The Smith & Wesson Model 500 is a five-shot, double-action revolver produced by Smith & Wesson, firing the .500 S&W Magnum cartridge.It is built on S&W's largest frame, the X-Frame. The manufacturer claims it is the "most powerful production revolver in the world today". The Pfeifer Zeliska .600 Nitro Express revolver is more powerful but it is not a "production" revolver. The Model 500 can fire a bullet weighing 350 gr ( 22.7 g; 0.8 oz) at 1975 feet per second (602 m/s) generating a muzzle energy of over 3,030 foot-pounds force (4.1 kJ).
Articles, statements, and opinions vary widely on this firearm. Any of the available bullet weights can be relied on to take game at a range in excess of 200 yards (183 m), a feat matched by only a handful of other handguns. The advanced design of the firearm helps in counteracting recoil felt by the shooter. This includes the sheer weight of the firearm, use of rubber grips, the forward balance, and the use of a compensator. On certain S&W Performance Center models the compensator is replaced with a full muzzle brake.
Like most big caliber handguns the Model 500 is suitable for sport and hunting applications. The high energy of these rounds make it possible to hunt extremely large African game successfully.
Like any gun, proper supervision is required for novice shooters; however, due to the extremely high recoil, novice shooters should be especially coached while shooting this gun.