17 of the Most Powerful Rifles – April 2023 – USA

Firearm enthusiasts all around the world love to collect guns, and handguns are especially popular due to their portability and effectiveness

However, despite being smaller than rifles and other types of firearms in most cases, some handguns can still pack an incredible punch

In this article, we’ll be ranking the power of these impressive handguns based off caliber

The caliber of a handgun is measured according to the diameter of the inside of the gun’s barrel, or the diameter of the bullets it can take

Read on to learn about the massive calibers that some of the world’s most powerful handguns can handle!

A variation of the classic Ruger Redhawk line, the Ruger Super Redhawk boasts improvements such as an extended frame and a monogrip with an internal recoil cushion

This double-action revolver is a force to be reckoned with, and comes ready for scope mounting, making it a great choice for hunters

The Ruger Super Redhawk owes its ability to fire the hefty 454 Casull rounds to its heat-treated, alloy-based cylinder

Smith & Wesson XVR 460 Magnum

Smith & Wesson states that their XVR 460 Magnum is the highest velocity production revolver available today

This handgun features Smith & Wesson’s extra large frame, and is capable of delivering a stunning velocity of over 2,300 feet per second

The XVR 460 Magnum uses gain-twist rifling in order to maximize its velocity and range, and features an optional bipod for added support when shooting

The Smith & Wesson XVR 460 Magnum is available with barrels up to 14 inches in length

Magnum Research BFR Revolver

The Magnum Research BFR Revolver is specifically designed to accommodate larger rounds with its characteristically long barrel

The length of the barrel varies according to caliber, and custom barrels can be commissioned from Magnum Research

This handgun is also capable of handling Smith & Wesson’s largest rounds

When a handgun fires with this much force, a heavier weight is considered an asset since it reduces the effects of recoil

Thompson Center Contender Pistol

This break-action, single-shot handgun is quite popular due to its accuracy and staying power

Because of its weight, the Thompson Center Contender Pistol is best suited to handgun hunting and accuracy practice on the shooting range

This handgun also stands out because of its sleek and elegant appearance, which features an ergonomic grip

This popular pistol was among the first of the firearms produced at Thompson Center Arms

This impressive six-shot, single-action revolver is a variation of the Ruger Blackhawk that was welcomed by gun enthusiasts as a more powerful option for handgun hunting

Many people prefer the more compact Ruger Super Blackhawk to the heavier, double-action Ruger Super Redhawk, and were thrilled to finally have the option for a lighter gun with higher firing power

Avid range shooters who have spent some time firing off a lot of rounds from this handgun report that the recoil can be wearisome after a while

Cartridge: 50 Action Express

This well-known handgun has made frequent appearances in movies, games, and other media

Among gun enthusiasts, it stands out for its use of a gas-operated reloading mechanism, which is usually found in rifles

This gas-operated action assists in efficient reloading of larger rounds, enabling this handgun to deliver enormous firing power

Since this firearm is chambered for the 50 Action Express and boasts such firing power, it’s more suited to range shooting than to self-defense

Smith & Wesson Model 500

This double/single action revolver is renowned for its intense firing power, which is tempered by a muzzle brake to lessen recoil impact

The revolver measures 15 inches in length and weighs in at 45 pounds, making it far more suited to hunting than to carrying on one’s hip

The Smith & Wesson Model 500 has been referred to as the most powerful production revolver on the market, and can vary in barrel length so that shorter variations can be carried

Pfeifer-Zeliska 600 Nitro Express Revolver

The Pfeifer-Zeliska 600 Nitro Express Revolver is the largest caliber handgun in the world, and the most powerful

To provide some context, this handgun is so huge that its 600 Nitro Express rounds are actually British-made rifle bullets

On top of being such a formidable weapon, it’s also one of the pricier options on the market

The price of its rounds is similarly high, with each 600 Nitro Express round costing $40!

This massive handgun was developed by a Swiss gun nut named Zeliska, who wanted a handgun that could chamber big game hunting rounds

(L-R): Richard Cole, author Paul Scarlata, and Dick Jones Many of our younger readers will no doubt think I’m a liar when I tell them that at one time there were no polymer-framed pistols

Even though the first polymer-framed pistols were introduced in the 1970s, it took another decade for the “plastic” pistols to become popular

RELATED STORYPocket Battle: Scores & Rankings of 5 Popular 380 Pistols Since their introduction in the late 19th century, most semi-auto, centerfire, service-type pistols have utilized forged-steel slides, frames and internal components

In the 1950s, Colt, S&W and Walther introduced pistols with aluminum alloy frames

By the 1960s, more and more handgun manufacturers were offering their products with aluminumWhile the Browning Hi-Power pistol introduced a 13-round magazine in 1935, the concept of high-capacity magazines was slow to catch on

However, by the 1970s, attitudes had changed, and high-capacity designs like the S&W Model 59, Beretta 92 and CZ 75 became the top choices of armies and law enforcement agencies around the worldThe 1980s saw the introduction of the Glock 17, whose frame and internal components were made from polymer

