Internet is divided into two groups since the debate of carrying and not carrying handguns during hiking arose. Everyone is concerned about their personal defense but opposes the idea of allowing others to carry handguns.
Whatever the debate is, handguns are still a great choice for backpacking tours in places where you lack security and have to manage your own.
But how you select the ideal backpacking gun? We are here to show you a detailed review of several hiking handguns and help you find the best backpacking gun.
A detailed buying guide to teach you how to choose the right gun will be here too. Let’s get started!
Comparison Chart of Top Backpacking Gun
GLOCK 17 Blowback .177 Caliber
Crosman SNR357 .177-Caliber Pellet/4.5 MM
Glock 19 Gen3 .177 Caliber BB Gun
Beeman Sportsman Series Deluxe Air Pistol
Crosman PFAM9B CO2-Powered.
Gamo GP-20 COMBAT BB PISTOL
Sig Sauer P226 .177 Airgun.
T4E Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0
Walther P99 Blowback CO2
Sig Sauer P320 CO2 Air Pistol
10 Best Backpacking Gun Reviews in 2021
This list of top 10 handguns for hiking will show you how those are capable of saving you from any unwanted danger during your tours. Let us introduce you to them one after another.
1. GLOCK 17 Blowback .177 Caliber BB Gun Air Pistol
Glock 17 is a name of excellence and reliability when it comes to handguns. This is a legendary model that enthusiasts crave.
What you get here is the high-quality replica of the original Glock 17, and it is an air pistol with all the realistic controls that you would get in an original Glock.
It comes with a full metal slide which works the same as the original one. The frame is made of polymer, so it is very lightweight to easily carry the gun while backpacking.
This blowback BB repeater is powered by 12 gm CO2, which is good for practicing shots in your backyard or on tour.
It fires .177 caliber steel BBs at a muzzle velocity of 365 fps enough to stop any four-legger from the action.
The drop-free magazine contains 18 rounds, and this repeater can fire back to back to help you get out of any critical situation while hiking or camping.
You can also use this handgun for hunting. The weight of this handgun is only 1.5 lbs, so carrying it while backpacking doesn’t put almost any extra weight on you, which is a matter of relief.
It is also compact in dimension, so there will be no hindrance in your movement while you are on the go.
But you will need to acquire an air gun permit to buy this handgun. Also, you need to follow your local law and regulations to buy it. But, if you have everything ready, Glock 17 Gen 3 will be a good companion on your tours.
- Made of metal and polymer, so very lightweight yet durable.
- Acts and fires like the original Glock 17 to give you the feel of that legendary handgun.
- 18 rounds of 0.177 caliber steel BBs can be fired from the handgun at 365 fps.
2. Crosman SNR357 .177-Caliber Pellet/4.5 MM BB CO2-Powered Revolver
We introduce you to the next best hiking gun, which is this .177 caliber revolver. This has a full metal body, so it is heavier than many other revolvers in the same category.
Due to the added weight, it will help you keep the balance of the gun while firing. You can use either steel BBs or pellets with this revolver. With a 12 gm CO2-powered cartridge, it will fire BBs at almost 400 fps and pellets at more than 500 fps.
That’s a good muzzle speed for a revolver of this kind, ensuring you hit your target right on time.
But the problem with revolvers is they need to be reloaded just after firing 6 rounds. So while the best backpacking handgun can hold three times more rounds, you will end up with an empty revolver very quickly.
When you are firing towards something rapidly, you need a constant flow of rounds. But with this revolver, you won’t get that.
Otherwise, everything of this revolver is in place. There is also a safety slide that you can use for switching on and off the safe mode.
Sight adjustment is only applicable for the rear sight as the front sight is fixed with the barrel. The barrel of the revolver is quite short, so rounds will leave the barrel quickly to reach on target efficiently.
- Fires .177 caliber steel BBs or pellets, so you can use ammunition of your choice according to the situation.
- Muzzle velocity is higher than many other handguns.
- 12 gm CO2-powered cartridge ensures an effortless firing experience.
- Heavier than many handguns or revolvers so it helps you keep balance.
3. Glock 19 Gen3 .177 Caliber BB Gun Air Pistol
Another Glock now comes into play with this Glock 19 Gen 3 replica that acts almost like the original model. This has many similarities with the previously mentioned Glock 17 Gen 3 model.
