Black bear vs. 9mm


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JustSomeDude
May 20, 2012, 11:11 PM
Black Bear roaming through Grand Rapids (http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/183313/2/UPDATE-Black-Bear-roaming-through-Grand-Rapids)

I live in the metro Grand Rapids area, and this raises a couple of questions for me.

First, what are the chances of my 9mm CCW pistol taking down a black bear? I envision it being a pretty point blank headshot to be a legit self defense shooting, but I still wonder about it.

Second, I obviously wouldn't have a hunting permit for said bear, so where would that leave me legally?

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jeepnik
May 21, 2012, 12:26 AM
Will a 9mm kill a bear? Well, yes. But the real question is, will a 9mm kill a bear "before" the bear does signficant damage to you. Unless you are really luck, probably not.

If you are seriously worried about a bear attack, carry a large bore rifle or shotgun with slugs. If you must rely on a handgun, think .44 mag and up, maybe a .41 mag, but those aren't all that common.

Score, first in on a bear thread:D:D

PabloJ
May 21, 2012, 12:52 AM
It would depend on the bear as each has unique personality. When I was in high school nimrod shot 700 pound monster in Green Mountain woods of Vt. While very rare meeting mound of meat like while carrying 9mm pistol would be frightening. I remember small gun shop in Poultney Vt where gunsmith handed me .350magnum stating it was his bear gun. I carry old Remington carabine in that caliber while camping in bear country.

Salmoneye
May 21, 2012, 06:50 AM
VT state record bear is 525, and that was in 1965...

As for 9mm, if it is the only thing you have, use it...

Most Black Bear want nothing to do with people other than scavenging trash and groceries...

If you get between a Sow and cubs, all bets are off...

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 21, 2012, 07:06 AM
If 9mm is all you have, be ready to empty the entire magazine into him or her. Even then, you may still get mauled big time.

JShirley
May 21, 2012, 07:19 AM
Unless you are really luck, probably not.


I'll take, oh, absolutely any proof at all of this. Black bears are routinely shot out of trees with .357 revolvers. If you think an almost contact distance shot with a good 9x19mm won't do one in, we live in completely different realities.

If 9mm is all you have, be ready to empty the entire magazine into him or her. Even then, you may still get mauled big time.

Yeah, okay. :rolleyes: If we were talking about one of the big Alaskan black bears, big and strong from feeding on salmon, that would be another matter. But most bears in the lower 48 are closer to a human in size. A rabid one (extremely rare) was killed recently with birdshot. If even birdshot will penetrate at just a couple feet, of course a 124-grain bullet traveling 1250 fps or faster will.

It really would be terrific if people had some hint of a clue what they were talking about before they volunteered their opinion.

To the OP: if you shot a black bear when you had no reasonable retreat, you'd be just fine, legally. While a rifle would of course be the best choice for hunting a black bear, any weapon that's a reasonable choice for a deer or hog will do the job just fine. A 9mm from a few feet kills deer. A 9mm from a few feet will also kill a black bear, and if you're that close, you should have no problem making a head shot. I would be sure you're using a sturdy bullet like a Gold Dot 124 grain.

John

fatcat4620
May 21, 2012, 07:20 AM
Its fine if you know what to do with it. Fire your 9mm into the air and watch how fast the bear can run away. Shoot the bear with your 9mm and watch how fast he can eat you.

bikerdoc
May 21, 2012, 07:28 AM
Creative way to tie bears and 9mm in one thread. (sigh)

Use a truck, seemed to work out for the truck driver.

seeker_two
May 21, 2012, 07:39 AM
Bears, like other animals, don't like pain. Getting shot with a 9mm hurts. The bear may not be DRT, but it will want to be somwhere else where it's not getting hurt....

CajunBass
May 21, 2012, 07:58 AM
Don't you know bears (any bear) are harder to stop than a Tiger tank? Nothing less than an LAW will stop one reliably. ;)

On the other hand, if I had a 9mm on me, I'd use it. I suspect it would do just fine.

hardluk1
May 21, 2012, 09:01 AM
Carry your 9mm. It would be a last reasort . Buy some bear spray and if you walk up on a bear get ready but the bear most likely will turn and bolt away. Sprays work very well if no worry of wounding bear that would then have to be hunted by fish and game or killing a bear needlessly.

brnmuenchow
May 21, 2012, 09:08 AM
I agree it really depends on the bear... Yes, most black bears in the lower 48 are not much bigger than a human male, and yes animals respond to pain. I imagine a standing 6'3" 300-400lb. bear est. can be taken down with a .9x19mm (I doubt with just one shot, unless you hit it in the right place.), It is a fact they go down with a .357 Mag. (Now a 7'0" 1,000+lb. ticked off "Grizzly" and carrying a .9X19mm you may just go out of this world the way you came into it, in the fetal postion):D

JShirley
May 21, 2012, 09:20 AM
A lot of people have really wild ideas about bears. As brnmuenchow points out- and I also was saying earlier- most lower 48 black bears aren't very large. Further, the ones that are likely to be nosing around human dwellings are probably there because they're having a hard time finding food.