While originally viewed with suspicion, it became the driving force behind the “Polymer Revolution” Today, polymer-framed pistols dominate the police and military markets

He readily agreed, and in a few weeks, I received the Beretta 92A1, CZ 75 BD, European American Armory (EAA) Witness Steel Full Size, Sig Sauer P226 Legion and a Taurus PT-92

The Beretta 92 is the standard handgun of dozens of armies and police forces around the world, including the US, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, France, Japan and Indonesia

Sig’s P226 is another worldwide favorite with soldiers, police and civilian shooters, and some current users include the US Coast Guard, US Navy SEALs, US Secret Service, US State Department Security and the UK’s Royal Marine CommandosThe Brazilian-made Taurus PT-92 is a modified version of the original Beretta 92 and has seen police and military service in a number of Latin American, Asian and Middle Eastern countries

While Cold-War-era politics resulted in CZ pistols being latecomers to the US market, they have been popular with police in Central Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and AfricaThe EAA Witness Full Steel is made in Italy by Tanfoglio and is a variant of the CZ 75

It is an all-stainless-steel pistol with a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger system and a single-sided safety

These guns have seen service with Middle Eastern police agencies and are extremely popular with action pistol competitors around the world

RELATED STORY10mm Pistol Comparison: Scoring & Ranking 4 Popular Models Characteristics of the Metal HandgunsAll of these pistols share certain characteristics

First, they are all recoil-operated, hammer-fired, locked-breech designs

The CZ and EAA are all steel (stainless in the case of the latter), which will gladden the hearts of the traditionalists, while the Sig, Taurus and Beretta all feature steel slides and aluminum alloy frames

The Sig uses a lever on the left side of the frame to safely drop the hammer on a loaded chamber

The Beretta has ambidextrous levers on the slide that drop the hammer and, if left down, act as safeties, preventing the pistol from being fired

On the Taurus, ambidextrous, frame-mounted thumb safeties can be applied to carry the pistol in Condition One, or can be depressed past the “fire” position to safely lower the hammerThe EAA’s safety can be left up for Condition One carry, or the hammer can be manually lowered for a DA first shot

The CZ has a frame-mounted hammer-drop lever that automatically moves up to the “fire” position after the hammer dropsAs for the rest of the controls, all five pistols have their magazine release and slide stop levers in the “proper” positions, while the magazine releases on the Beretta and Taurus can be reversed for southpaws

Both the Beretta and Sig have loaded-chamber indicators while the Taurus was the only one fitted with a key-operated internal security lock

The Sig, Beretta, Taurus and EAA all have accessory rails for mounting tactical devicesIn terms of capacity, the Sig holds 15+1 rounds while the CZ holds 16+1 and the Beretta, EAA and Taurus pistols each hold 17+1 rounds

Lastly, all five pistols were chambered for the 9mm, which just so happens to be my favorite pistol cartridge

Rules of the RingI test-fired each pistol for accuracy by firing three 5-shot groups from an MTM K-Zone rest at 15 yards

All five shot to the point of aim and produced groups ranging from 2 to 3 inches, which I feel is more than adequate for service-type pistols

If one of them failed to work, we would attempt to correct the problem at the range and continue firingIt took little convincing to get my friends Richard Cole and Dick Jones, both avid competitive shooters and CCW permit holders, to assist me in running these pistols through their paces

As in previous “Battle Royales,” we evaluated the pistols in seven areas: ergonomics, recoil control, sights, off-hand accuracy, reloading ease, reliability and DA trigger control

We felt these categories would give each of us a good overall feel for these “real steel” pistolsDrilling the Metal HandgunsAfter a bit of discussion (“Hell, shooting cardboard targets is getting boring!”) we decided to run our five test guns through some timed drills on steel targetsSteel Plate DrillOn the signal, the shooter engages a rack of six plates 8 yards from the shooting line

They then reload the pistol and repeat the drill three more times

Scoring included the total time for each of the four runs plus a five-second penalty for any plate left standing

PaulRichardDickBeretta471760915CZ514592562EAA470646590Sig463583745Taurus510703565Steel Target/Popper DrillOn the signal, the shooter engages five steel plates and a Birchwood Casey self-setting popper in the center from 16 yards, double tapping each target before shooting the popper down to stop the clock

The pistol is reloaded and the drill is repeated from 12 and 8 yards, respectively

Scoring included the total time for each of the three runs plus a five-second penalty for any missesPaulRichardDickBeretta9251068961CZ918898982EAA8401017800Sig110310261067Taurus9861004974 Accuracy DrillOn the signal, the shooter double-taps two steel targets at 25 yards, performs a combat reload and reengages them

Scoring includes the total time for each of the four runs plus a five-second penalty for any misses

PaulRichardDickBeretta105514031342CZ115314091090EAA95312291256Sig96212401170Taurus129113001171 In the end, each shooter would fire a minimum of 89 rounds from each pistol for a total of at least 445 rounds from all five guns

The runs with each pistol would be averaged for a final scoreAll of the drills began with the shooter holding the pistol in a low-ready position and the first shot in each string of fire was from DA mode

