Best Handgun Stopping Power - S&W 500

If you are searching for a handgun for pure stopping power, then you have come to the right place. I live up here in Montana, and have friends from Alaska, so we’ve seen some of the bigger wildlife in North America. Some people think that some of the huge guns are overkill in any situation. Well, when you have an 8-foot tall Grizzly bear walking around your tent at night, and you’re questioning if he’s just curious or ready to maul, is there such thing as a handgun that is too big? We want a gun that can stop almost any living thing in its tracks. But what gun can claim to be the Best Handgun Stopping Power?

Looking it at from 3 different categories; purpose, round ballistics and barrel length, we have chosen the S&W 500 and its .500 S&W Magnum round as the Best Handgun Stopping Power gun system.


The S&W 500 was originally made to be able to hunt any large game in North America. Smith and Wesson claim that this gun and round is the “most powerful production revolver in the world today,” which is true. It was intended for hunting applications and can be reliably hunted with out to 200 yards, which is very impressive for a handgun. The large “X-Gun” frame, forward balance, rubber grips and sheer mass help it to be accurate out to those long distances by controlling recoil well.

Round Ballistics

The Smith and Wesson Model 500 shoots a .500 S&W Magnum round, which is the most power production handgun round. Depending on the bullet weight and load, the .500 S&W Mag has a velocity of up to 2,075 ft/s and a kinetic energy of up to 3,031 ft-lbs! Compare that energy to a .40 S&W, which only has a maximum of 490 ft-lbs. This round truly has amazing stopping power.

Barrel Length

The S&W500 comes in a few separate barrel lengths, ranging from 2 ¾” out to 10”. The longer the barrel length, the greater the force you will have with the same bullet. This is because it had more time for the cartridge to fully ignite and explode, and impart more energy to the bullet while it is still in the barrel. The longer barrel is also good for accuracy, because of the increased plane of sight. That is why shooting a rifle at distance shots is easier than shooting a handgun.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that if you are looking for a gun for purely stopping power, the S&W 500 is the gun you are looking for. It was made for hunting big game at long range, so it will obviously pack enough stopping power to take down almost anything. A few of my Montana friends always keep one in their pickup, just in case. The Smith and Wesson 500 is truly the Best Handgun Stopping Power that is readily available today.

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