When an emergency or disaster occurs, thoughts turn to survival. If you were trapped in an area with only a handgun for hunting and self-defense, would it be enough? With a survival handgun like these five, you have a better shot!

What are the benefits of using a handgun for survival?

One of the biggest benefits of using a handgun for survival instead of a rifle or shotgun is simple practicality. Rifle and shotguns are bigger and heavier than a handgun, plus may be put up high if you are in your house when an emergency hits. Handguns are more likely to be within reach and are usually about as accurate, depending on the gun of course.

Single action or double action?

When choosing a good handgun, one of the options you get to choose between is single or double action. Of course, some guns come with a combination of those choices. So, what exactly is the “action”? The action refers to how many actions you must perform before firing the gun.

With a single action gun, you must cock the gun yourself before pulling the trigger. In the case of single action revolvers, cocking the hammer will also rotate the cylinder to the next bullet. When choosing a gun for survival, keep in mind the time cocking the hammer will take.

When using a double action handgun, one long pull of the trigger will cock the hammer and fire the bullet. When using a revolver, the pull of the trigger will also auto rotate the cylinder. This speeds of time, but can also be more dangerous if you are not used to a gun with double action.

Most “double action” semiautomatic handguns are a combination of double and single action. With these guns, you must manually cock the hammer with the first shot, but the remaining shots will be single action. This type of gun is typically safer for those that want the quickness of a single action with the safety of a double action.

Revolver vs. Semiautomatic

The choice between a revolver and semiautomatic gun for survival is a personal choice. It is a choice between ease of use and ease of loading the gun.

A revolver has a smaller number of slots for bullets in the cylinder. This could potentially be a drawback. However, if you have a speed loader or a speed strip, you could reload within seconds. With practice you can reload quite quickly. Another benefit to a revolver is that you get more velocity behind the bullet.

The plus side of a semiautomatic is the magazines. A typical single-stack magazine for a semiautomatic starts at 8-10 bullets, with a double stack magazine beginning at 12-15 bullets. For many semiautomatics, you can also get extended magazines to take the bullet count even higher.

What is the best way to use a gun for survival?

The two main ways to use a handgun for survival is by hunting and protection. With hunting, caliber counts. You need to think ahead to what size of game you will be hunting, because that could affect the caliber you need. Larger calibers could make small game useless, while smaller calibers might not do much towards harming large game.

For protection, you need to think of ease of use. You will want something that you can grab and shoot quickly. Caliber can also count here, because smaller rounds that hit in a non-lethal area could allow the attacker to keep coming at you.

Survival gear for your gun

When in an emergency, the handgun is as only as good as the gun survival gear. If you are not able stay in your home, there are a variety of things that could come in handy for your handgun.

One of the things you will want for your handgun is a good cleaning kit, like this one in Brownell’s Emergency Survival Kit. One reason for cleaning your gun after shooting is that the bullet jacket leaves metal pieces in the barrel that can cause corrosion and/or buildup over time.

A good sight system is also a good thing to have. It will allow you to hunt at greater distances. Whether you choose something like iron sights or a full-on scope, a sight is necessary for seeing further distances.

Don’t forget to protect your ears by putting some hearing protection in your survival gear. You can choose between ear plugs and over the ear protection. Obviously, if an attacker comes at you, you won’t be able to put them on in time, but they are great for hunting.

Of course, the most important gear for your survival handgun is ammo. A handgun is no good if you don’t have bullets to shoot. Make sure to have plenty of ammo in the correct caliber.

Five Handguns for Survival

Smith and Wesson Governor

The Governor is a six-round revolver. It takes three types of ammo: .410 2-½” shotshells, .45 Colt ammo, and .45 ACP. It is 8.5 inches in total length, with a barrel length of 2.75 inches. The handgun weighs about 30 oz, depending on the sights that you use.

The Smith and Wesson Governor comes with a synthetic grip and front sites. It has a decent amount of recoil, depending on the ammo you put through it.