One of us would fire the pistol, the second ran the timer and the third kept score while my wife, Becky, served as photographer

We began shooting at 11 am and, except for a short break for lunch, continued to send projectiles downrange until 3 pm, expending in excess of 1,400 rounds9mm Metal Handguns In-Depth ResultsBeretta 92A1CZ 75 BDEAA Witness SteelSig Sauer P226 LegionTaurus PT-92Reliability151515158Ergonomics1114141310Trigger Control11121289Recoil Control1315141311Sights111011147Off-Hand Accuracy121212129Reloading Ease111071010TOTAL8488858564Note: 15 is a perfect score for each category while 105 is a perfect total score Using a calculator, Becky totaled and averaged our times

Each of us then graded the pistols in the seven categories using a 1 (worst) to 5 (best) point system, with 15 being a perfect score

Here I’ll offer some explanation that should be helpfulReliabilityFour of the test pistols ran flawlessly, but we experienced two stovepipe jams and two double-feeds with the Taurus

We were unable to ascertain if this was the result of a faulty magazine or notErgonomicsThis was very subjective call, as one shooter had smaller hands and found the frame-mounted decocking levers/safeties difficult to manipulate, while another did not like the shape of the grip frames on the Beretta and Taurus

We all liked the ergonomics of the EAA and CZ, although one shooter found the EAA’s slide difficult to rack and thought more aggressive grasping grooves would be a plusTrigger ControlThe three of us found the DA trigger strokes on all five pistols, especially the Sig, rather long, heavy and/or gritty

Recoil ControlHere the EAA and CZ scored highly while the Sig’s textured grips panels and checkered front- and backstraps allowed for a very secure purchaseSightsWe felt the sights on four of the five pistols were rather small and/or low

About halfway through the shooting, the white-dot insert in the Taurus’ front sight fell out, which resulted in its low scoreOff-Hand AccuracyThis was a four-way tie that, we all believed, would have been a five-way tie if the Taurus’ front sight insert had not fallen outReloading EaseIt was unanimous that all five pistols would benefit from longer magazine release buttons

As the pistols got dirtier, the EAA’s magazines would sometimes fail to fall free and had to be manually pulled from the grip

Picking a Favorite Among the Metal HandgunsAs I usually do, I queried my fellow shooters as to their favorites of our test pistols, and why

Dick Jones picked the CZ 75 DB, saying, “I really liked this pistol

It just felt good in my hand, pointed very naturally and I liked the DA trigger pull”Richard Cole picked the EAA as his favorite

He said, “It had better balance than the others with very controllable recoil and a great grip”My pick was the Beretta 92A1

Because I find the Beretta’s grip to be one of the most ergonomically pleasing of any pistol

It just feels right in my hand, allowing fast, accurate shooting

As my old high school math teacher used to tell us, “The numbers don’t lie!”Metal Handguns: SpecsBeretta 92A1Caliber: 9mmBarrel: 49 inchesOA Length: 85 inchesWeight: 333 ounces (empty)Grips: PolymerSights: Three-dotAction: DA/SAFinish: Matte blackCapacity: 17+1MSRP: $775CZ 75 BDCaliber: 9mmBarrel: 46 inchesOA Length: 81 inchesWeight: 353 ounces (empty)Grips: PolymerSights: Three-dotAction: DA/SAFinish: Matte blackCapacity: 16+1MSRP: $612EAA Witness SteelCaliber: 9mmBarrel: 45 inchesOA Length: 81 inchesWeight: 33 ounces (empty)Grips: PolymerSights: Three-dotAction: DA/SAFinish: WonderCapacity: 17+1MSRP: $699Sig Sauer P226 LegionCaliber: 9mmBarrel: 44 inchesOA Length: 8 inchesWeight: 34 ounces (empty)Grips: G10Sights: X-Ray day/nightAction: DA/SAFinish: Legion gray PVDCapacity: 15+1MSRP: $1,413Taurus PT-92Caliber: 9mmBarrel: 5 inchesOA Length: 85 inchesWeight: 34 ounces (empty)Grips: PolymerSights: Three-dotAction: DA/SAFinish: Matte blackCapacity: 17+1MSRP: $498For more information about these metal handguns, please visit berettacom, cz-usacom, eaacorpcom, sigsauercom and taurususacom

Prev Article Next Article Dirty Harry wouldn’t have known what had hit him if he pulled his old pea-shooter out in the modern age of the world’s most powerful handguns The most powerful handgun on sale is a different ballgame now and handgun calibers just keep getting bigger as the technology emerges to contain themThat 357 Magnum wouldn’t even register on this list

It’s still a great gun, but it is lost among these handgun calibersThese are big-bore handguns designed for big game hunting and survival in big bear country, which is about the toughest test the American population is ever going face

They have the stopping power of a cannon and they are the baddest kind of personal defensePowerful Pistols for Hunting and Self DefenseThese high caliber handguns sit on the hip and in the jeeps of guides all across Africa, who know what it takes to dissuade a charging wild animal from taking bite-sized chunks out the tourists

