CARRY ON

THREE TOP HAND­GUN PICKS FOR SELF-DE­FENSE IN THE WOODS

Field and Stream - - HANDGUN GUIDE - By Will Brant­ley Pho­to­graphs by The Voorhes

Adecade ago, it was il­le­gal in many states for a bowhunter to carry a hand­gun to the stand. The ra­tio­nale was that if a deer walked by, we couldn’t be trusted not to shoot it with a pis­tol and then stick an ar­row into it to cover our tracks. Times have changed.

Fish and wildlife agen­cies have re­al­ized that broad­head holes and hol­low-point holes look dif­fer­ent—and peo­ple in­clined to poach are prob­a­bly go­ing to poach re­gard­less. Le­gal car­ry­ing of con­cealed, de­fen­sive firearms has gained mas­sive ac­cep­tance in gen­eral over the last decade, too, with all 50 states now al­low­ing it in some form. It makes sense that a per­son who packs heat to Wal­mart would also carry to the deer stand.

There are plenty of rea­sons to carry a hand­gun afield—but in this con­text, we’re not talk­ing about bear pro­tec­tion or plink­ing around camp. These guns are not backup for dis­patch­ing wounded game (that’s usu­ally il­le­gal); nor are they suit­able for ac­tual hand­gun hunt­ing.

The guns here serve one pur­pose: pro­tec­tion against a small, but real, set of dan­ger­ous peo­ple you could en­counter in the woods just as eas­ily as in a dark al­ley. These three mod­els are com­pact enough for ev­ery­day carry but es­pe­cially prac­ti­cal for the woods— each is ex­cep­tion­ally re­li­able, weather re­sis­tant, sub­stan­tial enough for the job, and equipped with good sights.

1. KIM­BER K6S

A stain­less-steel wheel gun still makes sense for many out­doors­men. This one weighs 23 ounces and holds six rounds of .357 mag­num. De­spite be­ing the light­est .357 six-shooter avail­able, it is re­mark­ably easy to shoot and about the most ca­pa­ble snub­nosed re­volver on the mar­ket.

2. GLOCK 26 GEN4

In­tro­duced in 1994, this 10-round 9mm is still one of the most pop­u­lar con­cealed-carry guns out there. Mine goes with me ev­ery­where le­gally al­lowed. I’ve car­ried it on hunts from the Rocky Moun­tains to south Florida and put thou­sands of rounds through it with­out a sin­gle mal­func­tion.

3. SIG SAUER P239 SAS GEN2

The .357 SIG cal­iber is only mod­estly pop­u­lar, but those who use it love it. It’s revered for its ac­cu­racy, and it throws a 125-grain bul­let to 1400-plus fps, which is pretty hot for an au­toload­ing hand­gun. The P239 takes a seven-round sin­gle-stack magazine and is a tra­di­tional dou­ble/sin­gle-ac­tion semi­auto.

2. GLOCK 26 GEN4 1. KIM­BER K6S

$899 kim­ber­amer­ica.com

3. SIG SAUER P239 SAS GEN2

$1,032 sigsauer.com $649 us.glock.com

Field Prep

Find­ing a qual­ity de­fen­sive load that per­forms well in your firearm is es­sen­tial. Winch­ester’s PDX1 De­fender .357 mag­num hol­low points are ex­cel­lent.

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