The Best Trail Semi-Auto Pistols

Luke Cuenco 06.06.22

Packing on the Trail: The Best Semi-Auto Trail Guns

Walking the trail is a rewarding experience that takes us out of the office, out of our cities and out of our normal lives. However, the path less traveled comes with its own set of dangers. Since walking or hiking the trails in this country often involves unknown risk factors, you really want to be prepared for almost anything. Aside from good gear, for starters, a solid semi-automatic pistol should be high on your priority list when the situation allows. Trail guns are not strictly for self-defense, instead a trail gun is more of an all-purpose tool when you need it, whether it’s harvesting your own food from the wild, defending snakes , defending bears or even defending against other people. So today we’re going to check out some of our top recommendations for semi-automatic pistols to give you some extra peace of mind while you’re out on the trails this summer.

Packing on the Trail: The Best Semi-Auto Trail Guns

Packing on the Trail: The Best Semi-Auto Trail Guns



1.Glock 29SF 10mm


Glock 29SF 10mm

The author’s choice

The venerable Glock 29SF is a compact pistol that packs a punch if you’re concerned about concealment on the trail but don’t want to sacrifice power. Chambered in 10mm, the Glock 29SF has a standard magazine capacity of 10 rounds and you will typically find ammunition ranging from standard ball ammunition to hollow point optimized for self-defense against smaller targets, or hard molded ammunition which penetrates deep and can be used with significant effect against bears when pushed. If you’re looking for a super reliable and hard hitting gun, check out the Glock 29SF. If the Glock 29 is too small for your liking, you can upgrade to the Glock 20SF in 10mm for a larger frame and sight radius if concealment isn’t a concern.

Advantages/Access to deep penetrating ammo good for bear defense and anything smaller. Decent magazine capacity.

The inconvenients/Sturdy recoil and smaller, lighter frame.

Conclusion/A handy gun that can cover all your needs if you can handle the recoil.

2. FkBrno PSD


Fk Brno PSD

editors Choice

Rusty’s pick for best trail gun is the FkBrno PDS hot gun chambered in the 7.5 FK cartridge. This spicy hot charge travels at a whopping 2000 feet per second, delivering an approximately 100 grain projectile to its target with authority. To quote rusty “Basically an AK in a hip holster.” If you want to know more about our editor’s pick this week, you should check out his full review of the FkBRNO PSD gun here.

Advantages/Longer aiming radius, super powerful 7.5 fk cartridge, interchangeable barrels so you can also use a powerful 10mm cartridge with all the benefits of a 6″ barrel.

The inconvenients/Fairly large, expensive and rare ammo.

Conclusion/An excellent multi-tool with a generous sight radius and optical capability

3.Glock 33 .357 SIG


Glock 33 .357 SIG

The GLOCK 33 Gen4 offers compelling concealment capabilities, but with the fearsome performance of the 357 SIG cartridge. Discover the precise, powerful and lively G33 Gen4 with its ergonomic external controls and grip options. 357 SIG and 10mm Auto share very similar characteristics, but with the Glock 33 you sacrifice a single capacity cartridge for a slightly smaller and more compact handgun. The huge downside here is that ammo is ridiculously hard to come by and you often can’t find 357 SIGs with hard bullets.

Advantages/Powerful cartridge in a compact gun – affordable to start with.

The inconvenients/Ammunition is expensive

Conclusion/A good all-around handgun for self-defense purposes.

4. Ruger 10/22 magazine disassembly


Ruger 10/22 Magazine Disassembly

The revered Ruger 10/22 has been around for over half a decade and any gun owner is sure to know its ins and outs. The Magazine Takedown Model is an ultra-compact pistol version of the 10/22 carbine which can also be fitted with a specialized chassis to allow attachment of pistol mounts or stocks after the appropriate paperwork has been completed and filed . This makes it an extremely compact and potentially larger option for those who like to forage in the wild and can be used to hunt coyotes, squirrels, rabbits and other small game that pose a threat or are valuable to you in a helpful way.

Advantages/A practical and somewhat modular semi-automatic rimfire pistol.

The inconvenients/22LR is quite limited on its braking power and terminal performance

Conclusion/If you’re more focused on hunting or collecting pelts on your hike, this is a great compact option.

5. KelTec P50 – 5.7×28


KelTec P50 - 5.7x28

Although relatively new, the KelTec P50 is an extremely compact and affordable option that offers the same 50 round capacity as the FN P90. The P50 can be fitted with compact optics and stabilizer reinforcement from the factory and the 5.7x28mm cartridge gives you access to much further targets for much easier shots beyond scent distance . It doesn’t come with a white Ferrari and a salmon blazer, but it does come with some other amazing features, including two 50-round magazines from Palmetto State Armory.

Advantages/50 round magazines, Spicy flat shot cartridge, suppressor, optics and mount ready.

The inconvenients/wide enough

Conclusion/Small enough to pack in a backpack, big enough to shoot with great accuracy

6. Springfield Emissary 1911


Springfield Emissary 1911

Combining compact dimensions with qualities inspired by custom-grade 1911 pistols, the Emissary 4.25″ in .45 ACP is ready for everyday carry. Its Tri-Top slide features 40 lines per inch light-diffusing serrations along the sighting plane, and a thick-profile forged stainless steel barrel ensures maximum accuracy. With a hot salt blued forged breech and a forged stainless steel frame with a square trigger guard and grenade pattern checkering, you get a pistol ready for display or defense.

Advantages/Powerful cartridge with access to a wide variety of bullet styles.

The inconvenients/Slow round with a significant amount of drop at moderate distances

Conclusion/Great classic choice for those who know and love their 1911s

Is it legal to carry firearms in state or national parks?

On federal lands administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), possession of a firearm must be in accordance with the law of the state in which the federal land is located. Before you decide to start packing, it’s a good idea to check your park’s local laws and regulations as they relate not only to gun law but other hiking and camping details as well. such as open fires and local wildlife harvesting.

What type of ammo is best for bear defense?

Bears have pretty tough skin so you need a fast round that has a very dense bullet to get through all that skin, fat and muscle. Bears can ignore smaller or less powerful calibers if they are angry enough and not all bears will run away at the sound of a gunshot. This is why many people who hunt bears or carry a gun for protection against bears will choose to use either hard cast bullets or bullets optimized for deep penetration such as Lehigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator bullets.

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Luke Cuenco

Luke is currently a full-time writer for,, and, of course, Luke is a competitive shooter, firearms enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman, and generally interested in all things the great outdoors. Luke is also a certified private pilot and is currently pursuing his commercial pilot license in hopes of becoming a commercial pilot. Some of Luke’s other interests include all things aviation, aerospace, and military technology, as well as American Conservancy endeavors. Instagram: @ballisticaviation YouTube:

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