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45 ACP as a Bear Gun

4910 Views 85 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  yeeyee outdoorsmen
I'm just starting an article on 45 acp as a bear defense gun. personally, I'm not a huge fan of the idea myself. What do you think about the idea? I know bear attacks are rare, but would you feel confident with a 45 and good ammo on your hip?

An interesting fact I've learned is that the most common handgun sold in Alaska is a 45 caliber glock. a lot of folks there consider it a do-all multipurpose round for a small game, as well as 2 and 4 legged critters. My best guess is because it's cheap, and there never has been a lot of selection in Alaskan shops. It seems the more backwoods you go, the more you find only basic options. I heard of one shop that the only ammo they usually stocked was 7.62, 5.56, 45 ACP, and 9mm, all military ball ammo.

The 45 doesn't have the metrics I'd like to see, particularly in grizzly country. Hollow points don't have anywhere near the penetration required for most 250 pound bears. Fmj and hardcast bullets penetrate about 2x that of hollow-point 45, but make a smaller hole of course.

People sing praises of +p hardcast like Underwood or Buffalo Bore, but I'm not convinced. The fmj penetrates a little less, but with a lot more damage in the wound channel due to deformation and tumbling which the hardcast bullets seldom do.

The 45 acp has a good track record of at least warding off aggressive bears, much better than the 9mm which some people are carrying into the woods. but it does often fail to penetrate. Bear hunters usually aim their rifle very near the shoulder, but that causes a lot of defensive pistol rounds to fail to penetrate. The shoulder is the toughest part of a bear's side and it puts the brakes on a pistol bullet.

I suppose if you used a 45 for bear defense, it's certainly better than a .380, use hardball or +p fmj bullets and try to hit the lungs if possible. And upgrade to a bigger gun as soon as you can afford it.
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No. There are guns designed to kill bears. Carry one of those.
I'm just starting an article on 45 acp as a bear defense gun. personally, I'm not a huge fan of the idea myself. What do you think about the idea? I know bear attacks are rare, but would you feel confident with a 45 and good ammo on your hip?
What would you feel comfortable carrying in black bear country vs. grizzly territory?
No. There are guns designed to kill bears. Carry one of those.
Bear spray for two and 4 legged predators.
What would you feel comfortable carrying in black bear country vs. grizzly territory?
My personal issues with the spray are the short distance it has and the number of times it doesn't work due to wind. Just some potential issues. everything has its issues.
Bear spray for two and 4 legged predators.
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If you need to shoot a bear, a lung shot or worrying about hitting a shoulder probably won't even be an option. Skull and spine, spray and pray. The sow that charged me from 30 yards out, I probably wouldn't have had time to fire a shot.

I Carry a 9 with 148g gold dots or a 45 with 240g white box hollow points. Weight is noticeably different.
Short distance is the name of the game for self defense. Anything farther is poaching.
My personal issues with the spray are the short distance it has and the number of times it doesn't work due to wind. Just some potential issues. everything has its issues.
If you need to shoot a bear, a lung shot or worrying about hitting a shoulder probably won't even be an option. Skull and spine, spray and pray. The sow that charged me from 30 yards out, I probably wouldn't have had time to fire a shot.

I Carry a 9 with 148g gold dots or a 45 with 240g white box hollow points. Weight is noticeably different.
I'm just starting an article on 45 acp as a bear defense gun. personally, I'm not a huge fan of the idea myself. What do you think about the idea? I know bear attacks are rare, but would you feel confident with a 45 and good ammo on your hip?

An interesting fact I've learned is that the most common handgun sold in Alaska is a 45 caliber glock. a lot of folks there consider it a do-all multipurpose round for a small game, as well as 2 and 4 legged critters. My best guess is because it's cheap, and there never has been a lot of selection in Alaskan shops. It seems the more backwoods you go, the more you find only basic options. I heard of one shop that the only ammo they usually stocked was 7.62, 5.56, 45 ACP, and 9mm, all military ball ammo.

The 45 doesn't have the metrics I'd like to see, particularly in grizzly country. Hollow points don't have anywhere near the penetration required for most 250 pound bears. Fmj and hardcast bullets penetrate about 2x that of hollow-point 45, but make a smaller hole of course.

People sing praises of +p hardcast like Underwood or Buffalo Bore, but I'm not convinced. The fmj penetrates a little less, but with a lot more damage in the wound channel due to deformation and tumbling which the hardcast bullets seldom do.

