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Pistol for Hiking in The Continental 48

7393 Views 164 Replies 102 Participants Last post by  porschedog
Looking for a compact handgun that I can take with me(where legal) when I go hiking.

I don't go hunting, not against it, just not my thing. I do, however, enjoy hiking and being outside, especially in the fall.

I want something that will keep me safe from predators in all environments in the lower 48 states. Strictly for self defense, if I were chasing something I would take my rifle.

The G20 is too big. If they made a 10mm in G19 size, it be perfect for what I want it for.

Would a 3" .357 suffice or do I need something with a longer barrel/larger caliber?

Recommendations appreciated.
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G20
Its what I carry everwhere. I just change ammo if I think i may go off in the woods and maybe encounter something more dangerous tha an urban crack head.
 

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A 4" M&P 10mm?... if they ever become reliable.

I chose t XDME 10mm 4.5, but it's not any smaller than a G20.
 

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Would a 3" .357 suffice or do I need something with a longer barrel/larger caliber?
A 3" .357 would probably suit your needs just fine if you own one and use good ammo. I would go with a 4" .44 magnum if I were buying a gun for that purpose. If you are just hiking the slight weight difference won't matter. I would probably use one of my 1911s because that is what I already own that is practical. Here there is a lot of thick stuff and large bears so I carry a rifle or shotgun in my hands. Carrying one around all day still does not bother me. Guess it comes down to what one is used to.
 

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I have two I use. Both with GI web belts and Buchmayer cross draw holsters.

The 'light' one has a 3 inch bbl Ruger 'Canadian' trade in .357 magnum revolver on it.

The 'heavy' has a 4 inch S&W 624 .44 Spl on it.

I usually have a birdshot CCI round for the first shot in either one of these guns.

Easy to hike with and use!
 

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Revolver of some kind. It'll switch between any kind of loads you like without problems. Personally, I carry a 4" 357 SP101 with full boat 180 grain and if I choose I'll throw in a couple of snake shot rounds if I think the need is there.

A 44 would be optimal but the SP is a trade off for weight and size. Ounces make a difference after a few days of luging all your things up and down hills etc....

If I know the risk is high....a shotgun with slugs is in order. Pistol/revolvers don't even come close.
 

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P320 X-TEN (10mm in a 9mm frame)
Glock G19 or G17 (9mm)
I have a P320 X-Five and have shot the M17 plenty. I will never buy one in a bigger caliber and I will never use one for self-defense. Not a solid enough gun.

9mm in the woods? Another nope.

My recommendations to the OP would be a Glock 29 or 32. Preferably the 29.
 

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Something light weight.

My choices would boil down to:

1. S&W Airweight in 38 spl +p (only five rounds but it is very lightweight) 1 pound, 1.5 ounces. (5 round reload=3oz.)
2. Sig 365. Light, compact and 10 +1 rounds of 9mm +p. 1 pound, 7 ounces
3.Sig 365 XL. fairly light, compact and 12 +1 rounds of 9mm +p. 1 pound, 10 ounces.

I would probably take the XL.
 

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A G29 is similar sized to the 19 but wider.

I might go w/ a Gen 3 either 27 or 23. Just depends on what sight radius you want. A 27 you can pocket the same as a 26. And that ability does come in handy esp around the AT etc
G29. Same size as G19 just wider. Perfect carry gun.
What those guys up there said.
A 29 is my EDC and it’s just as easy as a 19 to carry, with more power and versatility.
 

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I want something that will keep me safe from predators in all environments in the lower 48 states. Strictly for self defense, if I were chasing something I would take my rifle.

The G20 is too big. If they made a 10mm in G19 size, it be perfect for what I want it for.
If you want it for all environments up to and including Griz, and the 20 is too big, you’re basically looking at a 29 if you want a Glock, or you have to step down in caliber. That’s not necessarily a huge deal, the service calibers can work, but some calibers are obviously somewhat better suited for it that others.

A S&W 329 is going to weigh a little less and it’s 44 mag, but they‘re a “carry a lot, don’t shoot much“ kind of equation. A 69 is right around the same size as a G20 and only holds 5 rounds. A 3” 686 is also about the same size/weight as a G20. I personally would not use anything like a snub for what you‘re considering.

I used to live in Alaska for 30 years or so. During that time my bush handguns were 1911’s in 45, Glock 20s, a couple 44 mag revos, or Glock 17s. All were loaded with hard cast if they were going remote, which they frequently did. I was completely comfortable with any of them. Saw a metric butt ton of big bears, some pretty damn close, but never came all that close to needing to shoot one in self defense. Bear aware is a good thing to be, and it generally keeps a guy out of trouble.
 
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