Sidearm choice

Bruce54

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Jun 18, 2019
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Looking to archery elk hunt in Wyoming and plan to carry bear spray but also will have a pistol with me. Looking for pro's/con's of calibers and revolver versus semi auto. Thanks for any input
 

The Yetti

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Jun 5, 2017
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Widefield, Colorado
Do you own a handgun? Are you proficient with it? If you are, I’d look at one similar to what you shoot. I.e if you shoot a revolver, maybe move to a similar model in 44 mag. If you shoot semi auto, look into a similar pistol in a caliber like 10mm. I have one of each, a Ruger Super Blackhawk in 44 and a Glock 20 in 10mm. I’d probably take the Glock loaded with Buffalo Bore ammo because I’m better with it.

If you don’t own a pistol and/or don’t shoot it regularly, I’d focus more on getting comfortable with bear spray. Getting a pistol effectively into action in a situation that requires it requires you to be acting on muscle memory that comes from lots of shooting.
 

NYyotekiller

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I'd go with the Glock 20 over the wheel gun simply because of the weight savings with the polymer framed pistol. Although they do make some as light revolver's, I'm just not as good shooting them as I am the Glocks.
 

Brian in Montana

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Ramsay, MT
Nothing is certain when dealing with a grizzly, I've run into 2 in my time. Fortunately, one of them ran as if I was the devil himself, the other ignored me completely. Those are some impressive, powerful animals. I can tell you that pepper spray felt awfully tiny in my hand, but from the reading I've done it is statistically more effective at deterring an attack.

When it comes to this topic I find myself in a conundrum - I'm very proficient with a handgun and carry one every day, and psychologically more comfortable with one, but on the other hand, I believe the numbers and usually opt for spray. But I reckon there's nothing wrong with having both, and I've done that too. When I do carry, I pack my 1911.
 

Rzrbck918

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Bixby Oklahoma
Carry what you normally do if you carry. I carry a Glock 22 anytime I’m in the west simply because of my comfort with the platform and having plenty of ammo. .40 is light for big bear but it also means I don’t have to buy another pistol.
 

Western Traveler1

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Rocky Mountain Front Montana
I carry both bear spray and a handgun when archery hunting. I figured with wind in my face or rain, the gun would come out. i’ve had two encounters and like Brian in Montana they were different. The first one never saw me and I changed direction. The second was sharing the trail with me going the opposite direction. He never broke stride but skirted around me at 10 yards watching me. It was the gun that came out. I know there are hunters/friends that see them all the time and don’t think much about it but it unnerves me when hunting alone. I like the revolver because of dependability and feel certain if I pull the trigger it will go off. I practice in my yard with 44 specials a bit. 4 1/2 seconds isn’t a lot of time. I wish I trusted the bear spray more.
Here is what I like. 22 ounces. I sent it off to Mag-na-Port before I ever shot it. 44mag with less recoil than a 357 now.
Here is the type of holster I use...
 
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Bruce54

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Jun 18, 2019
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Thanks to all for the input. Hopefully it will be a non issue, but like all things in the mountains, you have to be prepared.
 

Ben Lamb

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Helena
Good advise on being proficient. If you can't hit a pie plate moving towards you at 30 fps in an erratic matter, then your throwing lead around.

I carry a 4" S&W model 29. I used to keep the 310 grain hardcast bastards that came out of that tiny barrel at 1200 fps. I backed way back down to 240 grain flat noses at 1400 fps. Better control & still going to get the job done if needed.

Primary defense will always be spray. Wider field of fire & better chance of both of us walking away.
 

deer_shooter

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Southwest Pa.
I carry both bear spray and a handgun when archery hunting. I figured with wind in my face or rain, the gun would come out. i’ve had two encounters and like Brian in Montana they were different. The first one never saw me and I changed direction. The second was sharing the trail with me going the opposite direction. He never broke stride but skirted around me at 10 yards watching me. It was the gun that came out. I know there are hunters/friends that see them all the time and don’t think much about it but it unnerves me when hunting alone. I like the revolver because of dependability and feel certain if I pull the trigger it will go off. I practice in my yard with 44 specials a bit. 4 1/2 seconds isn’t a lot of time. I wish I trusted the bear spray more.
Here is what I like. 22 ounces. I sent it off to Mag-na-Port before I ever shot it. 44mag with less recoil than a 357 now.
Think you should have put one through it before porting just for the experience. 22 ounce 44Mag? Ouch.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
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NJ
I also carry a Glock 20 (10MM). Interestingly, it seems that the 10mm Glock is becoming the go to sidearm for more and more Alaskan guides. As for rounds, Underwood 140 gr. xtreme penetrators are also becoming very popular and outperform the heavier, more traditional, dangerous game rounds. These rounds run very hot with a MV of 1500 FPS, which is pretty insane for a 10mm pistol. Look up some videos on the performance, it is really quite something.
Here is one showing the performance through bullet proof glass:
 

Straight Arrow

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Gallatin Gateway, MT
I also carry a Glock 20 (10MM). Interestingly, it seems that the 10mm Glock is becoming the go to sidearm for more and more Alaskan guides. As for rounds, Underwood 140 gr. xtreme penetrators are also becoming very popular and outperform the heavier, more traditional, dangerous game rounds. These rounds run very hot with a MV of 1500 FPS, which is pretty insane for a 10mm pistol. Look up some videos on the performance, it is really quite something.
Here is one showing the performance through bullet proof glass:
The tough looking camp-tender cook I met had just returned from a job with an outfitter in Alaska. When he showed the outfitter his big 44 hogleg bear pistol, the outfitter told him, "You'd better file down that front sight ... so's when the bear shoves it up your behind ... it won't hurt so much!" The outfitter then explained that the bear gun of choice for his camp is a short-barreled 12-gauge shotgun, with much greater "accuracy" in a pinch. Depending on circumstances, bear spray first, then the 12-gauge.
 

Panda Bear

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Apr 23, 2019
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Handgun laws are very restrictive, but those of us who work in the wilderness are able to get wilderness permits to carry for protection from bears while working. The Glock 20 10MM is popular.
 
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