Contributors to this thread:
How do you Pack Heat in Bear Country?
Guys that are packing in bear country, where and how are you carrying your sidearm? Thinking about elk hunting in a big bear unit this fall and wanted to get some advice on the best way to carry your sidearm. Considering a Kenai chest rig from Gunfighters inc or something on my pack belt. The chest rig concerns me a little as I always have on a bino harness and don't want too much up there or is it a non-issue? Obviously want to get something now so I can practice with it throughout the summer and I know the Kenai would potentially have a few week lead time. Thanks!
Check out Ivory Holsters. I just picked one up from there. They are designed specifically for going on a pack belt.
I like the looks of that one Scott, can you easily remove it from the pack and hook it on your belt? I.E. if I'm breaking down an elk I will want it on my person and not on my pack belt.
Kenai chest holster works fine with a bino harness.
Yes. The clips a spring loaded and easily removed. Also, locally owned and made and the guy is really good with replying to emails, etc.
Curious to hear some feedback too. I want something compatible with binos and a bino holder. I purchased the holster attachment AGC creates but would prefer something slightly more engineered. I also just purchased the FHF gear pistol rig they make for their bino harnesses. Looks like it might work with the AGC bino harness as well. Anyone run either of those?
So, the spicy poop was Charlie?
Thanks Scott and WW, appreciate the feedback!
I've tried several from chest mounted and pack belt mounted and always go back to the Kenai. Have one for my Glock 19 10mm and one for my S&W 329 PD .44 Mag.
LOL Treeline, I said the same thing to my dad the other day. I said I was thinking about just bringing spray and then followed that up with "All that probably means is that you'll be able to identify the bear that ate me because his poop will smell like pepper." :-)
I like the disposable hand warmers. That way I can pack heat in both pockets.
Kenai works great with my KIifaru Pack and 10x42 KUIU harness. It fits in perfectly so I can have a quick draw if needed. Expensive harness but I like the different configurations and it seems bomb proof and holds my Glock in securely.
I like the Chesty Puller Suspension System from Simply Rugged Holsters. It was designed by a guy in Alaska.
No matter what you choose for bear protection, be sure to practice using it until it is second nature. With the most cumbersome gear on. If you have spent the time to know exactly what will happen with your chosen defense method, your reaction time will be substantially faster. Time yourself and set up targets. Fire from awkward positions, including on your back with a loaded pack. You damn sure do not want an equipment or human failure when the shit hits the fan!
I was considering a chest holster, but like Treeline points out, I am much more used to a belt holster, so that is what I am sticking with. I got one with a steel clip that can easily be moved from belt to pack without taking the belt off. My opinion is that reaching for a belt holster is ALREADY second nature, so no need to try to change. And you know what can happen when the CRAP HITS THE FAN! ;-)
My paddle holster actually fits nicely on my pack belt. Easy access and stays out of the way.
Check out the Razco Bino Harness chest holster. I carried for 7 days last fall and it work flawlessly. Kicker is you need a bino harness with the webbing attachments. I had to modify my KUIU harness to work.
Pancake holster on my pack belt set up cross draw for my S&W .44 mag.
Plastic waist holster on my backpack’s waste strap.
Brotsky I'm new to carrying. I talked to two buddies who are in law enforcement and told them my scenario of bowhunting elk in timber around griz and they both said I'd want a chest rig. It simply stays out of the way best and requires the least amount of motion to draw. I went with the Kenai/Gunfighter chest rig and have been practicing with it a lot for the last two months.
I have adjusted it all sorts of ways and here is what I've found works best. I put on the chest rig and then put the bino harness on top of it. Meaning that the chest rig is against my chest and the bino harness sits on the chest rig, further off of my body. I know that Marsupial and FHF both have bino harnesses where the holster hangs below (bino harness on your chest and holster covering your stomach) but I don't think that would work. You have to snatch the gun out of the holster quickly and it snatches out more reliably when it is positioned higher on the chest for me. I wouldn't want the gun just above my belly button because my belly isn't, uh, as firm, as my chest and the draw will be less reliable. After trying it I'm sure you'll see what I mean.
