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Thread: Carrying a Firearm in an Aircraft

  1. #41

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    I'm just saying that i've never heard anyone say that they wished that they'd left their firearm at home in the safe instead of carrying it. Whether it's for protection, or to provide food, it's pretty cheap insurance, really.
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  2. #42
    Eferr's Avatar
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    That’s a fair point. For most of us on this forum it really is a moot discussion as we are all approaching this from a recreational standpoint to begin with. I will say that coming to this conversation as somebody who has spent cumulative months in the sawtooth/Frank church wilderness areas during all seasons, I have neither needed a firearm nor have I felt the need to carry one in either area.


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  3. #43
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    Efer, point well taken. I feel very comfortable with my firearm, and while the chances of needing it is small, I personally feel comfortable having it along. While the advice my mountain flying mentor was given long ago, and times have certainly changed with regard to other aids to improve being found, I'm not willing to dismiss the advantage of a firearm and depend upon technology.

    While this thread was initiated to discuss carrying a firearm in our aircraft, it is about survival and Tuck was a huge advocate of filing a flight plan with the local FSS (remember those?). We would stop into the GTF FSS, get a briefing and file a flight plan that detailed where we were going to go, when we were to return. While local FSS are a thing of the past (sadly), we can still file a flight plan. I would bet not many do.

    Randy

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eferr View Post
    In the lower 48, has there been a time where discharging a firearm was necessary, in the context of aviation “periops”? It’s probably safe to say that even in ID/MT, the last thing you need if going down in the sticks is a firearm. If you survive the crash, your best bet is that 406 and satellite communicator.

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    Needing a firearm while flying doesn't have crashing as a prerequisite. There are several airstrips in western Montana where it isn't unusual to have a bear in the area or even on the airstrip. I've seen both grizzlies and black bears at places like Spotted Bear, Meadow Creek, Schaffer and a private strip I go to often. The Spotted Bear area seems to be a place where problem grizzly bears end up leaving the comforts of a trailer ride. Montana is seeing grizzly bears in places they haven't been in over 100 years. Their population is increasing well beyond their normal modern day range.

    I would not airplane/tent camp at any of these airstrips without a firearm. Bear spray is fine - as long as you're very close to the bear. Closer than I'd be comfortable with.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinner2 View Post
    Needing a firearm while flying doesn't have crashing as a prerequisite. There are several airstrips in western Montana where it isn't unusual to have a bear in the area or even on the airstrip. I've seen both grizzlies and black bears at places like Spotted Bear, Meadow Creek, Schaffer and a private strip I go to often. The Spotted Bear area seems to be a place where problem grizzly bears end up leaving the comforts of a trailer ride. Montana is seeing grizzly bears in places they haven't been in over 100 years. Their population is increasing well beyond their normal modern day range.

    I would not airplane/tent camp at any of these airstrips without a firearm. Bear spray is fine - as long as you're very close to the bear. Closer than I'd be comfortable with.
    Last year there was a Bicyclist sleeping in a tent in the post office parking lot of a small town there in Montana and a grizzly ripped her out of their tent and killed her and that was in the post office parking lot
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  6. #46
    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    I can understand you guys from Alaska and rural states being comfortable open carrying, but leaving it in your plane? Naw.

    The locks on 99.99% of our planes being a complete joke - and I could (maybe) stomach having expensive avionics stolen or even a $1200 headset, but leaving my firearm in a plane unattended is, for me, orders of magnitude more concerning. So I rarely would carry one in the plane because it's more stress than it's worth in most of the lower 48. I do understand that equation changes based on location.

    As an example - just this past summer at the High Sierra Fly-in about a dozen planes were broken into - and Bose Headsets were taken. Now if there was a .44 magnum in there to worry about, too?
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  7. #47
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    Bears often approach from downwind if they want action. Spray is ok, but if shot into a breeze not as much. Bullets don't care.

    Gary
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  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by soyAnarchisto View Post
    I can understand you guys from Alaska and rural states being comfortable open carrying, but leaving it in your plane? Naw.

    The locks on 99.99% of our planes being a complete joke - and I could (maybe) stomach having expensive avionics stolen or even a $1200 headset, but leaving my firearm in a plane unattended is, for me, orders of magnitude more concerning. So I rarely would carry one in the plane because it's more stress than it's worth in most of the lower 48. I do understand that equation changes based on location.

    As an example - just this past summer at the High Sierra Fly-in about a dozen planes were broken into - and Bose Headsets were taken. Now if there was a .44 magnum in there to worry about, too?
    Maybe if the little derelicts that broke into those planes had been confronted by the business end of that .44, the next guy would think twice before attempting to take what isn't his...
    I'm not saying to leave it in an unattended plane at a fly-in. For me, much of purpose of a gun is to protect myself and my possessions. Thats hard to do if my gun is out of reach.

  9. #49
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    Besides, you might end up crashing in Detroit. THEN you're going to wish you were packing.

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  10. #50
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    Brown bears are the caveat as to AK and Canada. Sad story about the cyclist. Certainly highlights the #1 rule to avoid bear incursions. Idaho/Montana brown bear populations are far lower than the regions further north. But it’s true, there is the potential to see a brown bear.


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  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Budd View Post
    Last year there was a Bicyclist sleeping in a tent in the post office parking lot of a small town there in Montana and a grizzly ripped her out of their tent and killed her and that was in the post office parking lot
    Ovando, MT
    Sad story - right in town.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp
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  12. #52
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    The case of the lady killed in Ovando highlights some unfortunately very common problems in bear country. First, the lady who was killed and her party were preparing and consuming food in and around their tents. DO NOT store, prepare or consume food in the area where you're going to sleep.

    Second, that bear had been in town recently, raiding chicken coops. Perhaps someone warned these campers of that, but frankly, this happens frequently. "Everybody" knows there's a bear around, till someone shows up who doesn't.

    That was a tragedy. No doubt, but it never should have happened.

    Like Spinner, I am not a big fan of pepper spray for bear deterrence. I much prefer guns. That said, I've carried guns for many years, and have been through some fairly extensive training with them.

    When I worked in AK, ALL our crews were required to be armed with 12 gauge shotguns for bear protection. They were also trained with bear spray, we'd always prefer not to kill a bear unless it was necessary. Our policy required carrying a 12 gauge with slugs, a very powerful, and easy to use firearm. We always had folks that wanted to qualify with their .44 magnum. For a lot of years, I ran the qualification and certification our outfit required. I never had anyone fail to meet the basic standard with a 12 gauge (some of them took a good bit of training and practice), but I never had anyone qualify with a .44. Our qualification required shooting a moving target (charging, that is.). Message: Carry the firearm you practice with and are proficient with. I have a .40 which handles some pretty hot ammunition. I know I can shoot that thing, so it's what I'll carry.

    And, please, if you're going to take a gun into the back country and tent camp, don't shoot your neighbor in his tent.....

    That said, the thing that worked best by far was the use of lightweight electric fences around camp sites. In many years with three to four crews camping in bear country all summer, we never had a bear in camp, after we started using electric fences. Well, that's not totally true....there was the bull moose who ran through one camp, with a brown bear in hot pursuit. Moose took the fence with him as he passed through. Bear was in high gear going through camp. Woke us all up, but no harm, no foul.

    Oh, yeah, you also have to keep the gate closed too.

    And, for you over the hill types with overachiever prostates, be advised that when you get up at 2 AM to pee, make certain you know where that electric fence is....just sayin.

    MTV
    Last edited by mvivion; 03-16-2022 at 05:06 PM.
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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Message: Carry the firearm you practice with and are proficient with. I have a .40 which handles some pretty hot ammunition. I know I can shoot that thing, so it's what I'll carry.
    Mike’s got a great point. Small addition from my nobody self: shooting firearms is a perishable skill. Just like any other physical activity.

    I might could have run for 5 miles straight two years ago, but if I haven’t done it in a while I shouldn’t count on still being able to.
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  14. #54
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    Spent some time ground searching for a deer hunter who had injured himself in a fall. He would have spent at least one more night if he didn't have a .270 noise maker. Just one more reason.

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    Then he made the earth round... and He laughed and laughed and laughed!
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  15. #55
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    I remember reading in the newspaper 15+ years ago about a Beaver that crashed in the Spotted Bear river following engine trouble. They had a rifle and were found by someone hearing the shots. My brother and I go on an annual fly fishing float down the South Fork with a guide/friend. The Spotted Bear flows into the S Fork here. He mentioned a couple of years ago that he was the guy that found them. He was fishing and heard the shots.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I grabbed this single frame from a video my brother took of me testing Bear spray. Beyond this range of 10’ at best the spray disburses so much it can’t be seen. And there as a slight breeze at my back. A close range option only IMO. We’ve seen grizzlies right where I’m standing. We’re about 200 yards from the west boundary of Glacier Park.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp
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  16. #56

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    Like Randy, I too carry my 40Cal. when crossing the Rockies, both for protection and as a signaling device. Did this for over twenty years, 4 round trips each year. Thought of it as a tool, just like a hammer or screw driver. Part of my required equipment. Kept in on me during the flight. After landing (fuel stops) had a place to store it out of site and safe before departing the aircraft.

    Bozeman-Missoula route to Seattle or Portland.
    Casper-Salt Lake to Reno or San Francisco.
    Southern route passing north of Albuquerque to Vegas and L.A.

    Upon arrival at those hard Blue states, I'd separate my ammo and clips, leaving them with my tool bag at the airport and bring the empty handgun to the hotel room lock box.

    Never questioned. I do have my expanded Conceal and Carry. Would never cross the rocks without it.

    Michael
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  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eferr View Post
    Brown bears are the caveat as to AK and Canada. Sad story about the cyclist. Certainly highlights the #1 rule to avoid bear incursions. Idaho/Montana brown bear populations are far lower than the regions further north. But it’s true, there is the potential to see a brown bear.


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    I suggest you educate yourself about which bears attack more often. Black bears have a much higher percentage of attacks, brown bears have the higher percentage of deaths when attacked. Meaning you are in more danger of an attack by a black, but if a brown gets you it might be game over.

    Knowing multiple folks with bear wounds, I prefer not being attacked.

    That said, I am less worried about bears than other people.

    As far as firearms left in a plane, give me a break folks, if you don't have a special place to tuck a firearm under an inspection panel, seat frame or interior plate, you should consider it. Lots of places to put one for the day that is safer than in a car trunk.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    I suggest you educate yourself about which bears attack more often. Black bears have a much higher percentage of attacks, brown bears have the higher percentage of deaths when attacked. Meaning you are in more danger of an attack by a black, but if a brown gets you it might be game over..
    Actually, black bear attacks are very rare. That said, when black bears do attack humans, the attacks are often predatory attacks. Brown bear attacks are far more common, but tend to be defensive, and often brief. The best response to a black bear attack is to fight back….hard. Just the opposite in a brown bear attack….cover your head and try to curl up.

    Any bear attack is potentially very dangerous. And they are faster than you can believe in a charge.

    MTV
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  19. #59
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    I do appreciate you reinforcing my argument. As has been noted before often times the issue is an ill-secured camp. By and large, bears smell food (not people). Essentially, if you have to reach for a gun or spray it’s because you probably screwed up in the first place. Having said that, I doubt there’d be much argument if I said most people here would prefer a black bear wandering into camp than a brown bear.


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  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    That said, I am less worried about bears than other people.
    Amen to that.

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  21. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Carrying a firearm carries with it serious responsibilities. Here’s a news flash:

    The TSA said it seized more than 5,900 guns at security checks in 2021, 1,500 more than the previous record set in 2019. Most of those firearms, 86%, were loaded, the TSA said”

    If you’re going to carry a firearm in an aircraft, you MUST have a plan to secure that firearm when you leave the plane, ie: Either carried on your person or securely locked up.

    What is scary about the TSA note is that literally thousands of people were apparently numb above the neck, and walked up to a known firearms prohibited area while carrying a loaded firearm.

    Dont be that guy.

    MTV
    Former squadron commander ran the Metropolitan Airports Commission in the twin cities for years. He said about 75% of the firearms thru security incidents were law enforcement who forgot. The St Paul Chief of Police forgot one day. (He could have carried it if he went thru the Law Enforcement line and signed the book) He forgot since he carried every waking hour of every day and was running late to catch a flight after a meeting with the mayor.

    We had a crew returning from one of the many Haiti disasters in the C130. Plane broke I believe. Copilot forgot his M9 was in his helmet bag for anti hijack until the screener in Miami said bag check on isle three. (Never planned on airlining home)

    Like any chain of events in an accident, distraction, complacency, unfamiliar events or a need to get somewhere can lead to this. Not just numb above the neck. Be careful out there.



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  22. #62

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    When I’m down in the lower 48, I trade my 44 for a 357. I’m more scared of the weirdos and mountain lions than bears.
    I’ll be down that way this summer. My brother is flying the Chief down and I’ll follow him in the Cub. Chief is staying down in Scappoose and will live in the lower 48 for the first time in over 60 years.
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  23. #63
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    I've shot 11 Black Bears that approached. Not my habit to hunt them but only if forced. Every brownie here in Interior Alaska, SE, and on Kodiak has given ample warning to give them space. That was respected. Spray pepper sauce vs heat? Never. Airplanes create noise and smells that interest them. Just look at pics of Brooks Camp Alaska to see them wandering among aircraft. Been there often and seen that. They like salmon stink and oil residue.

    Gary
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  24. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinner2 View Post
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    Beyond this range of 10’ at best the spray disburses so much it can’t be seen. And there as a slight breeze at my back. A close range option only IMO.
    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Any bear attack is potentially very dangerous. And they are faster than you can believe in a charge.

    MTV
    Once upon a time I was flying over the treeless tundra north of Tuktoyaktuk NWT where the terrain is basically flat with numerous lakes/ponds in what could be called large sink holes leaving very steep slopes up to the tundra. I spotted a brown bear running up the slope at a very high rate of speed. I swear that bear was running up hill faster than I could fall down the hill. Up the hill and gone in a matter of seconds!

    I suspect that any bear which was charging spinner2 with an intent on filling his belly, would not even notice the spray until perhaps when he was cleaning his teeth after dinner.
    N1PA
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  25. #65
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    The guy who started this thread will remind you that the most common killer in the backcountry is insect bites, not bears or people. Make sure you have you EpiPen taped to your holster.

    sj


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    Last edited by SJ; 03-17-2022 at 06:57 AM.
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  26. #66
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    Now that’s funny


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  27. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    The guy who started this thread will remind you that the most common killer in the backcountry is insect bites, not bears or people. Make sure you have you EpiPen taped to your holster.

    sj


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    Just be careful which one you pull when it's go time!

  28. #68
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    you don't have a special place to tuck a firearm under an inspection panel, seat frame or interior plate, you should consider it. Lots of places to put one for the day that is safer than in a car trunk

    what he said
    "Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar"

  29. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    ....I suspect that any bear which was charging spinner2 with an intent on filling his belly, would not even notice the spray until perhaps when he was cleaning his teeth after dinner.....
    Reminds me of the old joke about telling backcountry newbies to wear bear bells & carry pepper spray when they're in grizzly country.
    Q: "how can you tell when you're in grizzly country?"
    A: "the bear scat has little bells in it and smells like pepper".
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  30. #70
    mvivion's Avatar
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    One of the other “Old sayings” is: If you’re going to carry a .44 magnum for bear protection, be sure to file the front sight off it. That way, it won’t hurt so bad when the bear shoved it up your……well, you get the idea.”

    MTV
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  31. #71
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    I heard leave the front sight on but sharpen the rear edge to a point. Prevents it from falling out too soon. One of Bill Pinnell's dinner time jokes.

    Gary

  32. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    One of the other “Old sayings” is: If you’re going to carry a .44 magnum for bear protection, be sure to file the front sight off it. That way, it won’t hurt so bad when the bear shoved it up your……well, you get the idea.”

    MTV
    While the .44 might not be optimum and pepper spray even less so, it’s better to have what you’ll actually carry than that which you’ll leave behind. All three (12 gauge included) have their place. If I’m going heavy, a high powered rifle or 12 gauge will be at hand. When I’m going light and far, I’m just not going to carry a large firearm. In those cases, my titanium/scandium .44 is better than nothing, because I’ll actually carry it. And when I’m mountain running, a canister of pepper spray in a belt around my waist is the best option for the same reason.
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  33. #73
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    Carrying anytime is not about size, it’s about hitting the target
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  34. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utah-Jay View Post
    Carrying anytime is not about size, it’s about hitting the target
    Not with bears or angel dust.

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  35. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Utah-Jay View Post
    Carrying anytime is not about size, it’s about hitting the target
    My current favorite is a Kel-Tec PMR-30. A semiautomatic .22mag with a capacity of 30 rounds. Pistol, holster, and an extra magazine weighs less than 3lbs. Very accurate, as well. No bear killer, by any means, but with 60 rounds of ammo so easily carried, it would suit a lot of lower 48 pilots.

  36. #76
    Utah-Jay's Avatar
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    There is an old saying, “look out for the old guy who only owns one gun as he probably knows how to use it”

    What is the best defense gun? Hands down a 12 ga.

    My EDC is a 19+1 9mm with a red dot (not a laser) and having shot 25K rounds per year for over 10 years during my competition days, I think I will be just fine. As posted above about qualification with a .44, not many can hit the target, so what is the point?
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  37. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utah-Jay View Post
    There is an old saying, “look out for the old guy who only owns one gun as he probably knows how to use it”
    Col. Jeff Cooper (the father of the 10mm pistol cartridge and the scout rifle in .376 Steyr) ALSO advocated that that one gun be adequate for the job at hand. A 9mm for animal defense is in the catagory of a .22 for people defense; better that throwing rocks, but not much.

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  38. #78
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    Better a rock in your hand than nothing at all--
    that is, as long as you don't kid yourself about it's capabilities (or your own).
    This is why "mouse guns" in marginal calibers like 380acp are so popular,
    just so easy to every-day-carry without having to dress around your gun.
    I own one myself.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  39. #79

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    Apparently a .22 is all ya need to kill a big bear if you are good with it. https://www.ammoland.com/2017/06/bel...#axzz7NuAUQSB8. Here is another study. https://www.ammoland.com/2020/03/upd...#axzz7NuAUQSB8. Getting down and covering up neck and head is important in a Grizzly attack. A mistake taken by two of the three attack victims I have treated was to stop playing dead too early. Both got up quickly after the initial attack and the bear made a second attack which was reported much worse than the first. It is all about metal placement, every big game animal in North America has been killed with a bow and arrow. Most places I hunt the bears will not come near the camp even with a lot of fresh meat hanging off the wings. The one place I really pay attention is Kodiak in deer season. The bears have learned that a gunshot means supper is ready and will head right towards the noise. They tend not to be afraid of humans because of limited bear hunting. Grizzly bears are common at fishing holes throughout Alaska and have no interest in humans. Mikes advice on fighting a Black Bear is spot on.
    DENNY
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  40. #80

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    Having zero experience with bears, and wishing to keep it that way, those of you who have: will the sound of a gun going off close range have any effect on them? Such as in an encounter?

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