hunting handguns

5 Hunting Handguns To Look At

Handgun hunting isn't as popular as employing a bow or long gun, but there are plenty of enthusiasts and a number of hunting handguns out there. For the person who can successfully stalk and down an animal with a handgun, it's also a thrilling method of pursuit of game...but you will need the right tools for the job.

Hunting handguns are a bit different than the typical carry gun, so that 9mm single-stack you've strapped on with a holster and sturdy leather gun belt isn't likely going to cut the mustard. Here are 5 handguns capable of putting meat on the table.

Glock 40

glock 40 hunting handgun

The Glock 40 is one of the finest semi-autos for handgun hunting and also happens to be one of the most cost-effective, as it won't set you back nearly as much as some other handcannons for hammering hogs or whitetails - it retails for around $700 to $800, which is somewhat modest in the segment. The 40 is one of the 10mm Glocks, but has a 6-inch extended barrel. It is a monster.

However, the current generation Glock 40 (the Gen 4) comes machined for Glock's Modular Optics System, a mounting preparation that allows for deployment of small scopes or a red dot sight, which a lot of people would argue is better than a scope and especially in dense cover.

The extended barrel confers greater accuracy and velocity and with a full-house 10mm, is adequate to take down medium game like whitetail deer and feral hogs.

Smith and Wesson Model 629

smith and wesson hunting handgun

The Smith and Wesson Model 629 is a .44 Magnum, and while not the most powerful handgun in the world (sorry, Clint Eastwood fans) is certainly a fantastic magnum revolver. While the .357 Magnum is easier to shoot, it's considered merely adequate as a hunting round. The .44 Mag, on the other hand, will do for more game with larger margins of error, so to speak.

S&W makes a number of Model 629 pistols, ranging from basic stainless 4-inch models (great for withstanding the elements) to high-end Performance Center models with ported barrels and rails ready for optics. What you spend depends on what you want to get.

That said, it'll do for most game and is also a good defense gun for the backcountry.

Ruger Super Redhawk

ruger super redhawk hunting handgun

Handgun hunters often desire hotter rounds than most manufacturers make, and the brand that handloaders turn to most often is Ruger - and the Ruger Super Redhawk is one of the best. The Redhawk and Super Redhawk models are large-frame, rugged double-action revolvers, with the Super Redhawk being even MORE durably constructed than the standard Redhawk.

There's a reason why the phrase "Ruger handload" exists.

Barrel lengths range from 5-inch to 9.5-inch, and available chamberings are .44 Magnum, .454 Casull and .480 Ruger. For a very long time, Ruger has been over-engineering their revolvers so shooters can fire the most powerful handloads, and these pistols are built for it. They're also machined for easy scope mounting without compromising a thing.

Unlike S&W's pistols, though, the Rugers are rated for shooting the full-house loads at all times - no "take it easy on the +P" here. Granted, they aren't the prettiest and you'll spend a bit acquiring one - plan to part with about $1,000 - but pretty much all North American game will fall before one, which is why they've been popular hunting handguns since their introduction.

Taurus Raging Bull .454 Casull

taurus hunting handgun

Brazilian maker Taurus offers the Taurus Raging Bull .454 Casull line of revolvers, which have a big frame and shoot a big bullet. The .454 Casull is essentially a magnum version of the .45 Colt. As it happens, modern hot loads of .45 Colt are every bit the equal of the .44 Magnum, so that tells you the kind of firepower is on tap. It's part of their "Family of Hunters" line of hunting handguns.

It holds 5 rounds of either. Barrel length is your choice; it ranges from a 2.5-inch snubbie (which is not, by any means at all, a concealed carry revolver) to 8-⅜-inch.

The Raging Bull is widely considered one of the best pistols Taurus makes, and while not offered pre-tapped for scope mounts, Taurus makes a scope-mounting kit that can be added. That said, if iron-sight hunting, this Raging Bull will cow almost any game.

Magnum Research BFR

magnum research bfr hunting handgun

The Magnum Research BFR is said to stand for "Big Frame Revolver." Whether you believe that explanation or not is up to you.

What you can definitely believe is these guns are built to shoot bigger, badder bullets than anything else. Those guys bragging about their 10mm? They will look on your BFR...and despair.

The BFR is offered in all the magnum revolver chamberings including .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, .480 Ruger, and indeed even the mighty .500 S&W Magnum. They even offer a .45 Colt/.410 Gauge model, complete with a choke for shot.

Not enough, you say? You want MORE POWER?!?!?!

Then you got it. The BFR is also chambered in several lever-action rifle rounds. That's right - a handgun, chambered in .30-30, .444 Marlin and .45-70 Government.

Granted, these are enormous guns, as the smallest barrel length is 5 inches and they go up to 10.5 inches. All are pre-drilled for scope mounts and ship with Weaver rings, except for the .45 Colt/.410 models.

These are capable of putting down any land animal on earth. Not bad for a gun that goes for just under $1200.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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