(That equals skinny and malnourished, for those who need it spelled out.)

When I was doing a good bit of hiking and camping in GA, I carried my Glock 23 to handle potential Southeastern US threats:

wild dogs
hogs
black bears
dangerous humans

The 9x19mm is a little less powerful than the .40 S&W, but at three feet, that won't make much difference.

John

WardenWolf
May 21, 2012, 09:40 AM
If you're really worried about bear, I'd honestly recommend upgrading to a more powerful round. While 9mm is fine for two-legged predators, and will eventually kill a black bear, you might want to consider carrying something more powerful if you're hiking in the woods. Many people change what they carry based on where they're carrying, and if you're hiking in bear country, you should prepare accordingly.

loose noose
May 21, 2012, 10:48 AM
Just listen to JSHIRLEY, he knows what he's talking about. Especially in the lower 48. I've hunted in just about every state in the union, (a lot of hiking) and in that time saw a lot of wildlife, including black bears. None of the bears were any bigger than some large men, and never did I have to fire a round at any of them. They all just took off lumbering away. I'm sure a 9mm would dispatch a bear but why would you want to, further you better be able to prove your life was gravely in danger; or have a bundle of money to defend yourself in a court of law. I know there are stories about bears attacking hikers etc. but they are definitely few and far between.:scrutiny:

Mainsail
May 21, 2012, 10:52 AM
Most Black Bear want nothing to do with people other than scavenging trash and groceries...

If you get between a Sow and cubs, all bets are off...

The last black bear attack (http://www.king5.com/news/local/Bellevue-councilman-describes-bear-attack-as-horrendous-fight-104419118.html) here in Washington didn't happen to any of the thousands of unarmed hikers or backpackers, several of whom reported seeing and being very near a sow and her cubs, but to some guy walking his dogs in a rural neighborhood. It was speculated that the bear was protecting its food source. He made a few changes. (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014757485_apwabearattackchanges.html)

In any event, despite the usual direction of bear thread advice, I will point out that all bears are not the 12' tall, bullet resistant, hopped up on PCP, with a rabid angry chipmunk living up their butt beasts some of the armchair outdoorsmen believe them to be.

Prince Yamato
May 21, 2012, 11:31 AM
Here's my advice: carry your 9mm. Shoot the bear until it's dead.

Godsgunman
May 21, 2012, 11:42 AM
I believe Fatcat gave some advice to fire into the air as a warning shot. PLEASE don't do that!! Not very sound advice. If you give a warning shot to scare it, shoot into the ground. What goes up must come down and you are responsible when that bullet comes down and if it strikes someone or something. We had an incident last summer here in KC where guys shot their 9mm into the air last 4th of July and it came down and killed a teenage girl. NOT a good idea EVER!

k soze
May 21, 2012, 01:22 PM
A Canadian Mounty gave my friend this advice when we where canoeing the boundary waters. "Smear the 9mm pistol in bacon grease, when the bear stops to lick the pistol make your retreat."

Walkalong
May 21, 2012, 01:53 PM
I figure the odds of me having to dispatch a bear already hit by a truck are slim to none, so I am not going to worry with it.

Whatever you have handy at the time is what you have, no one plans for this scenario.

A shot or two from a 9MM should do the job if you believe folks who deal with black bears, and I have no reason not to. :)

JRC45AUTO
May 21, 2012, 02:16 PM
9mm FMJ shoot as fast as u can at the head, neck area
It will work just fine
Just keep in mind they hunt deer with 375 H&H mag
and they also
Kill 800 lb + alegators, 1200 lb cattle with a 22lr
Shot placement is EVERYTHING !

CountryUgly
May 21, 2012, 02:17 PM
Here's the long and short of black bears. Unlike their bigger brown brothers they generally do not bluff. It's my understanding if a black bear charges (which is highly unlikely and very rare) he intends to kill and probably eat you. Standing your ground to call his bluff or curling up in a fetal position and playing dead is about useless with balck bears. With that being said don't go where you might get mauled but if have to then carry the extended mag that day. The 9mm will get the job done eventually but if I'm having a show down with a black bear intent on having me for a snack a Mossy 500 loaded up with some Foster slugs would be my preference.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 21, 2012, 02:29 PM
While I agree that a lot of black bears are smallish, they may also be extremely angry if you happened to stumble onto a female's cub. And, while, yes, a 9mm will most likely kill a lot of things with one shot, I am not about to stand there testing whether my 9mm loads are about to stop momma bear from keeeling me.

If there is any attack by the bear, I am shooting until the threat ceases. If it means dumping four magazines into the critter than so be it.

If I am carrying my gun for protection, what good is it if I do not act like I am using it for protection? If someone comes at you with a knife and is starting to slice you up, is just one shot going to suffice? Maybe, maybe not. It is my understanding that WE shoot until the THREAT HAS CEASED!

Is that not true?

