.380, 9.3×18, .38 Revolvers - Handguns in Defense Against Bears by Caliber

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FYI & FWIW:


"...We found five cases involving a .38 revolver, probably a .38 S&W Special. Two were successful against brown bears. Two were successful against black bears. One was a failure against a black bear..."

:)
 
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DGW1949

Hunter
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Yeah, a .36 caliber projectile may indeed, kill a bear....The real question though, is will it (or maybe even 3-4 more like it) stop the bear before it kills you?.....In other words, when it's seconds that count, it don't much matter if the bear dies 2 or 3 days later or not , eh?...In my estimation, the nit-wits in the examples given are all lucky they ain't dead.

DGW
 
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Yeah, a .36 caliber projectile may indeed, kill a bear....The real question though, is will it (or maybe even 3-4 more like it) stop the bear before it kills you?.....In other words, when it's seconds that count, it don't much matter if the bear dies 2 or 3 days later or not , eh?...In my estimation, the nit-wits in the examples given are all lucky they ain't dead.

DGW

Would I carry a .380 if I expected to be attacked by a bear? No - but even a .380 is better than a knife, or bear spray if the wind is blowing the wrong direction. Reality is, all the prep in the world can improve your chances, but it never guarantees anything. With that in mind, anyone who gets attacked by a bear & survives is "lucky they ain't dead"! And if all I owned was a .380 (or even a .22), I wouldn't be leaving it at home.

As always IMHO, FWIW, YMMV, etc.
:)
 

MHtractorguy

Single-Sixer
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True story, but not educational or instructional in any way.
I have a couple of barns and a garage out behind the house. There is a "street light" type security light on a pole up near the house.
I often carry a steel frame 380 semiauto (FEG AP mk2) Walther PP clone while out there at night because coyotes like chickens and I don't see coyotes during the day. I was in the garage, halfway out to the chicken zoo. I heard some noise out at the zoo, so I walked out of the garage.
I met a small bear about 20 feet from the door of the garage, on all fours in the dark looking at me. (probably 250 pounds) I tried to spook it, but it would keep looking out toward the chickens, who were making a lot of noise at 10PM. I looked out there, and back at the bear.
Bear went into the shadows. I found and killed three coyotes in the chicken zoo that night. I have never seen another bear on my property.
I treat bears like I treat black racer snakes. I give them a safe yard, they give me a safe yard.
I did buy a Ruger SP101MC 357 the next day, just because THAT WAS A BEAR!!
 
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gnappi

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I won't even follow a link to something so absurd.

Other links I don't follow:

Parachutes that fail to deploy fully, rock climbers in distress, snow jumping fails, white water rapid kayak accidents, dopes that hit mean dogs, motorcycle tricksters... Y'all get the picture :)
 
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There was an incident back in 1977, that most folks have never heard of. A geologist was doing field work for the US Geological Survey, when she was attacked by a bear. As the bear chewed on one of her arms, she managed to reach her radio (she didn't have a gun) and call for help. While she waited for help to arrive, the bear started chewing on her other arm. Fortunately, she survived:

1715970994497.png



Now, most of the folks who frequent this forum own more than one firearm, but an awful lot of Americans own just a .38 revolver , or a 9mm or .380 automatic. Apparently some folks wouldn't bother to carry such a small caliber handgun for bear defense (maybe they know karate, or jujutsu ;^). Personally, if there was a bear chewing on one of my arms, I would be thanking God if I could reach a .38 or .380 (or even a .22) with my free hand. And that hasn't been just a theoretical consideration for me - I also did field work for the US Geological Survey, for three years following the attack on the young lady pictured above.

IMHO, any gun is better than no gun. Others might leave the .38 at home and carry a radio, or an air horn, or bear bells. As they say, "To each his own!"
:)
 
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Joined
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I won't even follow a link to something so absurd.

Other links I don't follow:

Parachutes that fail to deploy fully, rock climbers in distress, snow jumping fails, white water rapid kayak accidents, dopes that hit mean dogs, motorcycle tricksters... Y'all get the picture :)

The article gives a different picture than what you're imagining:

"...We found five cases involving a .38 revolver, probably a .38 S&W Special. Two were successful against brown bears. Two were successful against black bears. One was a failure against a black bear..."

:)
 

Schmidtg

Bearcat
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alaska
I think this is a precursor to the previous attachment regarding effectiveness of smallish semi autos for protection. Hopefully this isn't another post of the same old song. That said it is a good song.
The Alaska Dept of Fish and Game has several links to firearm effectiveness for hunting. Of note is that pump action 12 gauges are very commonly used by their agents, at least around population centers (Anchorage).
So, after years of enjoyable cogitation I decided that a "powerful as you can effectively shoot" semi auto (think 10mm or 45Super or 460 Rowland) with at least 10 rounds in the magazine is a good answer. Why the 10+ rounds. . . . It gives you several rounds to try to scare off any unwanted guests while leaving you a good number of rounds to use in earnest. Why, semi-auto. . . . Ease of repeat shots with good potential to hit what is pointed at.

Be safe and don't poke the Bear
 

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  • Update- Handgun or Pistol Against Bear Attack- 93 cases, 97% Effective.pdf
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Joined
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...The Alaska Dept of Fish and Game has several links to firearm effectiveness for hunting. Of note is that pump action 12 gauges are very commonly used by their agents, at least around population centers (Anchorage).
So, after years of enjoyable cogitation I decided that a "powerful as you can effectively shoot" semi auto (think 10mm or 45Super or 460 Rowland) with at least 10 rounds in the magazine is a good answer...

Many years ago when I was working for Uncle Sam in the lower 48, their "officially approved" bear defense weapon was also a 12 gauge pump, loaded with slugs IIRC. Unfortunately, the management I worked for during the 3 years I spent doing field work in "the middle of nowhere" Montana, Idaho & Wyoming did not approve of employees carrying firearms, either government issued or privately owned. (And for frosting on the cake, the agency motor pool would not put winches on field vehicles, because they thought winches made it more likely that their vehicles would get stuck. ;^)

Later, when I worked for a different agency out of an office in Colorado, 12 gauge pumps were again theoretically approved & available for bear defense, but only if you got approval to attend & completed bear defense training. Funny thing - the training was treated like a perk or award, so folks who never left the office would get approved, while people who spent several months every year in bear country never got the training (& therefore remained unarmed).

I mention all of the above to highlight a simple fact - we live in a world that is far from perfect. A lot of discussions of bear defense tend to drift towards theoretical ideals (caliber, capacity, projectile design, etc.). Out in the real world, some employers or land owners may prohibit certain types of firearms (or all firearms) in bear country, or individuals may not own firearms commonly recommended for bear defense. If you're dealing with such restrictions, should you leave your 'inadequate' .38 revolver or .45acp 1911 at home? Apparently some people might, even though evidence strongly suggests that any gun is better than no gun.

As noted above, "to each his own!"
:)
 
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I believe the article really asks more questions than are the calibers mentioned are good for bear protection. Those attacked used a gun and somewhat stopped the attack. There is a difference in stopping and attack and killing the attacker. What if those mentioned had just a knife, bow/arrow, large club or walking stick. How about bear spray. Maybe the end results would be the same. What if they used a 12ga. with slugs?
 
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As the article @Schmidtg attached states:

"Handgun or Pistol Against Bear Attack: 93 cases, 97% Effective"

Obviously, anyone who is interested can read it, and reach their own conclusions. I don't own a 10mm, or .45 Super, or .460 Rowland, or even a 12 gauge, but I would not spend time in bear country without at least one of the firearms I do own, unless I was legally prohibited from doing so. The fact that I don't happen to own something on someone's "recommended" list doesn't suggest (to me, at least) that my firearms should stay home in the safe.

Other people may disagree, FWIW, IMHO, YMMV, etc., etc.
:)
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Idaho
As the article @Schmidtg attached states:

"Handgun or Pistol Against Bear Attack: 93 cases, 97% Effective"

Obviously, anyone who is interested can read it, and reach their own conclusions. I don't own a 10mm, or .45 Super, or .460 Rowland, or even a 12 gauge, but I would not spend time in bear country without at least one of the firearms I do own, unless I was legally prohibited from doing so. The fact that I don't happen to own something on someone's "recommended" list doesn't suggest (to me, at least) that my firearms should stay home in the safe.

Other people may disagree, FWIW, IMHO, YMMV, etc., etc.
:)
My take is with firearms there are thousands right now to choose from. Get one or more for what might be the best use for the reason(s) you want one. One size, brand, caliber will not cover all handgun needs. If for self defense, pick wisely, it could be your life that needs saved.
 

Topfueler1

Bearcat
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Arbutus, Maryland
I hunt and walk in the mountains of northeast WV and western MD and western PA . I'm on private land and I'm always armed. I carry a Taurus Ulti Mag Titanium 4'' barrel .44 mag. revolver. My handloads are 280 hard cast solid wide flat point for deep penetration. I do carry bear spray also. I know I'm dealing with black bears not grizzlies but I want to get the job done if I have to. Get between a female black bear and her cubs in thick woods and it could be trouble.
 
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