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#133487 - 05/10/10 10:35 PM Handguns
PapaSam Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8
Loc: Ohio
I am sure this is a hot sensitive subject and I went back through the older posts, but found nothing. I have stated my plans on here concerning my 90 day tour the USA by camping in National Forests and Federal Parks starting around June by myself. A lot of the people I have told this to have all asked this question. Am I taking my guns? Being a handgun owner and licenced CW holder I have considered it. Mostly for the nights I may be in a very remote campsite in a National Forest or even in a rest area parking lot taking a nap. The laws very from state to state and forests and parks. I myself am a trusting sole and believe that most people I run into in these places are good people as well. But one never knows. And as far as backpacking alone in the wilderness and maybe running into a bear or other wild animal. I have my pepper spray,noise makers etc. Obviously having to use a handgun would have to be a life threatening situation for me to consider it. I know there are many opinions both pro and con as to carrying a weapon. I'd like to hear yours. And please this is not meant as a "debate" on the subject or do I ask it to stir the pot. Simply asking the practicality of having a gun while I travel.


Edited by PapaSam (05/11/10 12:10 AM)

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#133489 - 05/10/10 10:48 PM Re: Handguns [Re: PapaSam]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
Not much debate out in my neck of the woods, most national parks specifically forbid firearms.

A thought on carrying a sidearm in a backpacking situation, how would you plan to carry it?

The suspension of a backpack precludes a shoulder holster, any other concealment-type holsters would almost certainly be incredibly awkward for someone walking miles of trails a day. You could open-carry with a belt holster, but open carry is probably a no-no even more often than concealed. Leg holster would be a bunch of weight on one leg, again probably proving awkward for someone walking long distances.

That leaves the pack. If you carry the thing inside the pack, it sort of defeats the purpose in my mind. If a situation is dire enough to warrant deadly force, you're likely not going to have the time to unclip your straps, open the pack, rummage around, find the gun, draw, and fire.

If it's an animal encounter, you're unlikely to hit a charging predatory creature (if you could get a gun out in time), and if it's a person, they're not going to wait while you get a gun out.

Plus, it's several pounds of dead weight which I'm unlikely to use. By the typical philosophy of lightweight backpacking, that item gets left at home! smile
_________________________
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#133491 - 05/10/10 11:20 PM Re: Handguns [Re: PapaSam]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
There have been some doozie gun threads here. When you search be sure to set the date range farther back than the default time of one week. Also check the archived thread links on the lower left corner of the forum home page. They require a different search engine. Believe me, they are out there. Here is one I found very quickly. Most gun threads I see here and elsewhere tend to bring out the.....errr.....passion in people.

I own guns, shoot guns, and have competed with guns. I have been through lots of firearms courses. I have also been paid to carry a gun as part of my job. I only mention this to give my opinion a little credibility.

For car camping: Maybe, if it makes you feel more safe.

For backpacking: Since your are statistically much more likely to suffer injury from a fall than from any harm inflicted by an animal (including the two legged variety) you would be much better off with a helmet, knee pads and ankle braces than with a gun. I'm dead serious. Also, guns and ammo are relatively heavy. If you look at a gun as a piece of safety equipment, there are much lighter and more practical things you can carry to protect yourself against the REAL dangers out in the woods. The odds of needing that gun to actually protect yourself from a genuine threat are very, very low.

_________________________
If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

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#133493 - 05/11/10 12:04 AM Re: Handguns [Re: Trailrunner]
PapaSam Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8
Loc: Ohio
Thanks Trailrunner...I'll delete my post and read what you have provided!

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#133503 - 05/11/10 02:45 AM Re: Handguns [Re: PapaSam]
CJC Offline
member

Registered: 04/16/04
Posts: 738
Loc: Southern Nevada
There have been some rather "passionate" threads on the forum on this issue. For me the question about carrying while backpacking is how and where so that I can access my weapon quickly when and if ever needed, but not have it interfere with how my pack rides or using poles. I have never taken it.

Car camping or driving cross county, maybe, but again, I never have.

