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Appropriate firearm?

Posted: Oct 27 2003 11:42 am
by Wiz
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?

Posted: Oct 27 2003 12:22 pm
by ajcanable
I have sometimes carried when i hike alone. I use el dorado starfire
personel defense type 9mm ammunition. I'm more concerned with human animals than anything else. I dream about just seeing a bear or mountain lion so heaven forbid I ever have to shoot one!

Posted: Oct 27 2003 12:35 pm
by AZ_Hiker
I have been known to carry a gun. I do think 12 lbs is to much tho. especialy if your going in to an area that is a hard climb.

I dont think a 22 is a bad option. if you worry about poeple. there are lots of 22's that are much lighter and if you shoot someone( a bad guy) in the chest with a 22 it may not drop them on the spot but they will not be in any condition to continue there attack and if they are.. shoot them again. all im thinking about is getting away. if you cant shoot a gun well enough to hit them in the chest.. dont carry one at all.

a 22 is not a good option for bears.. but in arizona, it is unlikely that you will be attacked by a black bear. mountian lions are different, they will stalk and attack humans, but only when they are very very hungry. in that case I dont think you will have time to even pull a gun. it would be a rare rare thing to see one much less see one that is stalking you.

I do carry one sometimes.. I carry a 9mm hp. it is a larger more powerful gun and if used right will stop any bad guy, again im a good shot and have been round guns all my life. I dont know of anyone that can take 3 of those in the chest and keep coming at me. using one on a bear or a lion is going to hurt them enough that they will most likely not continue to attack. the noise along will usually make them leave the area.

for me its more about serviving the event and being able to get out safely.

here are some things I think any one that carrys a gun should do

1 be a good shot.. it does you know good at all to have a 44 and still miss. from 30 yards you should be able to hit center mass with little effort. if you cant.. dont bother bringing one.
2 have it on your belt, never put it in your pack. I shouldnt even have to explain this but you need to be able to grab it fast and be able to shoot within a few secs. if someone or something attacks you, you will not have a warning, it will be sudden.
3 having one should not make you feel secure in anyway. misfires can happen. panic can happen to anyone. you are still in a wild untamed country and nothing replaces using your head.


Posted: Oct 27 2003 1:19 pm
by Daryl
I agree with AZ_Hiker almost 100%.

I have a tiny 7 shot semi auto .22 that I carry when I feel it's needed (which isn't often). I have a light weight 9mm also, but prefer carrying the .22. Given the odds of needing it, I'd rather save the weight.
I also think the .22 would do just fine in most situations. I wouldn't want to take a shot from it.

Posted: Oct 27 2003 1:31 pm
by AK
I carry a little Ruger SP101 5 shot .357 revolver that is quite compact and light. It is always accompanied by 2 speedloaders. Its not meant to shoot for distance but more for close in engagements. And its not exactly a fun gun to shoot due to the horrendous recoil and noise. But I think that it could handle anything life-threatening that I could encounter on the trail. I just hope that it never comes down to that.

Posted: Oct 27 2003 1:46 pm
by AZ_Hiker
In response to Daryl's reply:

WOOHOOO!! almost 100%.. so what are we talking about .. like 85-90%? I will take it either way! hehe

Posted: Oct 27 2003 1:47 pm
by Rodney
I agree that it's not the caliber of the's the caliber of the loose nut on the grip. If you can shoot the foot off a fly at 50 yards with a pellet gun...carry that! Now...if you're not a good shot, you might want to consider hand grenades! :wink:

Posted: Oct 27 2003 2:14 pm
by Wiz
In response to AK's reply:
I agree with you, AK, inasmuch as if you're 30 yards away from the dangerous thing, you shouldn't be shooting - you should be trying to get away. It's only when there's no escape possible that the gun should make its appearance, and then you're most likely at point-blank range with whatever it is.
Personally, I think you're better off with no gun than with a .22 that will result in a wounded, far more dangerous animal on the loose (after it eats you). I wouldn't want to be shot by a .22 either, but then I'm not a homicidal maniac on PCP or something. And they are out there - anyone read about that young couple that was camping up by Bumble Bee?

