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Hand Cannon

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Yes, folks, that's a real gun. .600 caliber, in fact.

"Being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off. You've got to ask yourself one question. 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya punk?"
Harry Callahan, Dirty Harry

It's big. It's bulky. It's heavy, sometimes impractical, and loud. It looks really, really cool. Sometimes, it has a nickel finish, or better yet, gold. It may even have a name. It's the Hand Cannon. And its power goes way beyond the standard sidearm.

Magnum-caliber handguns or pistols that use rifle cartridges comprise most of the Hand Cannon trope due to their superior ballistics. Sawed-Off Shotguns /rifles, grenade launchers, and fictional pistols that fire powerful laser beams are also considered. A large pistol may not be a hand cannon if it's chambered for a weak caliber, or simply not that strong.

Back in The '70s, a hand cannon was a .357 or .44 Magnum revolver, like the Colt Python or the Smith & Wesson Model 29. In modern times, bigger and more powerful revolvers like the Raging Bull .454 Casull and .500 S&W Magnum reign supreme. Eventually, semi-automatics firing high power rounds appeared to compete with magnum revolvers. The modern successor to the crown of most ridiculously oversized handgun is the Desert Eagle in .50 Action Express. Other Magnum semi-automatics also exist, but they are not as cool.note 

You know you're dealing with this if a character says something along the lines of, "Wow, that's a really big gun," or "He's Compensating for Something". Sometimes, the user's hands are barely big enough to support the weapon. In egregious cases they're fired one-handed or even dual-wielded — try this in Real Life and you'll end up with a broken wrist and/or nose, a gun that's probably on the floor after launching itself out of your hand, and a bullet going nowhere near where it's supposed to.

The character with the giant handgun is sometimes superhuman, supernatural or cybernetically enhanced in order to compensate for the weapon's weight and recoil. In a series where the heroes battle inhuman or robotic enemies, weapons like these become absolutely necessary.

A subtrope of Bigger Is Better. Differs from BFG in that the Hand Cannon is large for a handgun, while the BFG pushes the limit of what a single person can wield at all. Can overlap with Sniper Pistol. Not to be confused with Arm Cannon, which is literally a cannon on the arm.

The Hand Cannon differs from the Punch-Packing Pistol, in that the former is a special pistol powerful by design, while the latter is a standard pistol (often 9mm or .45 ACP) that somehow deals an absurd amount of damage.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the anime OVA Angel Cop, one character totes around a gigantic gun that's actually intended for use by a character in a strength-augmenting suit of armor. She's warned that firing it too often will eventually destroy every muscle in her arms.
  • Aria the Scarlet Ammo: While Kinji's Desert Eagle is certainly counts, the one who takes the cake is Urara Takachiho from AA spinoff with her Ruger Super Redhawk chambered in .454 Casull. The gun is as long as a rifle, powerful enough to knock out a bicycle out from its rack lock with just a single shot, and yet she has enough strength to fire it one-handed in an almost casual manner.
  • Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest: After being left for dead inside a dungeon, Hajime creates a pair of magical railgun revolvers using his knowledge of technology and magic. When enhanced by the Skill "Lightning Field", their power can surpass that of an anti-tank rifle. He uses them as his main weapons to terminate monsters and humans with extreme prejudice.
    • Also featured in the video at the bottom of the page.
  • Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Chirico Cuvie's signature sidearm is the "Bahauser M571 Armor Magnum", an anti-armor pistol. Holds three (plus one) armor-piercing slugs in its underslung tubular magazine, each about the size of a C battery. Implied to be standard for Gilgamesh's Armored Trooper pilots, it's only capable of piercing weak spots on enemy mechs, such as joints and the main camera. This doesn't stop Chirico from scoring his fair share of AT kills with it, nor does he shy away from using it on people,.
  • Black Lagoon has its own vicious way with this trope using a Giant Mook neo-Nazi who claims that only a man of his gigantic proportions can handle his gold-plated Luger chambered for .454 Casull. Revy guns him down while he's still ranting about the capabilities of his weapon. She then points out (while sitting on his chest, which is still bleeding from her shooting him) that having a weapon that huge isn't even necessary, because all a bullet needs to do is hit the target to kill it, regardless of its size. She proves her point by shooting him in the face at point blank range with her comparatively dinky 9mm handgun. The funny part? Revy actually was out of ammo when he showed up, and reloaded while he was giving his rant.
    • Black Lagoon also has plenty of other characters (most of them villains) with oversized weapons, including Yolanda, the old nun from the Church of Violence who fires a gold-plated .50 AE Desert Eagle one handed; Gretel, a small girl and one of a pair of truly Creepy Twins, who fires a BAR from the hip; Roberta, who uses a SPAS-12 shotgun mocked up as a parasol with one hand (and later graduates to doing the same thing with a Barrett Light Fifty); and even a Terminator 2-style minigun-wielder.
  • Killy's Gravity Beam Emitter in Tsutomu Nihei's Blame! better fits into a Wave-Motion Gun category, both due to its truly immense firepower and enormous recoil, but it's still a pistol. And it isn't even all that big.
  • David from Blood+ carries a huge Smith & Wesson Model 500 revolver (the very one mentioned in the top page quote), which he can imperceptibly hide in the folds of his jacket. Somewhat justified, in that he spends most of his time shooting it at Chiropterans, large and powerful quasi-vampiric monsters. (It never seemed to do much good, though). It's odd considering David comes right out and says that guns are useless against the monsters in the second episode.
  • Bubblegum Crisis: Both Leon and Priss carry Hand Cannons. Leon especially has a futuristic break-top style revolver called the "Earth Shaker" chambered in .600 Nitro Express with only three chambers in the cylinder. Considering that he's a member of a special police force which has to fight killer cyborgs who can shrug off small arms fire with ease, it's kind of understandable that he would carry something with more punch with him.
  • D.Gray-Man: Cross uses a giant revolver called Judgment that can destroy Level 4 Akuma in 3 or 4 hits and Noah in a few more.
  • Castle in the Sky has something akin to this, an the one-shot weapons that Dola's pirate gang uses seem to also be capable of loading stink bombs as well as the normal bullet/explosive rounds. Near the end, the Big Bad actually calls the one Patsu carries a "cannon you can hardly lift."
  • Shows up fairly often in City Hunter, as only two of the main characters use normal-sized pistols: protagonist Ryo Saeba uses a modified Colt Python .357 Magnum (he can use any gun with near-perfect aim, but his usual weapon is that); his assistant Kaori, while favoring bazookas, grenades and miniguns (and a giant hammer from hammerspace), carries a relatively smaller Colt Lawman Mk III in .357 Magnum caliber (a memento from her late brother); Umibozu, when he can't use machine guns, bazookas and other heavy weapons, uses a S&W Model 29 chambered for .44 Magnum (Justified due him being just too big for smaller guns); and Reika Nogami carries a Derringer C.O.P. .357 Magnum (big for a Derringer, and very powerful). One-shot and recurring characters bring their own contributions.
  • Invoked in Dead Dead Demons Dededede Destruction in the Show Within a Show manga Isobeyan that starts and ends each tankobon. At the start of vol. 6, Isobeyan whips out a gun for the lead character to use against her bullies and specifically refers to it as one.
  • Kiritsugu Emiya from Fate/Zero favours a Thompson Contender chambered for rifle cartridges as his main weapon. He furthermore uses custom-made bullets (containing his own ground-up bones) that, if they come into contact with an expression of magic (typically a barrier), will both disrupt it and irreparably damage the magical source, typically the caster's nerves. This is the main reason he chose such a high-caliber pistol for his Anti-Magic work; by using a caliber too powerful for anything short of an armored vehicle to block, he will put the enemy magus in a Morton's Fork situation, forcing them to either take the bullet's extreme physical power or to create a powerful enough barrier to block the bullet, at which point their nerves will be destroyed by the bullet's enchantment.
  • In Ghost in the Shell Togusa uses a truly impressive looking .44 magnum auto-revolver. But he's frequently told to finally get rid of this flimsy thing and upgrade to something with real firepower. note 
  • Gungrave anime: During the arc that introduced the Necrolyzation technology, Brandon resorted to using a large handgun that fired "D-point rounds" to deal with Necro-Raised enemy Mooks.
  • Gunsmith Cats: Borgnine, one of the villains of the "Mister M" arc, carries a long-barrel .50 Action Express Desert Eagle. With it, he scares the target of a heist he orchestrated (who was driving in an armored BMW) into stopping and allowing himself to be abducted by putting two bullets right through the windshield just this close to hitting the driver's and front passenger's heads (and the bullet went through the also-armored rear windshield and the front armored windshield of the escort car behind it) and when Rally tries to intervene, the bullet goes right through the Shelby's door and slams against the take-down rifle Rally was carrying in a shoulder holster hard enough to ruin the rifle and shatter all of Rally's ribs.
  • A character in Guyver has a pistol which has been "modified" so that it can damage Zoanoids, who are normally Immune to Bullets — it has a very large stock and its bullets are high-calibre, armour-piercing and explosive. They're so huge the gun can only hold three of them at once.
  • The vampire Alucard in Hellsing: he carries an awesomely huge pistol (39 cm/16" long, 6kg unloaded) stylized after an old-fashioned Colt that can fire the mighty .454 Casull cartridge (which is only slightly smaller than a AA battery); in fact, this ammo gives the gun its common name, "The Casull." Later on he is given another, bigger pistol (though it's more like a huge block of metal with a trigger) called "The Jackal" (also 39 cm/16" long, 16kg unloaded, 13mm Mercury core rounds with blessed silver Macedonian-jacketed bullets made from the melted silver cross of the Lancaster Cathedral), which he uses together with the first one akimbo-style. Both guns are ridiculously heavy for their size. For comparison, the US Army's standard-issue platoon machine gun, the M240B, weighs in at 12kg. Neither are weapons any human could hope to wield, the former for its recoil and the latter for its insane weight, but they are the perfect sidearms for an insanely powerful vampire like Alucard. The latter is also so heavy because it has a bomb inside it, intended for use against Alucard by Millennium.
  • Kurausorasu from Iono the Fanatics is another Desert Eagle dual-wielder. The fact that she can do that so easily was explicitly mentioned to be a sign of her possessing Super-Strength.
  • Kurohime features the title character's weapon, Senryuu (which grows even bigger as the series continues, and can transform into a gatling revolver, a sniper rifle, a shotgun/cannon, and something vaguely semblant of a minigun) and Onimaru's gun.
  • Parodied (and what isn't?) in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, where Mikuru is made to Dual Wield airsoft Desert Eagles for the student film. In her hands the guns are comically oversized, which is only made worse by the absurd extended barrels.
  • Downplayed in Mobile Suit Gundam with the Gundam's Beam Rifle. The weapon is typically held in only one hand, but is designed like a rifle. In practice, however, it is essentially a handheld version of a battleship's Mega-Particle Cannon, capable of completely destroying most enemy mobile suits with a single blast.
    • Invoked in Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative with the Silver Bullet Suppressor which is a less powerful mecha that uses the Unicorn Gundam's Beam Magnum. The mobile suit has a rack of spare arms on its back since each time it fires the arm is essentially destroyed.
  • Mana Tatsumiya in Negima! Magister Negi Magi normally dual-wields Desert Eagles. They may or may not be air gun replicas, but can certainly fire real bullets, or at least Depleted Phlebotinum Shells. Keep in mind that firing a Desert Eagle in a single hand could potentially break the user's arm through recoil.
    • Contrary to popular belief, large-caliber handguns actually have less recoil than smaller-caliber ones, due to increased mass which helps compensate for the force and energy of the bullet leaving the gun, and due to the smoothness of the Desert Eagle's action in particular, it wouldn't kick nearly hard enough to break someone's arm. It does, however, have to be held firmly in place for the action to cycle properly.
    • Also contrary to popular misconception, no pistol generates enough recoil to break the user's arm (unless they have the same medical condition as Mr. Glass). A weapon capable of generating arm-breaking force would more likely launch the firearm out of your grip and over your shoulder instead. It's unlikely that any hand-held firearm could fracture the user's wrist, let alone break bones. Physics just doesn't work that way.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the spent casings from the Eva-sized handguns and assault rifles are big enough to crush cars. Not that the damn things are ever actually useful against Angels. Except for Matariel.
  • In One Piece, Basco Shot uses a large Flintlock on the Blackbeard Pirates' assault on Whitebeard. Considering that Shot has to be around 22 feet tall, that's got to be one big gun.
  • Patlabor: Revolvers the size of Volkswagens! Mind you though, they are for Humongous Mecha.
  • Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica uses at least once a .50AE Desert Eagle (and what looks like a Taurus Raging Bull in the manga). Bonus points since Homura is an average built 14 year old girl. It's arguably a subversion: that Desert Eagle was the first firearm she wielded in an early timeline, having stolen it from the Yakuza when she was a lot less experienced. By the time of the show's timeline, dozens of iterations later, she's switched over to a much less flashy 9mm Beretta.
  • Corporal Randel Oland from Pumpkin Scissors and his 13mmnote  armor-piercing hand-gun (the "Door Knocker") — which is used by special infantry to go up against tanks. Randel wields it with one hand.
    • It's actually pointed out in-universe to be a highly impractical weapon; Randel, being over seven feet tall and built completely out of muscle, is one of the few people who's able to make good use of it. He also is the only person brave enough (because of his training) to run right up to a tank and shoot the Door Knocker at point-blank range, where it is definitely effective.
  • Sgt. Frog: Giroro's oh-so-cool alien handguns.
  • Liz and Patti's 'Death Eagle .42' forms in Soul Eater, being massive versions of their usual Weapon forms. Kid uses one in each hand to shoot down Mosquito's bats.
  • Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³: In this airsoft anime, Sonora wields a gas blowback Desert Eagle in chrome as her primary weapon, though she sometimes switches to a Steyr AUG. Her rival Rin wields a black Desert Eagle in contrast to Sonora's. During a short visit to the U.S. Sonora is shown shooting a real Desert Eagle inside a range.
  • Blazer Mode of Teana's Cross Mirage, which was introduced in Striker S Sound Stage X of Lyrical Nanoha. Cross Mirage's high-powered shooting form, not only is it larger than the gun's default mode, but it can also fire Starlight Breaker.
  • Trigun: Human alien Vash the Stampede's main weapon is a nickel-plated top-break revolver resembling the Mateba Model 6 Unica. In keeping with the western theme of the series, it is chambered for old-fashioned .45 Colt cartridges. While .45 Colt is a pretty anemic round, it can be loaded up to .44 Magnum power levels. Vash's gun also contains a piece of Applied Phlebotinum that allows the gun to merge with his arm and form the Angel Arm, a beam weapon of monstrous destructive power that can annihilate entire cities.
  • Trinity Blood has a couple of examples of this, the most notable of which are Tres' twin M13 Jerichos. Tres being an android, his usage of oversized weaponry is a bit more reasonable.
  • Wicked City protagonist Taki wields a revolver with an undisclosed modification specifically for demon hunting. The resulting force from every shot in the entire film throws him into walls, and unlike some anime the shots always have devastating results.
  • The Arcane Colt Custom in Witch Hunter demonstrates the realistic effect a weapon like this would have; after firing it only once, the main character's arm is broken by the recoil.
    • For a certain given definition of "realistic."