Bear spray works great on bears and I bet it would cause the 2 legged variety lots of discomfort as well. I am not positive about this because of the concentrations; but pepper spray is pepper spray.

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#133506 - 05/11/10 05:35 AM Re: Handguns [Re: PapaSam]
countr21 Offline
member

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 48
Loc: Denver, Colorado
National Parks = zero firearms.

If you are ever going to be in core Grizzly country (like the Teton Wilderness or other remote wilderness area in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana) and feel that a firearm is an absolute necessity (a Griz can sometimes keep coming even after a blast of spray "reportedly"), you are going to need something more substantial than a regular handgun like a 9mm, 40SW, or 45ACP. You would just piss a Grizz off if you put some nines into it. Even a 45ACP would just glance off the skull of a big Grizz.

To insure yourself against a hyper-aggressive Grizz, you are going to need either a hand cannon (like a 44 Mag and bigger) or a small rifle that can deliver a punch. For the hand cannon, they make a variety of holsters that literally attach to the front of your chest using straps that wrap around your torso. It is the most easily accessed firearm option you have with a large backpack on. But you're talking about 5-8 pounds of gun, holster, and ammo attached to your chest. I've seen hikers in Colorado with these setups and I think they are ridiculous.

If you are really serious about it, I would suggest the rifle option, more specifically an assault rifle setup. A short barreled rifle with a folding stock is compact and easily and quickly brought into service in a second's notice. I have personally BP'd dozens of miles with an AK slung to my shoulder (for fun, for shooting - nothing serious as far as defense).

The AK-47 and its dozens of variants make for many choices. The AK isn't exactly a Grizz stopper with one round, but 30 rounds of 30 caliber would be enough to persuade a Grizz to beat it. I personally have a Krinkov with a folding side stock that is under two feet in length with the stock folded. Not me, but my exact model: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joEzmt9kghA You get an idea of the compactness and power delivered in such a small package. And for rifle standards, it is very lightweight. To reduce weight further you can get 20 round mags instead of the standard 30's and 40's.

You do need special permits for these Krinkovs but they make tons of "AK pistols." There are many semi-auto versions on the market, and if you're a gun guy/girl, you probably already know of them. They are basically a Krinkov with no stock at all. The semi-auto versions are legal to attach large capacity mags to them as long as there is no butt or folding stock attached (no special permits needed). Here is one for $350: http://www.atlanticfirearms.com/storeproduct866.aspx Slung around your shoulder, these are very LW for a "rifle," and will deliver 7.62x39 as fast as you can squeeze the trigger.

They also make very similar products for the AR series of rifles, but I would not trust the 22 caliber round to scare off a Grizz they way I would with a 30 caliber.

A short-barreled shotgun firing slugs would probably be enough to deter a Grizz, and these can be fairly compact and "lightweight."

FWIW, I am doing a 9 day trip into the Thorofare of the Teton Wilderness to fish the Yellowstone Lake Cutthroat spawn in June/July, and this is arguably the most Grizz-infested area of the lower 48 and I am not taking a firearm and/or spray. When people tote along firearms into the backcountry for "defense," it gives them the illusion of a license to run a dirty camp. Keep a clean camp, be aware of your surroundings, give all bears a wide berth, and you'll be fine.

Also, I'm not 100% on this but even if you were to shoot a Grizz in self defense and the gaming warden was to find out, you're in for stiff fines and penalties for poaching.


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#133513 - 05/11/10 08:07 AM Re: Handguns [Re: countr21]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Quote:
National Parks = zero firearms.


Most national parks now honor their states concealed/open carry laws/licenses.
http://www.nps.gov/ozar/parknews/upload/weapons.doc

Best to call the park and learn what's allowed.

