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Thread: Lightweight handgun for hiking

  1. #1
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    Default Lightweight handgun for hiking

    I've got a Ruger SRH Toklat in .454 Casull when I go out for extended periods of time. For day hikes, I've been using a Glock 17 in 9mm. I live in the lower 48 so bear aren't an issue. Cougar could be an issue as could feral dogs.

    I'm looking to get something that is lightweight, weighing less than 31 oz, and packs more of a wallop than the G17. I've ruled out the featherweight division such as the S&W Airlight .357, 629, etc that weigh 15 oz. They would be too punishing. I'm considering these and would welcome any other suggestions.

    1) Ruger SP-101 in .357 magnum, 3"-4.2", 27 oz-29.5 oz

    2) Glock 20 in 10mm 31 oz

    3) Colt Defender, 3", 45ACP 25 oz

    4) CZ P-06, .40S&W, 30 oz

    5) S&W SW1911SC 45ACP, 30 oz

  2. #2

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    i have the ruger sp101 in 4.2 and am really impressed with it. being able to shoot hard cast 180 grain fast and its easy to carry and see.

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    Any of what you have mentioned would work fine for your uses. I have often carried a 3" SP101 357. It is relatively small and light, but comfortable for me when shooting heavy loads such as the Buffalo Bore 180's. Where I currently live, I am more concerned with the two legged critters, so have been looking for something with a higher capacity and more precise sights. I was considering a 40S&W with the BB 200gr HC, but ended up ordering a G20. I plan to use the 200gr XTP's in it.

    Any of those calibers would work, even the 9mm. Cougars are not particularly tough. Handle them all and pick the one that feels best.

  4. #4

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    I would think the Glock 10 mm would do it all, especially if grizzly aren't in the mix. Just get some good sights and holster.

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    Over the years I have carried several different side arms while out in the field. While they worked they all were on the heavy side. About the last 10 years a Glock G20 have been the handgun that I take more then any of the others they I have. I talking with people, I tell them that I think the G20 (and Glock in general) are the 'Jeeps' of hand guns.
    Besides it is important that one can shoot the side arm well more then the caliber and that take practice!

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    Great replies guys, thanks. Here are a few follow-up thoughts.

    I live in a state where the magazine capacity is 10 rounds so that narrows the gap between semi and revolver. I currently have a Glock 17 which I can not shoot as well as other handguns. I've handled a G20 and it is even boxier than my G17. I'd absolutely love to shoot it but that's not possible where I live without buying it first (rentals at shooting ranges don't exist within reasonable distance).

    I can shoot my Toklat (in SA) far more accurately than I can shoot my G17. That has me leaning toward the SP-101. Having said that, I'm going to handle the G20 again and also see if I can find the G29 (compact 10mm) to handle.

    Last question. Would a 45ACP be a bad choice?

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    The G20 can feel like a 2x4. I used to have a S&W 1006 that was much heavier and half the capacity. I always liked the power of the 10mm so finally gave in to the Glock. It may not be ergonomic, but you can not find the same combination of features is anything else. I figure I will just get used to it.

    If you have medium'ish sized hands like me, the SP101 fits really well. The CZ always felt good in the hand as well.

    A 45ACP would be a fine choice. Depending on the pistol you can use +P or 45 Super for more power. Have you looked at the new Ruger American Pistol in .45 ? Looks pretty nice.

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    It would be hard for me to think of an Auto as a Field Gun, ( For Hiking)

    I'm a hand loader, and a volver is more flexible for that. Special loads are possible that wouldn't function in an Auto.

    I've never loaded for an Auto, and would rather not.

    I would choose the 357, probably a SA. I'd want a barrel of at least 4", hopefully more.

    I already have that, and my Ruger BH, 6.5" barrel weighs nearly as much as my S&W 6", both loaded. So, I guess I've strayed from "Lightweight".

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    A few years back I sold a S&W Mountain Gun in .44 magnum. Not one of the super light weights, but definitely trimmed down. Kind of wish I had kept it, but I do have a 4" Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt I've worked up some dandy loads for. not as light as the Smith, but I don't mind packing it.
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    The Ruger Redhawk and GP-100 would both be awesome guns but we're at or well above 40 oz. No reason to go that route as I already have a SRH at 47 oz. I reload and feed it nice warm 300 gr .45 Colt loads or punishing .454 rounds.

    Now, I'm looking to give up certain feature(s) to obtain a lightweight hiking gun. I think it's either the 4.2" SP-101 or the G20/G29 10mm.

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    If you like the Glock but find it 'boxy' in your hands, consider sending it to True Bore Customs or Robar and have the grip reduced/stipled and it makes a huge difference. I only suggest this if you want the carry guns to be similar in fit and function (like getting a G20 compared to your 19). I like a revolver for hiking and personally I don't notice much weight differences with a good fitting holster for outdoor guns (obviously not including guns like my S&W 500 4" which I found too heavy except on chest rig). Good luck with your search.