    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of ABC Warriors, workcrew on a massive terraforming operation on Mars have been going missing. The woman in charge carries a massive hand cannon with three chambers, but only three rounds. It is capable of killing anything it hits. She is eventually killed by hundreds of Martian animals after using up her three rounds.
  • Batman: In Detective Comics #841, the Mad Hatter uses a revolver that is actually fairly normal... if you don't take into account its four foot long barrel; It's easily mistaken for a walking cane.
  • In Mike Mignola's Hellboy series, the title character packs the Samaritan: a 20mm (.79'') hand-cannon. However, he is a superhumanly strong demon who fights supernatural menaces. Usually the gun isn't much use anyway, and Hellboy himself admits that he's a lousy shot with it, which is why he uses Depleted Phlebotinum Shells and his Right Hand of Doom.
  • Jonah Hex's choice of handgun is the .44 Colt Dragoon, the most powerful handgun available in The Wild West. During his time the future, he swaps the Dragoons for single-action Ruger Blackhawks in .357 magnum.
  • In Jon Sable, Freelance, one of Sable's preferred weapons is a chrome .357 Magnum pepperbox. As a prototype that never made it into production.
  • Judge Dredd's Lawgiver falls into this category especially after the introduction of the Mark II version. Naturally, there is a degree of Depending on the Artist here. It also shoots (at least) six different types of rounds, including high explosive.
  • In what seems to be a Shout-Out to the Johnny Dangerously reference below, a character in the very NSFW Lann by Frank Thorne says about his favored machine pistol, "This is not a gun. It's a poem. An ode to death. It shoots through schools — of sharks!"
  • Lobo uses pretty much nothing but Hand Cannons or BFGs.
  • Batman comic The Long Halloween has the Joker wield an enormous pistol here.
  • Image Comics' Officer Downe, the eponymous undead cop uses "The Answer Man", which is a hybrid twin-barrelled revolver and machine pistol. The revolver part of "The Answer Man" uses humungous .85 Magnum rounds while the under-barrel machine pistol shoots bullets that are only slightly smaller.
  • Some of these show up in Preacher: .45 revolvers, .50 pistols, and one piece the Big Bad maniacally refers to as "Doomcock." The Saint Of Killers also wields a pair of Walker Colt revolvers, which pack .44 ball and were arguably the most powerful handguns until magnum revolvers appeared in the 20th century. More specifically, they're a pair of Walker Colts forged from what used to be the Angel of Death's sword which makes them Weapon of Mass Destruction-class revolvers which never miss, never run out of bullets, and never fail to kill what they hit, even if what they hit is God himself.
  • Marvel Comics' The Punisher 2099 uses as his main weapon the circa-2015 manufactured Smith & Wesson .54 Magnum full-automatic revolver. It's belt-fed and can fire 6 rounds a second (360 a minute). One character later observes that this weapon usually leaves the Punisher's victims with a "hole in the chest...and a missing back."
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Sam's trusty revolver so big the barrel bends from its own weight!
  • When Nick Fury makes his return to the mainstream Marvel Universe during the Skrull invasion of New York in Secret Invasion, he does so wielding a gun that's about as big as he is.
  • Sin City:
    • Mr. Shlubb and Mr. Klump, two loquacious hitmen in the series, use Robocop's Auto-9 machine-pistol (it's actually the same prop, even). Hartigan uses it akimbo with another gun to blow them both away in That Yellow Bastard.
    • Hartigan's original pistol was a .44 Magnum, mirroring Dirty Harry's weapon of choice.
    • Other minor characters have a preference for large handguns as well, including the prison guard who escorts Hartigan out and the guy who tries to stir trouble up with Marv in A Dame To Kill For.
  • The Warlord (DC): Travis Morgan carries a .44 AutoMag which was certainly never a standard issue sidearm for USAF officers.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Fair with the Golden Hair (also known as The Story of Pretty Goldilocks), one of the hero's challenges by the titular maiden is to defeat a nearby prince who wants to marry her. He is a giant so big that he follows this trope literally.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • Though normal-looking guns are present, the air pirates in Castle in the Sky use these as their weapon of choice.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Leslie Nielsen briefly wields a ridiculously over-sized Magnum at the end of 2001: A Space Travesty.
  • 8 Ball Clown: 8-Ball owns one. He's seen trying to use it to kill himself while listening to the insulting messages on his phone, but is never able to do so. In the film's climax, the kids try to use it to kill 8-Ball. They aren't successful.
  • In Alien Nation, Sykes upgrades from his police-issue 9mm Beretta to a Freedom Arms Model 83, a 5-round .454 Casull revolver, to combat the Newcomer gang that killed his partner. He demonstrates its effectiveness by blowing large holes in a bulletproof vest at the firing range. At the time the film was made (1988), this was the most powerful handgun/cartridge commercially available.
  • Hungarian movie Argo features a character called Psycho carrying a 2 ft. long revolver. With Disney characters carved on it.
  • Frank from Armed and Dangerous (1986) brings a rather large handgun with him to stop the heist at the end. He claims that it's fifty caliber and used for hunting moose in Canada...up close.
  • The title character of The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans walks around with a massive .44 magnum revolver sticking out of his waistband at all times.
  • Batman (1989) has the Joker pulling out a revolver with a telescopic 36-inch barrel... out of his pants... which he uses to shoot down the Batwing in one shot. Make of that what you will.
  • Deckard's gun from Blade Runner, a cross between a Steyr-Mannlicher .222 rifle and a Charter Arms Bulldog revolver. Is it a blaster? Naw, but there is nothing like a gun that puts a four foot hole in...well anything.
  • The Boondock Saints, the protagonists trade in two .50-caliber Desert Eagles used by two Russian mob dudes who tried to murder them, along with a pager and a money clip, in order to get their hands on their original arsenal.
  • In The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, the Saints trade in the silenced Berettas from the first film in favor of Desert Eagles.
  • In Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, the Big Bad (played by Demi Moore) uses two golden Desert Eagles.
  • City Heat, when Burt Reynolds' character pulls out an "artillery" model Luger P08, and Clint Eastwood pulls an even bigger Colt Buntline Special. Definitely some subtext there.
  • The Cowboys had John Wayne telling the boys he had for cowhands to put their guns in a wagon. Cue the smallest boy extracting the largest gun from his belt.
  • In Dead in Tombstone, Guerrero carries a pair of massive custom-made three barreled pistols. He is the only one who knows how to assemble them.
  • Deadpool depicts the title character toting, among other weapons, a pair of Mk XIX Desert Eagles, chambered in .50 Action Express.
  • In the Vigilante Man flick Death Sentence, Kevin Bacon needs to buy some guns for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge so he goes to a black market gun dealer (played by John Goodman). John Goodman then proceeds to use this sales pitch when referring to a Colt Python, a Colt M1911, and a Desert Eagle respectively.
    John Goodman: You got the bastards of bastards, .357. A guaranteed head removal. That's... that's a sweetie. You got your standard-size .45, super-sized. That's a fucking Hungry Man right there. And you got the king of mayhem. Half-cannon. Sword of justice. Take this fucker to the holy land, start your own crusade. Any one of these is bound to make you feel better of what's bothering you.
  • Paul Kersey's friend "Wildey" from Death Wish 3 is the world's most powerful production semi-automatic. The bullet has as much impact energy at 100 yards as the .44 Magnum has at 1 yard. Unlike most examples here, the .475 Wildey Magnum has a relatively manageable recoil.
  • The opening scene of Desperado has El Mariachi's buddy spin a story of how he cleared a bar with a sawed-off and a de-stocked Armsel Protecta shotgun, which manage to throw your average Mexican about ten feet in the air with one shot:
    Buscemi: The stranger... he bolts out of his bar-stool like you wouldn't believe, he grabs his case and he dives right in the middle of the room with it! Just dives right in! Now, I don't know what he does on that floor, but he's up in two shakes, his suitcase is wide open, and he's pulled God knows what out of it, but it's the biggest hand cannon I've ever fucking seen!
  • Dirty Harry is arguably the Trope Codifier of the Hand Cannon with Inspector Harry Callahan using his .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, to kill criminals with in San Francisco. Harry plays a vicious version of Russian Roulette with his "Did he fire six shots or only five?" speeches to a bank robber and the main villain Scorpio. The 1971 movie popularized the concept of powerful handguns with the general public.
    • In-fact, the sales of the Smith & Wesson Model 29 went up after the movie came out, and it was hard to get for a number of years. They're apparently relatively easy to find on the secondhand market now, as most people only shoot them a few times before deciding to never do that again.
    • While .44 Magnum is no longer the most powerful handgun caliber, being surpassed by .454 Casull and .500 S&W Magnum, it still retains its popularity in fiction and real life thanks to Clint Eastwood's movie.
  • Several of the criminals in Dobermann favour ludicrously large handguns:
    • Dobermann carries a Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 629 as his sidearm throughout the movie. The barrel shroud is used as a rocket launcher that fires miniature rocket shells.
    • Mosquito uses a Colt Anaconda .44 magnum with an 8" inch barrel and pearl grips that he carries shoved in the waistband of his trousers.
    • Manu has a nickel finished Desert Eagle with a black 14" barrel.
  • The Lawgiver in Dredd.
  • In Drive Angry John Milton steals a five barreled Hand Cannon from Hell called the Godkiller. It has 3 shots in it and can be used to kill demons.
  • Driver in Faster wields a Super Redhawk Alaskan .454 Casull, a snub nose revolver intended for protection against dangerous game. The Casull displays its massive power when Driver decimates a wall that his opponent is using for cover.
  • In A Field in England, O'Neil carries a massive doglock pistol that is shown to be capable of blowing limbs off.
  • In The Ghost and the Darkness, Remington carries not just a Double Rifle, but also a massive Howdah Pistol while hunting the Tsavo man-eating lions. Patterson uses both weapons to finish off the remaining lion.
  • In Ghost Town (1988), Deputy Langley carries a Ruger Super Redhawk .44 magnum as his sidearm. When the Big Bad Devlin (a Revenant Zombie outlaw from The Wild West) takes it off him, he exclaims that he finally feels like he has a gun worthy of him.
  • At one point in Hard Boiled, Mad Dog, The Dragon, uses a Thompson/Center Contender, a single-shot pistol that uses rifle bullets, and which he's apparently modified to spit the spent cartridges out in slow-mo, to fight Tequila and Alan. This pistol appears to be using a .30-06 barrel.
  • In the Woo-directed Van Damme flick Hard Target the main villain Fouchon (played by Lance Henriksen) favors a Thompson single-shot pistol (in .45-70 Gov't!) as his main firearm.
  • Almost all the major characters in Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man wield a Hand Cannon at some point in the movie, ranging from .44 Magnum Desert Eagles to .454 Casull Rugers.
    Marlboro: Man, why in the hell are you carrying a hand cannon like that?
    Harley: Hey... I learned to shoot using one of these.
    Marlboro: Which might be why you shoot like shit. Harley, nobody learns to shoot using a gun that big.
  • Hellboy:
    • In Hellboy (2004) it is shown that HB's "Samaritan" holds four rounds each about the size of a thumb. Prop makers describe it as being roughly 22mm.
      Hellboy: I'm not a very good shot, but the Samaritan uses really big bullets.
    • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, he gets an even bigger gun, that apparently uses clockwork to fire, has six barrels, and fires pairs of massive flaming shotgun shells. It is called the "Big Baby" and he uses this to destroy a forest god.
      Hellboy: You woke up the baby!
    • In Hellboy (2019), Hellboy still wields a ginormous custom-made revolver as his weapon of choice, although this time around it doesn't get a name as the Samaritan did, at least not on-screen. It looks like a cross between a shotgun and a .50 Magnum revolver, with bullets that resemble .700 Nitro Express more than something you'd load into a real-life handgun.
  • Hitchhiker Massacre: The killer has one, as revealed when he pulls it out of the glove compartment of his car.
  • Hostile: Juliette has a handgun as her weapon. She uses it at the end to kill herself and Jack.
  • I Come in Peace (aka Dark Angel) has an alien pistol that when fired, blows up entire rooms.
  • In Into the Grizzly Maze, Rowan uses a Ruger Speed Six with a 2.75-inch barrel chambered in .357 Magnum.
  • In Jane Got a Gun, Ham carries a pair of Colt Walker 1847s, both of which have been converted to accept .44 metallic cartridges. Jane loads both Walkers in the beginning of the film, keeping one for herself and leaving the other for her husband.
  • In the Prohibition-era gangster parody Johnny Dangerously, Danny Vermin shows off his .88 Magnum. "It shoots through schools."
  • Judge Dredd. The Lawgiver II pistol used by Judges, which is also able to switch ammo types by voice command.
  • Killer Angels: The preferred weapon of triad hitman, Michael.
  • Jack Slater carries an IMI (now IWI) Desert Eagle Mk VII chambered in .44 Magnum in Last Action Hero. While that particular model is only the second largest of the three calibers this handgun is currently chambered in (the .441 Cor-Bon was discontinued some time ago), the Desert Eagle has always been portrayed as an over-the-top sidearm, both in its looks and stopping power, regardless of chambering. Not to be outdone, the antagonist, Benedict, wields what he claims to be an 11 mm revolver (just shy of .44 caliber). However, it is actually a customized, compensated Dan Wesson .357 Magnum with what appears to be a 10" barrel.
  • Kaulder's sidearm in The Last Witch Hunter looks like a small shotgun and works like a full-sized one.
  • In Looper, the Gat Men all use the Magnum Research BFR .45/70 revolver.
  • Inverted in The Man with the Golden Gun where the title Golden Gun fires a 4.2mm bullet. A caliber that small (.165) has no stopping power to speak of unless you hit a point guaranteed to be an instant kill... which Scaramanga always does. Averted in the book where the title Golden Gun is a gold-plated Colt Single Action Army which has a much larger caliber (.45 Colt) but isn't treated as anything particularly powerful.
  • Every Agent in The Matrix spawns (literally) with a Desert Eagle .50 Action Express in their shoulder rig. And they seem to have Bottomless Magazines. Just to be clear, the Desert Eagle .50AE uses a gas-operated cycling system akin to what you would find in a semi-automatic rifle. The Agents, because of their nature, can of course fire these things one-handed with lethal accuracy even when, say, leaping out of an exploding building.
    • The armorer of the Matrix films called the Deagles "wanker pistols", when the Wachowski brothers decided to pick them as the weapons of the Agents.
  • Men in Black
    • Played straight with the huge revolver the tow-truck driver pulls out when Bug!Edgar threatens him with a shotgun. He's killed by Edgar's shotgun blast before he can use it.
    • Inverted by the Noisy Cricket: a tiny, unseemly weapon resembling a hypodermic needle with a handle, pauses momentarily and chirps like a cricket when you pull the trigger, and then promptly annihilates whatever it was pointed at and knocks you flat on your butt. The recoil usually hurls Agent J about fifteen feet, no matter how he tries to brace himself; in the TV series, he eventually acquired what amounted to a silencer for it, which made the blast more manageable and stifled the recoil.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the midget pirate is seen firing a very large hand cannon that blasts him back out of the frame when Barbossa's meeting with Sao Feng is interrupted by the East India Trading Company.
  • Bohdi (played by Patrick Swaze) also uses the .454 Casull in Point Break (1991).
  • In Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, gun nut Tackleberry gets to take the recruits to the range. By far the most enthusiastic recruit is Mrs. Feldman, an 80 year old who is raring to bust some criminal heads. She takes a particular liking to Tackleberry, and demands to wrap her hands around his immense, rigid, manly instrument. The recoil blows her across the room, and she promptly declares "Damn, that was FUN!"
    • Any scene involving Tackleberry. Particularly this scene from the first movie.
  • DEA Agent Norman Stansfield carries a customized Smith & Wesson Model 629 "Classic Hunter" chambered in .44 Magnum in The Professional. The 629 was a fairly common weapon that had several normal production runs; what Stansfield carries was a one-off customization of one of the rare, limited production run models. The "Classic Hunter" isn't small to begin with, and the unfluted cylinder, shortened barrel, and muzzle crown make the thing look even bigger.
  • In Pulp Fiction, a guy bursts out of the bathroom and unloads a .357 Magnum pistol at Jules and Vincent, but every shot misses.
    "Did you see that gun he fired at us? It was bigger than him. We should be fucking dead, man."
  • Raising Arizona: After robbing a cashier and about to leave a quickie mart, HI is surprised when the cashier starts firing at him with an enormous nickel-plated revolver.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in the movie Red Heat wasn't impressed by the .44 Magnum he was loaned after his personal gun (a hand cannon in its own right) was confiscated. It's a customized Desert Eagle, presented as the Soviet "Podbyrin 9.2 mm." Arnold's character insists it is the "most powerful handgun in the world" after the local detective he's teamed up with describes the .44 Magnum as such.
  • Riot Girls: Scratch gets ahold of a huge handgun, gunning down several Titans with it.
  • Robocop in his movies and TV series used a huge machine pistol. It was a Beretta 93R with some futuristic doodads including an extended, casket-shaped barrel and slide assembly with ostentatious compensator. It spews flames each time it's fired, and has an implausibly large ammunition supply. Overlaps with More Dakka. It was originally supposed to be a Desert Eagle (itself a hand cannon), but they switched to the modified Beretta when they saw that the Desert Eagle looked small in Robocop's hands.
  • Snatch.: Bullet Tooth Tony and his "Desert Eagle. Point five-o."
  • In Split Second (1992), Stone's modified sidearm is massive — and that's lampshaded by multiple characters calling it his personal cannon.
  • John Harrison from Star Trek Into Darkness wields both a hand cannon and a BFG straight from a small spaceship. Justified when he turns out to be Khan Noonien Singh.
  • Han Solo in Star Wars carries the DL-44 heavy blaster pistol, a hand cannon that carries more punch than other blaster pistols in the series. It is shown ripping out chunks of concrete when Han fires it at stormtroopers inside the Mos Eisley spaceport.
  • Travis Bickle buys a massive S&W Model 29 in Taxi Driver. It turns out to be less than effective during the final shootout, and Travis only succeeds in blowing off half of one guy's hand with it before having to discard it in favor of using his other guns.
  • A Western example from True Grit:
    Rooster Cogburn: Why, by God, girl, that's a Colt's Dragoon! You're no bigger than a corn nubbin. What're you doing with all this pistol?
    Mattie Ross: It belonged to my father, he carried it bravely in the war, and I intend to kill Tom Chaney with it if the law fails to do so.
    Rooster Cogburn: Well, this'll sure get the job done if you can find a fence post to rest it on while you take aim.
    • The gun in the movie is actually a Colt Walker, an earlier and slightly bigger version of the Dragoon. Both revolvers use .44 caliber bullets and were considered the most powerful handguns in the Old West.
  • The toon revolver in Who Framed Roger Rabbit is abnormally large. Possibly because all of its bullets are sentient. The real life Colt Buntline, the barrel of which is twelve-inches long, is also used in the third act.