_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#133521 - 05/11/10 09:21 AM Re: Handguns [Re: Dryer]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Man, it's been awhile since we had a gun thread. Anyways, I would say that first you need to contact the parks to see what is legal. Then, determine why you are carrying. If you are carrying for 2 legged animals, any handgun will suffice. If for bears, I wouldn't go lower than a .357.
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#133548 - 05/11/10 05:38 PM Re: Handguns (& concealment) [Re: taM]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Get a Dana Wet Rib or Dry Rib (if still available) & attatch it to your pack's lower shoulder straps. Put the handgun in the pouch, where it's readily available. Apply lead as necessary.

The best backpacking handgun (IMHO) Is a Tarus titanium .44 magnum revolver. Light, powerful and absolutely
reliable.

Personally I would only carry a pistol in grizzly country, where it TRULY can be a lifesaver.
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#133566 - 05/12/10 02:36 AM Re: Handguns (& concealment) [Re: 300winmag]
countr21 Offline
member

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 48
Loc: Denver, Colorado
I second what 300winmag suggested.....at only 28oz empty, this is indeed an "ultra ultra ultra lightweight" way to go!!!!! And the 44 magnum round is very much proven to stop an aggressive Grizz. I had no idea these types of pistols came in such a ridiculously LW package.

My only (personal) concern is accuracy. My friend has an iron short-barreled 44 magnum named the "Alaskan Backpacker." I think it is a S&W but not sure. I've fired it numerous times....it can light up an area the size of a football field with its muzzle flash at night!!!! BUT, the accuracy on the thing is crazy-bad. I am not used to large caliber handguns so I'm sure it has a lot to do with me. But I've seen others with this thing and they're not any better.

Give me my Krinkov anyday. I'll lug the extra few pounds to have the "luxury" of a shoulder slung rifle, 30 rounds of giddy up, and steady accuracy.

I've never had a boar Grizzly bearing down on me, but I know I'd be shaking in my boots if one was. And I could only deliver lead on target with a small rifle at my shoulder.

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#133570 - 05/12/10 03:35 AM Re: Handguns (& concealment) [Re: countr21]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Up to now, national parks have been full of people who are not experienced campers and have never seen a wild animal up close. Now the parks will have these same inexperienced people roaming around carrying guns to fight off imagined dangers. The likely outcome will be a lot of dead animals and once in a while, a dead hiker who some gun toting newbie mistakes for a bear and opens up on with something like that assault pistol one of you likes so much.

This scenario isn't so far fetched. I can think of at least one instance where a teen age hunter killed a hiker with a hunting rifle-it happened in Washington. We had a thread on this a while back, but I think it disappeared when the site was upgraded. The kid's excuse was that he thought he was shooting at a bear.

These instances may be rare, but if you're the person who gets shot, that really doesn't matter.

Here's another example--
http://www.insidebayarea.com/my-town/ci_14787195


_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#133575 - 05/12/10 10:08 AM Re: Handguns (& concealment) [Re: TomD]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Quote:
Now the parks will have these same inexperienced people roaming around carrying guns to fight off imagined dangers.


Maybe, but I'm not observing that. Guns were/are carried in national parks since parks were parks, only now it's legal. Those carriers have at least a minimal amount of training, per their license. As much time as I've spent in Big Bend...likely the most 'armed' park in the country due to its border with Mexico, I've never heard, nor heard of, a firearm discharge. I'm sure it happens but the rangers make it clear the consequences are huge if unwarranted. Folks being armed down there is no secret. To me, it's business as usual.
I think it will go the way of the Conceal Carry License....tremendous number of guns now being carried in public, openly in many states, yet fears of out-of-control accidents, violence, etc. have proven unfounded, in fact, the opposite has happened. Most of those carriers have no where near the training of the police, but they do have some training.
Time will tell...gun toters (me included) soon get bored with the idea and learn guns aren't a solution to anything but the direst of circumstances. Even then, there are alternatives. Many CCL holders stop carrying after the newness wears off. wink

Now, this is an ultralite board, and I do everything in my power to NOT haul a chunk of steel/lead around on the trail...just ain't needed.

_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#133579 - 05/12/10 11:31 AM Re: Handguns (& concealment) [Re: Dryer]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Dryer

Now, this is an ultralite board, and I do everything in my power to NOT haul a chunk of steel/lead around on the trail...just ain't needed.