The top rail of the handgun gives the appearance of a real Glock with the facility of mounting different accessories.
The iron sight is also designed in the same way. This backpacking pistol can contain 16 rounds at a time, 1 of them in the chamber and the other 15 in the drop-free magazine.
You can load the magazine with steel BB rounds and fire them at a constant muzzle speed of around 410 fps.
Often in pistols, you will have a smooth grip which can get slippery if you have a sweaty hand. As the piston weighs about 1.6 lbs, firing with this won’t be comfortable if you don’t have a good grip.
But in this model, you get a textured grip that helps you hold the pistol tight to fire accurately.
An integrated push button is introduced in this model so that you can safely carry the handgun while backpacking.
People with less familiarity with handguns often forget to check the status of their handguns and get caught by accidents.
The overall length of the pistol is just 7.25 inch which is compact for easy storage or carrying. The barrel length of the pistol is 4.25 in, so it is neither too long nor too short.
- 16 rounds of steel BBs can be fired at a muzzle velocity of about 410 fps.
- Made of durable plastic, so very lightweight and easy to carry.
- CO2 cartridges power .177 caliber rounds for a powerful shot.
- Push-button and trigger blade safety button are included for safer handling.
4. Beeman Sportsman Series Deluxe Air Pistol
Beeman air pistol is a single pump action handgun that fires a single round per shot to ensure high accuracy.
Though you can’t fire steel BBs that are more traditional for handguns like this, .177 caliber pellets can be fired from the long barrel of the pistol.
It uses CO2 to power pellets through a recoilless pump action. Rounds exerted from the muzzle hit the target with a velocity of 410 fps which is good enough to fire close targets.
But it won’t be as effective in longer distances. It is made of a polymer frame, so the weight lies under 1.7 pounds.
The pistol grip is shorter than other handguns of this category but finger grooves in the grip are designed to ensure maximum comfort while shooting. It also helps increase the accuracy of the shot.
Though the frame is made of polymer, the slide is made of durable cast aluminum. The barrel of the pistol is made of rifled steel for better durability.
The front sight of the handgun isn’t adjustable but the rear sight is. You can adjust the rear sight for windage and elevation to get the maximum precision in your shots.
With a barrel length of 4.5 inches and an overall length of 9.5 inches, it is easy to carry while backpacking.
It would be better if they included a safety catch as the trigger can be mistakenly pulled, which will cause mishaps. But the overall performance of this pistol makes it one of the best pistol for backpacking.
- Fires .177 caliber pellets at a speed of 410 fps to engage the target in moments.
- Single pump-action air pistol fires one round at a time which is great for accuracy.
- Fine-tuned barrel helps in smooth firing.
- The Finger-grooved grip is short but comfortable.
5. Crosman PFAM9B CO2-Powered Full Auto Blowback BB Air Pistol
Before we get to the features of this blowback air pistol, just look at the handgun and see how similar it looks to the original one. This is completely made of metal to look and feel realistic.
So, if you are used to firing a real handgun with a live bullet, you will feel almost no difference in handling this gun.
Let’s talk about the slide first. The metal slide can be pulled backward just like the real gun, and iron sights are fixed on top of the slide.
You can’t adjust those sights, so the handgun will be more accurate in a shorter range. Just to let you know if you are looking for something like that.
The grip of the pistol isn’t grooved to place your finger; it’s smooth and straight. The sides of the grip are slightly textured for better handling. On the left side of the grip, you will find a magazine catch, pressing which will release the magazine.
It can hold 19 rounds of traditional steel BBs. Once a round is in the chamber, the CO2 cartridge powers the round to leave the muzzle at a velocity of 400 fps which is good for close-range shooting or target practice.
Just over the trigger, you will find a safety catch that your thumb can easily reach. So, you can toggle the safety catch between modes at any moment, which makes the gun even more reliable as the best gun for backpacking.
- All metal build makes the gun look and feels like a realistic one.
- Fires steel BBs at 400 fps, and the magazine can hold 19 rounds.
- Iron sights provide great accuracy in close range.
- Safety catch ensures no mishap occurs while backpacking.
