Quantcast

Handguns 95% effective against bear attacks?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by SunnySlopes, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. TheSquire

    TheSquire Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Yorkshire, UK
    If you are a hunter, going with a guide into bear country, learn how to use the self-defence weapons that are to hand.
    If you are a guide, show the hunter(s)/members of your party, how to use your pistol / rifle, just in case you can't.

    I am not a hunter, so I am happy to be corrected on this one.
     
    Buzznrose likes this.
  2. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    SA, TX
  3. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    SA, TX
    As far as the WY guide, that was a sad deal, but for me, it comes down to this...why was the pistol in a backpack/hanging on a tree and not on the guide’s belt?

    Having lived and greatly enjoyed the outdoors in Alaska and Montana for around 15 years of my adult life, I always heard the stories of how a pistol sucks for bears. True that, but a pistol on the belt beats a rifle leaning against the tree when Yogi rolls in unannounced and wants supper.

    The guide’s first responsibility to his client was safety. If dangerous critters were a concern, he should have carried that gun on his person. I’m sad the guy died, but the lesson in this tragedy is to carry the gun, not pack the gun...
     
    bearcreek, rodwha and WrongHanded like this.
  4. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,074
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    It should be pointed out that the stats in the article are not to be believed at face value. 95% effective? When you read the article, there are times when bears were shot and still the person got mauled before the bear takes off and the use of a pistol is considered to be a success. That same criteria has been used by the author to indicate a failure of bear spray. Similar deal, spray deployed and the bear does not initially back down and the sprayer gets harmed by the bear, then the bear takes off. The author does not think bear spray is effective and so he has creatively interpreted the results.

    Based on reading the article, you get the impression that you need nothing more than a .22 lr pistol to defend yourself against bears. By his accounting, the .22 lr is 100% effective in stopping bear attacks, which is better than certain more powerful calibers (interesting, no?), and that a pistol in general is more than sufficient for the job.
     
  5. MaxP

    MaxP Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2015
    Messages:
    818
    Location:
    Virginia
    The biggest problem I’ve seen is when the chosen handgun is loaded with bullets that are inappropriate for the task at hand. Deep, straight line penetration is your friend in this situation. Yet, some still carry frangible, light for caliber bullets that don’t penetrate well and don’t hold together and in this case “pistols suck,” but so do rifles incorrectly loaded. That said, have cleanly killed animals weighing well over a ton with revolvers, I can assure you they are up to the task, but achieving competence with a hard kicking handgun is not the easiest task, requiring lots of practice.
     
    Buzznrose, rodwha and WrongHanded like this.
  6. Gridley

    Gridley Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2018
    Messages:
    211
    Location:
    Washington State
    Ammo selection can be tricky. When I'm out in my normal 'back of beyond' site I've got four known threats:
    1. Rattlesnakes. I'm a "bygones be bygones" guy... unless they're coiled up under the front steps of the house. There are children and dogs around. Multiple kills on the property over the years.
    2. Coyotes. Not a threat to me unless I'm already having a very bad day, but see "children and dogs." So far warning shots and barking have been fine.
    3. Bears. No close contact so far, but we've seen sign.
    4. Humans. No problems for us so far, but others nearby have had issues.

    Now, what handgun ammo is optimal against all four? None I know of. I compromise, and since "bear" is the bottom of my threat matrix... if I ever show up as a case study I'm sure someone will comment about how I chose the wrong ammo to shoot a bear. For that day, they'll be almost right.
     
    .308 Norma and somethingbenign like this.
  7. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,436
    Location:
    North Alabama
    Any bullet sufficient for bear will work just fine on the other three.
     
    Patocazador, Buzznrose and rodwha like this.
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    5,377
    I agree about a DA, but would generally say the same thing about a Glock. I will admit, in handgun fundamentals classes, I have seen too many new shooters forget to cock the hammer in a single action revolver, I would ALMOST bet on an operator failure with an SA revolver. They might figure it out quickly after glancing at the revolver and wondering why it wouldn’t fire, but they might not in the panic of the moment. They might think it failed and throw it at the bear instead (using “think” very loosely there)...

