Whenever most people think of hunting, images of long-guns always come to mind. Whether that be a rifle for game hunting, or a shotgun for bird hunting – hunting has always been dominated by the barrel.
But a new and emerging trend in the world of hunting is the idea of hunting with a much smaller, lighter and more portable weapon – a handgun. Now before you start judging this idea, hear some of the advantages and disadvantages of the concept.
One of the biggest advantages of hunting with a handgun is the weight, size and portability. For the most part, handguns are about one-quarter the size and weight of most long guns, so toting one around is significantly easier than a normal rifle or shotgun. This also means that you can also bring along multiple of them, in case you are hunting for multiple kinds of game with different calibers.
Another smaller advantage can be the amount of noise produced from the shot. Typically, a shot from a handgun is about 10-25 decibels quieter than a rifle, which can allow for hunting in places with noise restrictions on, especially if you use a suppressor.
One of biggest and most glaring disadvantages of hunting with a handgun is the range you are able to hunt at. The practical range for most handguns is within about 75-100 yards, and you are really pushing it at 100, even with optics. For most rifles, that is quite an easy shot.
But this might not be a big disadvantage if you are hunting in a more condensed and tight environment, such as a forest.
Choosing a Caliber
The main thing to consider when deciding on a handgun caliber to use hunting is the size of the game you will be looking to kill. For the most part, there will be a handgun caliber for everything. On the smaller side of things, if you are looking to hunt varmints, or smaller creatures, about any medium sized round will do, such as a 9 mm or 40 S&W.
If you are looking into the larger animals, such as deer, elk, bears or moose, you will want to seriously increase your caliber and stopping power. I wouldn’t go out with any less than a 44 magnum if I was going for big game. One step up from that would be the S&W 500, which was specifically designed to be able to hunt any big game in North America.
Choosing a Handgun
When selecting a handgun to hunt with, it mostly comes down to personal preference. Whatever you are most comfortable with is usually the best thing to hunt with. But as a guide, revolvers are the most common handguns to take hunting. They usually have longer barrels, which make for increased range and accuracy when hunting. They also are able to be outfitted with different optics and scopes, that can really increase the range you can hunt at.
So go out and pick out a big revolver and go kill something!
Below video about hunting with a handgun: