Contributors to this thread:
Dumping the pistol....
I think I’m going to dump my pistol for Colorado archery season. I’m tired of hauling around the extra weight. Who carries? Who doesn’t? I know this has come up before but I keep going back and forth.
I go back and forth. My Glock 20 is nice to have handy but it is extra weight vs bear spray. However in a new area where I know there have been aggressive blackies in the past....I think I'ma carrying this year.....probably both the pistol and the bear spray. LOL
After idyll nearly getting eaten by a small blackie a few years ago, I carry everywhere. Most likely ill never need it But life’s too short for a blackie to make it shorter.
She's always been an angry b Jordan probably worse now that she's a tripod
I don't carry except for when I hunt on Kodiak. I don't carry an epipen either.
I've got a model 22 Glock but its just too heavy for the pack so I got a S&W MP .40 that holds 6+1.
She may be a bi pod in the future.......or a rug. That add on license is tempting me.
I’ve hunted most of the western states, Ak, NWT, and Sask. never carried any firearms. In AK, my guide did have a .375 when I was brown bear hunting.
S&W Bodyguard .380. 12oz in a little pocket on the side of my fanny pack. Never notice it. Yes, its a small round but a carry gun that isn't inconvenient and is always with you is way better than the one sitting at home or in the truck when you really need one. That said, I don't always have it. Hunting most of the lower 48 is usually pretty tame.
I carry all the time, in the woods and out. I will say, with all the crap going on in the world, I carry more for protection from the 2-legged animals as opposed to the 4-legged.
I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
Just buy a featherweight revolver. Several instances documented where a .38 spl killed bears. I can hit a bucket at 50 yards with my snub nose Smith and Wesson .38
Think about being waaaaay out there and suddenly you really need it. How heavy is it then?
You never need it until your really need it. TMBB
Carry less rounds in your magazine, if you are only worried about black bears then go pick up a LCR 3 in 357, nice light weight revolver. A buddy had to shoot a Blackies a few years ago, wouldn't hunt without a side arm in bear country.
I've never felt compelled to carry mine. However, the plan is to bring my 15 son old son this year and suddenly I feel the need to cover "just in case" better.
I carry a small 9mm, not so worried about bears unless in camp at night, that's when they seem to be the most brave, lever action 30-30 then. Cats and dumb ass hairless monkeys concern me the most, mostly the later. If you don't feel you need to carry, don't.
Id cut weight elsewhere. Having that extra firepower may save your life
It’s funny, I nearly always carry when I’m scouting, but rarely do when I’m hunting. Then, it’s just something else to carry...
We always see bear sign - I carry at all times. Partner had a chocolate black bear stand on it's hind legs at about 10 steps from him last time we were out there, it and 2 cubs took off running the other way - he carries now.
Agreed Ian! But then when I am scouting I have no other weapon...unlike when hunting....I have a bow and arrows if needed. But that 10mm is a lot of peace of mind.
I always see tons of bear sign but never have I ever seen a bear while scouting or hunting. A cat once......while hiking in....the hike out was tense. LOL
I see black bears alot where I live, have some interesting stories involving them but would never haul a pistol to protect myself from one.
14.1 oz with five rounds of .357 magnum. If you miss with this thing you'd probably still set them on fire with the giant fireball.
In CO I'd carry more for 2-legged, but you never know when Ike's bear is going to pop up.
Carry all the time anyways. Especially in these times of peaceful protesters (sarcasm.)
I hike the mountains here in western CO about every other day. Have had several encounters over the years. The closest one was in tall grass/weeds, wind blowing, at 8 steps. I wouldn’t have had time to get it out of the holster before he’d been on me. Wouldn’t have mattered what gun I’d been carrying. I shudder to think if that had been a sow with cubs. Fortunately he swapped ends.
I've elk hunted for 30 years and have never carried nor needed a pistol. I have walked out in the dark with a broadhead tipped arrow in my hand because of a cougar I had seen but I was just being a scairdy cat that night.
Just bought this Ruger GP100 in 10mm today. It’s not that heavy nor large.
Meh, its Corado. Had my closest bear call there but its still black bear. I dont carry unless there are the ones with humps.
