Smith & Wesson Governor Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
July 30, 2011


Several years ago I got my first close look at one of the early Taurus Judge revolvers... and I liked it.  But for some reason I couldn't force myself into making the purchase.  It's hard for me to tell the exact reason for my hesitance.  Maybe it was the financial obligations of a wife, three kids and a house.  Or maybe it was the growing reputation for inaccuracy and the feeling that it was best suited as a snake gun.  Or maybe it was my engineering mind overanalyzing and complicating the issues.  Whatever it was, I was able to get over the desire for a .410 revolver until now... the Smith & Wesson GOVERNOR™.

I got my first look at the GOVERNOR™ earlier this year while studying the new firearms on the market during the SHOT show.  It seems that whatever urge I had suppressed was coming to life again and was growing at an exponential rate.   Six shots, added caliber (.45 ACP), scandium alloy frame, and tritium front sight... it was becoming more than I could take.  When you couple these features with some of the new defense loads now made specially for this type of pistol, all my hesitance completely vanished and I knew I had to get the new Smith & Wesson Governor.  I have a hard time believing that I will be the only one swayed by this new offering from Smith & Wesson, and feel that this revolver has the potential to be a real success story for the company.

Some may ask if there is enough room in the consumer market for another pistol of this type considering that Taurus now produces 17 different models of their .410 / .45 Colt revolver. I think the fact that Taurus is producing this many models says there is serious consumer interest and anyone willing to take this revolver platform and evolve it to the next level is soon to take a piece of the pie from Taurus.  Most would have to agree that the addition of another round in the cylinder and the ability to shoot .45 ACP is a bold evolution of this platform and Smith & Wesson should feel good that they were the first to bring it to the table.

One of the critical aspects that will be a contributing factor in the success of the Governor revolver will be the price point.  Smith & Wesson actually rolled out two version of the revolver.  One is the Model GOVERNOR™ and the other is Model GOVERNOR™ with Crimson Trace® Laser Grips with a MSRP of $679 and $889.  To give you an idea on the potential online price for these revolvers, had "buy now" prices as low as $550 and $750 at the time of this review.  I was able to find them locally in the Atlanta area for $580 and $760.  Since I wanted to lean toward the affordability side for this review, I chose to review the standard GOVERNOR revolver.  Both versions are shown below.

                        GOVERNOR™                                          GOVERNOR™ with Crimson Trace® Laser Grips
Smith & Wesson Governor Review   Smith & Wesson Governor Review


During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturers claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Smith & Wesson website on 7/13/11 and gives an Overview, Key Features, and Specifications for the S&W GOVERNOR™ revolver.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.


The Smith & Wesson Governor revolver puts six rounds of customizable response under your control. Load with .410 2 1/2" shotshells, .45 ACP or .45 Colt - alone or in combination - and hit your target in every situation. Plus, it's from the leading expert in revolver manufacturing over the last 159 years. Now that's confidence.

Key Features

  • Superior Low Light Tritium Night Sight
  • Patented, heat-treated scandium alloy frame for superior strength and reduced weight
  • Shock Absorbing Grip
  • Six round capacity
  • 2 round/6 round moon clips included


  • Model: GOVERNOR™
  • SKU: 162410
  • Caliber: .410 2 1/2", .45 ACP, .45 Colt
  • Capacity: 6 Rounds
  • Action: Single/Double Action
  • Barrel Length: 2.75" / 6.985 cm
  • Front Sight: Tritium Night Sight (Dovetailed)
  • Rear Sight: Fixed
  • Grip: Synthetic
  • Weight: 29.6 oz. / 839.145 g
  • Overall Length: 8.5" / 21.59 cm actual measurement was 8.68"
  • Height: 5.5" / 13.97 cm actual measurement was 5.44"
  • Width: 1.75" / 4.445 cm actual measurement was 1.71"
  • Frame Material: Scandium Alloy
  • Cylinder: Stainless PVD
  • Finish: Matte Black
  • Purpose: Personal Protection Home Protection

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.


  • Capable of carrying 20% more ammo in the cylinder than the competitor.
  • Made in the USA by a company that has been in business since 1852.
  • Capable of three calibers and the ability of shooting .45 ACP which will allow the opportunity to get some value ammo for practice.
  • Comfortable grip.
  • Relatively light weight for it's size and capability.
  • The fact that it is capable of such a variety of loads and one of them being shotshells makes it a revolver with unique characteristics that gives it a high "bling" value.
  • One year Limited Warranty per the instruction manual and a Lifetime Service Policy after the warranty period has expired provided you turned in your Product Registration Card within 30 days of purchase.  See the Instruction Manual for more details.


  • I would like to see a future version hit the market with a lower barrel shroud rail for mounting a light and potentially a low profile adjustable rear sight.


  • Still looking...


Bottom Line:

The new Smith & Wesson Governor represents the beginning of a revolver series that is bound to be a big success for Smith & Wesson.  With everything I have seen during this review, I believe the Governor to be a quality and capable revolver.  It currently (at the time of this review) offers a capacity and caliber combination that is not matched by its competitors.  From my range test results, I believe the Governor is well suited for personal and home defense in any of the calibers for which it is capable.  I'm not sure if I personally would consider it a conceal and carry weapon due to it's size, but I'm sure some people will.  I plan to carry it extensively on the farm and during scouting trips prior to hunting season.  The Governor is also one of those firearms that seems to attract interest due to it's shotshell capability and I'm sure it will become one of those guns that all your buddies are going to want to try out so plan to bring some ammo to share.

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