Would you go against a black bear with a 9mm?


Malachi

New member
Ok, new to the forum, and relatively new to handguns. Had a Glock 22 about 13 years ago when I lived in Louisiana, but got rid of it when I moved out of state.

Anyhow, I now live near Los Angeles. Recently my father gave me a Hi Point C9 9mm. I do a lot of hiking in the mountains around here and have never seen a bear, but didn't care since I was single and figured I could deal with it. But, now that I have a wife and 2 small children, and a 3rd on the way, I'm thinking ” what if we do meet a bear and he ain't happy?)

So, figured I could get a CCW and carry my 9mm with me just in case. But, would a 9mm be enough to stop a bear? If not, what would you recommend? A .40SW like I used to have?
 

WV_Ray

New member
Check with the local park rangers and/or game wardens to see if bears are a problem and if so, what they would carry for bear defense. Personally, I wouldn't carry anything smaller than a .44 mag if bears were a concern.
 
YES - I second WV_Ray. (PS - I'm originally from WV too.) The only pistol calibers that I'd feel remotely comfortable with as bear defense would be .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, or .50 S&W Magnum.

Even with those...you stand a really good chance of inflicting a less-than-lethal wound on the bear and pissing it off. Wild bears are built a bit more sturdy than humans, and can keep going for a while even WITH a mortal wound. So - high caliber...multiple shots...accurate placement...fast reloading.


And bring a change of pants and underwear. For the hike home. :p
 

yolk100

New member
From what I hear Bear Spray (basically a big can of pepper spray) is what ranger in Nevada recommend.
 

father-of-three

New member
Do you mean a grizzly bear?
I have black bear in my area (Pennsylvania), but they tend to stay away from people and for the most part, are not that large (relatively speaking!). Unless there's a food and one gets between the food and the bear, they tend to not be a problem. I think the chances of running into a deer with a car are much greater than walking into a situation with a bear.

There was a thread recently that was posted about someone killing a boar with a .380. The other interesting comment that was made on that post was that full metal jacket ammunition would be more effective given the animal's thicker skin.
 

mistergus75

New member
First...ditch the Hi-Point. My first gun was a Hi-Point C9 9mm, and they are unreliable, a chore to clean and field-strip.

I know...some swear by Hi-Points. They have a lifetime guarantee, just send it back it there's a problem, blah, blah, blah.

The fact is that no other handgun has as many negative reviews as Hi-Point. Why trust your life to anything that has so many speaking ill of it?

Spend...the...money. Get a decent, reliable weapon with a good reputation. Just do it.

Ditch the Hi-Point.
 

Malachi

New member
Thanks for all the advice. So seriously? Even a .40S&W or .357 magnum would not be reliable? I never knew bears were that tough.

Again, I've never team into one. I just have started thinking about it now that I have a family.
 

father-of-three

New member
Thanks for all the advice. So seriously? Even a .40S&W or .357 magnum would not be reliable? I never knew bears were that tough.

Again, I've never team into one. I just have started thinking about it now that I have a family.

I think the last post was making the point of having a reliable hand gun, not just a specific caliber. I don't have the ballistic numbers on hand, but 9mm FMJ might be all you need in an angry bear sitation, depending on shot placement.
 

JohnLM

New member
Phillip Gain:252173 said:
YES - I second WV_Ray. (PS - I'm originally from WV too.) The only pistol calibers that I'd feel remotely comfortable with as bear defense would be .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, or .50 S&W Magnum.

Even with those...you stand a really good chance of inflicting a less-than-lethal wound on the bear and pissing it off. Wild bears are built a bit more sturdy than humans, and can keep going for a while even WITH a mortal wound. So - high caliber...multiple shots...accurate placement...fast reloading.


And bring a change of pants and underwear. For the hike home. :p
Thats a good one-- change of pants
 

GB-Boater

New member
If they have cubs, do not get between the sow and the cubs. It's the worst case scenario with any breed of bear.
Mostly, if a bear hears you, you'll never see them.
So: 1 Don't sneak up on them.
2 Don't get near their food supply.
3 Stay away from the cubs.
4 A wounded bear is extremely dangerous.

Are they tough ? They have been recorded as taking a hit to the heart and still making it 20 yards or so the hunter.

Talk to the local park wardens for advise.
 

KCD1974

New member
Well if that's all you have, it beats harsh words and rocks! I went camping in Northern MN earlier this year with only a 9mm for protection, is it ideal nope, is it better than nothing...heck yeah!

