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Old June 24, 2009, 10:08 PM   #1
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9mm against mountain lions coyotes and black bears?

could a 9mm save your life in a black bear or mountain lion encounter?
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Old June 24, 2009, 10:15 PM   #2
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It could. I personally wouldn't want to bet my life on a 9mm, 40S&W or 45 ACP round against a determined four legged predator, though. I'd lean towards hot 357 mag loads as a starting point for a defensive handgun if you're worried about black bears.
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Old June 24, 2009, 10:17 PM   #3
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I have only shot a few bears however I have shot well over 100 head of big game and as a guide I have seen hundreds of large game shot. While guiding I would used recently dead animals as a test medium for various handgun bullets. My educated guess is yes it will provide marginal killing power and stopping power only if heavy flatnose fmj +p ammo is used. Most modern hollowpoints are way to soft and fast opening to be used on big game.
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Old June 24, 2009, 10:54 PM   #4
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If using top ammo, say a bit heavier than normal (147s or such) I don't see why not. Now we are talking defense right? Not hunting. See defense you will be close, real close. So for that use I have no doubt if you can shoot well, it will do.
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Old June 24, 2009, 11:02 PM   #5
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A 9mm is better than nothing

With that said, if that was the only gun I owned then I would hope/pray I got the chance to put all 15 rounds in that bear before it got to me. Since I do not
have a 44mag, my 686 SW is my camping gun, all I can do i hope 7 357 will stop
the beast before he/she has its way with me.
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Old June 25, 2009, 07:58 AM   #6
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Be just fine for a cougar. You'd want FMJ if you were dealing with a black bear, and you'd want to know where to put them (Google for a black bear shot-placement chart and study the skull in particular).
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Old June 25, 2009, 09:11 AM   #7
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I would not use a 9mm,40,or 45 unless it was all I had. I see it this way, a decent 41mag oir 44 mag can be had used for $400.00. How much is your medical deductable, how much money will you lose to lost wages. IF you survive and what about lifelong injuries, loss of an eye or a limb worth.

I would carry a good 10% bear mace and use the gun as a last resort. I have personally seen what a determined animal can do, they can be clinically dead and still have seconds left to do you harm. I have seen animals with their heart destroyed go a hundred or more yards, that same amount of time could be used dismembering you.

I have shot a 400+ pound black bear ( already wounded by a 30-06) just behind the shoulder with a 350 Remington mag 250gr bullet. That bear also got another shot from the same gun in the shoulder and it summersaulted. The bear kept going 100 yards over a hill and got shot in the side with a 7mm rem mag, then came back at me and at 30 yards I shot it in the face with the 350rem and dropped it. I don't think any handgun would have stopped this bear unless it penetrated the brain.

I don't know too many people who can hit a loping/running bear charging them in the head with a handgun, and most can't do it with a rifle either. A cougar is the same thing, try hitting a running cougar with a handgun, a charging animal presents a much more difficult target and shot especially under stress. Try putting a piece of cardboard inside a tire, have someone roll it at 25 yards and see if you can hit it. The kill zone on these animals is smaller than the inside diameter of a typical car tire.

I understand the question and as a last resort gun I would use flatpoint FMJ, I believe they will have sufficient penetration and the flat point verses ball may do more damage. I cannot say for sure never seeing an animal shot with either or both for comparision. I carry a 41 magnum, ( Taurus tracker ported ) when in bear country as well as a 12 gauge 16inch barrel with slugs the gun is on a sling.
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Old June 25, 2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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+1 NH Yankee

I'd never put myself in a bear/cougar locale with less than my 657 .41mag.
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Old June 25, 2009, 12:33 PM   #9
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Plenty for 'yotes, OK for cougars, Not quite enough for black bears..........

I recall several photos in hunting magazines over the years of cougars hunted and killed with 9mm handguns. Several pictures I've seen of a successful hunter standing over a dead kitty with a Beretta 92 in his hand.

I'd want (and do carry) a .357 or bigger in black bear country.
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Old June 25, 2009, 02:05 PM   #10
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could a 9mm save your life in a black bear or mountain lion encounter?
I suppose it could if you could get the bear to choke on it.
There's plenty of debate about whether 9mm is enough to face a human, let alone a bear.

If I was anticipating having to face a bear, I'd have a .44 on my hip.
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Old June 25, 2009, 02:14 PM   #11
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Someone would have to be crazy to put themselves in an environment where they could encounter an animal such as this with a 9mm as their only defense. Seriously. If you hike or whatever in these environments, get at least a 357 magnum with a 4" barrel for a mountain lion or a 44 magnum with similar barrel for a bear. A bear being shot with a 9mm is about the same as a human being shot with a pellet gun.
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Old June 25, 2009, 02:19 PM   #12
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If I was anticipating having to face a bear, I'd have a .44 on my hip.
^ This.

Research your hiking area, and get to know it well.

If it's not known for bear in the area, then a 9mm auto is just fine. Big mtn lion max out around 250 pounds, but that's a rare cat. About as rare as an 800 pound black bear.

Usual weights for a mtn lion are around 150 pounds, and black bear (in my area) run around 300 pounds.

You're most likely to stand off a bear and shout or shoot at it from defensive distances, while a cat you're more likely to be rolling on the ground trying to get it off your back and throat, or reacting to a missed pounce.

