Day Hiking in Northwest/Southwest Michigan

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Fiv3r, May 5, 2019.

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  1. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    The family and I are taking a week trip through Michigan next month. Most of it will be driving, but we plan on spending a couple of days doing some mild/moderate hiking in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. We aren't hardcore hikers. We won't be bringing any backpacks beyond what will hold a snack of a lunch and some water bottles. Strictly 4-8 miles of walking and taking in nature.

    Now I hate "Bear Threads". I dont plan on needing to stop a 10' tall Kodiak hopped up on meth after eating a tweaker it found in the woods:D

    Here's my question, what would be the best sidearm to take for personal protection of my family in this setting? I know nothing about the wildlife nor the potential two-legged threats, so I'm wondering if I go with Six fast moving but slow shooting and hard-hitting or 15 fast and numerous or Five sorta hard hitting and faster to fire?

    Here's what I have to work with:
    Michigan honors my Indiana permit as long as I am a resident of the state of Indiana (which I am), so I'm good regarding day to day stuff. Honestly, until we get to the Forest, I think I'll feel fine with the .380 in my pocket.

    The guns in question that I am thinking about carrying on my hikes are one of the three in my brace:

    5.5" Ruger Blackhawk in .357. Obviously built like a tank and full power .357 is about as much of a pussycat as you can make it out such a chuck of steel. The cons: slow to fire being single action and it's a heavy cuss to lug around. Still, worth it if someone more knowing than myself thinks its more prudent.

    SIG p320 full size in 9mm. I carry this gun with a compact frame housing a full size slide. So it carries 15+1. Its certainly lighter than the Blackhawk with over twice fire power. I'd probably stuff it full of premium Buffalo Bore ammo. Cons on this one is that its not going to hit as hard as the Blackhawk and it's still a full size gun to haul around.

    Charter Arms Pitbull in .45 acp. I would much rather pack around a 22 oz short revolver over a full size gun. The .45 offers a pretty big thump if giving up ballistics to a longer barrel. It's faster to fire than the Blackhawk. Cons being that it's a snub nose and only holds 5 rounds. Would be a more comfy to carry though.

    Finally, I open to suggestions as to what else others may suggest. You are all a bunch of enablers, and I am weak to suggestion if it means a new gun:D I've considered a .45 colt, .40, .44 special or 10mm. I'm not really considering a .44 magnum at this time, but I'm open if a compelling case is made. I'd like to keep it a compact and easy to carry gun if possible, but if y'all thing bigger us better, I'm ok with that too.

    Thanks in advance:)
     
  2. Bandit67

    Bandit67 Member

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    I vote for the Sig. You don't really have to worry about animals. I'd take the 16 rounds of 9mm and an extra mag or two. Prepare for Ticks also.
     
  3. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    #1 thing I would take for personal protection while hiking in N Michigan is a high quality bug spray!!! Keep those ticks off you and your family!

    For a hand gun I would choose the Sig 320 for the meth heads and bear spray for the bears. My wife and daughter would feel comfortable hiking with a can of bear spray on them... neither would carry a handgun, neither have a ccl. If someone decided to mess with my daughter in the womens bathroom... or anywhere that I am not... a face full of bear spray will most likely deter them.

    There is a small chance you might run into a bear or a meth head... you will DEFINITELY run into ticks.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  4. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    I'd pick the lightest one. I've hiked and camped extensively in Michigan and the worst wildlife you may encounter is a really hungry Racoon or Skunk. Your only need for a defensive weapon is to protect against an attack by a human.
    If the area you are hiking in has a bear alert, use bear bells, and use food precautions.
    Be aware all National and many State parks are prohibited areas, check carefully if carry is an option.
     
  5. OneFreeTexan

    OneFreeTexan Member

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    Tick sray.. they are already aggressive this year. Neighbor had to take her son to the hospital to have a tick removed,,,,,,,For the rest of our vermin,,, I always suggested nothing less than a 45 amp. However it you want a lighter weight gun pick whatever pleases you.
     
  6. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I like the .45acp revolver:
    Lightweight
    Compact size.
    Good power
    Strictly SD, not hunting. 99% that it wont leave the holster. )
     
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  7. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, gentlemen.

    I know full well about the bugs up there. We're prepared for that:D. Southern Indiana has it's fair share of ticks as well.

    Sounds like the 320 and Pitbull are in the running. I'm kinda glad. I do love my Blackhawk. Its probably my "there can be only one" gun, but I would rather holster a higher capacity 9mm weighing about the same or just go with the light .45.

    It's not like space is of a real premium in the trunk of the car. Should this discussion keep going the same way, I'll take both along with a .380 for walking around around.

    At this point I'm leaning toward the SIG just because it holds more rounds. However, once I get all the gear strapped on, and let's face it I'll be the one shouldering all all the stuff my wife decides we need to take, the light CA sounds nicer.

    Thanks again:)
     
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  8. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I grew up in the lake states. There’s nothing that lives in Michigan that a 357 won’t stop. Though of the guns you listed, I’d take the Sig with heavy ammo.

