The world’s variety of firearms is as different as each owner is. From powerful “hand cannons” to petite pocket pistols, handguns come in a seemingly endless array of sizes, calibers and actions. Variety, they say, is the “spice of life” – we agree!
Sometimes bigger simply is better, and that mantra applies when it comes to firearms. Whether you're tracking down big game, or a smaller gun isn't enough for the task, these five guns represent a selection of the biggest handguns in the world:
This whopping wheelgun is the most powerful production revolver in the world today, with Smith & Wesson calling it “the world’s most powerful handgun.” With a cylinder that bears five rounds of the enormous .500 S&W Magnum cartridge, this revolver is designed to deliver maximum power for serious handgun hunters. At a hefty 72.5 oz., Smith & Wesson claims the S&W500 is a hunting handgun suitable for any game animal walking.
The famous Desert Eagle is renowned for chambering the largest centerfire pistol cartridge of any magazine-fed autoloading pistol, firing the giant .50 Action Express round. Designed in conjunction by Magnum Research and Israeli Military Industries, this massive semi-automatic gun tips the scales at 4.4 lbs. unloaded. Variants of the Desert Eagle have been designed to fire smaller calibers, such as the .44 Magnum and .440 Cor-bon rounds, and smaller versions, the Baby Eagle and Micro Eagle, were also released. Movie buffs may recognize the sizeable semi-auto as the choice sidearm of Marvel Comics character Deadpool, who carried two .50 AE Desert Eagles in the titular 2016 film.
Now out of production, the Remington XP-100 was a bolt-action series of pistols based on Remington's Model 40X carbines, one of the first pistols designed for long-range shooting. The XP-100 was co-developed with the .221 Remington Fireball cartridge, which remains the fasted handgun cartridge ever produced by a major ammo manufacturer. The considerable XP-100 boasted either a 10.75 or 14.5-inch barrel (for comparison's sake, a standard carbine-length AR barrel is 16 inches), and came in a variety of chambering, even including a powerful .308 Winchester offering. With the exception of the XP-100R model, every XP-100 series pistol was a single-shot pistol, noted for their accuracy and use in handgun varmint shooting. Having debuted them in 1963, Remington ceased production of the XP-100 pistols in 1998.
A descendant of the famed 1954-design Israeli submachine gun, the UZI Pro Pistol is a modernized micro UZI semi-automatic pistol. The UZI pistol is a closed-bolt, blowback-operated pistol, which does not feature the shoulder stock or fully automatic fire capability of its open-bolt, submachine gun forefather. The original UZI submachine gun was one of the first firearms to incorporate a telescoping bolt design, allowing the magazine to be housed in the pistol grip to shorten the gun's overall length. The UZIs are constructed primary of stamped sheet metal, which decreases production costs, and features a relatively small number of moving parts, facilitating ease of maintenance and repair. The UZI design is industrial and favors function over fashion, resulting in a pistol nearly 10 inches in length that weighs in at 3.6 pounds. Despite its boxy form factor, the UZI Pro Pistol continues to be one of the world's most popular handguns, with more than 2 million units sold across the globe.
These semi-auto firearms may look a lot like AR-15 rifles, but technically and legally speaking, they are classified as pistols. Federal law mandates that all rifles must have a barrel 16 inches or longer to be unrestricted, less the firearm be registered -- and the user procures a $200 BATFE National Firearms Act Tax Stamp, completes and submits a pile of paperwork and fingerprints, and waits upwards of a year -- as a short-barreled rifle. However, should the firearm be devoid of a buttstock, the AR may be manufactured with a barrel shorter than 16 inches, therefore classified as a pistol. Most commonly, AR pistols are chambered in .223/5.56, but as is often the case with ARs, the builder can manufacture the pistol in a wide variety of chambers. Just remember that you should be able to fire the gun safely without a stock!