In yesterday’s post Why You Shouldn’t Take a Gun When Hiking on the Appalachian Trail: IMI Systems Quote of the Day, a snowflake named Margaret (not shown) offered a bunch of reasons why she wouldn’t tool-up for her outdoor adventures. TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia shot down her arguments with extreme prejudice. Which left a void: what’s the best carry gun for hiking? Here are my picks . . .
If you want a firearm that can take down a bear, wolf, cougar or other four-legged attacker, Smith’s five-shot .38 caliber snubbie is not the
droid gun you’re looking for. Nor would it be suitable for “where the F am I?” emergency hunting.
But if you’re a hiker seeking simple protection from two-legged threats, the 642 is, as the Brits say, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
The 15-ounce Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight’s biggest maybe even only advantage: it’s easily schlepped in a fanny pack or comfortable holster. It provides supreme portability over however many miles of Mother Nature you seek to traverse. It’s also reliable AF, no matter what the conditions. Speaking of which . . .
While the GLOCK 20 is a lot bigger than the diddy little five-shot Smith, it only exacts a 13 ounce weight penalty. Not to be a Buffalo Bore, that doesn’t include the weight of the cartridges. Which cost a bomb and weigh a ton. But the G20’s capability is from another planet.
With the right 10mm ammo, with appropriately placed shots, Gaston’s gat can take down a bad man or a rampaging beast at a fair distance, maybe even both at in quick succession, what with its 15+1 capacity.
As you’d expect, the GLOCK 20 is an uber-reliable handgun that doesn’t require a lot of babying to keep running. As for carry comfort, there are plenty of hiking compatible options, from cover-it-with-your shirt outside-the-waistband holsters to not-so-covert-now-eh-Mr.-Bond chest-mounted rigs.
If you’re serious about not becoming bear scat or hunting something big in between communing with nature, you need some serious firepower. Any shotgun that fires slugs is a good choice. Any rifle in a suitably powerful caliber is also a suitable backwoods/desert/mountaintop companion.
[NOTE: This list does not include my weighty 5.56 caliber SCAR-16 as toted by Liberte Austin in the pic at the top of this post. That was clickbait humor.]
I’m going with the Henry .30-30 in don’t-mind-if-I-ding-it steel. The lever gun offers an ideal combination of light weight (7 lbs.), maneuverability (39″ long), portability (swivel studs, useful with iron sights out to 125 yards or so), “stopping power,” accuracy, capacity, safety (carry it without a round in the chamber) and last but not least, cool.
Yeah, I know: the Big Boy is not a carry gun per se. But if you’re carrying it, it’s a carry gun, right? As Elvis might have said, carrying the Henry feels so good how can it be wrong? If you see Margaret, ask her. Better yet, don’t. If you don’t understand it, it’s not for you.