If I carried regularly for a long time then I would probably have just stuck with what I was comfortable with.
Bear spray can work, but it has it’s problems.
Spraying it in high wind can potentially get some of it in blowing back in your face and I certainly do not want to be blinded and in pain in a bear attack situation. Bullets or pellets from a shotgun are not as likely to blow back in your face in that situation.
If a bear is coming in hard and fast on a charge, there’s a good chance that you will overshoot the target (face & eyes) and hit it behind the head or over the back. Pretty sure the sound of an aerosol can discharging with no associated pain, even at close range, will not be a significant deterrent. The loud discharge of a firearm at close range, even if you miss, may be enough to turn a bear and give you another shot. Hitting a bear in the back or leg may give you the time needed to get another round or two into it.
If you have already been hit and knocked down, it’s going to be very difficult to get that can out, pointed in the right direction and discharged. Realizing that a missed shot with bear spray will have no effect whatsoever. Pretty sure I can get a gun pointed in the right direction with either hand and make it go bang. Even if I’m being chewed on.
It would be very difficult, at least for me, to spray a bear attacking through my tent. Guess I could wait till he tore a big enough hole to get his head in and hope I could hold it together enough to spray him in the face. Discharging that stuff in a tent would most likely result in a face full myself, even if I was direct on target in that situation. I would much rather shoot a hole through my tent with a gun at a bear trying to get in..
This is what I did when I hunted Alaska
Great question Brotsky...and there are many sound bits of advice listed above. I've filled out an Alaskan DLP form before after killing a brown bear with a sidearm on Kodiak...so I've had lots of time to think about it and can tell you what worked for me. Bob Ameen told me early on before my first Kodiak trip in 2016 to buy a holster that fits on your chest...not on or in your pack (so it remains attached to your body even if you remove your pack). Bob recommended the Diamond D Custom leather holster for my Ruger Red Hawk .44 magnum. The formed leather is a snug fit so it will not fall out on its own, but the revolver can be removed with a quick jerk of your hand on the grip. The harness itself is adjustable and will tuck in nicely below a bino harness with ease. The hammer guard leather strap can be removed and I did exactly that. If you like another holster or harness, that's fine, just try to find one with the same form and function...it could save your life. If the Diamond D Custom holster interest you, here's a link... https://www.diamonddcustomleather.com/
On that same first trip with the bear encounter, I initially did not carry any additional ammo in the field. So after killing the bear I had three rounds lift in the gun until I got back to camp. Not a good scenario. Second trip to Kodiak, I had a 6-round speedloader inserted in a JOX speedloader pouch up front on my pack belt. JOX Speedloader pouches are made of Kydex, which is a weatherproof flexible plastic that has a springy character, and holds a heavy .44 magnum speedloader firmly in place. I felt much better having a fresh load at the ready should a situation go from bad to worse. You can check out the JOX product at... http://www.joxloaderpouches.com/Speedloader%20Pouches.html
Next is ammo selection. For a .44 magnum (if your revolver will allow its use), I would recommend Hard Cast Lead bullets that are over 300 grains in weight...and a muzzle velocity approaching 1400 feet per second. They can be obnoxious to shoot during practice sessions...but produce some serious wound channels on a very large, big boned animal. I will not use the term "knock down power," because that never happened in my case with the brown bear...but that ammo did kill the bear...and hits were registered by the bear's immediate reaction to each shot. With lighter weight ammo, things could have turned out much differently...I'll never know. Lots of ammo manufactures have heavy hard cast lead offerings with +P options for added velocity. Just check your revolver's limits...the Red Hawk has none so it can eat a steady diet of the most powerful rounds...day in and day out.
