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Thread: Defense against bears with pistols 97% success rate 37 incidents by caliber

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



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    Defense against bears with pistols 97% success rate 37 incidents by caliber


  2. #2
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    I wouldn't trust my life against a bear with a 9MM. A 44 mag maybe, I'd want a double action.
    My friend defended himself twice, killed 2 grizzlies with his 50 AE.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Well I don't doubt it! Bears do not have opposing thumbs so bears trying to attack with a pistol puts them at a real disadvantage. I would be more concerned about "bears with claws" or "bears with attitude" or "bears with cubs". Bears with pistols don't scare me a bit.

    On the serious side, I am surprised by the research results.
    Read more: https://www.ammoland.com/2018/02/def...#ixzz57dh5ygro
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
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    I engaged in a search for instances where pistols were used to defend against bears. I and my associates have found 37 instances that are fairly easily confirmed. The earliest happened in 1987, the latest mere months ago. The incidents are heavily weighted toward the present, as the ability to publish and search for these incidents has increased, along with increases in bear and human populations, and the carry of pistols.

    The 37 cases include one that can fairly be described as a “failure”.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    .... I just talked the wife into letting me get a .357 Mag for self defense while hunting. I figured the gun was a false sense of security any ways. But I was hoping to keep up the lie to myself. I know without a doubt, that is nothing my 200lb butt can do stop that 400+ plus pounds of angry, hungry evil fur other than precisely shooting it in the central nervous system, well good luck doing that scared. Heart shot gives that bear until it bleeds out more than enough time wreck my day and my body no matter how big the bullet or hole. Whelp.... thank God Florida bear are smaller.... i think. They are sneaky wood Ninja's any ways. I have them back track me last year 25 yards in the brush and never heard a thing. Only reason i knew it did it was because it left a steamer in the trail and fresh tracks leading back to my truck. In my suppressed panicky rush back to the truck i missed the opportunity on a deer. Glad i did, if i did harvest that deer then i would have a dead deer near a bear and all i had with me was a 60lb bow.

    Eventually i will have to stop lying to myself that bears aren't real and those skunk ape tracks... I know i will run into one day.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    If you read through that you will see that there are a few more failures, as in the first pistol did not do the job and someone else had to come by to help.

    There is no doubt that a pistol can kill a bear, even a large grizzly. You just have to hit them in the right spot. This is amplified by what is shown there. Several cases where the pistol did not kill the bear, just made it not as interested in continuing an attack. I would consider those more luck than proving the effectiveness of a pistol.

    Or, you can read the reports and carry a 9mm for bear protection.

    Yes, I do carry bear spray and a pistol. I just do not harbor any notion that the pistol is going to end an event unless I am very lucky.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    if you have the correct occupation here you can carry for bear defense (prospector line cutter bear baiter etc) how ever the minimum is 44 mag and you must prove profiecency to get permitted, most guys I know opt for 12 gauge w buckshot , big blackies in dense cover are not usually very cuddly in the spring anyway. Not much says go away like 3" mag oo buck shot at 3-5 yards in a swing, point, pull, situation and thats usually the way it happens here there normally isn't time for " Oh My A BBBBBBear" While a pistol is better than nothing, hitting that right spot is going to be more luck than skill, most guys I know have had muzzle contact by the time bang happened.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    What I find interesting in this listing of bear defense accounts is that bear spray was 0% effective. It either couldn't be deployed of didn't stop or deter the bear. A rifle may be better, but is if is slung over the shoulder and the bear is on you it is useless.....it seems at least some were able to draw and fire after being attacked and hit by the bear.

    Then there is the Fish & Game guy who issued 12 ga. popper rounds and rubber bullets.......good luck with that.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    I have never ran into a bear myself until last fall. I hunt the deep ozark mountain woods, seen plenty of sign, but never a live bear. I have to say, I was not in fear at all - not even a little - when I saw the bear and it approached me. It was more of a 'cool' moment for me. It may have been because I was fully armed(rifle season), but I still did not have the thoughts that I so often hear people talk about. I hope that it doesnt make me less 'sensitive' to their presence, not that I am going to try and pet one or anything. lol


    Of course, I had my rifle - and the 45 Blackhawk at the ready........

