed loading.
“It’s like reworking the magazine well of a semi-auto gun so it feeds better,” says Shain. The gun is then lubricated and functioned checked. As for the exterior of the Judge, Aimpro Tactical smooths out any hard edges on the gun, improving it for carry purposes and making it easier to draw. Applying a true custom flare, they also polish out the hammer and trigger and jewel them.
Custom Taurus Judge, fine tuned to cycle smoother.
“When I grew up jewelling was the ultimate custom feature you could do to show a gun is high-end,” says Shain. “People just twinkle at the sight at a couple of jeweled parts on their gun.” This Judge is then refinished in Xtreme-Coat, an ultra-thin moly-based coating that resists corrosion and makes the revolver even more durable than in its standard finish. The coat resists wear from use and provides a flat, nonreflective finish favorable among the tactically minded shooters of today. The frame of the gun is finished in mil-spec OD Green, while the cylinder on this model is completed in matte black. The Hogue grips on this initial Judge are black as well, though buyers also have the option of getting Hogue grips in matching OD Green as well.
As for the sights, the gun boasts a fiber optic front sight on it now with the standard red replaced with a green to better match the gun. Shain is currently working on designing a new sight for future models that will include a yellow fiber optic front sight to match flat dark earth finished guns, as well as options of brass, tritium or white.
The Judge isn’t the only Taurus receiving Aimpro Tactical’s custom treatment. Already, Shain has worked on a package gun .357 Model 617, a semi-auto 247 and a .44-caliber Raging Bull among others. Taurus will market the customized handguns as exclusives through select distributors, but Shain says if somebody sees one like this, but can’t find it at their local shop or wants to customize a handgun they already own in a similar fashion, they can contact Aimpro Tactical and request them to work one up for them. The custom Judge here has a suggested retail price of $620, which translates into buyers actually being able to buy them in stores in the low $500s and possibly even around $450.
For shooters looking to have their Taurus’ custom worked, the package price for the performance work, the X-Coat finish and the jeweling runs around $225. Or pick and choose the work you want done at a la carte prices of $125 for the performance work, $125 for the X-Coat or $50 for the jeweling.