  12. #12

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    I like the simplicity of a good 357 revolver. Far less moving parts. Really easy to clean if it gets dirty or rained on. I was just scribbling down notes comparing the 9mm, 357 sig, 357 mag, 40 S&W, 44 mag and 44 Spl. Take it for what it's worth because I just wrote down the information for one bullet type. The 10 mm had the most energy at 25 and 50 yards than everything except the 44 mag. The 357 mag had the highest velocity at 25 and 50 yards. That really doesn't matter all that much. Just buy what you like. How about a 8 shot 357? The S&W 327 357 mag 8 shot is only 21.4 oz. But much more expensive than the Glock.

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    Freedom Arms Model 97 in 45 Colt.



    Quote Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
    I've got a Ruger SRH Toklat in .454 Casull when I go out for extended periods of time. For day hikes, I've been using a Glock 17 in 9mm. I live in the lower 48 so bear aren't an issue. Cougar could be an issue as could feral dogs.

    I'm looking to get something that is lightweight, weighing less than 31 oz, and packs more of a wallop than the G17. I've ruled out the featherweight division such as the S&W Airlight .357, 629, etc that weigh 15 oz. They would be too punishing. I'm considering these and would welcome any other suggestions.

    1) Ruger SP-101 in .357 magnum, 3"-4.2", 27 oz-29.5 oz

    2) Glock 20 in 10mm 31 oz

    3) Colt Defender, 3", 45ACP 25 oz

    4) CZ P-06, .40S&W, 30 oz

    5) S&W SW1911SC 45ACP, 30 oz
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    The first hand gun I can remember shooting was almost 60 years ago, it was my Dad's old S&W K Frame .38 Special with a 4" barrel and 158 grain wad cutters he had loaded with mild loads. That was the start of my hand gun adventures. I used to think revolvers were the only way to go, till some time in the 70's. Now I like both revolvers and semi autos and believe either one is a great field/trail gun, just depends on the intended use.

    I don't think one is better then the other and if I was in the woods I can easily field strip a Glock, 1911 or Browning Hi Power, I would need tools to go inside a revolver. Here in Alaska my 4" barreled S&W Mountain Gun .44 Mag. is carried when I don't have a rifle.

  15. #15

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    Glock 29 sounds like it'll suit your wants perfectly. Most importantly, it's use is familiar to you already via your 17. But really, if you're not concerned with bears, that 17 or a smaller 9mm would be very good too. In my opinion for cougar, dogs, two-legged wolves . . . repeatable and accurate shots will be more important than above-9mm power.

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    What I don't understand is why the 9mm in your 17 isn't sufficient enough. I never carried a handgun down south when I was doing outdoor activities. All my time hiking/backpacking in the Georgia/NC/SC mountains I was never worried about mountain lions or bears or bobcats or snakes.

    Also so if you think the G17 is a little bit bulkier than you are comfortable with the G29 has a similar width. If you are thinking about the 10mm look into the slim frame G20 or gen 4 one.

    Sounds crazy ash but another very light weight option is a can of bear spray.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338 mag. View Post
    The first hand gun I can remember shooting was almost 60 years ago, it was my Dad's old S&W K Frame .38 Special with a 4" barrel and 158 grain wad cutters he had loaded with mild loads. That was the start of my hand gun adventures. I used to think revolvers were the only way to go, till some time in the 70's. Now I like both revolvers and semi autos and believe either one is a great field/trail gun, just depends on the intended use.

    I don't think one is better then the other and if I was in the woods I can easily field strip a Glock, 1911 or Browning Hi Power, I would need tools to go inside a revolver. Here in Alaska my 4" barreled S&W Mountain Gun .44 Mag. is carried when I don't have a rifle.
    Still kick myself for selling the Mountain Gun, although I have plenty of large bore revolvers. I even have a model 29 S&W .44 mag built shortly after they began stamping the model number in the yoke. It's a 4" bbl 4 screw. Haven't packed it or even shot it in quite a while.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    I too carry a SRH Toklat while in brown bear country, it carries nicely in a DD Guide chest holster but I prefer something lighter and compact--in a belt holster when not in big bear areas. May build one in 480 as I got a deal on a 10" SRH 480 to modify for the DD holster. I've tried a lot of semi's, double and single action handguns for woods carry, have a custom 1911 10mm that is as accurate as a good revolver-reliable too, am issued two Glocks for work but authorized to carry my own XDS in 45acp but actually am a 45 Colt fan, single and double action..

    After buying one of the first S & W 69's on GunBroker, I've sold all but one of my 29s and rarely trail carry anything but the 69. The K frame 44 mag performs and belt carries nicely, light, accurate enough for head shots on small game and stout enough for all but the biggest critters! Can't say the critter part about some nice (old) K frames in .357 that I otherwise prefer. If you can find a 69 to try I think you'd like it.

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    [QUOTE=Rodbolt;1518918
    . The K frame 44 mag performs and belt carries nicely, QUOTE]

    Opp's I meant L frame 44 mag, couldn't edit it...........

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    I carried a 7.5" Redhawk for years. I finally got tired of dragging that thing around and bought a hammered 2.25" SP101. It lacks the power of my old 44, but at the time Ruger did not have a compact large cal. The SP101 IMO was the next best thing. Its a great gun.

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