While a great deal of articles are out there regarding bow and rifle hunting, hunting with handguns often gets overlooked. The information shared below is by no means a be-all or end-all on the subject, but rather a basic guide to get you started. There are plenty of reasons to take on the challenge of handgun hunting, the most pragmatic of which being that a handgun is substantially easier to pack in and out of the field than a long gun. For old-timers looking to lighten the load, or folks who just love the challenge of hunting with different methods of harvest, handgun hunting is a great thing to get into. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Choice of Firearm
The first thing that you’ll need when it comes to hunting with a handgun is a reliable handgun that is capable of delivering the right amount of power and precision to your quarry of choice. As with most things that are handgun-related, a huge choice you will need to make is the decision between using a revolver or a semi-automatic. Large-caliber hunting revolvers come in both single and double-action. While the double action revolver may give a hunter the advantage of a quick follow-up shot, the up-close and personal nature of handgun hunting does not usually require too follow-ups. Most handgun hunters choose single-action revolvers, and often modify the trigger pull so as to maximize trigger control and accuracy. Semi-automatics, while present, are somewhat rarer in the world of handgun hunting. This is largely in part due to the fact that having a large caliber bullet in a semi-automatic does not allow for many more bullets to be loaded in the gun. There are also single-shot, bolt-action handguns on the market, created with the specific intent of accommodating hunters. Single-shot handguns are about what they sound like. Similar to a single-shot rifle, these guns allow you one shot to get the job done. Some of them are even bolt actions. These guns are capable of generating high velocities and extending the range of the hunter beyond that of a revolver that has a barrel-cylinder gap to account for. It is not uncommon for a single-shot handgun to drop game at 200 yards.
While each state has regulations regarding the minimum caliber of bullet used for harvesting certain species, there are many suitable calibers out there for handgun hunting. For animals such as deer or feral hogs, the .357 Magnum should be considered the minimum caliber used. The 10mm cartridge will also work on deer-sized game and may be easier to control for some novice handgun hunters. For those perusing larger game, the .44 Rem Mag is a fine choice. When it comes to pursuing dangerous game, which should only be done by experienced handgun hunters, we suggest the .454 Casull, or the .460S&W magnum.