Side arm for bear protection….?

No discussion needed. Auto or revolver

  • Drum of ammo

    Votes: 11 22.4%
  • Magazine of ammo

    Votes: 38 77.6%

  • Total voters
    49

Kobuk

Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Alaska
I'm not really sure how many hunters have had grizzly or brown bear encounters, like a false charge or or jump one while out hunting. Also not sure how many have got the opportunity to shoot a grizzly. I get not wanting to lug around a heavy sidearm for something that will probably never happen. I haven't had to shoot a grizzly with a sidearm, or be with anyone that has. I have had two false charges and 2 or three other close encounters where they whoofed and made me tinkle a little. I have been fortunate to shoot two grizzlies and neither were one shot kills and both were pretty exciting for a little bit. The term "all hell breaks loose" comes to mind. haha Both were with a 375 and I sure didn't feel overgunned. I have got to hunt and kill several black bears with a 454 casull rifle and none of them were a bang flop and most were multiple shots when I was able to do so. Another difference was that I also used an expanding bullet and not a hardcast big melplate bullet like I carry for protection. Another poll might be, have a close encounter with a grizzly with a table of handguns sitting in front of you and which one would you pick up then? I know it sounds silly but I for one have never felt aptly protected while carrying my 454 casull. I figure it is a pacifier and at least I feel like I have a little more of a chance than with nothing. Fun to hear everyones theories though. I know I don't have the answer and we all do what we think is the best for our own circumstances.
 

TheGDog

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2020
Messages
2,272
Location
OC, CA
I went with G29 10mm because I'll only ever have potential of Black Bear. And I needed something lighter than my Ruger Security Six 4" .357 for longer hike-ins. Also... an incident at night where I needed to scan around the tent 360, with flashlight and pistol in hand... taught me that the iron sights on my Revolver would be less than useless if I ever had to react and make a shot when I didn't have a flashlight already in the other hand.

So since that moment onward I have a great appreciation for nice chunky Tritium Night Sights.

And the G29 is 3.78" so darn near same as the 4" .357, but with a lil more oomph to it, 4 more rounds on tap, and 7oz less total carry weight when loaded!
 

long hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
389
My suggestion is one you can shoot with accuracy in a stressful situation,of at least 40 cal. or up. Never go too a gun fight with a cal. that does not start with a four, wether man or bear. I carry a 45 1911 230 gr. hard ball, but then all I might run into is Mr. Blackie.
 

Donutetr

Newbie
Joined
Dec 27, 2021
Messages
6
Im thankful that I've never had a life threatening encounter with an animal. A lot of people think they can do cowboy sh**t, until its time to do cowboy sh**t. Some can but most can't. Most folks have never been in a real life threatening high stress situation and have no idea how your brain and body will react when it happens.

I always tell people use what you are the absolute most familiar and comfortable with. if you've never shot a revolver don't go buying a 44mag cause you read an article on the internet about how great it is but you never shoot it and only carry it when you're going on hunts. in my opinion you are selling yourself short by doing that. Be profficent with what ever it is you decide to carry and get your reps in. Go to the range and put a couple hundred rounds through it, use the same setup you will use on your hunt. Same holster, same pack and get familiar with everything. if you can't make it to the range. Practice at home (with a clear and safe weapon) make up your own dry firing drills out of the holster. it sounds so dumb but if you've ever seen a grown man trying to rip a gun out of a retention holster when the SHTF you know why, holster wins every time.

Having said that, Ive been carrying a Glock of some caliber for work for most of my adult life. So that's what I carry when I'm not at work.
 

PackAK

Junior Member
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
14
Location
Anchorage Alaska
Always imagined I’d go revolver, but starting to reconsider.

Kinda thinking I may go to the dark side.

I get the pros and cons of both.
Bear protection where and what will you be doing, up in Alaska? Montana? Fishing? Backpacking? Hiking?

What works for me is a 44 with bear loads for fishing if I’m not going far from the truck with a chest holster and backpacking a 10mm with heavy loads. This is what works for me up in Alaska! Hope that helps!
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
1,289
Sold my 500 smith. Use the Glock 20 10mm with cast bullets more. Found my self always leaving the smith at camp. The Glock with a good holster I don’t notice it as much.
 

AK Troutbum

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
6,573
Location
Chugiak, Alaska
I believe that the largest/hardest hitting projectile/firearm that you can quickly deploy, and accurately fire, under the most extreme situations, is going to be your best chance of survival in a mauling. If only considering sidearms, I also believe that a double action revolver offers the most reliable weapon available.


