Best Handgun for Hiking Buying Guide In 2024

Handgun for Hiking Reviews

You can never have enough options for choosing a personal defense handgun.

Hiking may be done for various reasons, including fitness, adventure, discovery, and more. So even those who live in urban areas may participate since paths can be found near them. It’s also a rather risk-free activity for the most part. However, this does not rule out the need to pack a first aid kit, a method of calling for assistance, and a firearm (if you can).

Since the introduction of the internet, there has been a heated debate over the best pistol to carry and the best ammunition to use while hiking. This debate is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. That is, unless, of course, everyone thinks that I am completely correct. You may choose one of the finest hiking trails I’ve picked from the list below that best suits your budget and lifestyle and then go out on the route.

10 Handgun for Hiking Reviews to Help You Choose the One

The right handgun can help save your life in case you find yourself in a dangerous situation. However, choosing the right one can be challenging as so many options are available today.

To help you with your search, we have compiled this article with detailed reviews of the top 10 handguns for hiking

1. S&W J-Frame Revolver

SW J Frame Revolver

S & W J-Frame Revolver

It’s designed to be the perfect companion for hiking and camping. It is easy to use and lightweight.

Gunmen, it is claimed, speak about 1911s, shoot Glocks, and carry a J-Frame as a matter of course. According to the current group-think attitude on the Internet, this pistol seems a poor option. Sorry, but I don’t go along with the crowd. Do you want the truth? While getting ready to leave the house, owners reach for their S&W in357 Magnum more frequently than not.

It’s kept in a Blackhawk pocket holster while not in use. That’s right, the one that the Internet Tactards claim will get you murdered on the sidewalk. It’s small and lightweight, making it easier to hide and transport. That means I’ll have the revolver on me at all times, which is important when it comes to carrying weapons.

A surprising percentage of the serious shooters I know do the same thing, which is shocking. In addition to having an external hammer, the J-Frame M&P Scandium alloy frame is also available in double-action alone with no hammer.

Outstanding Features:

  • Very portable
  • Comes with the alloy frame
  • Very easy to hide

2. Glock G17 Handgun

Glock G17 Handgun

Glock G17 Handgun

This is a great choice for a backup in an emergency while hiking. It is efficient and affordable.

This weapon, designed by a 50-year-old manager for a car radiator plant in Austria, astonished the whole globe. In all, there were 34 pieces to the basic cannon. Everything, except the barrel, slide, and a few tiny internal components and springs, was constructed of plastic. Even the magazine itself was made of plastic.

The pistol was inexpensive and priced far lower than the competitors, revolutionizing the handgun market. The pistol has a capacity of eighteen 9mm rounds and has become popular among those who need a large amount of ammunition. The Glock G17 is the carry pistol of choice for millions of people throughout the world.

Outstanding Features:

  • Very light
  • Cost-effective
  • Wonderful feedback

3. Ruger 1911 Commander

Ruger 1911 Commander

Ruger 1911 Commander

Its design and steel frame are rugged and durable, so you can take it on your next hiking trip.

John Browning’s masterwork has been in production for over a century and continues to be one of the world’s most popular combat pistol designs.

In contrast to the plastic Tupperware guns that now dominate the market, many experienced shooters prefer it. This is partly because they still believe in the laws of physics and that a large cartridge strikes harder.

They are also aware that chambering 1911 in a caliber other than.45 ACP is a sin in their society. Compared to the Officer size, the full-size 1911 is a little hefty and unreliable; the Commander size is fine.

Outstanding Features:

  • Shoots beautifully
  • Larger cartridge
  • Very sizeable

4. The S&W M&P Shield

The SW MP Shield

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It is lightweight, compact, powerful, and affordable. It has a short barrel which makes it easy to carry around. 

S&W M&P Shield in the caliber of.40 S&W. On the pistol, I have a Crimson Trace LaserGuard installed on the sights, Trijicon HD Night Sights.

A whole new class of handguns was born with this weapon, which bridged the gap between the micro pistols and the considerably bigger “sub-compacts” of the day. You can easily transport it since it is tiny and lightweight. Despite this, it is virtually as simple as most full-sized firearms.

With chambers for mature cartridges such as the 9mm and.40 S&W, the Shield gave you the best of both worlds in one package. Now that it’s available in.45 ACP, it may become the ideal concealed carry weapon. The ability to cock easily makes it easy to be accurate with the gun. And While small, it stays and gives a huge grip, making everything more comfortable. 

Outstanding Features:

  • Comes with the laser guard
  • Portable
  • Very mobile

5. Ruger LCP Pistol 

Ruger LCP Pistol

Ruger LCP Pistol 

This compact pistol features a new design allowing easy operation and handling. Has an integrated accessory rail and adjustable sights.

Guns with the 380 ACP caliber gained popularity. The Kel-Tec P3AT was the starting point. As soon as Ruger debuted their LCP in 2008, it quickly rose to become the most popular pistol in the world, aided by the marketing power of the Ruger corporation.

It went on to herald the beginning of a revolution in micro.380 pistols. The pistol is small, lightweight, affordable, and convenient to carry in one’s pocket. The.380 ACP isn’t a powerhouse but gets the job done regularly.

