Handgun recommendation for bear defense...

Rich M

Senior Member
How you gonna get the handgun to AK?

Can you fly with one? Far as I know, can't drive thru Canada with it.

10mm has more juice than a 357 Mag.

Guy I know from AK used a 44 mag handgun. 12 w alternating buckshot & slugs was also a choice for locals.
 

rosewood

Senior Member
How you gonna get the handgun to AK?

Can you fly with one? Far as I know, can't drive thru Canada with it.

10mm has more juice than a 357 Mag.

Guy I know from AK used a 44 mag handgun. 12 w alternating buckshot & slugs was also a choice for locals.
Pretty sure you can carry handguns or long guns in checked baggage.

You can also ship it to yourself if you like.

Rosewood
 
Squealer, granted they’re black bears, when I go out without a rifle, I wear a Glock 20 in a Northwest Retention chest rig. Kenai offers a good one too. Buffalo Bore +Ps in the magazine is the key IMO. I have a buddy that killed a good blackie with a 9mm Buffalo Bore +P. I’d rather have more rounds than a revolver offers and I’d rather have good rounds with good stopping power. Honey Badgers might not be a bad round to carry either. Have fun brother! Sounds like a blast!
 
I can’t get on board with the big bores. I want to be able to get back on target as quickly as possible if a grizzly is coming at me. Whatever you get, get it and practice dumping it. Quickly and accurately.
 

Darkhorse

Senior Member
I've loaded for, and been in on many kills with most of the pistol calibers discussed. However the .44 Magnum was a family favorite back in the good old days and my experience with it is much greater.
So my choice would be a Ruger SBH in .44 mag. at the least. I would only carry softpoint bullets loaded with good soft point bullets, like the Speer gold dots. Loaded to max velocity.
I would consider hardend bullets or hard cast bullets. I've never used them but some swear by them. So they could be a better choice.
For me the 10mm comes in just under the line, but I'll admit a 10mm loaded with a lot of bullets sounds appealing.
But I'm also considering the possible future.... there will be a push to limit capacitys
to 10 rounds. Making a moot point of lots of rounds. So a 6 shot (or 5) revolver begins to look a lot better.
 
I can’t get on board with the big bores. I want to be able to get back on target as quickly as possible if a grizzly is coming at me. Whatever you get, get it and practice dumping it. Quickly and accurately.

I agree.


I don't want some ported gun that's going to assail my senses and still be slow to get back on target because it's a massive magnum in a sub 5" barrel.


No ports. Let the muzzle blast be directed at the bear....which sure isn't a bad thing.

I really like the suggestions for 44 mags and 10mm. Get in lots of range time and practice.

If you carry the semi-auto...make sure you take spare magazines. It's mighty easy to finger the mag release during a draw. Would suck having a single shot.

5" Redhawk, G20 or G40 would be my suggestions. A G29 ain't a bad idea either if you wanted to go smaller or even use as a primary.

Don't let the low weight of the Glocks scare you off. The polymer grip frame flexes & sloughs recoil in a very, very impressive way. I'm no pistolero yet I've done multiple consecutive mag dumps with 175gr Silvertips in a G20 and kept the rounds in a hog-sized target. (this was done a few years back when ammo wasn't as scarce as an honest politician :rofl: ).



Good luck on your plans @Mexican Squealer I hope you have smooth travels and a safe trip.

That's gonna be a super experience.
 

Newt2

Senior Member
I agree.


I don't want some ported gun that's going to assail my senses and still be slow to get back on target because it's a massive magnum in a sub 5" barrel.


No ports. Let the muzzle blast be directed at the bear....which sure isn't a bad thing.

I really like the suggestions for 44 mags and 10mm. Get in lots of range time and practice.

If you carry the semi-auto...make sure you take spare magazines. It's mighty easy to finger the mag release during a draw. Would suck having a single shot.

5" Redhawk, G20 or G40 would be my suggestions. A G29 ain't a bad idea either if you wanted to go smaller or even use as a primary.

Don't let the low weight of the Glocks scare you off. The polymer grip frame flexes & sloughs recoil in a very, very impressive way. I'm no pistolero yet I've done multiple consecutive mag dumps with 175gr Silvertips in a G20 and kept the rounds in a hog-sized target. (this was done a few years back when ammo wasn't as scarce as an honest politician :rofl: ).



Good luck on your plans @Mexican Squealer I hope you have smooth travels and a safe trip.

That's gonna be a super experience.
I agree with you to a point. Using bullets that offer quick recovery though may not reach the vitals IMO.
 

Dub

Top Chef
I agree with you to a point. Using bullets that offer quick recovery though may not reach the vitals IMO.
Understood. (y)

Cartridges suggested are .44mag & 10mm.

Medium length barrel in .44mag & G20 (G40 and/or G29) were guns suggested.


Barnes hollow points (either semi or revolver) or hardcast lead with large meplat (for revolver only).


Only guns that I've personally shot that came close in size were .454 & .460 revolvers with sub 6" barrels. Both were ported to reduce recoil. Even with hearing protection the muzzle blast was horrendous with those high pressure cartridges....like nose bleeding after ten shots high pressure.

I've got a ported .460....and had a ported .500 and they are mighty fun to shoot....but no way in heck I'd want to do so without hearing protection. Bear charging or not...the violence of that blast would overpower my ability to put a second shot on game. I can....and have...done so with both the .44mag & 10mm (and likely have the hearing loss from it :rofl: ). I'm more confident in followup shots with those.

I'd rather get hits with the lesser gun than miss with a hand cannon.


Again...I'm no pistolero...just a guy who has shot various handguns over the years. I'm also not someone who has been in big bear country.
 

ChidJ

Senior Member
Maybe I'm remembering wrong but I remember hearing something about a concept called "the 21st bear". Basically went that most bears are reasonable, fearful of humans, and will leave you alone given space. They can be repelled with loud sounds, confidence, or spray. But that 21st bear for whatever reason isn't dissuaded by any of that.

That said, I'm with some others here in the opinion that a giant hand cannon isn't the solution. You've gotta carry it, after all. I've got no problem shooting the 500 or 460 but you might as well carry a lightweight rifle. Its about the same weight.

In Alaska, there are more threats than just bears. I'd be bringing something that was suitable defense for anything from rabid wolverines, human tweakers, big cats, wolves, bears, or just a particularly preturbed Moose or Bison. There's even tell of some spooky cryptids deep in those artic hills

If it had to be a handgun, I think I'd bring my good ol S&W 329PD. 26oz, 6 rounds of 44 mag, not obnoxiously large
 

Darkhorse

Senior Member
When I suggested a Ruger SBH I was actually thinking of mine. I bought it in 1979 so it's well broken in. It's got the 7.5 inch barrel and I know it would be awkward for anybody not use to it, but I don't find it cumbersome at all. I get a slightly longer sighting plane and the longer barrel gives a little higher velocity. I would carry it in either a regular shoulder holster or the Alaskan chest rig.
I shoot only 240 grain bullets. For deer and bear I shoot soft points. Pushed by 296 or 2400 the accuracy is better than I can shoot. I would be open to trying heavier bullets for better penetration.
The trigger is superb. I'm anal about my triggers and can't stand a bad one so most get a little something done to them and this one came out perfect.
The only problem I see is the sights. These are the old sweated on ones and difficult to change. But I would find a way to get at least a fiber optic for the front.
I do admit a single action is a mite slower than a double action or an automatic, but if one practices thumbing with the bracing hand rather than the trigger hand you might be surprised how fast a cylinder can be accurately emptied.
 
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rosewood

Senior Member
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