The 45 acp has a good track record of at least warding off aggressive bears, much better than the 9mm which some people are carrying into the woods. but it does often fail to penetrate. Bear hunters usually aim their rifle very near the shoulder, but that causes a lot of defensive pistol rounds to fail to penetrate. The shoulder is the toughest part of a bear's side and it puts the brakes on a pistol bullet.

I suppose if you used a 45 for bear defense, it's certainly better than a .380, use hardball or +p fmj bullets and try to hit the lungs if possible. And upgrade to a bigger gun as soon as you can afford it.
If you ever get the chance talk to someone who had been charged by a bear and the bear was not bluffing. You don't have time to do anything. The guy I talked to said he shot the bear at about 50 yards with a bow if I remember right. The guide kept telling him no but he knew he could kill it. He said that bear turns and was on a full run straight at him. The guide knocked him sideways and shot the bear with a 12 guage slug. He said when he stood up he could touch the bears nose with his foot. this was a grizzly but I would guess t hat a black bear would be about the same. The guy was from Kalamazoo and was at an event that I was helping to put on. He had the hide there to show the kids but did not tell them the story.
It could be argued a shoulder shot would not be defensive as the bear is not facing you. Shouldn't a self defense shot be head on?
Bear hunters usually aim their rifle very near the shoulder, but that causes a lot of defensive pistol rounds to fail to penetrate. The shoulder is the toughest part of a bear's side and it puts the brakes on a pistol bullet.
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Unless you make a brain or spine shot a handgun isn't going to stop a determined bear. It is a weak substitute for a shotgun or large caliber rifle.
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I get th
Short distance is the name of the game for self defense. Anything farther is poaching.
I get that, but I've seen it fail to reach 15 feet because it was a little windy.
I agree, but I also see how in most filed reports, 9mm and 45 kill the bear. Yes, multiple shots are generally fired, sometimes a full magazine as the bear lurches spins around, and runs off. In this situation, the bear generally goes 20-100 yards, lays down, and dies. Much like the average bear hunt. in the cases I can find where a 45 ACP was used defensively on a bear, it worked. I still prefer something bigger. I carry a 10mm Glock in the woods. It's no heavy 357, but it's the best most powerful semi-auto I can feasibly get.

None of which are as good as my shotgun or rifle.
Unless you make a brain or spine shot a handgun isn't going to stop a determined bear. It is a weak substitute for a shotgun or large caliber rifle.
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Most of the defensive bear shootings I have found were in a group setting where the bear goes after one person, and is shot broadside by another. Also, it's common for a bear to "false charge" before actually going for it. They make short agressive dashes to and fro around you, that's when most of them get shot.
It could be argued a shoulder shot would not be defensive as the bear is not facing you. Shouldn't a self defense shot be head on?
The calbers listed may be popular but so is 300 WIN Mag for long guns..and bigger stuff-300 and 375 H & H..are widely available.

Handguns for bear --44 mag reliable revolver (Smith)
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You are 100% correct. I've told the story before....thinking my tall tales thread and others. If I had a shotgun or rifle slung over my shoulder when the sow charged, I seriously doubt I would have had time to take a shot. I was between her and her cub and it resulted in a false charge with her doing a cartoon character 4 paw skid, stopping within arms reach and showering me with rocks, dirt and dust. Also known as getting lucky.
If you ever get the chance talk to someone who had been charged by a bear and the bear was not bluffing. You don't have time to do anything.
for sure, it's take the shot you are offered.
If you need to shoot a bear, a lung shot or worrying about hitting a shoulder probably won't even be an option. Skull and spine, spray and pray. The sow that charged me from 30 yards out, I probably wouldn't have had time to fire a shot.

I Carry a 9 with 148g gold dots or a 45 with 240g white box hollow points. Weight is noticeably different.
That 45 may not be the best but it's the best one I have so it will have to do. I'm not carrying a 12 gauge when I am trout fishing.
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Your best defense against an actual bear attack is to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you are liable to be attacked.
actual attacks are very rare,statistics do show your best defense is a quality spray,far better than a long gun and even better than a pistol.Many Alaskans that frequent Griz or Brownie country prefer a 500 S&W or 454 Casull
I'm just starting an article on 45 acp as a bear defense gun. personally, I'm not a huge fan of the idea myself. What do you think about the idea? I know bear attacks are rare, but would you feel confident with a 45 and good ammo on your hip?

