I hike regularly and carry a S&W Shield .45 loaded with Remington 185-grain +P Golden Sabers. Light, thin, and with 8 rounds in the gun, I think it's hard to beat. Weight and bulk are no issue. The pistol is affordable, lack of recoil is shocking, and .45 ammo is common. My Golden Saber 185 +P choice is based on the brass jacket for a bit more penetration and added bullet velocity over 230s.
I do carry an extra 7 round mag; sometimes 2. Extra mags cause no problems with weight or bulk. In NE Arkansas where I live, we don't have the issue with huge black bear and feral hog populations like other counties west of me do, so I'm okay with the .45 +P.
What you choose depends on what you're anticipating...for instance a .22 would suffice for plinking but not much else.
If it's two legged predators then a .38/357 will do and I'd recommend a Smith M-60 and be thankful for the bit of extra weight if you had to use it.
Where 4 legged aggressors may be a problem then a .44 Spl or Magnum is warranted...in "L" frames I like and carry a M-69 Smith with its 5-chambers of .44 magnum capability or specials if that's too much. That gun weighs 38 oz., about the same as a K frame .357 but packs a superior punch if it's needed.
In a cross chest holster, maybe the old 'tanker' type from the Army would do for quick access, and is protected and out of the way when backpacking. I've carried that M-69 Smith fishing along the north shore of Fontana Lake in the Smokies where there's an abundance of black bears...and also hung a good canister of bear spray from the same chest harness.
A final word; if you're worried/concerned enough to pack a gun where you're going, then accept the weight of a full size handgun that's up to the job. If you need it, you'll be thankful for its better control over a featherweight piece.
5th Spl Forces, Air Force Bird Dog FAC, lll Corps RVN 69-70.... We enjoy the Bill of Rights by the sacrifices of our veterans;
Politicians, Preachers, Educators, Journalists and Community Organizers are beneficiaries, not defenders of our freedoms.
Oz do equal lbs but since I’m carrying around extra weight I really shouldn’t blame it on the gun. Lol
Around here there is nothing real big so I like my S&W 43C in 22lr. Disappears. A 365 is pretty light too. J frame.
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If discretion is a concern, the Hill People Gear kit bags are a good option for carrying a gun on your chest in a concealed manner, and also provide an easily accessible storage location for necessities on the trail. It's not an inconspicuous piece of gear in an urban setting, but on the trail when you're already wearing a pack, it's not out of place and blends right in. Your gun is easily accessible, protected from the elements, and not hanging out there for everybody to see.
There's a thread from a while back where I asked for advice and ultimately ended up buying two of the HPG bags in different sizes, and I still use them regularly, the small one for my morning runs and the medium one on the trail. I documented a few hikes with them, and a number of other members gave some really good input on their setups as well, both the HPG bags and other options. https://sigforum.com/eve/forum...0601935/m/7390020484
A Charter Arms Off Duty as a dedicated hiking kit gun sounds interesting. 12oz.
S&W 642 Airweight - WITHOUT the “Hillary Hole” lock.
Fun to shoot? Nope.
Easy to carry? Yup. Very much so. It’s what I usually grab and go with.
My go to is the S&W 340PD No Lock. Light enough that it is not a weight penalty. I use an OWB holster or a Snubby Kit bag. I’ve also carried the Glock 33 but prefer the revolver.
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When I go to buy something from them it's always out of stock.
With ammunition offerings like the extreme penetrator, the definition of an effective woods gun has changed. A G43 with seven rounds isn't a bad option.
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I think I'm down to a P365 or the G43 because I could carry an extra mag as an EDC in urban areas.
Any downsides to either I should consider? For 2 oz I could get a 365 XL as well. It would still be lighter than my XD9 sub.
Get the 43X, and Shield 15 rd mags if you are going Glock, won't be overly heavy you get a longer grip.
A J frame loaded with snake shot is a must have on hikes. It compliments either my G43X or P365.
Life is short. It’s shorter with the wrong gun…
Yes, with casual hiking in most areas, switch up the ammo some. Most of us don’t really need ‘bear defense’, even if a few black bears are around.
I’d rather have a Ruger LCP than nothing, or a Sig P238.
Another recommendation on the ruger lcrX.
Have one in 38.
3 inch barrel and adjustable sights. VERY light.
But a good grip. Can load a couple shot shells for snakes and hardcast wadcutters for anything else
Of those two choices, I’ve owned both, I picked the 365 and gave my nephew my G43 and have never missed it.
I don’t want to buy a Glock and then buy special mags. And then buy a special metal mag catch. Oh yea, and then I can’t really use Glock mags because the metal catch will chew up the plastic Glock mags. I love tinkering but this shield arms stuff has gone too far to the crazy for me. When I can’t use factory mags for fear of damage that’s nuts.
I say get which length 365 you prefer, is available, is cheaper. They both work great. Sig and others sell both lengths if you truly decide you went the wrong way. You can’t lose basically.
I probably would go with the standard slide length, optics cut (just in case you go that way), and the X grip length. Buy a Macro magazine. Sig ships the Macro mags with 3 baseplates so that by swapping them out they fit perfectly in all 3 grip module sizes.
Sig hit it out of the park with the 365. It’s the only gun when a buddy asks my advice that I tell him this is the BEST choice period and they normally agree after shooting them. It is far and away better than the other guns in that class. Modularity alone, it’s amazing the configurations you can produce for your needs.
Get a 365, get the spare 17 round mag for a reload, hike in a sense of comfort and security knowing you made a good choice.
(I do love the XL slide length)
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So if I use the Shield mags I have to change the mag catch?
I don't own Shield mags. The reason I didn't get some was because the mags are metal and the concern is that the metal mags chew up the plastic Glock mag release catch. So to rectify that Shield Arms sells a metal replacement. The problem with that is that the metal mag catch potentially chews up the plastic Glock mags. Quite the conundrum.
The general consensus is that you stay stock or you go Shield Arms solely. Or you throw caution to the wind and mix and match but most don't recommend that long term.
That is why I never bought Shield Arms.
The S&W Govenor is dead solid perfect for hiking. Shotgun shells for snakes and 45 colt for the other guys. Suck it up on the weight!
Starting to look at the LCP Max for hiking, but I have no direct experience with this gun.
Let's Go Brandon!
The Ruger EC9S is about 1/2 ounce lighter than the SIG P365. That's unloaded weight -- loaded, the difference will be bigger because of the Ruger's 7+1 capacity compared to the SIG's 10+1. It comes down to a decision between weight and extra rounds. And price: The SIG costs roughly twice as much.
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