A .357 or .44 caliber revolvers comes to mind for both personal defense and for use as a hunting weapon, but is this the best handgun for protection when out in the wilderness?
Of course, everyone has their own ideas on survival weapons and what ones to carry, based on personal experiences and results.
However, take all of the personal stories and evidence away you are left with the facts and the mechanics of the firearms.
The handguns described above can fire what is called, by some, snake killer rounds, in other words birdshot cartridges.
Use these birdshot rounds for hunting fowl and smaller game and for protection against snakes and vermin you might find in the wild.
The rounds are loaded with mini pellets similar to birdshot cartridges for shotguns.
Both weapons have “knock down” power and while no one should purposely set out to hunt bear with either one, you at least have a fighting chance with a heavy caliber like the .357 or .44. Both can of course bring down a deer and while not ideal, for hunting big game, the weapons have more versatility than most rifles and they are easier to carry and are less obvious in a survival situation.
Hikers and campers may not want to carry around long guns nor do they want to advertise they are armed so a heavy caliber handgun is the perfect weapon of choice in some cases. They can be used for hunting and self-defense. Handguns can either be carried in a holster on the belt for easy access or can be put in a survival pack or you can use a shoulder harness.
Some would never carry anything other than a .45 automatic, which can also fire birdshot rounds for vermin, snakes and birds. Automatics fire a round without having to draw back a hammer as you would on a single action revolver and on a double action, the hammer is drawn back as you depress the trigger.
The .45 caliber is a powerful round and is more than adequate against humans and most animals as far as protection goes. They can bring down a deer for food but a .45 calibers’ effective range is roughly 50 yards. This does not mean this is the kill range but the range where you can expect to be accurate if you have the skill.
A revolver in most cases will require more pull to fire but they rarely jam whereas an automatic relies on the energy from the cartridge propellant to chamber the next round. Automatics typically jam easier than revolvers. Revolvers of course have a rotating cylinder that is not easily jammed by debris and most jams can be handled quickly.
If you have traveling companions and everyone is armed with various firearms you should all be aware of what each other is carrying and be prepared to use each other’s weapons. If someone becomes injured and cannot use their firearm you may have to pick it up to carry on the fight so make sure you know how to handle whatever anyone is carrying.
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