They’re increasingly popular as hunting handguns tooSo, there is a real world reason for these guns

But then some people simply want to have them, shoot them and enjoy them for the engineering works of art that they are

More than a few of these guns are out on display on desks and stores around the countryEnjoy the world’s most powerful handguns and feel free to buy one!Table of Contents

1 Magnum Research BFR 45-70 Government2

Magnum Research Desert Eagle MkXIX 50 AE4

Smith & Wesson 460XVR7

Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan10

Christensen Arms Modern Precision Pistol17

Christensen Arms Modern Precision Pistol17

Magnum Research BFR 45-70 GovernmentPrice: $1,63199Caliber: 45-70 GovernmentMuzzle Velocity: 2050fpsMuzzle energy: 2,931 foot poundsBarrel Length: 10″Total Length: 175″Weight: 47lbCapacity: 5 Rounds Buy Yours From Our Partner Now!This massive, five chamber revolver comes from Minnesota and it’s a game-hunting handgun that’s essentially firing rifle ammo

It’s a gun for the African plains and can take out a bear, tooThe Magnum Research BFR is a brutal, two-handed gun that does come with some recoil, but then you kind of know that when handgun calibers get this intense

Even body armor couldn’t do much, let’s be realNow the firm has seemingly bowed to common sense and created chambers for the S&W 500 round, the 454 Casull and right down to the 45 Long Colt caliber bullet

Which are still total hand cannonsSmaller Calibers Are Easier to ControlThese are more sensible calibers that might give your arms a fighting chance and the 45-70 Government seems to be slowly fading out

If you want a pistol that fires a rifle cartridge, buy it now…It’s slow to load, so you might want to think twice about packing the Magnum Research BFR as a last line of defense against wild animalsTruthfully it’s a terrible personal defense gun and it really needs to be laid out on sandbags, or on a bipod, to get the best from it

But its a specialist tool for hunting and you certainly wouldn’t want to go waving this round in the real worldIt’s a big old Colonial gun, a Blunderbuss of a handgun, that would only really look right on the African Savannah going after dangerous game

It’s machined from shiny stainless steel and it’s a weapon before you even load itHere it is a novelty

It has also proved a popular deer hunting gun where the regs that normally permit shotguns didn’t think to include handguns

So, there’s a legit reason to own oneSometimes you just don’t need a legit reason, though, to put a hunting rifle round in a pistol

You might just want to own the most powerful handgun in the world

And that’s fine tooSo get your Magnum Research BFR now and just know that Clint Eastwood approves

Buy Yours From Our Partner Now!Where to buy 45-70 Government AmmoThis is specialist ammunition, but it’s fairly easy to find

But we’ve found some great options, including the Black Hills Honeybadger ammunition that should stop just about anything, if you want to payHere are our top tips for the best places to buy ammo, and direct links to save you time looking for the right handgun cartridgeBrownells – Great selection of big ammunition, including 45-70

S&W 500 Performance CenterPrice: $1,83799Caliber: 500 S&W MagnumBarrel Length: 75″Total Length: 15″Weight: 453lbCapacity: 5 Rounds Buy Yours Now!This has become the most famous high-power handgun in recent years, even though technically it does get outgunned by a few rare soulsStill, this is probably the world’s most powerful handguns for the mass market and it’s pretty much the biggest thing you want to shoot on the regularNow this double action revolver comes in a range of barrel sizes

You can opt for the snubnose 25 inch and a 4″ barrel that both almost work as carry pistols

The longer barrel 875″ barrel turns this into a legit hunting gun if you can tame it

That might take a lot of practise, or even a bi-pod, but you can do these thingsThen there is this Performance Center version with the 75″ barrel

You can read more about them here on our S&W500 postLife Saving Pocket Pistol in Bear Country?

Maybe?The snubnose version could actually be a life-saver in bear country, or polar bear country, or a few other countries with big animals that can eat you

Right then, this Smith & Wesson Model 500 would look like a sweet dealYou can speedload it, you can group the shots and this is just about the most powerful handgun in the world you could rapid fire if you really focus

So I’m not sure…Modern Day Dirty HarryOf course, I’m looking at valid reasons for using these hand cannons, like practical applications

There really aren’t that many when it comes down to itDo you really need a reason, though, to buy the Smith & Wesson Model 500 double action revolver and live out your Dirty Harry 20 fantasiesLae Enforcement sometimes carries one of these oversize revolvers in movies, too

Law enforcement can’t carry these, for the most partWhy Not Shoot Some Meat?This guy shot a big piece of pork with his Smith & Wesson Model 500, because, well, why not?

