In this count-down, we look into the world’s most lethal handguns. There is a growing number of gun manufacturers in the world; And while one brand may be better than another, I hope you will understand why I didn’t focus on the specific brands or models. Instead, I’ve assembled this list of the world’s most powerful pistols based on their caliber, stopping power and shooting velocity. Throughout the article you will see me mention “gr” or “grain,” this refers to the weight of the bullet. The general rule is: A lighter grain bullet travels faster than a heavier grain bullet, while the heavier grain bullet penetrates deeper. So without further ado, lets get started.
10. BERETTA 96A1
One of the latest and greatest from Beretta, the 96A1 and 92A1 were introduced back in 2010. They feature a .40 S&W which is a little more powerful than your standard 9 mm handguns. 135 gr .40 S&W rounds can hit 1,190 feet per second and pack a heavy punch.
9. COLT 1911 (.45 ACP)
The m1911 is the master creation of John Browning. It’s popularity made it a standard-issue handgun for the US armed forces for over 70 years. Since then it has become a top choice for competitive shooting, home protection, and all-around fun. The Colt 1911 pistol is chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge (Automatic Colt Pistol). It holds a standard 7-round magazine and shoots at a velocity of 1,225 feet per second (185 gr).
8. GLOCK 20 – 10MM AUTO
A slight step above the .40 S&W, the Glock 20 sports a 10 mm round that is said to be “the cartridge the FBI couldn’t handle.” That’s not to say that this gun is overly powerful. Simply that the FBI prefers something with a little less kick, something that gets the job done without breaking their wrists. The 10 mm Auto has a greater stopping power than the .40 S&W and hits a velocity around 1,600 ft/s with a 135 gr load.
7. SMITH & WESSON MODEL 686
The S&W Model 686 comes in 6 or 8-inch barrels and rocks a 6 or 7 round cylinder. It’s a revolver handgun which means the bullets aren’t fed through the clip like the Beretta 96A1. It’s a massive .357 Magnum that was built off the famous .38 special, thus giving it the ability to chamber and fire the .38 special rounds. 125 gr loaded bullets can blast out at 1,600 ft/s. These are very effective for self-defense and even medium to large game.
6. RUGER BLACKHAWK .41 MAGNUM
This pistol revolver is not quite as popular as the .357 or the .44 mag. However, the .41 Magnum fills the gap between the two. A round that sports 170 – 240 gr rounds can reach 1,871 feet per second. The .41 Magnum was intended for law enforcement and medium to large game hunting. For law enforcement, this weapon would finish the job and without being complete overkill (eg 44 mag or anything larger).
5. SMITH & WESSON MODEL 629 .44 MAGNUM
The S&W .44 Mag is an incredible handgun for many purposes. It is capable of dropping any game in North America. Elk, Deer and even targets as large as Cape buffalo and elephants have been dropped with success. Because the .44 mag cartridge sports an amazing 200 – 340 gr load, it slightly suffers in velocity in comparison to some of the smaller round. Shooting the correct loads can hit over 1,500 ft/s in velocity while packing deep penetration.
4. RUGER SUPER REDHAWK .454 CASULL
The .454 Casull is one of the cartridges seen in Ruger’s Super Redhawk pistols. This round is used in revolvers (as seen in the picture above). In addition to packing deep penetration, this monster bullet can hit speeds up to 1,900 ft/s with a 240-grain load.
3. SMITH & WESSON 460 XVR
The 460 XVR handgun is a revolver using a .460 S&W Magnum cartridge, a more powerful version of the .454 casull and colt .45. In addition to shooting this larger round, some revolvers are capable of shooting the .454. Like the other big handguns on this list, the 460 XVR is a lethal pistol capable of shooting 2,300 ft/s with 200 gr rounds.
2. DESERT EAGLE .50 AE
Probably one of the more popular guns on this list is the Desert Eagle. It’s a deadly 50 Caliber handgun that packs a serious punch. It’s the biggest magazine-fed handgun in production. Because of its rather classy appearance, some owners like to accessorize and customize their iconic handgun to suit their personality. It is often shot with 300 – 325-grain bullets that reach up to 1,550 ft/s.
1. SMITH & WESSON 500 MAGNUM
Much like the Desert Eagle, the S&W 500 Mag is a 50 caliber handgun. Due to its longer casing, it has a bit more stopping power and velocity. A 300 gr factory cartridge can touch speeds up to 2,075 fp/s. Being a longer barreled revolver, this massive handgun is very accurate and lethal. While all the weapons on this list are deadly, the S&W 500 Magnum earns my pick for the most lethal handgun.