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Choosing the Best Handgun for Deer Hunting  

By Marty Prokop


Deer hunting is challenging enough when a deer hunter chooses to hunt with a rifle.


The challenge increases when a hunter opts to use a handgun for deer hunting.


Deer hunting with a handgun, much like hunting deer with a bow, requires patience. Unlike a deer hunting rifle, where you can shoot at ranges of 200 yards and beyond, a handgun’s effective range could be significantly less.


Check your local deer hunting regulations to see if deer hunting with a handgun is allowed in your area before you head out into the woods.


As with any firearm, practice safe gun handling. If you are to error, error on the side of safety…ALWAYS.


Great Deer Hunting Handgun Choices


Like a good deer hunting rifle, a good handgun can cost anywhere from $600 to well over $1,000.


I started use handguns for deer hunting a few years back. I tried several calibers, makes and models of handguns. I used double action revolvers, single action revolvers and single shot handguns.


Here are a few of my personal favorites.


Double Action Revolvers


Double action revolvers allow the hunter to shoot by cocking the hammer back and squeezing the trigger or by simply squeezing the trigger.


One thing I don’t like about the double action revolver is that while climbing into my portable deer hunting tree stand, a small twig worked past my holster and started to operate the trigger. If a deer hunter is not paying attention this type of situation can be deadly.


When I deer hunt with a handgun, I always unload the firearm before climbing into my deer hunting tree stand. Should a twig or branch get past my holster near the trigger, the gun will not go off unexpectedly.


I tested a double action, .44 magnum Smith and Wesson™ with a seven-inch barrel and iron sights.


I hunted both whitetail deer and black bears with it. I chose iron sights, because I anticipated shots at ranges from 10 to 30 yards.


Single Action Revolvers


Single action revolvers are very similar to what the cowboys used to “tame the Wild West.”


A single action revolver needs to have the hammer cocked back into fire mode before you can squeeze the trigger. I find single action revolvers safer in the environments where I hunt.


I’ve tested, and continue to use, a .41 magnum Ruger Blackhawk for deer hunting. The .41 magnum round has plenty of knockdown power for deer at reasonable ranges.


The single action continues to be one of my favorite handguns for hunting deer and wild pigs.


Single Shot Handguns


Single shot handguns are gaining in popularity. Single shot handguns can be very safe when handled properly.


Like a single shot rifle or shotgun, the round is placed into the chamber right before you are ready to shoot. This feature alone can help prevent accidental misfiring.


A few years back I picked up what I feel is the best single shot handgun on the market. It is a G-2 Thompson Contender. This handgun is my personal favorite for deer hunting. You can hunt deer, elk, bear and moose with a Thompson Contender.


A Thompson Contender can fire a variety of rounds by simply interchanging barrels. A deer hunter can choose cartridges ranging from .44 magnums up to some of the more popular rifle rounds.


You can equip your Contender barrels with scopes and experience shooting accuracy equal to some rifles.


Want a way to become a better deer hunter for only pennies?


Owning a Contender can cut down your costs when you hit the shooting range for practice.


By purchasing a 22 long rifle barrel for your Contender, you could spend a day at the range shooting boxes of 22 caliber ammo for the cost of one or two boxes of your favorite deer hunting rifle cartridges.


Overall, I feel, the Thompson Contender is one of the most versatile handguns available for deer hunting.


If you are ready to increase the challenge of deer hunting, look into the option of hunting deer with a handgun. Whether you choose a double action revolver, single action revolver or the single shot handgun, your deer hunting successes will be all the sweeter.


Good Luck and Great Hunting.


Marty Prokop



About Marty Prokop

Deer hunting expert Marty Prokop reveals closely guarded deer hunting secrets on how to get deer every time. Get his Free Deer Hunting Tips Newsletter, free deer videos and free online deer hunting game at Free Deer Hunting Tips.com

Marty Prokop has 24-years experience deer hunting, processing deer for deer hunters and venison sausage making.  Marty Prokop teaches deer hunting, hunter safety, deer processing and deer sausage making classes. Marty Prokop has processed 7,805 deer, field dressed 422 deer and made over 991,990 pounds of sausage, smoked meats and jerky. Marty Prokop worked with Minnesota DNR programs. His deer hunting videos are used in statewide advanced hunter education classes. Marty Prokop is a successful speaker, outdoor writer and published author.


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