If you are going to act out your "Dirty Harry" fantasies, it is probably good to know which are the most powerful handguns in the world. How can you make like a rouge cop and hunt down the bad guys in the alleys, at the docks or in the local cafe on the street corner if you are carrying a handgun about as powerful as a glorified water pistol? This guide to some of the world's most powerful handguns will get you started on your quest. Just remember that not all rogue cops and vigilantes are created equal. What pistol works for one, might not work for another.
- .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum: This beast is designed specifically for hunting and a hunter is sure to bring down just about any animal with it. The overall length of the Model 500 is 15 inches and that includes a barrel that is 8 3/8 inches long alone. 50 caliber cartridges occupy the gun cylinder and will produce 2600 ft.-lb. of muzzle energy. It is the largest double-action revolver available on the market.
- .460 Smith & Wesson Magnum: No revolver can match the sheer velocity of the .460. It can fire bullets at 2330 feet per second. Accuracy is a strong point with this revolver too. It's 14 inch stainless steel barrel compares favorably to a .30-30 lever action rifle in taking down game.
- .454 Casull: This pistol came about as an effort to improve on the .45 Colt design. A Casull round is about the size of a AA battery and uses a rifle primer instead of a pistol primer. A .454 Casull can deliver a 250 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of over 1900 feet per second.
- .475 Wildey Magnum: This pistol was designed for hunting game and was appropriated by Charles Bronson to mow down bad guys in "Death Wish 3." It is unique in that it has an adjustable gas-operated system. This makes it possible to fire different sized rounds from the gun simply by adjusting gas pressure. It also has a range of barrel options – going from five to 18 inches in length.
- .44 Smith & Wesson Magnum: Clint Eastwood made this the most famous of all handguns in the original "Dirty Harry" movie. It delivers a large and heavy bullet with high velocity for a typical handgun. A .44 magnum is a tough weapon of choice because it produces a ton of recoil that makes it strenuous on the hands after extended use. There are countless makes and models – including semi-automatic pistols – that have drawn their inspiration from the .44 magnum.