Gun Review: Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum Revolver

I managed to sneak off for a little range time yesterday. I had the chance to shoot one of Smith and Wesson’s hand cannons: the 500 Magnum Revolver. After hearing (and fearing) a lot about the weapon’s recoil, I can say it deserves its rep as a YouTube comedy channel fodder. The 500’s got more kick than a stage-full of Rockettes. Even more impressive: the ports spewing hot gasses and flames like nitromethane hitting the headers of John Force’s funny car. This is not a gun for first time shooters—unless you want to put them off guns for life. But I think you knew that.

You load it up with five rounds of 350 grain .500 S&W—which pretty much resemble 12 gauge slugs. I was advised to choke up on the grip as much as possible without getting too close to the action. Speaking of which, dare I call it butter? Silky like a hot-rodded K frame. Only strictly X-rated. And as soon as the hammer drops, all hell brakes loose.

I had the proper stance and position, and I absorbed the recoil well. Unfortunately, my mouth open in awe upon firing. The recoil slammed my jaw shut. Really. My teeth still hurt.

I love it. I would not run out to buy a Smith & Wesson 500 (retail price $1,414). But then I don’t live anywhere near polar bears. And with a mouth guard, it could provide minutes of fun. At taxi ride prices. If someone offers you a chance to shoot one, offer to pay for the rounds. One cartridge costs about the same as a bottle of Snapple at my local gourmet deli.

I wonder how many people carry the Smith & Wesson 500 just waiting for the day they can pull a Crocodile Dundee. “You call that a gun? THIS is gun.” Moreover, at 56 (!) ounces, you never have to buy bullets for the Smith. Just use it as a club. Or join the exclusive club of owners who, for one reason or another, call this stainless steel cartoon cannon their own.