Amen to that. As someone who has definately done both, allow me to attest the simple observation that bear spray is a lot lighter, and likely more effective. (Unless you are in polar bear country, at which point, carry a 12 gague and skip the handgun)
_________________________
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#133588 - 05/12/10 11:59 AM Re: Handguns (& concealment) [Re: phat]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Quote:
allow me to attest the simple observation that bear spray is a lot lighter


As is 'people spray'. I carry a tiny pepper sprayer 24/7 as a staple, just like my dinky pocket knife. You can hose down several people and walk away, no consequences, unlike shooting somebody. Yeah, it's close quarters, but most people attacks are. grin

I've hiked Alaska and Canada. Bears weren't ever a problem (saw plenty!) but one of the party always carried a rifle or shotgun with slugs/00. A slung Remington 870LW 20ga. is lighter than many big hand guns and doubles as a club or tarp pole. In the park I care for, dogs are the main issue and I carry a 9mm just like the cops/animal guys do. Spray don't work well on dogs. I have been attacked, twice...blindsided both times. Fended of a pit bull with trekking poles, and the rottweiler with pruning loppers. grin

Here in Texas, Mexican Black bears are so shy, you are lucky to see one. Mountain lions are here too....I don't bother arming myself for either lions or our bears. I'd rather take their picture.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#133595 - 05/12/10 01:36 PM Re: Handguns (& concealment) [Re: phat]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1736
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I'll endorse those sentiments. I have been hiking and climbing and doing forestry work in the western U.S. and Canada as well as Alaska for a long time. While I have been armed at times, in over 60+ years of being outdoors I have never been in a situation where a firearm would have influenced the outcome at all. I concluded some time ago that, in most circumstances, they just aren't worth the weight.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#133633 - 05/13/10 04:12 AM Re: Handguns [Re: PapaSam]
chndlr04 Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/10
Posts: 34
Loc: spotaylvania, va
i carry a glock 19, been carrying for the last year and half. when i spend my time out in WVa and southwest va on my friend's properties, there are loads of wild dogs. so i have found neccessary use of a firearm however my friend carries a .45 desert eagle(wow big gun). i use a maxpedition sabrecat versipack attached to a belt like a fanny pack to carry my g19 along with my medkit. i dont believe in using unless u can see the threat and is life threatening.

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#133643 - 05/13/10 10:10 AM Re: Handguns [Re: PapaSam]
DJ2 Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1347
Loc: Seattle, WA
I sometimes carry a Glock 19 when backpacking with my wife, to protect her from anyone who might want to sexually assault her. When alone I don't carry a gun.

I started carrying the gun after 2 or 3 trips (in Washington State) where we ran into people that scared me.

Being a scaredy cat/worrywort costs me in terms of weight that I carry. On the trip we just returned from I was carrying about 3.5 lbs in protection/insurance (gun, personal locator beacon, bear spray). Oh dear, the price of fear.

All three items are in/on my front pack and ready for use as needed. The bear spray hangs on the outside and is ready for immediate use.

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#133645 - 05/13/10 11:14 AM Re: Handguns [Re: DJ2]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Shave some ounces by going to a Glock 26 and even more by going to a Ruger LCP .380. Yeah, thats a lot of protection insurance weight you are carrying! NOBODY wants to get tangled up with my wife....big mistake...I use her for my protection. grin
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#133650 - 05/13/10 01:19 PM Re: Handguns [Re: Dryer]
chndlr04 Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/10
Posts: 34
Loc: spotaylvania, va
Originally Posted By Dryer
Shave some ounces by going to a Glock 26 and even more by going to a Ruger LCP .380. Yeah, thats a lot of protection insurance weight you are carrying! NOBODY wants to get tangled up with my wife....big mistake...I use her for my protection. grin


glock 26 is too small for my male hands and i am not a fan of rugers. a gun may be heavy for most people but like i said i have been carrying for an year and half so it feels like its not there nymore

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#133653 - 05/13/10 01:45 PM Re: Handguns [Re: DJ2]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2862
Loc: Portland, OR
Oh dear, the price of fear.