An interesting fact I've learned is that the most common handgun sold in Alaska is a 45 caliber glock. a lot of folks there consider it a do-all multipurpose round for a small game, as well as 2 and 4 legged critters. My best guess is because it's cheap, and there never has been a lot of selection in Alaskan shops. It seems the more backwoods you go, the more you find only basic options. I heard of one shop that the only ammo they usually stocked was 7.62, 5.56, 45 ACP, and 9mm, all military ball ammo.

The 45 doesn't have the metrics I'd like to see, particularly in grizzly country. Hollow points don't have anywhere near the penetration required for most 250 pound bears. Fmj and hardcast bullets penetrate about 2x that of hollow-point 45, but make a smaller hole of course.

People sing praises of +p hardcast like Underwood or Buffalo Bore, but I'm not convinced. The fmj penetrates a little less, but with a lot more damage in the wound channel due to deformation and tumbling which the hardcast bullets seldom do.

The 45 acp has a good track record of at least warding off aggressive bears, much better than the 9mm which some people are carrying into the woods. but it does often fail to penetrate. Bear hunters usually aim their rifle very near the shoulder, but that causes a lot of defensive pistol rounds to fail to penetrate. The shoulder is the toughest part of a bear's side and it puts the brakes on a pistol bullet.

I suppose if you used a 45 for bear defense, it's certainly better than a .380, use hardball or +p fmj bullets and try to hit the lungs if possible. And upgrade to a bigger gun as soon as you can afford it.
I'm just starting an article on 45 acp as a bear defense gun. personally, I'm not a huge fan of the idea myself. What do you think about the idea? I know bear attacks are rare, but would you feel confident with a 45 and good ammo on your hip?

An interesting fact I've learned is that the most common handgun sold in Alaska is a 45 caliber glock. a lot of folks there consider it a do-all multipurpose round for a small game, as well as 2 and 4 legged critters. My best guess is because it's cheap, and there never has been a lot of selection in Alaskan shops. It seems the more backwoods you go, the more you find only basic options. I heard of one shop that the only ammo they usually stocked was 7.62, 5.56, 45 ACP, and 9mm, all military ball ammo.

The 45 doesn't have the metrics I'd like to see, particularly in grizzly country. Hollow points don't have anywhere near the penetration required for most 250 pound bears. Fmj and hardcast bullets penetrate about 2x that of hollow-point 45, but make a smaller hole of course.

People sing praises of +p hardcast like Underwood or Buffalo Bore, but I'm not convinced. The fmj penetrates a little less, but with a lot more damage in the wound channel due to deformation and tumbling which the hardcast bullets seldom do.

The 45 acp has a good track record of at least warding off aggressive bears, much better than the 9mm which some people are carrying into the woods. but it does often fail to penetrate. Bear hunters usually aim their rifle very near the shoulder, but that causes a lot of defensive pistol rounds to fail to penetrate. The shoulder is the toughest part of a bear's side and it puts the brakes on a pistol bullet.

I suppose if you used a 45 for bear defense, it's certainly better than a .380, use hardball or +p fmj bullets and try to hit the lungs if possible. And upgrade to a bigger gun as soon as you can afford it.
500 S&W,-454 Casull Potent medicine for Griz or Brownies, but statistics show Bear spray is effective 90% while long guns and pistols are far less, long guns being the least effective. If you are hunting in Alaska buy Bear spray at Sportsmen's Warehouse while buying licences,if unused return for a refund.DON'T put your self in a situation to be attacked,bluff charge may give you a heart attack and might be worse than the bear.Just sayin...
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Did you also read the report that showed what the mst popular things they found in a bears stomach. An arm and hand with a can of bear spray in it
Your best defense against an actual bear attack is to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you are liable to be attacked.
actual attacks are very rare,statistics do show your best defense is a quality spray,far better than a long gun and even better than a pistol.Many Alaskans that frequent Griz or Brownie country prefer a 500 S&W or 454 Casull

500 S&W,-454 Casull Potent medicine for Griz or Brownies, but statistics show Bear spray is effective 90% while long guns and pistols are far less, long guns being the least effective. If you are hunting in Alaska buy Bear spray at Sportsmen's Warehouse while buying licences,if unused return for a refund.DON'T put your self in a situation to be attacked,bluff charge may give you a heart attack and might be worse than the bear.Just sayin...
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