the best hunting handguns

Choosing a firearm for hunting is as much a practical exercise as it is a personal one. It all depends on what you’re hunting, but personal preference also plays a part. With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 handguns you can use for hunting, ranging from large to small calibers, and semi-auto to single-shot:

Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 629 Hunter

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 629 Hunter is a .44 Magnum revolver that’s ready for the field out of the box. Smith & Wesson


Chambered for the .44 Magnum cartridge, the Model 629 is definitely a capable hunting gun. Sporting a 7.5-inch barrel, muzzle brake, and a top rail with an included red dot sight, it’s all set to take to the field right out of the box. (Well, you might want to run a few cylinders through it to sight in, but after that, you’re good to go.) MSRP: $1,369.00

Glock 20

The Glock 20 is a 10mm sem-auto that’s endlessly customizable and features a 15 round magazine. Glock


For the semi-auto fans and the 10mm fans, the Glock 20 covers both bases. A 15-round magazine loaded with ammo capable of 550 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, this pistol can harvest deer and other similarly sized game with ease. Plus, because of the polymer construction, wet weather won’t wreak havoc on it in the field. MSRP: $649

Thompson/Center G2 Contender

The single-shot Thompson/Center G2 Contender is designed to let you swap out calibers and barrel lengths. Thompson/Center


If you’d prefer to have the ability to change calibers and barrel lengths, then the Contender is the pistol that you’re looking for. Whether you’re hunting small game with .22LR or you’re pursuing something larger and want to step up to the .45-70, the Contender has you covered. The gun is a single-shot design, so keep that in mind when you’re thinking about the need for a follow-up shot should it arise. MSRP: $523

Ruger Super Blackhawk

The Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum comes with an adjustable rear sight and a removable front-sight insert. Ruger


When you pair optional barrel lengths ranging from 3.75″ to 10.5″ with the .44 Magnum cartridge, you’ve got a gun for any big game hunting adventure. With an adjustable rear sight and a replaceable front sight insert for increased visibility, there’s no excuse for missing the animal of a lifetime! MSRP: $699

S&W Performance Center 500

The most powerful factory handgun in the world comes with a sling, top rail, and a weight of about five pounds. Smith & Wesson


If serious stopping power is the name of your game, then the 500 is what you want. Equipped with a 10-inch barrel and a muzzle brake, this gun is designed to reach out and touch something. Weighing just shy of five pounds, it comes with a sling attached to it and has a top rail to mount a red dot on it. MSRP: $1,579.00

Linebaugh Six Gun

The .475 Linebaugh conversion is done on new Ruger Bisley revolvers only. Linebaugh


Available in .475 and .500 Linebaugh, these custom guns mean business. Linebaugh’s guns are five-shot conversions and the website says it all: “For the ultimate on big game, this packable package … is tops.”

The .475 Linebaugh conversion is done on new Ruger Bisley revolvers by fitting a new oversized five-shot cylinder to the Ruger frame with a true .475 bore barrel. The gun is made to fit .475 Linebaugh cartridges made from Winchester .45/70 cases cut and trimmed to 1.400″ long finished length best. MSRP- .475 Linebaugh: $3,800 — $4,200

S&W Model 17

This .22LR revolver is great for small game at short to medium ranges. Smith & Wesson


Chambered in .22LR, this is a great little revolver to take out squirrel or rabbit hunting. It’s a no-muss, no-fuss design that is guaranteed to provide a fun time in the woods. The revolver is built on the S&W medium-sized K-frame. The Model 17 was discontinued in 1998, but has since been reintroduced as part of the S&W Masterpiece series. MSRP: $989

Rowland Conversions

The company can convert anything from a 1911 to a Glock 21 to the powerful .460 Rowland cartridge. Rowland Conversions


The .460 Rowland is a heck of a hunting cartridge. Because the company offers conversions to that caliber in a variety of configurations, you can take your pick when it comes to the type of gun you take hunting. Want to use a compensated 1911 with a 5-inch barrel and a compensator? Go for it. Prefer a compensated Glock 21? They can do that, too.


Colt Woodsman

The Colt Woodsman was discontinued in 1977 but remains one of the most revered .22LR hunting handguns and sell well on the used market.

Designed by John Moses Browning and made during a great time of pride for Colt, even the name of the gun begs for you to take it out hunting. In production from 1915 to 1977, with almost 700,000 of them made, the Sport model (one of three models available) makes for a great semi-auto small game hunting pistol if you can find one. Equipped with a 4.5″ barrel and adjustable sights on most of them, the pistol holds 10 rounds of .22 ammo. MSRP: Collector’s Item

Taurus Raging Bull

This monstrous revolver is chambered for the .454 Casull cartridge. Taurus


When chambered for the .454 Casull cartridge, the Raging Bull means business. (It comes in a variety of calibers.) With a ported 6.5″ barrel and a cushioned grip insert, you can take the field with this revolver knowing that your hand won’t pay the price for the power you’re packing. The Casull’s ballistics make the Raging Bull a serious hunting option. Could you actually take down a raging bull with it? Probably, but I won’t be the one to test that out. MSRP: $1,020