A Texas Old timers views on what guns to carry when backpacking in Central Texas.  

Your milage may vary depending on where your backing packing might take you, be it on public or private lands.  Always make sure you know: where it is legal to carry, and what you are aloud to carry, provided firearms are allowed.  You never want to end up in a situation where you are carrying illegally.

First, a couple of things to consider: Can you carry in the open, or will it need to be concealed? How long are you going, just for a short trip or a long trip? Is there any possibility of you becoming lost?

If your gun has to be concealed, then a pocket pistol is your best choice.  Otherwise you will need to conceal a larger pistol in your backpack. If your gun is in your backpack, it will do you no good in the event of an emergency against a two or four legged predator.  So, in my case, I do both,  I always  have a pocket pistol in my pocket and I always pack a larger pistol in my backpack. As far as which caliber I take, I prefer a small .380 or 9mm that fits comfortably in my right hand front pants pockets.  I always keep my pocket pistol in a pocket holster this greatly reduces the risk of an accidental discharge. Now as far as what you’d like to keep in your backpack, anything goes, whatever your comfortable with.  I prefer a 40 Glock or a 45 – 19ll.

For open carry, I have used them all.  I have come to the conclusion that a good 4 inch  .357 mag. revolver is the way to go.  This is what I carry out in the woods, a 4 S@W in .357 mag.  I load it with 2 snake shot shells, and 4 .357 mag rounds.  Now some of the newer revolvers hold 7 or 8 rounds, so that’s even better.

Now this is Texas, where the worst thing you’ll run in to could be a large pig, dog or very unlikely a cougar – which I doubt, or a variety of snakes which might include:  a rattlesnake, copperhead or a big cottonmouth.  Your worst enemy is going to be 2 legged and a 357 mag is outstanding against that.

Now, if I stay out over night, or there is a possibility of being lost, I like to take a small 22 rifle with me. Wether I carry it, or store it across my backpack and at least a box of shells minimum of 50 rounds.  This type of gun can keep you fead and did for me in Colorado when i was much younger.  On a hunting trip we were snowed in and our group ran out of food.  I was able to keep us eating on rabbits and prairie chickens was sure glad i had that gun with me, it was a Marlin Model 60.  There are a few good small 22s out there that are designed for backpacking.  The Marlin Papoose, Springfield M6, the Henry AR-7 and the new Savage Model 42 just to name a few.  Of  course if you live in bear county – it’s a whole different ball game.


By Richard Schwake

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