Never while elk hunting in Colorado. I have encountered a few bears and one mt lion. I have carried in AZ while deer hunting adjacent to the MEX border.
Weird stuffs happens. I'd rather drop an extra couple of pounds of body fat than go without a sidearm in the middle of nowhere. Each to his own.
Be to have it and not need then to , well you all know the rest. If your carrying small calibers like a nine just remember to carry solids, buffalo bore outdoorsman, is the key.
A hard right hand will knock em out just like any other unruly punk
The only time I have needed a firearm due to danger, I didn't have one. Wasn't hunting at the time. I was at work and two innocent people were lost. A lot of random things, combined with one bad guy, all came together to create the situation. Just like needing a sidearm on an elk hunt in CO, the odds of it actually happening were tiny.
I don't in my home state but I do in Wyoming and certain parts of Idaho.
Good luck, Robb
Rarely ever carry hunting alone. Have had it in my tent some years. Required by the outfitter to carry one when guiding archery hunters but have never needed to use it on a client.
I never carried, but I carry at home in Wisconsin now due to people I do not know and a scary confrontation last year. I am carrying for 2 legged threats.
Age/health has drastically altered my view of carrying. Wife and I are now both concealed carry (SW .380s). Not so much because of black bears but because of 2-legged creeps. When I was opening caribou camps for Norpac in QC, I always carried a .44 Ruger carbine because there were always black bears, and some would come right into camp. In a small log cabin (after I had cleaned/repaired) a bear came in one night...had to bury it the next day. Better to have the gun than not as I have taken over ten blacks in QC and one was an extremely angry female w/cubs.
I’ve got a Springfield XDM 9 mm with 147 grain Buffalo Bore hardcast ammo with a real nice Ivory Holster. Fits great on the waist belt of the pack.
Thing is, I know there’s no way I’m going to be able to drop my bow, draw that pistol and accurately stop a bear or lion charging from just feet away. I don’t think, for me, its possible. That’s assuming you take that charge in broad daylight. At night, forget it.
I’m convinced the sidearm is only good for people you may encounter.
I only carry in grizzly country. The only time that I ever needed a pistol was when a group of rednecks decided I was going to pull their truck out at 2am with my wife’s Subaru. Evidently one was not as drunk as the other three and managed to talk the others into leaving. I guess the 44 magnum ruger super redhawk did provide additional incentive.
The world is to crazy to travel far without some form of protection.
I think of it as your favorite blanket when you were a kid. It keeps the boogy man away and helps you sleep at night.
I had a run in with a wounded mountain lion I shot with my bow and my g22 with 200 grain hard cast came in very handy... was a surreal experience to say the least. Also last season when checking on a water hole, deep in western Oregon brush, the wind swirled and I was within 30 yards of a mama black bear and two cubs. After those two encounters my sidearm resides in my chest rig at all times. Just me but hey... I could lose a few lbs and figure better to eat well before season and make up for that weight in the holster.
I did in colorado my first year. I don't anymore.
Realistically you're more in danger of a moose than a black bear.(at least I am in my areas)
1... it's heavier than bear spray.
2... it's hard to always transition with it with your pack on vs pack off.
3... bear spray is more effective as a defense measure.
a gun would make more sense for 2 legged predators vs 4 legged ones in colorado
I carry a M&P shield 9mm where I can not because of 4 leg critters it's the two leg ones I have had trouble.
What are the rules for carrying in New Mexico? Going to call for my buddy on his elk hunt, thought maybe I'd actually carry a sidearm since I'm not carrying my bow...
Idk what the hunting rules are but my boss always said we were re stupid to not carry when we went to tx or nm so I always did
My closest hunting buddy was charged by a black bear in Utah while sitting on an elk wallow. Fortunately he had his .44 mag revolver. Having a close friend recount that story probably swayed my current opinion too much, but I refuse to be in the backcountry without a firearm.
I carry in grizzly country ... but only because there I’m on a horse. Though to put down an injured horse with spray, so the gun serves double duty.
Generally, I don’t carry. Too much weight. But tonight I was glad to carry ... got sprayed by a damn skunk! He got sprayed back!
I carried for a couple of years in Colorado after having a bear claw on my tipi one night. Since then, I've had many encounters with bears and I think the likelihood of an attack is extremely low, so I don't carry one anymore in Colorado. I did carry a .44 in Alaska last week and was glad I did when I was eye to eye with a grizzly. He circled around us and kept on his way though.
I don’t go into the woods without my Judge. Used to carry a small .380 But now feel better having the .45 for bear and .410 for snakes. Have had close encounters with both and now not taking any chances. I’ll ditch a bunch of other stuff before my pistol! ;-)
You guys do remember you have a bunch of razor tipped short spears...makes for a lot better story
I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. I get the weight part....but it's weight well worth the pain it brings.
Just need a quality gun belt not one from Macy’s!
Last few hunts I haven't carried. In fact, I've done at least one western hunt every year since 2009, several of them solo, and I don't believe I've carried since 2010. I might hunt an area on the edge of griz territory this year, and I'd say I'll carry there. Until it gets heavy and I say "*(&% it!"
I'm not quite to the Treeman standard of not carrying on Kodiak. . . .
Lots of Colorado bear encounters, over the last couple decades...never felt a need to carry.
Grizzly Country would be another story, altogether!
Writer- I have a couple good stories.....................I wish I NEVER had! ;-)
I’m guessing if a bear or moose is charging at you that .380 is not gonna make you feel warm and fuzzy ha.
I will continue to carry. thank you
You are more in danger from 2 legged varmints. That wud b the only reason to carry in colorado
Much easier to peak out of the tent with a pistol and a flashlight than it is with a bow and a flashlight. Last time I had to do that was spaghetti night and we were beat so we left dishes undone. About 2 AM I wake up to something obviously big clanging pans around and brushing up against the tent lines. Obviously a bear so I step into my boots, grab the pistol, unzip the door and hit him with the flashlight. Turns out it was an angus cow polishing off the leftover noodles out of the pan. I let her finish and leave on her own. Didn't need a spooked cow wrecking camp.
Pistol is similar to a SPOT type device. I've never needed one but darn handy when if the situation arises.
I’ve long had a soft spot for the Ruger SP in .357 with the 3” barrel. They’re under 2 lbs, loaded. Not going to stand up to extra-strength loads, but in a #2 pistol with only 3” of barrel, that seems like the recoil could become an issue anyway...
Keep thinking I should pick one up. Or a Charter Bulldog. Those are actually a chunk lighter (7 oz) but it makes me wonder about recoil management....
If you mean the Ruger SP101, they are built to take loads well above anything reasonable folks load up. I ran a lot of slightly over listed max loads through one I had years ago. No issues and remained tight and smooth. Recoil of course increases but compared to the big boys it was never bad.
454 casull always carry it elk hunting. It’s heavy but cheap insurance. Always carry something nowadays but with that one I can hammer anything
Recoil is going to depend on load. Unless you need 'bear stopping' power you can use lighter loads. That 357 Ruger with 38 +p ammo will still hit hard but without the magnum kaboom. (I wouldn't care to shoot that load in a S&W J-frame...)
I have never hunted in bear country, but I never ever leave home without a pistol on my hip and one in the truck!!
Have a .45 that is sometimes carried; but recently have begun checking out 10mm in the $700 range; and not for kicks and giggles. Any suggestions/recommendations would be very welcome. Dealer placed a Dan Wesson on the counter...ck'd tag...choked!
No chance I would go with a 1911 style 10mm. My Glock attaches to my hip belt so everytime I take off my pack my Glock gets smashed into the dirt by my pack. It’s dirty and marred up, but it goes bang everytime and it’s a tool so I don’t worry about cosmetics.
Dependability is the key if you have an angry bear coming at you, therefore, Glock 20 is the answer. Buy a stock gun and your good to go.
Seriously considering the Glock 20 or the longer slide model. Have compared the Springfield 5.25 in. barreled 10mm in the (my) same price range. Seems the Glock's trigger today is much better than when they first came out with the Mod. 17 in 9mm.
Don’t overlook a Glock 29 with an extended aftermarket barrel. It’ll give you better performance with heavy hard cast in a lighter weight package.
A pistol is like insurance, a bad investment until you need it.
Newfi check out my post above with the GP100 10mm. It is certainly a great option. One thing about a revolver is hardly a feed issue when you need it the most. A Grizzly ain’t gonna give you a chance to clear the missfeed or stovepipe or whatever. Don’t forget that not all semi autos work reliably with full power house loads but a revolver will!
I have never hunted in bear country, but I never ever leave home without a pistol on my hip and one in the truck!!
I don't, just bear spray. My thought process is I've shot a handgun all of 5 times in my life. I can panic and spray a fog a bear spray and probably live. Or I can pull a heavy awkward item that I'm not comfortable using and shoot myself in the leg as the bear is mauling me. I'll get mauled either way, but I'd rather just get mauled and not have a gunshot wound haha. I get why guys do, but I prefer my chances with spray due to my unfamiliarity with hand guns.
@Don - that’s good info. I had thought they were off the list of approved firearms for those loads.
Probably explains the 7 oz weight difference between that and the Charter (which believe IS off the list!) but I’m not sure I’d care to test my grip strength against that kind of recoil...
I’m fine with #62 on the longbow, but I’ve got forearms like a MUPPET.
"Required by the outfitter to carry one when guiding archery hunters but have never needed to use it on a client." .... whocares, have you ever been tempted? .357 GP100 for me, lots of lion and bear down here in So. Colorado, but the two legged meth mechanics are an issue too, even in the woods.
Next chance I get to float around some of the better dealers, I am going to look at .357/10mm revolvers as some of you have suggested. Last week went into a local Academy Sports...VERY little handgun selection; no ARs/AKs; a bit of odd ammo calbers; no kayaks/canoes; no rifles; no bicycles....the gentleman behind the counter told me that people line up outside when they know a truck has made a delivery of 9mm. Said it is worse that when the issue of poop paper arose!
Yup Newfi everyone loves the 9mm and that’s why I went with oddball calibers like 10mm, 357 Sig, and 45 GAP.
I always carry, especially around home when I go shopping or leave the house! Around here I carry the Sig P365 9MM. It's a high cap sub-compact that is very small, VERY concealable and a tack driver!
But even in griz country I am a little more concerned with the crazy two legged creatures out there than bears! Bears generally don't like people, and run off. Unless they are on a kill or have cubs.
People are nuts these days and we have ran into drug dealers, and Coyotes (People Smugglers) out in the middle of nowhere!
In black county I am fine with my 357 in a chest rig that attached to my bino harness. But in griz country I carry my 454 Ruger snubby in a chest holster with an extra speed loader.... Bear loads are very hot and don't expand! They are meant to penetrate very deep and break bone and shatter skulls!
Choose your medicine or don't carry... it's all just a personal choice. I hunt with guys that are armed to the teeth, and I hunt with guys who don't carry at all.
Spike...you are so right on the 9mm. My go to in the house is a Ruger carbine in the 9mm and it moves with me during the day and sleeps within reach at night. Was talking to that same gentleman over 1 1/2 years ago in the same Academy sports store and told him that , were I to buy anything, it would be the Ruger. He never said a word...just went to the cabinet behind him and pulled out the first one he had gotten in. He discounted it a bit and I walked out with it. Very rural where I live and 'law' mostly useless.
Newfi I’d like to find a nice 10mm carbine to go with my Glock and GP100 revolver so I can reload for one caliber for all three toys.
Headed to the city for a doc visit today and the 'boss' is along for her's. Going to visit the dealer and see what we can do with the Glock 10mm he has.
Make sure you check out the GP100 as well if they have it. I’m telling you it’s a beaut!
Newfimoose- I second that . I've got a Ruger and it is super reliable and accurate. I'd say it is far more reliable and less likely to jam than an AR. Mine's accurate out to 200 yards.
I packed that heavy sum bitch around the past couple days and didn’t see anything trying to kill me. Maybe next time.
Had the GP 4" in my hands!!!!!!! Had a 6.5" S & W in 10mm right beside it!!!!!
I don't how to dave my life... But I can try to SAVE my life! LOL!
Just kidding and having some fun... I do the same thing all the time!
I hate when I do that!!! LOL!!
Thank God for the edit option!!!
Newfi, so what happened? What you buy!? How did you like the GP?
I have never hunted in bear country, but I never ever leave home without a pistol on my hip and one in the truck!!
Spike....I peeked at the secret stash in the gun safe; found some room and came to a reasonable compromise.....bought the GP and added a Glock 40. I tell the 'boss' I am an impulse buyer! Spotted a Henry 45-70 single shot and thought about next spring in Quebec if out outfitter is functional! Ya'll take care out there...spreading badly here.
Damn you bought both lol nice! And yes I’ve longed for a 45/70 Levergun for quite some time. May have to trade something in for one!
Depends on the hunt. I’ll definitely have it on my moose hunt where I’ll be elbow to elbow with bears.
I’ve gone back and forth on sheep hunts as you’re generally above them and the pistol is so heavy compared to spray. But there’s almost always so much wind...
I’ll tell you this, you’ll feel safer with a pistol whether you are or not.
I carry all the time in the woods and at camp, s&w 629 mountain gun, I don't mind the weight and if I ever need it, it will be there.
to each his own, but if a bear wants to eat me I want to be able to kill it not just add seasoning, did you see the reports about the woman killed by a black bear a couple weeks ago in canada while on sat phone with her father, her husband used bear spray on it but said it only made it mad then he shot it.
Lot depends on the unit and the type flora where you are hunting, I've carried and not carried depending.
Yeah I’m not worth the extra weight in my opinion
I love my Ruger SP 101 and my wife has two of them. She shoots 38 specials in hers for practice. Mine is loaded with 357 mags. Have Crimson Trace on all of them.
Penetration is the key, so I hope you all are shooting solids, hard ast bullets. With the right placement you can stop them, especially black bears with the smaller calibers. As mentioned, peace of mind especially when in camp and sleeping.
Another decent bullet for black bear would be an XTP as it is designed for hunting and doesn’t expand as wide as other JHPs. That is if your gun won’t shoot cast like a stock G20.
Yep, them hard-ast bullets are the way to go!
In WA used to carry 4”ruger .357 with hard cast. Went to 3”ruger .44 special with hard cast over 16 grains of 2400. Not light but not too heavy either. Never go without a gun.
Spike, I will be shooting hard cast with my g20 for deer this year. A steady diet probably isn't wise but a few here and there shouldn't be harmful. Just clean real well after. Go on you tube and hickock45 runs them through a g20.
GF, I use to use hard ast, now it's all hard cast rounds.
spike, you can shoot hard cast out of a stock G20. It's not recommended and you probably shouldn't be shooting hundreds/thousands of them.
The common bear round is the Buffalo Bore 220 grain round and many on YouTube and myself have tested them through paper and verified that they don't tumble - see the link.
Sure, you shouldn't shoot 1000 rounds of hard cast out of a stock barrel, but at $2 a pop, not a lot of guys are doing that. I have a hard time stomaching my $1/round practice rounds which are safe. And people say you can't shoot 10K+ rounds out of a 10mm, but do you see anyone having any catastrophic problems with a G20 shooting a few hard cast rounds or shooting thousands of rounds out of them? I'm not seeing it.
I fire a few rounds out of a new box into paper to test for tumbling and cycling and would reliably empty a magazine on a bear.
After firing the rounds, the barrel is cleaned with a wire brush. A few rounds of hard cast lead is not going to make a difference on a stock barrel when properly maintained and with the recommended ammo used between the few hard cast rounds that would be necessary for carrying in bear country.
No one is having problems with this gun and these rounds and it's a very common carry in bear country.
This gun/ammo combo is comparable to .44mag with a normal round and fires a lot more rounds in the same time far more comfortably with the option of a 15 round magazine and in the mountains, the weight comparison of a G20 with 15 rounds vs the average .44mag with 6 is surprising. And weight in the mountains is everything.
Spot on with the hard cast in a Glock. I'm more in the school of the first 1-3 shots being what matters so capacity isn't a big factor for me. The key is practice with whatever someone chooses. 10mm is stout but it's not like the big revolver rounds if you pick a serious load in both. The weight and capacity are certainly factors. Nothing is free with rounds and guns. Most advantages come with a trade off. Folks sometimes point high with Glocks if they aren't used to them. The fix is practice but a Grip Force Adapter can make them point similar to other popular autos.