In all reality though, if you're over 6 foot tall you are very unlikely to even catch glimpse of a big cat. You're no longer prey. My run ins with big cats were largely due to the fact I was dating a girl that was really short at the time. She looked like food.

9mm has killed bear... but I carry a .44 when in toothy-hairy wild areas. I would rather carry a 5-shot .357 snub than a 17 shot wundernine for bear protection.
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Old June 25, 2009, 02:23 PM   #13
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Make me your beneficiary

I would only ask that anyone who wants to take on a mountain lion or black bear with a 9 sillymeter take out a large life insurance policy with ME as the beneficiary.
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Old June 25, 2009, 02:39 PM   #14
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You never shot a mountain lion, eh, Tex? Or do they grow tougher over there - like your steaks?
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Old June 25, 2009, 03:31 PM   #15
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I don't know about bears, but maybe the noise would scare off a wild cat. I don't know if it would stop one that actually wanted to eat you at all costs. It is maybe like criminals? Some will turn and run at the noise, some may die from one shot, some may take many shots, and if they really want your *ss bad, they might just keep coming despite soaking up some lead. Probably depends on their temperment and the time of day, the phase of the moon, etc.
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Old June 25, 2009, 05:07 PM   #16
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My educated guess is yes it will provide marginal killing power and stopping power only if heavy flatnose fmj +p ammo is used.
+1 on this. This would be the bare minimum I would carry
Doubletaps +P 147gr FMJ-FP

On a personal note, I carry a .357 loaded with 180gr hard cast FP's when I hike/camp or canoe in black bear country.
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Old June 25, 2009, 08:35 PM   #17
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If your hiking area is near where you live, Thousand Oaks, CA, then your most likely threat is the same as mine in San Diego County: mountain lions. They prefer deer or mountain sheep, but find joggers, hikers and golfers yummy too. Their tactics render the question of "what caliber" rather irrelevant. They ambush their prey from behind. If you see a mountain lion, you have already won. Indian woodcutters (the ones in Inja) defend themselves from tigers by putting a face mask on the backs of their heads. You might think of doing that.

As for black bears, do a search on them. A bit of a yawner. Ditto coyotes. You should worry more about ground squirrels -- they are loaded with dread diseases.

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Old June 25, 2009, 08:58 PM   #18
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I usually carry a 9mm or my Tokarev in 7.62x25mm in the woods. I've dropped a 'yote with the Tokarev. It dropped that sucker like you jerked the carpet out from under it. We have had many reports of mountain lions moving in, and I've seen one twice at distance. I think it would require a sustained burst from either caliber to stop a 90-110lb hungry cat.

Of course, I also usually have my 8mm mauser or Puma 92 scout in .45colt when I'm out for a stomp through the woods. But if I get jumped and lose the rifle (cats like to jump out of the trees or otherwise ambush. 'yotes usually leave you alone.) I can then pull the pistola and give one last effort.
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Old June 25, 2009, 09:07 PM   #19
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People in Texas who actually hunt cougars frequently hunt them with .22 magnum rifles. Cougars are thin-skinned and not particularly hard to kill.
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Old June 25, 2009, 09:17 PM   #20
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Many a treed kitty has been killed with a .22 to .38. A 9mm is more powerful than those two.....not the best choice, but it will work......Bears, especially a mad momma, might require a different approach
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Old June 25, 2009, 09:31 PM   #21
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Tokarev in 7.62x25mm
Now that round shoots through alot with FMJ.

Or if you need penitration with your 9x19, gets some British L7A1 ammo. 1400 fps from a glock ought about do it.

Oh, and guys, do a google on black bear attacks. There have been a few, but they are rare. Much more rare than Cougar attacks. And if you are going in the woods here in Texas, I'd worry more about wild hogs.
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Old June 25, 2009, 09:48 PM   #22
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Carry your 9mm, but take along some pepper spray also...
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Old June 25, 2009, 11:46 PM   #23
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9mm alright, long gun better choice.

If you can only carry a pistol, then anything is better than nothing. A long gun would be better. .22 magnum or .17 cal for cougar/bobcat would be OK, but a bear might require a larger caliber.
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Old June 26, 2009, 12:23 AM   #24
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You won't talk me into hiking around with a 22 mag. Sorry. 357 mag? Maybe. I would rather be over-prepared than under-prepared.
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Old June 26, 2009, 01:15 AM   #25
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Best 9mm for bear?

I know of one bear killed by a hunter. Upon dressing the carcass, a 9mm slug was found buried in the roof of his mouth, long healed over. No record of who put that 9mm slug there, though. But from the angle, speculation would hint that the shooter was WAY too close.

I carry a 454 Casull on my right hip to be used only as backup to bear spray on my left. OC (Pepper) spray has been shown to be VERY effective. In a recent 21 year period, there were 83 incidents of bear spray use in Alaska and in those cases, no user injuries requiring hospitalization.
or if the link does not work, paste this into your web browser

My conclusion, carry the 9mm, but only for two-legged predators. Spend $50 for a can of spray. - the big can. Or UDAP spray. Supposed to be better, but is still developing a track record.

On the other hand, there is a 9mm that would be GREAT for bear. The 9x57 Mauser.

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