There is something else to consider when deciding on a revolver or semi-auto. As you've already said you may not even be aware of a cougar until it's literally on you. If you can get to your pistol you are looking at a contact shot which could cause a failure to return to battery situation. If you have the gun jambed between you and the cougar you could prevent the slide from cycling at all.
You can shoot limited numbers of hard cast bullets though a Glock with no problems. Shooting fifty rounds of hard cast to function test the ammo isn't going to cause a problem, as long as you clean it thoroughly afterwards. The problems come in when people shoot softer bullets and think it's a glock, it only need to be cleaned once a year.