The .44 Magnum, developed in 1955, was the beginning of handgun hunting for mainstream hunters. Handgun hunters consider their activity more 'sporting' than using rifles. The comparatively short sight radius of a handgun and typically less powerful ammunition than used with rifles, means that any handgun hunter must stalk closer to the prey in order to kill the animal humanely, giving said animal more chance of detecting and avoiding the hunter.
Handgun hunting differs from rifle or shotgun hunting because a significant amount of shooting practice must be undertaken in order to become and remain proficient. Hunting handguns are every bit as capable for big-game hunting as rifles, particularly if the handgun is a single shot pistol shooting a cartridge that is typically fired from a rifle (e.g., 7-30 Waters). It is not uncommon for a skilled handgun hunter to be able to cleanly take game at ranges exceeding 100 yards, even 200+ is possible with a single-shot, scoped hunting pistol.
With the exception of small-game hunting using rimfire cartridges, very few semi-automatic handguns are well suited for hunting, typically lacking both the power necessary and proper sights. Nonetheless, some of the more powerful semi-automatic pistols are sometimes used for hunting medium and large game, particularly those chambered for 10mm Auto, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .50 AE. Double action revolvers are preferred over single-action revolvers due to their faster lock time, but are used in single-action mode due to the need for high accuracy when hunting with a handgun.
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- Smith, Gary. "What is Handgun Hunting?' http://www.handgunhunt.com/readArticle.php?letter_id=10", Handgun Hunter Magazine, HandgunHunt.com, Inc. Retrieved on 2007-01-29. (in English)