You can do it however you want to, but as for me, I am not going to stop until I am certain the mauling has stopped.

jon_in_wv
May 21, 2012, 06:42 PM
Being I have no larger caliber weapons at the time I carry one of my 9mms loaded with 147 LFPs. Judgin by the size of the black bears in this area I have no doubt I COULD kill one with it and its a lot better than having nothing but I would prefer to have a larger caliber weapon. I think my next woods gun will be a .357 magnum loaded with some heavy hunting bullets. I would feel fine with that.

If I was in an area with the really big bears I would carry something a lot heavier.

mgmorden
May 21, 2012, 06:50 PM
While its probably not WISE to take on a black bear with 9mm, shot placement still rules - and realistically black bears aren't THAT large.

I have a cousin who 15-20 years ago heard a lot of commotion out by his pig pen. He grabbed up the only weapon he had loaded and ready at the moment which was a .22LR rifle. He's isolated where he's at so other people around were rare, and black bears are occasionally seen around here but also fairly rare. Largest predator you normally have to worry about would be a coyote or a bobcat.

Anyways, he got out there to the pig pen and sure enough there was a black bear out there that charged him. I'm not positive on the number of shots he fired but he did drop the bear before it did any damage.

Not the recommended weapon, but sometimes when danger presents itself you use what you got.

Random Discharge
May 21, 2012, 07:39 PM
124 gr gold dots have been mentioned. So have 147 gr. OK. Both will penetrate a bit.

Not mentioned yet - leave the 115 gr JHP at home.

If you are carrying your 9 for beast defense in the woods, load it for the woods like you was hunting with it. Select a 124 or heavier bullet to penetrate that beast, +P is not a bad idea either, and pick a JHP that will hold together, like a gold dot or Hornady XTP.

Is it ideal? No. But a 9mm isn't exactly a squirt gun either.

kayak-man
May 21, 2012, 08:03 PM
I'm by no means a bear expert. Some of the other guys on here know a whole lot more than me, and I'd default to their opinions.

For black bear, I think you'd be OK with a hot 9mm. Its the same sort of deal as we talk about when defending yourself from 2-legged predators. You're shooting to STOP the threat. Yes, that may very well end in the threat no longer having a pulse, but that's not the goal.

I remember a thread here saying that you can get some overlap between really hot 9mm loads and .357, and as JShirley said, .357 will work for black bear. Given that, I'd think that you should be able to show the bear you're not worth the fight.

Sorry my info isn't very scientific, just my $.02.

Chris "the Kayak-Man" Johnson

USAF_Vet
May 21, 2012, 08:25 PM
From what I've seen on the news the bear doesn't look to be that big. Your 9mm would do fine, but most likely you'll never need to use it.

JustSomeDude
May 21, 2012, 09:16 PM
Thanks for the replies, guys. As I said, these are pretty suburban areas, not Alaska, so the chance of seeing a really big, aggressive bear are unlikely. On the balance, I don't see a big reason to step up, as these are really pretty rare, but there have been 3 or 4 stories similar to this fairly recently, so it did get me thinking. As many of you guessed, I have no real experience with hunting bears, hence the question.

dusty14u
May 21, 2012, 09:18 PM
You have a higher chance of being struck and killed by lightning than getting attacked by a bear. A little info for the curious

http://news.discovery.com/animals/black-bear-attacks-north-america-110511.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

http://ext.nrs.wsu.edu/publications/Blackbears1.htm

lightning fatalities

http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lls/fatalities_us.html

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/fatalities.htm

Most of the people killed were very old or very young.

JustSomeDude
May 21, 2012, 09:27 PM
You have a higher chance of being struck and killed by lightning than getting attacked by a bear. A little info for the curious

http://news.discovery.com/animals/black-bear-attacks-north-america-110511.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

http://ext.nrs.wsu.edu/publications/Blackbears1.htm

lightning fatalities

http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lls/fatalities_us.html

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/fatalities.htm

Most of the people killed were very old or very young.
Very interesting, thanks!

Mainsail
May 21, 2012, 09:55 PM
It sounds like I need to find a suitable caliber that's effective against lightning then. 10mm should do the trick.

elrowe
May 21, 2012, 10:03 PM
Self-defense would be hard to claim statistically. Camera might be better so you can get a picture before it runs away...

"Since 1900, there have been only 45-recorded deaths that were caused by black bears in the North America. This number is very minimal compared to the over 500 conflicts between black bears and humans from 1960 to 1980."

and

"Ninety percent of all known black bear attacks have only resulted in minor injuries" - both from http://ext.nrs.wsu.edu/publications/Blackbears1.htm

Legally, you'll probably pay a big fine and have other complications from illegally killing a bear. Unless you're covered in claw marks, the state will most likely say you poached it.

loose noose
May 21, 2012, 10:20 PM
elrowe, stated exactly what I was trying to imply, thank you very much.:D

Alaska444
May 21, 2012, 10:30 PM
Many consider the 10 mm or .357 magnum as the minimum reliable black bear defense guns. Comparing the penetration and killing power between these "minimum" calibers to the 9 mm puts it all in perspective.

Most people carry JHP in their 9 mm which further limits its utility as a bear gun since you are very unlikely to get the penetration needed to kill a black bear reliably. I have read accounts of police officers killed after firing a full magazine of 9mm into a black bear that they were responding to in a 911 call.

I consider my .357 as my BUG and not my primary woods gun although many of the folks that have killed dozens of bears up here in Idaho that I know swear by the .357 alone. For me, I put the .44 magnum in my bandolier cross carry when I head out into the woods of Idaho.

I would NOT recommend someone consider the 9 mm to be anything but a weapon of last resort in a bear defense situation. It is better than a stick, but it ain't by far my first choice even for people defense let alone bear defense with heavy fur, deep muscle and fat and heavy bones in the way of vitals.

toivo
May 21, 2012, 11:34 PM
I post this story every time this issue comes up. It's been a few years since the last time, so here I go again:

http://www.sc-democrat.com/archives/2002/news/08August/23/bear.html

Certaindeaf
May 22, 2012, 12:08 AM
I'd rely on a 9mm for 300lb bears.. ideally with some good JHP's or hardcast SWC's.

tryshoot
May 22, 2012, 12:22 AM
I do not understand why so many people discount the 9x19. It is a fine cart. Just look at the energy in any reloading manual. I carry a 40 s&w, but 9mm is fine. Some 9mm loads are more powerfull than light 357mag loads with only .002 diff in bullit dia.

JShirley
May 22, 2012, 12:29 AM
I think the OP really just wants this question answered:

If I am cornered by a black bear, will the 9x19mm I usually CCW work to defend me?

And the answer is, if you shoot it reasonably quickly and well, and if you load it with quality controlled-expansion rounds, yes. Since this is your typical carry combination, loading with FMJs is stupid and dangerous to you and innocents.

If you can't quickly draw and fire 2-3 well-aimed shots, you need to get a larger (not more powerful) gun. If you, for instance, are carrying a 3" subcompact 9mm, you may need to go up to a compact to gain the speed and control you need to stand a good chance of stopping a deadly threat.

If you're not making hits, and making them reasonably quickly, going up in caliber will only make the problem worse. You also have to be sure you've fired enough of your chosen defensive ammunition that you know where its POI is, and so that you know it's unlikely to malfunction when you really need it.

As the preceding story shows, black bears in the lower 48 that attack people are likely to be undernourished and small, and can be quickly stopped with a well-aimed duty caliber round.

John

481
May 22, 2012, 01:13 AM
It really would be terrific if people had some hint of a clue what they were talking about before they volunteered their opinion.


Well, gee...What fun would that be? :D


These threads, when they pop up, show that quite a few folks don't have a frame of reference from which to approach such concerns. It's difficult for the non-hunter (or someone who has hunted, but not the particular species in question) to visualize the dimensions and anatomy of an animal that they've (at best) only seen in zoo and make a determination as to what would be needed to resolve such a threat.

Service-caliber FMJs (depending upon weight and impact velocity), used where bears typically live (the woods), offer 24-36 inches of penetration- more than enough for what needs doing to a troublesome black bear.

ArchAngelCD
May 22, 2012, 01:14 AM
Here in the NE of PA Bear attacks are extremely rare and while the Black Bears here are on the larger side they are not hard to kill. (unlike those big boys in Alaska) While I would rather carry a .357 Magnum and do I would think a 9mm with a good bullet will stop a normal size black Bear is need be. I would be more comfortable with my .357 Magnum loaded with Hard Cast bullets though.

Alaska444
May 22, 2012, 01:30 AM
A .22 LR "can" kill a bear but who would recommend this as a "bear" defense gun? No one.

The issue is not whether a 9 mm can kill a bear, but pushing the statistical analysis of successful defenses. A .22 LR is not anywhere near the top or even the middle of the list for acceptable bear defense guns.

I recall an account of a police officer I believe in Maine several years ago who intervened with his 9 mm service pistol and it did not turn out well, he was severely mauled. Wish I could find the link but it just doesn't come up on a Google search so far.

The .357 with max hard cast loads is double the average muzzle energy of the average 9 mm loads. I consider this the lowest acceptable bear defense option. Black bears are not all the little furry 200 pound bear most people believe that they will encounter. Bear populations are rapidly growing and encounters are becoming more common as we encroach the wilderness areas more and more.

If folks wish to consider the 9 mm their dedicated bear gun, so be it. Not my cup of tea at all. In fact, my EDC for people defense is the .357 SP101. Stopping power is important for self defense situations with 2 legged predators and even more so when considering black bears. Yes, you "can" kill a bear with a stick, a rock, a log and a 9 mm but what are the statistical chances of success with those options?

I would go with 10 mm or .357 magnum with stout loads as the "bare" minimum of bear defense.

Alaska444
May 22, 2012, 01:35 AM
Today 10:13 PM
481
Quote:
Originally Posted by JShirley
It really would be terrific if people had some hint of a clue what they were talking about before they volunteered their opinion.
Well, gee...What fun would that be?


These threads, when they pop up, show that quite a few folks don't have a frame of reference from which to approach such concerns. It's difficult for the non-hunter (or someone who has hunted, but not the particular species in question) to visualize the dimensions and anatomy of an animal that they've (at best) only seen in zoo and make a determination as to what would be needed to resolve such a threat.

Service-caliber FMJs (depending upon weight and impact velocity), used where bears typically live (the woods), offer 24-36 inches of penetration- more than enough for what needs doing to a troublesome black bear.

I am not aware of any 9 mm that offers that kind of penetration. Here is list of several popular 9 mm loads and penetration with gel. Note this doesn't include the heavy bone seen in bears. If you are looking for 24-36 inches of penetration, even the .357 magnum lacks enough power to do that. You would need a .44 magnum to start if the 24-36 inch penetration is your criteria.

http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/9mm/gel9.htm

JShirley
May 22, 2012, 01:51 AM
Alaska, you're answering a question no-one's asking. This thread doesn't ask "What's the best handgun for bear defense?" Instead, the OP wants to know "Will my usual CCW stop a bear if I'm attacked?"

Considering the OP lives in the lower 48, is specifically asking about black bears, and doesn't seem to be asking about wandering through the deep woods, assuming good ammunition and reasonable skill, the answer is yes.

9x19mm FMJ does penetrate as much as 39 inches. If you had carefully looked at the link you posted, you would see there are no accurate measurements for FMJ penetration- because the test did not have enough gel block depth to catch the FMJs. All he can report is that it exceeded 23 inches.

An ideal (big) black bear dedicated defensive load would be similar to any other bear defense load- in other words, foolish and a distinct liability if your primary mission is defense against hostile humans in heavily populated areas.

John

Alaska444
May 22, 2012, 02:12 AM
Yesterday, 08:11 PM #1
JustSomeDude
Member

Dear JShirley,

Sir, with all due respect, I would refer you to the OP statement where he asked what is the "chance" that a 9 mm could stop a black bear. My comments in view of the OP are exactly within his question. As I noted above, if you are looking at the statistical analysis of 9 mm, i.e, the chance it will consistently stop a black bear, 9 mm is not my choice and I consider my .357 as the minimum caliber I would attempt that consistently.

Can a 9 mm stop a black bear? Yes, but once again, with all due respect, that was not the OP question.

As I also pointed out, the gel test does not take into consideration the heavy fur or heavy bones of a black bear. Yes, the 9 mm can kill a black bear, but so far, I have focussed on the statistical "chance" of it doing that consistently just as a .22 LR "can" kill a black bear but the chance of it do

(FYI - Heavily edited by staff :what:)

STAFF EDIT:
I see no evidence of any staff editing your post, but I am looking into it. It leaves fingerprints when we edit something that cannot be simply covered up. The last thing I see, before my edit, was that you edited the post at 2:59 PM.

StickAK
May 22, 2012, 03:10 AM
A friend's video of bear-baiting here in Alaska. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bbh1kxmFTM&feature=youtube_gdata_player) (YouTube)

6 foot black bear @ 6" away, 9mm FMJ. The original plan was to pet the bear, then shoot it. He chickened out when it showed up, probably for the better. The skull is on display at the local Sportsman's Warehouse just above the handgun counter as a kind of counter to the "you need xxxxx caliber to kill a bear" folks. The bullet hole is right between the eyes 1/2" off of center.

So yeah, 9mm will work if it's what you've got and can place the shot.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 22, 2012, 05:42 AM
I live in a location where there are many black bears. I shot one using a .270 Win rifle, hitting him in the neck and virtually breaking his neck. Gutted out, he weighed in at 165 pounds and was 4.5 years old as the game warden got my permission to remove a tooth for analysis.

Beginning several years ago, a family member who lives nine miles from here was putting bird seed out to feed the many wonderful species of birds we have here. On more than one occasion, this person observed a monster black bear eating the bird food. The bear had destroyed several bird feeders.

Not to be outdone, this relative dug with a post hole digger a hole below frost level and installed a 10" diameter concrete sonatube footing, reinforced with 1/2" rebar. He carefully planted his new 2" diameter galvanized iron pipe, plumb in the center of the footing, making sure the concrete entered up from the bottom of the open pipe. At the top, he branched off the 2" iron pipe with several smaller pipes, 1.5", 1.25", 1" and .75" respectively to essentially have a 'tree' of pipes onto which he hung no less than four individual feeders. This worked extremely well also, because the squirrels and chipmunks could not climb the freshly-painted shiny dark gray pipe.

This feeder lasted about two weeks. He came out one morning, walking the dog and found the feeder literally bent over and several cross-pipes near the top, completely torn off and located on the opposite side of his house.

At this point, he contacted the local game warden.

