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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
hey all

looking for a small but powerful pistol to carry while backpacking threw the woods with my family. never cared much when i was by myself, but i do see some wierdos out there sometimes

thanks

i should have added that its people i worry about, not the wild life. and its mostly just the forest preserves around the house
 

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I never carry in the backcountry, and I take at least one backpacking trip a month. I've had this discussion over on Backpacker's Forums a number of times.

Keep in mind that laws differ from state to state and park to park whether you can even carry there... although obviously there is that National Parks law that goes into effect next February. Even that will not cover everything though.
 

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Be careful where you are when carrying as not all backcountry is legal.

That being said, Small but powerful would be anything from the Khar CW40 to multiple options of .45's. Cost effective, I'd recommend either a Springfield Armory XD Compact .45 or a Glock .45

Another great choice would be the Taurus Judge which shoots either .410 shotgun or .45 Long Colt

I'd also recommend a standard target practice full metal jacket round if you are going to be using it to protect against bears or other large predators.

Good luck, and happy hiking.
 

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Well it sounds like your concerns are only for people so... I would carry a mid sized weapon in 9mm 40 or 45. I would get something with a tough finish since your back packing --- the gun is going to get sweat all over it (depending on how you carry it). I carry a G19 -- tough finish, hi-cap, reliable and its 9mm which is plenty good enough for ppl.
 

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I carry a 20 oz snubby 41 mag (Taurus 415ti, now discontinued) but taurus has a light weight 5 shot 44 that will work. S&W has a 26 oz 44 for a bit more $$. Some think the 10mm is enough, and Glock's 29 is very small. I doubt that you could run up against anything in the lower states that a compact 45 couldn't handle. Check all the laws. Sounds like fun.
 

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I'd recommend a Springfield XD 9mm subcompact... I have one myself and it's a great firearm so far...

Many will recommend .40 or .45's, but I'd recommend a 9mm... Why? It's got less kick, so you can place more shots quicker. Magazines will hold more rounds. Ammo is cheaper (which is important if you practice, which you should...) and easier to get. And the statistics point that you won't get THAT much of a better chance to knock someone down with one shot when using a larger round... (There's many threads discussing it.)
 

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Good recommendations but personally I would prefer a quality revolver in .357 with a 4-inch barrel, more ammo choices and less prone to failure. Be sure to carry a couple of speed loaders for spare or different ammo.
 

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.38 revolver with a 2.5" or preferably a 3" barrel (for better accuracy).

The various 5 shot models can be relatively small. Some alloy constructions can be quite lite in weight.

I gravitate to S&W.

In my mind, these are the most reliable, accurate, trouble free, easiest to operate, most cost effective answer to the question.
 

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For hiking through the woods, I'm thinking a .357 revolver with a couple of reloads is in order.... Take your pick on the platform, S&W, Taurus, Colt most any of the major ones is a good choice. Personally I'd go for the Colt or the Smith. The .357 round is what's important for all possible critter encounters.
 

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Good recommendations but personally I would prefer a quality revolver in .357 with a 4-inch barrel, more ammo choices and less prone to failure. Be sure to carry a couple of speed loaders for spare or different ammo.

Good advice, but with one of the qualifiers being "small", I hesitate to advise .357

Shooting .357 rounds with a "small" (also read "light weight") gun aint that much fun.

They're fun in my 42 oz S&W 686 6" barrel, but not so much in the small CCW "small" guns.

Plus, when you stick to .38 or .38+p rated guns the weight and cost of the choices tends to fall - relative to the .357's.
 

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Good advice, but with one of the qualifiers being "small", I hesitate to advise .357

Shooting .357 rounds with a "small" (also read "light weight") gun aint that much fun.

They're fun in my 42 oz S&W 686 6" barrel, but not so much in the small CCW "small" guns.

Plus, when you stick to .38 or .38+p rated guns the weight and cost of the choices tends to fall - relative to the .357's.
Good points as to the small I was thinking along the lines of either the Ruger SP-101 or a little larger the GP-100.
 

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Don't get me wrong here as I love a .357 Magnum loaded with 125-grain JHP better than almost anything, but trekking through the woods with a fully loaded .357 along with a couple of spare speedloaders may be too much weight for this 'ol boy.

I would stick with a revolver though, for various reasons. Probably a snubnose
.38 Special.
 

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Good points as to the small I was thinking along the lines of either the Ruger SP-101 or a little larger the GP-100.
+1. I am looking around for a SP101 with the 3 1/16" barrel, for the same scenario. I think the longer barrel and heavier built SP will make shooting .357 rounds much more enjoyable.
 

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A Kahr PM45 is about as small, light and powerful as you can get all at the same time.
 

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Have you considered a Ruger LCR perhaps, or a S & W 642 j frame. Might suit you well being small, light weight for backpacking.
 

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When you say "Small but Powerful" I have to think of my Taurus PT145 or my S&W CS45.

Either would fit that need in my opinion.
 

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hey all

looking for a small but powerful pistol to carry while backpacking threw the woods with my family. never cared much when i was by myself, but i do see some wierdos out there sometimes

thanks

i should have added that its people i worry about, not the wild life. and its mostly just the forest preserves around the house
If bears or mt lion are not a concern for you any good self defense handgun that you consider comfortable to carry should do ya. I happen to like revolvers and I consider my SP101 a good gun for my hiking excursions. It's not too heavy for carry and gives you that 357 punch if you want it.
 

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Small but powerful, no critters, just people? I think you'll want to consider a relatively lightweight gun as well. Therefore, I think it will be hard to beat a Glock 19, or comparable 9mm XD. With a good +P hollowpoint, 15 rd magazine capacity, 4" bbl, it's just a good, all around self defense pistol. If that's too big, drop down to a comparable sub-compact. Myself, I'm surprised how little my G19 seems when compared to my XD45C.

Good luck, and be sure to try some out before buying, if possible.
 

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I carry a XD 40 Subcompact [which is the same frame as the 9mm]. A more interesting question is where to carry it. Carrying on my pack belt will expose it to mud and dirt. I have started using a small binoculars case which holds the XD 40 SC just right and proper.
 

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National Forests for the most part follow the law of the state. If the state allows CC in state forests then your good to go in the National Forest.

Now national park carry doesnt come into effect until Feb 2010.

I carry in MO and in AR in national and stat forests. I frequently visit the Ozark Highlands Trail in the Ozark National Forest. I am always packing but mine is readily accessible. I just make it where my shirt covers it.

I carry a 55lb pack excluding my glock.

I AM NOT PACKING FOR CRITTERS.

Have fun and enjoy the outdoors!
 
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