6. Gamo GP-20 COMBAT BB PISTOL 611139754 Air Pistol .177
Gamo GP-20 is a short-barreled air pistol that fires .177 steel BBs with great accuracy and power. Gamo is the largest manufacturer of airgun pellets in the world. They also make great airguns that are widely used in different countries.
In line with their successful production of airguns, this air pistol is made to shoot targets mostly at close range with precision.
If the muzzle velocity of the rounds isn’t high enough, bullets can drop if you are firing at further targets. This piston fires at a speed of 400 fps which is pretty standard for handguns of this category.
The best feature of this pistol might be its big magazine that can carry 20 rounds of steel BBs. The magazine releases easily with the press of one button.
Weaver-style rail and the whole frame are made of durable polymer, so the pistol is very lightweight at only 0.97 lbs. It may be the lightest handgun in the category.
The power source of the pistol is similar to most other guns of this type which is a 12 gm CO2-powered cartridge.
The barrel isn’t very long, so some people might see the pistol as ugly. But it has a rounded grip with a textured surface that enhances grip with finger grooves in the front.
Front and rear sights are also in place, but the safety catch isn’t present over the trigger guard. So, you need to engage safety manually in this pistol which seemed a drawback to us.
- Short-barreled, powerful BB pistol can fire .177 steel BBs at 400 fps.
- Completely made of polymer, so lightweight and durable.
- Textured grip and finger grooves ensure high comfort.
- The magazine can hold 20 rounds of steel BBs fired in the semi-automatic mode for a faster firing rate.
7. Sig Sauer P226 .177 Airgun Pellet Pistol
This looks like the real Sig Sauer P226 at first sight. It not only looks like a Sig Sauer but also gives the same feeling of weight when you hold the pistol in your hand.
This weighs a bit more than all other handguns on our list of the top backpacking gun.
With a weight of 2.4 lbs, it will feel heavy enough for a balanced shot. The barrel of this pistol is built with rifled steel to withstand frequent shots. The tip of the barrel peeks from inside a bit which gives this pistol a more authentic look.
This pistol is a combination of a metal slide and polymer frame. Both of these are highly durable and effective in action. It has Picatinny rail built-in so that you can customize the accessories according to your preference.
The grip of this pistol isn’t curved that much in the back. But the slight curve and sides of the grip are textured for better grip and comfort while firing.
It has a different magazine than other pistols here, which is a rotary magazine that can hold 16 rounds of .177 caliber pellets or steel BBs.
The pistol is also very compact, so you can easily carry it with you. There is a safety catch over the trigger guard so that you can set the pistol in safe mode while carrying. Overall, a very reliable and effective handgun for your backpacking.
- Metal slide and polymer frame combinations are great for balanced weight and durability.
- Looks and feels like the real one.
- CO2 powered pistol can fire .177 pellets or steel BBs from a 16-round rotary magazine.
- Safety catch enabled easier and safer handling.
- Picatinny rail allows different customizable options.
8. T4E Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 .43 Caliber Training Pistol
All previous handguns on our list fire .177 caliber rounds while the Smith & Wesson M&P fires .43 caliber rounds of paintballs, powder balls, or rubber balls which is suitable for training of tactical officers.
The similarity of this gun to the original M&P gun from Smith & Wesson makes this a cost-effective choice for indoor or outdoor training and backpacking.
The barrel and slide of this pistol are made of high-grade metal to perform seamlessly for a long time.
So, the slide won’t jam mid-firing. Also, the slide holds back when the magazine is empty, which will remind you of the real handgun.
Coming to the magazine, it has an 8-round magazine that can be released by pressing a button that your thumb can reach easily. There is also a notch at the end of the grip so that you can easily pull the magazine out.
The grip is textured for better handling and comfort, but there are no finger grooves at the front of the grip.
Once you pull the trigger, the CO2 cartridge helps rounds leave the muzzle at 355 fps which is probably not too much but somewhat acceptable.
Other standard features like safety catch and Picatinny rail are present in this handgun so that you can handle the gun safely and adjust accessories according to your needs.
With adjustable rear sight and yellow dot, shooting at further targets is also easy and accurate.
- Made of metal and polymer so you can expect durability from this handgun.
