The Worst New Products of 2011

There are some wondrously competent products out there, to be sure. There are also some new products, or at least new introductions so outrageously silly that they really stand out-- and not in a good way. There are two that are deserving of special citation. First up, we have “Tactical Balls.”


Yes, just when you thought it was safe to go into the kitchen, we have a wondrous new offering dubbed “Tactical Balls RID-3.” The RID-3 part is an acronym for what you've always wanted: a Rolling Illuminating Distraction and Disorientation Device. This is really something, for they “were designed for use by police officers with no specialized training when you need a little something to get the bad guys attention to focus away from you.” There's even more!

Small, lightweight, water resistant and shock resistant, they are concentric and weighted so they will wobble and spin all around when rolled or tossed into a room, then land light up to backlight the bad guy. The bad guy gets distracted and this buys you time to make your move.” This is really something, but what do you really expect for sixty bucks? They do come with their own “Tactical Deployment Pouch,” however. I can't argue with their directions for use, which is to throw them away. It is a shame you are asked to throw away sixty bucks before you get that opportunity. You'll likely find more effective and amusing distractants at your local Toys “R” Us available for the loss of less tactical cash.

S & W “The New Governor”

What is worse, a really dumb idea or another copy of someone else's really dumb idea? S & W struggles to provide that answer in a remarkable “worst of all worlds” product, the “New Governor.” The .410 / 45 LC combo abomination, offered over the years as the “Thunder Five” and other comedy-type handguns, got a great lift from the tortured well-bragged “Taurus Judge.” Following in the footsteps of the Judge comedy comes the S & W Governor, the latest in a string of really bad handgun platforms.

Excessively bulky, clumsy, overpriced, and underpowered, the gimmick of being able to fire a .410 shotshell is a sadly pathetic one. A rifled barrel scatters pellets horribly as noted by Oberfell and Thompson in 1957, the .410 platform itself a remarkably inefficient one, the inefficiency of which is further enhanced by a short barrel. The anemic 2.5 inch .410 is hampered by the 12,500 PSI MAP limit, a huge deficiency for a handgun. The .38 Special from 1902 has a 17,000 PSI limit, with +P loads at 18,500 PSI. The 9mm Luger, introduced in 1902, has a SAAMI MAP of 35,000 PSI as does the .357 Magnum from 1935.

Whether .38 Special +P, 9mm, or .357 Mag, all are available in a wide variety of excellent configurations offering better concealability, handling, accuracy, firepower, or combinations of all attributes making the Governor just a retold joke as was the Taurus Judge. In terms of wounding ballistics, the Governor is a tragic failboat of a handgun. The notion of .410, .45 LC, or .45 ACP out of the same handgun may hold appeal for the decisionally challenged, but the comedy of the clumsy platform endures. The Governor is close to 30 ounces of bulk for $679 MSRP, base version. The 13.5 oz. Ruger LCR never looked so good. The same is true of 17+1 capacity Ruger SR9 9mm Luger that weighs 26.5 oz. and has a retail price of $525, along with any number of Glocks.

The Pet Rock of today's handguns, it doesn't matter who decides to make them, or what government official the product is dubbed after. It is a shame that the so very well-established fundamentals of firearms and wounding ballistics are so easily cast aside in favor of mythical bravado about deficient platforms. “Spread The Lead” is the meaningless moniker that introduces the New Governor. “Empty the Wallet” for a cornball gimmick is what you would hear, if there was actually truth in advertising. Perhaps the extended use of Tactical Balls could disorient you sufficiently to be conned into a Judge, a Governor, a State Senator, the Speaker of the House? While mildly amusing, the amusement hardly compensates for inadequate, poor capabilities intrinsic to this sad breed of gimmick gun. The ghost of P.T. Barnum might well be pleased.


Copyright 2010 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


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