How to Pick the Right Sidearm for Backup Bear Protection

Imagine this scenario: you and your friends finally decided to go on a long-planned camping trip to Alaska. You’ve created a comfortable camping site and spent the day fishing.

After a long day of fun, you decide to go back to the camp, prepare dinner, and have some drinks around the fire.

The fish you caught slowly starts to sizzle on the grill, but you can hear a rustling sound coming from the bushes behind you. 

Before you even get a chance to react, a massive grizzly bear crashes into camp in search of its next meal. 

What do you do? Do you stand firm or flee in fear?

Contact with the local flora and fauna is almost unavoidable in the realm of outdoor travel and adventure. While the great majority of animals have no desire to harm people, certain animals may attack if they feel threatened. 

A firearm undoubtedly comes in handy in this kind of situation, but which one should you choose?

Whether you’re a hunter, hiker, or simply live in bear territory, having a sidearm capable of stopping a bear is a smart idea. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best backup bear protection sidearms that can be a perfect pick for dangerous situations.

The Best Bear Protection Firearm

When most people think of a bear-self-defense firearm, they typically think of a pump-action shotgun or a powerful rifle. Of course, this makes sense, as pure stopping strength goes a long way when attempting to remain alive in front of a charging bear.

That being said, there are also pistols that, in the hands of an experienced and practiced shooter, can perform just as well as a shotgun or rifle.

Thus, before you buy your next self-defense firearm, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of firearm.

Pistols: Small But Effective

This may create some worry among the people, but even when confronted with a huge mammal, such as a bear, the correct pistol with a high caliber bullet, such as 45 acp ammo,  in the hands of an experienced shooter may do considerable harm.

Some of the advantages of carrying a pistol into the wilderness are:

  • maneuverability
  • ease of shooting
  • compactness

Long-range pistols aren’t as precise as rifles, but with a charging bear reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, you could be shooting at close range sooner than you think.

Shotguns: Powerful and Loud

The shotgun reigns supreme in the field of large animal stopping power. A shotgun may cause major track-stopping damage when loaded with 00 or 000 buckshot and blasted at close range. 

Even when loaded with buckshot, you still have some wiggle room in terms of accuracy, which is perfect for when you’re facing a bear running towards you.

You don’t need to be an expert shooter to stop a charging animal using a shotgun loaded with buckshot. Before an animal gets too close, it is much easier to scare them away with a shotgun since it makes a lot of noise.

However, the biggest disadvantage of a shotgun is its size and weight. In that sense, hikers, four-wheelers, fly-fishers, and light-packers should opt for a smaller pistol.

Rifles: Lifesaving Accuracy

Because of their barrels’ “rifling,” rifles were superior to other guns in the early days of firearms. 

Guns with rifled barrels are more accurate and stable at longer distances because of the swirling grooves on the inside of the barrel that force the bullet to spin as it passes through.

What’s amazing about rifles is that they shoot powerful rounds, while having great capacity. In that sense, if your first shot wasn’t as accurate as needed, you will quickly have a chance to strike again.

But, just as with shotguns, the main disadvantage of a rifle is its heaviness and size. Because they demand the use of both hands to operate, they are more difficult to maneuver in small areas. 

Although, if you’re a hunter that’s already carrying a rifle, it can be your life-saver in dangerous situations.

What Firearm Should You Buy?

Unless you’re going on a multi-day hunting expedition, you’re usually only going to take one firearm for animal self-defense. 

It’s tough for us to provide you with a single recommendation for the finest animal self-defense firearm on the market because it actually depends on your individual demands.

If you can’t bear (pun intended) the thought of lugging a long rifle on a hiking expedition, you’ll probably choose a handgun like the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan.44 Magnum, which is a genuine showstopper at close range. 

If, on the other hand, you want a weapon that can stop the biggest bears even if you’re not a great shooter, opt for the Remington Model 870 Express since it can stop the biggest bears when loaded with 00 buckshot.

Finally, someone who is already out hunting large game may prefer a strong rifle like the Marlin Model 1895 Guide, which has .45-70 chambering that can prevent an assault before it even begins. 

However, the ideal firearm for animal self-defense is the one that best suits your specific needs.

Before You Shoot…

Bears are fearsome mammals, capable of inflicting serious injury and carrying out lethal assaults. 

But, before you pull the trigger on one, keep in mind that these creatures are often timid and like to remain alone. In fact, it’s more possible to be hit by lightning than attacked by a bear.

Truth be told, 2021 has shown an increase in the number of bear attacks in the US. The reason behind this is that the bear population has gradually increased over the years with the help of federal protection legislation. 

On the other hand, more and more people are beginning to settle in places with dense bear populations, causing bears to wander around in people’s backyards or down the road.

It’s crucial to note, though, that bear assaults are still rare. They just attract greater attention and media coverage whenever they occur.

But, in situations where you have no choice but to defend your own life, it is better to go into the wild prepared than to look right in the eyes of danger and have no way to save yourself.