Update: 50 Caliber handguns are a rare treat right now. And the bullets are basically out of stock everywhere. so maybe consider these options before you go for the full fat 50 Cal.
- 17 Best 44 Magnum Revolvers for Sale in 2020.
- The 15 Best hunting handguns and where to buy them
- Best 357 Magnum revolvers on sale today.
Now back to the original post…
You should own a 50 Caliber pistol at least once in your life. You know that, too.
It’s just an itch that needs to be scratched and it may as well be now. Right?
Do it soon anyway. The Democrats promise to curb our enthusiasm for life in general, and certainly for guns.
You really think 50 Cal pistols are going to survive the Leftist purge?
50 BMG rifles for that matter as well. So if you want to get your 50 cal on, well now is the time.
1. Smith & Wesson 500 Performance Center
- Price: $1,499.99
- Caliber: 500 S&W
- Barrel: 7.5 inch
- Total: 15 inch
- Weight: 4.35lb
- Capacity: 5 rounds
When you’re looking to control the power of a 50 Caliber handgun, then simple is normally best. And it doesn’t get simpler than the world’s most powerful handguns: the Smith & Wesson 500.
Now there’s a 10.5 inch barrel version of this 50 cal pistol for the serious hunters, and for those that absolutely want to say they have the biggest and best. That could probably lay claim to being the world’s most powerful handguns, in any meaningful production sense anyway.
50 Caliber Pistols: More Than Enough Gun For Most
For the rest of us, this stainless steel 7.5 inch barrel version with the Smith & Wesson PC mods and simple Hogue rubber grip looks like the sweet spot. That gives you insane power, a dramatic look and a little help with the recoil.
You will still get 1700fps and muzzle energy around 2300lb/ft. That seems like enough from this high spec, high power handgun. It’s the most powerful handgun in the world. And you can have one too.
Smith & Wesson’s Massive New Frame
In 2003, Smith and Wesson introduced the X-Frame revolver to satisfy a new desire. That was big bore hunting handguns that could harvest North American big game humanely.
The S&W500 was born, and it was an instant legend. That was the basic version. This is a gun that was hand-picked from the production line, lovingly balanced and fettled and then fitted with upgraded parts.
A barrel shroud and compensator have been tuned to help keep the stainless steel gun level when you fire. I mean not entirely level, but closer than it would have been.
Terminal Ballistics of Smith & Wesson Model 500, Just Look…
It’s hard to describe the impact of the Smith & Wesson 500 round on flesh. But luckily we don’t have to. You can see it here, on yet another random Youtube video.
Short Barrel Version is Seriously Powerful Carry Gun
This is the smaller, 3.5 inch barrel version that Dirty Harry 2020 would carry. Is it the world’s most powerful carry pistol? Yes.
It’s a new favorite for bear defense and protection against North American dangerous game as a pocket pistol. Wolves and mountain lions are both averse to this pistol, as it turns out.
The adjustable sights seem optimistic at first glance. But the fiber optic front and basic blade at the rear are massively useful for close up target acquisition in ‘stressful situations’. They are not pointless gun accessories.
Your new 50 cal pistol could also work for home defense if you like a hand cannon and can deal with the muzzle rise. Get yours here.
See what happens when the S&W Magnum revolver hollow point meets a pork shoulder. Its hollow point bullets already blasted straight through a gel block and out the other side into a field.
It’s gratuitous, but it’s interesting.
Where to Buy S&W Magnum Revolver Ammo
This Smith & Wesson 500 ammo isn’t cheap, but you knew that. It’s arguably the best 50 caliber bullet. It was always going to be expensive. You can still save money when you buy ammo online, though.
Check these quick links to find the best prices for your Smith & Wesson S&W500 50 Cal handgun ammo. Just be aware thanks to Covid it’s like gold dust. Stock up, and maybe look into reloading kits.
- Palmetto State Armory – Fast turning into the big ammunition best seller.
- Brownells – Broad range of 50 caliber ammo, including Hornady and Magtech.
- Natchez Shooters Supplies – Niche brands and great bulk deals in all calibers.
2. Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX Pistol AE50
- Price: $1,999
- Caliber: 50 AE
- Barrel: 6 inch
- Total: 10.75 inch
- Weight: 4.5lb
- Capacity: 7+1
The Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX pistol is the ultimate semi-auto big bore pistol. With 1600fps and muzzle energy of 1,800lb/ft.
It’s the class leader, the undisputed King of the streets. This is the biggest, baddest, autoloading semi-automatic handguns in the world. And it has been forever…
A Movie Star, Not Just a Gun
The single-action Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX pistol is not just the world’s most powerful semi-automatic handgun. It is also a star of the silver screen.