  • In Against a Dark Background by Iain M. Banks, protagonist Sharrow has this literally; the model name of her gun is FrintArms Hand Cannon.
    • Another shows up in the form of a gun much like Killy's from BLAME! in the short story collection State of the Art.
  • The Chandleresque private eye narrator in Blood Harvest packs a Colt 1911. "Some people say the old 1911 Model Army Colt Automatic is big and clumsy and noisy, and I guess it is. But hit a man anywhere with the slug from a .45 and he'll go down and stay down." Gets a Meaningful Echo near the end of the novel, when he establishes that even a vampire will be severely inconvenienced.
  • In Blood Meridian, the Glanton gang carry Colt Walkers, gigantic revolvers made at about the time the book is set. Each one weighs 4.5 pounds and uses .44 caliber ammunition. Toward the end of the book, Judge Holden wields a howitzer cannon as if it were a handgun in a literal example of this trope, but never actually fires it.
  • Burke from Andrew Vachss' books favours large-calibre handguns for quick man-stopping.
  • Ciaphas Cain: The main character encounters a lot of people with very large-caliber boltguns. Of the sort that are normally mounted on tanks. Including Amberley in the book where she shows up in her power armor.
  • In William Gibson's Count Zero Turner wields a .41 caliber revolver loaded with explosive bullets that has a narrow-beam xenon flashlight under the barrel for night fights. At one point he uses it to shoot down a helicopter.
  • Anya of the Damsels of Distress novellas dual-wields a pair of .45 auto revolvers. Being a wendigo, she has the strength and coordination to use them effectively.
  • Roland's revolvers in The Dark Tower series are described as being very, very large .45 Colt Single Action Armies of an incredibly antique vintage, with yellowed sandalwood grips. It's also alluded to that they were forged from the metal of Excalibur.
  • Dr. Theophilus Algernon Tanner of the Death Lands adventure series and his always trusty LeMat revolvernote . He's blown away many a "mutie" with the .63 caliber "grapeshot" round fired from the gun's underbarrel. Jak Lauren packs a .357 Colt Python, which he uses when stabbing the problem to death isn't going to cut it.
  • In the Destroyermen series, when downed US Navy aviators Ensign Fred Reynolds and Ensign Kari-Faask escape from Holy Dominion captivity, the leader of the insurgents who help them, Captain Samuel Anson (of the Army of the New United States), carries a new-production Colt Walker as his sidearm. Considering some of the beasties found in the Americas on altEarth (especially Nueva Grenada), it’s a sensible choice.
  • Brian Mallory, the protagonist's brother from The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, carries a Russian pistol that most definitely qualifies as a Hand Cannon (and is later called that). It was picked from a dead Tzarist officer in Crimea, "isn't exactly regulation," "queer-looking," and presumably shoots something not unlike artillery canister shells. Think giant razor-buckshot rounds, "as thick as a copper's baton." It is single-shot, insanely loud (it even causes friendlies to lose their bearing for a minute) and can literally gib six people at once with a well-placed shot. In other words, a flare gun from Hell.
  • Dirk Pitt Adventures: Kurt Austin carries a custom-made Bowen revolver, essentially a Ruger .44 Magnum bored out to fire the same .50 AE rounds that the Desert Eagle is famous for. His partner Joe Zavala calls it "Kurt's Cannon" and likes to joke that it shoots railroad spikes.
    • Juan Cabrillo from The Oregon Files has a prosthetic leg thanks to an encounter with an ornery Chinese gunboat that left him without the original. One of the variants of his prosthetic is what he has dubbed the "Combat Leg," which is equipped with, among other things, a single-shot .44 Magnum built into the heel that can blast a dinner plate-sized hole in anything in front of it. He later upgrades this to a full-on 12-gauge to dish out even more damage to whatever unfortunate souls who find themselves on the wrong end.
  • In The Dresden Files, magic isn't always the answer. Sometimes a massive gun is. Especially if you're a demon-fueled semi-supernatural entity who can fire a Desert Eagle on the run in heels and still hit a target. Even the eponymous Harry Dresden is known to carry a .44 Dirty Harry, among others. It's also good for tactical variety (to have non-magical weapons), noir-detective vibe, and the occasional phallic joke.
    • Later in the series, Murphy gives Harry a Smith & Wesson .500, which he actually argues is overkill, until he's reminded that his Rogues Gallery now includes mutant Sasquatch, fallen angels, ancient gods, and other things that might not even notice a hit from a .44.
  • In the Western novels of J.T. Edson, the preferred handgun of the Ysabel Kid is a Colt Dragoon, nicknamed "the thumb buster" because of its recoil.
  • In the Executioner series of novels, protagonist Mack Bolan carries a .44 AutoMag, the first automatic pistol to use .44 magnum ammunition. He later switches from that to a Desert Eagle.
  • Honor Harrington has her trademark weapon, a replica Colt M1911 chambered in .45ACP. The 1911 is not quite a Hand Cannon in the 21st century, but when the story takes place (around two thousand years in the future), the standard firearms use gravitic technology to propel streams of tiny darts at railgun velocities, to incredibly gory and lethal effect. Duelling is legal on her home world, but specifies the use of only chemical propellant firearms specifically because the wounds they inflict are survivable. She only has the gun because it was given to her since she's an avid supporter of the Society of Creative Anachronisms note 
  • In the Into the Looking Glass Series, "Two-Gun" Berg's signature weapons for his Power Armor are a pair of handguns that are essentially sawed-off .50 caliber sniper rifles.
  • Frank Rich's Jake Strait tetraology features the title character carrying a gyrapistol, which fired 20mm gyroscopically-stabilized rocket-assisted shells.
  • In the Joe Pickett novels, Nate's firearm of choice is a Freedom Arms Model 83 revolver chambered in .454 Casull with a scope mounted on it.
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer: Johannes uses a Webley .577 to insure that his victims stay dead. Given that he works with the undead, the differently alive, and the never-born, the extra firepower is a wise precaution.
    Johannes: A gun is a tool for killing. It isn't an enterprise that calls for subtlety, only certainty.
  • In R.S. Belcher's King of the Road, even before she joined the Brotherhood of the Wheel, Lovina Marcou (a Louisana police inspector and ex-Army) owned an impressive arsenal (including some highly illegal pieces). After becoming a Brethren, she was able to get her hands on some more goodies. When she had to stop a semi-truck full of abducted children. She draws out that elephant gun in revolver clothing, the Pfeifer Zeliska .600 Nitro Express. 4 shots to the grille took out its engine and when the gunner came out, she shoots him in the chest with the final round. The gunner gets split in half and the round goes through the passenger door and embeds itself deep into the driver's arm. The driver lived but is expected to need that mangled arm amputated.
  • In Jay Posey's Legends of the Duskwalker cyberpunk zombie apocalypse series, the elite bounty hunter/warrior Three carries a massive pistol. It's never stated what calibre the pistol has, but it can only chamber three shells at a time and when fired the shells generate 30 kilojoules of kinetic energy. For comparisons, a .50 BMG comes in at a little over 15 kilojoules.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Mad Amos short stories, the title character packs a LeMat revolver, along with a Sharps .50-caliber rifle that can drop a bull buffalo at a thousand yards.
  • Neuromancer: When facing down Julie Deane, Case finds an old .357 revolver with the trigger guard filed off and the grip built up by old, brown masking tape. It's loaded with explosive bullets, and the recoil nearly breaks Case's wrist.
  • Paladin of Shadows:
    • In Choosers of the Slain, MI6 agent Charles Calthrop pulls out a Winchester .454 revolver, after initially reaching for a service-issue Walther to fight back against multiple gunmen in the defense of Katya and Natalya.
    • The main protagonist's Desert Eagle .50 cal pistol from A Deeper Blue, with large caliber pistols discussed a bit with a terrorist whose head said pistol is aimed at.
  • In Portlandtown The Hanged Man's gun is a red-handled Colt Walker, which never needs reloading.
  • The Postmodern Adventures Of Kill Team One:
    • In Rated R (2014) Victor Hansen uses a .50 Desert Eagle.
    • In Red Scare Sid goes Guns Akimbo with two massive Smith and Wesson Model 460 revolvers (pistols designed to hunt grizzly bears) to try and kill the Ghoul.
  • The main character in the Stephen King novel Roadwork, who has virtually no experience with firearms, walks into a gun shop and buys a .44 Magnum and a Weatherby .460 rifle. He eventually uses both of them to shoot it out with the police who have come to forcibly remove him from his house.
  • Safehold: When Merlin demonstrates his new revolvers in Like a Mighty Army, one of the Siddarmarkian witnesses calls them his "portable twelve-pounders" note . They're .45 caliber, but designed to fire a .45 caliber rifle round instead of a pistol round. Merlin's revolvers are twice the weight of a regular revolver, with a longer barrel ... though the cylinder only holds five rounds instead of the usual six, in order to contain the force of the detonation.
  • In The Salvation War series, the fact that demons are larger and much tougher than humans makes .50 caliber Desert Eagles and Smith & Wesson .500 revolvers the handguns of choice.
  • Late 2010s, cyberpunk series SINless by K.C. Alexander - the first book Necrotech, the main character Riko is recruited by a corporation for a single op and they give her a choice of equipment. Among the stuff picked, she got as a sidearm, a M422A Tactical Revolver "Adjudicator" which fires heavy .525 rounds. These would put fist-sized holes in regular people and was strong enough to One-Hit Kill the necrotech monstrosities in the area (whereas her teammates's 9mm automatics had barely any effect).
  • In The Stainless Steel Rat, a sci-fi action/comedy series by Harry Harrison, James "Slippery Jim" DiGriz (the title's "Stainless Steel Rat") carries a .75 recoilless semiautomatic pistol (usually firing explosive bullets) which, while having been fired repeatedly, has NEVER killed anyone, or even seriously wounded anyone. This is attributed to DiGriz's semi-pacifist beliefs.
  • Inverted in the Raymond Chandler novellas Trouble Is My Business and Red Wind. Both stories feature hard guys carrying .22 target pistols. As Chandler puts it: "This guy uses a twenty-two. He uses it because he's good enough to get by with that much gun. That means he's good."
  • Ultimate Hero has 'Fate', a pistol with two barrels that can fire at supersonic speeds. Played a bit more seriously than normal; firing it has a very high chance of spraining or breaking the shooter's hands.
  • In The Vorrh trilogy by Brian Catling, the protagonist Peter Williams carried a magical bow. Additionally he also carried a Gabbet-Fairfax Mars semi-automatic which was described in story as a contemporary weapon designed for a bygone age when soldiers had to fend off cavalry charges with revolvers. Overly powerful it was a slow weapon by semi-auto standards as shooters had to deal with the tremendous recoil and it had a tendency to fling cartridges into a person's face. However it's damage suited Peter well as he would dismember and bisect mythical creatures with that gun.
  • Eddie Chase in Andy McDermott's Wilde Chase novels favours a .50 Wildey automatic, often being mocked by other characters for the overkill. Subverted in The Sacred Vault where he loses not one, but two Wildeys over the course of the story before even getting a chance to fire them.

