Best Wilderness Pistol

Maria Johnson
• Thursday, 12 November, 2020
• 9 min read

If you’re planning a bow hunting trip in a state that allows you to carry a backup gun, or you’re going camping in bear territory, you’re going to want a sidearm. From bears to coyotes to even the occasional mountain lion, there are always scenarios in which having a powerful handgun at your side could very well save your life.

handguns protection powerful wilderness outdoorhub low res
(Source: www.outdoorhub.com)


In addition, avoiding confrontations and knowing how to handle encounters with a wild animal is always preferable to using a firearm. The Taurus Tracker series is a rugged family of revolvers designed specifically for wilderness survival.

While some might say that .357 Magnum is on the lower end of what they would want in their hands against a bear or even an aggressive moose, a well-placed shot would bring down even the largest of bruins. An advantage of the .357 Magnum over more powerful rounds is that it generally is easier to handle and fire accurately, not to mention that revolver chambered in the caliber are also usually lighter.

Large, unwieldy, and often hard to shoot accurately, the .44 Magnum is nonetheless a great round for predator defense. Ruler’s revolvers are made from high-grade steel and constructed to handle extra stress, making them popular with hand loaders using hot rounds.

Both the Red hawk and Black hawk series have been used successfully in the wild, and perhaps most famously by legendary explorer Sir Ralph Fences when he drew one of the magnum revolvers against charging polar bear and shot it in the foot in the North Pole. The prevailing opinion is that if you fire this hand cannon at something and don’t miss by a mile, that thing will die.

They are made of flesh, blood, and large vital organs that, if punctured, will usually result in death. If you’re okay with carrying around a 56-ounce to 82-ounce revolver on your hip, you can rest easy in the fact that you’re basically lugging around a cannon.

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(Source: www.pinterest.com)

It should also be noted that the S&W 500 has been used to successfully take cape buffalo, one of the toughest animals in the world and often reputed as the biggest challenge for hunters in Africa. We spend a lot of time and effort here at Rancho De Los Locos gathering preps in the form of storage food, medical and first aid supplies, alternative lighting, heating, energy, and water sources.

We spend even more time and energy in creating a sustainable lifestyle, one that we hope will carry us through years if needs be, well beyond our ability to stockpile goods. And so, I have devoted a fair amount of thought, learned a good collection of skills, and gathered a decent kit of needed gear.

One of the things I have had to contend with is that it is just flat out impossible to carry enough ammo to feed a battle rifle through multiple sustained fire fights. They are all about the tactical gear, high cap Semi Automatics (rifle and handgun), and pretty much anything that comes in cameo and feeds that fantasy.

In reality, it is more likely that back woods survival will have a lot more to do with being able to feed yourself than your ability to fight off hundreds of zombies (or brigands, or looters, or wayward ANTIFA types, or the bogeymen of your choice). However, with good shot placement it can be an adequate deer cartridge, and with a .22 LR conversion kit it is great for rabbits and squirrels.

If you intend to use this as a versatile survival rifle, the .22 conversion kit is highly recommended, it will make it easier to carry a larger quantity of ammo, and open the door for acquiring a wider variety of fresh meat. Above Photo: My Girlfriend and I keep these His N Her assortment of Personal Weapons on hand for a “Zombie Apocalypse”.

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(Source: wildernessmastery.com)

I favor Pump Guns, and lean towards Moss berg 500s and their illegitimate cousin the Maverick 88s. There are a lot of other good options, including the Remington 870s, and a fair selection of quality Semiautomatics as well.

It comes down to a matter of preference and personal taste, and I have been shooting Moss bergs for 40 some years. So I’ll suffice it to say that I prefer large steel framed pistols, and my full size handgun of choice is the M9 pattern (Including both the Beretta and Taurus 92s).

I like 9 mm, it’s an adequate man stopper and I can carry a bit more ammo for the size and weight than .45 or .40, but all three of those calibers are good choices and abundantly available. Once again, it is my opinion that surviving in the woods is more about putting food on the campfire than it is about shoot-outs with roving bands of desperadoes.

The absolute best defense against all manner of dubious people is avoidance, escape, and evasion. While your gun fighting skills should not be overlooked, your ability to avoid or break contact is far more useful in keeping you alive.

I’m not going to be spending a lot of time stopping to preserve meat, so I’m not going to be all that interested in large game. The .22 offers the ability to provide rabbits, squirrels, and a variety of other tasty little critters.

hunting rifles american hunter remington edisto river hunt usa
(Source: www.americanhunter.org)

The best thing about the .22 is that bringing a thousand rounds of ammo is cost, bulk, and weight effective. This is an ammo supply an order of magnitude greater than with the AR, AK, or shotgun, and you can keep a year’s worth of small game in a pocket.

