Scoring and Ranking 5 All-Metal 9mm Handguns

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!

Ruger Super Redhawk

Cartridge: 454 Casull

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

Year Created: Unknown

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

This revolver weighs a whopping 5 pounds, which is nearly as heavy as a rifle

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

Ruger Super Blackhawk

Cartridge: 480 Ruger

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

Cartridge: 500 S&W Magnum

Cartridge: 500 S&W Magnum

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

Cartridge: 600 Nitro Express

Year Created: 1903

Year Created: 1903

Year Created: 1903

Year Created: 1903

Year Created: 1903

Year Created: 1903

Year Created: 1903

Handgun Price: $15,000 – $17,000

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

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

The use of aluminum reduced weight while providing enhanced resistance to moisture, salts and corrosion

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

The CZ 75BD is an improved version of the Czech CZ 75 pistol

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

The drill is then run three times more

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

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