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Bears--Got Enough Pistol??

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Bears--Got Enough Pistol??

Old 12-05-2021, 05:58 PM
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Default Bears--Got Enough Pistol??

There was an old 2010 topic about what pistol caliber is enough for bears in this same sub forum. Although that topic was more slanted towards what pistol to wear while bow hunting in bear country, it's also an intriguing topic for hikers, people scouting, riding horseback, bicycles into rough country and those of us who are gutting an animal when rifle hunting and our rifle is leaning against a tree, etc.

With that said, I'll open the ball with the info and link below. What do you think, agree with or don't agree with? No real wrong answers as each of us is going to have an opinion about what level of chance we're willing to take or not. Personally, I like the 44 Mag stats for any bear but would feel comfortable with a 41 mag or 10mm for black bears.

Below quoted stats from article at the link at the bottom.
Dean Weingarten wrote a comprehensive article at Ammoland.com about real world pistol encounters with different kinds of bears and the results. I know we all have our preferences and comfort zones but some of the results might surprise you. I'm writing a summary by caliber but strongly encourage anybody interested to follow the link below and read the individual accounts. Some were black bears, some grizzly and some were brown bears.

9mm--4 cases, all successfully stopped the attacks.
.357 Mag--3 cases. 2 were successful, 1 was not.
.40 caliber--3 cases. All were successful.
10mm--1 cases. It was successful.
41 Mag--2 cases. Both were successful.
44 Mag--12 cases. All were successful.
45 caliber--4 cases. All were successful.
45 Super Pistol--1 case. It was successful.
454 Casull--1 case. It was successful.





https://www.ammoland.com/2018/02/def...#axzz7EDZwk600

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Old 12-05-2021, 06:23 PM
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my 2 cents, you cannot just claim any caliber, and think you will have like success, every case has different variables
from what BULLET was used, which is a HUGE deal when dealing with dangerous game
what condition the animal was in when shot
considering most all bear charges are BLUFF"S, if were being honest here
how many ATTACKS were bluffs and or full on attacks , and WHY were they being attacked, were animals injured, were cubs involved, was bear starving or other wise injured before this attack, or were injuries caused , causing the attack
what SIZE was the bear
there are just so many differences here, no one can say "X" caliber will work 100% of the time!

then add in what experience the shooter has, HOW was the shooter before attack, was gun in hand, was gun in a holster, and so on!

Bears have been killed with 22 caliber guns, some times LUCK plays a BIG role in the outcome more than caliber and experience does, again IF were being honest!

typically the name of the game in dealing with any dangerous game animal, is , simple
you use the biggest caliber , with the best FOR ANIMAL bullet, that you can shoot well and handle recoil well

after that, when in an attack, it sort of comes down to LUCK IMO
adrenaline does a LOT of weird things to humans, including ruining how well we shoot!

as also, keep in mind folks, a bear attack is a super, super rare thing to have happen, even in heavy populated high density bear places!
heck in places like AK and BC< as a FACT, your more likely to get attacked by a Moose than a bear by a LARGE percentage!

and keep in mind, we are human and as such, that means, we can make mistakes and not be ready if when an attack comes, , BLAH BLAH BLAH!
I have read many books on bear attacks as well as talked personally to a few folks that have been in attacks and lived! they all told me LUCK mattered more than there shooting skills did!

and for decades I have been about guns and big game being shot with calibers from tiny .22's to Big 50 bmg and some larger bore calibers! in more than a hobby way!

have seen "X" animal , be it a bear, deer , elk, ???
shot with them BIG guns and run and live a long time, and have seen same animals shot with 22's drop in there tracks
Bullet placement and what it hits matters period, and why archery gear works!

my rule of thumb in big bear country is again using the larger caliber I can handle well, and shoot both with strong and WEAK hand, and its loaded with bullets made for the task!
'd also carry bear spray too!