Posted: Oct 27 2003 3:29 pm
by Daryl
About 98%

If I were ina situation where a bear or mountain lion was coming at me and I had a gun, I'd fire in the ground in front of it and hope it runs. Shooting it would only make it angry and would only be a last resort.

Posted: Oct 27 2003 3:45 pm
by J&SHike
Not always, but sometimes, I carry my Ruger P89 DC 9mm. The ammo you use is somewhat of debate as well in some cases. I use Federal Jacketed Hollow point 115 grain. Too much grain will make the bullet go straight through a person with little effect. A lower grain will give the bullet time to "mushroom" and do more damage, thus less bullets fired, job done.
My prime concern when camping is the unpredictable human. One has to think that if a human attacks in the back woods, the human will be toting a gun as well, something our animal friends are without. And more than likely will take you by suprise with gun in hand, and unless your faster than Clint Eastwood on the draw, your chances are slim to pull your own gun and use it effectively.

Posted: Oct 27 2003 6:05 pm
My choice would be a .45 ACP Kimber ProEclipse 2 with an extra magazine. Not too much extra weight and .45 ACP is devastating to humans and aggro wildlife. ( God forbid that I would ever have to shoot either.)

Posted: Oct 27 2003 7:33 pm
by Abe
Wiz! :o Is that you? And still kicking at a hundred! :lol: Wow!

When I pack a sidearm, about 10-20% of my hikes, its generally a .22. A Ruger MKII. :gun: On some ocassions I've packed my AR-7.

Posted: Oct 27 2003 8:03 pm
by Glitter
I only carry on an overnight trip or when in bear country. Not necessarily to shoot the bear, but hopefully to scare him off. I would never shoot an animal or person unless it was my last possible resort. I carry a compact S&W 45 acp. It has a capacity of 8 and I think that is plenty for 99% of situations and I always carry on my hip. :gun:

Posted: Oct 27 2003 9:40 pm
by hoppy47m
Now...if you're not a good shot, you might want to consider hand grenades!
Yea Rodney, and you can even go fishin' with those!!!!

Posted: Oct 27 2003 9:54 pm
by Rodney
hoppy47m wrote:
Now...if you're not a good shot, you might want to consider hand grenades!
Yea Rodney, and you can even go fishin' with those!!!!
Cool..."blow" fish in Arizona! :lol:

Posted: Oct 27 2003 10:24 pm
by azhiker96
Well let's see, if I thought I would be attacked by people I'd have to opt for a Remington BDL chambered for 30-06 and matched with a good scope. If I thought they'd attack from close distance then I'd opt for a 12 gauge autoloader with double O shot. For large agressive animals I'd opt for the 12 gauge with alternating double O and slugs. For hiking around here I either carry my 9mm or nothing. So far both have served me well. I've never had to fire the 9mm but it has given me some comfort from time to time.

Posted: Oct 28 2003 5:47 am
by Wiz
Abe wrote:Wiz! :o Is that you? And still kicking at a hundred! :lol: Wow!
Eh, that's right, sonny, still scruffy and still totin', heh heh!

Posted: Oct 28 2003 2:09 pm
by escudilla
I sometimes carry a S&W .44mag Mountain Gun 4" barrel (45 ounces). Normally the muzzle flash and noise is enough. :D

Posted: Oct 28 2003 9:50 pm
by ADGibson
hoppy47m wrote:
Now...if you're not a good shot, you might want to consider hand grenades!
Yea Rodney, and you can even go fishin' with those!!!!

Yep. Also, color doesn't seem to matter.

Re: Appropriate firearm?

Posted: Oct 28 2003 9:57 pm
by ADGibson
In response to Wiz's reply:

I think that a larger caliber is needed. I carry on 100% of my trips. This is mostly on for human preditors, but may be effective against most wildlife. I don't think any of us would shoot an animal unless it was a last resort. That would be poaching.

I carry a HK USP Compact .40. I have no idea is hydroshoks will stop a large preditor. If I wanted something that I know will stop a bear I would probably carry a rifle or shotgun. I know 12 Gauge with slugs will stop a bear, but that's a lot of weight. I think I have a greater chance of getting in a car wreck on the way to the trail head than getting attacked.