The local warden came and admitted this person did a terrific job at 'attempting' to keep the bear off the feeders. The warden went on to say there is a huge (approximate weight 450 pound) bear that has been frequenting the entire area. The bear is so large, bear hunters using dogs to tree the bear stopped using the dogs, as the bear was not frightened one bit by the barking nuisances, but, instead, the bear would simply take a swipe with its sharp claws and kill any dogs that the hunters were using to tree the bear. The bear had no reason to climb a tree as the bear was so large, it learned how to defend itself by killing the dogs that were chasing it.

I got permission from this person to hunt the property in search of this bear and my firearms of choice were a 12 gauge with a rifled slug barrel and saboted slugs and when I was handgun hunting it, my 500 S&W loaded at maximum load with Barnes 275g Triple Shock X Pistol Bullets (XPB). Even with those guns and that load, I was still a bit nervous, wondering what will happen when I see the bear and take a shot at it! In some ways, it is fortunate that I did not run into the bear on my many hunting days I spent there, as I don't feel like being a statistic.

When I read that people are using a 9mm to shoot bears, I laugh. Yes, you can kill one with a .22, if you hit it just right. I have seen .22 bullets ricochet off the thick head of woodchucks when they were not shot at just the right angle to penetrate.

What does one do for an encore when the 9mm bullet doesn't hit just right and perhaps just grazes the bear's flesh, or the bullet ricochets off the bear's skull where there may happen to be some thick bone at just the wrong angle?

JShirley
May 22, 2012, 05:55 AM
The OP asked if a point-blank headshot with his 9mm CCW would stop a black bear. With a high degree of probability, yes.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 22, 2012, 06:47 AM
I agree totally with everyone's comments.

I wonder, though, what constitutes "a pretty point blank headshot...." as questioned by the OP.

In order to be "point-blank" does that not require the animal to be in extremely close proximity to the shooter, say, close enough that powder burns would be detected along with any bullet holes?

We are assuming that the bear is seen by the shooter, before the bear has a chance to do anything to the shooter. I don't understand how there could be a point blank shot at the bear without the bear being aware that it is in such close proximity to the shooter.

In all honesty, I don't think a normal, healthy black bear would allow itself to become within, say, feet, or even yards, of a shooter. Any black bear that will approach a human to get to the distance of a point blank shot in my opinion would be an "unhealthy" bear, possibly rabid or having some other kinds of neurological problems (e.g., so old it is nearly blind and has very little smelling capabilities left), unless it has been trained by eating out of people's hands.

JShirley
May 22, 2012, 07:29 AM
Yes, that's completely correct. Many large predatory animals usually only threaten humans if they are having trouble finding food. As I pointed out earlier, this also means they're going to be weak and small.

And this is usually the case with problem bears in the US, except for the ones that have been fed by foolish tourists.

John

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 22, 2012, 08:09 AM
EXACTLY!
BTW, thank you for your service to our country!:)

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 22, 2012, 08:19 AM
In light of the black bears that have been "humanized" to the point where they are just browsing around dumpsters, hauling out all manner of rubbish and garbage, back to the OP's question, would a 9mm kill a black bear, I must say yes, it would. If the bear is not afraid of humans to the point where it is essentially sitting on his back haunches begging for one more hot dog and that bear somehow becomes agitated, yes, a 9mm to the face head or neck will most likely kill the bear or at least stop it long enough for the shooter to pump a few more rounds into him/her/it!

4895
May 22, 2012, 01:42 PM
The problem with Bear Spray is the wind. What if it is windy and you spray into the wind and inadvertently spray yourself instead? Ouch.

If you carry a 9mm, load up with some heavy bullets, 147 if possible, and carry an extra magazine.

If you have to shoot a bear and think you may be in legal trouble, drag him into the kids tent and put a candy bar in his mouth.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 22, 2012, 01:54 PM
Get Hornet and Wasp Spray!
The stuff shoots like 25 feet or more with a very accurate stream, if that got into the bear's eyes, or even in its nose, I believe there is not much he could do, except back off and retreat. I don't like to see animals suffer, however a 9mm bullet stuck somewhere in the bear for the next few years I would think would be painful for the bear, pretty much no matter where the bullet stops! I cannot imagine shards of copper and lead riding around with every movement, that would HAVE to be painful!

Besides, you just may end up camping near a hornet's nest, wait until after dark when they are all in the nest then spray the thing to death!

Texan Scott
May 22, 2012, 03:15 PM
I have family that live just a few miles away from where this happened. They never mentioned it, possibly because they were not very concerned. My general belief (based on my limited experience) is that black bears are highly unlikely to attack people willingly. They don't generally go after anything close to their own size (for food). My own experience (including mountain lions) is if they're healthy, and you're non-threatening, they'd prefer to leave. I've had this happen at home, at about 20 yards. We saw each other about the same time, we both might have peed just a little, we went carefully and quickly in opposite directions. COULD it have killed me? probably. but feeling no need/ desire to get hurt (maybe seriously) in the process, it saw an opportunity to leave and took it. the same would be true of you with a 9mm. you might be able to put it down, you might well get hurt. best if we leave each other alone. an armed society is a polite society, even among bears.

edited to say: that poor little bear looks absolutely terrified.

wlewisiii
May 22, 2012, 03:40 PM
Just carry pepper spray.

If necessary, my Glock 19 loaded with Winchester RA127TA would kill a black bear just as easily as it would a fat tall human. But the bear spray is the far better alternative.

hardluk1
May 22, 2012, 03:53 PM
bear sprays will shot 30 feet and it would take more than a breese to blow it back before your gone. Atleast I would be. Its funny to a point so many have advise that have never been around bears. We live around them . They come to our hunting stand to sleep. Eat the peanut butter sometimes and corn dropped by the deer feeders. They area not hard to deal with even when they try to get in the stand your sitting in. Just a short shot of spray send them running. or a whack on the nose with a braod head when they climb the ladder to your stand. The bears I would worry over more are the garabge can raiders or nieghbor hood bears someone and old sick bears. They tend to hold there ground at times. The sprays work very well, use them.

Alaska444
May 22, 2012, 05:03 PM
May 20, 2012, 08:11 PM #1
JustSomeDude
Member


Join Date: September 3, 2005
Posts: 122
Black bear vs. 9mm
Black Bear roaming through Grand Rapids

I live in the metro Grand Rapids area, and this raises a couple of questions for me.

First, what are the chances of my 9mm CCW pistol taking down a black bear? I envision it being a pretty point blank headshot to be a legit self defense shooting, but I still wonder about it.

Second, I obviously wouldn't have a hunting permit for said bear, so where would that leave me legally?


OP asked about the "chance" of taking down a black bear with a 9 mm. Since folks that disagree with me edit my posts, I will simply answer the OP question, not a good chance at all even though occasionally it "can" kill a black bear. If folks want to use a 9 mm go for it, but not my choice at all.

M7
May 22, 2012, 06:56 PM
Alaska, you're answering a question no-one's asking. This thread doesn't ask "What's the best handgun for bear defense?" Instead, the OP wants to know "Will my usual CCW stop a bear if I'm attacked?"

Considering the OP lives in the lower 48, is specifically asking about black bears, and doesn't seem to be asking about wandering through the deep woods, assuming good ammunition and reasonable skill, the answer is yes.

9x19mm FMJ does penetrate as much as 39 inches. If you had carefully looked at the link you posted, you would see there are no accurate measurements for FMJ penetration- because the test did not have enough gel block depth to catch the FMJs. All he can report is that it exceeded 23 inches.

An ideal (big) black bear dedicated defensive load would be similar to any other bear defense load- in other words, foolish and a distinct liability if your primary mission is defense against hostile humans in heavily populated areas.

John


Whoa! 39"? :eek:

That is a lot of penetration!

M7
May 22, 2012, 07:07 PM
Get Hornet and Wasp Spray!
The stuff shoots like 25 feet or more with a very accurate stream, if that got into the bear's eyes, or even in its nose, I believe there is not much he could do, except back off and retreat. I don't like to see animals suffer, however a 9mm bullet stuck somewhere in the bear for the next few years I would think would be painful for the bear, pretty much no matter where the bullet stops! I cannot imagine shards of copper and lead riding around with every movement, that would HAVE to be painful!

Besides, you just may end up camping near a hornet's nest, wait until after dark when they are all in the nest then spray the thing to death!

I seem to recall an e-mail circulating the 'net a few years ago that said that hornet spray could be used to stop a human attacker, too.

I'd bet that just about anything sprayed into someone's eyes would suffice, but it'd be hard to tell with any certainty what would temporarily, and what would permanently, blind somoeone in such a case.

IMTHDUKE
May 22, 2012, 07:32 PM
Bear, 1...... 9mm, 0

Pyro
May 22, 2012, 08:31 PM
Bear is to 9mm as is human to .22lr?

jmr40
May 22, 2012, 09:29 PM
It wouldn't be my 1st choice, but you might be surprised. One of the bigger bears (400 lbs+) ever taken here in Georgia was taken by a poacher with 1 shot from a 40 S&W pistol. Bear dropped in its tracks.

It is more about shot placement and luck.

Also very few problem bears are the big ones. Most that cause trouble are older cubs weighing less than 200 lbs that have been recently run off by their mothers and are struggling to make it on their own and resort to raiding trash cans. The 400-500 lb bears don't get that big by hanging around humans. A 200 lb bear ain't any harder to kill than a 200 lb human.

Robert
May 22, 2012, 09:31 PM
My mom chases black bears off the porch at her place with a pot and a wooden spoon. Just sayin.

Alaska444
May 22, 2012, 10:34 PM
Today, 06:29 PM #63
jmr40

Also very few problem bears are the big ones. Most that cause trouble are older cubs weighing less than 200 lbs that have been recently run off by their mothers and are struggling to make it on their own and resort to raiding trash cans. The 400-500 lb bears don't get that big by hanging around humans. A 200 lb bear ain't any harder to kill than a 200 lb human.