been in AK and other places with big bears, have been up close and personal with so many bears folks wouldn;t believe me, or all the things I have done with them!(i have crawled into ear dens with sow's and there cubs!)

and to date, NEVER had a single issue with one, using bear SMARTS in BEAR area's , IMO< is one of the best things to learn before you go, into them places
as they knowledge is power,
bears are not out to eat you 99.9 % of the time, to be honest to bears we humans STINK< and they do there best to avoid us
far too many people fear what they don't know , which can lead to BAD results IMO!
I don;r fear bear's, even the BIG one's
I do however RESPECT them!
for what they are
but I spent time learning about them to know what I know! and recommend anyone venturing into BIG bear country to spend there share of time learning about them, over just relying on shooting skills and "X caliber hand guns
lots of ways to AVOID a bear attack, over worrying about being in one IMO!



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Old 12-05-2021, 06:26 PM
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also, the link you posted, shows results of successful encounters, , doesn't say SQUAT about those really that were not
being I am personal friends with a few bear guides in AK<
I can tell you many of the same calibers listed DIDN:T work , too!
so to me its false leading in a way, that can lead to someone having more confidence than maybe they should with :"X caliber!
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:34 PM
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Ill add this too, just cause I have time to kill
but many yrs back, (mid 1990") there was a book written where they did a detailed study events on bear attacks in AK, some 100+ attacks,
and the thing that stood out MOST on bear attacks , as to those that survived and those that didn't
came down to the size of the bear
any bear that coudl fit your WHOLE head in its mouth, and shake you, died, those that the bear could get a solid grip on there had lived!
seemed most that the bear g=could get a solid grip on died from broken necks too!
after a 100+
that was the ONLY stand out deal maker or breaker!
also the attacks, were from startling a bear, to injured bears to sows with cubs, to starving one's!
the attacks were all over on WHY!

pepper spray was new but mace and other things were used in some attacks,. , but fighting back, playing dead, shooting or??
there wasn't a one way or the other to survival that stood out, there were as many that died, doing the play dead, fighting back and so on, it didn;t show merit to do any,
YOUR call! LOL
again this was info from the mid/late 90's and was considered at the time, valued info, by many great bear biologists!,
take as you wish!
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:47 PM
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Those are good points. The state of the animal (agitated or attacking or not) would likely play a big role in what it takes to scare off or kill the bear. While nothing is 100% guaranteed, I would expect to make an educated guess as to what I would prefer to carry. Bear spray would be nice if it worked but I'd want something else if the bear spray didn't work.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:39 AM
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I look at the situation a little differently. In a panic situation I'm not looking for a one-shot kill with a pistol. A 30-30 has almost twice the energy as a 44 mag at the muzzle and IMO a 30-30 sure wouldn't be my first choice against a Bear. I consider the 30-30 to be a medium rifle.
The SAS taught the double-tap, at least two rounds to the chest with a 9mm. The Police pretty much train to empty the magazine. The military trains to put at least three in a person with a .556. A Bear is likely a lot harder to stop than a man.
A 44 special has a third of the recoil of a 44 mag. Makes sense you could get more aimed rounds off with a 44 special than a 44 mag in the same amount of time. Probably even more with a 9mm. As the size and velocity of the bullet goes up, the second round shot slows down. The point is I'm not just thinking about the size and energy of the pistol round I'm also thinking about how many hits (or misses ) I can get off in the shortest amount of time, 20 MPH is 30 feet a second. I've put a lot of rounds out of a Ruger 44 mag, it would not be my first choice for a quick second shot. Two old sayings come to mind, near misses only count in horseshoes and hand grenades, and as long as it is still wiggling it is still dangerous.
I've only had one bad encounter with a Black Bear and it was more interested in intimidation than actually attacking and two encounters with Cougars. One Cougar attacked and the other was stalking me and my dogs. I put 2x3 (6) number 4 birdshot into that Cougar before I was satisfied it was dead.