    But for the Glock or the DA revolver: There’s the same number of buttons on a DA revolver as a Glock. If a panicked and inexperienced client picks up a DA revolver, looks for a safety - cuz all guns have safeties, right? - sees ONE button and pushes it, not realizing it’s the cylinder latch release, and effectively incapacitating the revolver. At least the Glock would go bang once - the revolver wouldn’t.

    “Pick up handgun, point at Bear, pull trigger.” That describes the operation of the DA or Glock equally, if both start loaded.

    Tragic case for sure, and I do not envy that client who unfortunately found out they didn’t have the wherewithal and firearms knowledge to save a life, and who unfortunately has to live with that branded on their heart’s history.

    BUT - it does serve as a great exemplar case to remind me why I became a firearms instructor, and do so much free instruction: every American citizen should understand basic firearms operation, at least to a “pick up the gun, point it at the bear, and make it go bang” level. Equally, it speaks to another mantra I live by and recommend for others: I want as little mechanical manipulation between “oh schitt” and “bang” as possible. This case illustrates the fact a lot CAN go wrong, even when there is no mechanical manipulation required.

    Consider if the guide had been carrying a Marlin 1895 - the client failed using a Glock, NO MANIPULATION REQUIRED - whereas to operate the Marlin 1895, likely the guide would have the safety on and the hammer down against it. So the client would have to make two intentional mechanical manipulations to operate the firearm... maybe they’ve watched western movies and when the trigger was dead, they realize they should run the lever, which ejects a live round (acceptable mistake at the time), but succeeds in cocking the hammer, they pull the trigger and the hammer slams into the crossbolt safety. Maybe they panic and cycle the lever again, to the same result. Maybe they bewilderdly look at the rifle to figure out what went wrong, see the safety, and attempt to press it.... not knowing the hammer must be cocked off of the crossbolt safety to allow the safety to move...

    It’s also very simple to envision a panicked client, unfamiliar and underexperienced, accidentally shooting the stricken guide instead of the bear, even if the client were able to successfully manipulate the firearm to fire. I always expect to hear a report of this kind of thing some year, but thankfully I just haven’t seen this terribly unfortunate possibility becoming a reality.

    It’s easy to imagine various realistic failures, especially when panic and unfamiliarity are a very present reality.

    Keep it simple, and know it intimately.
     
    bearcreek, rodwha and WrongHanded like this.
  9. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    SA, TX
    Other than shots actually hitting the right parts of the body, Deep, straight penetration is key. Flat nose hard cast bullets get that done better than just about anything else.

    We are so focused on JHP expansion that we sometimes think that hollow point is the deadliest round, but if it breaks apart or opens up so much it slows down and doesn’t reach critical stuff, it’s just a bad flesh wound.

    Larry Mudgett and Tim Sundles of Buffalo Bore ammo both concur on this point when it comes to bad critters
     
    rodwha likes this.
  10. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    SA, TX
    Based on that ammoland article in the OP, I am more convinced than ever that the .45 ACP is a very under appreciated woods round. Upping the round to a .45 Super not withstanding, loading a FLAT NOSE +P hard cast or FMJ round is a solid choice, especially with an accurate, easy(er) shooting firearm like a 1911, Glock/M&P/XD/Sig/FN gun that owners tend to shoot much more than their expensive, not fun hand cannons.

    Sure, lots of High Roaders sling lead frequently from their 41/44 mags, but most folks don’t. And as long as hits count, a deep, solid poke with a .45 ACP beats a ‘wing’ and a prayer with a .44 9.5 out of 10 times
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
    rodwha likes this.
  11. MaxP

    MaxP Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2015
    Messages:
    818
    Location:
    Virginia
    FMJ roundnose is never a good idea. They are notorious for not tracking straight and don't produce much of a wound channel. I would think any flat-nosed profile would offer a whole lot more from a penetration standpoint.
     
    rodwha and Patocazador like this.
  12. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,436
    Location:
    North Alabama
    For bruin defense: First rule, have a gun; second rule, be able to hit what you are shooting at. The actual cartridge seems a relatively distant third.
     
    Buzznrose likes this.
  13. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    SA, TX
    Dang good rules for ANY defense, Brother MCB!
     
    mcb likes this.
  14. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,836
    Location:
    In the Wild Horse Desert of Texas
    -And, in the case of a Glock, if there's a round in the chamber.
    If it's a revolver then you just pull the trigger again... .
     