    If you really are looking for other suggestions, a GP100 in 44 special would be cool. A 686+ would work. A 10mm of your liking would be plenty adequate. A 44 mag is more than you need, but so what. 44 mag would definitely be plenty.
     
  9. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I agree that the lighter the better. If your Charter 45 is lighter than your P320 I would opt for the 45. The lighter the gun is the more likely I am to actually be carrying it on me.
     
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  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    As for the ticks, DEET is a very effective tick repellant. Off Deep Woods uses DEET as it's active ingredient and it works!
     
  11. Wishoot

    Wishoot Member

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    I don't think your statement is accurate:

    https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/upload/Firearms-in-IMRparks2-2010.pdf

    https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79136_79772_79773_83478-31584--,00.html

    I was born and raised in Michigan and spent many days hiking and camping up and down the State. Other than a close encounter with a raccoon, I've never had a problem with 4-legged critters. Personally, I feel the 9mm will be more than adequate.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  12. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    Thanks for all the input.

    I kind of figured that I wouldn't run into much, but I've never spent a lot of time in the state. Truthfully, I've only been as far north into the state as Plymouth where my buddy and his family lives. I've wanted to visit more of land for years. Seems right up my alley.
     
  13. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Likewise I would go with the SIG P320 in a semi-auto or the Charter Arms Pitbull as your revolver choice. Let us know what you ultimately decide on.
     
  15. WYO

    WYO Member

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    I'd go with whatever you carry normally. It sounds like the Sig P320. I put Buffalo Bore hard cast +P in my 9mm when I step off pavement. I've shot that ammo in a few 9mm guns, and it will penetrate deeply in a straight line.
     
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  16. bluejeans

    bluejeans Member

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    Sig P320 would be my choice for what your describe... and I’m the guy who normally insists on .357 or .44

    Either the 9mm or .45 would be fine for while your hiking but the fact that you’ll be on a road trip a day or twos drive from home. Makes me think that the 9mm is the better all around option. Keep a variety of ammo ( hard, hollow, plinkers, ...) in the trunk with a few extra boxes ‘just cuz ‘
     
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  17. GarrettJ

    GarrettJ Member

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    Bring whichever you are most comfortable carrying. I have hiked / mountain biked that area with a .40, 9mm, or even just a little .22LR.
     
  18. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    Thanks again guys. I'm leaning toward the 320 simply because it offers me a bit more flexibility.

    I'm not quite sure what we're going to be doing, so kayaking or canoeing may be in the cards. I think the 320 would handle the wet better than the Blackhawk.

    I also like the fact that I have 4 magazines I already keep stuffed with various loads. One of the nice things about carrying the 320 with a compact grip is that I can roll with 15+1 pretty concealed. I generally keep a 17 and 21 loaded on hand if not on purpose. I'm thinking hardcast 15+1 for the woods with jhp in 21 round magazine just in case.
     
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  19. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Can't speak to the Michigan state parks, but concealed carry is legal in national parks -- just not in the park offices/ranger stations. Nothing in the state parks rules prohibit concealed carry, only discharge of firearms.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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  20. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    This place is a national forest. I would assume it's legal for carry. I'll certainly check before hand. Since its looks like I can "run what I brung", I'll just pack what I have. If it looks like carry is verboten, I'll leave it locked in car safe.
     
  21. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    It's perfectly legal to carry on NF lands. I do all the time.

    Discharging near recreation sites or if there is a temporary fire ban on shooting will get you in trouble, but in a SD scenario, I doubt a FS LEO would ticket you.
     
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  22. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    I've lived in Michigan all my life, both in the southern and northern part of the lower peninsula. I've spent a lot of times in the woods. In all that time I've encountered a lot stray dogs, a boat load of game animals, some that seen me and the unlucky ones that didn't. They were more afraid of me than I of them. And... the occasional human that gave me misgivings. It's that last one that you should be weary of....so pack accordingly.
     
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  23. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    This is the kinda info I appreciate. Its one of the reasons I dont really do bear/snake threads. Animals are way more skittish of us. Down here, I'm much more leery of potential human threat than anything with claw or fang.

    Sounds like the 9mm is going to win out, but honestly, it takes no extra effort to throw the .45 in my luggage along with the .380 to give me options. My wife is probably going to pack 6pairs of shoes for 6 days. 3 guns seems reasonable:D
     
  24. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    The most aggressive bears I've met/heard first hand stories of (and I lived in AK) have been in national/state parks and Black bears who have spent too much time near humans and lost their fear of humans, usually around camp sites where people dont practice good food storage practices. I recall a few we had to run off with effort, and a buddy in the boundary waters who had to run one off 3 or 4 times in a night.

    That said, I'd think your 320 is perfect as its not a big concern as long as you keep your food out of reach (if you camp) and respect any animals you see. And deet. Ticks. Ugh.
     
  25. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    I almost forgot! The time that you're coming is toward the end of black fly season. They're mean little buggers. Make sure you have a strong Deet based insect repellent.
     
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