Finally, with my aging eye sight, I was having trouble getting on target quickly with the stock ramp front sight and rear slot sight on the Red Hawk. Everything was black-on-black with a virtually non-discernible red ramp plastic dot up front. Before that first trip to Kodiak, I upgraded to a tritium vial sight system from XS Sights. The large diameter, white, glow in the dark, front sight is highly visible during low light conditions...like cloudy, stormy, Kodiak kind of days. The rear sight has a bright, white, vertical line at the center of the "V shaped" groove in the center. Acquiring the target is a snap...especially in low light conditions on an animal that blends into its surroundings perfectly. Simply " dot the i " on the target by placing the round front sight on top of the rear line sight and pull the trigger. This upgrade alone...I believe...made the biggest difference in the outcome of my bear encounter than anything else...since I could actually hit what I was aiming at in a pretty tense situation. When a bear is moving toward you quickly at close range, its no time to find out you can't really get your gun on target fast enough to make a difference. Just my opinion, but worth the money if you're carrying in bear country. Here's a link to XS Sights for those of your interested in their products... https://www.xssights.com/Products.aspx?CAT=8351
For anyone going the bear spray route, I would recommend extreme caution. When I asked that same question, Bob Ameen told me the wind on Kodiak will be wicked at times and bear spray may not be effective under those conditions. I would agree with him 100% on that recommendation. Perhaps your hunting trip in bear country will have different wind conditions, but you may want to have both options...gun and spray...on hand so you can choose which route to take based on what the weather conditions are like at that moment in time. You probably won't have a great deal of time to think about it based on my experience.
As always, best of luck to each of you on your upcoming hunts...and be safe! Kevin
Damn Ike, with that legendary stache I would be more worried about the ladies attacking than the bears :-)
Elkstabber, I'm in the same boat. I've shot in a pistol league before and am a capable shot but I don't carry so any method will be new to me and will be practiced. I like the idea of the chest rig just because I drop my pack often enough that it might be a hassle moving it back and forth and you definitely want it on you when you need it!
Kevin, outstanding advice and much appreciated from someone who has obviously been there and done that! I'll be running a Glock 20 10mm with 220 gr hard cast ammo, hopefully I never have to use it but I will be prepared! Thanks again!
I use the FHF holsters, easy to modify for fitment of bino harnesses! I really like them, and I now own three for three different gats! I use one every where it's legal to do so!!!
But if you sprayed it in your tent, by the time he got a hole in the tent, you’d be covered in bear spray from head to toe and he might leave because you’d be too spicy to eat!
Brotsky, I probably should have mentioned that I'm carrying a Glock 20 10mm just as you mentioned. I got on the email list for DoubleTap and it seems like they have a 30% off sale about once a month. It also includes free delivery. This makes 10mm much more affordable to practice with unless you have a better source.
Brotsky not sure if you just bought the gun or had it for awhile but I would definitely buy a good amount of the ammo you plan on using and running it through either a specific or all your mags for reliability. I have a Glock 27 with three mags and one mag in particular is not reliable and fails at least one round per each fill. Also the ammo can be picky especially if it is a flat nose type and hits the feed ramp. So go to the range and give it a test run.
Curt, I think I might drop a .40 S&W conversion barrel in mine to practice a little cheaper and because I like things that serve multiple purposes! 10 MM ammo certainly isn't the cheapest.
Spike, definitely plan to do that. Very sound advice!
Do a bunch if research, look into how well handguns or pistols fair on attacking bears. Short barreled shotgun with slugs would be the way I would go. A lot cheaper to practice and get good with and at close range will have a lot more stopping power than most hand guns that guys can handle. Big caliber handguns recoil is hard to control even in a smaller caliber like 44 Magnum. Now try handling the recoil on a 50 and getting back on target for a second shot, I promise someone good with a short shotgun will be more accurate on follow up shots strictly because the recoil is easier to control. Shawn
Kevin’s advice is spot on.
Here is a clip from the DoubleTap website. I think the 10mm ammo is cheaper than 40 S&W.
