Handguns are primarily tools for self-defense, but they are also fun and some of them come with a certain coolness factor that makes them really special. Of course, these guns are not necessarily the most practical ones when it comes to self-defense except if you want to defend yourself against a charging bear, but that does not diminish the coolness they come with.

In fact, when you think about it, the really cool guns are not even really meant for self-defense. These hand cannons are at best made for hunting if not just for the sake of claiming to be at least one of the most powerful handguns ever made. If you are one of those who either like heavy caliber handgun hunting or any kind of heavy caliber fun, you will like what we have for you, but be careful, if you try out one of these, you might be hard-pressed to keep them under control when shooting, so brace yourself.

6. LAR Grizzly .45 Winchester Magnum

The LAR Grizzly is what comes out of mating a 1911 single-action pistol with a really really strong cartridge on steroids. The gun came out in 1983 and 6 years before that the cartridge. To create the .45 Winchester Magnum, the work started on the .45 ACP. The case was lengthened from 0.898 inches to 1.198 inches. On top came the standard .45 ACP projectile with 230 grains. The result is a bullet that comes with 1,600 feet per second out of the muzzle and with an energy of 1,200 foot pounds. That is around 3 times the energy of your average .45 ACP projectile.

Shooting the Grizzly, you will immediately feel what it means to unleash this kind of power. Do this on a public range, and you will very soon become the center of the attention of every other shooter. This means, you better prepare yourself not only for the heavy kick hitting your hand but also for the storm of questions you might be forced to answer. So or so, you will be the hero of the day.

LAR Grizzly .45 Winchester Magnum

5. .44 AutoMag

The .44 AutoMag is a semi-automatic Magnum handgun that made its appearance before the Desert Eagle. It made it to fame, but that did not keep it from being a commercial failure. The production costs were just too high, and the marketing was everything but well managed. Also, it shot the .44 AMP cartridge. That kept it away from the standard .44 Magnum round which was easy to find. However, the gun is slated to make a comeback, so let`s wish it some good luck and hope for better marketing.

.44 AutoMag

4. Survivor .475 Wildey Magnum

The Survivor .475 Wildey Magnum was a Hollywood star of 1980, and is now attempting to make a comeback. It was used in the 1985 movie Death Wish 3. In real life, the cartridge dates back to 1977 and the gun to 1984. The name of it comes from the inventor Wildey J. Moore. It resembles the AutoMag in some regards. The action is gas-operated, and with the .475 Wildey Magnum round, it has the same velocity at 100 yards as the .44 Magnum directly at the muzzle. That is quite an achievement, but it was not enough to really catch on then.

Survivor .475 Wildey Magnum

3. Taurus Raging Bull .454 Casull

The .454 Casull cartridge was developed in 1959 only 4 years after the now legendary .44 Magnum cartridges. However, it took until 1983 until it became widely available. Then it was a Freedom Arms single-action revolver that was chambered for it which then got its boost from Hollywood. Taurus took until 1997 to produce its own revolver made for it, the Raging Bull, a double action wheel gun.

What makes the Raging Bull and the .454 Casull so special? It is the mere power and the muzzle flush that comes with it. It generates energy north of 1900 foot pounds, and is with it a true hand cannon and bear stopper. The muzzle flash and the report when shooting is enough to silence any other activity on a public range and makes you the one they all want to see.

Taurus Raging Bull .454 Casull

The capacity is just 5 rounds, but do not forget what kind of power you unleash with each of them. Every single one will drop whatever comes your way without breaking a sweat. It will just be you who is sweating trying to control a gun with 5 shots of these nasty beasts.

2. Desert Eagle

The Desert Eagle from Magnum Research does not need any introduction. It is well known from the movies and it is the strongest autoloader in production. Chambered in .50 AE, you get a real handful to deal with. If you do think that this mighty round is too much to take, no problem. That does not mean you have to shy away from the Desert eagle. Just choose one of the other great cartridges it comes chambered for. Those include .44 Magnum, .41 Magnum, and .357 Magnum.

Meant for hunting, it was made famous by countless Hollywood movies that make us forget that in real life the Desert Eagle is everything but practical for a shooting exchange.

The original caliber was .357 Magnum, and the other chamberings followed over time. To take the kind of power they bring, this handgun is functionally similar to a rifle with a gas operated closed rotating bolt. This allowed it to shoot cartridges that were before it only safe to shoot from a revolver. When you take a closer look at the .50 AE, you very quickly see why that is. This round launches a 300-grain bullet at speeds of 1,550 feet per second generating 1,600 foot pounds of energy. That will reliably stop a bear in its tracks but also makes for a big and heavy piece of metal with a length of 10.75 inches when it comes with the 6-inch barrel and a weight of 4.4 pounds. It is worth mentioning that the weight is actually a help as it soaks up at least some of the recoil forces before they reach your hand.

Desert Eagle

Shooting the .50 AE, you will not find much to complain about, but if you choose one of the revolver cartridges, like the .44 Magnum or the .357 Magnum, you will very quickly find a fast and often jamming gun in your hand. The reason for that is simple. These rounds come with a wide range of loads generating an equal wide range of energy. For an autoloader to function well, the range of energy must be very small and stay within tight limits. This means for you, if you want to get one of these beasts, stick to the biggest caliber and keep the revolver cartridges for a revolver.

1. Smith & Wesson Model 500

The Smith & Wesson Model 500 is a revolver with an extra large frame that comes chambered for the .500 S&W Magnum cartridge which is itself a beast. With several factory loads, this round manages to generate energy levels north of 2800 foot pounds. For comparison, the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge sits at around 2600 foot pounds of energy.

The revolver has a capacity of 5 rounds in the cylinder and an unloaded weight of 71 ounces. It is marketed as the most powerful production revolver in the world. Meant for hunting, it uses a muzzle compensator to reduce the recoil but it still kicks enough that new shooters might pull the trigger a second time while trying to control the recoil of the first shot. It is strongly recommended not to hand this gun to new shooters. Also, if you shoot it the first time, load it with 1 round first and get used to the forces it puts on you.

Smith & Wesson Model 500

There you have it guys, some of the mightiest guns you can find. They look really cool in the movie and make you the center of attention at the range, but they are also horribly overpowered for self-defense. If you get one of them, do yourself a favor and shoot them outside at the range or when hunting. One exception can be made for bear country, but here too, consider not using them indoors as the report will just wreak havoc on your hearing. Do not try to integrate them into your home-defense system, and even more so, do not try to carry them concealed. If you own or have shot one of them, sound it off in the comments and let us all know how it worked out for you. If you are looking for a real fun gun to shoot, you might want to consider one of these monsters and have fun, but be careful and take your time to get used to the recoil.

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