With this gun, You can handle big bears if necessary, as well as hogs, coyotes, and anything else that crosses your path and can harm you, making it still an awesome hiking gun..

Outstanding Features:

  • Contains a small polymer frame
  • Small
  • Inexpensive

6. Ruger LCR Pistol (n)

Ruger LCR Pistol n

Ruger LCR Pistol (n)

It includes several safety features, a smaller grip, a shorter barrel, and a polymer frame with molded-in reinforcements.

This is the J-Frame for the general public. Ruger pioneered polymer manufacture for this pistol, lowering the cost of the firearm much below that of the S&W handguns. The quality is great, as it would be expected from a Ruger.

The Ruger LCR is a highly popular, moderately priced double-action revolver with a single-action trigger. However, it can carry a strong cartridge like the.357 Magnum thanks to the use of polymer in the frame, which reduces both weight and cost while maintaining durability.

Various calibers, ranging from 22LR to 357 Magnum, may be purchased with this firearm. Mine is in the latter category and has stood up well to a great deal of use.

In addition to being a tiny, lightweight pistol that is simple to carry, it is chambered for a strong cartridge and is reasonably priced so that a working man may readily purchase it.

Outstanding Features:

  • Easy to use
  • Great quality
  • Allows for enough calibers
  • Lightweight  

7. Glock 23 Handgun 

Glock 23 Handgun

Glock 23 Handgun 

This is a powerful, simple, and ergonomic handgun. Has a modern u0022safe actionu0022 trigger system with three internal safeties.

This is the Glock “Commander” size pistol, available in black or silver. Because it is smaller than full-size guns, it is easier to carry without sacrificing power. Although the Model G19 in 9mm is arguably the most popular, many gun enthusiasts still believe in the effectiveness of defensive cartridges that begin with the number four.

14 cartridges may be carried in the G23 in.40 S&W, a small package that is pleasant to carry all day. It is the weapon of choice for many gun enthusiasts looking for a gun to carry daily, especially while hiking.

Outstanding Features:

  • Very easy to carry
  • Allows for 14 cartridges
  • Suits for daily use

8. Glock G43 Handgun 

Glock G43 Handgun

Glock G43 Handgun 

Designed to be an easy-to-handle, highly accurate handgun that could also be quickly drawn from a holster and fired.

The S&W Shield began a revolution in carrying firearms by introducing a tiny, compact, lightweight handgun that could fire full-size rounds in a small, compact package. When the new category grew too popular to ignore, Glock jumped in with this 9mm handgun. This Glock is, like other Glocks, dependable to the point of being tedious.

This compact, lightweight pistol has a seven-round capacity, with six rounds in the magazine and one in the barrel chamber.

Outstanding Features:

  • 7 rounds capacity
  • Very light

9. Smith & Wesson M&P 

Smith Wesson MP

Smith u0026amp; Wesson Mu0026amp;P 

This is an ideal handgun to take on a hiking trip. It is a smaller handgun with more manageable recoil. 

This polymer-frame, double-stack, striker-fired pistol from Smith & Wesson (Military and Police) is perhaps the second most popular handgun in the polymer-frame, double-stack, striker-fired pistol category after the Glock 19.

With the M&P having debuted in 2005 and Glock having had a 20-year head start in the market, coming in second place behind the Austrian wonder pistols is a fairly spectacular performance when you consider the circumstances.

I favor some elements on the M&P over the Glock, including the grip angle, trigger, and metal magazines, that I find more comfortable to use. When you attempt to eject an empty magazine from a plastic magazine, it tends to stay in the magazine well; metal magazines respond differently and fall out.

Outstanding Features:

  • Very fine to use
  • Contains the polymer frame
  • Easy-grip

10. Charter Arms Bulldog

Charter Arms Bulldog

Charter Arms Bulldog

This is one of the most common handgun models. Has a comfortable grip and an easy-to-use safety feature.

When David Berkowitz, also known as Son of Sam and the.44 Caliber Killer used a Bulldog during his reign of terror in New York City during the summer of 1976; the weapon had its 15 minutes of fame. That anecdote is yet another example of how the shooter, not the gun, decides whether a gun is used for good or evil. That the decent folks of New York were denied access to the same weapon was a disappointment.

Honestly, this gun rules, and for hiking, it offers an easy carrying option; with a weight of 21 ounces, this pistol is slightly heavier than the smaller model.

It has 38 Specials, but it uses the considerably bigger one, a special cartridge that may be a devastating defensive round. It makes a good personal-defense cartridge when used with some of the more recent ammunition, such as Hornady’s Flex-Tip loads.

Outstanding Features:

  • Mind-blowing special cartridge
  • Not heavy
  • Very effective
  • Nice feedbacks

What Factors Should I Consider When Buying a Handgun for Hiking?

Carrying a handgun can provide an added sense of security, but choosing the right handgun for hiking requires careful consideration.

1. Compactness and Weight

One of the most important factors to consider when buying a handgun for hiking is its compactness and weight.