Seriously, the Desert Eagle has more screentime in Hollywood and video games than most A-list stars. You’ve seen it in: Deadpool, The Matrix, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and classics like Don’t Mess With the Zohan and Police Academy.
Now it’s a Serious Gun, Not Just a Movie Gun
The movie roles and video games love were one reason why this single-action, semi-automatic cannon was dismissed as a gimmick by some in the firearms community.
But the thing is this gas actuated pistol has been with us since the mid-1980s.
Over that time, this large pistol has got exponentially better. Especially when production of the Magnum Research Desert Eagle shifted from the Middle East to Saco, Maine, in 1995.
You Have to Maintain These Guns
Rebuilds and proper gun maintenance still go with the territory, due to the forces this 4.5lb mass of moving parts and stainless steel has to endure. The Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX pistol’s gas piston operated system is really modified rifle technology, but it works.
How Does a Desert Eagle Mark XIX Pistol Work?
When you spell out the whole gas operated mechanism in action, from the piston actuated operation through to the constant pressure on the spring-loaded ejector, it’s mind-boggling. That’s before you get into how the compensator fights muzzle rise.
Thankfully, somebody made an explainer video, which shows how the Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX pistol works. Essentially it’s gas operated AR-15 tech, in a handgun.
How Much Does a Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX Pistol Cost?
Now this is a more complex question, as the big Eagle Mark XIX pistol has evolved into a model line of semi-automatic handguns, rather than just one gun.
The prices range for around the $1500 mark for a blued gun and go well beyond $2500 for some of the custom pistol options. They include a longer barrel, which hunters appreciate.
They also include a gold tiger stripe and black tiger stripe hand cannons for gangsters. And Joe Exotic..
Best Spec Desert Eagle Mark XIX
Ignore those, but go for the Desert Eagle Mark XIX pistol with the muzzle brake and the 6 inch barrel. It doesn’t just look awesome. This gun generates huge recoil, and fireballs. So it’s pretty clear there is some gas out there.
It’s better to have at least some control over that and use the gas to beat felt recoil, a bit.
This gun will sprain your wrist, cost a fortune to feed with 50 AE and you’ll really have to be in the mood to take this out your gun safe. But when you are, you’ll have an absolute blast.
Buy .50 Action Express Ammunition
It helps to shop around as .50 AE ammo can get expensive, as cany any .50 caliber bullet. It can also get scarce, so keep some in your gun safes for a rainy day. So if you need to feed your Desert Eagle addiction, then start here.
- Palmetto State Armory – 50AE ammo at the best prices.
- Natchez Shooters Supplies – Quality .50 Cal ammo, including 50 Action Express.
3. Magnum Research BFR
- Price: $1,149.99
- Caliber: 50 AE/S&W 500
- Barrel length: 7.5 inch
- Total: 15 inch
- Weight: 4.5lb
- Capacity: 5 rounds
The Magnum Research BFR 45-70 Government is the gun that stole the headlines as the world’s most powerful handgun.
Now you can buy two 50 caliber handguns that almost look like the sensible choice in comparison. Both a 50AE and 500 S&W Magnum revolver are available.
You can buy a Magnum Research BFR for almost every big caliber these days.
There are long cylinder versions and short cylinder, depending on the ammo. Both 50 cal pistols are the Magnum Research BFR long cylinder.
Following in Colt’s Footsteps
This modern day gun follows in the footsteps of the Colt Single Action Army that features on our list of the best 357 Magnum revolvers. So it goes without saying it’s a, ummm, single action revolver.
It delivers 1472fps muzzle velocity and 2,587ft/lb of pressure. That’s an awful lot for large pistols, revolvers or even the most powerful handguns in the world.
4. Guncrafter Industries Glock 50 GI
- Price: $649.99
- Caliber: .50GI
- Barrel length: 4.6 inch
- Weight: 2lb
This is the famous 50 Caliber Glock conversion and it comes from one of the finest custom gunsmiths out there.
Guncrafter Industries makes some of the best custom 1911 pistols on the site. Should you have the near 4k it will take to buy it on your credit card, the high price, high spec Guncrafter Hellcat is waiting for you here.
It has made big bore Glocks for fun for more than 15 years now, and so it has refined this gun from a rough hand cannon into a real hunter. The thing is, Glock already has a real hunter. The Glock G40 10mm is a beast that can take medium game.
