OPINION-DISCUSSION: Back Packing Handguns

Among shooting friends and colleagues, there are those that fall into two main categories, in regards to shoot'ng irons for hiking and backpacking:  Those that carry as light as one can, given the amount of water, food, emergency clothing, etc., that one may need, and those that prefer a substantial round, one that would speak with the most authority, should the need arise.  Those authority speakers tend to be heavier and more work to carry, though they do seem to be the choice of some very dedicated gun packers.  

I, for one, am in the lighter the better category.  Heck, I’m even considering a Ruger .22 Lite, when our sight system comes out for The Ruger Lite next week. However, to date, my usual backpacking choices are either one of two well considered possibilities. The first and lightest is a “Wyatt Deep Cover, Gunsmoke” -- a highly customized S&W J-frame 38 +p -- into which I add a favorite custom load, involving a 150 grain wadcutter that journeys a little over 800 fps in a 2” barrel.  It’s inexpensive practice and very accurate. The other is an M&P Shield 40 with, of course, the Advantage Tactical Sight and Firefly option.  I load bargain basement 180 grain flat point ball ammo.  Most are accurate enough, and the hardball flat point offers good penetration, along with a punch.  

As a side note, both handguns ride in an Andrews Custom Leather “Carjack Holster” (386-462-0576). The Carjack is a shirt cover, completely horizontal to the ground cross-draw that is positioned just in front of the navel.  With that method of carry, the weight is evenly distributed.  It’s a blessing on a long hike, because you don’t get back aches from the unevenly distributed weight to one side of the body. In addition, it allows easy access from any sitting or standing position, for a quick draw.

Richard (ATS)