It does show the bullet weight, though, and the massive amount of damage you can do to flesh with this monster handgun

Most Powerful Revolver in the Real WorldRight now, ignoring the much less practical 45-70 Magnum Research offering that really is a unique thing, that’s this oneThese are the world’s most powerful handguns that you should actually buy

It’s a production revolver chambered in 50 Cal, what more do you want exactly?You’ll never regret owning a S&W 500

As a last line of personal defense in a gun safe by your bed, it could be an awesome surprise for a home invader

Even lighting up the range and reducing the other members to amused spectators can be funThe longer barrel is going to generate more energy, that’s just the way powerful pistols work, and you can count on 2600lb/ft of muzzle energy with this long gunWith the high-grade 500gr flatpoints, or 700gr cartridges you can get for this bad boy of a handgun, you have a weapon that would make rifles think twiceIn fact this looks like an almost sensible compromise of impact, capacity and packaging

It isn’t technically the most powerful handgun in the world, or even that you’ll see here, but it is probably as much gun as you want

Or most of us can handle…A Sort of Practical Hand CannonThe stainless steel S&W X-frame is big, but the ergonomics all work

This is a practical gun that doesn’t need any special treatment

It’s just a big damned revolver that has the potential to break your wrist

Magnum Research Desert Eagle MkXIX 50 AEPrice: $1,99399Caliber: 50 Action ExpressBarrel: 6″Total length: 1075″Weight: 45lbCapacity: 7+1 Buy Yours From Our Partner Now!Ready for the most powerful semi-automatic pistol in the world?

You already know it’s the Magnum Research Desert Eagle MKXIX 50 Action Express, because it is a legendThis is a movie icon that starred in Deadpool, for instance, and The Matrix

But we just love Deadpool so that’s the one you get hereRent One at the Range, You Might Like ItMagnum Research’s distinctive gas operated 50 AE still does a roaring trade as a rental gun at ranges round the country because there is just nothing like it

People love hand cannons, it’s really that simpleIt’s still the world’s most powerful semi-automatic handgun by a long way and that must be for good reasonOthers would like the record, but the engineering challenges involved in 50 Cal semi-automatic handguns are immenseSo we should always hold a little love for one of the best handguns in this rarefied sector

And maybe consider owning one again, one day…It’s the easiest here to reload, too, thanks to a simple magazine system

That’s enough to do serious damage through the weight of numbersThe Desert Eagle MKXIX, the Practical Option

I never thought I’d be describing Magnum Research’s madness as the practical alternative, but here we are…It is still down on power compared to Smith & Wesson’s 500 and those heavyweight bullets

It could be a great hunting handgun4

Taurus 454 Raging HunterPrice: $1,14999Caliber: 454 CasullBarrel: 51″Total: 105″Weight: 38lbCapacity: 5 Rounds Buy Yours From Our Partner Now!Another good old-fashioned wheelgun, but this one can handle the infamous 454 Casull caliber bullet

It’s a good-looking, well proportioned, revolver in a range of barrel lengths

This is the all-round 51 inch version that could easily sit in an open carry holster in the wildThe Taurus Raging Hunter also won a number of hunting handgun of the year awards with the longer barrelTaurus Has a History of Powerful RevolversThe Taurus Raging Hunter builds on the almighty reputation of the slightly gangster Taurus Raging Bull

You can still get the Taurus Raging Bull and it’s essentially this gun without the trick muzzle rise tech and railFor this fun, Taurus seems to have taken some inspiration from the folks at S&W with an aftermarket look balanced barrelThat comes with a steel sleeve and aluminum housing, and it’s all ported to fight muzzle rise

Essentially you have a muzzle brake built into the barrel shroud

Helping you out with all that energy at the muzzle isn’t a bad idea ya know…Raging Hunter is Really a Precision SniperThe Taurus Raging Bull was the kind of weapon you have strapped to your thigh if you work in bear country or the African bush

This would still work for that kind of dangerous game hunting, but look close and you’ll see this handgun has evolvedThe Picatinny Rail runs the full length and finishes up in some pretty impressive adjustable rear sights

Inevitably you can fit a handgun scope or red dot up there, depending on your preferenceNice Smooth Trigger Pull and Crisp Single ActionIt has the long double action, or the crisp single action with the hammer thumbed back

Taurus is on a roll of late with the spectacular polymer Taurus G2C and Taurus G3, but the powerful revolvers were always the stuff of legendThis one is just better and it has put Taurus right in the mix with the likes of S&W

If you’re going hunting with big bore handguns and you’re just starting out, there’s no reason to spend more than thisUltimate Nuclear OptionThis is also what real stopping power feels like and you might just be able to wield one of these as personal defense

But honestly the Taurus Raging Bull is the gun for thatLet’s be honest, it’s not the best CCW in the world

But if you pulled one of these out of a hidden gun safe then your home intruder’s odds just got way, way longerIt’s the wrong gun, but you could so do the line: “Do you feel Lucky?” It could be a bonding moment…454 Casull isn’t quite a rifle round

It’s a much longer and stronger 45 Colt round, in essence

And it sure does pack a punch through a long barrel revolver like thisThere’s an intimidation factor with a revolver designed to blow holes in things

There’s no minor flesh wound hereHunting More Than Home DefenseAre these supremely a good idea in the typical United States home?No, for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that you have to be a certain size to handle the gun at all

And you could knock a wall down, not just penetrate through itThis is no self-defense handgun

