Men have been hunter-gatherers since the literal beginning of time, and it’s safe to say that over the 200 thousand or so years we’ve walked this Earth, we’ve gotten pretty good at killing. Some could even argue that it’s in our DNA. But when push comes to shove, who are history’s best killers? We could write a book on it, but life is short and you have shit to do. So, instead, here’s our list of some of history’s deadliest men...
1. Richard Kuklinski: Known as "The Iceman," Richard Kuklinski is one of the hands-down most coldblooded killers of our generation. He wasn’t just a contract killer for hire who was put to use by the DeCavalcante Family and New York’s infamous Five Families, but it is also purported that he was a serial killer for decades before the mob even knew his name. He was convicted of five murders and sentenced to life in prison in 1988, but he says his body count was somewhere between 100 and 250 people. To his family and neighbors, he was just an average businessman, but to the right people, he was literally called the devil, himself.
2. Abe Reles: Bad with a capital “B,” Abe Reles was the deadliest member of the now-infamous Murder, Inc. group. He got his start very early on in the 1930s in Brooklyn, NY, during the borough’s arguably most dangerous era. He and his cohorts—including the likes of Martin “Buggsy” Goldstein, Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss, and Frank “The Dasher” Abbandando—eventually caught the attention of Meyer Lansky, Johnny Torrio, Bugsy Siegel and the rest of the guys at the National Crime Syndicate, and became the enforcer branch of the entire organization. There’s no real body count on Abel Reles, but there’s no doubt that he was behind countless murders and assassinations during his time at the helm of Murder, Inc. Hell, you don’t get the attention of the biggest crime syndicate in U.S. history by not being good at your job.
3. Robert “Ramon Garcia” Hanssen: If you look at a photo of Robert Hanssen, you’d find it hard to believe the man is currently doing 15 consecutive life sentences in solitary confinement in a federal supermax prison, but he is—and for good reason. Hanssen, a former FBI agent, was outed as a Soviet and Russian spy for over 22 years. While he technically only contributed to the deaths of three confirmed CIA operatives working as moles in Soviet Russia, he gave the Russian/Soviet governments literally entire reports worth of CIA operatives and Russian contacts. There’s no real telling exactly how many people died as a result of his work as a double agent, but the implications were absolutely enormous, and some analysts estimate those numbers in the hundreds. The hard time he’s doing now is certainly reflective of it.
4. Miyamoto Musashi: Miyamoto Musashi was the deadliest samurai in history, having won 60 duels to the death. And for some background context here, he won his first duel against studying swordsman Arima Kehei at the ripe young age of 13, fighting not with a sword, but with a fucking stick. He literally beat the guy to death. He also spent the entirety of his life doing nothing but fighting and training to fight. He would travel all throughout Japan, learning from different schools, under different trainers and monks, all for the sake of battle. While he won an incredible 60 duels, he also fought in six historic battles, where he killed countless foes. The samurai are tough to begin with, but Miyamoto Musashi is the undisputed baddest motherfucker to ever wield a sword.
5. Simo Hayha: A Finnish sniper during the dreaded Finnish-Soviet Winter War of 1939-1940, Simo Hayha was responsible for approximately 705 confirmed kills. There were many crazy things about him—he wore nothing but all-white and would keep snow in his mouth to stop enemies from seeing his breath—but the craziest of all was that he never, not once, used a scope, for fear that it might create glare that would give him away to the enemy. That’s right, our mans got over 500 confirmed kills completely scope-less (the other 200 or so were attained via SMG or something of the sort). The Red Army respectfully knew him as “The White Death.”
6. Audie Murphy: It’s impossible to talk about deadly men without at least mentioning Audie Murphy, who was ballsy as he was a bonafide killer. Standing at just 5'5" and 110 pounds—no, seriously—Audie Murphy was a recipient of over 33 medals throughout WWII (including the Medal of Honor), killed over 100 enemy soldiers and fought from France to Germany to Italy and everywhere people needed killin’ done. During one of his most impressive feats, his company was tasked with defending the Colmar Pocket in France. Severely outnumbered, their M-10s were decimated by the German forces, and rather than retreat, Murphy told his men to take cover in the woods, hopped into one of the flaming M-10s, grabbed the 50-cal machine gun, and for over an hour and under direct enemy fire, started killing everything he could get his sights on. Murphy only stopped fighting when the M-10 ran out of bullets and, even then, he—wounded in the leg—went back to his men, rallied the fuck out of them, and had them bring the fight back to the Germans.
7. Unnamed Royal Marine Corporal: Try as you might, you won’t find much about the current deadliest sniper alive, who’s an anonymous Royal Marine Corporal with over 173 confirmed sniper kills—more than American Sniper Chris Kyle. The Brits keep him a guarded secret so as not to make him a target to IS soldiers, but we do know he’s a married father born and raised in the South of England. It has also been alleged that over half of his total confirmed kill count occurred in just one single day in Afghanistan.
8. Luis Garavito: Currently serving over 1,853 years in prison, Luis Garavito may very well be the deadliest serial kill the world has ever known. To this day, he has a confirmed body count—consisting primarily of young peasant or homeless orphan boys—in the range of 140-ish people, but it’s hard to keep track because he confesses to more murders all the time. Presently, his estimated body count is somewhere in the 300s, which is absolutely insane. Also insane is the fact that, through Colombia’s fucked up legal system, in 2021 Garavito may actually walk free. We can’t fathom how, but it’s apparently a reality.