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Smith & Wesson Model 500: The Most Powerful Revolver Ever

Smith & Wesson Model 500
Smith & Wesson Model 500

Smith & Wesson is one of the United States, and really the world’s, most noteworthy gun manufacturers.

It’s no surprise as to why: the company has been in the gunsmithing business for nearly 170 years. Given that amount of time, it’s no wonder that Smith & Wesson has been able to build the most powerful production revolver in the world.

Smith & Wesson Model 500: A Beast of a Gun 

The revolver in question is their Model 500. According to Smith & Wesson, they set out in 2003 to build a revolver that could “deliver maximum power for serious handgun hunters,” and created the X-Frame revolver, the company’s largest ever.

The X-Frame can handle the largest of the so-called Super Magnum cartridges, including the massive .500 S&W Magnum. Despite the cartridge’s large size — it’s the same diameter as a .50 BMG cartridge — the X-Frame’s large cylinder can accommodate five .500 S&W Magnums.

The .500 S&W Magnum is also the most powerful commercial handgun cartridge. It creates 2600 ft/lb. muzzle energy when fired, and Smith & Wesson claims that when used in tandem with their Model 500, is capable of taking down “any game animal walking.”

Smith & Wesson Model 500: Configurations

The revolver comes in several configurations, with barrel options ranging from quite short 3-inches, and progresses in length to include 4, 7.5, 8.38, and massively long 10.5-inch options that can more fully take advantage of the powerful .500 S&W Magnum cartridge as well as handle the punishing recoil the large round generates.

All revolvers come with a pair of interchangeable muzzle brakes, one for jacketed bullets, and one for solid lead bullets. Additionally, the revolvers are fitted with large rubberized grips in an effort to prevent the revolver from flying out of the shooter’s hands. This video gives a good impression of the incredible recoil the Model 500 generates when firing and is with the watch.

The Model 500’s are indeed incredibly powerful — and pricey. Smith & Wesson lists the most affordable Model 500, the 8.38-inch model, at $1,319, whereas some of the more expensive models run upwards of $1,600. Despite the high price range, the Model 500s are backed by the company’s lifetime warranty and are guaranteed to be high-quality firearms.

Smith & Wesson is arguably the best revolver manufacturer in the business, and the Model 500 is no exception. For those looking for the most powerful production revolver on the market, the 500 is an excellent choice.

In the words of S&W, “for ultimate power and velocity there’s nothing even close to an X-Frame model handgun.”

Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer based in Europe. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.

Written By

Caleb Larson is a multiformat journalist and defense writer based in Berlin but has spent most of 2022 reporting from Ukraine. He covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, with a focus on American foreign policy and European security. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.



  1. Charles Hanson

    April 29, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    I think that Harry Callaghan aka Dirty Harry may beg to differ??!!

  2. William Ward

    May 1, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    It is obvious to me that this article was not properly researched or the author is not knowledgeable on proper terminology. While the projectile from the s&w 500 magnum and the 50 bmg are both 50 caliber the diameter of the cartridges, the brass casings that contain primer and powder, are so different in size as to barely be comparable. On another note, it is not the most powerful revolver in production, and while Smith and Wesson may be one of the largest and best known revolver manufacturers to call them the “best” could be considered incorrect as well. Freedom Arms Revolvers in Wyoming produces far superior products both in craftsmanship and longevity. They currently produce revolvers chambered in 500 Wyoming Express which are more powerful than Smith and Wesson’s cartridge.

  3. JackKennedy

    May 19, 2021 at 2:51 am

    I prefer my DE 50ae …. manageable and good on target out to 75 yds

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