  15. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    5,377
    Well, I did say “loaded”.... didn’t say “carried with an empty chamber like a moron.”
     
  16. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,836
    Location:
    In the Wild Horse Desert of Texas
    -'Nuff said.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
    MaxP likes this.
  17. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    New Mexico
    You're better off with bear spray.
     
  18. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    624
    Location:
    Oregon
    I think "TheHighRoad.org" would go out of business if we stopped discussing bear guns!... there is obviously nothing else in the gun world worth talking about.

    I have seen a bear in the wild 1 time in my life... at Yosemite NP. It was small to medium size bear pretty far off in the distance running in fear of its life with 100+ camera toting tourists chasing after it hot on the poor bears heals. I think every once in a long while we should let the bears have one... they have probably earned it.
     
    Gridley and .308 Norma like this.
  19. velojym

    velojym Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    621
    I tend to believe that most 'failure' stories involving firearms are gleefully spread by hoplophobes. If they do a good enough job of it, even some gun-friendly folks jump on the bandwagon, just to sound 'expert'. "You goin' into dem woods with a .9mm? May's'well not bother 'less you got a .50BMG. Dem little bullets jes make da bear mad!"

    Reminds me of the "tests" the 'grabbers used to "prove" that ccw was useless. What they didn't admit was, while the ccw'er in the scenario "died", the rest of the room was saved. But... that doesn't fit the agenda.
     
  20. MaxP

    MaxP Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2015
    Messages:
    818
    Location:
    Virginia
    You might be, but I’ll take my chances on a handgun.
     
  21. Ks5shooter

    Ks5shooter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,379
    Location:
    Communist state of nj
    This...... plus hard cast lead bullets:thumbup::thumbup: maxresdefault.jpg
     
  22. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    7,551
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Lemme just toss out having been a shooter of long guns for 30years now. Untill about 5 years ago, I wouldnt have known what to do with a Glock, besides pulling the trigger and racking the slide, and I'd STILL be as likely to shoot the guide as the bear.
    I'm actually better with a handgun than a number of my buddies.
    My buddy has a little Glock 9mm. He droped the mag while I was watching, trying to find a safety. Your thumb hits stuff when your feeling around.
    The client could we'll have been even worse than us.

    Take away IMO, is if your gonna have a gun, especially for defense, make sure anyone who MIGHT need to use it, is at least component enough to make it work.

    The client would have been better off with what ever rifle he used on the elk.... possibly even the more complicated lever gun that's been discussed.
    I know that doing something in an area where I know I might have to use a gun for self defense, I won't be carrying a handgun unless I have no other choice, and if that's all I've got....well hopefully I don't have to shoot around someone.
     
    Patocazador likes this.
  23. MaxP

    MaxP Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2015
    Messages:
    818
    Location:
    Virginia
    But competence is required no matter what we choose. It’s just harder with a handgun, but if you carry anything (long or short gun) for defensive purposes, you had better know how to use it. JMHO.
     
    LoonWulf likes this.
  24. SunnySlopes

    SunnySlopes Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    819
    I checked out a news source about the bear attack under discussion. As near as I can tell, there were two bears present and one attacked. The bear attacked the client in addition to the guide. The client was wounded in his arm, chest and leg. It was after he was wounded that the client got the guide's gun. That's significant because a) the client didn't know how the Glock functioned, b) the client was already significantly injured and c) the client was in an obvious state of panic.

    I sympathize with the client's plight. It was a bow hunt so maybe the client had no experience with guns at all.
     
    LoonWulf and Patocazador like this.
  25. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3,840
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Having been on several guided hunts in my early years, I find some of the comments ludicrous.

    I have only had one guide ever have me demonstrate that I was competent with my gun never mind his gun. That was in Namibia and he was a registered guide. No guide in the US ever even bothered to ask me to show him my gun. Unless I asked, none ever told me about their firearm.

    I think it is perfectly feasible that someone could hit the magazine release when they were fumbling with a pistol in a life-threatening situation.

    Armchair hindsight is always infallible.
     
    rodwha, .308 Norma, MaxP and 3 others like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice