The Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum blasted the big-bore handgun into pop culture way back in 1971, as the preferred sidearm of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry". Forty-four years later it still ranks among the most powerful production handguns available, but there’s no shortage of modern-day power pistols that are even more formidable. Many of these bullet-spitting monsters come with shoulder slings and bipods for hunting, and fire rounds big and fast enough to drop bear, elk, and buffalo, or even puncture steel plate. And of course, they're a hell of a lot of fun to shoot at the range.
Now let's get fired up with ten of the most powerful pistols in the world.
Smith & Wesson .500
This may be the scariest production revolver on the planet, if you're judging by sheer stopping power. It's got the kind of lethal .50-caliber punch you need if, say, you run into an angry grizzly in the Alaskan wilderness, or a brain-eating zombie in some post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Smith & Wesson XVR 460 Magnum
The XVR 460 Magnum (X-treme Velocity Revolver) has the highest claimed velocity in a big-bore production gun: that hunk of lead is moving at an incredible 2,300 feet per second. Plus, the stand and scope are seriously bad-ass.
Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic
Do you feel lucky, punk? Dirty Harry’s iconic sidearm rounds out Smith & Wesson's fearsome power trio. It gained fame in Dirty Harry (1971) and then Magnum Force (1973), launching the popular fascination with enormous handguns.
Desert Eagle .50 caliber
You’ve seen it in Predator, Snatch , and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Revolvers can deliver higher velocity, but the Desert Eagle is about as powerful as semi-automatic handguns get.