EDIT: I was wrong. Winchester's 10mm is $26 and 40s&w is $16 for a box of 50. But, when the DT ammo goes on sale for 30% off it is more like $21.
Elkstabber, you can get cheap practice ammo at my link. Ammo for the .40 is about $6 cheaper per 50.
I get the benefits but I just can’t get over the fact most chest rigs violate the 2nd rule of gun safety.
To me its impractical to carry a shotgun while also carrying a bow.......
I put my kenai chest holster under the bino harness. I also have a tether on it as a fail safe. Easy enough to pull the gun out the side. I also wear it while fishing in waders which is also impractical with a hip holster.
Here is a story from 2017 where a woman was killed by a predatory black bear, fyi the bear was sprayed twice but kept coming back. I'd rather kill the bear than spray it..... then what are you going to do when the spray is gone? reload it? (I think spray is ok for around town or local, short walks, not for overnight or where you cannot get back up)
also FYI for Glock owners- you can shoot 40 s&W in a 10mm with no conversion. They cycle just fine and are fun to shoot, and a bit cheaper and easily found. I have put 100's of rounds of 40 through my G20 and G29 with no problem and they still shoot the heavy 10mm stuff as well. (Disclaimer: from my research only try in a Glock 10mm. also I think you void any warranty if you do it)
"I get the benefits but I just can’t get over the fact most chest rigs violate the 2nd rule of gun safety"
Ummm, I kinda getr ur meaning, but really, in what way do you feel it is unsafe? the weapon is holstered and in a safe and non threatening position. The trigger is covered, and you have to deploy the weapon for it to be effective. I kind of get your idea, but I feel it is a very safe carry option for hunting. It is also very, very fast to gain access to and deploy. I feel it is much faster and safer than a hip holster in a very dangerous situation!
Like I always say, train, train and train some more, but always keep your booger flicker off the bang button, until it's time not to!
If you want know how effective guns are on bear attacks here you go. Good article
I don't carry for the bears... In fact I carry mostly for the two legged sort!
Here is a guy who defended himself from a Grizzly with a Glock 20. Just don’t forget to move your foot out of the way so you don’t blow your toe off like he did.
"the weapon is holstered and in a safe and non threatening position. "
-WIth respects, if the muzzle is covering your body parts or the guy at your off-hand side, that is patently untrue. And a holster is only as "safe" as its retention. Tell me how retention confident you are busting through alder brush with one hand while trying to keep your bowstring and cables from getting abraded by every limb in your path. Meanwhile, most of the limbs you can't account for are raking across your torso.
For the record, I do consider the rigs that hold at 4-5 o'clock are generally safe. I even did some dry runs with the Kenai last summer. I just couldn't get it to sit between my pack belt and the bottom of my bino harness. The only way it worked was somewhat under the bino harness. And that made the handgun less accessible than on my belt.
All I can say is to each his own! But, I completely disagree! I am extremely confident in the retention quality of the holster, I have used it multiple times and have had no issues what so ever!! The tension is adjustable, and I keep mine pretty tight. The brush has no impact on the weapon what so ever, no matter how thick... period!
If I am concerned enough to have it out, my bow doesn't matter at all at that point. If needed, I would leave the bow! I have carried concealed and other wise for more years than I can count, and I have NEVER, ever had an issue! Train as you fight, or don't bother! If you aren't confident in carrying this way then don't! I am very confident, and I carry this way all the time in field, and I carry concealed almost every single day!
It's your choice, do as you see fit. But I will add that not one person that I hunt with has ever had a problem in any way that I carry!
We can agree, to disagree:)
Best of luck, and do what works for you, just as I will!
Scar Finga, I'm not being argumentative. I'm merely representing a POV that does not violate one of the foundational rules of gun handling.
"If I am concerned enough to have it out, my bow doesn't matter at all at that point. If needed, I would leave the bow!" - And you would not have to concern yourself with the retention of your holster. You missed the entire point I believe. Likewise, best of luck.