This gun is for blowing small shit apart and taking big shit down

But that basic recipe sure sounds like funIt is a semi popular range gun, too, and is taking off as a competitive sport shooting revolver

It’s a challenge and it won’t be your first choice every day, but just sometimes you’ll want to wrestle the beast and send some Casull rounds down rangeAffordable Handgun Hunting With Taurus RevolverYou can, of course, hunt with it

In which case this round will take down deer with ease and, if you can get close, it could take bigger North American game

Inevitably you can order small calibers too, next time…It’s a serious handgun cartridge and that turns a gun like this into an easy investment

It’s versatile, it’s fun and it’s probably as much gun as any reasonable person wants or needsLong Barrel Adds Power, Speed and AccuracyThe longer barrel also means it should be more accurate and more powerful

If you don’t  want to take on big game, maybe you can opt for the 51-inch barrel instead

You’ll lose some top end power, but not muchIt’s absolute gunporn in its own way and if you just want one, big, powerful handgun, then I’d say it’s between this and the S&W 500

They are guns you can shoot up your backyard with and have fun doing itAnd if your friend owns a Smith & Wesson, get one of these just to spite them

You can argue the true definition of power, all kinds of stuffHere the NRA’s Youtube channel gets up close and personal with the 44 Mag version

It’s still worth watching to see the engineering up close

Buy Yours From Our Partner Now!Where to Buy 454 Casull AmmoThis specialist hunting round isn’t the easiest to find, but we do have some powerful loads for you here from about $2/round fgor a 250 grain bullet

The 360 grain bullet costs a little morePSA – 454 Casull Ammo from the big namesLucky Gunner – Casull ammunition for sale by the box5

Christensen Arms Modern Precision PistolPrice: $2,21599Caliber: 65 CreedmoorBarrel: 12″Total length: 215″Weight: 62lbCapacity: 5+1 Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!Bolt-action pistols are a new phenomena produced in response to hunting regulations that seemed to rule out rifles

But this new breed of pistol is finding favor with outdoorsy types that want a gun that can fit in a backpack, for whatever reasonIt’s a Remington 700 action, refined of course with extensive use of carbon-fiber

The barrel is also V-block bedded for better accuracyA short barrel 65 Creedmoor is quite the thing and there’s absolutely no denying the brute force here

The company says the pistol only gives up about 15-30% of the rifle’s power, so you are getting a hell of a punchDoes it belong on this list?

Smith & Wesson 460XVRPrice: $1,84599Caliber: 460 S&WBarrel: 14″Total length: 215″Weight: 54lbCapacity: 5 Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!We know, another S&W production revolver, but just look at it

This is a sniper rifle of a revolver, designed to be used with a bi-pod and scope

Welcome to the Smith & Wesson 460XVRWhy hasn’t this featured in an awesome film yet?

I don’t watch too much TVBut anyway, if you hunt, you want something different and you want to get up close and personal, then the Model 460XVR could be an awesome handgun for you

It’s another Smith Wesson model that you just might not have thought about, but it is a fun handgunBarrel Deserves a Proper Shooting TechniqueThat’s barrel is 14 inches, and so you need to do this gun justice with proper technique and your own particular brand of hunting prowess

If you’re going out into the North American wilderness then one of these and a Creedmoor rifle could cover you for just about all eventualitiesThat would be a two-gun kit to hunt and stay safe in the American countrysideIf you’re in big bear country, add a snubnose back-up from Taurus, and you are as prepared as you reasonably can beIf you’re curious about handgun hunting, then check out the best hunting handguns here, with revolvers and long slide semi autos aplenty7

CVA ScoutPrice: $55599Caliber: 350 LegendBarrel: 14″Weight: 25lbCapacity: 1 Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!The 350 Legend is a straight walled cartridge designed for deer hunting at an effective range of about 250 meters

And this CVA Scout is the simplest way to send itYou can get a Scout rifle or pistol

And this on comes with a muzzle brake, which should help with that recoil8

Ruger Blackhawk ConvertiblePrice: $73699Caliber: 45 Long ColtBarrel: 75″Total: 133″Weight: 25lbCapacity: 6 Rounds Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!This is a classic Blackhawk chambered for 45 Long Colt, if that’s what tickles your fancy

You can also order another cylinder, chambered for another caliber, and shoot 357 Magnum or 40S&WThis big handgun cartridge dates back to 1873

It was a blackpowder round and it went on to become a staple of the cowboy world

Now it’s actually popular with the cowboy recreationists and the Blackhawk is as close to an old-school six shooter in this caliber as you’re like to findSurprising Velocity From PowderEven in the old weapons, it made a more than respectable 1050fps with a shove from the black powder

Lots moreOthers offer the full black powder experience, but this is a modern-day, old-school six shooter with all the mod cons and the reliability that this Ruger revolver has become famous for

It’s over-engineered, it’s tough as old boots and it keeps people safe in the wilderness every dayWolves, bears, lions, tigers and even elephants have tasted the wrath of this personal defense cartridge flying from this Long Colt pistol

It’s a serious handgun caliber for dangerous game that you might even think about using for home defense, because this thing takes care of animals wherever they crop upI love this video, mainly for the proper cowboy accent9

