The Ruger Alaskan for Concealed Carry

by Home Defense Gun Staffer BobRuger Alaskan for Concealed Carry

The Ruger Alaskan for Concealed Carry

Dirty Harry is basically the father of big bore, big gun, concealed carry. I say Dirty Harry instead of Clint Eastwood because it’s important to draw the line between the fictional character and a real person. Only a fictional character can do all that running, jumping and fighting with a six inch 44 strapped to them without trouble. Harry doesn’t cuss every time he gets into the car and his gun sticks him in the armpit. Harry doesn’t have that big Smith flop out when he bends over to pick up a quarter at the diner. Harry doesn’t get a kink in his neck from that cannon tugging on him all day.

Only Dirty Harry possesses a shoulder holster that works so flawlessly. You know, now that I think about it, Harry is also the only cop who doesn’t own handcuffs. Not once in any of those movies have I seen a set of handcuffs. He’s always saying that he tried to arrest so-and-so but had to shoot them instead. You would think his boss would eventually tell him that it’s a lot easier to arrest people if you own handcuffs.

While Harry’s gun is cool, in the real world carrying a big bore concealed in a hideout rig requires a slightly different model. One of ruger alaskanthe most overlooked guns on the current market for this application is the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan. The design of the Alaskan really isn’t that much of a departure from the original Super Redhawk. Ruger takes the old gun and trims the barrel down even with the end of the revolver’s extended frame, forming a 2½ inch barreled bulldog-type revolver from what was once a hunting handgun. These revolvers have all-stainless steel construction and are currently available in either 44 Magnum or 454 Casull. In past years Ruger made the Alaskan in 480 Ruger, but it has been discontinued, again, and probably won’t reemerge. Anyone with big bore revolver experience can probably appreciate why the 480 wasn’t a great seller.

Ruger markets the Alaskan as an anti-bear cannon for hikers, guides, or anyone who spends a lot of time in bruin country. In that role it is a very popular gun, but it can play other roles as well. I bought my Ruger Alaskan in .44 because the local gun dealer had ordered it in and couldn’t find a buyer for it. He showed it to everyone who came through the door, but people either felt it didn’t have enough barrel to be an effective hunting handgun or thought its stumpy design would make it too vicious to shoot.

Eventually I purchased the gun out of a combination of curiosity and a reduced price that made it too good to pass up. I first began fussing around with the gun to see how it would work for handgun hunting. With enough practice I could accurately shoot the short gun out at 100 yards, which is really key for handgun hunting, but I felt I had better options in my arsenal. Seeing as I didn’t really need a bear gun — I have rifles for that — I began looking around for another use for the gun.

The purchase of a thumb break Triple K holster proved that the big six gun could be carried around on my right hip like any other large frame concealed carry gun. The Hogue Tamer Monogrip that had come with the pistol was switched out for a smaller, old style Super Redhawk grip. The Hogue grip was just the thing for taking the edge off shooting heavy loads out of the Alaskan, but was a bit big and unnecessary for the gun’s new self-defense role where I would be firing reduced “special” loads. With a good holster and a new grip the Alaskan was no more trouble to carry around than a full size 1911 but packed a bit more punch.

At this point you might be asking yourself: why bother? Other companies make short big bores like the Alaskan that cost less, aren’t as heavy and certainly aren’t as ugly as the Alaskan. To that all I can say is yes. The Alaskan is one ugly gun. It looks like a brick had a baby with a potbellied pig, but looks are a pretty small concern when it comes to firearms. The Alaskan is heavy, but I look on this as more of a pro than a con. The trend in revolvers is to make them lighter, thus making them less annoying to carry. Lightening them up does make them easier to lug around but it also makes them recoil more and increases muzzle flip. The Alaskan is extremely controllable with slightly reduced loads, which is a rarity with big bore snub noses. As for price, a concealed carry gun isn’t the place to get cheap. Remember what you bought it for.

The Alaskan also has a few features that can’t be found anywhere else. The increased size of the cylinder makes for more room when using speedloaders without binding and its larger frame keeps your hand out of the way while ejecting spent cases. Perhaps the Alaskan’s greatest attribute is in the areas of durability and reliability. The Alaskan is a tank, overbuilt in every area. I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to break and or wear out just about every make and model of handgun over the years, but the Super Redhawk has always frustrated my efforts. This revolver will take what you dish out in terms of rounds fired, dry firing, disregard for maintenance and even outright abuse.

Firing either reduced loads or 44 Special ammo, my Alaskan has proved to be an excellent choice for concealed carry. I have no doubts that a .454 firing 45 Colt would be an equally effective tool. As mentioned above, the gun isn’t cheap (normal MSRP is about $1000) but that’s worth it for a near-indestructible firearm in a role where trust in your equipment is essential. You need fairly big hands to shoot the Alaskan well and it’s probably more geared towards a cold climate where you can wear a coat to hide it, but it’s a great choice if you can meet those two requirements. As for the gun being ugly – well, there’s a reason I’m suggesting it for concealed carry.

Let us know in the comments if you like the Alaskan for concealed carry.

Photo Credit – Coyote5150 at English Wikipedia

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