I'm planning a 2021 elk hunt in grizzly country and plan on carrying a glock model 20 in a chest holster. I have the FHF bino harness and plan to pick up the holster they sell that attaches under the bino pouch. I hope to be fully outfitted this summer so I can start to carry/practice with it.
I use a chest carry holster and a Ruger Redhawk single action 44-mag. It is always on my body and I have practiced extensively with it. There is no potential of it going off unintentionally. With practice and solid loads, I am very confident in the results if necessary.
Perhaps I did miss your point, but I would like to make it very clear that this holster is extremely safe, and I thought I addressed your concerns about the retention quality of the holster. Like I said if I EVER have to go to my handgun/ weapon, my bow is worthless and not a concern! I feel the retention qualities of these holsters are excellent for any type of hunting and brush encountered! I think I got your point completely, but I think you missed mine! If it is the fact that it is not pointed down or up that is your concern, then perhaps you aren't confident enough for you or those that hunt around you to wear one., and that's fine, but I would never hunt anyone that I wasn't confident in their safe behavior while wearing a side arm or handling any weapon, of any type! A 12 gauge loaded with #7's is deadly at 10 feet from a bird hunter that doesn't understand muzzle control and firearm safety!!! Any holster or weapon is only as safe as the person wearing it or using it!
No Holster needed:) Only safe firearms handling!
Not sure how one would carry it. Just throwing it out there.
Number one rule of being in a gun fight is have a gun. Lots of people end up leaving their gun and regret it when its important. I carry a pancake on my belt or waist band of my pack depending on the load. Anything that indexes well and has good retention works. I dont like the chest holsters due to how i use my chest strap and binos unless im fishing. whatever works for you though and doesnt allow for a ND is good
Where do you plan to hunt?
9mm as I use to use a .454 but I can shoot the 9mm with 1 hand and needed both hands to handle the .454
9mm as I use to use a .454 but I can shoot the 9mm with 1 hand and needed both hands to handle the .454
"If it is the fact that it is not pointed down or up that is your concern, then perhaps you aren't confident enough for you or those that hunt around you to wear one., and that's fine, but I would never hunt anyone that I wasn't confident in their safe behavior while wearing a side arm or handling any weapon,"
-Well, it's true I'll never be "confident" enough to ignore fundamental precepts of proper gun handling. Kind of reminds GWB saying, "I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system."
Personally, I won't tolerate someone covering me with their muzzle retained or not but we've covered that. I'll add another perspective: put on your rig and notice where your muzzle is pointed. Now draw your weapon. If your weapon sweeps your body or a potential person standing beside you before you get on target, consider a new holster configuration. Now do the same thing bent over like you're kneeling and gutting an animal. Repeat for a sitting position. If the first potential "target" in the act of drawing your weapon is your guts, nethers or femoral artery, consider another configuration.
Brotsky - lot of good advice here. I have no experience with grizzlies, but have a neighbor that survived a mauling.... I however have been in a gun fight, and I will give you my advice.
Man or beast, "You will Perform as You Train"............. so train with your rig as advised above, and know that weapon, well
Strange but maybe appropriate comparison: Some motorcyclists go with full-face helmets, some with lesser coverage helmets and some with no helmet. And just about everyone of them can argue why they made the choice they did. To an extent, riding a motorcycle involves inherent risks which must be accepted or you stay home. Hunting in grizz-land is pretty similar.
I don't think there's anything faster or better positioned (for a bear fight) than a chest holster. But I've never owned one because I found every single one I tested to be obtrusive or interfere with my ways of doing things. To do a chest holster I would just have to make it a priority and everything else would need to adapt to it. I have no problem admitting that I've never even found a binocular harness I could like; mainly because I just REALLY dislike having gear all over my chest and torso. Combining binoculars and a chest rig holster is a non-starter for me, though I completely back those guys who make it work.
