In 160 years of revolver making, Smith & Wesson has never offered a wheelgun quite like this one. It is a revolver to be sure, but it is unusual enough to deserve special consideration. The Governor is the latest in a long line of innovative products from the world’s best-known maker of revolving handguns.

A variation of the century-old N-frame revolver, it is a six-shot chambered for your choice of 21/2-ich, .410-bore shotshells and .45 Colt and .45 ACP cartridges. Intended for close-range personal defense, the Governor sports a 2 3⁄4-inch barrel, traditional double-action/single-action lockwork and a businesslike, matte-black finish.

There should be no doubt that S&W developed this product in order to compete with the very popular Taurus Judge. But, by comparison, S&W offers a six-shot cylinder versus the Taurus’ five, and has a cleverly designed chamber system that allows the firing of .45 ACP cartridges with moon clips from the same cylinder. S&W does not yet offer a 3-inch, .410-bore option. The Governor is also available from the factory with Crimson Trace Lasergrips at additional cost.

S&W builds the Governor on a special version of the classic N-frame with an elongated window that measures 2.755 inches, allowing it to accept the 2.550-inch-long cylinder. A typical N-frame has a 1.875-inch-frame window. The frame is made from S&W’s proprietary scandium-aluminum alloy because conventional steel would result in a gun so heavy as to be difficult to carry. The Governor’s cylinder is made of stainless steel and is heavy; however, using titanium, which would have resulted in a lighter gun, would also have been unacceptably expensive. As delivered, the Governor is a…

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