I have owned a Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum for around four years now. Every time I think of my 500, I laugh thinking of folks who complain of the recoil of a 1911 firing the 45 ACP or even say a 10mm loaded full bore. It has taken me these entire four years to become resonably proficient with the 500. Though the 500 is a huge chunk of metal, I can actually carry it as a defenseive weapon at this point in time, granted with strange looks from folks who notice such things.
With the 500, I feel less hindered by the well known fact that for defense, any hand gun can be borderline. I think often of how lucky George Zimmerman was, under attack from a hepped up physically strong 17 year old, when that little 125 grain or so — if that — bullet hit home. George was lucky. I think of the student near the Georgia Tech campus some year earlier, who was shot in the right chest with a 9 mm from another Trayvon type creep in a robbery who survivied.
I have not seen the woudling effect of the 500 on anything other than deer and hog and I hope I never have the chance to do so, but let me tell you the 500 is not a .243, itself not a shabby deer round. It is far superior to that, creating a hole anything less than a 30 caliber or larger pushed to 2400 fps cannot touch.
My favorite cartridge is a CorBon loaded with the 385 grain Spitzer. This is not a “tapped out” 500 loading. I have used this round to stop a 1,200 pound feral hog intent on ensuring I did not walk its territory ever again. If you are attacked by the usual trash that sometimes roams the streets of the world, I suspect a torso strike is going to cause sufficient blood loss that you may slip away generally unharmed. There are of course no gurantees in any fight.
The bullet below is machined on a Swiss Mill and I have used these for test firing into salvaged auto glass. I learned that European made auto glass is a considerable amount stronger than glass run by Ford, GM, and Chrysler, as well as most of the Japanese glass.
I found the above design to be effective in .375 caliber while hunting Russian Brown Bear ealier in the fall.