Ruger Super Redhawk AlaskanPrice: $1,55999Caliber: 454 CasullBarrel: 25″Total: 762″Weight: 275lbCapacity: 5 Buy Yours From Our Partner Now!The Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan 454 Casull with a 25 inch barrel is basically the pocket pistol from Hell

It is the definition of a hand cannon and it has saved more Alaskan lives than we knowThat’s where this lump of stainless steel comes into its own

It slips into a coat pocket and can be retrieved in an instant to deal with the bears and wolves that famously get too close up NorthThe ‘little’ Ruger Super Redhawk is life insurance, in small revolver form, and the 454 Casull round is not something to be toyed with

It’s more or less a rifle round through a 25 inch barrel

Really digest that thoughtNightstand Pistol Like You Have Never SeenAs a last line of defense in your home, it’s also got a certain perverse appeal

Pull one of these out of a hidden gun safe and the game just changedThis is a very big gun in a very small package

That doesn’t make it the best gun, but it does make it interestingIt’s 26lb, so it’s not a perfect CCW unless you have a big winter coat and need to feel that weight

But it is a beast of a gun that you might want to have in your home

It will take care of everything, from a grizzly bear to a zombieIf that version is a little much, you can get the this compact revolver chambered in 44 Magnum, too, which turns it into a surprisingly versatile weaponMy gut feeling is that the Taurus line-up works better right now, and they are much better looking guns

But there are old men in the wild country that trust their Ruger with their life and won’t use anything elseWho are we to argue with hard-won wisdom like that?10

Thompson Center Contender/Encore HunterPrice: $66999Caliber: Multi-Caliber – Up to 45/70 GovernmentMuzzle Energy: 2,280 foot poundsBarrel: 12 inchWeight: 35lbCapacity: 1 Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!The single-shot Thompson Center pistol looks like a novelty movie gun, until you delve beneath the surfaceThis is a legend that has been with us since 1967 and it’s pretty much every single hunting pistol you want

Without follow-up shots, natch…With a new barrel, this break action pistol can accommodate everything from 22LR to the 45/70 Government rifle cartridgeNo joke

You can fit 40 different barrels to this thing and the simple engineering means it can accommodate any round you can think of

Then, when you’re bored, you can turn it into a rifle…Every Gun in One Bag of Parts?It’s the Swiss Army Knife of the firearms world and can be everything from a backyard plinker to a big game hunterYou have to watch the video to really get your head round this pistol and just what it’s capable of

You can literally switch out calibers in the field in seconds and turn it into a single shot rifle with new furnitureSo it’s hugely versatile, quick to load and this single-shot pistol feels sumptuous in the hand

Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!11

Smith & Wesson 329PD Price: $1,75799Caliber: 44 Magnum RevolverBarrel: 4″Total Length: 95″Weight: 156lbCapacity: 6 Rounds Buy Yours Now!We always knew there would be a lot of Smith & Wesson love in this list

The company cornered the market in big revolvers for a while and this one is actually a detuned compromise

It’s the mass-market gun to emerge from thousands of hours of field testingIt’s probably the one you want for home defense, unless you spend serious time in the great American wilderness

Even then, it’s maybe the best compromise between outright power and shot placementEssentially this is a lightweight, six-round wheelgun

It’s the lightest it could be while maintaining the structural integrity required to pummel 44 Magnum loads out all day longIt’s an elegant looking gun and you can see the police service revolver influence

I like the matte black, you might want a nickel finish, but there’s a S&W for everyoneIt isn’t cheap, but if you just love a wheelgun then you should have one of these in your collection

Just watch out for the recoil, it’s kind of famous…12

Glock G40Price: $72399Caliber: 10mm AutoBarrel: 602″Total Length: 949″Weight: 215lbCapacity: 15+1 Rounds Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!Now things get interesting

The truth is that the difference in penetration between the Glock and the larger calibers will come down to shot placement more often than not

There’s more in you than the gunSo, if you’re honest with yourself, would you rather be aiming one of these hand cannons at a charging bear or the familiar form of a Glock?

It might not be the most dramatic, but it could be the best handgun here by a long wayMake no mistake, the 10mm semi-automatic handgun comes with a bigger kick than the 9mm, but then it’s nowhere near the savage feedback and three-feet fireballs you’ll get from the big hitters on this listThe ammo, though, is widely considered to deliver the same powerful impact as a 357 Magnum revolver roundPrecision Beats Power, SometimesIf you’re a woman, a smaller guy or you just want to have control of the gun you’re firing, then a Glock 10mm could be the one you actually need in your arsenal

If you can pump in two or three shots from the Glock, in 90% of cases you’ll be doing better than one shot with a big revolverWith the real big guns on this list you’ll need to reset after each shot unless you’re built like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime

With the Glock, you could pump a whole magazine into a tight group in seconds

There are debates raging on the forums about the difference between this and the 44 Magnum, which means it’s close enough for this to be an option and it is proven bear defenseI don’t think it is on a par with the 44 Magnum in terms of power, incidentally

