Thank God for an American Gun Company in Springfield MA: The .500 Magnum, the most powerful production handgun in the world

When I cover for Matt Clark’s radio show on WAAM in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Saturday June 13th I plan to play an old T.G. Sheppard song he did with Clint Eastwood called, Make My Day.” The song is a country song done after the success of the Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact as a tribute to that classic cop drama featuring the .44 magnum from Smith & Wesson.   The song itself is a fun romp through common sense as seen from behind the trigger of a gun owner. Since I first heard that song shortly after watching Sudden Impact as a very young man, I have been in love with the company of Smith & Wesson. It has always represented to me a classic American company full of patriotism. The factory itself is located in the middle of an extremely liberal part of the country that is heavily dominated by labor union mentality and progressive politics. But Smith & Wesson has maintained itself as a dominant player in the firearms manufacturing world stage from its Springfield, MA factory off Roosevelt Ave for a long time and is a testament to the ingenuity of American resiliency. Firearms and aviation are still global manufacturing fields that are specifically dominated by American methods making the Smith & Wesson factory to me one of the most sentimental acts of patriotism available today.

It was largely that sense of sentimental patriotism that made me want to have the Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum. There was a lot of controversy when S&W released their Model 29 Dirty Harry gun when it was declared then that it was the most powerful handgun in the world by Clint Eastwood himself at the start of Magnum Force. 

  There were other handguns that were more powerful and it became well-known that S&W were overstating the power of their .44 magnum Model 29. Sure it was a powerful gun, but it wasn’t the most powerful. Regardless, Model 29 sales soared throughout the 70s into the early 90s when progressives launched a full-out attack during the Clinton years against guns and their manufactures. Clint Eastwood turned to more serious films and never returned to Dirty Harry after the film the Dead Pool in 1988 leaving the S&W Model 29 hanging a bit in a changing marketplace.

Instead of turning tail and running for history the tenacious engineers at S&W went back to the drawing board looking to officially become the most powerful handgun in the world—this time for real, not just in movie reference. That’s when they came up with the X-frame revolver series which produced the .460 Magnum and the massive .500 Magnum. With that .500 Magnum S&W had officially become the most powerful production handgun in the entire world, and because of the patented X-frame design, it will hold that title for a number of years.

It is for this reason that I had to have one. It wasn’t just to own the most powerful production handgun in the world; it was to reward S&W for standing the test of time, competition, and politics to emerge with such a massive personal firearm which clearly went against the grain of social pressure. I respect S&W immensely for holding firm against the tide of progressivism that surrounds their facility in Massachusetts. In a lot of ways they represent the kind of pressures going on all across the nation and world in general. Instead of backing off and tucking their tale to hide, they went to the drawing board and invented something that was unequivocally the most powerful and dominate handgun around. In a lot of ways it’s a lesson for how we should all handle the pressures of progressivism.

That’s certainly not to say that we should go out and shoot anybody. When I brought the .500 Magnum out for the first time around a lot of seasoned shooters over the Memorial Day weekend, there weren’t too many who wanted to fire it. The sheer size and power of it is extremely intimidating. Most were happy to just look at it in the case I brought it in. I had brought along $200 of ammunition just for that gun, and there still weren’t many who wanted to fire it outside of my son-in-law, and myself. Its one of those things that is a deterrent to improper behavior just in knowing that it exists, and in a lot of ways it represents the resiliency of Smith & Wesson as a company serving as a kind of last stand of classic value in a land of progressive erosion. My brother-in-law shot the gun into a nearby river and when a geyser erupted in the wake of the bullet scattering water in multiple trajectories as though hit by cannon fire, he declared, “Holy shit………..I’m good for life.” That is the kind of punch the Smith & Wesson announced to the world with their determined effort to product Model X revolvers while the rest of the world was going softer, smaller, and more Brady Bill friendly.

The song “Make My Day” embodies that same S&W tenaciousness, and is what most of us feel now that we are backed up against the wall by a progressive infusion into the national media. It’s why I still love that song and the S&W company after all these years—and is why I’m going to use it as an intro to the radio segment I plan to do for that particular half hour. It’s a metaphor for what we all have to do in America and the kind of attitude it takes to get there.

The theme of the song and the reason that out of all the cop dramas that have come out over the last four decades, Dirty Harry is still popular. The power of the .44 magnum from Smith & Wesson gave the Clint Eastwood character the assurance that no matter what kind of firepower he faced from the bad guys, he could out-gun them. Smith & Wesson to assure to their customers that they could always have that same type of personal assurance offered up the .500 Magnum for that very reason. Like the song brings to light, whether it’s a motorcycle gang, a collection of thugs, goons or punks who hide out in the night, Smith & Wesson provides their customers the assurance that they don’t have to be concerned with threats to their personal sanctity. That after all is the key to the American system of government and economics. Groups, no matter what their background whether it is an officially sanctioned government or a group of criminals desire to use fear to control individuals. When someone possesses the most powerful production handgun in the world it buys the assurance that no matter what a group tries to do to inflict fear on individuals, which the owner of such a gun doesn’t have to be afraid of anything. It is when individuals are forced to deal with each other on equal footing that a respectful culture of Americans emerges. Peace through superior firepower in the hands of good people.

Among gun owners it is found some of the best people functioning in the world today. Recently my same son-in-law who shot my new .500 Magnum visited his family in Great Britain who were shocked that he and my daughter had so many guns. In England it was appalling that anybody could own a personal firearm. My kids drove the point home by stating that guns are so prevalent in American culture that they had matching his and her 9mm semi-automatic pistols. That prospect was astonishing to the English family members who were functioning from a totally different culture. It is that kind of mentality that progressives here in America are trying to breed into our culture and currently surround the Smith & Wesson factory in Massachusetts. But the biggest difference between American society and everyone else is really the number of guns available to individuals. With so many guns come secure investments and limited government to abuse their power on helpless individuals. That is the point of the “Make My Day” song; it suggested that Dirty Harry actually looked forward to righting wrongs because he had such a powerful handgun in the .44 magnum. Because he was prepared, he looked forward to using it and didn’t have to live his life apprehensive as to what might come next.

In a lot of ways I have to thank Smith & Wesson for sticking around and fighting it out all these years. They answered much criticism to their product line by offering truly the most powerful production handgun in the world and to reward that tenacity—I bought one. To me it is a marvel of modern engineering achievement that is the backbone of the American system of government. Those who are against that American system are those who want to put the gun manufacturers out of business so that the firearm culture in the United States might abate. But that’s not going to happen, and now that I’ve given myself a taste of such a powerful gun in the .500 Magnum, I have a reiteration of a whole new category of Adam Smith philosophy to dust off and shout to the world. But before I do that I’ll give WAAM listeners a treat to what started it all for me, an old T.G. Sheppard song from a famous Clint Eastwood film that defined more than a cop drama to a Hollywood industry offering a story they thought would come and go without much memory. It was Smith & Wesson who was a silent credit in that film which defined for America a subtle key to its global success. When it comes to American success and self defense—the bigger the better—and because of S&W customers can legitimately get the biggest and best that a human hand can hold defending capitalism with all the self-assurance of Harry Callahan. There’s nothing wrong with that. As it says in the song, “It was Smith & Wesson that taught them a lesson, Go Ahead, Make My Day.” Obtaining my own .500 Magnum not only made my day—it made my century.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.