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Pistol for Hiking in The Continental 48

7392 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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Two thoughts:
1. The apex 4-legged predator, the grizzly, is found only in Montana and Idaho. You need a long gun for that one.
2. In the other 46 states, your biggest threat is 2-legged predators. That said, if you ‘re on foot, the weight of your weapon is a consideration. Every ounce counts. My choice among pistols would be a Glock 17 or it’s equivalent from another manufacturer. If concealment was an issue (and it might be on a well traveled trail) then the Glock 19.

You might choose differently, and that’s okay.

 

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You did say you wanted something small originally. Ruger SP101 with 3” Barrell.or the g19 Glock size in 357 sig. forgot the model number?same size as a 19.1400 ft per sec Ballistics. Easy to carry357 mag out of a 3” Barrell about 1320 ft per sec.4”Barrell 1400
 

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Do you have a firearm now? What types of firearms do you have experience using?
Your experience and skill level is far more important than asking strangers on a forum to tell you what to do.
Give us some input on your firearms background and you'll get answers that are relevant to your needs.
what is it that makes some feel that they have the right to make a poster feel small. I just don't get it.
 

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what is it that makes some feel that they have the right to make a poster feel small. I just don't get it.
WTF do you think YOU added to the conversation??? Do tell us all how you answer someone's question without learning the parameters of their capabilities?
Or maybe you have psychic powers that allow you to know exactly what the OP needs without having a dialogue- you just use your crystal balls to show how brilliant you are?
 

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Look…you have a few choices that make sense, excluding wildcats.

357 Magnum
44 Magnum
10mm
454 Casul
45 Colt (hot loads in a modern gun)

Yes, you can try 45 SUPER, 41 Magnum, 460 Rowland, 9x25 Dillion and all sorts of cartridges. But the ones I listed are commonly available, and more importantly, used. Only 10mm is regularly chambered in guns. I recommend it for 357 Magnum(-ish) level performance. But, you really need to focus upon the largest threat and change accordingly. Obviously, if you use 454 or 44 Magnum, then no change is needed unless you want a smaller frame. If you want a semiauto, the Glock 29 is a very good compromise, as is a 1911 in 10mm.

If after all this you still don’t know what to get, then you would do well with a steel framed heavy revolver in 357 Magnum with heavy loads. Recoil is more manageable than 44 Magnum and 454 Casul. Do the research, read the older books, and learn about the ballistics.
 
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When I went hiking in Alaska I carried a Redhawk 44 mag. I have black bears on my property in northern Michigan. I've carried my 44 mag, 45 acp, 9mm, heck even a 22. But mostly I carry a Ruger Security Six 357 mag.

I think a 357 properly loaded will protect you from just about anything in the lower 48. Mine happens to be a 2 3/4" stainless but I'd prefer a 4" bbl. I do sometimes carry my Dan Wesson with the 4" bbl attached.

 
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Much depends upon your skill with a handgun. In only a few areas would the power of a .44 mag or above be advantageous. Most likely, you'd never have a need and any need would be against two legged critters. If you hike a lot, every ounce counts. As much as i like the S&W 69 and the Sig 365, the best do it all might be a compact 10 mm pistol. Handle as many as you can before deciding.
 

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I was planning on just carrying by HK45CT when I found out about the .45 Super round but turns out it's a no go with this pistol. On the HK's it's only ok on the USP45.

G20 might be my best option. I want something I can conceal though
I agree, I would not go out and actively hunt for bears with just a handgun. Thinking I will likely go with a caliber bigger than 9mm, faster than a .45 and some bear spray.
Unless you just want a new gun, I would use the HK45 and carry Double Tap ammo or .45 ball. I used this Double Tap round in a G21 back in 2009 on a wounded 135lb doe and it passed through her from shoulder to shoulder, exited, and destroyed the roast on the other side leaving a massive hole. He also loads .45 for "woods carry" with even better penetration. Paul Harrell has a video that I'll see if I can find, where he compares 10mm and .45 for animal defense and he gets impressive results from .45 ball ammunition, Winchester White Box IIRC.
 

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Here's that video. Watch it all or skip to the 14 minute mark or so for the "meat target".
 

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.44 magnum revolver with a 4" barrel. A 629 Smith & Wesson perhaps. I would load my own because I like to shoot.

44 Magnum | Handloader Magazine
My woods/hiking gun is a S&W 629 Mountain Gun in 44 mag.

(for those who don't know the 629 Mountain Gun is an uncataloged light weight version. It kicks more, but carries lighter).

Sent from my Jackboot using Copatalk
 
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