S&W Governor: A Solid Bug-out Handgun


S&W Governor: A Solid Bug-out Handgun

For preppers trying to escape impending doom, busting out in a Bug-Out escape mode can be a scary time. Everything is on the line as the threat increases and finally you give the nod to go. Now is the time. No more delays.

The Bug-Out location has long been chosen, prepared, and stocked. All the gear is packed, tote boxes are secured, the bug-out vehicle is fueled, and travel food and water is on board, along with maps, flashlights, kids’ books, and everything on the essential have-to-have list. The family is in tow, buckled in, the vehicle loaded to the hilt with every piece of necessary gear collected after countless hours of evaluating, shopping, and investing. Training courses complete, practice complete, family tuned in. You crank the engine.

With a whisper of a prayer for safety you ease the vehicle out of the driveway. The house is as secure as it ever will be as you glance back in your rear view mirror maybe for the last time ever. A few neighbors out in their yards wave, timidly, cautiously, probably wondering why in the world you would be leaving in the middle of such upheaval. A couple people might even come out into the street to get you to slow down. You drive on, eyes directed ahead. There is no time for explanations now or goodbyes. You have bugged out.

Now the question becomes, how do you protect yourself on the highway, or back roads, or at any needed stops along the way if necessary? And with what tool do you select for this personal and property protection task? Let me suggest a strong candidate to recommend to fulfill this critical role.

The S&W Governor is one unique handgun. It has many applications, but its top job is close quarters personal protection and varmint defense. The Governor is a traditional six-shot revolver with an elongated cylinder capable of handling .410 shotshells, the .45 Colt (Long Colt), as well as the .45 ACP. One of its marketing monikers is “mix six,” meaning that any combination of rounds can be rotated in the cylinder at the selection of the user according to intended applications for the firearm at any given time. The revolver can be fired in single or double action mode. Cartridge rim clips are included for quick multiple-round loads.

The “Gov” is lightweight handgun, tipping the scale at a mere 29.6 ounces. The frame is manufactured from a scandium alloy. The cylinder is made from PVD (physical vapor deposition) stainless, which is a thin, protective coating on the metal surface. The barrel is 2 ¾ inch with a Tritium Night Sight dovetailed into the muzzle end of the barrel. The rear “sight” is a fixed groove along the top of the frame. Again, this gun is intended for close encounters.

The grip is soft, recoil absorbing, synthetic rubber-like material and can also be ordered with a Crimson Trace Lasergrip red dot. The handgun’s overall length is 8 ½ inch, height 5 ½ inch, and a width of 1 ¾ inches. The exterior finish is a handsome black matte.

Out of the lockable factory storage box, the Governor has a great feel and balance. It is one of those type handguns that just fits the hand, points well, isn’t muzzle heavy, or too bulky to tote. It will carry well in a variety of modes, including a Bug Out Bag, bug out backpack, fanny pack, vehicle console compartment, side door panel, ATV handlebar satchel, shoulder holster, crossdraw, or hip carry on a good belt.

Since acquiring my Governor, I also ordered a DeSantis Gunhide Dual Angle Hunter, right handed, thumb break, leather holster. This model is custom fitted just for the Governor and can be worn in the crossdraw position or on the hip with the gun butt forward.

I prefer the crossdraw carry, especially if sitting in a vehicle seat. In that configuration it remains hidden from somebody outside the vehicle but easy to draw when necessary. This DeSantis holster is extreme quality, made from premium leather with a soft suede lining assembled with tight, attractive, wax thread stitching. This holster is both handsome and highly functional. I highly recommend it.

How should this Governor be sworn in? In travel on bug out day, the revolver should be in a place in the vehicle and near the user for a quick grab. That could be the driver or the passenger or both. Easily carried on the opposite shooting hand hip or located in a secure but discreet place in the vehicle, the Governor can be an effective deterrent once revealed or a threat stopping tool once deployed.

The critical decision for the user is to determine the “mix six” sequence of the three different rounds this gun is capable of handling. It’s likely any potential serious encounter is going to be within ten steps of the vehicle with the possibility of rapid advancement. The choice is do you want to sting, ping, ding, or dispatch? Remember this revolver can handle the .45 Colt, the .45 ACP, and the 2 ½ inch .410 shotshell!

My own personal mix six combination when traveling is two .410 buckshot shotshells for the first two rounds backed up by four .45 ACPs. Since this is a revolver, you can load a wide variety of bullet types like hollow points or tactical loads without worrying about function as you might with a 1911 or other type semi-auto pistol. There are no safeties to forget or fumble, no magazines to engage, no slide to crank back, and no fear of a boattailed bullet hang-up. With the SA or DA Governor, you just cock the hammer and pull the trigger or go double action. Just don’t forget to roll the window down.

I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel whenever I can. There are plenty (too many) ammunition and shotshell options when it comes to the .45 Colt or the .45 ACP and the .410 Shotshell. Winchester solves that decision making when they packaged the PDX1 Defender Line of ammunition for personal defense with the Smith and Wesson Governor in mind. Their .410/45 Colt Combo Pack puts together 10 rounds of PDX1 Defender 45 Colt, 225 grain ammo and 10 rounds of PDX1 Defender .410, 2 ½ inch shotshells. You buy the ammo already packaged in one box ready to go. Just make up your own “mix six” load combination.

Avatar Author ID 67 - 734038267

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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