I started with a Bianchi UM84R (Universal Military Revolver) holster a long time ago and I still use that same rig. It has a fast clip attachment for my pack belt or pants belt. I can even shove the arms of the clip over my pants waistband when taking a quick walk away from the tent to check meat, fetch water, etc. The holster has a removable protective top flap which I've got rigged for quick release. The flap adds hammer protection as well as repelling heavy weather. It has served me well for a dozen years and I have no reason to change. I rigged it with a tether (or call it a lanyard) to the gun, as I think there's a significant chance of dropping or losing the gun in the midst of complete chaos. The tether would allow locating and retrieving the gun if dropped.
Take a look at BC Raptor if interested in a bino system carry.Love mine.Would carry spray for when working on critters though. https://store.blacks-creek.com/c/raptor-original
Also I shoot Glock 10mm's a lot.Would consider Underwood ammo and would try their hardcast but also their 'Extreme Hunter',Extreme Defender' and 'Extreme Penetrator' ammo as well.Scary stuff.There on some vids on it. https://www.underwoodammo.com/collections/handgun-ammo/cartridge_10mm-auto
“Strange but maybe appropriate comparison: Some motorcyclists go with full-face helmets, some with lesser coverage helmets and some with no helmet. And just about everyone of them can argue why they made the choice they did.“
And for most of the ones that hit a deer it doesn’t matter what they were wearing...... As Kevin says one must accept the risk or stay home. Call me a pu$$y but if I hunt with big bears I’d likely have a pistol on my body and one of these flung over my shoulder.
Spike good article - pretty impressive results for the 44 mag revolver on grizzly!
I use a Eberlestock Nose Gunner bino pack with my Berretta 92 9mm. I'm not sure how it would work with a large revolver. I only hunt around black bears.
Woodguy I’m pretty impressed by the .40 S&W results. My favorite caliber.
My pack rooster has my back
Lots of great info here guys! After three days of mountainhouse I'd be eating my pack rooster APauls!
A lot of good info here, the best being to practice. Just a note here. I have a buddy that had to shoot a charging griz last year at 7 yards. He spooked a cub while walking through trees and had already started pulling his Glock 20 10mm before he even saw mama griz. He uses a waist holster that fits under his pack belt, that way it's always with him. He did say in no uncertain terms, that if he had a chest holster, there's no way he could have reached up and drawn in time. Your hand is naturally down near your waist and quicker to draw from there. Just another observation to consider.
And he only fired once. It rocked her and turned her and he never had to fire again. The shooting was investigated and cleared. They tracked her through the snow for a half mile or so but she was never found. My buddy is a little freaked for this coming fall, because as he puts it, "the bitch knows my face!"
Ron, good point about natural hand placement. Often, I rest with my hands on my pack belt so it makes sense to have my sidearm there, too. If my bow is slung, sometimes I hook my thumbs by the buckle while hiking.
Last season on Kodiak, I had a young boar do a strafing run 50 yards behind me. By the time I heard him and turned around, he was already at full speed. Had he been running at me instead of across my back trail, I may have enough time to squeeze off one shot. Maybe. If I had to fumble around under or around my bino harness, I would not have had even that. For the record, in that scenario, crossdraw at the belt would have been the most expedient.
I was thinking the same thing Ron(about arm/hand carriage)- just another reason to have the weapon at your side.
"the bitch knows my face!"
She knows his "O" face. As in, Oh Sh*t!
My setup would be something like cnelk's. Across my waist so I can get at it easily with my right hand. No hip holsters... the across-the-belly/waist method for sure.
Trapper, some of our bellies are more difficult to go across than others :-)
Just tuck my bow away in my pack and this setup folds up nicely for a stalk!!!