    Live Action TV 
  • Bones acquires an extremely large handgun (a S&W .500) when she is being threatened by one of the villains of the week. It is clearly too large for her to handle, as shown in the Halloween episode when she fires it at a bad guy with a shotgun, she misses completely, and it knocks her back, so she gives it to Booth. Even he has trouble firing it successfully. But, boy, does it look threatening. Its ridiculous power eventually comes in handy when Booth uses it to shoot said bad guy through an inch-thick solid-steel door he had taken cover behind, ironically just after he had mocked him for using such an impractical pistol in the first place.
  • Deputy Jo Lupo from Eureka loves Hand Cannons, having an entire drop-down rack of them. When she administered the weapon familiarity test to the sheriff, he had to take it several times to pass.
  • Firefly:
    • Jayne might be better known for his most favorite gun, but his one-handed death-dealing implements are not lacking either. (Nor is the ''quantity'' lacking.) In fact, Jayne's main sidearm is a LeMat, the Civil War era revolver with 9 chambers, as well as a second barrel that can shoot buckshot. That's right, a revolver AND a shotgun.
    • Zoe's main sidearm is a "Mare's Leg," a cut-down Winchester 1892 carbine worn in a hip-holster.
    • Lots of people on Firefly have massive pistols. Jayne's estranged former partner in "Jaynestown" springs to mind.
    • Even Mal gets an honorable mention: his gun fires .303-caliber rifle rounds.
  • Highlander: In the the episode 'The Sea Witch' one of Alexi's thugs carries around a Desert Eagle as his sidearm. Notably it's treated realistically for a large caliber handgun with him grabbing it two-handed and bracing himself the single time he fires it to break out a glass door. It's clear from his behavior with it he considers a big handgun an intimidation tactic rather than a practical weapon.
  • During a gun battle on one episode of NCIS, the Big Bad's weapon lets off a godawful boom and blows huge holes in the scenery.
    McGee: What's he using, a cannon???
    (After which, Ziva identifies it as a .50 caliber.)
  • The New Avengers: In "Gnaws", Gambit thinks enemy agents might be using some kind of specialised armoured transport in the sewers, and arms himself with a handgun which, in his words, will "stop a tank at 30 paces". In the end, it proves just as effective against the actual threat which turns out to be a giant rat.
  • On NYPD Blue, stick-up man Ferdinand Hollie (sort of a proto-Omar) extolls their virtues in "Hollie and the Blowfish".
    Sipowicz: No, you see, I got a vision of a street full o' taxpayers gettin' caught in the crossfire, Ferdinand, while you do business with your thirty-eight.
    Hollie: Forty-four.
    Sipowicz: My mistake.
    Hollie: Niggas see that big gun come out, they don't argue. They lookin' down that big-ass barrel like it's the Lincoln Tunnel, and they Jersey-bound. Man, they give it up, wail like bitches. Only fools stop to trifle with a forty-four.
  • Sledge Hammer!, a comedic parody of Dirty Harry, stars Inspector Hammer and his beloved 44 Magnum. It is not only a blatant phallic symbol, it's the only thing keeping him sane... well when he isn't talking to it... or sleeping with it.
  • The Particle Magnum used by Ronon Dex in Stargate Atlantis.
  • Josh Randall's "Mare's Leg" in the series Wanted: Dead or Alive is a cut down Winchester 1892 Carbine, in a hip holster similar to that of Zoe above.
  • Parodied on SCTV with "Harry Filth," a Dirty Harry-esque cop played by John Candy, who at one point carries a revolver that's much bigger than Harry himself.
  • The Walking Dead (2010): Rick Grimes carries his nickel-plated Colt Python during the zombie apocalypse; a memento of his past life as a Deputy Sheriff. It is the only gun that he keeps throughout the many seasons of the show.
  • The Wire: Omar possesses a Desert Eagle, but he used it on only one occasion, to make a point to Prop Joe. As such, he explicitly used it to threaten someone because it looks flashy. When he's actually out robbing people, he prefers smaller handheld guns or a Sawn-Off Shotgun that he can hide under his trenchcoat.

  • In Hank Williams Jr.'s song "I Got Rights", the singer goes to a gun store and specifically requests a "Smith and Wesson magnum 44" to hunt down the killer of his wife and son.
  • The type of gun used in the Nick Cave song "O'Malley's Bar" is not specified but it is loud ("the thunder from my steely fist made all the glasses jangle"), and powerful enough to blow the head off or disembowel people.
  • This is the defining feature of the eponymous ''Big Iron''. The gun the song was based on was a Colt Buntline Special.

  • In Last Action Hero, Slater takes aim with his Desert Eagle on the playfield, while Benedict has his Dan Wesson on the backglass.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many ranges of tabletop game miniature figures wield massive weapons, even in historical ranges, due to the practicalities of playing with scale-size small arms. However they do seem to go overboard in speculative fiction, with surfboard swords and infantry carbines that look like half a railway sleeper with a hole drilled in one end and a pistol grip and autocannon magazine stuck in the bottom.
  • You can have one in D20, by way of 1001 Science Fiction Weapons by Plain Brown Wrapper Games. Many silly big calibres made obsolete by advances in propellant have come back and even bigger due to advances in the guns themselves, meaning not only does the book have BFGs and many weapons, particularly earlier energy weapons, turn out rather large and heavy, but there is actually a self-loading centrefire pistol available in .75.....
  • Cyberpunk's weaponry supplements have many examples of this, as they're intended for use by and against cyber-enhanced combatants. One of the most memorable is the 'Hellbringer,' a 3-round .666 caliber magnum revolver. There's also the Colt AMT, an eight-shot revolver that fires very large bullets. The caliber is not specified but it causes very high damage in-game. Both of the aforementioned are designed to be used only with cybernetic arms.
    • Characters who have full body cybernetic conversions or are wearing powered armour can also carry firearms such as "assault rifles" chambered in .50 BMG or 14.5x114 RUS, as well as a 4 gauge autoshotgun and a 10 gauge, 6-barrel gatling shotgun with a back-mounted ammo hopper.
    • Then there's Johnny Silverhand's Malorian Arms Ace Customs, culminating at the Malorian 3516 which is explicitly stated to have the same stopping power as a .577 T-Rex, can drop a anything short of a full-body 'borg with one shot, and is only managable at all thanks to Johnny's chrome.
  • The shellcaster in Shards of the Exalted Dream is explicitly identified as a hand cannon. The biggest have barrels the size of a man's thigh.
  • While Feng Shui gives us the standard hand cannons for the contemporary juncture, for those coming from the 2056 juncture, there's really only one gun worthy of Hand Cannon status — the Buro Godhammer, which fires .50 caliber rounds, has a five-round mag, and can be fired full-auto for even nastier damage (though you'll have to reload after).
  • GURPS offers various big guns across the different genres and settings its supplements cover. For example:
    • The magnum pistol from GURPS: Ultra-Tech fires a 15mm round, larger than the bullets in a modern anti-materiel rifle. And then there's the shotgun pistol...
    • Steampunk genre and setting books feature handguns comparable to the largest real-world magnums and slightly larger. This fits; whereas modern firearms have, if anything, tended to use smaller bullets, because they can fit more in a magazine and fire them with higher muzzle velocities, and a slightly smaller, faster bullet will usually do enough damage to take an opponent down, the Steam Age had something of a bigger-is-better approach to weapons design, if anything.
  • Hong Kong Action Theatre actually calls the largest handguns Hand Cannons, which range from your standard .44 Magnum caliber boomers to out-there weapons out of a sci-fi movie.
  • MechWarrior, the tabletop RPG of the BattleTech wargame, has a number of fairly formidable weapons, but the game's nod to this trope is the Sternsnacht handgun. The original is described as a hunting rifle cut down to operate as a pistol, but the knockoffs put out by the companies hoping to cash in on the popularity of the original are large, noisy, extremely heavy for a sidearm (2.5 kg!), have hideous recoil that translates into penalties against the to-hit number, and worst of all, only carry three shots. This makes it a hugely impractical weapon even in spite of the damage it deals.
  • In the Mutant Chronicles universe, every pistol, submachine gun and assault rifle looks far beefier than it should have to be, and a lot of the Dark Legion's weapons are handcannons, the Ezoghoul's favorite weapon is actually called the "Blutarch Hand cannon."
  • Downplayed in Pathfinder. 2nd edition has the supplement Guns and Gears which features an actual weapon called the Hand Cannon. This is a Tian Xian weapon that's one of the earliest blackpowder weapons created and it shows. It does a weak 1d6 damage and lacks the Deadly Aim trait that allows other firearms to do more damage when properly aimed. What it does have as an advantage is that its barrel is so wide it can fit all kinds of oddly-shaped projectiles, this gives the gun the Modular trait which changes the damage type to whatever the wielder wants to put in his gunbarrel.
  • Rifts has a fair number of large handguns, including a plasma Cartridge pistol with a bore two inches wide, weapons deliberately designed for large humanoids, and a laser pistol with its own under-slung Grenade Launcher.
  • In Scion, Eric Donner, Scion of Thor, (one of the "canned characters" in the gamebooks) has as his signature weapon an oversized revolver called "Giantkiller." In addition to being a huge gun with oversized ammo (which he has to have custom-made), thanks to his divine parentage, it can shoot lightning.
  • The Shadowrun Eichiro Hatamoto II is a pistol that fires a single shotgun slug. It's recommended not to miss. Then there's the Remington Roomsweeper, which is kind of like a Sawed-Off Shotgun, except not. It's a pistol that fires shotgun slugs. It's noted that it's damn hard to fire.
    • The Ruger Bloodhawk and Super Warhawk, as well as the Krime Stopper are all somewhat oversized for their catagories - the Krime Stopper, especially, is essentially a sawed off shotgun that is classified as a light pistol; thing to keep in mind is that most of these weapons are made for orks and trolls, who're significantly larger than other metahumans; while still big, these guns are more reasonably sized for them.
  • SLA Industries has the BLA 046M 'Blitzer' which is a 12.7mm revolver. Additionally there are the only slightly smaller K.K20 'Panther' and K.K30 'Ripper' which are both arm-mounted automatic pistols that fire powerful 12mm rounds.
  • The role-playing version of Starship Troopers has the somewhat oddball example of the Emancipator Heavy Pistol sidearm. The Mobile Infantry Field Manual sure talks a big game about it and it has a massive penalty to hit if the user isn't in Power Armor. But unlike the other guns listed on this page, the Emancipator has a rather small calibre at 7.62mm (though it does use a rifle cartridge).
  • Underground from Mayfair Games with artwork by Peter Chung has the premise where your characters are mustered out Super-Soldier and as such you can expect the firearms to get really big. In this system, the most famous handgun is the Urban Nightmare which uses a devastating 30mm round. In this game, that's actually a bit on the light side (firearms can reach 75mm) but the Urban Nightmare is famed for their stylish construction and the unique depleted uranium ammo the gun uses - these shells will halve enemy armor.
  • In Unhallowed Metropolis, zombies aren't bothered much by low calibre ammo, so two of the big boys are the Magwitch Terminus revolver and the Westgate Executioner semi-automatic which both fire 12mm handgun rounds. Even more powerful are the heavy revolvers of Kramer Arms and the custom heavy revolvers from Lion Arms (the latter can break a character's wrist, if shot without a special arm brace).
  • The oversized bolt pistols and SMGs of Warhammer 40,000. .75 caliber rocket-assisted rounds. Don't forget the plasma pistols too. The space marine version even moreso, since it's designed for people who are at least eight feet tall and would require a tripod for a human to wield. The Primaris Marine bolt pistols bear special mention because they are Hand Cannons by Space Marine standards.
    • The Exitus Pistol of the Vindicare Assassins are huge pistols that rival the .75 caliber bolt pistol in size. Each one uses the same ammo as their massive sniper rifle and would break a normal human's hand when firing (Imperial assasins had extensive bio-engineering surgery to give them superhuman strength).
    • Dark Heresy has a pistol that is actually named Hand Cannon. While not the most powerful sidearm in the game by any standard, it is fairly effective (especially when loaded with armor-piercing rounds) and its low price makes it attractive to players who can't afford a bolt pistol (there are plasma pistols and Inferno pistols as well, but they're so rare and expensive they only exist in the game to taunt you. And for it's sibling systems, where you usually have more requisition power).
  • Subverted in Warmachine where many warcasters carry guns that are called Hand Cannons but which are no bigger than the setting's average handgun. Most of the time.
    • Only a partial subversion as they hit just as hard (or even slightly harder) than the full rifles used by the rank-and-file troops. Hand Cannons have a range of 12 inches and are Power 12 while the military rifles issues to Cygnaran Trenchers are only Range 10 and Power 11. Even in the new RPG; compare the hand cannon (which has the same stats as in the wargame) with a normal repeating pistol shows that it's worthy of the name.
  • In the World of Darkness games (especially the Old World of Darkness game Vampire: The Masquerade), the impracticality of the hand cannon - and especially the Desert Eagle .50 - actually became a plot point, explained by Vampires (and anyone else with sufficient Super-Strength and economic/political power) influencing gun manufacturers to produce weapons suitable for supernatural combat.