Not sure why folks equate bears to people. Last time I checked, I don't have thick fur, heavy bones, fangs and claws, nor can I run 35 mph. I wouldn't be reassured at all by the stopping power of a 9 mm against people let alone bears considering what I know about bears.

9mm Luger
# of people shot - 456
# of hits - 1121
% of hits that were fatal - 24%
Average number of rounds until incapacitation - 2.45
% of people who were not incapacitated - 13%
One-shot-stop % - 34%
Accuracy (head and torso hits) - 74%
% actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit) - 47%

http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7866

Equating bears to people reminds me of a conversation I had with my older brother when I was 4 years old when we lived in Anchorage AK. I confidently told him that I could take a 4 year old bear in a wrestling match. Kind of funny thinking about it now but it reminds me a bit of how people are viewing this whole scenario. It seems some folks are not giving these critters the respect that they deserve. I no longer believe I could out wrestle a 4 year old bear. I know better today. I would hope folks give them a bit more consideration. Plenty of stories of bears shot with heavy duty rifles that kept on going let alone a hand gun such as a 9 mm.

Can a 9 mm kill a person? Yes, but it is not at all on the top of the list for stopping power for thin skinned, small boned creatures called humans. Equating that to bears that can run 35 mph and continue an attack even after being hit directly in the heart and lungs makes me consider just what it would take to incapacitate one of these critters. Outside of a direct CNS hit, there is no sure one stop shots with these critters.

Once again, if folks want to use a 9 mm as their bear gun, that is their choice but I would hope others who have no experience with bears in the wild reading this thread would consider other options with better track records than a 9 mm.

Alaska444
May 22, 2012, 10:40 PM
Today, 06:31 PM #64
Robert
Moderator


Join Date: June 7, 2006
Location: Texan by birth, in Colorado cause I hate humidity
Posts: 4,672
My mom chases black bears off the porch at her place with a pot and a wooden spoon. Just sayin.

Dear Robert, I saw this report yesterday. Your mom may want to reconsider that approach:

TRINIDAD, Colo. (CBS4) – A woman who was mauled by a bear in Trinidad Friday evening was banging pots and pans together on her porch in an effort to scare the bear away before the attack, wildlife officials say.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/05/21/victim-of-bear-attack-was-banging-pots-and-pans/

Certaindeaf
May 22, 2012, 10:46 PM
Not sure why folks equate bears to people..
Have you ever seen a skinned bear?

wlewisiii
May 22, 2012, 10:46 PM
I suppose if I lived in Alaska where every bear is 8 feet tall and over 1500 lbs, and needs a howitzer to take out, i might agree with you. But down here in Wisconsin, for example, it's a bit different: "Adult male bears, called boars, average 4.5 to 6 feet in length and weigh 250-500 pounds, with the average being 300-400 pounds. The smaller females, or sows, weigh 225-450 pounds and measure 4 to 4.5 feet long" (wi dnr)

I'll keep carrying my Glock & put some bear spray alongside it, thank you.

Robert
May 22, 2012, 11:39 PM
Well it was a bit tongue in cheek. She did it once and then it dawned on her what stupid move that was.

Should have been more clear, my fault.

jmr40
May 22, 2012, 11:49 PM
Not sure why folks equate bears to people. Last time I checked, I don't have thick fur, heavy bones, fangs and claws, nor can I run 35 mph. I wouldn't be reassured at all by the stopping power of a 9 mm against people let alone bears considering what I know about bears.



I've killed and skinned black bear, been present when others were killed and skinned. They ain't that hard to kill. I've got several friends who are ex- NFL linemen that I would be more concerned about a 9mm stopping than a 200 lb bear.

A bears bones are no larger nor tougher than yours, and while you don't have thick fur, bears don't wear winter coats like humans. Humans don't have fangs and claws, but they do often carry guns. A human predator is a much more dangerous threat.

When dealing with a 200 lb bear I'd feel just as comfortable as dealing with a 200 lb human using the same gun. I prefer something larger simply because of the possibility of a much larger bear.

Alaska444
May 23, 2012, 12:10 AM
Well, killing a 120 bear should be rather simple. Not sure why it would take 10 shots from a shotgun, .223 and .45 acp to put down a little 120 pounder.

Ten Shots Finally Kill Intruding Black Bear

By Dave Hurteau

From the Boulder Daily Camera:
It took three rounds from a shotgun, five bullets from a handgun and two shots from a rifle to kill the 120-pound black bear that broke into a Boulder County home early Monday morning. .

http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/hunting/2009/07/ten-shots-finally-kill-intruding-black-bear

I truly believe people are underestimating these critters, but if you feel comfortable with a 9 mm at your side, so be it. Not my choice. Best wishes to all.

Alaska444

Robert
May 23, 2012, 12:49 AM
Oh enough. I am tired it is late and I hate bear threads more than just about anything else. That I let this go to 3 pages of whining and bickering only goes to show that I am getting soft.

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