- Price: $1,551.99
- Caliber: 500 S&W
- Action: Single/Double Action
- Barrel: 8.38 inch
- Weight: 4.5lb
- Frame Finish: Satin Stainless Steel
- Capacity: 5
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, and hobby shooters love it, too, for heavy duty range days. But this double action revolver has also become an option for the home defence market and is a popular bear gun up in Alaska.
Barrel Lengths Change the Purpose of the SW500 Magnum
You don’t need a huge barrel on your massive revolver. You can go for a 2.75 inch 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 inch barrel. There is also a 10.5 inch Lothar-Walther rifle barrel adaptation out there.
The 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 that can be fun…
Is the Smith & Wesson 500 A Good Home Defense Gun?
We would have to say the Smith & Wesson Model S&W500 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 S&W Magnum Model S&W500 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.
A home defense handgun shouldn’t take both hands 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. It 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.
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.
The Smith & Wesson S&W500 certainly has the intimidation factor sorted. Especially with the S&W Performance Center weighted barrel and compensator up front.
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 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. 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 frame, extra large, a 4.5lb 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.
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 longer guns with the weighted barrels and compensators from the Smith & Wesson performance Center really are something. Scopes and advanced optics like red dot sights can turn them into proper hunters that sit on your thigh and you can even argue they are sort of practical if you just physically don’t want to carry a rifle.
Kentucky Ballistics even went all out with a 20 inch sniper rifle of a 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, 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 sight 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.
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 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 stainless steel Model S&W500. It was a revolver that rewrote the rules. Smith & Wesson wanted to provide maximum power for serious handgun hunters. The power they sought required an entirely new frame, the massive X-frame, 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 one in the 2012 edition of 21 Jump Street ad Danny Trejo brandished a short-barrel version 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 cannon as the last line of defense.
Smith & Wesson S&W500 – Need to Know
- Caliber: 500 S&W Magnum
- Material: Stainless steel
- Capacity: 5 rounds
- Barrel Length: 8.4 inches
- Length: 15″
- Weight: 4.54lb
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 gun 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.
Where to get cheap S&W Model 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, 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. As are all the 44 Magnum revolver choices here, and 357 Magnum revolver options too…
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, stainless steel finish 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 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 S&W Mag 500? 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.
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 a Smith & Wesson 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 Smith & Wesson 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 Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. And that’s fine too. Especially the S&W Performance Center pistols that are, frankly, badass.
Check out these posts if you’re loking for a 9mm back up gun.
We’re working on one of those 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.