Bears: The Gun Option


.454 Casull


Bears are hard to kill. If you’re going into bear territory, it’s a good idea to be armed accordingly. An Alaskan fishing guide was suddenly attacked by a bear that he estimates weighed 900 pounds! He drew his .454 Casull magnum and pulled the trigger as fast as he could. Luckily, he dropped the bear and was unharmed.

You should be aware that a problem with blades and bullets (especially small calibers with ball or full jacketed rounds) is that an opponent may not immediately realize he has been cut or shot. Whether you’re shooting the opponent or hitting him, you need to make certain the impact is great enough that he goes down or is incapacitated.


4 Responses to “Bears: The Gun Option”

  1. I’m pleased to see firearms mentioned on this blog as a option for self-defense. The use of firearms may not be usually considered a martial art, but it has become, say, an American Craft, since the Civil War and the late 1800s. Perhaps this is why it’s necessary to visit other “blade” cultures to find realistic training with sticks and such.

    Now about the bears…they are not all created equal. The black bear is generally a less aggressive beast than the grizzly (aka Alaskan brown), so the amount of protection necessary for self defense is less than that for a grizzly. Black bears and cougars can be driven off with some thing less than lethal force, if they attack at all. Probably the most consistent characteristic of bear behavior is the the lack of consistency.

    And about firearms…they are not all created equal. But if you are interested in a “one shot stop” against a 2-300 pound varmint (man or beast), with a handgun that is relatively easy to pack along and have handy, pick a .45 ACP, or a .357 magnum, or a .40 S&W. The revolver in the picture is more gun than most people can handle…more of the story is that the gun jammed after 3 or 4 rounds were fired, probably because the recoil was so powerful that the remaining rounds were lengthen as the bullets backed out of the case because they had not been crimped hard enough.

    Careful bullet selection is also necessary to achieve best stopping power, but there are usually several good varieties to choose from for any caliber. Here’s a link to a good site which ranks the calibers by their “one shot stop” history.

    So, short “fire” sticks are available, providing excellent self-defense capability in a close encounter…even workable in a phone booth, and out to 30 feet or more with some training and practice. But my preference for self-defense is the long fire stick, a shotgun with buckshot, at least 20 gauge, and 12 gauge if dealing with large beasts.

    While not hunting I use a hiking staff…it’s always in my hand and if I’m surprised by an attack I hope to use it effectively to stop the attack. This blog has given me many ideas and insights in the use of a “long staff” to deliver a powerful blow in self-defense. And from the rules of a gunfight, have a plan…and have a backup plan, because the first plan probably won’t work. Maybe that’s a short stick in my pocket, eh…

  2. Thanks for the info on bears Old Dave.

    If you want to add something to your staff a Cold Steel Bushman makes a spear with an edge when added to a hiking staff. If you rig up a flat spring steel device with a nail welded to it that lines up with the hole in the bushman but you could have a quick attachment rather than just a friction fit. You would need to drill a hole in your staff to accept the nail so everything lays relatively flat (you still need something to grip the spring so you can hold it open while you slide the Bushman on) when the Bushman is not attached.

  3. Dave,

    Thanks for the info. You’re right, I’ve seen the revolver pictured above at a gun store, and it is HUGE.

    I believe in being realistic. There’s a time and a place for firearms.

    As for the plan and backup plan part, there’s an old boxing saying, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the nose.”

  4. If I encounter a bear I plan to stab one of my companions in the leg and run like hell;) Pretty sure I can outrun a guy with a leg wound.

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