Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Handguns for the Trail

I received a comment on the Saddle Guns post from Glenn in J City, Missouri. "I don't want to carry a rifle, but I am thinking a handgun would be a good idea when trail riding. Sometimes I ride by myself and other times I ride with teenage children who I am nonetheless responsible for. What type of handgun do you suggest for carrying when riding?"

Glenn, assuming you are working within existing laws concerning carrying guns, I am an advocate of always carrying a gun. I prefer saddle carbines like the ones I covered on the post you commented through. Handguns are handy (that’s why they call them hand guns). I sometimes carry only handgun when it makes sense.

When I was a Army Range Rider, I carried several different handguns: Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver, Glock model 22 .40 cal, and Beretta 92F in 9mm - whatever was allowed at the time by my Agency. I generally carry a S&W .357 magnum handgun now, but sometimes I carry a single action revolver in .45 LC as the .45 Long Colt caliber is readily available in snake shot shells and blanks for training horses on gunfire.

I think you can get used to practically any handgun and but some more suited to others. I prefer revolvers. The good thing about a .357 magnum revolver is that you can shoot .38 Special cartridges in it which will have less recoil and noise. The good thing about a .45 LC is that the round is a better stopper on wild dogs or pigs and the shotshells allow you to stand back a bit more when shooting snakes.

Double action revolvers are easier to shoot and usually have better sights. Single Action revolvers have to be cocked and most single action revolvers have a sight channel cut into the top strap which is visible after cocking. Single actions are generally not the choice for precision shots. But I like them because of their simplicity, light weight, clean lines and because of their history. The handgun pictured is a copy of the Colt Single Action revolver.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice. Just have to make the decision on the caliber. Handguns are a good tool to have,..from personal protection against two and four legged varmints and snakes to having to put a horse down who has a broken leg or other severe injury and it unrecoverable. Safe Journey Glenn.

1 comment:

  1. This certainly is some excellent advice, I would add that on horses, weight is an issue. For myself, I don't carry a handgun with horses but I do in backpacking. For most of the USA, a 357 mag is an excellent weapon. Keep in mind the weight factor. My favorite gun is a S&W model 19--a model 66 in the stainless steel version. There are stouter 357s, but they are bigger and heaviier. This would be especially important for women carrying a firearms. The Rugers are big, stout and heavy. Another excellent choice is a semi auto like the 10mm Glock-- a powerful round that can send a 200 grain bullet at 1200 fps-- more than enough to be potent medicine for pretty much any animal other than Grizzly. My favorite backpacking revolver is a Taurus Tracker in a 41 mag. This is a five shot on a "K" frame. By "k" frame we are referring to the frame size of a 357 Model 66. This allows you to have a big bore revoler that is almost as light as a 357 mag. They now make exactly the same model in a 44 mag. I should however say that because of its light weight, it cannot shoot maximum 44 mag bullet weights and pressures, but it can send a bullet into the 1200 fps range which is more than adequate. So if weight is not an issue for you, than the Ruger Revolvers are in my opinion one of the best. But if you are concerned about having something heavy on your hip, you may want to consider lighter options.