Last Updated September 10th 2023
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Smith & Wesson 500
- Price: $1,552.99
- Caliber: 500 S&W
- Action: Single/Double
- Barrel length: 8.38 inch
- Weight: 4.5lb
- Frame Finish: Satin Stainless
- Capacity: 5
This Smith & Wesson S&W500 makes Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum look like a toy. Now it’s basically the most powerful handgun in the world and you’re looking for a SW500 for sale.
This is an old-school revolver, that just happens to fire 50 Cal rounds.
Now the Smith & Wesson 500 for sale is billed as the ultimate handgun for hunters, and hobby shooters love it, too, for heavy duty range days. But this S&W SW500 Performance Center has also become an option for the home defense market and a popular bear gun up in Alaska.
Our Test Scores
We tried the 4 inch barrel version for scoring purposes, and came up with the following results:
- Price – 2.5/5
- Accuracy: 2/5/5
- Reliability: 3.5/5
- Capacity: 3/5
- Features: 3/5
- Prestige: 5/5
- Value: 2.5/5
- Total: 23.5
Overall that’s a pretty average score. We tried to keep it objective, but a cannon like this is always going to lose out when it comes to accuracy and even reliability takes a hit.
Inevitably it’s too heavy and it’s feature light to focus on containing the massive forces in play. But it does have outsize prestige for a Smith & Wesson revolver, thanks to its reputation as the most powerful production handgun on the market.
For more information on the review process, see How We Test & Review Guns.
Barrel Lengths Change the Purpose
You don’t need a huge barrel on your massive revolver. You can go for a 2.75″ barrel snubnose that is for animal defense or an overblown movie villain.
The 4 inch version is kind of the same and you can get a 7.5″ barrel length. There is also a 10.5 inch barrel length Lothar-Walther rifle barrel adaptation out there and all have that same massive exposed hammer.
Longer guns make sense for handgun hunting, while the smaller ones really are for pure impact. You can totally justify them in lion, crocodile and bear country. In other places, It’s kind of flashy overkill. but it is fun to shoot the S&W SW500 Performance Center…
Is the S&W 500 Magnum A Good Home Defense Gun?
We would have to say the Smith & Wesson Model SW500 isn’t the first gun, or only one, you should have in your arsenal if you’re an average sort of homeowner in middle America. If you’re a one gun house, maybe go with a Glock 19 or something simple.
The Smith and Wesson Magnum Model SW500 is a two-hander and it will take a real toll on your wrists, especially the short barrel version.
So if you get five shots out of it before you’re physically wrecked, then you’re a tough SOB. Or you have a real good reason to do so. Lastly, you could just be a fame hungry Youtuber riding the wave of popular guns.
A home defense handgun shouldn’t take both hands on the synthetic grip to steady it. You should be able to hit the same target with follow up shots and not have to worry about which direction you’re facing after every shot. That’s not the case with the S&W Magnum cartridge.
The most powerful handgun in the world could also blow out your walls, so there’s that…
Check out the most powerful handguns in the world if you want some more options that are slightly less fearsome than the S&W Mag 500. You’ll find plenty of Smith and Wesson options there too.
The S&W 500 Has The Dirty Harry Factor
There’s no doubting the psychological impact of a gun like the S&W500, though, and if you want a gun that will finish a row without a single round being fired then this might be the one to go for.
The Smith & Wesson S&W500 certainly has the intimidation factor sorted. Especially with the weighted barrel and compensator up front and that recoil absorbing synthetic grip.
You get three times the muzzle energy of the old .44 Magnum, but it’s supremely accurate thanks to that long, 8 and 3/8 inch barrel length on the S&W Mag 500.
Hunting and Home Invasions are Different
Now you have to control the inevitable muzzle climb and recoil, which is why a lot of hunters opt to use a rest, together with a serious optic that forces them into the proper posture.
You don’t get that luxury during a home invasion, so there are plenty better guns for home defense than the S&W Mag 500. The S&W M&P Shield 9mm for one…
If you hunt, you love guns and you just want an epic toy to play with on the range, though, then you’ll struggle to find a more entertaining handgun than the Smith and Wesson S&W500. And it is the most powerful production revolver in the world, in most people’s eyes, and that is important.
The Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum Is A Monster
It’s a monumental extra large new frame, massive X frame stainless steel lump of gun that you could throw at someone if you fired off all five rounds and somehow managed to miss.
But you only need to hit once with a gun that generates 3050lb of energy at the muzzle. This is beyond the pitbull of the handgun world. It’s a supernatural animal.
Go Big and Long?
Now this is billed as a hunting or target shooting gun, but unless you hunt big game, or worry about dangerous game outside your door, then you don’t really need a handgun like this. This is more or less the most powerful handgun in the world.
It was designed to take down any game in North America and there are folks in bear country that use this as a last line of defense. It’s one of the few weapons that will really make a difference to a charging bear and that difference could be changing its mind or blowing a hole in it. Either one works.
S&W Performance Center Guns Are Wild
The Smith & Wesson PC longer guns with the weighted barrels and compensators really are something. Scopes and advanced optics like red dot sights can turn them into proper hunters that sit on your thigh.
You can even argue a Smith & Wesson SW500 is sort of practical if you just physically don’t want to carry a rifle. Or you’re not allowed to for whatever reason.
A Smith & Wesson 500 With a 20 Inch Barrel
Kentucky Ballistics even went all out with a 20 inch sniper rifle of a Smith & Wesson Model 500 revolver. Check it out here, full props to them for this unique madness that goes well beyond a Limited Edition gun builder job…
Range Day With a Difference
You won’t want to take it down the range all the time. It’s a lot of fun to shoot the smith & Wesson SW500, but it’s way too much gun for constant use and it would draw an unnecessary crowd at the range as you spend more than $1 a shot trying to tame the beast.
An interchangeable rear sight, adjustable of course, will help a little and target shooters do love the complex challenge of keeping the rear sight and front aligned in any meaningful way. The fiber optic front sight helps, but let’s be real… For most of us, it will be a blast until the ultimate power and velocity handgun cartridge starts to hurt.
Smith & Wesson Model 500 is Back On Top
It’s a big deal having the world’s maddest handgun and ammunition. Since the 1960s, S&W has fallen progressively further behind in the most powerful handgun stakes.
The .44 Magnum just didn’t cut it anymore. After Dirty Harry carried the most powerful production revolver in the world in 1971, it was swiftly usurped rivals. Single action revolvers, the only ones that could take the force, were impressive in their own way. But they felt like a novelty.
In 2003, S&W came back with the S&W 500 Magnum. It was a revolver that rewrote the rules. The Smith & Wesson S&W500 offered maximum power for serious handgun hunters. The power they sought required an entirely new extra large stainless steel monster capable of handling any big game, that brought bragging rights back to S&W.
S&W 500 Magnum In The Movies
We kind of expected more big screen appearances. Arnold Schwarzenegger carried the satin stainless monster in 2013’s The Last Stand, Johnny Depp carried an S&W 500 Magnum in the 2012 edition of 21 Jump Street ad Danny Trejo brandished one in Machete.
It would give you peace of mind in certain remote places, knowing you’ve got this in the house, though, as the stopping power is insane.
You probably could crack the engine block of a truck with this revolver, if the block was kinda rusty and you got seriously lucky with your shot. But in the zombie apocalypse, you’d be glad to have the S&W Model S&W500 hand cannon with its long double action trigger and crisp single as the last line of defense.
Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum – Need to Know
- Caliber: 500 S&W Magnum
- Capacity: 5 rounds
- Barrel Length: 8.4 inches
- Length: 15″
- Weight: 4.54lb
- Finish: Satin Stainless
Meet the Competition
Smith and Wesson face competiton from the old enemy and the Taurus 500 Raging Hunter has certainly turned some heads…
Taurus 500 Raging Hunter
- Price: $1,069.99
- Caliber: 500 S&W
- Barrel: 5.12 inch
- Weight: 3.72lb
The new model Taurus 500 Raging Hunter 500 S&W Magnum is a cut price 5rd revolver that offers a lot of the same premium features as the Model S&W500 Smith & Wesson.
Now the Taurus 500 Raging Hunter 500 S&W Magnum comes with a ported barrel, rail up top and it is chambered in the same 500 S&W ammo. But this 5rd revolver costs a lot less.