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Joined
Sep 24, 2020
Messages
53
Location
Southwest Montana
I live Montana, I run 265 grain mono-metal WFN from Buffalo Bore. It’s not a round that you screw around with, it has a singular purpose; hitting hard and driving deep through thick hide, muscle mass and bones. Caliber is still important but it’s about the bullet you’re using. I believe I read somewhere about the 4-3-1 rule when considering grizz, 4 representing a minimum of .40 cal, 3 being a minimum of 300 grains (guess I fail there), and 1 being a minimum of 1000 FPS. I’ve not had to fire on a grizz yet, and hope to never have to. If I were truly rolling deep into a hunting camp or what not, a pistol grip 12 gauge with breneke slugs would be my first choice.
 

long hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
389
Never hunted in grizz country, but have hunted blacks in northern Ontario, the fellow who I hunted with carried a short 12 ga. pump gun, first two rounds were OO buck the rest were slugs. Also carried a small axe said that was for if things really became nasty. This guy was not a guide, but a run bait stands take you to the site once after that you were on yer own.
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
1,510
Whatever you run, you’d be better off doing timed drills. Bear can cover about 15 yards a second.

See how fast you can draw, acquire the target, and get a preferable CNS shot off. That’ll then give you your circumference of mauling/death. If it takes you two seconds, you better hope you don’t bump a bear within 30 yards.

Long story short: have realistic expectations about your abilities come crunch time (no pun intended).
 

bluetick78

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
734
Location
Idaho Falls,ID
Any good 10mm will usually do the trick, it's the gun of choice in most places now. Evaluating the risk vs. how much gun to carry is something everyone has to do for themselves. Some shooters can shoot a 44 mag really well, some folks limit is a 9mm to get speed, accuracy, and shots on target quickly. I live in Eastern Idaho, and some places I hunt, backpack, or camp have grizzlies present. Quite a few years ago after an encounter with a smallish boar grizzly I switched my carry gun from a S&W 686 (.357) to a S&W 629 (44 mag). 13 or 14 black bears have been killed since then with that gun, but they usually aren't the bang-flop you'd picture from a "big" revolver. A .44 isn't all that hard to shoot well with some practice....my 12 year old son and small wife can put 6 shots in a 6" plate at 10 yards pretty quickly. It's a heavy gun, but worth the carry. To go into the bear woods without a familiar gun in a caliber capable of causing death to a bear is just dumb. If I'm checking spring bear baits in black bear country or archery elk hunting on the fringes of grizzly country, the 629 is always on my hip. My son carries a Glock22 as does my wife, they are much more proficient with that platform and could defend themselves from an ornery bruin well with that gun. Choose your gun wisely, and shoot it a lot. Make your practice productive and strive to get better always, you will never know or expect when you'll need that gun to allow you to return home safely.
 

Redings

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
15
Ruger GP100. In my own opinion is one of the best revolver ever made. It is a fantastic firearm with a smaller caliber that allow people to shoot faster and more accurately. I've got one in stainless 6 inch and I am pleased with it. it is my hunting side arm and I never go out without it.
 

Moscowmoose

Newbie
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Messages
1
Keep it short, keep it simple. Unfortunately north of the border we are limited in regards to how short. For that it’s a shortened up 12 with a 16” barrel. More of an ideal boat and fish gun, it gets pretty annoying carrying it around.
 

OdinIII

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2021
Messages
28
Whatever you run, you’d be better off doing timed drills. Bear can cover about 15 yards a second.

See how fast you can draw, acquire the target, and get a preferable CNS shot off. That’ll then give you your circumference of mauling/death. If it takes you two seconds, you better hope you don’t bump a bear within 30 yards.

Good advice above. Anyone shot on a timer? I’d be interested in what times you are getting. I have not shot my Kenai/G40 with a timer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 2+ seconds draw to first shot.

I shoot USPSA with a Glock and have to stay sharp to get good 1.0 second hits at 10 yards from the holster and that is with a loose competition holster mounted on a rigid belt.
 

stevevan

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
428
I think a large caliber revolver is best. But, the cost and weight penalty and round count made me go with an xDM 10mm with a 5.3” barrel. 17rds of 220gn hard cast. You don’t have to load it full it you want less weight. 14oz (31oz vs 45oz for a Taurus 4” 44 mag) lighter and about a couple hundred less $$$. And I have a dot on it. I’m comfortable with the reliability after a 1500 trouble free rounds through mine of various ammo without a single hiccup.

Just shoot what you have a bunch to make sure it is reliable and to build familiarity.
454 Casull
 
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