Hunting with a handgun can be a great way to extend the hunting season beyond your normal centerfire rifle, or bowhunting season. Many hunters choose to use a handgun for hunting for the extra challenge that is offered but others bring handguns along to enhance their personal safety while they are out hunting. There are a lot of options out there for good hunting handguns but today we’re bringing in OutdoorHub’s top 5 hunting handguns that we’ve picked out for you and consider to be the best options. These options offer you increased personal protection if you’re willing to put in the effort of carrying them and they also make great primary hunting variants if you’re trying out something a little different.
Hand Cannons: The Top 5 Best Hunting Handguns
Table of Contents
1. Glock G40 Gen 4 MOS
The Editor’s Pick
Our Editor Rusty swears by the Glock 1omm handgun as his favorite, and would buy the 40 MOS in a heartbeat if it ever comes time to replace his 20. The Glock 40 MOS is chambered in 10MM, and is capable of mounting a red dot optic of your choice, runs reliably, and is extremely hunting friendly with its 6-inch long barrel and lightweight construction. The G40 is easily carried yet packs a reliable punch powerful enough to take down deer, wild boar, and feral hogs making it an ideal choice for outdoorsmen and hunters.
Pro/It’s a Glock and it’s chambered in 10mm. What more could you ask for?
Cons/Large and most people will opt to change the trigger for hunting duty
Bottom Line/The Glock 40 MOS is the best price to performance 10mm hunting handgun
2. Taurus 454 Raging Bull
Powerful Big Game Budget Option
A premier hunting handgun the Taurus Raging Bull 454 is chambered in 454 Casull powerful enough to take down an African buffalo or whatever hunting itch you need to scratch. Available in four distinct barrel lengths this double-action five-shot revolver has a ported barrel to reduce felt recoil. A cushioned insert grip further reduces recoil and gives you a comfortable shot every chance you get at your next trophy. The Raging Bull 454 also has adjustable rear sights and the key-operated Taurus Security System built into the frame.
Pro/Powerful cartridge capable of taking down just about anything in North America – Affordable.
Cons/Ammunition is both rare and expensive and no option for mounting optics
Bottom Line/Great for getting into big game handgun hunting on a budget
3. Korth NXR 44 MAgnum
High-end Stylish Powerhouse
The Korth NXR brings a six-shot .44 Magnum to the legendary roster of Korth revolvers. The NXR is available with a 6” hammer-forged precision barrel and an integrated Picatinny rail on the frame. The barrel housing has been ventilated for faster cooling while the entire revolver has a DLC finish for a beautiful yet durable look. There is an additional Picatinny rail mounted below the barrel, providing options for different weights to be mounted. The NXR features an adjustable rear sight with a fast-changeable front sight. Removable side panels to the front sight give this revolver versatility in a wide range of shooting disciplines. A Turkish Walnut grip gives this .44 Magnum powerhouse a look just as fierce as its performance.
Pro/Popular and affordable hunting cartridge
Cons/Extremely expensive and might be prone to collecting dirt, mud and debris in the lightening cuts
Bottom Line/A hunting revolver for those with refined taste or a ton of money burning a hole in their pocket
4. Magnum Research Desert Eagle MKXIX
Gas operated goodness in the palm of your hand(s)
The Magnum Research Desert Eagle is a family of powerful semi-automatic pistols chambered in 357 Mag 44 Mag or 50 AE. Utilizing a gas-operated rotating bolt more commonly found in rifles the Desert Eagle was the first pistol capable of handling these outsized loads. Fixed sights adorn barrels at 6 or 10 in length depending on the model and a rail allows users to mount the scope of their choice to the Desert Eagle. I wouldn’t recommend trying to shoot this pistol one-handed unless your end goal is just mag dumping into the trash.
Pro/Powerful 50 AE cartridge with semi-automatic operation for quick follow-up shots.
Bottom Line/A great conversation piece that can also take down big game
5. Ruger Super Blackhawk
The Ruger Super Blackhawk finds itself right at home either on the range or out in the woods tracking down game. The 44 magnum Blackhawk features a long barrel, great ergonomics, and clever hunters will often field an extended eye relief scope on them to reach out to targets much further away than an iron-sighted or red dot equipped pistol could ever hope to reach. In addition to its fully adjustable sights, an integral rib on its barrel accepts scope-mounting rings included with the gun.
Pro/Great construction, looks great, mechanically stout, great for hand loaders.
Cons/Customer reviews say that the ejector rods often come up short requiring you to manually pull spent casings from the gun.
Bottom Line/Great for handloaders and those that like classic revolver lines.
Is it legal to hunt with handguns?
In simple terms, yes. Most US states allow you to hunt with a handgun, however, you should always check with your local game warden or wildlife management office before going out to hunt with a handgun. Some states will allow you to only hunt with handguns during certain seasons and others have no such restrictions. However, regardless, you should still consider bringing a handgun along with you for personal protection reasons.
Why is 44 Magnum so popular on this list?
There is a reason Dirty Harry picked out his S&W Model 29 in 44 magnum – the cartridge is absolutely devastating on anything from an elk all the way down to a whitetail deer. Most hunting handguns that use 44 magnums will have at least a 6″ long barrel to get the cartridge up to speed but even still, the heavy grain weight and high velocity of these cartridges make 44 magnums absolutely total to use for handgun hunting.
Are big bore revolvers the only way to go?
Not at all. As you see with our editor’s pick, 10MM is great as well despite being only slightly smaller than 44 magnums when it comes to bullet diameter. What both of these handgun cartridges share, however, is that they share similar bullet weights and velocities. In fact, many hunters even opt to use smaller cartridges like 357 magnums for hunting whitetail and other medium-sized game. Big bore calibers just cover all of your bases and they are also much more fun to shoot.
About the Author
Luke is currently a full-time writer for TheFirearmBlog.com, OvertDefense.com, AllOutdoor.com, and of course, OutdoorHub.com. Luke is a competitive shooter, firearms enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman, and generally takes an interest in anything that has to do with the great outdoors. Luke is also a private certified pilot and is currently pursuing his commercial pilot’s license in the hopes of becoming a professional pilot. Some of Luke’s other interests include anything to do with aviation, aerospace and military technology, and American Conservancy efforts. Instagram: @ballisticaviation YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BallisticAviation thefirearmblog.com/blog/author/luke-c/ overtdefense.com/author/luke-c/alloutdoor.com/author/lukec/
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