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Old July 19, 2021, 02:40 PM   #45
Senior Member
Join Date: June 15, 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 10,442
I've been hiking/camping in N. GA since the 1970's. While it is true that 2 legged predators are by far the most likely problem black bear are common in the areas where I spend most of my time.

I've also spent a fair amount of time in the Smokys and have camped all over the west including Yellowstone. Most bear don't want any trouble and while I've seen many, I've never felt threatened. But bear do attack. There have been 3 people killed and several more injured by black bear within a 2 hour drive from my house in the last dozen years.

Virtually all problem black bear are those who have been fed by other humans. It isn't uncommon for hikers to see a bear and put out food to get a better picture. Then the bear expects food from every human they see. Most aren't actually attacking you, just aggressively trying to get your pack for food. But you could still end up injured or dead.

We had a bear a few years ago that got good at sneaking up behind hikers and stealing the packs off their backs as they walked. It was eventually killed.

With that in mind I choose a gun for 2 legged predators 1st, but something big enough to work on bear in a pinch. I used to carry a 3" or 4" 357 mag revolver and that still isn't a bad option.

But anymore I prefer some sort of semi. A 9mm loaded with some of the heavier 147 gr hardcast bullets from Buffalo Bore and Double Tap work pretty well on bear if you have to use it. I think the gun you have is a sensible minimum, but if in bear country would advise looking into the better loads for it.

They worked on an Alaskan Brown bear.

But I just feel better with a 10mm or 45 loaded with similar bullets. I used a G29 in 10mm for years, but wouldn't sleep with a loaded chamber.

I thought about keeping it in a holster, but still needed 2 hands to get it out of a holster not attached to my hip. I found it just as fast and a lot easier to just leave the chamber empty. Another reason for a semi is the ability to attach a light for night time use.

My go-to camping gun more recently is a Smith M&P 45 Compact with a 1911 style safety. I can attach a light, leave the chamber loaded with the safety on and use 8 round mags loaded with 255 gr Buffalo Bore ammo when carrying. Or use the longer full size 10 round mags at night. One mag loaded with conventional HP ammo, another with bear loads.
"If you're still doing things the same way you were doing them 10 years ago, you're doing it wrong"

Winston Churchill
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