The fact that the Governor takes multiple types of ammo makes it great for self-defense and hunting of small game. The shotshells makes it a good choice for hunting small game such as rabbits and birds. You can find .410 shotshells in multiple varieties, such as birdshot, buckshot, or slugs. The .45 Colt and .45 ACP ammo are both easy to find, making it a great gun for self-defense. You will need moon clips for certain ammo.

Glock 19

The Glock Model 19 is a 9 MM pistol. The standard magazine takes 15 bullets plus one in the chamber. It is 7.28 inches in length with a barrel length of 4 inches. It has a weight of 1.5 pounds. It is a striker fired action type.

It has a fixed Ameriglo front night sight and steel rear site. The Glock 19 has a gas nitride finish and a polymer stock. The Glock will work with both the Model 19 and Model 17 magazines. The removable magazine can be upgraded to an extended magazine, taking up to 33 rounds.

With 9 MM ammo being some of the easiest to find, the Glock 19 is good choice for self-defense. It can also take care of small game at a decent range, thanks to the front and rear sights. It has a decent amount of recoil, without being too snappy.

Ruger Super Redhawk

The Ruger Super Redhawk is a six-round, double action revolver. The barrel length ranges between 5” and 9.5”. There are three models: The .44 Magnum, the 454 Casull, and the 480 Ruger.

The Ruger Super Redhawk has a triple-locking cylinder, making is more dependable. It offers a Hogue Tamer Monogrip for reducing recoil. The revolver offers dual chambering, with the .44 Magnum model accepting .44 Special cartridges and the 454 model accepting .45 Colt cartridges.

It offers a replaceable red ramp front sight and an adjustable rear sight. It is a great gun for hunting small to medium sized game, such as rabbits, dear, and birds. It is also good for self-defense.

The multiple types of ammo you can use makes it a good choice in a survival situation. If you are worried about accidental discharge, the Super Redhawk offers a patented transfer bar mechanism to reduce the risk.

Taurus Model 992

The Taurus Model 992 revolver holds 9 rounds. It comes with two cartridges; one holds .22 LR and the other holds .22 Winchester Magnum rounds. The revolver comes with a 6.5-inch barrel, although a 4-inch barrel is also available. It weighs in at 44 ounces. The Taurus Model 992 can be used in either single-action or double-action modes.

The interchangeable barrels change out easily, with just a few simple movements and the press of a button. The Taurus Model 992 offer rubber grips called “Taurus Ribber Grips.” These grips are comfortable in the hand. It has a fixed front sight and an adjustable back sight.

The fact that this revolver has cartridges for two types of .22 rounds makes it great for both self-defense and hunting. The .22 LR is great for home defense, while the .22 Winchester Magnum has more power for hunting. The recoil is manageable, and the Taurus Model 992 is quite accurate.

Makarov PM

The Makarov PM is a 9×18 MM semiautomatic pistol with a standard magazine that holds eight rounds with a heel release. It has a full length of 6.3 inches.

The Makarov PM was originally a military issued pistol for several Soviet Union countries, including Russia and Bulgaria. The pistol was introduced in 1951 during the Cold War. The Makarov PM was produced in China, East Germany, and Bulgaria.

The semiautomatic pistol is a double action/single action pistol. Once the first shot is fired as a double action, the remaining shots are single action. It is also easy to take apart and has a free-standing firing pin, making it easy to replace the firing pin, if necessary. While the ammo may not be sold in every big box store, you can still find it easily. Brands like Winchester and PPU make full metal jacket rounds in 9×18 MM.

And the winner is…

Out of these five pistols, the best survival handgun would be the Glock Model 19. There are many reasons that the Glock Model 19 is the best. The 9 MM is an easy to find ammunition, making it great even in an emergency. Another benefit of the Glock is the removable magazine. You can also get extendable magazines, which are great for hunting. It is also good for self-defense with its ease of use. This pistol is good for anyone interested in self-defense and small game hunting for survival. The striker action makes it a good gun even for beginners.