Last edited by MudderChuck; 12-06-2021 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 12-06-2021, 09:23 AM
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I thought this topic was about what pistol would or could kill a bear if needed. Or at least dissuade a bear from attacking further. From your posts mrbb, it sounds like you are talking more about hunting a bear with a pistol specifically which is something entirely different. I agree a large caliber rifle or a 12 gauge with slugs is preferred but this topic seems to be about what to carry if you're only carrying a pistol while hiking, biking, fishing or field dressing an animal and your rifle is not immediately next to you. I guess you can say that a pistol has not always worked against bears. The article above mentioned something like a 3% failure rate of the cases examined. The article didn't say that it only looked for successful cases and not failures. I would imagine one could find cases where bear spray, rifles and shotguns didn't work also. The point I took away is that a pistol can work if you place your shots well and timely. Or you can bring along your personal howitzer.
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Old 12-06-2021, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by elkman30
I thought this topic was about what pistol would or could kill a bear if needed. Or at least dissuade a bear from attacking further. From your posts mrbb, it sounds like you are talking more about hunting a bear with a pistol specifically which is something entirely different. I agree a large caliber rifle or a 12 gauge with slugs is preferred but this topic seems to be about what to carry if you're only carrying a pistol while hiking, biking, fishing or field dressing an animal and your rifle is not immediately next to you. I guess you can say that a pistol has not always worked against bears. The article above mentioned something like a 3% failure rate of the cases examined. The article didn't say that it only looked for successful cases and not failures. I would imagine one could find cases where bear spray, rifles and shotguns didn't work also. The point I took away is that a pistol can work if you place your shots well and timely. Or you can bring along your personal howitzer.
I'm sorry if you mis took what I posted as I most certainly posted about pistol calibers, or why you think I was talking a bout hunting them as I wasn't at all! as a FACT I only mentioned rifle calibers to show that there is NO magic bullet in them either!
as its NOT just the caliber that matters, not sure why that fact missed you, but the BULLET used makes HUGE difference in how it performs or doesn't on a big hairy thick skinned and boned animal!
a simple example is, if you carry a 9 amm as loaded with personal defense ammo, your not going to be very happy with what it does to a BIG bear unless you get LUCKY, the bullets for self defence are BNOT made for hunting and there are reasons why I stated the BULLET matters maybe more than the caliber, BUT nothing replaced WHERE the bullet ends up!

and to post a information that mostly ONLY shows success can lead folks into bad corners!
I have a ton of time along some of the best bear biologists in the world, so, I have some experience on bears many here don't, I am NOT claiming to be any expert, but I sure have a LOT of experience dealing with bears in many aspects!
I also have personal experience talking to folks that HAVE been attacked by bears,!

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Old 12-06-2021, 01:39 PM
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I think we did this before. You posted a long couple of posts that go all over the map and then I posted something about the OP topic. You responded that I must have misunderstood you and missed stuff. I posted back about more specifics and it ended up in some kind of draw.

If you want to post some reference material on the OP topic, I will surely read it as this is an interesting subject. But if you're going to continue telling me about your anecdotal information gleaned from all of your contacts in the bear hunting and bear biology world, I'll respectfully pass. I'll give you the part about ammo choice since the OP article didn't state what type of ammo was used. If i were to guess, I'd say the lighter mainly CCW calibers (9mm, 357, 40 smith and 45) prolly used regular CCW carry ammo designed for people. Most of the people I know who carry 10mm's seem to favor the heavy stuff. I don't think there are any lightweight rounds in 41 or 44 mag but I'm sure you'll tell me if that's wrong. although any gun is better than no gun, after reading the article and thinking about the results, I think I'd prefer to carry a 10mm or one of the magnums with appropriate ammo.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:23 PM
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The fact of the matter is that anecdotal information is not evidence. If I am going to take information as gospel it has to be information that came from specific testing on the specific animal in question.
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