  • Any LEGO handgun. The revolver, which is the smallest, is the size of a minifig's arm.
  • The Nerf Brand Maverick chambers darts only slightly longer than the usual ammunition, but the gun itself is big enough to make Dirty Harry blush. That said, even standard Nerf ammo is larger than many pistol bullets - classic Micro Darts are as large as rifle bullet cartridges, Mega Darts are big enough that "gun" is no longer appropriate and "cannon" is more suitable, and RIVAL High-Impact Rounds are balls that compare quite terrifyingly to shotgun slugs.
    • The Nerf Recon and Retaliator both are essentially hand cannons, just with detachable barrel extensions and stocks. The Dart Tag 2012 Speedload 6 is essentially a stockless oversized pistol chambered for rifle rounds in terms of size, and the Zombie Strike Hammershot is an absolutely massive hammer-action revolver, such that small hands would have trouble working the thumb hammer.
    • The 2013 Elite MEGA series Magnus pistol and its revolver counterpart, the Cycloneshock, use the same darts as the 156cm-long Elite MEGA Centurion blaster. Yes, they are sizeable handcannons that chamber anti-materiel rifle rounds. Yikes.
    • The 2018 RIVAL Kronos XVIII-500 is a pistol that chambers five High-Impact Rounds, a type of ball projectile that hits harder than regular Nerf darts. Even though it is pistol-sized, it still hits as hard as any other RIVAL blaster.
  • In the post-series Transformers: Generation 1 toyline, "Action Masters" were Transformers who gave up the ability to transform in exchange for greater physical prowess and to be "more alive" as the commercial put it. Some apparently felt the need to compensate further, as they came with accessories (usually weapons) that do transform: Kick-Off, for instance, has a handgun with a barrel as long as his arm and as wide as his fist. Several others, like Krok, Rad, and Banzai-Tron, had partners who transformed into extensions of their already-sizable guns, increasing their size and power dramatically. Kick-Off's own weapon can be enhanced by transforming his jetpack and attaching it, making it roughly the size of his entire body but still held in one hand. Meanwhile, Overrun normally pilots a helicopter, but it apt to tear off its primary weapon (which is freaking huge relative to his body; this is a very small helicopter, of course) and use it on foot.