- Size and weight resemble those of the real handgun, so it will familiarize you with the original one.
- Fires .43 caliber paintballs, powder balls, or rubber balls at a speed of 355 fps.
- The drop-free magazine holds 8 rounds.
9. Walther P99 Blowback CO2 Powered 6mm BB Pistol Airsoft Gun
Walther is known for making high-quality and accurate handguns. This P99 pistol is a replica of the famous Walther P99. It fires .24 caliber plastic airsoft BBs at 320 fps.
As the caliber of this gun is a bit bigger than previous pistols, the muzzle velocity drops a bit here because it is powered by the same 12 gm CO2 cartridge.
This is a double-action handgun that has a 15-round drop-free magazine. But the magazine release system is a bit different than traditional pistols.
You will find a paddle-type mag release system in this gun. Push down the mag release catch to smoothly eject the magazine.
It also has a notch to lock the magazine for easier reloading. The CO2 cartridge is also hidden in the grip, which you will expose by popping off the backstrap of the grip. The barrel of the pistol is a smooth bore and made with brass for better durability.
The metal slide blows back upon firing, which resembles that of the real handgun. It creates a realistic feel while you fire.
But the sights on this pistol are fixed, so you can’t adjust them for better accuracy. Still, this pistol is highly accurate for close-range targets.
While the overall length of the pistol is 7.25 inches, the barrel itself is 4.25 inches in length. This is also one reason for the muzzle velocity being a bit lower than traditional air pistols.
- A compact air pistol resembles all the realistic characteristics of a Walther P99.
- Uses a paddle-style mag release catch for easy reloading.
- A smooth bore brass barrel reduces barrel jamming.
- Fires .24 caliber plastic BBs at 320 fps.
- Fixed sights give better accuracy for close-range targets.
10. Sig Sauer P320 CO2 Air Pistol
Let us introduce you to the last item on our list. It is an airsoft pistol that resembles the famous P320 model from Sig Sauer, a great firearms manufacturer.
This is built with a combination of metal and polymer to make the pistol feel like the original one.
As soon as you hold the pistol, you will feel the 2.2 lbs weight slightly forcing you downwards. This will remind you of the original pistol.
The barrel of this pistol is made of rifled steel for durability and smoothness. The slide is also made of metal and it blows back upon firing, just like the original one.
The almost straight grip of the handgun gives it a modern and compact look. It fits perfectly in a duty holster.
You can fire .177 caliber pellets from the pistol. The rotary magazine can hold 30 rounds which is a plus for rapid firing.
This gas-operated gun can fire pellets at 430 fps which is higher than the industry standard. So, you know pellets will hit the target right. In addition, it comes fitted with a Picatinny rail that you can use to mount several different accessories.
The magazine release button is just in place so that you can reach it easily. There is also a safety catch for you to switch between modes manually.
The overall length of the pistol is 9.6 inches which should fit in any of your backpacking tours. A versatile and cost-effective handgun for backpacking.
- Gas-operated pistol is made of metal and polymer.
- It Fires .177 caliber pellets at a speed of 430 fps which is faster than its competitors.
- Rotary mag holds 30 rounds to enable rapid firing.
- Textured grip gives space for comfortable handling and smooth operation.
- From the mag release button to the safety catch, everything resembles the original gun.
Backpacking Gun Buying Guide
Despite all debates around you about whether carrying a handgun while backpacking is right or not, handguns can be the key to personal defense if you are in any wilderness setting.
This ensures you have something not to hit anyone intentionally but to save you from attacks.
But, not every handgun you see online or in stores will serve your purpose. So, what are the factors that you need to consider while choosing of the highest quality backpacking gun? Let’s show you the factors and break down why.
Single Action or Double Action?
If you are still confused about single or double action, let us clarify a bit more. A single-action handgun is that performs only one task upon pulling the trigger.
That task is to fire a round once you pull the trigger. That’s all in the case of a single-action handgun. You need to pull the hammer back manually to cock the gun for firing the next round.
But in double-action handguns, pulling the trigger will cause two events. The first one is to fire a round and the second one is to pull the hammer back into cock position to make the gun ready for firing the next round. So, the main difference between these two types is in pulling the trigger.
So, what should be the ideal choice for you? Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question.
It depends on your personal preference. As single-action handguns do only one task, the trigger will travel a shorter distance.
So, you need to apply less pull weight. In double-action handguns, you need to pull the trigger more to get both the tasks done.
The Caliber of the Gun
Caliber denotes the bore of the gun barrel. For example, if the gun’s bore is 4.5 mm, it will commonly be called a 4.5 mm gun or a .177 caliber gun. These notations are used differently in different places.
So, you might have already assumed the bigger the caliber is, the larger round it will fire. But in the case of a larger round, the operating system of the gun needs to exert more force to maintain the same muzzle velocity.
In backpacking guns, anything between .177 and .24 caliber is a good choice as they will provide you with maximum muzzle velocity and high precision.
Magazine capacity is crucial because you might not want to reload the pistol mid-operation over and over again.
So, if your pistol has a larger-capacity magazine, you will need to waste less time in reloading and be able to focus on your shots.
In most guns for backpacking, steel BBs or pellets are used traditionally. They aren’t as harmful as live bullets. There are also some handguns that use plastic airsoft BBs or pellets. So, you need to choose from a few different types.
This depends on your personal choice. Choose anything that you think fits you. It is better to try firing with different ammunition and then choose one that feels the best.
In most cases, pistols or handguns are fitted with a fixed front sight. So, this isn’t our headache.
You need to look for an adjustable rear sight so that you can adjust the sight to get the best view of your target. If the rear sight isn’t adjustable, you will perform well only in close distances.
No matter how carefully you pack or carry your handgun while backpacking, there can always be a risk of firing it accidentally.
So, a safety catch is a must for this type of handguns so that you can switch them into safe mode while you aren’t firing. This will save you from a lot of mishaps.
How to Carry a Gun While Backpacking?
A handful of different options are available for carrying a handgun while backpacking. But you need to comply with your local law and regulations about carrying a handgun.
Between open and concealed carry, the first one is prohibited in some places. So, concealed carry can be a good idea.
A drop leg holster is a good idea to avoid congestion around your hip. In this case, the holster is tied around the thighs to have easy access to the gun without being uncomfortable.
You can also carry the gun in a chest holster that is strapped around your body. This way, you can easily pull the gun out of the holster, when necessary, without interfering with any other gears.
You can also use a pouch to carry the handgun. These pouches are easily accessible. You can also carry the gun inside your backpack, and it probably isn’t a good idea if you want to get into action quickly.
So, consider your situation and choose any of these options accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let us clarify few more things about backpacking guns. These are the answers to some commonly asked questions when it comes to backpacking guns. Check them out so that you can meet your quests too.
1. Should I carry a gun while backpacking?
Answer: There are controversies about this topic. Some say that carrying a gun while backpacking is against the social nature of the trail. Some others say that carrying a gun can save you from unwanted incidents.
As long as you are mentally fit and trained enough to use a firearm, you can carry guns while backpacking. But make sure it doesn’t cause an accident.
2. Can I buy a handgun without permits?
Answer: No, in most cases, you can’t. You will need an air gun permit to buy any of the previously mentioned handguns.
3. Are bigger caliber guns better than smaller caliber guns?
Answer: In terms of damage, yes. Caliber denotes the bore size of the gun. So, a bigger caliber gun will fire rounds that are bigger in diameter, and you know a bigger round will do more damage than a smaller round.
But only damage isn’t always the case. You also need to focus on cost, weight, speed, accuracy, and several other factors.
4. What is the standard caliber for a lightweight backpacking gun?
Answer: Most of the hiking handgun are of smaller calibers. You will find guns of .177 caliber to .30 caliber. But .177 caliber guns are commonly used while backpacking. They are lightweight and accurate.
Let’s not overwhelm you with a bundle of information anymore. Now is the time for you to rearrange all the information we have given here in your head and run a comparison that will help you choose the best backpacking gun.
Don’t get attracted to a handgun just for its brand. Consider every possible factor to judge whether the gun is for you or not.
If possible, fire a few shots with different handguns to understand how they work and feel. It’s not just a gun; you need to make it a part of your body so that it gets fused with your existence.
Only then will you be able to use the gun in the right situation to get you out of any danger.