The new model Taurus 500 Raging Hunter 500 S&W Magnum comes in a variety of lengths and sizes, from concealed carry with a shaved down front sight to big game hunter.
You can order the two tone 5rd revolver, too, in brushed steel and contrasting matte black frame. We like that two-tone 5rd revolver. And the matte black 5rd revolver at that sale price.
Gun Parts & Accessories for SW500
All your products, pistols, revolvers, long guns etc need gun parts & accessories at some point and the S&W lifetime service policy will certainly help with that
For accessories, well this Smith and Wesson, the Model S&W500, is specialist stuff that requires specialty services. It can be a pain to find a dealer near you. So check out the likes of Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, Primary Arms and more.
They all have accessories, optics, lasers and other stuff for your really big gun parts for your large frame revolver.
Also, check out this post on the best gun stores in the United States.
What About a 50 Cal Semi Auto Pistol?
There aren’t many 50 caliber semi auto pistols, but the Magnum Research Desert Eagle is one of them. The 50 Action Express cartridge isn’t quite the same as the SW500, but it is almost as powerful and you can stack them in 8 round magazines in the Desert Eagle semi auto pistol.
Where to get cheap S&W500 Ammunition Online?
If you want to save money on 500 S&W ammo, then head to our friends at Lucky Gunner.
They have a selection of ammo for the Smith & Wesson SW500, but none of it is really cheap. Know that a gun like this is an expensive hobby, with ammo starting from $2.24/round for the 325gr Boxer Primed Brass Magtech bullets.
Hornady Custom offers a 500gr flat point bullet that looks absolutely brutal and can take down the big African game, as well as deer, for $3.15 a round. Yes, it’s expensive, but then this is a truly unique weapon.
It will reduce home invaders to constituent parts, but we still don’t think it should be the first weapon in your gun safe.
Also, stock up on cleaning supplies for the polymer material and the copious amounts of build-up that just has to happen really.
What About a Custom Gun?
You can go all out and go for as limited edition gun builder to create a large caliber new gun just for you. Select a platform and build your dream pistol in the right caliber, tapped for red dot sights or whatever bi.
The cost will be astronomical, but the platform and build quality should be great. Will it be better than an off the peg Model S&W500? Let us know…
If you, be careful of State compliance. Check all Federal, State and local laws etc. Anything above 50 Cal strays dangerously close to ‘destructive device’ legislation. Any decent limited edition gun builder will tell you this, they’ll mention State compliance.
The most extreme handgun we see regularly mentioned is the Pfeifer Zeliska 600 Nitro Express, but that is a custom gun all the way.
Maybe even applicable federal, state and local laws, and will also want to work with existing ammo. They’re weird like that…
A Matching 9mm Pistol To Go With That?
Compared to this monster, a sub-compact 9mm concealed carry is nothing more than a back up gun. In some parts of the world they throw an M&P Shield in a pocket holster as a last resort, or for themselves as the wolves close in. Or maybe I watch too many Liam Neeson movies…
There are plenty of alternatives to the M&P Shield in that class. The Sig Sauer P365, Springfield Armory Hellcat and Glock 43x are all monsters in the 9mm micro compact pistol class.
But then we figure brand loyalty might count here and you might prefer the S&W M&P Shield 9mm pistol with its increased magazine capacity. And that’s fine too. Especially the S&W Performance Center pistols that are, frankly, badass.
Check out these posts if you’re looking for a 9mm back up gun.
Other Guns to Look At
If you like big firepower then there are other obvious candidates for you that go beyond pistols & revolvers.
Apart from the 50 BMG rifles and sniper rifles, you might want to think about a pump action shotgun that are great for dangerous game and even hunting with the right slugs.
Lever action rifles, bolt action rifles and single shot rifles can all be fun to shoot too and you’ll find some that use major ammunition.
You can also go for 300 Blackout AR pistols that pack a lot of firepower into a small package.
Check these links for some other fun pieces that cover these other calibers:
We’re working on one of those find an FFL dealer locator things, too, where you enter zip code, find a dealer locator and you get your local friendly guys, with a ratings system. But it’s not there yet. So don’t enter zip code, find a dealer doesn’t work yet.