    Video Games 
  • 7.62 High Calibre has several, including the .357 Colt Python, the Garza 12.7mm (.50 caliber) revolver, and the .44 Desert Eagle. They tend to be significantly more powerful than any other handgun weapon, but severely hampered by lack of balance, slow firing, and small clip size. In most cases, a normal handgun (or small submachine gun) is more useful.
  • Advent Rising introduces what is described as a handgun that fires ".90 calibre armour-piercing concussive rounds" and can be dual-wielded. Obtaining a good level of handgun skills allows protagonist Gideon to fire the weapon in rapid three-round bursts that can match the rate of fire of any machinegun in the game. This is trumped by an energy pistol powered by a miniature fusion generator which hits significantly harder and can still be dual-wielded. Better skill in with this handgun allows Gideon to fire grenades at the cost of more ammo. This is then matched by a Seeker energy pistol which, while it starts off weaker, can become stronger when Gideon learns the skill needed to fire hideously powerful rounds which can bounce between upwards of four enemies at the cost of extra ammo. This, too, can be dual wielded. About the only thing limiting total arm cannon carnage is ammo consumption.
  • In Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Hand Cannon is used as a term to classify one of three types of Handguns, alongside Machine Pistols and Riot Guns. As the name suggests, guns in the Hand Cannon category emphasize damage- and often stopping power in the form of Stumble percentage- over magazine capacity and rate of fire. This even includes a modification of the underslung grenade launcher removed from a newer model of the iconic Pulse Rifle!
  • Carnby's custom-made, twin-barrelled .44 magnum revolver in Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare.
  • In Case 3 of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the victim is shot with a huge, 45-caliber revolver. The gun is described as being able to not only knock the target off their feet if hit with a shot from it, but capable of dislocating the shoulder of the shooter if they aren't used to firing such a powerful weapon. In appearance, it's described as "making normal revolvers look like water pistols," giving the impression that this is a huge (and very, VERY intimidating) weapon. Klavier even calls it a hand cannon at one point.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has a weapon that the player can construct from parts called the Hand Cannon. It's a wooden grip, a trigger, and what looks to be at least an inch-wide barrel.
  • The Revolver Shotgun of Ghalt from Battleborn is exactly what it is, a hybrid of a revolver and a shotgun. For added damage, he can pull out a second one.
  • Battlefield Heroes: The Royal army has Harry's Hand Cannon, which falls under the Pistol category.
  • BioShock Infinite has a weapon even named the Hand Cannon, a revolver based on the 1851 Colt Navy revolver. Unlike the other handgun in the game — the weak, but reliable semi-automatic Pistol (resembling a modest Mauser C96) — the Hand Cannon has a ridiculous kick to it on the level of a shotgun, able to kill a regular enemy in around 2 shots.
  • There are a few examples in the 1997 Blade Runner video game. Most distinctive is Crystal's sidearm, which is huge and literally sounds like a shotgun. If the player obtains a certain ammo upgrade, his pistol essentially becomes one of these as well.
  • Noel Vermillion in BlazBlue wields Bolverk, two guns the length or her arms that, when they're not firing their explosive bullets, instead teleports them straight into her opponents. Their ability to distort spacetime is also used to explain their Bottomless Magazines. Bolverk is hardly the most absurdly oversized weapon Noel can pull out in the game.
  • Bloodborne:
    • The Healing Church has the Repeating Pistol, a firearm that would've been pretty hefty even wthout the second barrel. The gun's ability to shoot two bullets at once makes the Repeating Pistol one of the most damaging firearms in the game, only beaten in sheer damage output by the Arm Cannons, though it also imposes a double bullet consumption per shot compared to most other pistol-type firearms.
    • The Cainhurst Vilebloods faction, in the meantime, has the Evelyn, a slender pistol with a barrel the length of a forearm, hand included. Bullet-by-bullet it is also the most powerful firearm in the game.
  • Borderlands:
    • Almost every revolver in Borderlands counts (save for the faster-firing, lower-damage Law variants, which fit the role of Punch-Packing Pistol better, and the Masher), being essentially more compact Sniper Rifles to be used at medium-short ranges. One bullet on a critical spot is often enough to kill non-badass enemies of the same level as the player.
    • Borderlands 2:
      • Torgue makes pistols called Hand Cannons, fitting Torgue's fame of outdamaging every single manufacturer, even if the Hand Cannons themselves are not the most powerful of Torgue's lineup.
      • Most any pistol with the long Jakobs or heavy Torgue barrel, both of which dramatically increase damage per shot. In fact, the most powerful non-unique pistol is the Slapper, a Torgue pistol with the Torgue barrel.
      • The Maggie is a shotgun pistol like the first game's Mashers, with decent damage to boot.
      • The Rex is described by its flavor text as "a very big gun". Unlike other Jakobs guns, which fire faster the quicker you mash the fire button, Rex has a very slow firing speed but unparalleled per-shot damage – meaning it handles exactly like you'd expect a huge, powerful pistol to.
      • The Unforgiven is essentially a handheld Sniper Rifle, with the same Critical Hit bonus, accuracy, and single shot damage as most snipers.
      • The Pocket Rocket whose massive explosive area borders on grenades and rockets more than the standard Torgue gyrojet and fires pretty damn fast to boot.
      • The Unkempt Harold, which doesn't just have outstanding firepower for a pistol but outguns quite a few full-sized guns as well. It is considered one of the strongest guns in the game. Being a Torgue gun it combines nicely with Axton's "Gunpowder" skill tree which boosts both gun and grenade damage, something all Torgue guns do.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War notably has a fictionalized Desert Eagle literally referred to as "Hand Cannon" as new scorestreak added in Season 4. True to its name, the gun can pulverizes a soldier with just one shot and even can function as impromptu anti-aircraft gun.
  • Carnivores: The mobile version introduced a powerful revolver, a Smith & Wesson Model 500. It has the highest damage of any weapon in-game, capable of killing dinosaurs within 1-3 shots (excluding the T-Rex which can only be killed via a shot in the eye). However, its damage decreases over range, restricting it as a close quarters weapon.
  • Masterminds with the Thugs powerset in City of Villains get a pair of large pistols.
  • The Doctor in Cry of Fear carries the Taurus .357 Magnum, which the player can use in Doctor Mode. It will take down smaller enemies in one shot.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 has a modest selection of hand cannons (usually revolvers), but also has the Malorian Arms 3516, the one-of-a-kind hand cannon owned by legendary rockerboy Johnny Silverhand.
  • The Dark Forces Saga features badass mercenary (and later badass Jedi battlemaster) Kyle Katarn. He's most known for being one of a very small number of Jedi who is a firm believer of Sword and Gun combat. His weapon of choice is the Bryar blaster pistol, which started life as a full blown blaster rifle before his dad cut it down to look less old-fashioned. Just how huge is this thing? Here is an image of Kyle holding the Bryar pistol, suggesting it's twice the size of his arm. Even this official art for the Dark Forces Novelization depicts a weapon that would probably be very heavy to carry for some time. Interestingly, while its single shots are of middling damage, the Bryar as of Jedi Outcast has a Charged Attack that can send a stormtrooper flying in one charged shot.
  • Dead Space 2's reward for completing its hardest difficulty is a weapon known as the hand cannon, which is in actuality your character using a fingergun inside of a foam finger and going "bang, bang" or "pew, pew" when you "fire." This causes the enemies to explode instantly. It also qualifies as a Bragging Rights Reward.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: The Gunner's sidearm, the "Bulldog" Heavy Revolver, is one of these. It has only four bullets at a time, but those bullets are the most individually damaging in the game. The description explicitly states they're 26mm; for reference, in reality the biggest available rifle bullet is around 24mm. Dwarves like their weapons big. And the "Elephant Rounds" Unstable Overclock lets you fire even bigger bullets, at the cost of only three bullets per reload, less ammo overal and absolutely brutal recoil; hefty price, but it'll blast Praetorians open like nothing else. One of his other sidearms, the ArmsKore Coil Gun, is if anything even bigger, sacrificing firing speed to just blast a ball of tungsten the size of a golf ball through everything, including walls. Mission Control warns you to keep it very secured while aboard the Space Rig, because it could well punch a hole in the hull.
  • In Destiny and its sequel, one of the weapon classes is outright called "hand cannons". They're oversized revolvers with low fire rate and range but massive damage with a larger precision hit damage bonus than any other weapon type besides sniper rifles. They're classified as primary weapons, on par with full-sized assault rifles.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution features a fairly powerful and accurate .357 magnum revolver that can be upgraded to fire bullets that explode on impact. It deals more damage than the game's other handgun, a 10mm auto pistol - even though .357 magnum is a smaller, slower round.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Nero of Devil May Cry 4 and Devil May Cry 5 has the Blue Rose, a customized Smith & Wesson Model 500 with barrels at the twelve and six o'clock positions of its six-shot cylinder (normal M500s have five shots), which somehow fires two shots at once with a single hammer as stated in its description. He can fire it one-handed, and it can later be upgraded to have a demon-powered Charged Attack that fires delayed-detonation high-explosive rounds. With the "Color Up" skill in DMC5, Nero can fire special multi-hitting rounds that easily stun smaller enemies.
    • Dante's signature pair of Ebony & Ivory pistols look like handcannons, but they're more like heavily customized Colt .45 M1911s. What gives them their Hand cannon status, however, is that the bullets fired by them are charged (and somehow reloaded) by Dante's power. Nico's Note for Dante in The Art of Devil May Cry 5 even outright calls his Ebony & Ivory as "hand cannons".
  • The heavy pistols from Dirty Bomb are these. Two headshots from these weapons are enough to kill majority of the mercenaries.
  • The guns in the Disgaea series are all above average as far as size goes, but it's taken to a ridiculous extreme in Disgaea 4, where a giant monster unit can magichange into a handgun that's as big as the wielder. Considering that the wielder can't even reach the trigger, it seems logical to assume that the monster turned weapon is capable of firing of its own accord.
  • Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project has Duke start with a large handgun with a shiny gold finish.
    Duke: Say hello to my little friend...
  • In Dungeon Fighter Online, the Launcher class' preferred weapons of choice are a pair of literal hand cannons. They have a passive skill called "Hand Cannon Mastery," which increase the attack speed and damage of a hand cannon, which in turn fires by creating small, short-ranged explosions that can hit multiple enemies and ignores obstacles. It's also the only way a launcher can use the skill Cannonball, which shoots an orb of energy.
  • The Empire at War Expansion Pack, Forces of Corruption, features Tyber Zann, leader of the corrupt fraction, who has a handgun that can blow away a whole squad of infantry.
  • Most of the pistols in E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy are this. The Black Crow fires .50cal bullets from a 13 round magazine. The BK222 revolver fires .222 rifle ammunition which can kill most enemies in one hit. And finally, the Bear Killer pistol fires .444 armor-piercing bullets that can take out an attack helicopter with a couple blasts.
  • Fallout:
    • The first two games have the .223 pistol — apparently a cut down .223 hunting rifle that's been "lovingly handcrafted" into a pistol. It looks suspiciously like Deckard's gun from Blade Runner, and .223 is almost never used to hunt with, but it's still a rifle round in a pistol package. It is justified, in an odd way, since the outer casing of the gun in Blade Runner is the lock section of a real .222 rifle.
    • The 14mm pistol also counts. There's some background info that explains before the end of the world that it was a hunting pistol.
    • And, after a noted absence in 3, both return in Fallout: New Vegas — the 14mm (now 12.7mm) pistol is a bona fide Hand Cannon, boasting the highest damage of all semi-auto handguns, but the .223 pistol, AKA "That Gun" is a unique revolver with no common counterpart in the base game, note  actuated components, and still chambered for .223 (or more accurately, the .223's military counterpart, the 5.56x45mm NATO).
    • New Vegas also introduces the Hunting Revolver, an oversized big bore revolver, based on the Magnum Research BFR ("Big Frame Revolver"), that shoots .45-70 Gov't rifle rounds. It's the most damaging non-unique handgun in the entire game. Its (semi-) unique counterpart, the Ranger Sequoia, does even more damage.
    • Arcade Gannon packs his own personal Plasma Defender which, along with a stylish design, packs quite a mean wallop.
    • The unique weapon Pew Pew is a modified laser pistol that has only two shots in spite of taking 10 energy cells in its magazine. In exchange for draining five batteries with each shot, it does over six times the damage of a standard laser pistol, four times the Critical Hit damage, and has a boosted critical hit chance besides. Several perks can boost its damage from 75 per shot to 100 per shot, making it more powerful than several higher-tier guns. Contrary to the expectations of hand cannons, Pew Pew is the same size and weight as a laser pistol, and has no additional skill or strength requirements to use—a starting player can use it just as easily as a seasoned Mojave Courier.
    • Fallout 3 has the Blackhawk, a powered-up unique version of the Scoped .44 Magnum, earned by bringing a sheet music book to Agatha after completing her quest. Broken Steel also has the even more-powerful Callahan's Magnum (Shout-Out to Dirty Harry), but the only way to obtain that is to commit the ultimate betrayal by Kill Satting the Brotherhood's citadel.
    • In Fallout 4, the go-to special Hand Cannon is Kellogg's .44 Magnum, the gun he used to murder your spouse. With the game's Design-It-Yourself Equipment, any pistol could be made to be this with the right mods: you could fit your gun with a pistol grip (so the game classes it as a pistol) but also give it an enormous magazine, a long barrel meant for a sniper rifle, and a muzzle break.
      • The add-on Nuka World adds the Western Revolver, which is a variant of the .44 Magnum with a different set of mods that includes a longer, cowboy styled barrel. It has even better damage than the .44 Magnum, despite using the same ammunition.
  • Far Cry 3 has in the base game the ".44 Magnum" and "D50" (aka Smith & Wesson Model 629 and IMI Desert Eagle Mark XIX) as the strongest handguns and of course the D50 is the last one you can unlock. The "Cannon" pistol, the Signature version of the .44 Magnum, comes with a scope, longer barrel, and a sight and is unlocked with Ubisoft's uPlay service. A Pre-Order Bonus for multiplayer is the IJN Type 10 flare gun, a very rare flare gun that was converted to shoot shotgun shells. The shells are 35mm, which is close to the size that a small punt gun would fire. And you shoot it one-handed. Despite it's immense size it somehow does even less damage then the D50, which may seem like a case of arbritrary gun power, but remember that flare gun rounds are slow (mass alone does not give bullets high energy, velocity is also need).
  • Vincent Valentine's Cerberus in Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus is a gigantic, aggressively ridiculously designed revolver with three cylinders, three hammers linked to one trigger and three barrels. Even with the normal barrel the weapon is the size of his own leg, and it can be fitted with an even sillier three-foot "sniper" barrel. His Infinity Plus One Gun is the Death Penalty. In his earlier appearance in Final Fantasy VII, it looked like this, which is not quite a Hand Cannon. Come Dirge of Cerberus, and it looks like this.
  • The Culverin weapon in Final Fantasy XI, which actually looks more like a modern-day shotgun ingame, is unique in that it does not accept regular ammunition of any sort, instead opting for cannon shells that are significantly less efficient inventory-wise.
  • Any and all guns in Final Fantasy XII's Ivalice, which more accurately resemble shotguns in size but can be fired one-handed. Particularly noticeable in Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, where Balthier's Ras Algheti is the size of his torso.
    • Fomalhaut's barrel in FFXII is roughly as thick as Vaan's arm. Overall, the gun's looks and sheer damage output make it seem more like a Grenade Launcher.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has the Revolver of the Wanderer which is roughly the size of the wielder's entire leg and - like the Ivalice example above - is fired one-handed. Ironically, does not come from XIV's Ivalice raids, but rather is bought with PVP currency.
    • Interestingly, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has smaller guns, but also smaller wielders—they're used by a class only available to Moogles, the smallest playable species. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 reintroduces hand cannons as a separate weapon type from the small guns, making them available both to Moogles and to Bangaa, although the animation doesn't make it clear if they're being fired one-handed like they were in Tactics.
  • Fortnite has a high-caliber pistol that is basically a Desert Eagle and is indeed called the Hand Cannon. It has the highest damage per shot of all the handguns available, uses the heaviest and most difficult-to-find type of bullet, has the slowest fire rate of said handguns, and is extremely loud thus potentially alerting enemies to your position. Like pump shotguns, it is ideal to have two Hand Cannons for keeping a high rate-of-fire by switching between guns per shot.
  • The strongest handgun in The Godfather: The Game is a "magnum" that already rivals the shotgun for power at both their first levels. You can upgrade it. Have fun. The sequel takes it to ridiculous lengths: You start with .357, upgrade to .44, then hit .50 and a real cash-purchased extra gives you .700.
  • The Cougar Magnum in GoldenEye (which can even shoot through walls), and its Perfect Dark counterpart, the DY 357. Both sound like cannons, too.
  • Grand Theft Auto: The Desert Eagle has appeared in the series since Vice City (albeit only cutscenes in that game only so far) and on, it is often regarded as being the most powerful hand gun in the series with great accuracy, making it one of the superior weapons.
    • Vice City did have its own player-accessible Hand Cannon in the form of a Colt Python revolver.
  • The weird, silent techno-zombie (or Deadman, as called in the series) Beyond the Grave in Gungrave wields not one, but two very large pistols called Cerberus (Left Head and Right Head, respectively). Heck, his frickin' coffin is a mobile weapons platform!
    • Then in Gungrave Overdose there's Fangoram who wields the massive "Center Head" which is bigger than both of them and fires what can only be described as small artillery rounds, and is strong enough to critically injure Grave to the point where his Regeneration powers can't close his wounds properly, leaving Grave in a near-comatose state for a while...until he snaps out of it by sheer force of will.
  • For some reason, the most powerful and second-most accurate gun in Half-Life 2 is a .357 Magnum. And this is with the futuristic pulse rifles and sniper-crossbows. Balanced by the high recoil, low rate of fire and small amount of ammunition Gordon can carry for it.
    • One of the Expansion packs, Opposing Force, gives the HECU marine protagonist the actual desert eagle.
  • The M6 series of pistols in Halo is chambered for 12.7x40mm (necked-down .50 BMG) high-explosive armor-piercing rounds. Seems like overkill at first, perhaps, but against the Covenant, whose forces include eight-foot-tall aliens in shielded power armor and 12-foot-tall walking siege units with tank-grade armor and decentralized nervous systems, such apparently-overpowered ammo might just be justified.
  • Hands of Necromancy have a large-bore flintlock pistol called the Pistol Cannon. It's the only firearm you can obtain in the entire game, but being blessed you can use to to blow away ghosts, demons, and creatures from hell easily.
  • The House of the Dead: OVERKILL has G and Washington using these as their default guns - they're AMS' standard firearm, apparently.
  • Hunt: Showdown has several weapon variants designated as "Handcannon", which are Sawed-Off Shotguns that take two weapons slots instead of three. The weapon that fits this trope the best though is the Caldwell Conversion Uppercut, a revolver modified to take rifle rounds.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 lets you purchase a number of positively enormous revolvers, especially in the v1.13 mod. There is also a sidequest which nets you a pair of custom-modified Automag pistols chambered to fire 7.62 Nato rounds. In 1.13 they take .50 Beowulf rounds instead. If you've got a dual-wielding merc on your team, this is that gun-for-hire's wet dream.
  • In Killer7, the persona Dan Smith uses a Colt Python as his primary weapon. While this is large enough to qualify for this trope as is, he receives a mid-game upgrade: the Demon Gun, a double barreled, twelve-shell cylinder revolver, which appears to be larger than his head in several cut scenes. MASK goes one better by using a pair of cut-down grenade launchers.
  • Killing Floor has Desert Eagles renamed "Hand Cannons."
  • The sequel Killing Floor 2 takes it up a notch by introducing their own version Smith & Wesson Model 500 called the "T&W 500 Zed Collector" (though known as the "500 Magnum Revolver" in the actual game) and they can be dual-wielded, a feat that even surpasses the Desert Eagle's dual-wielding antics in sheer ridiculousness. It's very powerful in-game, even on hard and above.
  • Left 4 Dead 2: downplayed with the Magnum Pistol, modeled after the IWI Desert Eagle. It deals about as much damage as a sniper rifle, and One Hit Kills all common infected in any difficulty, and unlike the regular pistols, it retains its accuracy and rate of fire if a player using it is incapacitated. It's balanced out by low magazine capacity, high recoil, less rate of fire, cannot be wielded Guns Akimbo, and its firepower falters against most Special Infected unless you score a lucky headshot.
  • Mass Effect
    • The pistol weapons in Mass Effect are rather large for a human being... but since the grip is intended to be large to allow a variety of species' hands to use it, we don't know what it's made of (light weight nano composites?) or how the technology would realistically act, it could very well be a Justified Trope given how most of the weapons expand from a storage mode.
    • You can put together a pretty cool one in the first game with explosive rounds.
    • In Mass Effect 2 one of the pistol type weapons is the literal the Carnifex Hand Cannon. It is an excellent weapon against armored opponents.
    • The Phalanx heavy pistol from the Firepower Pack DLC does it one better. Besides being a literal Sniper Pistol, the thing is positively enormous. It doesn't help that, unlike other weapons, it doesn't fold up while holstered, making it look borderline ridiculous (they fixed that problem in 3).
    • And in Mass Effect 3, not only do the Carnifex and Phalanx return, they're outdone by two new weapons. The Paladin is explicitly stated to be an even more powerful variant of the Carnifex, and the Talon is a shotgun revolver.
    • Also making an appearance in 3 is the Scorpion. It's one of the heaviest pistols in the game and fires Sticky Grenades.
    • The Groundside Resistance Pack adds the Executioner, a pistol whose strength is on par with most sniper rifles and is one of the few weapons (and the only pistol) who's shots can penetrate cover without the use of an armor-piercing mod or the Armor Piercing Ammo power. This power comes at the cost of massive recoil, a slow firing rate, only firing a single shot per thermal clip, and being extremely heavy for a pistol. Still, it weights less than sniper rifles with equivalent power so it can be outfitted with a scope to serve as a highely effective Sniper Pistol for power-using classes.
    • Subverted with the pre-order bonus weapon, the N7 Eagle. Its description blatantly says it was named after the Desert Eagle, but instead of being a low capacity Hand Cannon, it does low damage per shot, is fully automatic, and has a huge capacity, to the point where some players using power-intensive classes will use the Eagle as a replacement for an ASSAULT RIFLE.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has the Desert Eagle Action Express .50 aka the Agents' and Smith's gun. You can actually use it against them, though it takes the same amount of bullets to kill people.
  • Fefnir in Mega Man Zero has two. Justified as he was built as a heavy weapons specialist and is strong enough to do it.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid, Meryl stated that she picked up a Desert Eagle over the only fractionally more reasonable .45 SOCOM that Solid Snake himself uses. Snake remarked that the gun is "a little big for a girl," and offered to trade guns.
    • While Snake's MK-23 SOCOM is technically not a Hand Cannon due to it using low energy .45 ACP rounds, it is nonetheless a huge pistol: being almost as large as a Desert Eagle(!). Even men of Snake's build find it too big and heavy, and in real life was abandoned by the US Navy Seals for that reason. This is noted in some Codec sequences. Snake's conviction that Meryl would find the SOCOM more her style therefore isn't entirely insulting.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, alongside Meryl having upgraded to a long-barreled and scoped Desert Eagle, Liquid Ocelot has a .45-70 "hand rifle" that needs to be reloaded after one shot, but when obtained as a bonus weapon for completing an emblem challenge, it one-shots most PMC mooks. Same for in multiplayer.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker allows the player to develop the Kampfpistole, a flare gun converted to fire grenades.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
      • Revolver Ocelot upgrades from Colt Single Action Army revolvers to Tornado-6 hand cannons (based on the Mateba Unica 6). The Tornado-6 can one-shot unarmored enemies and two-shot armored ones, while retaining the SAA's ricochet gimmick. Ocelot dual wields them in FOB Missions, enabling the player to quickly kill armored guards once stealth is broken.
      • Skull Face uses a Mare's Leg as his personal sidearm. Ingame, the Diamond Dogs can develop a number of different hand cannons of their own, ranging from .44 Magnum revolvers to shotgun revolvers to grenade pistols.
  • In MDK2, Max the four-armed robot dog carries an unique infinite-ammo magnum revolver specially made for him by Dr. Fluke Hawkins. This and the other Magnums he can find, are the weakest of Max's weapons which are all sized to fit in one hand, including the gatling guns and shotguns.
  • All of the major antagonists in the Modern Warfare series carry a hand cannon and use them in major plot events:
    • Imran Zakhaev in Call of Duty 4 brandishes a .50AE Desert Eagle, which he lends to Al-Asad to execute a Middle Eastern president live on television. In the finale Zakhaev uses the Deagle to execute an injured Gaz.
    • General Shepherd in Modern Warfare 2 wields a .44 Magnum Colt Anaconda as his weapon. He is shown shooting it at the Opfor in Afghanistan. After receiving the DSM with Makarov's files from Roach and Ghost, Shepherd draws his .44 Magnum and shoots them both, clearing up "loose ends". He then burns their bodies for good measure.
    • Makarov in Modern Warfare 3 in the finale is shown with a gold-plated Desert Eagle. He tries to kill Captain Price with it, but Yuri shoots him with his pistol, causing Makarov to kill him instead of Price. Our cigar chomping hero uses this distraction to beat up Makarov then tie a loose cable around his neck and smash through the glass ceiling they were standing on, hanging the villainous bastard responsible for WWIII.
  • One version of Nexus Clash had a version of the Walker Colt built from faded dust-metal in the land of the dead. It was easily the most powerful firearm in the game - until you had to find ammo to reload it. A later version upped the ante with a literal shipboard cannon wielded as a handgun by characters with Super-Strength.
  • In Outcast, outside of the starting 9mm handgun, every weapon that Cutter has is one of these. His baseline weapon will be a futuristic 7.62mm machine pistol with a massive magazine and shoots tracer bullets. It only goes up from there as he gets a handheld mortar, a handheld rocket pod, and a pistol-sized flamethrower.
  • Overwatch:
    • Cassidy/McCree has his Peacekeeper revolver, which has been shown to be stupidly huge when brought into the real world. It's implied to be at least .44 caliber. It's also a lethal piece of kit, doing up to 70 non-critical damage (this is just enough to perform frighteningly reliable double-taps on most non-tank enemies).
    • Reaper subverts this. From the official trailer, it's easy to see he's dual-wielding oversized handguns.... But they're actually Hellfire Shotguns.
  • Word of God says that Persona 3 villain Takaya's revolver is an S&W 500.
    • And then there's the Reaper, who dual wields two revolvers with barrels longer than he is.
  • Persona 5: Makoto Niijima uses revolvers that are much longer and do considerably more damage per shot than the main character's pistols or another party member's submachine guns, but can only hold a few shots per reload. These include a simply named "Revolver", a Colt Single Action Army "Peacemaker", and a U.S. Colt Cavalry.
  • Phoenix Point: The Nergal's Wrath pistol manufactured by the Disciples of Anu is outright described as a hand cannon. It's unique among pistols in that it takes 2 action points to shoot rather than 1, inflicts almost as much damage as the basic sniper rifle, and destroys a small amount of the target's armor.
  • In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, party member Serafen starts off with a unique blunderbuss named the Hand Mortar. It is unique in that, unlike other blunderbusses which act more like fantasy shotguns, the Hand Mortar is basically a handheld mini grenade launcher. Completing his personal quest rewards you with a second one named "Fire in the Hole", allowing Serafen to dual wield mini grenade launchers.
  • PlanetSide 2 has the Underboss and Commissioner revolvers, which are the two most powerful pistols in the game; the snub-nosed Underboss fires .357 magnum, and the foot long Commissioner, .44 magnum. The Commissioner can one-hit-kill infiltrators with a headshot and both can kill anyone else with three body shots. Both are capable of mounting low-powered optics, and their low damage dropoff makes them excellent improvised ranged weapons for users carrying shotguns or sub-machineguns. Their curious split-cylinder reloading mechanisms allows them to be reloaded very quickly if half or less of their cylinders have been fired. All in all, Revolvers Are Just Better.
  • Zig Zagged in Redneck Rampage. The revolver has such a mean kick, it pushes Leonard back a bit with each shot and can only be fired once per second or so. The manual explains that it's a .454 Casull. Unfortunately its damage per bullet is far lower than a regular Hand Cannon's – it takes three shots to kill a Skinny Old Coot clone, the weakest enemies in the game. It goes both ways as well: the Coot clones also carry this revolver, and being shot by them doesn't really hurt all that much even when you're sobernote .
  • Resident Evil games usually have a Magnum serving as one of the most powerful weapons. Ammo's rare and it's usually slow to fire, but they typically kill zombies, Hunters, Lickers, et cetera in one hit. Players often reserve their ammunition entirely for the boss fights, as they tend to be the best weapons.
    • Resident Evil: "I have THIS!" Barry's beloved Magnum in the Remake can One-Hit Kill the Tyrant's first form. The regular Magnum only takes a bit more than that.
    • In Resident Evil 2, Leon gets the .50AE Desert Eagle, which is a one-hit kill to zombies and lickers, and a two-hit kill to anything else short of a boss. Apparently unsatisfied with this level of death, however, it's eventually customized with a ten-inch barrel that, in addition to one-hit killing everything short of a boss, damn near knocks Leon off his feet with each shot. On top of this, you can hit multiple lined up enemies with one bullet due to the custom Magnum having piercing effects.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis After firing a railgun at Nemesis, Jill picks up a .44 Magnum and fires all six shots into the monster, killing the persistent bastard for good.
    • Resident Evil 4 The Handcannon is a .50 caliber revolver unlocked by beating all Mercenary stages with every character. It boasts higher damage than the two other magnums and can pierce through multiple targets and even shields and helmets. Once it is fully upgraded it gains infinite ammo and max firepower, turning it into a complete Game-Breaker. Its recoil is absolutely ridiculous which Leon has a hard time controlling.
      • Fun fact: it is one of the first appearances of the Smith & Wesson Model 500 in any video game.
    • Resident Evil 6 introduces the Elephant Killer which is loosely based on the Smith & Wesson Model 500, but is depicted as a top-break revolver, as opposed to having a swing out cylinder as its real life counterpart. For the first time in the series it gets to chamber the correct ammunition, .500 S&W Magnum rounds, rather than the generic magnum ammo from RE5 and the misnamed .5 caliber ammo from RE4. Jake and Sherry hold it together and use it to finish off the final boss of their scenario.
    • Resident Evil 7 During the game's finale, Ethan is tossed a special handgun called the Albert-01 to kill the house-sized final boss. The Albert-01 is in-fact Wesker's Samurai Edge handgun, customized to use Anti-B.O.W. RAMRODS rounds, thus transforming the gun from a 9mm peashooter into a true magnum.
  • The Resistance series has the HE .44 magnum, introduced in the second game, that fires bullets loaded with explosive charges that can be remotely detonated after hitting a target. The third game allows you to upgrade so each bullet spawns three explosive charges.
  • The Chaos Dwarf Hand Cannon of RuneScape is a literal example, as it really is a cannon. That you can carry.
  • Russian Overkill, a gobsmackingly over-the-top Game Mod for Doom, gives you extremely heavy-hitting revolvers as the starting weapons for all three player classes. Besides doing heavy damage with their primary fires, each one has a powerful altfire.
    • The Commando's revolver, the Bernie Screamer, is thrown and explodes upon making contact with an enemy while a new revolver materializes in your hands.
    • The Cyborg's revolver, the Matchstick, fires a flare that sticks to enemies and continuously damages them until they die.
    • The Treesagent's revolver, the Silver Hornet, fires a cluster of bullets directly from the cylinder, creating a small Macross Missile Massacre.
  • S4 League gives us The Revolver. A giant handgun that uses shotgun 12-gauge ammo.
  • In Saints Row, the in game version of the Desert Eagle is called the GDHC (God damn hand cannon).
  • In the Telltale seasons, Sam & Max: Freelance Police have a huge revolver and Luger, respectively. This is probably to compensate for the fact that they weren't allowed guns in the TV show and "left them at the cleaners" in Hit the Road. Successfully complete the Hit the Road game however, and you get to watch Sam and Max amuse themselves by unloading on a carnival's BB gun shooting gallery with them.
  • In the 3rd SAS Zombie Assault, your SAS officer earns new guns as he gain ranks. At high rank, he can earn a Pfeifer-Zeliska .600 Nitro Express revolver. This is a fantastic gun as only revolvers and pistols have unlimited ammo and the Zeliska's HUGE damage and penetration enables it to take on groups of the hardiest zombie mutants (almost all the other pistols lack firepower to offset the unlimited ammo) and you can boost its stats. In fact, you'll seldom use any other gun once you have this gun. The 4th game is set in the far future and you can get random powerhouse handcannons via a Diablo-esque item drop system.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours has the ol' Desert Eagle as its strongest handgun, which One Hit Kills most mooks.
  • SCP: Secret Laboratory has the .44 Revolver, a revovler chambed in .44 Magnum found in the hands of Chaos Insurgency Repressors. With its high damage and armour penetration, a single headshot will kill a human player instantly under most circumstances. Its slow firerate and limited capacity make it a poor choice for taking on groups of humans or SCPs, however.
  • Xavi from Sengoku Basara dual wields a pair of literal hand cannons. Apparently, it can also function as a flamethrower and a jet exhaust to power up his punches, or to lift him up.
  • Subverted in Serious Sam. Starting with the third game, the eponymous Player Character of the series switches his dual Schofield revolvers for a full-sized Desert Eagle clone... that only fires standard .45 ACP pistol rounds and isn't even hard-hitting enough to count as a Punch-Packing Pistol.
  • Six Gun: Gang Showdown from Gameloft goes hard into this trope. The third easiest single-handed gun to get is actually called the Hand Cannon and it's a shotgun built into a pistol frame so it fires a spray of shot. Every pistol after it is longer and/or chunkier, including the Leveller which is a massive revolver that fires sniper rifle rounds and needs to open its trick barrel to release the excess power.
  • Carmelita Fox in the Sly Cooper games has her shock pistol, a huge red handgun firing bolts of electricity that kicks so hard she has trouble holding onto it when she shoots the thing. Some of the NPC guards can be seen brandishing these as well, either single or akimbo.
  • Soldier of Fortune has the Silver Talon .44, an A.K.A.-47 version of the Desert Eagle .44, that can blow a Mook's head clean off at ridiculously long range. And it's fired with only one hand.
  • In Super Mario RPG, one of Geno's final weapons is called the Hand Cannon. It's taken literally, as it's fired by Geno swinging his arms down and firing gigantic shells from his arms.
  • In Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Endless Frontier, The Gunslinger Haken Browning's backup weapon is the Longtomb Special: a three-foot long revolver that he fires one-handed, left-handed, from the hip, with the right hand pulling the hammer. He will also sometimes fire Dual-Wield it along with his Assault rifle, which is natually also fired one-handed. In his Limit Break, he uses the "Klondike Mode", turning it into a Wave-Motion Gun with a lot of recoil.
  • All the handguns in the Syndicate remake, but especially the Bullhammer Mk II, a revolver firing .600. One upgrade option for that is the Magnetic Acceleration Rail, which gives it an impact profile, to directly quote the fluff, "such that it's often mistaken for cannon or explosive blasts in police investigations."
  • The character Max in Tales of Eternia enters your party with a gun the size of a toaster oven that he wields one-handed. To repeat: that is his starting weapon. You should see what his best weapons look like.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Sniper vs. Spy update brings us the Ambassador, an alternate revolver for the Spy which is wide and long enough to fit an engraving of Scout's mother on the side. In gameplay, though the Ambassador is marginally weaker and slower than the stock revolver, its true power comes from its near-perfect accuracy and ability to crit with a headshot at any range.
      • Unfortunately the Amby was nerfed in the Jungle Inferno update, which gave its headshot damage a range falloff, and is unable to headshot at all beyond a certain distance.
    • The Deus Ex promotion gave Spy the Diamondback, a revolver that deals 15% less damage than the stock revolver, but gains crits with each successful backstab and building sap, which could turn it into a potential Game-Breaker.
    • In addition to Sawed-Off Shotguns, the Scout can also carry the Shortstop, which essentially takes the already-large COP .357 derringer and makes it even bigger to fit shotgun shells.
  • Tomb Raider: The Desert Eagle and Revolver from the third and fourth games, respectively, pack as much damage as the Shotgun - downing most enemies in 2-3 shots - and the latter is at least as big as Lara's head. Appropriately, ammunition is quite hard to find. Unfortunately, when they reappear for the fifth game, they're both significantly less powerful.
  • The Twisted Metal reboot features the Magnum pistol sidearm. It has explicitly been said to be the most powerful sidearm in the game and it shows. 6 bullets, each inflicting 24 points of damage, decent firing rate, particularly accurate and only balanced by it's slow reload. Its also so much more easier to use compared to the Swarmer and Laser pistol. It proves to be deadly when used with RoadBoat.
  • For the Uncharted series, typically the standard hand-sized hole-puncher is the "Wes-44", which is a Smith & Wesson Model 629 Classic and often seen in the hands of Victor Sullivan (possibly as a Shout-Out to Dirty Harry, although Harry's weapon of choice is the non-stainless S&W Model 29). Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception also adds the Tau Sniper (the Taurus Raging Bull as a Sniper Pistol) and Mag 5 (Dan Wesson PPC) as additional Hand Cannons while Uncharted 4: A Thief's End drops all of these for the "Barok .44", which is a Mateba 6 Unica Autorevolver.
  • By picking up enough upgrades, the Dispersion Pistol from Unreal goes from Ranged Emergency Weapon to this, with a bit of Punch-Packing Pistol along the way. Combine it with the Amplifier item, and it moves into BFG territory outright.
  • Unturned features two Hand Cannons: the Magnum and the Desert Falcon do nearly twice the damage of the other two pistols, and are modeled after two popular real hand cannons—the famous Smith & Wesson .44 magnum revolvers and the Desert Eagle, respectively.
  • Warframe
    • The Lex pistol which inflicts high Puncture damage and has good accuracy, making it effective against the Grineer. Its Prime variant does even greater damage and can One-Hit Kill all but the toughest Grineer mooks and bosses. They can effectively be wielded akimbo once you have acquired the necessary blueprints to construct them which allows for dealing even much greater damage in combat at the cost of reduced accuracy and slower reload times.
      • The Lex Prime's Incarnon form takes this trope to its logical conclusion by essentially being a handheld Tenet Arca Plasmor, with similar performance
    • The Tombfinger is a specific model of Kitgun that is known for its enormous, blocky barrel, often resulting handguns nearly two feet long, and for its devastating radioactive plasma blasts when built correctly.
    • There is also the Sepulcrum, a Warhammer 40,000 bolt pistol in all but name. It fires enormous .50 caliber explosive rounds and is the size of a carbine and a lunchbox combined.
  • Witchfire: The game features several revolvers, all the ones featured so far are break action, including the game's signature weapon and a rapid fan firing one that gets so hot it starts glowing.


