First Impressions: Smith & Wesson Model S&W500

Not going to lie, I’ve owned this revolver for some time now. And by “some time”, I mean somewhere around eighteen months to two years. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure if this should be a “first impressions” review. Even though I’ve owned it for sometime, my records indicate this firearm has the lowest round count in the entire collection. It’s actually a really low round count. Like “I haven’t even finished the first twenty round box of ammo I bought with it” low.

One might think that with a round count of one round per month of ownership (or less) that it’s probably not a fun gun to shoot. However, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s arguably the most exhilarating gun in the collection to shoot. At the same time, it’s arguable the most difficult gun (and most painful) gun in the collection to shoot.

If memory serves me correctly, along with the purchase of the gun I received:

  • the massive revolver itself,
  • a user manual,
  • a couple infamous S&W internal lock key that I constantly misplace,
  • a spare (or replacement) front sight,
  • and blue hard gun case that’s about the size of a small brief case.

The revolver is massive.

Weighing in at 71.4 ounces (that’s just shy of 4.5 lbs) unloaded, the stainless steel revolver has an overall length of 15″ of which 8.38″ is the massive barrel that’s crowned with a fixed compensator.

While some may consider a cylinder capacity of five (5) rounds limited, we are talking about five rounds of .500 Smith & Wesson magnum. Frankly, I’ve yet to load more than a single round in the cylinder at a time – so if you ask me, five is plenty.

From left to right: .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum, .357 Magnum, 9mm Luger

The sights are black on black. While the front sight is fixed, the rear sight is adjustable for both elevation and windage.

The grips are a soft synthetic material which provide plenty of welcomed cushion to help with the obscene recoil produced by the cartridge.

I wish I could speak about the guns accuracy, but I haven’t attempted to sight it in or shoot groups with it. The recoil is so punishing that I have a hard time shooting more than three rounds before calling it done with this hand cannon. This largely due to the arthritis in my hands which limits how much punishment my hands and wrists can take. On the other hand, the half inch diameter holes left by this cartridge are pretty easy to see.

Even though I’m not very good at shooting this gun and the recoil of the cartridge is punishing, it’s an incredibly exhilarating experience to shoot it. Make no mistake, the hands griping the revolver will feel the authority of the cartridge when it’s fired. At the same, it will leave those who can appreciate it grinning from ear to ear. It’s akin to a car buffs bliss after driving a high performance machine. It’s definitely not for everyone.

Smith & Wesson suggests hunting and state compliance as the primary purposes of this firearm. I’m not sure I agree with it, but mostly because I’m not skilled enough to hunt with it and I really don’t know what is meant by state compliance. I wouldn’t recommend anyone purchase or even rent this gun unless the person is experienced with shooting less powerful big bore handguns and can appreciate the cartridge for what it is.

Please don’t expect to see a 500 rounds later review on this gun from me any time in the foreseeable future.

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