Since you’ll carry the handgun for extended periods, it should be lightweight and easy to handle. Look for compact models that can be easily concealed and won’t weigh you down during your hike.

2. Caliber Selection

Selecting the appropriate calibre for your hiking handgun is crucial. The calibre determines the stopping power and recoil of the handgun. While larger calibres offer greater stopping power, they also tend to have more recoil.

A balance must be struck between power and manageability. Common calibres such as 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP are often recommended for self-defence.

3. Reliability and Durability

When hiking, you may encounter various weather conditions and rough terrains. It’s essential to choose a handgun that is reliable and durable. Look for reputable brands known for their quality and reliability.

Consider materials like stainless steel or polymer frames that can withstand moisture, impacts, and rough handling without compromising functionality.

4. Ergonomics and Grip

The ergonomics and grip of a handgun play a significant role in accuracy and comfort. Ensure that the handgun fits your hand comfortably and allows for a proper grip. A comfortable grip will minimize fatigue and enhance control during extended use.

5. Capacity and Reload Options

Hiking situations can be unpredictable, so adequate ammunition capacity is crucial. Consider handguns with a sufficient magazine capacity to handle potential threats. Additionally, assess the ease of reloading the handgun, as it should be a quick and straightforward process.

Some models may offer features like extended magazines or ambidextrous controls that can enhance convenience.

6. Safety Features

Safety should always be a top priority when handling firearms. Look for handguns with reliable safety mechanisms, such as manual or trigger safety, to prevent accidental discharges.

Some models may offer additional safety features like a loaded chamber indicator or a firing pin block for added peace of mind.

7. Sights and Optics

Accurate aiming is essential when using a handgun for self-defence. Consider the type of sights that come with the handgun and assess their visibility and ease of use.

Some models allow for installing aftermarket sights or optics to enhance accuracy, especially in low-light conditions.

What are The Essential Features and Accessories to Look for In a Hiking Handgun?

While it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions, carrying a handgun for self-defense can provide extra protection. However, selecting the right handgun for hiking requires careful consideration of essential features and accessories.

  • Lightweight and Compact Design: One of the primary factors to consider when selecting a hiking handgun is its weight and size. Since hikers often prioritize reducing their load, a lightweight, compact handgun is preferable. Look for models made from lightweight materials such as polymer frames or alloy construction. Compact handguns are easier to conceal and won’t weigh you during long hikes.
  • Reliability and Durability: You need a handgun that can withstand harsh environmental conditions and rigorous use in the wilderness. Look for a handgun that is known for its reliability and durability. Consider models with a reputation for functioning flawlessly even in adverse conditions like extreme temperatures, humidity, and dirt. Stainless steel or corrosion-resistant finishes are also desirable to ensure longevity.
  • Adequate Caliber for Self-Defense: Choosing the right caliber for your hiking handgun is crucial. While personal preferences may vary, selecting a caliber that balances stopping power and manageable recoil is generally recommended. Common calibers like 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP are popular choices for self-defense purposes. However, practicing with your chosen caliber is essential to become proficient and confident in its use.
  • Good Sights for Precision: Accurate aiming is vital in self-defense, especially in unfamiliar territory. Look for a handgun with high-quality sights that provide quick target acquisition and allow for precise shooting. Opt for models with night sights or those compatible with aftermarket sights to enhance visibility in low-light conditions.
  • Ample Capacity and Reload Options: Hiking adventures may take you to remote areas, and the ability to defend yourself without immediate access to additional ammunition is crucial. Consider handguns with a sufficient capacity for rounds, such as those with double-stack magazines. Select a handgun that allows for easy reloading, either with extended magazines, speed loaders, or quick-change systems.
  • Holster Compatibility and Comfort: Carrying your hiking handgun securely and comfortably is essential for easy access and retention. Look for handguns with various holster options, including models specifically designed for outdoor use. Consider holsters that can be worn comfortably on your belt, chest, or ankle, depending on personal preference and convenience. Choose a holster that provides a snug fit, good retention, and easy draw while ensuring it doesn’t interfere with your hiking movements.


Selecting the best handgun for hiking requires careful consideration of various factors. The right choice will provide you with a reliable and effective tool for self-defense in outdoor environments. Remember to prioritize factors such as caliber, size, weight, and ease of use to ensure that the handgun suits your needs and preferences.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations governing handgun ownership and carry in your jurisdiction. Complying with legal requirements is essential for responsible firearm ownership.

Whether you opt for a compact semi-automatic or a rugged revolver, prioritize safety features and invest in quality accessories such as holsters and extra magazines. Proper training and practice are crucial to ensure proficiency and confidence when using your chosen handgun.

Ultimately, the best handgun for hiking fits comfortably in your hand, is easy to carry, and offers reliable performance in challenging outdoor conditions. Considering the factors discussed in this buying guide, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and enjoy your hiking adventures with peace of mind. Stay safe and enjoy exploring the great outdoors responsibly!

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Written by Jane Miller

I'm Nomadic Jane, a digital nomad and travel blogger. Since 2009, I've been traveling the world and exploring cultures through my travel blog.