<strong>Bond Arms Snake Slayer</strong></br> The <a target="blank" href="http://bondarms.com/bond-arms-handguns/snake-slayer">Snake Slayer</a> is chambered in .410/.45 Long Colt and offers a double shot of power. It is made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and is simple to use. It is also safely built with a rebounding hammer. Though relatively uncommon, .410 shotshell ammo can be used for small game hunting and protection—load up or down with slugs or buckshot. Its small size and light weight make it an excellent backup weapon. Remember, this is a short-range weapon, so wait until you see the whites of their eyes or at least the slithering, forked tongue. (<a target="blank" href="http://bondarms.com/bond-arms-handguns/snake-slayer">http://www.bondarms.com</a>; 817-573-4445)
<strong>Bushmaster Enhanced Patrolman</strong></br> The <a target="blank" href="http://www.bushmaster.com/firearms/pistols.asp">Bushmaster Enhanced Patrolman AR Pistol</a>, with its 10.5-inch stainless steel barrel, is what’s sometimes called a megapistol. It uses AR mil-spec magazines and is chambered in 5.56mm NATO. The Enhanced Patrolman is optics ready, meaning a red-dot scope or reflex sight would be a good fit for this pistol. It comes equipped with a <a target="blank" href="http://www.usamade-ar15parts.com/Default.asp">Barnes Precision</a> free-floated, lightweight quad rail, which means mounting a vertical grip, laser sight or tactical light are definite options. A Magpul MOE grip and triggerguard offer excellent control. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.bushmaster.com/firearms/pistols.asp">http://www.bushmaster.com</a>; 800-998-7928)
<strong>Charter Arms 9mm Pitbull</strong></br> Simple to use, lightweight and chambered in 9mm, the <a target="blank" href="http://www.charterfirearms.com/products/charter_pitbull_79920.asp">Charter Arms 9mm Pitbull</a> is a capable revolver. It is also versatile, since 9mm has to be one of the most common calibers in use by civilians, law enforcement and the military. It can be found almost anywhere. The Pitbull’s extractor incorporates a spring-loaded lip of steel that makes full contact with the rim of the rimless 9mm cartridge. The DA pull is smooth, and the rubber grip helps absorb recoil. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.charterfirearms.com/products/charter_pitbull_79920.asp">http://www.charterfirearms.com</a>; 203-922-1652)
<strong>Colt Close Quarters Battle Pistol</strong></br> The U.S. Marines have always trusted and relied on the 1911 platform chambered in .45 ACP. The <a target="blank" href="http://www.colt.com/Catalog/Pistols/CQBPCloseQuarterBattlePistol.aspx">Close Quarters Battle Pistol</a> (CQBP) is made for combat. This is not your great grandfather’s 1911A1. It is a highly enhanced 1911 with 3-dot night sights, a 5-inch National Match barrel, a Picatinny accessory rail and an ambidextrous thumb safety. The CQBP is a state-of-the-art 1911 from the originator of the design. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.colt.com/Catalog/Pistols/CQBPCloseQuarterBattlePistol.aspx">http://www.colt.com</a>; 800-962-2658)
<strong>Glock 17 Gen4</strong></br> The <a target="blank" href="http://us.glock.com/products/model/g17gen4">Glock 17</a> is the brand’s original full-size pistol. It’s chambered in 9mm and has a capacity of 17+1 rounds. Nearly 65 percent of all U.S. law enforcement personnel use Glock pistols, and there is a reason for that: Glocks work in every type of environment imaginable, they are accurate, and the training ramp-up time is nil when compared to other sidearms. The Gen4 variant offers better texture and gripping for operators of all hand sizes. It is made of polymer and steel and weighs 32.1 ounces loaded. (<a target="blank" href="http://us.glock.com/products/model/g17gen4">http://us.glock.com</a>; 770-432-1202)
<strong>Kel-Tec PMR-30</strong></br> The .22 WMR is not exactly a man-stopper, but the <a target="blank" href="http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/pmr-30/pistol">Kel-Tec PMR-30</a> packs 30 rounds in the magazine. Yes, 30. While a combatant may be reloading, you can keep firing to end the confrontation or get out of harm’s way. It is simply designed in lightweight polymer and steel and is no bigger than any full-size pistol. The controls—ambidextrous thumb safety, slide stop and magazine release—are not overly complicated. Unloaded, the pistol weighs 13.6 ounces. This is a good compromise between weight and firepower. It has hunting applications and the ammo, while not too uncommon, is lightweight, allowing you to pack more of it. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/pmr-30/pistol">http://www.keltecweapons.com</a>; 321-631-0068)
<strong>Ruger 22/45 Lite</strong></br> “Lite” is appropriate with <a target="blank" href="http://www.ruger.com/products/2245Lite/models.html">this 23-ounce, .22 LR semi-auto</a>. Comparable Ruger 22/45s weigh about 32 ounces. The caliber is very common and, ounce-per-ounce, you can probably carry three times as much rimfire ammo as centerfire ammo. The 22/45 Lite has a 1911-style polymer grip frame mated to an aluminum receiver with a stainless steel barrel sleeve. This Ruger allows for the attachment of a suppressor, so when you are small game hunting because all the 7-Elevens have been ransacked, you won’t draw attention. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.ruger.com/products/2245Lite/models.html">http://www.ruger.com</a>)
<strong>Ruger New Model Blackhawk Convertible</strong></br> <a target="blank" href="http://www.ruger.com/products/newModelBlackhawkConvertible/models.html">Ruger’s New Model Blackhawk Convertible</a> revolvers are designed to take either .357 Magnum and 9mm ammo interchangeably or .45 Colt/.45 ACP ammo. These are single-action revolvers, so they’re slower to shoot than semi-autos, but they’re solidly built and will last through numerous Armageddons. These are two revolvers that accept two interchangeable cylinders: one gun comes with .357 Magnum/9mm cylinders, and the other with .45 Colt/.45 ACP cylinders. Thus, while others scrounge to find ammo, you’ll have more flexibility. These revolvers also have adjustable sights built-in transfer bars, which means these six-shooters can be carried fully loaded without fear of an accidental discharge. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.ruger.com/products/newModelBlackhawkConvertible/models.html">http://www.ruger.com</a>)