Guncrafter claims a muzzle velocity of 1200fps and 591ft/lb of energy for its 50 caliber bullet. That’s pretty impressive for a semi-auto 50 Cal handgun.
Get a Parts Kit and Build Your Own DIY 50 Cal Glock
Seriously, this is a drop in 50 Caliber conversion kit for a Glock 20/21/40/41.
So if you have any of those lying round, Gen 4 only, then this is the cheapest way to realize your 50 cal handgun dream. It’s relatively subtle too.
Ammo is a sore subject, as it’s an expensive luxury when you buy direct. The round was introduced at the 2004 Shot Show and is basically a wider and longer 45 ACP.
Did we need that? Probably not, but it’s another way to get a 50 Cal pistol and the Glock is so different that we still like it. Luckily, Guncrafter Industries will still sell it to you. Unluckily, it’s $1.78 a round.
A lightweight handgun with that much kick is a brutal, raw experience that you might just want to try. And at this price, it’s not a ridiculous luxury. But the bullets are.
5. Ruger Super Redhawk
- Price: $1,019.99
- Caliber: Ruger .480
- Barrel length: 7.5 inch
- Total: 13 inch
- Weight: 3.31lb
- Capacity: 6
OK, full disclosure, the double action Super Redhawk isn’t quite 50 Caliber. But unless you and your friends are in some twisted competition, it is really close enough.
The 480 Ruger was born out of the work of John Linebaugh. The .475 Linebaugh handgun cartridge was already an icon with hunters using powerful handguns, as was Ruger.
But the company wanted to go that step further with a sledgehammer of a bullet. It wanted full cradle to grave control, literally, for one of the most powerful handguns in the world.
A New Round For Star Revolver
Ruger already had this double action revolver chambered in 454 Casull, which is another serious handgun cartridge. So it went to work and produced a new bullet that will fire out of a revolver chambered for 475 Linebaugh. It’s that close and actually has slightly less power.
So why is it here? Because this whole double action revolver is just over 3lb in weight. That makes it a packaging marvel in this company. We also like the Hogue rubber grip that helps in the real world with felt recoil.
Ornate Bisley grips are nice, but only with gloves. That’s a hunting handgun, not a defensive pistol
A Realistic Carry Revolver?
You get six rounds of almost 50 caliber in a gun that could work as a concealed carry, if you’re Dirty Harry maybe.
If you work in the Alaskan wasteland, this could also be a revolver that could work as bear defense without destroying your wrists. Repeatability is a real thing and emptying a 500 S&W pistol is a feat in itself. Not so much with this gun.
Compared to the full fat 50 cal pistols, the Ruger is a relatively soft shooting handgun. That means the adjustable sights actually matter and you can aim your shot. And your follow up shots.
This big Ruger round is more than capable of taking big game. It’s a solid option for bear defense and it just about works as a monster of a home defense handgun too.
6. Thompson Center Contender Pistol
- Price: $669.99
- Caliber: 45-70 Government/50 Cal Black Powder
- Barrel length: 12 inch
- Total: 15 inch
- Weight: 3.5lb
- Capacity: 1
The Thompson Center Contender G2 is a break action pistol that’s available in more or less every caliber, from 22LR right through to 45 Long Colt, 45-70 Government and, yes, 50 Cal. Kind of.
Best of all? You can buy caliber conversion kits and change them out in seconds. That makes it a serious hunting handgun.
A simple lug arrangement means you can swap out the barrel in under a minute. Go from a 22LR range toy to a 45-70 Government monster in moments.
Pistol Becomes a Rifle in Seconds
Switch out for a longer barrel and a stock and your Contender turns into a rifle. It’s pretty clever. There’s even an integral safety on this single action pistol and there’s just some nice mechanical engineering here that gun guys tend to love.
They also love the way the long barrel, weight, and the shooting stance that goes with this gun seems to kill felt recoil. It’s there, but way less than you’d think and seems to transmit well back through that handle and along the arm.
It’s a hokey design, but the bore axis seems about right and the adjustable sights are great. I mean it sucks as a carry pistol, but hopefully that was never really an ambition for you.
50 Cal Muzzle Loader Pistol?
You can even switch to a muzzle loader and achieve the 50 Caliber pistol thing that way. It’s much more work and much less powerful than the 50 als we’ve discussed so far, though.
And the 45-70 is a genuine match for the most powerful handgun in the world. Well, in terms of bang for the buck it certainly is anyway, if not stopping power. It was never even really meant to be a handgun cartridge. This is rifle ammo.
We’re pretty sure you will be able to fire a 50AE or S&W 500 from this long barrel single-shot pistol too. With every other caliber on offer, it seems like a when, not if, you get a .50 caliber bullet kinda thing.