    Web Original 
  • Huge guns by freddiew
  • Sycine Kiongozi in Ilivais X carries a 15mm pistol. It's capable of shooting down Espadas, though granted, they're fairly inexpensively made and small. Still, that's more indicative of a mounted anti-materiel cannon and not a handgun.
  • In RWBY, in addition to being the only non-Mix-and-Match Weapon shown, is General James Ironwood's revolver, Due Process. If one goes by the official height chart's listing of Ironwood being 6 foot 6, his revolver appears to have a barrel length of about 13 inches, which is larger than the largest sized barrel of the Smith & Wesson Model 500 (10.5 inches), the largest production revolver in Real Life, as mentioned below. The full length of the revolver, from tip of the barrel to the end of it's grip is 2'1.5note  long, which puts total size on par with, or bigger than, the page's picture Pfeifer Zeliska revolver. It really should tell you something about what kind of batshit crazy setting RWBY takes place in when this kind of weapon is downright Boring, but Practical compared to what some other people pack.
  • They abound in the Whateley Universe, from Loophole's .44 Magnum to the .50 caliber one-shot that Samantha Everheart used in "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl". Sam cut off the pistol grip so she could hide it under her bra inside her blouse. She could fire it accurately only because she has super-strength. Or there's the sixty pound anti-mutant weapon Captain Tilley wield in the same story.

