SPRINGFIELD, MASS. Dirty Harry is now outgunned: Smith & Wesson has introduced its biggest handgun ever, a .50-caliber Magnum.
The five-shot revolver with an 8 1/2-inch barrel weighs about 4 1/2 pounds -- roughly a pound more than the big black .44 Magnum wielded by Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies. It fires a new .50-caliber cartridge that produces nearly three times the muzzle energy of the .44 -- or enough stopping power to bring down a charging bear.
"The primary market for it is hunting" big game, spokesman Ken Jorgensen said.
Steve Comus, publications director of the Safari Club International, said he expected Smith & Wesson to sell several thousand of the weapons to sportsmen interested in hunting with handguns.
Some questioned the wisdom of producing a more powerful handgun.
Tom Ortiz, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, predicted the new Magnum would create "a new order of threat to law enforcement."
The new gun, which sells for $989, is one of nine models Smith & Wesson introduced this week.