It’s not even close, but the Glock comes with a lot of benefits that are hard to ignore10mm ammo was basically Unobtanium

Not anymoreThe range-topping stuff that makes the gun worthwhile can be well over a dollar a round

There are cheaper options all the time, though, which make the Glock G40 10mm an increasingly sexy handgun

It’s a great hunter and one of our favorite 10mm handguns too

Ruger SR1911 TargetPrice: $84999Caliber: 10mmBarrel Length: 5″Total Length: 867″Weight: 252lbCapacity: 8+1 Rounds Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!If you want a cannon you can control and identify with, then you might be happy to know there’s a 10mm version of the 1911 we generally think is the best in the world in terms of valueThe SR1911 is an icon, there’s no two ways about it, and it offers the 10mm version on the quiet, so you really could have an old-school monster on your hip10mm vs 45 ACP: Not Even Close10mm will go head-to-head with 45 ACP or more or less any pistol caliber you care to mention

It largely comes out on top and only the price of the ammo will kerb your shooting

It’s a fun gun, get one and you’re pretty much coveredTechnically, this gun could take out angry animals

Don’t test that theory if you can avoid it, thoughNow For the Novelty Acts, the Shotgun Pistols…These guns really don’t belong in this company, but they’re powerful in their own special way and we like the effort

So here are a few technically powerful looking guns that are just in another world for the most part…14

Pedersoli Howdah Price: $1,45899Caliber: 410 Gauge/45 Long Colt Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!In the 1800s, people went into the African planes armed with just one of these side-by-side pistols

Madness, Twin barrels madness…Now the Pedersoli Howdah Hunter pays tributes to those outlandish pistols of times gone by

Load it up with 20 gauge buckshot and pay tribute to the brave buck and ball hunters of years gone byThe Pedersoli is more of a novelty item than a hunting tool these days

But it’s fun, it comes with two separate triggers, too, so don’t stress about the rules man

It’s coolSo now you can own an 1800s hunting pistol then the only question that remains is do you want to?

Yes, quite possibly, in which case have all the fun in the world

You probably will, just don’t get too carried away with the shotgun pistol thing…15 Taurus Public Defender PolymerPrice: $52599Caliber: 410 Bore/45 Long ColtBarrel Length: 2″Total Length: 765″Weight: 169lbCapacity: 5 rounds

Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!This is a real practical addition to your personal arsenal and if you’re thinking about just one gun for self-defense, this is one of the most sensible options here

It’s small, it’s a viable concealed carry and it offers something different to a standard handgunYou can chamber the Taurus in 410 Cartridges or 45 Long Colt

A lot of people that live and work in rattlesnake country have one for a yard gun and if you chose to carry one of these on your ankle, or even as your main EDC, I would struggle to argue with your life choicesDoes the Taurus Judge Work?The general feeling is that buckshot in a Judge is LESS effective than a small 45 ACP, but watch the video below and you’ll see that you can get buckshot tightly grouped at about 10 feet, which is typically the self defense regionBut, if you use slugs, then it’s a totally different proposition and you get range, as well as power

The only problem is that nagging question: are those slugs more effective than straight bullets?No is the answer most of us come up with

It depends how forgiving you areWe like the gun within very specific parameters

But they don’t come up that often…A Lightweight Shotgun in Every SenseThe whole gun weighs 169lb, it’s just over seven inches long and it will work as an EDC

With a speedloader, or a high-capacity 9mm as a completely separate option, this little gun can easily form part of a self-defense systemIt effectively gives you a small shotgun on your hip, which can be a very big deal

But then so is the 357 Magnum that could take its place…This is a different kind of powerful handgun

It’s all close-up and it’s all about personal defense, but there’s a place in this world for a gun like that

Christensen Arms Modern Precision PistolPrice: $2,29999Caliber: 308 WinBarrel: 125 inchWeight: 595lb Buy Yours Now From Our Partner!Is the Christensen Arms even a pistol?

Well, in much the same way as an AR pistol, yes

It’s here if you want it…Remington designed the original bolt action chassis pistol to get round some interesting handgun hunting regulations

Then the likes of Christensen, and Q, decided to build much more expensive versionsYou can also order a version in 65 Creedmoor, AAC 300 Blackout and possibly moreThis is the kind of gun that gets wheeled out at SHOT Show and then never happens, but it’s here and you can buy it17

Pfeifer Zeliska 600 Nitron ExpressPrice: $20,000Caliber: 600 Nitro ExpressBarrel: 22 inchWeight: 1323lbThis is the world’s most powerful here, but also its a custom gun that isn’t really out there on the open marketThe Pfeifer Zeliska is well known enough to make the is as an honorable mention, but it’s no production gun and those cartridges are so expensive, and the revolver costs so much, that we can’t put this up topBut just for a sense of completeness, you can buy a 30k revolver that fires 600 Nitron Express rounds that can cost $40 a pop, but it does produce 4,592 foot pounds of energy at the muzzleThese are monsters, but they also show the diminishing returns and the price you pay in terms of weight and size to chamber these larger cartridges

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