    Western Animation 
  • In Donkey Kong Country, Kaptain Skurvy's weapon of choice is a literal hand cannon, a miniaturized cannon he holds in one hand.
    • Truth in Television: there really are tiny "signal" or "salute" cannon, used for ceremonial purposes, that are equivalent to a large shotgun.
  • Surely this exchange on The Simpsons is a potential trope namer:
    McBain: But Captain, I can't avenge my partner's death with this pea-shooter. (holds up a normal-sized pistol.)
    Captain: I don't wanna hear it, McBain. Tha-that cannon of yours is against regulation. In this department we go by the book!
    (The Captain holds up the book of regulations. McBain draws his "cannon", a revolver bigger than his head, and fires it at the book. The book promptly disintregrates, along with a massive chunk of the wall behind it.
    McBain: Bye, book!
  • Exaggerated for comedic effect in Who Killed Who?, where the revolver used is larger than the (human-sized) shooter.

    Real Life 
  • High powered handguns in real life have two primary real-world applications, handgun hunting and dangerous game defense. With proper ammo, magnum pistols are basically sawed-off rifles that are handier in close encounters (except once they are recoiling). That said, many are sold for "range warriors" to show off to their buddy.
  • The current record-holder (according to the manufacturer) for most powerful production handgun is the Smith & Wesson Model 500, a 5-shot revolver with an 8-3/8" barrel (15 inches long in total) that weighs six pounds empty. In a demonstration on Spike TV's Manswers, the .357 Magnum blew a chunk out of a watermelon; the .44 Magnum took off the lower three-quarters; and the Model 500 exploded it. Due to a compensator on the barrel, however, its recoil is actually less than the .44 Magnum — though that's not saying much.
    • The military generally treated them as Awesome, but Impractical until the Russians decided to build a sidearm for the 12.7x55mm cartridge - a spitzer (sharp-pointed) military-grade counterpart to the .50 Alaskan, with two bullets per cartridge in some versions, designed to be used by the VKSS Vykhlop silenced Sniper Rifle. The result was the RSh-12,7 (lit. assault revolver), easily the meanest handgun and revolver out there; or, if you wish, an aspiring bolt pistol. The Russians used some of their signature tricks to keep recoil down to the .44 level - namely, mounting the barrel to the lower chamber, and a detachable stock. And yes, it too can be fitted with a silencer. It's unclear whether the military or the Federal Security Service (who ordered the original sniper rifle) use these.
  • Magnum Research, designers of the infamous Desert Eagle, also manufacture the "BFR", a solid-frame revolver that can be chambered in .45-70 and .450 Marlin and can take hot loads from either. Officially, the abbreviation stands for "Big Frame Revolver", but it's also been referred to as the "Biggest, Finest Revolver", and of course, nicknamed the "Big Fucking Revolver".
  • The Pfeifer Zeliska revolver: a gun chambered for the .600 Nitro Express, traditionally an elephant-gun round. It's not a production model, being hand-made indvidually; purchasing one will cost over $16,000 and the .600 Nitro Express rounds alone go for $40 each. (If you don't want that, it can also chamber the .460 Win. Mag. round.) It weighs 13 pounds unloaded and is over 21 inches long in total. Oddly, the sheer weight of the beast makes it controllable and thus practical as a weapon: the recoil of even a .600 round isn't enough to make something that massive fly around.
    • Also, it's the gun featured in the page picture above.
  • The Maadi-Griffin .50 pistol and the Thunder .50 pistol: handguns designed to use the .50 BMG cartridge, one of the most powerful rifle cartridges in current use (actually a heavy machine gun cartridge, "BMG" stands for "Browning Machine Gun"). For comparison, the muzzle energy of the .50 BMG round is typically around ten times that of the NATO 5.56mm round used in most modern assault rifles.
  • Due to the lack of stopping power with 19th century revolvers, the British invented the Howdah Pistol, a type of handgun with two or four barrels firing very large bullets up to .577 caliber. It was often used for self defense while tiger hunting atop a howdah on an elephant. When a tiger leapt on the elephant to get to the hunter, he would pull out this pistol and blast it in the mouth.
  • Olympic Arms marketed a "pistol" that could fire NATO standard 5.56mm rounds; it bore a passing resemblance to the Mauser C96 and was basically an AR-15 receiver wedded to a short barrel and a pistol grip. In any realistic sense it was a carbine, however, since it fired a rifle round.
    • Pretty much every specialized AR-15 manufacturer (and a few manufacturers that don't specialize in AR's) makes a similar weapon. Due to the National Fireams Act of 1934, certain firearm types such as "Silencer," "Machine Gun", "Short-Barreled Rifle," "Short-Barreled Shotgun," and "Any Other Weapon" need to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. AR-15's which are manufactured as "Pistols" (which do not require federal registration) are not subject to the same barrel length requirements as AR-15's which are manufactured as "Rifles" (which also do not require registration), but a pistol cannot have a stock or a vertical foregrip. AR-15 pistols are often purchased with the goal of being turned into an SBR (making an SBR would involve adding a stock, a relatively simple procedure on this weapon, potentially making it identical to the M4 Carbine or Close-Quarter Battle Receiver, aside from the lack of automatic fire). Turning them into an AOW by adding a vertical foregrip is less common because any rifle or SBR can legally have a vertical foregrip, and while it's only $5 to transfer instead of the usual $200, it still costs $200 to "manufacture."
      • Because of the 1968 Gun Control Act, NFA-regulated items are not authorized for import into the United States. Therefore, any AKS-74U that is imported must not have automatic fire and the weapon must have its stock removed, so that it is imported as a pistol. NFA paperwork is sometimes done to restore the stock, however, no new machine gun registrations have been approved since 1986. However, because of other import restrictions (such as certain grip styles and magazine capacity requirements for non-US-manufactured receivers with below a certain number of US-made parts attached), this is not often done.
    • Heizer defense recently introduced the PAR1, a derringer chambered for the .223 round. Alas, the thing it's most useful for is creating an impressively huge flash, from all the powder uselessly burning up outside its tiny, 1-inch barrel.
  • The PLR-16 (Pistol, Long Range) is a gas operated, semi-automatic carbine chambered in 5.56 mm NATO caliber; it is legally considered a pistol in the United States, despite the use of an intermediate cartridge. It was designed as and is intended as a long-range target and hunting pistol. The PLR-16 has a conventional gas piston operation and utilizes the proven M-16 breech locking system. The rear sight is adjustable for windage. The front sight is of M-16 type. An integrated MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail will accept a multitude of standard accessories. The muzzle end of the barrel is threaded 1/2” -28 to accept standard attachments such as a muzzle brake. Except for the barrel, bolt, sights, and mechanism, the PLR-16 is made entirely of high-impact glass fiber reinforced polymer. Similar to Olympic Arms OA-93 Pistol and Bushmaster Carbon 15.
  • The single shot Thompson/Center Contender with its up to 23 inch barrel is about as close to a hand-gun sized cannon one can can buy today. It can be chambered in full power rifle rounds like the .30-30 Winchester and the .45-70 Government. In fact when a stock is attached it is legally a rifle.
  • During an episode of his series Lock and Load, R. Lee Ermey showed why standard shooting positions are standard. While test firing a .44 Magnum, he was nearly knocked to the floor by the recoil. He then was shown saying he didn't want to shoot it again. This is the same person who had picked up and fired a crew served machine gun in his arms to prove it could be done. Hand cannon indeed.
  • The Colt Walker and Dragoon models were outrageously oversized to their smaller cousins brought into production a few years later. Especially in comparison to the 1860 Army, which was also chambered for .44 but was actually built on the same frame as the much smaller 1851 Navy (chambered in .36).
    • The Dragoon was actually toned down from the Walker. The Walker Colt's cylinder could load up to 60 grains of powder in each chamber, had a 9-inch barrel, and weighed in at four and a half pounds. By contrast the Dragoon "only" loaded 50 grains, had a 7 1/2 to 8-inch barrel depending on the model, and shaved off about half a pound from its weight. Notably, the Walker was the most powerful production handgun in the world for nearly 90 years after its introduction in 1847, and was not surpassed until the arrival .357 Magnum in 1935. Neither gun were suitable for wearing on the belt, and would usually be hung from the saddle, instead.
    • The popular story is that the Colt Walker and the later Dragoon were designed so that once ammo had been spent, the gun would still be useful to club people and horses while wielded one-handed (the other hand on your horse reins). It's also popularly cited that the Walker was intended to be able to shoot through a horse and strike a rider on the other side.
  • The Le Mat percussion revolver, in addition to a nine-chambered cylinder and a regular barrel, has a central shotgun barrel, fired by a special pivoting striker, hence the name "Grapeshot Revolver". The largest ammunition it can use is .44 ball and one 16ga shot charge. As you can imagine, this is a very big pistol.
  • The sawn-off Mosin-Nagant. As in, a powerful 7,62x54mm rifle cut down to pistol size. Usually called as "Obrez".
    • It was a favored weapon of the anti-Soviet peasant resistance during the 1920s-1930s. In this quality it was famous enough that post-fall of the Union, an ultra-compact bolt-action shotgun loosely based on the sawed-off Mosin design was marketed as "[Kolkhoz] Headman Killer" and got pretty popular.
  • This 20mm (.79 caliber) Derringer. And a 30mm derringer is in planning according to the site. Since 20mm is considered to be the point where you start calling it an "autocannon" rather than a "machine gun,"note  those literally are "hand cannons".
  • The Taurus Judge, a 5-shot revolver that can load either .45 Colt rounds or .410 shotgun shells. However, it actually subverts this trope: a .410 shotgun shell can only hold a few buckshot pellets (or a lot of birdshot pellets, which don't do a whole lot unless you dump it point blank into someone's face), and the .410 slug isn't much more powerful than the standard .45 Colt revolver rounds. While films tend to portray it as a simple "handheld shotgun", it's more effective for shooting snakes or blasting carjackers.
    • A later variant is the larger and longer Taurus Raging Judge, which can load the more powerful .454 Casull rounds as well as the .45 Colt and .410.
    • Taurus also released a revolver called the Raging Bull, which comes in various large calibers up to .500 S&W Magnum (though this version has been discontinued). This model had a 10 inch barrel on it. The Raging Judge was an adaptation of the Raging Bull with elongated cylinders to allow use of .410 shotshells like the regular Judge.
    • Taurus created a prototype Raging Judge XXVIII, shown at the 2011 SHOT Show, which was chambered for 28 gauge shotgun shells. The weapon weighed 4.2 pounds, and had a five-round cylinder. It was made out of 4140 ordnance-grade steel and used the same double-lock system as their .454 version. The BATFE promptly told Taurus they could not import the pistol to the US, and that killed it before it ever went into production.
  • There are a few images of a sawn-off M1 Garand floating around the internet. Here's an example.
  • The RT-20 may be a rifle, but its name is short for Ručni Top 20, or Hand Cannon 20mm.
  • The Mauser C96, the gun that Han Solo's blaster was built around, is one of the most famous and successful semiautomatic pistols in history. It was a hand cannon, because the 7.63x25mm round it used was the highest velocity round so far until the .357 Magnum came along, and was able to pierce straight through WW2-era steel helmets and into the skull of the target. It was also chambered for 9x19mm Parabellum, making it a Punch-Packing Pistol one way or another.
  • In September 2011, a Brazilian drug dealer was caught with this, a homemade 12 gauge revolver. This is not the only time this has happened. Seriously, that last one is even MORE ridiculously big somehow...
  • A German slang expression for a large handgun is "Zimmerflak" or indoor air defence cannon.
  • The Cobray "Lady's Home Companion" meets the legal definition of a pistol in the USA, and has a 12 round magazine of the enormous 45-70 rifle cartridge. Video here. It was not a commercial success.
  • The very first firearms were literally called "hand-cannons", merely reduced-size versions of early artillery weapons, with the same one-piece cast barrel-and-stock, and touch-hole ignition.
  • Later period matchlock (1600s or so) and flintlock (1700s) pistols were at least .50 cal, often closer to .75 cal, since modern round sizes fired with black powder wouldn't go through armor- but what black powder lacked in blast velocity could be made up via pressure, using a lot more powder to throw a lot more bullet at slower speeds.
  • XVII-century German Reiter cavalrymen used the so-called Reitpistole as their main weapons. Those were bigger, badder versions of the contemporary wheellock and flintlock pistols, comparable in size to the modern Pfeiffer-Zeliska from the page picture.
  • Large firelock pistols of this type are commonly known as horse pistols, since they were too large to carry on your person and had to instead be carried in a saddle holster. They had to be that big, since they were meant to serve as a cavalryman's main weapon rather than a self-defense option like smaller pistols; often they fired full-size musket balls (that is, .50-.75 caliber) with similarly large charges of powder.
    • The dragon is this, combined with Shotguns Are Just Better; makes sense considering they are a handgun-sized variation of the blunderbuss meant to be used on horseback (that's where we get the word 'dragoon').
  • Flintlock Volley guns had multiple barrels and often shot them simultaneously.


Video Example(s):



Missing his Left arm and trapped deep inside of the Orcus Labyrinth with monsters on all sides, Hajime uses his Synergist abilities to craft a Railgun Revolver.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / HandCannon

Media sources: