Appropriate firearm?

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Wiz
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Appropriate firearm?

Post by Wiz » Oct 27 2003 11:42 am

This thread is strictly for people who have determined that it's appropriate to carry a firearm when hiking or camping. I'm not looking to restart the pro-gun/anti-gun debate. If you're someone who has decided, for any number of very valid reasons, that guns are not for you, then this is not meant for you.
Joe, if this turns into the same old gun debate again, please yank this thread. We've already beaten that topic to death!

What I wanted to discuss is: what is the most appropriate gun to carry when hiking/backpacking in remote areas? Let's consider the possible scenarios:
- Nothing happens and you don't need the gun. Obviously the best of all scenarios, but we don't prepare for the best-case.
- You are scared by a snake. I say, leave it alone.
- You are threatened or attacked by hostile people. Here we go. In this case, a small caliber gun (e.g., a .22) would not be your best choice. A larger gun, maybe 9mm or larger, would be better. This is an argument for high-capacity automatics. But, statistics say that the overwhelming majority of gunfights are over after only two or three shots. Unless you plan on missing a lot, or you are attacked by a large party of people simultaneously and are a crack shot, the automatic may not be appropriate.
- You are attacked by a large predator. A bear or mountain lion. Here, your 9mm will only piss them off, unless you're incredibly lucky. A large caliber is what you need. Since one round from a .44 magnum will do the work of any number of 9mm rounds, you don't need the high capacity.

A Ruger .22 single six revolver weighs nearly as much as my .44 magnum, so weight isn't a real determining factor. A large pistol will stop anything a small one will, but the reverse is definitely not true. You hopefully will never need the weapon. But if you do, a .44 should make your point very quickly. Also, I feel it is only prudent to carry some spare ammunition.
So my conclusion is: the most practical, appropriate gun to carry for all-around protection in the wild (in Arizona at least) is a good, reliable .44 magnum revolver, with at least 12 extra rounds. This represents a good balance between utilityand weight.

Dissenting opinions?
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Jeffshadows » Oct 31 2008 10:02 pm

JamesLyding wrote:I never thought that this site would be a haven of gun lovers. I used to carry a .45 caliber M1911A1 that my grandfather liberated from the U.S. Army in World War 2, but that's a heavy weapon. I no longer see a reason to carry a piece because I don't do trails cool enough to warrant a deadly firearm. I have no problems with guns, but I'm more likely to take my Springfield 1903 that weighs a ton and has a flash-suppression tip on a hike than worry about a firearm for protection. I haven't been lucky in the G&F lottery so I haven't had the opportunity to take my .30-06s out for anything.
I'm more of a camera hunter these days anyhoo.
I've never had a 1911 (1991) jam...ever. Heavy or not, that's a huge selling point :)
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Strand
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Strand » Oct 31 2008 10:54 pm

I almost always carry while in the woods, a 5" Springfield XD 45ACP (13 rounds in the mag). I know that's a lot of firepower, but...I shoot better groups with that pistol than I do with my 9mm Sig and the weight is about the same as my 1911. Better to have and not need, than need and not have. I'm far more concerned with sick animals or wild dogs than I am with bears or lions. I lived in Michigan's UP for 5 years and did a lot of backpacking, and even with hard winters and 13000 bears, they were never a problem for anyone I knew who took care with keeping food away from where they slept. We had one encounter where we managed to unwittingly sneak up on a bear (very windy day, and we were downwind of the bear) - the bear was certainly more afraid of us and immediately growled and ran off crashing through the brush.

Living in Lakeside, I know where azbackpackr is coming from. It amazes me how little respect those people have for the wilderness and for firearm safety.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 01 2008 6:28 am

Hi, there, Strand from Lakeside! I would suggest we get together for a hike or bike ride, but I am moving to Yuma for the winter tomorrow. My husband is disabled and can't take the cold. I love cross country skiing, but will take up kayaking instead.

In Yuma we ALWAYS carry a handgun while hiking the canyons. There is so much smuggling going on there, and the Border Patrolmen get shot at almost every day, we are told. However, the canyon where I hike almost daily when I'm down there, North Fortuna Wash in the Gila Mtns., has no trash or other evidence of there being a lot of smugglers going through there. But I always tote my gun, anyway. We are taking several different ones, as for mtn. biking I will want something very small, flat, and lightweight.
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Sredfield
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Sredfield » Nov 01 2008 8:16 am

Real western men carry Winchesters, 1876 45 - 50

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Vaporman
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Vaporman » Nov 01 2008 5:45 pm

I've been thinking about getting a glock 19, especially if Obama wins... A little bigger than the glock 26 but it doesn't weigh much more. This should make a good CCW and hiking gun, right?
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p

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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 01 2008 7:02 pm

Vaporman wrote:I've been thinking about getting a glock 19, especially if Obama wins... A little bigger than the glock 26 but it doesn't weigh much more. This should make a good CCW and hiking gun, right?
Nice and light. The wife has the 26 and it's just a little too small for my hands. Look into the little thumb extender you can get for the mags and it makes handling less of a chore...
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azbackpackr
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 02 2008 5:28 am

I think Obama will have too much on his plate to worry about gun laws. I think he is smart enough to not antagonize half the population in his first term, too. I don't think he cares a whole lot about that topic, either. Hopefully. Besides, don't forget McCain at least once said, "We should close the gun show loophole," which is one reason why many people in his own party do not like him.