Just tuck my bow away in my pack and this setup folds up nicely for a stalk!!!
i carry a glock 20 10mm. hard cast 230 grain ammo that i hand load to 1200fps at muzzle.... i like it because its light - 15 capacity - and it packs a punch with reloads - its really nasty.
i have a mini reflex on it and its really accurate - i killed a doe with it at 46 yards a few years ago. i also have suppressor height sights on it so i can co-witness along with the reflex. I carry on my right hip in a retention holster......
as said above - you can carry the baddest banger in the world - but you gotta be able to hit with it with the #$%& hits the fan...
Practice your draw and shot. I've seen how fast a real bear covers ground. I also know from experience that any sudden and un-warned appearance of a grizzly almost always produces a moment of.....shock and "uh-oh" before the conscious brain kicks in and starts the draw. That moment might be short as in maybe ONE actual second but a bear on the run can cover 40 feet of ground in that second. Hesitation can't kill you but it can make it easier for the bear. Few (if any) can collect their wits, draw and shoot accurately if surprised by a charging bear at short range....say 30 yards or under. The more you practice, the faster and more efficient you'll be. It could help you if your number gets pulled some day.
.44 on my left side up against my rib cage, bear spray on my right hip as it is my first defense, gun second. I have been charged by grizz before, so I know what works.
I also just use the bear spray. It's easy to carry, very light, and I can just walk around with it in my hand ready to use. I do realize that there could be issues in the wind, or possibly heavy rain. I've never had to use it, but my son has on a charging grizzly, and it worked. A friend of mine shot a charging grizzly at close range, in the chest with a 338 rifle. He then got dragged off by the bear and if it hadn't been for someone else being there to shoot the bear twice more, he'd be dead. Best thing is to just avoid them if possible. I hunt in grizzly country a lot, and if I see fresh sign that they are around, I just leave and hunt elsewhere. I'd rather not have to find out if the pepper spray will work.
That's why I went with a holster that hangs lower than most belt holsters, this one clears my backpack hip pad/waist strap by a couple inches and sits almost exactly at my arms length for drawing.
Glad it all played out well for your buddy.
Good luck, Robb
A bit off topic, but good ammo source
Brotsky, true, some guys make a better griz food supply than others... :) Kevin, that is no crap. I have seen bears run, sprint that is, faster than any other animal I've ever seen when spooked. I was just damn lucky it was in the other direction because if it had been toward me I'd have been done for. Not time to draw anything let alone shoot it accurately, and that was out past 30 yards both times. Bears are unreal fast. These were both smaller blackies. I had one big boar rear up at about 30 yds though, and stand looking at me. This was just outside Jardine north of YS. I drew and did not aim, just talked to the bear. Then my lab lit out after it and I thought I was going to be a gonner but he bolted with the dog on his ass. Luckily the dog came back without a bear on his. I have had some close calls with griz that I did not see in that same country (lots of fresh sign and one that raided our outfitters camp and chased all the mules out - fresh tracks in the snow around our wall tent), and one close encounter with a brownie on Kodiak. Heard him go out of the alders. Saw two big boars in Glacier last fall at a safe distance but so far no griz encounters. Just cougar - 4 at once with my piece in my belt pack - dumb. I learned that you need to be really prepared from all these situations. You need spray and sidearm, and that still may not do the trick. Experience and avoidance is the best defense.
"the bitch knows my face!"
Yet another good point for using a face mask......
I shot my first bear last year with a levergun and it went down 25 yards in front of me. Stupid me did not put another shot in it and it jumped up and ran straight at me in about 2 seconds and I was sitting in a stool on the ground. I quickly raised my gun and by that time it veered away from me at 15 feet of that and I quickly shot and missed as I had a scope on the gun. Yeah they are fast and when they are that close they are almost even harder to hit!
Springfield arms 10mm XDM, Underwood defense or penetrater ammo
I carry a leather belt holster on my pack waist strap and just move it to my pants belt if my pack is off. A S&W 500 is a lot of weight to lug around, but it definitely provides a sense of security. It is not fun to practice with either. -Jeff
Blackhawk Serpa, I like the locking feature. On the belt of my pack.
The Serpa is the cat’s pajamas for active retention holsters.