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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFirearms and Sk...Firearms and Sk...Suggestions for a lightweight pistol for at thru hike?Suggestions for a lightweight pistol for at thru hike?
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3/15/2016 7:56 AM
 
Hello all,

I am planning on leaving around mid April to head to Harper's Ferry, WV(almost the exact center of the trail) to start my flip-flop Hike of the Appalachian Trail.

I will be using a HPG runners kit bag (just got it in yesterday, it is sweet!), so I have plenty of room. Just to practice a safe drawings motion, that i got from the HPG YouTube video, I was using my XDm .40 and still had plenty of room in the bag. But for hiking almost 2200 miles I really need to go with something lighter.. (Think the XDm weighs 30 oz unloaded)
The pistol I have been looking at the most so far is the Ruger LCr, which I'm not super fond of if I'm being totally honest. But it does weigh considerably less. The smallest caliber I'm will to go with is a .38, and I would actually like to carry something a little larger). I'm definitely not asking anyone to do my homework for me, I'm just looking for some ideas on weapons that some of y'all have actually put rounds through. And I'll go ahead and rule out a glock 42 or 43.

Thanks in advance, and God bless America.
Alex "platypus" Gauf

PS: last year I didn't even carry a pocket knife, so please don't take this as me expressing that the AT isn't safe, I just decided that I'm willing to carry the weight this year. And most likely the gun would have to be used for protection from the two-leg animals on the trail, not the four-legged ones.
 
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3/15/2016 8:57 AM
 
I have an LCR in my pocket most every day.  The 3in LCRx would be another option.  I typically hike with a S&W 360 which is, of course, no longer available.  It weighs 13oz IIRC.  A Khar P9 is another good option.
 
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3/15/2016 9:05 AM
 
I've only hiked a couple of hundred miles of the AT, but I live relatively close to it and have been keeping up with Trail activity for about 16 years. Statistically speaking, any threat requiring a firearm will most likely come from the upright walkers, not the wildlife. Outside of the Smokies (habituated bears) there are very few negative encounters reported with animals.

A review of the few incidents of violence that have occurred involving hikers shows that they were victims simply because they were unarmed. Like 99.9% of ALL violent encounters involving citizens (irrespective of the AT) ANY gun will do if you are willing and able.

Make it easy on yourself .... carry something that's very light and easy to maintain since it's generally humid & wet during hiking season. Personally, I've never carried anything larger than something I can comfortably carry in my pocket. As much as I love my Kit Bag, it would be the last thing I'd carry on a long distance hike.
 
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3/15/2016 9:42 AM
 
what about something like a S&W m&p 9 shield?
 
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3/15/2016 9:44 AM
 
41magfan wrote:
I've only hiked a couple of hundred miles of the AT, but I live relatively close to it and have been keeping up with Trail activity for about 16 years. Statistically speaking, any threat requiring a firearm will most likely come from the upright walkers, not the wildlife. Outside of the Smokies (habituated bears) there are very few negative encounters reported with animals.

A review of the few incidents of violence that have occurred involving hikers shows that they were victims simply because they were unarmed. Like 99.9% of ALL violent encounters involving citizens (irrespective of the AT) ANY gun will do if you are willing and able.

Make it easy on yourself .... carry something that's very light and easy to maintain since it's generally humid & wet during hiking season. Personally, I've never carried anything larger than something I can comfortably carry in my pocket. As much as I love my Kit Bag, it would be the last thing I'd carry on a long distance hike.



I totally agree with you about the threat most likely coming from a person, and not an animal. Last year I hiked 700miles on the AT (was trying to go so light with everything that I used a UL pack (which doesn't have to be best suspension) and it was uncomfortable the entire way. I ended up throwing my back out (on a zero day, that's the kind of luck I have lol) and came home with two herniated discs. This year I am still going light, but without compromising on my comfort. I am wearing a HPG Ute, with tarapocket attachment (the pack weighs 5lbs and the tarapocket is less than 1lb extra) and my big 3 is just over 10lbs ( tent is 1lb 7oz, sleeping bag with waterproof compression sack is 3lbs and ?oz, don't have my weight list on me, which is a bit heavy for a sleeping bag, but it is a big Agnes wide and long bag for my size of 6'3" and 280lbs) most UL hikers would say to keep your big three under 7 or so lbs(although I met a few kids thu hiking last year that had a complete base weight if 9lbs!!), so I am over that suggested big three weights by 3lbs, but the amazing suspension system of this Ute makes it feel lighter than my other pack to me.

The reason I am carrying the runners kit bag is because I Hike in athletic shorts the entire Trail (until I get farther up north, then I'll switch one pair of shorts for a pair of zippered pants\shorts) and they have no pockets. Last year I lost my phone once, dropped my wallet in a car when I was hitching into a town, and lost a hand full of other small things that I constantly had to get in and out of my pack. So I will be. Carrying my wallet,phone, and a couple of cliff bars in the outer pocket, and my conceals weapon in the inner pocket.

