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Al Agnew

Which handgun(s)?

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for fun plinking and practice, I love my Browning Buckmark.  have owned the Ruger MKII and 22/45.  The MK II was a nice gun, never really hit it off with the 22/45.  Also had a Ruger Single Six, for some reason I could not shoot it worth a dang.  Thus when I went to larger caliber handguns I went with large frame double action.  GP-100 and a Ruger Redhawk (sure wish I still had it), I could shoot them well enough, down side was weight they are heavy.    For anti-people I am an old timer, only thing I really liked is my Kimber 1911 in .45 ACP it simply fits my hand and works well for me.  Also with I had a small .38 spl revolver for dropping into a jacket pocket, carry in the console sort of thing, something like a Ruger LCR.

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Honestly, this is going to be a very personal decision for you to make.  I own and operate a gun shop and have people ask me which gun is best and I tell them the same thing.  What I like or what all the others who have answered you post like really doesn't matter as long as YOU like what you purchase.

 

My suggestion is to go to a place like Bass Pro shops, Academy, or a private gun dealership and handle as many different makes and models as you can.  Also, I'm not sure of the name of the range, but I've been told there is a range in Ozark that you can rent guns to shoot which is a good way to make a decision as well.

Revolvers are more reliable than semi autos, period.  I know everyone says they don't have a problem with their semi shooting which I agree, most won't give you trouble.  But, with the quality of all factory ammo these days it's real problematic when you pull the trigger and it goes click.  Especially if in a real life/death situation.  With a revolver with double action capability you simply pull the trigger again and you have a fresh round.  With the semi you HAVE TO RACK THE SLIDE, which can be difficult if the threat is already on you and you are trying to fend them off with the non shooting hand.

In the end, again, go somewhere where you can handle as many different makes and models as you can and then decide.  Only you are going to know what you ultimately need.

 

Good luck and let us know what you decide!

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It is all your decision, find something you like, not necessarily what someone else wants. Follow Craig's advice and try several. I believe there is a good gun shop in Farmington.  Further north is Dunn's and then Denny Dennis, I think Top Gun on the outer road in Arnold lets you rent guns and fire them at their indoor range.  If you are thinking about a bear gun bigger is probably better, but then you have to carry it.  You mentioned having both guns with similar frames, that is available both in revolvers and semi-autos.  As Craig states nothing is more reliable than a revolver but thousands of police depend on semis. I tend to find fullsize auto frames a little big for my hands and I am about your size.        

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If you want a gun in 22 and a defensive round, the Smith and Wesson M&P Series offers a semi auto in 22, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 acp.  Each have interchangeable grips and a compact version to carry.many different ways.  They offer the same frame in each caliber so you can switch from one to the other without any difference in operation other than recoil.

I would suggest a Ruger Mark series or Browning Buckmark for a 22.  All are accurate and reliable.  Great little 22's for plinking or hunting.  Many models to choose from.

I personally carry at times while out and about a Ruger SR22, a S&W M&P Shield 9mm, or a S&W Bodyguard 380.  If I feel the need for a larger caliber handgun, I will carry a 1911 or my Smith and Wesson M&P 45 or Ruger American 45.  Various other handguns enter the picture from time to time, but I tend to rely on my Smith and Wesson handguns or the Rugers. 

In Bear Country, I would suggest a nice Ruger or Smith and Wesson revolver in 44 or 357 with heavy loads.  A revolver can be fired from either hand easily   in case one is in the bears mouth.  I carried 45 acp in Alaska for protection.  It would probably be a little weak, but any handgun cartridge would be weak against a determined bear.  Short barreled shotguns were favored weapons there.  They were carried by Fish and Game and other locals there as a best defense weapon against a bear attack.  I have a nice little Mossberg Mariner just for that purpose now.

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Whatever you think you want, you have until Nov. 8 to get one at regular price or slightly elevated pricing depending on how polls go.  Then, supplies could drop and prices could skyrocket, depending on the outcome of Nov. 8.  If it goes the wrong way, Jan. 2017 to July 2017 may see short supplies again and elevated pricing.

Its a pivotal year again.  I read the background check system reached a new peak last month and the following months should see new records.  All are fueled by what may happen on Nov. 8.

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A 6" double action revolver gets my vote.  .357 because it's easy single handed or in a rush, and plenty of loads to choose from.   I'd buy a good used one and add the grips and holster of choice because I wouldn't plan on taking particularly good care of it.  

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They just aren't that fun to shoot (to me anyway) but I agree with the comments above that for a wilderness gun a large caliber magnum revolver is probably about as good as it gets.

I have a browning semi-auto .22 as well Jason.  I can't remember the model (I think it might be the buckmark) but it's an absolute tack driver.  My wife has a Walther PK380 that's like lightning, it never strikes the same spot twice.  EVER.  My favorite shooting larger caliber pistol is my Beretta M9.  I can shoot it about as consistently as the .22 and it has a fifteen round magazine.  Just a phenomenal gun.  I don't think it would be convenient for carrying around every day, but then again I'm not sure why anyone would want to carry a gun around every day. Of course I never understood the whole phone on the outside of your pants or the Bluetooth earpiece thing either.  To each their own. 

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