If your primary objective is to break contact and escape, a few rounds of .22 properly placed can buy you the time you need to set that in motion. As I side note, every time someone tells me a .22 won’t even injure an assailant, I ask them if they would mind standing in front of the woodpile while I shoot them.

It’s that preference and habit thing again, this is another gun I have used for 4 plus decades, it has fed me and entertained me, and trained my kids. In this category, I prefer the 1873 pattern single action army type revolvers.

Mine has a 5 ½ inch barrel and was made by Pitta, it is chambered in the legendary .45 colt (Yeah, I’ve got an inner John Wayne that keeps my inner Rambo company! But, there are a lot of pretty effective loads available for the .45 colts, and I don’t live in Brown Bear country.

The .45 is plenty good for any of the local Black Bears that don’t respond to the standard procedure of shouting “BOO!! If you prefer double action, the Ruler Red hawk, and the Smith and Wesson Model 29 are just two of the many fine options available.

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(Source: www.wideopenspaces.com)

Pretty much the ultimate in small game getting, fowl getting, and with slugs even deer getting weapon. This is versatility at its best, and in a survival situation it gives you a greatly increased chance of coming across ammo you can use without carrying a bunch of guns.

I believe that combo guns of this type are a great choice in The Best Firearms to Survive in the Woods debate. There are a number of rifles on the Market that offer changeable barrels, as well as the tried and true Thompson Contender Handguns.

Take into account what your objectives will be, the duration you may have to survive, the threats you perceive, and the game you intend to eat. The scenario, more specifically the context of the situation means an entirely new set of criteria when it comes to selection.

We can argue the qualities, flaws and other salient minutiae of makes and models till the sky falls, but statistically almost any gun will do so long as it is reliable and brought into the fight. In the interests of clarity and heading off the worst of the flames in the comments section, the survival scenario I am referring to for the purposes of our article is a long to indefinite term societal breakdown or even end-of-society/continuity of government situation.

Sure, even with this parameter the variables are enormous: are my group members known, and familiar to me, or are they just allies of convenience, i.e. neighbors, acquaintances, etc. That is with cause, as a certain amount of uncertainty will always remain when it comes to coping with a major crisis, and you will have to decide over preparing “broadly” or “deeply”, as most folks cannot afford to spend the time or resources to do both equally well.

guns turkey shotgun hunting scope shotguns market guide
(Source: wildernessmastery.com)

Conversely, if you prepare deeply you will pour resources into one solution that will hopefully solve your problem in the most elegant way possible. For many, defense against dangerous wildlife may well take priority but that is not the presupposition for this article, and so we will not be factoring in any outstanding features that would make for an ideal hunting weapon, so no big of’ magnums, enormous barrels and so on.

For those of you who demand your end-of-the-world sidearm be a capable game-getter, please bear in mind that any handgun suitable for dispatching a human being is entirely adequate for most medium game under nominal conditions and distances with proper shot placement, and very few animals cannot be felled by a well-placed shot to head or neck even from an “inadequate” caliber. Suffice it to say that our chosen handguns must be chambered in a round that is adequately capable against a human opponent, be of reasonable size, and be highly reliable.

Significant perks include things like plentiful capacity, easy to find ammo, and an abundance of spare parts and support gear. Some designs, mostly newer, more modern pistols, are far better about this last point than older, more venerable guns.

Sure, that is a factor, but swapping out critical fire control components, barrels and the like may very well require fitting, and even among modern designs interchangeability among guns or when installing replacement parts is far from consistent. Older designs like the 1911 and Browning Hi-Power are much beloved, and well-maintained are both accurate, hard running pistols, but both suffer from a much higher standard of care, and drastically more intensive maintenance requirements, especially when swapping or replacing parts.

There is a reason modern mass-production is seen as a huge leap forward over older, craftsman-tooled and fitted designs, even if the new steel and plastic Roscoe lack “soul.” Choosing a modern design will ensure you can, most times, swap out or install a part with a minimum of hassle and fitting.

gun safe firearms
(Source: wildernessmastery.com)

Learning the moans and groans of hand fitting and tuning extractors on older autoloaders or timing a revolver will require commensurately more education and refinement of your craft to ensure optimum function. If I were kitting out my survival stash with multiple handguns for long-term or indefinite term survival, and was anticipating or actively planning arming a group of fellow survivors I would be buying Glock 19s left and right, specifically Gen. 3s, a bunch of magazines and spare parts.

