Polar bear defensive handgun

COWBOYBUCK

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I would go with the Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum. I have one and I wouldn't worry about it stopping anything that walks. The kick is not as bad as people say, even on my short 4 inch barreled model. I've shot it one handed several times. It's also very accurate.
 

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etisll40

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I kinda think you are right. The guides in Alaska set the standard, they have used them and I'd guess they know you need to be right when relf fear comes your way. There are no second chances. I have the 460, it's step brother, but i'm going to sell it and get a 500, same length, probably not as fancy but you got it right it right I'd guess. I will hunt Alaska, and I'd like to know I can save my life if needed.
 

COWBOYBUCK

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I think that's a smart move. Make sure to practice with to get comfortable with it. Good luck while your up there, I hope you have fun.
 

ATH

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Go lift an X-frame revolver and think about whether you are really going to want to carry that day in and day out. More than once I have seen someone have to have it because "44 is not enough for bear" and leave it in the truck after the first day.

It was not that long ago that the 44 was the biggest around, and it didn't seem to suffer from a reputation of being so weak then. The round has not changed.

Personally I am comfortable with 41Mag and 44Mag loaded with relatively heavy hardcast bullets pushed (safely) hard. I carry either a Taurus titanium 41 or a SW329 scandium 44. Neither gun is fun to shoot a box on the range, but I will never leave them in the truck either. I suggest taking a look at a 329.

The hardest hitting handgun in the world is useless if you can't hit with it. If you don't feel you can become acceptably comfortable with a revolver, get a Glock 20.

Remember, this is only a backup to the shotgun. And I second a can of bear spray.
 

etisll40

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Probably good advise, I always thought the 41 magnum had a place for backup. I just wonder what the load might be. It's an awful lot of power and head shot seems to be most likely used. What load would be considered? Bear can spray awesome too.
 

Capt RB

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Get a 10mm. You will be in a position to be able to see the bear long before it is critical distance. Practice moving laterally while emptying your magazine into a 6" target. Get a load ramp for your truck and practice moving up and down while emptying the magazine. Grizzly would be different because of dense cover in which they may spring from. Then you may only have time for 1 or 2 shots. Open areas will allow you time to shoot quite a few shots.
Here is a video of Ted Nuggent using a 10 to finish off a cape buffalo. Granted the Buff was about done, however 4 quick shots to the head/neck area from a platform he was use to was lethal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcTiIfBbJ_c#t=84
 

ATH

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Probably good advise, I always thought the 41 magnum had a place for backup. I just wonder what the load might be. It's an awful lot of power and head shot seems to be most likely used. What load would be considered? Bear can spray awesome too.

In the 41 I use a 250gr Cast Performance WFNGC over 18.3gr H110 with OAL=1.559" using a heavy crimp as in these light revolvers the recoil can pull the bullets on the later rounds and lock up the cylinder. THIS LOAD HAS BEEN SAFE IN MY GUN BUT IS STRONG AND I AM NOT TELLING YOU TO LOAD THIS. START LOW AND WORK UP CAREFULLY. I would need to dig deeper to find the velocity I get.

My view on this hotly-contested topic is that the importance extra few inches of penetration of the larger rounds is over-hyped. The only thing that will stop a charging bear in its tracks is a bullet to the brain or spine. Any of the calibers discussed here can do that (9mm aside). So what if a 454 gives you four more inches penetration through the lungs, the bear may expire a couple minutes sooner but it will have already had plenty of time to do you in. Having a gun capable of head/spine penetration but with more moderate recoil to allow an extra shot or two on goal at the head/spine is a rational argument.
 

COWBOYBUCK

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I bought my daughter bear repellent, because she gets off work at night sometimes. She can carry it legally and it shoots a long way, even into the wind.
 

docgbwhite

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Oct 21, 2014
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Roosevelt UT
Being able to reflect on a few deadly charges, one including a big brown bear, no handgun is good medicine unless it's the only weapon you have. I found a charge to be just like combat, little time to think, only time to react, you do what you have trained yourself to do. good or bad. The other side of the coin is that you will never use a handgun except at VERY close range, just beyond the range of the other guys knife, or in this case, the bears teeth, unless you deliberately hunt with a handgun, then you have brains enuff to arm your guide or buddy with a big caliber rifle. With the above in mind, arm yourself with what you are trained for, in your case a large caliber auto. I like the 10mm, my AMT Javelina is a suberb weapon but the longslide is a bit clumsy. A Glock in 10 mm should do the trick for you. You'll never successfully make anything but a head shot anyway. any other shot in any other location, except that lucky spine shot, with any other handgun in any caliber will only slightly prolong the encounter. DOC
 

Methow Packer

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I think too big a gun is hard to control when you really need performance. Recoil is a lot lot heavier with a 454 and larger. Try one before you buy and you'll most likely agree. I'd stick with a cartridge you can control yet still penetrate. I'd think about .44 mag in the length of barrel of your choice in a SW loaded with hard cast wide frontal 300 grainers. Cross draw holsters are the most comfortable and stay out off the way for average activity. It's been proven you don't need much more than 1200FPS to make a hard cast bullet penetrate more than 24" with a large wound cavity. Good luck
 

phorwath

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have you ever tried spray? Or are you just of the opinion it won't do the job because...?

A guy I work with brought his bear spray to work to demonstrate it's use to us co-workers. He never could get it to fire its contents.

After that show of confidence, I decided the only thing I'd use bear spray for was target practice with the firearm I intend to stop the bear with.
 
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