Shotguns have been a favorite for both hunting and defense for centuries. The handgun, with an even longer lineage, is likewise here to stay. With the two above-mentioned facts in mind, naturally there have been several efforts over the years to blend the two concepts.
Ithaca Auto Burglar
One of the classic shotgun builders, Ithaca firearms of New York, produced what many felt was the best purpose-designed shotgun-pistol. The "Auto & Burglar Gun" (meant to keep in one of the first and use against one of the second) was a two-barreled 20-gauge pistol with a beautifully contoured pistol grip. With 10-inch barrels, the handy little whippit gun was but 16-inches overall. These guns were popular on both sides of the law in the 20s but were a victim of the 1934 NFA. If not for that, they would probably still be in production.
Speaking of the NFA, for most of the last century the only way you could get a shotgun-caliber pistol was to build one. Unlike sawn-off or short-barreled shotguns, which are born with a shoulder stock, some manufacturers like Serbu make their own from scratch. As the weapon is originally manufactured without a shoulder stock, it is considered a smoothbore handgun, and thus classified as Any Other Weapon (AOW), under NFA. These are transferable with a $5 tax stamp but the guns themselves usually run pricey. For instance the Serbu Super-Shorty, a 16-inch long three shot 12-gauge will set you back about $800.
The Brazilian handgun firm Taurus has long been a player in the revolver market so when they
introduced a new series of them in 2005 it was not a big surprise. The surprise came later when it was pointed out that these 5-shot DA revolvers fired not only the classic .45LC round, but also .410 shotgun shells. The series, known as "The Judge" does not qualify as a "short-barreled shotgun" under the National Firearms Act of 1934 as has a rifled barrel. This rifling and the fact that it cannot be made to take a shoulder stock makes it a regular handgun. No stamps required.
However in California the Judge is illegal due to state laws that still label it as a sawed off shotgun.
Therefore, whether it's a highly collectible (and legally registered) Ithaca AB, an expensive (and legally registered) Super-Shorty, or a $500 Judge, there are a number of options to scratch that itch. Unless you live in California, in which case you can always buy a knife.
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