/... handguns are legally tricky since I travel to different states for hiking and 4 wheeling so Im not always up on the laws. Whereas transporting a rifle not an issue.
If you didn't live in MD, I'd suggest getting a handgun and a concealed carry permit.
For example, my MC permit is honored on all states except:
California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon.
An MD resident permit is honored in:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin
But it's very hard to get a permit as MD is not a shall issue state.
You could get a non resident UT permit, and it would be honored in:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Comparing the MD resident and UT non resident permit, the only states that an MD would give you over a UT permit is MD and MI.
Still, if the UT permit covers where you want to go, a handgun is hard to beat. A revolver is non controversial in states that allow concealed carry, and a handgun in .22LR, .22 Magnum, .32 H&R Mag, 327 Mag, or .38/.357 Mag would not be a bad choice.