Pic is 10mm 220gr and 44mag 310gr.
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Made it through another elk hunt with no need of any additional firepower. Glad once again I didn't haul it around. I know, it just takes one time to wish you had one. Guess I just don't mind taking my chances.
Nothing wrong with that. I haven't needed a sidearm at all while bowhunting elk since the 80s. I haven't needed a sidearm for defense at all since I was old enough to hold one except for one night, but that one night I didn't have one and it went really bad.
I hear you Darrell. On my sheep hunts, the G20 stays in camp once camp is above 4000 feet because I'm just not seeing the Grizz up there. I do want it for lower than that though. I switch to spray because it's so much lighter. On a moose or elk hunt in Grizz country, I'll continue to carry both the pistol and the spray as I feel you're hunting where the Grizz live. And I was charged on a river where I had a 15mph wind in my face...spray would have been useless.
But you would have been tasty!
GF, I'm trying not to test that theory.
I'd love to hear the details Glunt.
I was running the kitchen that night.
Damn! That’s definitely an incident where a guy would feel totally helpless!
On the mountain I don’t carry since I usually have trekking poles...and nunchuck skills. Around people, ya definitely carry.
Scary stuff Glunt. That will definitely change ones perspective.
Tough situation even a snipers rifle bullet didn’t drop the guy instantly. He must have that lady’s death on his mind for being inches off.
I would never carry a handgun in a place where there are no grizzly. Grizzly country is another story.
Waste of weight.
If your scared of black bears in Colorado just buy a Colorado bear tag.
I’ve lived in Colorado my whole life. Bears and lions are not to be scared of. The two legged creatures are on the other hand. Fortunately when out hunting rarely do I see any people.
I do like Ermine’s approach...
Bear raids your camp? Eat him.
Lion stalks you while you’re set up cow-calling? Eat him!
Top o’ the Food Chain, baby!
I usually carried my Glock when bow hunting Colorado just because it felt good being alone in some dark places with it on.
Heading to Kodiak for two weeks bowhunting goats, Blacktails and fox. My hunting partner has an extra subcompact 10mm so I’m going to have it on my pack belt.
We’re also bringing along a bear fence for our campsite and the meat cache.
Always carry when I’m in the woods scouting with the kids. Either my smith 357 revolver or my smith 45 shield. During bear season if I’m out on a Saturday I’ll sometimes throw the .44 mag on my chest when bears open for pistol During the first season. Rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Especially with the kids
I carry either a Glock 30 (45 ACP) or the Glock 20 in Colorado, though I also have bear spray and would probably use it first. I shoot the hard cast Buffalo Bore or Double Tap rounds in both. I did buy after market barrels for both guns - Lone Wolf and Storm Lake. Saw a good youtube video years ago by Hickock45 who is a big Glock guy and he recommended the after market barrels for the 10mm if you shoot the large hard cast bullets. He showed that they tend to tumble in the stock Glock barrel. Check it out on his youtube channel. Just a thought. He is a hoot to watch and knows his pistols.
They tumble after they leave the barrel of the stock Glock barrel! Would be a mess if they tumbled in the barrel!
Coyote 65's Link
I carried mine about half the time this year. With hunters literally everywhere, I’m quite sure the bears and lions felt the pressure too. I did not see any fresh bear sign like I normally would in these areas this year
I carry a hand gun in "Grizzly Country" here in Montana, but I also carry bear spray. The gun gives me a "psychological" sense of security. I attach my pistol to my FHF bino-harness using a Razco holster that attaches to my bino-harness. It fits right against your chest and stays out of the way when you draw your bow back.
I've never even considered carrying a handgun while bowhunting in Colorado. Not even when I'm hunting bears. You have a perfectly good weapon in your hands all the time. Have confidence in it and stop worrying about what will never happen.
Now if I were hunting in grizzly country, that's completely different. I would probably carry.
A bow IS a fine weapon, but a little tricky inside of a tent...
I agree with JSW. A bow is the only self defense weapon needed. I often use my hand to hold multiple arrows and practice shooting without coming to full draw so I’m quicker in a pinch and reloading is much faster. ;) Just imagine Legolas or Robin Hood and that’s what I’d do to any 2 or 4 legged critter that messed with me. ;)