handgun and camo holster

Handgun Hunting 101: Gun and Gear Basics

If you’re looking to get started with handgun hunting, you’ll want to be sure you have the proper equipment and skills. So, let’s cover the basics and some tips that will help you lead you to positive results.

Choosing The Right Handgun And Gear For Hunting

minnesota whitetailed buck

The first step in handgun hunting might sound simplistic, but it’s true… you need to select the right gun and gear.

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a handgun:

  1. Weight And Size

First, you ought to select a handgun that’s the appropriate size and weight for the type of hunting in which you’ll be engaging. Too heavy of a handgun can be difficult to shoot accurately, while one that’s lightweight may be more difficult to control.

If you are building your firearm or accessory, choosing the right polymer frame is important as well.

Various Polymer 80 Frames and those for other pistol types are in the market, so ensure to choose the most suitable ones for your needs..

  1. The Type Of Handgun

When choosing a hunting handgun, consider the type you want. Handguns come in many styles, such as revolvers, semi-automatics, and single-shot pistols.

  • Revolvers
loading revolver

Revolvers are reliable, but can also be somewhat difficult to shoot accurately when hunting.

Revolvers are the oldest and most reliable type of handgun. They have a cylinder that holds the ammunition and a trigger that rotates the cylinder when pulled. Generally, they’re the most reliable type of handgun, although they can be more difficult to shoot accurately.


  • Semi-Automatic Handguns

Semi-automatic handguns are the most popular type for handgun hunting. They use a magazine to hold the ammunition and the trigger pulls the slide back to chamber a round. They’re more accurate than revolvers, but require more maintenance and can be more difficult to handle.

  • Single-Shot Pistols

Single-shot pistols are often used for small-game hunting. These guns are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and offer a range of ammunition choices. They’re the least expensive type, as well as the least powerful, but they can still be effective when used correctly.

It’s important to use the right gun for the job. Smaller caliber handguns are great for smaller game hunting, while bigger game, such as deer or elk, will require a larger caliber handgun.

  1. Grip
pistol grip

Another factor to consider in choosing the right handgun for hunting is the grip. It’s necessary to select a gun that’s comfortable to handle. It should be the correct size for your hands and the type of hunting you’re doing.

 Here are several ways you can determine the right grip size for your handgun:

  • Feel The Grip

One of the most straightforward ways to determine the right grip size for a handgun is to feel the grip. It should comfortably fit in the palm, and you should be able to wrap your fingers around it with minimal effort.

  • Measure The Hand
hand holding pistol

Measuring the hand to be sure it’s a good fit for the manufacturer’s specs is an important step in choosing the right hunting handgun for you.

And remember, no matter what type of handgun you go for, regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to ensure its reliability and accuracy during hunting trips.

Other Equipment Necessary For Handgun Hunting

In addition to the gun, several other pieces of equipment are necessary for successful handgun hunting. These include:

  • Ammunition
handgun in bullets

Ammunition refers to the projectiles and cartridges used in firearms. It typically consists of a bullet, primer, powder, and casing.

There are different types of ammunition suitable for handguns and game animals.

For example, hollow point ammunition is a great choice for small game hunting as it’ll expand upon impact and cause less damage to the meat. On the other hand, full metal jacket ammunition is better for larger game as it’ll penetrate deeper and cause more damage.

If you are hand gun hunting for deer, some cartridge choices to consider are:

  1. 9mm Luger
  2. .327 Federal Magnum
  3. .45 Auto
  4. 10mm Auto
  5. .357 Remington Magnum
  6. .44 Remington Magnum
  7. 40 Smith & Wesson


  • Holster

A holster is a type of accessory typically worn on a belt or any other clothing piece around the waist and is used for carrying a handgun. It’s designed to provide a quick and secure way of carrying and concealing a firearm. 

gun in holster on hip with camo shirt

A holster should be comfortable and secure, allowing easy access to the handgun when needed. It should also be compatible with the gun and the type of clothing worn.


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  • Protective Gear
protective shooting equipment

Eye and ear protection are also a must. Eye protection will help prevent debris from getting in your eyes that may kick up when firing your handgun. This particular activity can also be loud, so it’s important to protect your ears to avoid hearing damage.

  •  Jig

A jig is used to help with precision and accuracy. It ensures the handgun is held in the same position each time, allowing the shooter to make consistent shots. 

The jig typically consists of a base, an adjustable arm, and a clamp to secure the handgun. It also helps reduce muzzle rise and can be used to mount optics and other accessories.

These are the basic items you’ll need to get started with handgun hunting. But, depending on your needs, you might also require other tools, such as a rangefinder for determining the distance to your target, a scope for longer-range shooting, or a bipod for more stability.


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Tips For Successful Handgun Hunting

Here are ways you can ensure successful handgun hunting:

  • Practice Your Shooting

Handgun hunting requires a high level of accuracy, and you’ll need to shoot accurately and quickly to take down game successfully. That said, constant practice is essential to become proficient with your handgun.

man shooting handgun on range

Ensure that your are familiar with your handgun and comfortable with safely aiming and firing it before you ever go hunting with it.

Since you never know what situations may arise when hunting, you should always practice shooting from different positions, such as from a bench, a tree stand, or the ground, while considering the target’s distance, size, and wind direction.

elevate stand fixed position tree stand

Hunting from a treestand can help conceal you from your target animal’s normal line of sight.

One effective technique for handgun hunting is to use a tree stand or blind to help conceal your presence and get closer to the game. This can help you get within range for a successful shot without spooking the game.

Additionally, ensure the gun is always pointed in a safe direction and never loaded until you’re ready to shoot.

  • Adopt The Right Mindset

When hunting with a handgun, approach the hunt with the right mindset. Unlike rifle hunting, where you can take longer shots, handgun hunting requires a closer proximity to your game.

This means you’ll need to be stealthy and patient to get close enough to the game for a successful shot. And, always remember that wind direction is critical to having the best chance to harvest your target animal.

  • Know And Follow All Firearms Laws

Finally, as a hunter, it’s your responsibility to follow all applicable laws and regulations concerning the use of firearms. Make sure you understand and abide by them.

Final Thoughts on Handgun Hunting

Handgun hunting is both challenging and rewarding. It’s important to select the right gun and gear, and understand the basics of the activity before heading out.

With the right knowledge, equipment and practice, you can have a successful, unforgettable, and enjoyable handgun hunting experience.

One Response

  1. charles poulston jr says:

    Two things I recommend for handgun hunting; helps me anyway. A 2 – 21/2 # trigger pull. If you can’t guess when it’s going off; you can’t flench. Also I prefer the tritium night sights. You just line up the three dots; you got it.I’ve hunted with a Mod.29 S & W 8 3/8”BARREL for 30 years. With my hand loads I zero at a 100 yards. I’ve killed at 100 yards. Using the open tritium sights. GOOD LUCK . I love pistol hunting.

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