S&W 500 8 3/8″ Barrel
Price: $1149 (After Rebate)
This beast from Smith & Wesson makes Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum look like a toy. It’s almost certainly the biggest revolver in the world and it looks like Robocop should hold it.
That, or the world’s biggest cowboy. Because this is an old-school revolver, that just happens to fire 50 Cal rounds.
It’s billed as the ultimate handgun for hunters, but it has become a staple in the home defence market. Should it? We have to say we have doubts.
Is the S&W 500 A Good Home Defense Gun?
We would have to say it isn’t the first gun you should have in your arsenal.
It’s a two-hander and it will take a real toll on your wrists. So if you get five shots out of it before you’re physically wrecked, then you’re a tough SOB.
A home defense handgun shouldn’t take both hands to steady it.
The S&W 500 Has The Dirty Harry Factor
There’s no doubting the psychological impact of a gun like this, 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.
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. 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.
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.
The Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum Is A Monster
It’s a massive, 4.5lb lump of gun that you could throw at someone if you fired off all five rounds and somehow managed to miss.
That’s because 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.
The recoil is intense and a lot of satisfied customers have hurt their wrists, and still they love it.
There’s something about the visceral level of power in a very simple and yet phallically big handgun.
You Can Have 4″ Barrel Version, But Don’t
You can get it with a shorter barrel, too, as you can see here:
But we think you should go big or go home. It’s a shame to see people opting for the shorter gun.
Now this is billed as a hunting or target shooting gun, but unless you hunt big game then you don’t really need a handgun like this.
It was designed to take down any game in North America and there are hunters in bear country that could do with this as a last line of defense, too. 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.
You won’t want to take it down the range all the time. It’s a lot of fun, 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.
500 Puts S&W 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.
The .44 Magnum just didn’t cut it anymore. After Dirty Harry carried the most powerful handgun 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 500. It was a double action revolver that rewrote the rules and provided a handgun hunting monster that could fell, well, anything. It also 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 one in 2013’s The Last Stand, Johnny Depp carried one in the 2012 edition of 21 Jump Street ad Danny Trejo brandished a short-barrel version in Machete.
Good To Have In The House
It would give you peace of mind 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 hand cannon and in the zombie apocalypse, you’d be glad to have one as the last line of defence.
S&W 500 Need to Know
Caliber: S&W 500 .50 Cal
Capacity: 5 rounds
Barrel Length: 8.4 inches
Where to get cheap S&W 500 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, 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.
If you want a 50 Cal handgun, the Desert Eagle is still a more practical weapon. This is just a novelty that you might hunt with occasionally, but then again it’s a Hell of a lot of fun and if you learn to handle it then it could be the handcannon that saves your life one day.
It will reduce home invaders to constituent parts, but we still don’t think it should be the first weapon in your gun safe.