Basically what this does for me is gives me the peace of mind of knowing that if my pack Madre tomget lost or stolen...that I would still have all of my most irreplaceable items safely on my chest.

God bless America
Alex "platypus" Gauf
Platypus2016blog.wordpress.com
 
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3/15/2016 9:56 AM
 
chorpie wrote:
what about something like a S&W m&p 9 shield?



I do really like the M&P shield, and it is on my short list. But for the weight, I think I'll be able to get a revolver a little lighter. And I can get that Ruger LCR in a .38 or 357(which is what I would probably do if I go with that select.
Thanks for the input

God bless America
Alex "platypus" Gauf
 
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3/15/2016 11:09 AM
 
Platypus wrote:
41magfan wrote:
I've only hiked a couple of hundred miles of the AT, but I live relatively close to it and have been keeping up with Trail activity for about 16 years. Statistically speaking, any threat requiring a firearm will most likely come from the upright walkers, not the wildlife. Outside of the Smokies (habituated bears) there are very few negative encounters reported with animals.

A review of the few incidents of violence that have occurred involving hikers shows that they were victims simply because they were unarmed. Like 99.9% of ALL violent encounters involving citizens (irrespective of the AT) ANY gun will do if you are willing and able.

Make it easy on yourself .... carry something that's very light and easy to maintain since it's generally humid & wet during hiking season. Personally, I've never carried anything larger than something I can comfortably carry in my pocket. As much as I love my Kit Bag, it would be the last thing I'd carry on a long distance hike.



I totally agree with you about the threat most likely coming from a person, and not an animal. Last year I hiked 700miles on the AT (was trying to go so light with everything that I used a UL pack (which doesn't have to be best suspension) and it was uncomfortable the entire way. I ended up throwing my back out (on a zero day, that's the kind of luck I have lol) and came home with two herniated discs. This year I am still going light, but without compromising on my comfort. I am wearing a HPG Ute, with tarapocket attachment (the pack weighs 5lbs and the tarapocket is less than 1lb extra) and my big 3 is just over 10lbs ( tent is 1lb 7oz, sleeping bag with waterproof compression sack is 3lbs and ?oz, don't have my weight list on me, which is a bit heavy for a sleeping bag, but it is a big Agnes wide and long bag for my size of 6'3" and 280lbs) most UL hikers would say to keep your big three under 7 or so lbs(although I met a few kids thu hiking last year that had a complete base weight if 9lbs!!), so I am over that suggested big three weights by 3lbs, but the amazing suspension system of this Ute makes it feel lighter than my other pack to me.

The reason I am carrying the runners kit bag is because I Hike in athletic shorts the entire Trail (until I get farther up north, then I'll switch one pair of shorts for a pair of zippered pants\shorts) and they have no pockets. Last year I lost my phone once, dropped my wallet in a car when I was hitching into a town, and lost a hand full of other small things that I constantly had to get in and out of my pack. So I will be. Carrying my wallet,phone, and a couple of cliff bars in the outer pocket, and my conceals weapon in the inner pocket.

Basically what this does for me is gives me the peace of mind of knowing that if my pack Madre tomget lost or stolen...that I would still have all of my most irreplaceable items safely on my chest.

God bless America
Alex "platypus" Gauf
Platypus2016blog.wordpress.com



That makes sense - kinda hard to put things in pockets you don't have.

FWIW, I have an LCR (.38) with a XS Tritium Dot front sight that shoots pretty well. If you go that route I'd encourage you to go the extra mile and install that front sight as it does make a big difference.

I wish you good success on your thru-hike!




 
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3/15/2016 1:12 PM
 
41magfan wrote:
I As much as I love my Kit Bag, it would be the last thing I'd carry on a long distance hike.

 

I wouldn't leave on a hike, short or long, without one.  For me, going back to a Kifaru style X-harness made all the difference.

 
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3/15/2016 1:36 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
41magfan wrote:
I As much as I love my Kit Bag, it would be the last thing I'd carry on a long distance hike.

I wouldn't leave on a hike, short or long, without one. For me, going back to a Kifaru style X-harness made all the difference.


Mine gets PLENTY of use, believe me. It's a staple piece of gear on day outings and standard equipment on all hunting ventures. But, multiple days on the trail just making miles isn't one of them.

I think I might like an X-harness arrangement too, to be quite honest. If you don't mind, send me PM with details of your modifications.
 
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3/15/2016 2:44 PM
 
The Ruger LCR in .357 is a 2" and weighs 17 oz. I've not shot that particular gun, but I've shot .357's in that weight range before and not really enjoyed it. 2" revolvers are incredibly useful, but they are one of the most difficult guns to learn to shoot well.