<strong>Sig Sauer P320 Carry</strong></br> The <a target="blank" href="http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p320-carry-nitron.aspx">Sig Sauer P320</a> is completely modular, giving the user the option to change calibers—choose 9mm, .357 Sig or .40 S&W—along with polymer grip frames for small, medium and large hands. It is Sig’s first striker-fired pistol, and out of the box it offers ease of use and accuracy with a hail of 15 rounds of 9mm bullets. This gun was designed from the onset with input from law enforcement. The Carry variant has a 3.9-inch barrel and weighs only 26 ounces. Chambered in 9mm the P320 Carry has a capacity of 15+1 rounds, and in .357 Sig or .40 S&W it holds 14+1. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p320-carry-nitron.aspx">http://www.sigsauer.com</a>; 603- 610-3000)
<strong>Smith & Wesson Model S&W500</strong></br> While it’s not chambered in a common caliber suitable for untrained shooters, the <a target="blank" href="http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_764947_-1_757771_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y">Model S&W500</a>, in .500 S&W Magnum, will knock anything on the continent out of commission—from grizzly bears to truck engines. That’s what five shots of 2,600 foot-pounds of energy will do. It is the most powerful production revolver manufactured. If you are bugging out in bear country, this is an option, especially when you are trying snag spawning salmon in a bruin’s favorite spot. The short, 4-inch barrel is handier than the long-barrel variants that have an attached sling for a reason. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_764947_-1_757771_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y">http://www.smith-wesson.com</a>; 800-331-0852)
<strong>Springfield Armory EMP</strong></br> Everything that the 1911 platform offers, but with less recoil and in a more compact size, describes the <a target="blank" href="http://www.springfield-armory.com/products/1911-emp-9-mm/" />9mm EMP</a>. The Enhanced Micro Pistol (EMP) is small with an overall length of 6.6 inches. It is also lightweight—27 ounces empty—due to its forged aluminum frame. The trigger is the thing with this bug-out option. The SA trigger is crisp compared to striker-fired pistols. The better trigger and smaller caliber make it a good defensive choice. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.springfield-armory.com/products/1911-emp-9-mm/" />http://www.springfield-armory.com</a>; 800-680-6866)
<strong>T/C Encore Pro Hunter</strong></br> The <a target="blank" href="https://www.tcarms.com/firearms/interchangeable-platforms/encore-pro-hunter">Thompson/Center Encore Pro Hunter</a> pistol is a true platform firearm capable of being reconfigured to a rifle, muzzleloader or pistol. Built for hard hunting, the Encore pistol is made of stainless steel and features a synthetic pistol grip and forend. Chambered in .410 shotshell and .45 Long Colt, it can hunt both game and fowl. And when things get foul, the .410 personal-defense loads can put the odds in your favor. It is a single shot and slow to reload, but it offers the ability to hunt and protect, which is a good compromise in a rugged firearm. (<a target="blank" href="https://www.tcarms.com/firearms/interchangeable-platforms/encore-pro-hunter">http://www.tcarms.com</a>; 866-730-1614)
<strong>Taurus Judge 4510PLYS</strong></br> The <a target="blank" href="http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=693&category=Revolver">Taurus Judge</a> product line is made up of hefty framed revolvers that deliver lots of firepower. What could be better for a bug-out bag than a polymer-framed version that gives users a five-shot beast that weighs a total of 23 ounces? That’s a very packable weight for a weapon chambered in .410 and .45 Long Colt. This combination of chamberings makes this an ideal defensive weapon with literal point-and-shoot capability. It is only 1.5 inches thick and 7.6 inches long. The gun’s 2.5-inch barrel makes it maneuverable and light weight, and a fiber-optic front sight sucks up available light for faster target acquisition. The polymer frame and stainless steel cylinder are weather resistant. (<a target="blank" href="http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=693&category=Revolver">http://www.taurususa.com</a>; 800-327-3776)
A well-planned bug-out bag will keep you alive for at least 72 hours. That is three day’s worth of gear strapped to your back. You’ll probably need to keep moving, so a handgun, portable by nature, is a suitable tool. When thinking about handgun options, think lightweight and easy-to-find ammunition. Remember that you may need to scrounge depending on the event and how long it lasts. When your weapon is empty, it is nothing more than extra weight. Popular cartridge choices include .22 LR, .38 Special, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Even .223 Rem./5.56mm NATO is a good choice. These are common rounds with plenty of circulation. Less common calibers have a specific purpose and can be very valuable, so plan accordingly.
Revolvers are good options since they are self-contained with no removable parts, like a semi-auto’s magazine, and no complicated controls—slide stop, magazine release, thumb safety and de-cocker. If you choose a semi-automatic pistol, make sure you have at least three loaded magazines in your bag, and more if you have room and can bear the weight. Here are 14 go-to handguns for when SHTF.
For More Information
Ruger (22/45 Lite)
Ruger (New Model Blackhawk Convertible)
Smith & Wesson
In Case You Missed It
This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS. Subscription is available in print and digital editions below.
Follow this easy-to-follow guide to choose the best size, caliber and accessories for your...
by Personal Defense World / Oct 13, 2014