Anyway, if you are concerned about losing gun rights, then make sure you buy your handguns at gun shows from private vendors, so you won't have to fill out any Brady Bill paperwork. You can also find them in the classified ads this way. We have bought and sold many guns this way.

I personally don't like big handguns. The biggest one I have ever actually dragged around with me was a Taurus .38. I now have the Ladysmith .38 which is a bit smaller and lighter. I have a fanny pack to carry it in. The thing is, if I won't carry it because it is too big and heavy, so I leave it home, then what good is it? I do realize the firepower of a .22 or .32 is much less, but it is better than nothing. There seem to be a lot of men out there taking their wives to CCW class and then buying them a Glock. Get real. The lady is not going to want to drag that thing around! I am going to switch to a flat, lightweight, mostly plastic .32, especially for mtn. biking. Slip it into your pocket and go. And no one can see it in there.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 02 2008 5:34 am

One more thing, if you are going to carry a larger-sized gun, and you are not an experienced shooter, then a revolver is a lot more reliable. One like my Ladysmith, which is double action--you need to have only one hand free to fire it, and there is no safety to mess with. Remember, with a semi-auto you have to rack the slide or undo the safety. And a revolver will not jam, whereas, with an inexperienced shooter, or a woman with a weak wrist (speaking of myself) a semi-auto can jam. Then where are you? You have to unjam it--dig around and get that bullet that's caught in the slide out, and then try again? Say, "Oh, wait a minute, hang on there, I'll shoot you just as soon as I unjam this dang thing"?
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 02 2008 10:37 am

azbackpackr wrote:One more thing, if you are going to carry a larger-sized gun, and you are not an experienced shooter, then a revolver is a lot more reliable. One like my Ladysmith, which is double action--you need to have only one hand free to fire it, and there is no safety to mess with. Remember, with a semi-auto you have to rack the slide or undo the safety. And a revolver will not jam, whereas, with an inexperienced shooter, or a woman with a weak wrist (speaking of myself) a semi-auto can jam. Then where are you? You have to unjam it--dig around and get that bullet that's caught in the slide out, and then try again? Say, "Oh, wait a minute, hang on there, I'll shoot you just as soon as I unjam this dang thing"?
Those are good points.

My only problem with gun laws is how they are conceived. They are usually conceived by people whose end-state goal is a gun-less plant. That's about as likely to ever happen as a visit from the Easter Bunny. If, instead, they took the approach that we should enforce the laws we have, first, I'd be their biggest fan.

How about this - I will register every weapon I have, give the government samples of casings and rounds fired from them, they can have my prints, etc, etc...as long as they never tell me: "You can't have X." (One possible exception being full-autos, there's no legitimate civilian use for those.)
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Strand
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Strand » Nov 02 2008 4:11 pm

Have fun in Yuma azbackpackr. Sounds like an interesting area! I'll be hiking until it's time to hit the slopes.

For mtn biking I currently carry a 9mm Sig P250 - may replace that with a 357 S&W (little heavier than a 38, but you can still use the 38 spl ammo if you want). If I'm ever really weight/size conscious I borrow my fiance's Springfield EMP (8+1 9mm). If I go to Yuma though and I find myself concerned about smugglers, I might have to figure out a way to pack my PLR16...a pistol with 30 rounds of 5.56 makes a heck of a statement! ;)

As far as the whole Presidential change about to happen, I would be shocked if anything gun related changed in the first year, especially after the supreme court's recent handgun ruling. But I could be wrong, and I will probably stock up on high cap pistol magazines anyhow in the meantime. I hate the whole idea someone with a bunch of body guards deciding how many rounds per magazine it is appropriate for me to have to defend my life.
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Strand
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Strand » Nov 02 2008 5:31 pm

Azbackpackr,

One thing about revolvers, I USED to believe they would not fail me. Having had a Taurus Titanium 38 special, I found out that wasn't the case. It was the least reliable firearm I have ever handled, it would fire on 3 of 5 cylinders (and it wasn't always the same 3) regardless of ammo manufacturer. I had trouble believing it myself - we got rid of that piece of...immediately.