I don't know what your experience is shooting a snub nose revolver, but if your answer is "not much." I'd ask myself the question "How much time before my trip starts do I have to devote to learning to shoot a hard kicking snub nosed revolver?"

The Ruger LCRx in .38 special can be had with a 3" barrel, adjustable sights, and a full size grip. It weighs 16 ozs, so it will still be a bit of a challenge, but that full size grip and longer barrel with better sights will make it less of a chore. You won't run into anything on the AT that a good .38 Special +p load won't handle. That gun screams "kit gun" to me.

If you think you really have to have it, Buffalo bore makes some rhino roller .38 special +P rounds. I wouldn't recommend shooting a bunch of them, but they are there.
 
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3/15/2016 2:56 PM
 
I vastly prefer to have a light attached to the gun for back country use. That negates all most revolvers, of which I am not a fan anyway. I would be looking for a light, slim, semi-auto that can still take a light personally. Oh yeah, j-frames suck to shoot and very few people can shoot them well, and hitting is kind of the point of shooting.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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3/16/2016 12:22 PM
 
scothill wrote:
I vastly prefer to have a light attached to the gun for back country use. 

 

Can't argue with that.  That takes up back to where we probably should have started, to a Glock 19.
 
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3/16/2016 4:23 PM
 
Or a Springfield XD-S 9

Personally, I tried a G19 and G17 and couldn't get comfortable with the grip. The XDs have been great for me.
 
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3/16/2016 9:04 PM
 
Hi guys, thanks for all of the suggestions.. But I found one today that felt great in my hand, was light, a 9mm and a semi automatic....the only problem! Is that I've never heard of the brand before. Mdo any of y'all recognize this brnd? Hi t felt great in my hand, but was a little on the cheap side, which can be food oembad ..... It is a Sccy Industries cpx2 CB..


As for the idea of the glock, 19, infant stand glocks for some reason I just can't get used to the angle of the grip.
As for the Springfield sklim, i have a XDm already, so a slim isn't my top choice either.[URL=http://s1064.photobucket.com/user/Platypus_2016/media/hpghdm40_zps7greq4dv.jpg.html]
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3/16/2016 10:14 PM
 
I would say one of S&W's ultra air weight revolvers (the ones with the TI cylinder weigh about 13oz). From what I read the plan was to have something just in case, buy it shoot it to get a feel for the trigger and to understand the loading limitations of a revolver. then look at some of the newer loads for 38 special OATH, Lehigh Defense and Underwood make high quality 38 special loads.
I think the small size loaksak will hold and keep your spare rounds dry and clean.
 
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3/18/2016 12:30 AM
 
I'll second the Glock 19 (or 23 or any of the other smaller Glocks)

Just learn to shoot them well. The grip angles suck, but once you actually work on shooting them, they're really good.
 
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3/18/2016 7:29 AM
 
Evo8dude wrote:
I'll second the Glock 19 ..... The grip angles suck

 

Several outfits, for a modest fee, will give your Glock a 1911 grip angle.  If you're handy, you can do it yourself for ten bucks.  Magpul G17 mags are about 13 bucks, when you factor mags into the equation a Glock, grip mod, and mags costs  the same or less than something like an XDm and mags, once you purchase 6-8 mags for each.
 
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3/18/2016 4:07 PM
 
Not wanting to start a caliber war. For the sake of thoroughness though, don't forget that the G29/30 *do* have rails, unlike the smaller bore subcompacts.
G19/23 and G29/30 are all stellar options IMO. FYI I have 9mm conversion barrel for my G23 though. Although that is hardly a new topic on these boards.. All carry nicely in a KB, and you can install a "Clipdraw" if you want for what I dub "Catholic Carry" (Mexican + Israeli) -- not necessarily the go to way to carry, but if you aren't wearing anything but light pants and need a way to discreetly move around sans KB, it's worth at least giving some consideration.
 
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3/22/2016 6:00 AM
 
Choose a Glock. Rugged, Reliable, lightweight, and accurate enough. Choose any caliber you enjoy shooting really. If you are stuck on a "woods" gun get .357 sig, .45 acp, or 10mm. They all shoot well and personally I feel the recoil is manageable with any of those calibers. The runners kit bag can even hold a Glock 34 comfortably (I know 8)).
To save weight get a compact or sub-compact model. Scott is also correct carry a light on your woods gun. Very handy. Even the sub-compact glocks without rails can now hold the Streamlight TLR-6 which clamps on the trigger guard and does not require a rail.
 
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3/25/2016 3:17 PM
 

I would put a lot of rounds through that before taking it on the trail. Reports vary on reliability with some being quite negative, but I haven't tried one myself so am only passing on second hand info. (talking about the SCCY)

 
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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFirearms and Sk...Firearms and Sk...Suggestions for a lightweight pistol for at thru hike?Suggestions for a lightweight pistol for at thru hike?