Someone in another thread aptly distinguished between dangers and fears. It helps a lot if you can calibrate your fear to reflect the actual amount of danger you face. All too often fear is the product of unbridled imagination, only loosely connected any real danger.

As others have pointed out, the odds of being attacked by any creature (including the two-legged variety) while backpacking are vanishingly small, whereas the odds of getting hypothermia, or even being struck by lightning are substantially greater, and just as deadly.

It's just that imagining dying of hypothermia doesn't inspire the same flesh-creeping horror as imaging being torn to bits by a rampaging bear, so we focus on the more horrific idea that is almost certain not to happen and we discount the much greater danger that kills hikers by the dozen every year.

This is a design flaw in our brains.

Generally speaking, any strong emotion we experience is designed to fix the memory of the event that caused the emotion indelibly, so we can never forget it. This has many benefits for learning when the event is a personal experience. It can even allow us to learn from the experiences of others, by imaginatively placing ourselves in their position.

But this mechanism goes haywire on us pretty often, too. The fear of wild animal attacks is typical of this.

So, carry the gun if it makes you feel better, but you're much better off putting your energy toward dangers that you'll encounter in real life, rather than in imagination. grin

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#133654 - 05/13/10 01:49 PM Re: Handguns [Re: chndlr04]
Cstolworthy Offline
member

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 74
Loc: American Fork, Utah
I have been doing martial arts for most my life, I specifically learned how to fight with a staff. I carry a "walking stick" which can become a weapon quickly enough. Also, people who are considering attacking you usually don't see it as a weapon.
Perhaps someone with legal experience can confirm / deny this, but I would imagine that shooting someone is going to be a lot harder to justify than smacking them with a walking stick.

_________________________
A tent is a bad place for an argument, because when you are angry you walk out and slam the flap. How are you supposed to express your anger in this situation? Zip it up really quick? ~Mitch Hedberg

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#133657 - 05/13/10 02:21 PM Re: Handguns [Re: Cstolworthy]
chndlr04 Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/10
Posts: 34
Loc: spotaylvania, va
Originally Posted By Cstolworthy
I have been doing martial arts for most my life, I specifically learned how to fight with a staff. I carry a "walking stick" which can become a weapon quickly enough. Also, people who are considering attacking you usually don't see it as a weapon.
Perhaps someone with legal experience can confirm / deny this, but I would imagine that shooting someone is going to be a lot harder to justify than smacking them with a walking stick.



very true, shooting someone on the country usually results in death. then when you get arrested, there is a 50-50% chance of going to prison for murder 2 even with self-defense defense, when a good hit with a stick gets maybe a slap on the hand or 6months jail time max.
i forgot to mention that om deaf so i have to analyze potential dangers more than those of hearing individuals.

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#133659 - 05/13/10 02:53 PM Re: Handguns (& responsible use) [Re: Dryer]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Tom,

To allay your fears of irresponnsible civilians toting guns, to wit:
The actual statistics (according to my concealed carry class instructor) of civilians using pistols in self defense show that civilians are more accurate than the police and have fewer "collateral damage" casualties than police. Amazing - and my instructor was a cop himself!

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#133660 - 05/13/10 03:22 PM Re: Handguns [Re: aimless]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
The brain also provides anesthesia that allows us to forget painful experiences. Otherwise there would be no second marriages or second children. crazy crazy

_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#133661 - 05/13/10 03:29 PM Re: Handguns [Re: PapaSam]
TerraPathic Offline
member

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 20
Loc: Kentucky
I carry (legally) a Ruger LCP, sometimes, when I backpack. I don't plan on ever using it, but there are some places where I have run into some rowdy partiers. This is especially true on trails that are accessible by horse. Horses allow people to pack in beer and I have seen some wild campers. If I'm hiking past 10 drunk guys while hiking with my wife, my LCP provides some comfort. It weighs 9.4oz.
_________________________
When you truly understand nature, there is no such thing as a bad day.

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