Aside from extreme mechanical reliability, the gun is also preternaturally durable, and borderline impervious to corrosion. All-purpose Size: The Glock 19 does everything pretty well- it shoots as well as or better than its full size cousin the 17, is easily concealed in hot weather or cold, and is often remarked on as “just right” in both grip circumference and balance by a huge cross-section of shooters.

Do not discount the ability to conceal a gun even after The End: the element of surprise is powerful indeed. Easy to Shoot Well: Though we live in the age of super hotblooded Instagram custom guns, even a box-stock Glock is more than adequate for 90% shooters’ needs.

This makes it a short, sweet affair to get most users of average intelligence up and shooting one with some proficiency in minimal time. Bountiful Parts and Accessories: More than any other pistols, Blocks have the most aftermarket and OEM support imaginable, especially the Gen. 3 guns, which were the standard for far longer than the newer Gens.

The small parts count, straightforward disassembly and assembly, and forgiving tolerances make working on Blocks very simple compared to many other designs. Now, you cannot go crazy when installing parts from various manufacturers and expect everything to play nice 100% of the time, but if you are sticking with Glock factory parts you will rarely have any issues beyond install and function check to get a recalcitrant pistol shooting again.

(Source: concernedpatriot.com)

Affordable: Blocks are middle of the road on pricing, new, and downright bargains when bought used or as a police trade-in, which are still plentiful today. For the cost of a decent quality 1911 or classic SIG P-series pistol you can have two Glock 19s with extra magazines.

All roses have their thorns, and all guns have their flaws, even one so sublimely suited to its purpose as the humble Glock 19. Pistol sights should always be steel, but the 19’s being made of soft, easily deformed plastic, the basic Glock factory sights are vulnerable to being broken off the gun at the first contact more violent than a gentle landing back in the holster.

Unforgiving of Poor Handling: You could paint broadly here and say that all guns are intolerant of mishap and poor handling, and you’d be correct, but nothing happens in a vacuum and the Glock (and other, similar striker-fired guns) do not suffer the ministrations of the careless for long before a negligent discharge occurs. Additionally, Blocks are notorious for their disassembly procedure mandating the trigger be pulled to remove the slide, a “feature” which has meant no end of consternation for ill-trained and careless users for the reasons cited above.

Slippery When Wet: Compared to the nice frame textures of the newer crop of Blocks and competing guns, the Gen.3 and earlier Blocks are likely to skid in the hand when very wet, be it from sweat, water or, worse, blood. More involved options include DIY or aftermarket stippling, but this will handily gobble up any savings you might have garnered from choosing a Glock over a more expensive offering.

While competitors pistols may tout and brag about their superior out-of-the-box accuracy, and it might be true, Blocks are plenty accurate enough out to 50 yards in virtually every incarnation. While aftermarket barrels are so prevalent today you’d be forgiven for assuming they are a mandatory upgrade, the facts are that very, very few shooters will able to summon on demand all the accuracy that their chosen pistol can muster.

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(Source: wideopenspaces.com)

Your hands must monstrously huge or selfishly tiny to be truly incompatible with a 9 mm Glock frame. Fact is that none of those other guns offer the same combination of benefits to suit the task at hand like the Glock does.

While emphasizing a good, intuitively nice fit in the hand is fine for beginners perusing a shop for their first pistol, it is overemphasized as having merit for strong shooters. No, they aren’t, and I hate to break this to you, but your relative pressed the damn trigger when they didn’t want a “bang,” simple as that.

Add to this their greater logistical concerns (much harder to service and maintain, action more delicate, less reliable in dirty and inclement conditions) and they take a clear backseat to a good semi like the Glock when discussing a long-term survival situation where the gun is definitely going to get abused. For a no-shit, hard-running all-purpose, all-weather fighting handgun that won’t break the bank and will ease your logistics train, the Glock 19 is the hands-down winner.

No other gun on the market offers its unique combination of attributes that make it so suited to keeping you and yours safe after the End of the World. Inexpensive, ubiquitous, ultra-robust, minimal upkeep requirements and possessed of a long service life and excellent shooting and handling characteristics, the Glock 19 should be your No.1 choice if you are serious about ensuring your group is well-heeled when the time comes.

But if you are worried about a truly long-term society ending event, your priorities for firearm selection will be far different, especially if you have taken the responsibility of outfitting a small or large group. In this latter scenario, logistical concerns are just as important as raw shooting and handling characteristic.

swift frame
(Source: forum.nosler.com)

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