Choose Your Weapon, And Your Look
For now you could always opt for the 357 Magnum, or the range topper we included here because it’s a viable real world option. It’s genuinely clever engineering, too.
Also take a look at the T/C Encore. It’s basically a G2, but modern, with polymer and stainless steel.
Why Choose a Single Shot Pistol?
Now a single shot might not make massive sense at first glance. But it’s cheap and can easily switch from a pistol to a rifle with a few minor adjustments.
That’s pretty cool and one of the reasons it has become a legend in the hunting community.
It’s also a cheap and simple way to start shooting high caliber pistols and a variety of the most powerful handguns in the world.
7. Traditions Kentucky Pistol
- Price: $239.99
- Caliber: 50 Cal Black Powder Pistol
- Barrel: 10 inch
- Length: 14 inch
- Capacity: 1
While the T/C Encore and Contender are the next generation, this is a wilfully nostalgic flintlock pistol tribute with a modern black powder under the skin.
You get a hardwood stock and simple percussion ignition. And don’t even think this 50 Cal pistol is anywhere near a match for the monsters further up this list.
I mean it’s not really a hunting handgun either. White Tail might laugh at you, and put up their dukes. There isn’t even a mounting rail for a red dot.
It’s simply something different, a chance for firearms enthusiasts to experience a muzzle loader. And maybe pay tribute to a little piece of history in the process.
Obviously if you want a black powder concealed carry that looks like a flintlock then you haven’t really grasped the concept of concealed carry, or black powder. One of the two…
8. Safety Harbor Firearms SHTF50
- Price: NA
- Caliber: 50 BMG
- Barrel: 12 inch
- Weight: 6lb
- Capacity: 5
Remember the mag-fed, bolt action 50 BMG pistol from Safety Harbor Firearms? Crazy times man…
BATFE regulations put paid to some of Safety Harbor’s shenanigans, but not all of them.
You can still buy a 50 BMG caliber conversion kit for an AR-15. And we don’t entirely rule out the pistol coming back. That’s why it’s here.
Check out how the rifle is made and see what you think about converting your AR-15 into a DIY 50 BMG rifle. Or you could just buy one of these better sorted 50 BMG rifles off the peg. We’d do that.
That’s what Clint Eastwood would do. But you might feel lucky, etc…
Where to Buy 50 BMG Ammo Online
The interest in 50 BMG shooting means that the prices are coming down as the mass market starts to figure out this massive caliber. It used to be $3.50 a round for this long-range ammo. Now it’s less, although some is more.
But where are the best places to buy 50 BMG ammo online? Try here:
- Palmetto State Armory – Great source of cheap 50 Cal ammo online.
- Brownells – Several options for 50 Browning Machine Gun rounds.
- Natchez Shooters Supplies – All handgun ammunition, rifle ammunition etc.
9. Umarex HDR50
- Price: NA
- Caliber: 50 Cal Air Gun
- Barrel: 5 inch
- Weight: 6lb
- Capacity: 6
It’s fair to say that although this is a 50 Cal revolver, it shouldn’t really breathe the same air as these other guns. That’s because this is a 50 Cal air gun.
This is a relative toy compared to the other 50 Cal pistols. Although the polymer case does come with a picatinny rail up top for scopes, sights or maybe even a red dot.
So let’s not start with fps and muzzle energy. But if you just want a super cheap pistol to bingo rats or backyard targets, even tin cans if you’re that way inclined, well this air gun works.
If you haven’t checked out the latest generation of air pistols and rifles, then be prepared to be surprised.
You can have a tactical rifle snake gun, or possibly a replacement for a 22LR rifle, for a lot less money when it comes to the ammo. Gun parts are much cheaper with air guns too. Felt recoil? Yep, that’s less. Imagine…
Does Non-Lethal Defense Work? Kinda
Air guns are fun. So get one. But it’s here just for the juxtaposition, more than anything else. If you’re into non-lethal self defense, though, or if you want animal defense that doesn’t kill, go for it.
There’s a whole sub-culture for the BB gun and air rifle community. They do it better than we can and the guns come with a whole new breed of scopes, sights, ammunition and all the jazz.
There are air rifles that shoot arrows now. Did you know that? We think it’s cool.
Where to Buy 50 Cal Pistols, Parts and Gun Accessories
The whole sector of the industry is a little specialist. So if you want pistol parts, rifle parts, gun cleaning supplies, gun tools, shooting supplies and more for a 50 Cal pistol, you need to know where to go.