My point is to make darn sure that you put any new gun (or GPS/knife/tent/pack, whatever) through it's paces before you depend on it (something I'm sure everyone in this post already understands).
"Look deep into nature, and the you will understand everything better" Albert Einstein

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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Jim_H » Nov 02 2008 9:33 pm

Man, I'm so Jersey. I don't know a thing about guns. I guess the only things I do know is what I've been told. You know, stuff like, "guns don't kill people, people kill people". Or, "guns don't kill people, organ failure and shock resulting from blood loss caused by entry wounds created by bullets and shrapnel that resulted following the discharge of a gun by a person, thats what kills people". That and second hand smoke from evil cigarettes. Pipes are OK.
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by skatchkins » Nov 06 2008 9:46 pm

Nice gun Strand. I carry my 4" Springfield XD9 when I'm on the trail. Home clip is for Hydra-shoks and trail clip has a snake shot leading the pack with hollowpoints thereafter.
I took my CCW class last wknd, mostly so I don't have to ever worry about other hikers feeling nervous just because I'm carrying.
Last edited by skatchkins on Nov 07 2008 4:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 07 2008 8:29 am

skatchkins wrote:Nice gun Strand. I carry my 4" Springfield XD9 when I'm on the trail. Home clip is for Hydra-shoks and trail clip has a snake shot leading the pack with hollowpoints thereafter.
I took my CCW class last wknd, mostly so I don't have to ever worry about other hikers feeling nervous just because I'm carrying.
Good call. People freak out when they see a weapon out in the boonies. Fact is, most people will never pull a weapon and fire to kill a snake before it strikes them. I mainly have it for large animals and\or advanced primates that pose a threat that I might encounter. In either of those instances I will have time to dig it out of it's hiding place before it is needed...

As for stacking rounds, my crazy ex-Sheriff uncle used to say: "I put a hollow point in first, than a black talon, then a jacketed ball round, and so on, and so on." "I figure, that way, if he didn't like the first one, maybe he'll like one of the others." :? :D
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Strand » Nov 09 2008 4:27 pm

I actually just got rid of that XD this weekend. Tried out a Sig P220 (45) and was hooked, fit my hand perfectly and I really like having a double action back up...ran back to the shop and traded in my XD45 toward a 40cal P226. Now I have a Sig in 9, 40, and 45. The Sigs addressed my two concerns on my XD, a thicker backstrap that fit my hand better, and a true DA/SA action on the P226/220 - the P250 is double action only, but the pull is so smooth that I don't notice.

I'm of a mixed mindset on open versus concealed carry in the woods. If it's in your back pack that means you expect to have plenty of time to strip off the pack and remove the firearm, and trying to conceal a 45 in the middle of summer while wearing a daypack can be problematic. So I guess my thought is to conceal when it's practical, carry open when needed. Of course in the White Mtns, you figure about 1/2 the locals are packing at any given time, so seeing a pistol while on the trails isn't exactly uncommon.
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 09 2008 6:03 pm

Strand wrote:Of course in the White Mtns, you figure about 1/2 the locals are packing at any given time, so seeing a pistol while on the trails isn't exactly uncommon.
Seeing anyone at all is uncommon in many areas!
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by Strand » Nov 10 2008 6:32 pm

azbackpackr wrote: Seeing anyone at all is uncommon in many areas!
Very true. What I should have said is that when you do see someone on the trail (maybe 1 in 4 hikes) it's not unusual if that person is armed. Of course if you only hike during the week, you might see someone once ever 10 times out...amazing!

Reminds me of hiking in the UP. We'd spend 3-5 days in the Porcupine Mountains or Pictured Rocks and maybe see one other small group per day (once you got away from the trail head).
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 11 2008 4:56 am

Upper Peninsula, I assume? I'm a born and raised Westerner myself, pardner, so had to think hard on geography there for a moment.
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by mlandman » Nov 22 2008 10:25 am

In response to napalm:
http://hikearizona.com/t2008/11/22/4852 ... 298-03.jpg
In a pocket in my pack's hipbelt in a IWB holster.
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Re: Appropriate firearm?

Post by zags » Jan 24 2009 10:31 am

J&SHike wrote:Not always, but sometimes, I carry my Ruger P89 DC 9mm.
For general back country use I carry one of these also, except I use 135gr. Federal personal defense ammo. The Ruger P89 DC is not the glitziest of all firearms, but it is a dependable workhorse that is going to shoot no matter what it has been dragged through. I don't carry while backpacking in wilderness areas because I feel pretty confident that I won't run in to the only preditor that worries me, the armed idiot. If they can't get there by ATV, they would be straying too far from beer.

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