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    The interpretation of all statistics is pretty much erroneous most of the time. Like Twain said, "there's lies, ****ed lies, and statistics". Defining "defense" opens up a lot of interpretation. Were the bears at a full on charge? Were the bears simply acting aggressively? What was the bear doing when it was shot, and how far away was it when it was shot? Last year I had a young male black bear that wouldn't leave my turkey hunting blind area. He kept coming back in every couple of minutes when I was calling. I was in a blind and had full camo on. I ended up firing several shots into the air and he left.....only to return in less than five minutes and approached the blind. I had a .357mag with me and could have easily shot and killed the bear. I wouldn't consider that a situation where a handgun could be called an effective defense against a bear. As it was, when I took off my face mask and got out of the blind the bear ran away. My point is, you need to define "defense". I would never even begin to believe that a handgun in any caliber is that effective as a defensive weapon against a charging bear. I can shoot a handgun about as well as anyone I've ever met and it would be way down on my list as a defensive weapon against a charging bear.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Back when the 460 revolver was first introduced onto the market I thought it was a pretty cool looking gun and all the velocity hype behind it enticed me to visit one of my local Sportsmans Guide stores to take a look at it. All they had in stock was the 3.5" model. The salesman and self-appointed expert behind the counter did his best to sell me that gun touting it as the perfect "Bear Defense" gun. "Because of its compactness and power," he says, "It's the perfect size to stop a charging bear.

    It kind of made me chuckle at the time because in my mind it appeared that this compact high power revolver was designed more so that the user of this gun could quickly bring the muzzle to the temple of his own head and pull the trigger before having to suffer through the mauling that any charging bear was bringing with it.

    I've heard on more than one occasion that in a high stress situation (like a charging grizzly) one of the first things to go in the human condition is our fine motor skills. That is the ability of our fingers and hands to make quick life and death determining movements; like bringing a snub-nose revolver to the ready, pointing, pulling the trigger, recovering from that massive recoil to get off more rounds and all while having your life and now your death is flash through your mind.

    And I'm in Arizona. We don't have grizzly bears here. We do have wives and girlfriends that can do just as much damage as a grizzly if they ever found out you spent that kind of money for one of those guns. A gun that in all probability you have no real need for where I live. I still think it's a cool looking gun with awesome power levels BUT, in the end common sense won out and I left the store with a renewed level of respect for the marketing managers of the gun manufactures of these guns.

    HollowPoint
    Last edited by HollowPoint; 02-20-2018 at 08:04 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    Fascinating info, thanks for posting.
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    A very interesting article as I hunt in black bear country in PA all the time. PA has the largest black bears in the world. They can be be very aggressive as my hunting camp found out on a number of different occasions. We gave up bear spray a long time ago in favor of packing pistols. Some things to remember:
    1. Black bears have killed more people in North America than all the other types of bears combined.
    2. Some people pack pistols with the wrong ammo, i.e. soft points, in bear country. IMHO, penetration is the key. Use either metal-jacketed or Keith style bullets. A good Keith bullet ,loaded correctly, can also break bones as it creates "leak holes".
    3. Treat all black bears with respect. The bigger they get the less timid they seem to become.
    4. Black bears reportedly have a keener sense of smell than deer; so they'll most likely "scent" you very quickly in the woods.
    5. Forget running away from a black bear; they've been clocked running along roads at 40 mph. If armed, draw as soon as you see the bear. If unarmed, climb the nearest tree which makes it harder for a tree climbing black bear to cause serious damage. In my old hunting camp, we had a black bear crawl up the tree to the hunter in archery season.

    Bottom-line? When in black bear country- pack a shooting iron instead of bear spray.

    Best regards,

    CJR

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJR View Post
    A very interesting article as I hunt in black bear country in PA all the time. PA has the largest black bears in the world. They can be be very aggressive as my hunting camp found out on a number of different occasions. We gave up bear spray a long time ago in favor of packing pistols. Some things to remember:
    1. Black bears have killed more people in North America than all the other types of bears combined.
    2. Some people pack pistols with the wrong ammo, i.e. soft points, in bear country. IMHO, penetration is the key. Use either metal-jacketed or Keith style bullets. A good Keith bullet ,loaded correctly, can also break bones as it creates "leak holes".
    3. Treat all black bears with respect. The bigger they get the less timid they seem to become.
    4. Black bears reportedly have a keener sense of smell than deer; so they'll most likely "scent" you very quickly in the woods.
    5. Forget running away from a black bear; they've been clocked running along roads at 40 mph. If armed, draw as soon as you see the bear. If unarmed, climb the nearest tree which makes it harder for a tree climbing black bear to cause serious damage. In my old hunting camp, we had a black bear crawl up the tree to the hunter in archery season.

    Bottom-line? When in black bear country- pack a shooting iron instead of bear spray.

    Best regards,

    CJR
    Hear, Hear. Well written and good advice.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Interesting info, M-Tecs. THANK YOU for passing this along.