I saw a show one time where a black bear attacked a family in TN, the bear mauled her then carried off and killer her 6 year old daughter. Odds are you won't kill the bear before it attacks you with a 9mm but WORST case, at least if it's "on top" of you, you'll be able to shoot it in the head several times....

I'd say if that is all you have, you are comfortable shooting it, then go for it.

In my case, for future camping trips, I picked up a Mossberg 500 super bantam 20ga. It's a youth 20ga shotgun, it's VERY light, easy to pack and will more than easily take down a black bear.

As the old saying goes, the 9mm you have is better than the .357, .44, .454 that you should have bought.

BTW GOOD LUCK getting a permit in CA LOL....
 

nogods

New member
Two years ago a New York State Trooper (i.e., state police) off duty camping with his girlfriend in the Adirondacks used his service weapon (which I've been told by a NYS DEC Ranger was a 9mm) to kill a black bear that was moving aggressively toward him and his girlfriend.

Still, bear spray is more effective. Bear Spray vs Bullets

BTW - there are no grizzly bears in California. But there are lots of black bears.

Black bears are not as aggressive as grizzlies. However, once a black bear becomes habituated to human sent, it becomes more dangerous than a grizzly. When a grizzly attacks it is usually to neutralize the threat. So experts advice to play dead for a grizzly attack hoping it will swat and move on, which is often the case.

When a black bear attacks its purpose is to destroy the threat. That's why experts advise to fight off a black bear attack. Playing dead will just make it easy for the bear to rip you apart, which is what it intends to do when it attacks. It isn't going to swat and run. it is going to destroy you.

In either case, a shot of bear spray will stop both in their tracks. A 44 mag may not.
 

nogods

New member
A black bear is resistant to 44 magnum bullets, but melts in terror from pepper spray?

My BS meter is overloading!!

-Doc
Perhaps you should read the two studies cited in the link. Facts are sooooo inconvenient sometimes.

USFWS report and a study done by Canadian bear biologist Dr. Stephen Herrero that reached similar conclusions
 

ironmike86

New member
When I was a kid we would pepper spray black bears in the Junk yard. Didn't do much in making them move.Make them mad. They would chase us. But we were dumb kid and it was fun. We would drive away in the truck. If you are undergunned spay may make you feel safer. But the was a recent black bear killing...with a pellet gun. Now the guys getting charged. He was just trying to scare it. Than that recent guy in the news who let all the animals loose. A Leo killed a Blacky with his service gun 2 shoots? I forget and don't know what the caliber was.The noise from gun maybe all you need? If you shoot it then it's getting mad. I would carry as big as I could. but IMO at least a .357 or 10mm.But if you search the internet enough you can find a study that will say what you wish to hear. :)
 
There is an old saying, "don't poke the bear." With a 9mm that is essentially what you'd be doing. I wouldn't have anything smaller than a .44 mag and I'd have a large can of bear strength pepper spray with me as well.
 

Bighouse Doc

New member
Our friends to the north aren't allowed guns for defense. Of course there was a preconclusion of the research- it would prove guns are worthless against bears and only pepper spray stops bears. The rest was just arrange the evidence!

I always have suspicion of government research geared toward a political agenda!

-Doc
 

nogods

New member
When I was a kid we would pepper spray black bears in the Junk yard. Didn't do much in making them move.Make them mad. They would chase us. But we were dumb kid and it was fun. We would drive away in the truck. If you are undergunned spay may make you feel safer. But the was a recent black bear killing...with a pellet gun. Now the guys getting charged. He was just trying to scare it. Than that recent guy in the news who let all the animals loose. A Leo killed a Blacky with his service gun 2 shoots? I forget and don't know what the caliber was.The noise from gun maybe all you need? If you shoot it then it's getting mad. I would carry as big as I could. but IMO at least a .357 or 10mm.But if you search the internet enough you can find a study that will say what you wish to hear. :)
No, you won't find any study that has facts showing that a firearm is a more effective protection against a bear attack than bear spray.

A wounded bear is a killer bear. Miss and the bear will be pooping your gun out later with you.

Bear spray is more effective because it allows for a larger margin of error. The bear knows immediately (unlike a misplaced wound from a firearm) that it has hit a wall. It can't breath, it can't smell, it can't see. It wants out of the area as quickly as possible.

Your chance of getting the same immediate impact with a firearm is a lot less. Lots of hunters have been mauled or killed by bears they shot. this is all too common: Wounded Bear Attacks Hunter

Leading with your heart instead of your mind is a sure way to die a romantic death.
 

twogunwilly

American
I worked with a french bear hunter who said all he used was a .22 on treed bears, shot them under the chin up into the brain.
 

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