    I have only had one semi-bad-time with a bear, and we didn't have to commence hostilities to conclude the event. We backed out of HIS blackberry bushes (he made no secret of holding clear title--CHUFF CHUFF CHUFF!) with my Redhawk 44 Mag as ursine disincentivizer. Gotta say--even though our bear was one of the blackies and NOT of the larger Griz or Brown description, that revolver still felt AWFULLY light and weak. Since that event in 2002, I have always made sure to have a rifle along in bear country. Marie and I were just in that area (Clark's Ranch) on Sunday, and my Win 94 in 38/55 supplemented the Glock 23 I had holstered. Bears don't hibernate in the local mountains all winter like they do in northern climes. The 12 gauge with slugs or bigger buckshot would likely do just as well.......I do like The Gauge in times of trouble, I really do.

    I like the 10mm pistol as a counter-bear device, especially the Glock 20 with its 16 rounds at the ready when full-up. Heck, the 10mm is a fine counter-measure in any hostile environment! Had the caliber been authorized for duty use when I was pushing a cop car around, the TenGun would have gotten the call. 25 years of 10mm-ing (off and on) have shown me that it is the pre-eminent defensive autopistol caliber existing today, whether the prospective bad guy is clad in fur or a hoodie.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

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    Boolit Master newton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    Since that event in 2002, I have always made sure to have a rifle along in bear country. .
    I had to chuckle when I read this. In my encounter, I was deer hunting and had my rifle with me. I had the pistol there also, just for the occasion that a deer strolled by close enough for me to get a shot.

    When I saw the bear I guess having both weapons gave me the peace of mind, but that was soon a moment of laughter. Just after the bear came up to my stand, he had sauntered off a little way and started staring intently up in the woods ahead of us. All of a sudden here came a deer, about 100 yards out. The bear was around 40-50 yards away, so I figured the shot would probably scare him off anyways.

    I pulled the rifle up on the deer, took aim, and......click...... The one and only time I have EVER had a dud factory round in my life. Right after that happened I remember thinking "glad I did not rely on this to protect me from the bear". You wanna talk about a fumbling idiot if that bear had started to come up the tree after me and the rifle would have gone "click" after pulling the trigger.......

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Hijo la! I'll bet that "click" sounded like an iron manhole cover hitting concrete.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

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    Boolit Buddy
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    I have lived in Alaska for a number of decades. My belief is that most incidents are not reported. State authorities almost always accept shooting a brown bear out of season or without a tag in defense of life and property, but they make you go skin it and turn in the hide. That can take two days. Very often the carcass has become partially eaten by another brown bear when you return to the kill. Most people forget they shot the bear. Alaska is not crisscrossed by roads and trails like other states so the chances of someone finding the bear and tracing it to the shooter are very slim - never heard of it happening. But a big bear is an amazing critter; twice I have seen log cabins that a bear went in by going through the side, and in both cases the bear left - apparently undisturbed - by going out through another side of the cabin where a John Deere 350 crawler would have at least hesitated a little. Brown bear cubs of the year are a material food source for large brown bears, and that is why harvesting the largest bears can increase the bear population. Large brown bears kill and eat one another when there is plenty of alternative food around. They can be very smart. They can stalk prey as well as any predator can. They can appear to be as aware of life and mortality as any other species can be, including our own. Enough experienced people have told me that sometimes a large brown bear will take on an old solitary wolf as some sort of mutual protection arrangement that I do not discount the story entirely. Brown bear paunches have tape worms and other vermin that belong in a science fiction movie (a movie I don't care to see while eating popcorn). I carry an N Frame .44 magnum that I shoot quite a bit. I carry commercial heavy bullet loads that the N Frame would not stand for with regular shooting but I practice with light loads that hit about the same place.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I always thought about that bear spray being next to useless. By the time you get the stuff out, aim the sprayer in the correct direction, and push the button, the bear is on top of you. Now you are in for it. Hard to reach your sidearm when the bear is mauling you.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    The biggest handgun I can shoot well is my Glock 22 with Lee 175's, so that is what I would carry in addition to my .45-70. Honestly, I would feel safer with bear spray than a big honking side-iron that I can't shoot worth a darn.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master pmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWPilgrim View Post
    Well I don't doubt it! Bears do not have opposing thumbs so bears trying to attack with a pistol puts them at a real disadvantage. I would be more concerned about "bears with claws" or "bears with attitude" or "bears with cubs". Bears with pistols don't scare me a bit.

    On the serious side, I am surprised by the research results.
    Why isn't anyone asking who is arming the bears? Probably Russians arming them Makarov's
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