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Just thought thought I'd share this experience as a tale of caution for people to file away in the back of your mind about the kind of strange things that can happen.

Was fishing in this stream by my father's house in Alaska. We've seen bear in the area, and make a practice of carrying around there, or pretty much where ever we go outside. This stream is a relatively popular destination for tourists/travellers but at the moment we were there by ourselves. I walked up just around the corner when I hear "Bear!" from my sister. I turn around to see her literally face to face with a large Black bear.

My back had been to them both, and she had her back to the bear. It seems what happened is when she turned around she was startled by the bear. When she screamed in the bears face, it got startled too.

So at her scream I went for my gun and had it in hand and loaded before I was turned around, was about to chamber a round but bear turned away and jogged up the stream the other way. I kept and eye on it (but kept my distance)for a minute as other people were around by this point, but hadn't noticed it yet. Bear just swatted at a salmon picked it up, and ran off into the woods to eat it.

In the end it was kind of fun, because we got to see the bear come back to fish for another 30mins or so, (we stayed on the other side of the creek, alot closer to the car ;)) got some good pics, and no one and no thing ended up getting hurt. But I learned a few good lessons, and learned em well. They are all things I've heard/read before but just didn't sink in, I suppose.

1)Situational awareness: I was snuck up on by a bear who wasn't trying to be sneaky.

2)Situational awareness: I backed myself into a corner without noticing it. At the time I walked over there it didn't seem that bad. As I was staring at a bear that was in between me and my only way to go, the point was driven home. On two sides were a shear rock wall face that I couldn't have climbed up quickly on a good day. I watched the bear go up and down effortlessly. Up the river were slippery logs and large fallen logs. I could have made my way through but not as fast as that bear.

3)Defensive preparedness: Didn't hesitate to pull the gun into ready, didn't fumble with mags, steady hand, didn't panic. I was proud of myself for that, but I have no way of knowing how I would have done had the scenario "played itself out".

4)Equipment:
A) Holsters: I need something else. I have an XD-9 and the holster and mag holder that it came with. They are adequate for transporting a firearm on one's person, that's it. Poor for concealment, and frankly I don't like having to draw quickly from it, I couldnt get the angle I'd like for my hand to fall to.
B) Cothing: Not just from this event, but from hiking around with it in the woods I also found my clothes tended to ride up and allow the equipment to get caught on branches and crap. It was irritating to have to adjust my gear every few minutes, would have made it worse if I was hiking around people/tryign to stay concealed. I need to find some clothing that allows for better concealment in more "active" environments. What works when walking around the apartment doesn't always translate well into the great outdoors.
C) Firepower: With 32 rounds of 9mm available I wasn't exactly feeling exposed. However - I'm not ruling out choosing a stronger caliber. I probably wouldn't buy a new gun just for this alone. But after seeing a bear up close, if I had something bigger, I'd strongly consider carrying it. Range has to be close enough with a bear I wouldn't be concerned about missing so much, or needing to fend off multiple bears. I'm no bear/ballistics expert so there is no more value to this than what you've payed for it, but I just felt like something bigger than 9mm would be preferable.



Thats all I have to say for now. If I think of anything important I forgot, I'll add it later.
 

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turning around and seeing a bear right in front of you would be scary as hell...thanks for sharing and im glad no one was hurt
 

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For your future trips to Alaska, I think I'd choose a larger caliber.
Where abouts in Alaska? I lived in Fairbanks for 4 years and my wife lived there for 23 years.
 

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Glad to hear you are ok. Wow that is intense. Black bears are "usually" scare easy. At least it wasn't a Grizzley. 9mm + Bad Grizzley attitude would not have come out well for you.
 

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Good work.

Couple things I'll say to add to your experience.

Sorry to say, but the XD-9 will do little to a charging bear other than really piss it off/scare it/and or make it more agressive. Though it's a great pistol overall, it's not made for stopping bears. A bear can withstand a lot of pain when it's charging and its adrenaline is pumping, you'd have to place your rounds pretty well to stop it. I see the others in this thread agree. Glad I never had to face a bear! Worst I've had was when i was hiking and came across a family of mountain lions... The mom and two cubs. I nearly shat myself. I started walking backwards right away since the mother wasn't very happy to see me and my dad/sister/brother in law. I think I would have been attacked if I would have been alone. All I had with me was a full size USMC Ka-bar fighting knife. :eek: F' that... I was scared enough with the mountain lion, can't imagine an f'ing BEAR! (or a bear and its cubs! :eek:)

In regards to the holster:

When I was in the academy and we were doing firearms training, they had us carry around fake pistols in our holsters when we werent at the range (Bright red, blue, or orange glocks/sigs made of rubber). Anyway, the instructors would randomly yell "Draw your weapons!", and you'd have to have it drawn, finger off the trigger, and in low firing pisition, and if you were last, you'd be doing pushups. They encouraged us to CONSTANTLY draw and holster our weapons to build muscle memory. I think we drew a total of about 1,500 times (I think that was the official count, and yes, they counted) before we had developed good muscle memory.

When we started I was sloppy with drawing my weapon, and even sloppier with putting it back... They don't allow you to look at your weapon/holster at ANY time when you're doing these drills, and when you're under pressure, you tend to get sloppy. After about a month I started being really comfortable with my weapon and could draw/holster with ease, like second nature. After the course, it was just natural to me... and it still is.

We used the police holsters that has a strap/button release. So you have to push down on a button with your thumb as you move the strap off of the grip of the pistol (saftey feature so people can't take your weapon from you so easily)... What do they call them, stage 2 holsters or something? But yeah, it made it much more difficult under pressure... with every addition step you lose time, so we tried to combine the button/switch press with the strap release to make it one step.

Probably way more than you wanted to hear from me, but the point is, practice drawing from your holster when you have some free time. Take 15mins a week or something (min) and stand there in front of a mirror and draw, holster, draw, holster, draw, holster. It could mean life and death man.

You can thank Firearms instructor, T.O. (Training officer) Kong for that information. He's the national rifle champ for some crazy distance, and he also holds some pistol shooting records. I'll see if I can look him up.

:)
 

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Blah, can't find info on him... I don't rememer his first name, as we all called him T.O. Kong. Needless to say, he's pretty damn bad ass. You should see the guy rapid fire shoot.

He's a small asian dude... older, probably in his late 50s. Would NOT want to mess with him! lol He also instructs the FBI.


EDIT: Sorry for the grammer and spelling mistakes, I'm writing from a portable device.
 

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A month or two ago there was in GQ a series of articles written by people who have survived the unsurvivable. Amongst these crazy stories was that of a dad who he and his daughter similar to you were surprised by a bear in the wild. Unlike you PD they got owned big time, and almost died. Dude wrote about what happened to them in a matter of fact manner detailing everything including how the bear felt & sounded as it bit into his skull and it's teeth scraped against bone ripping his scalp off.
Serious business.

I'm with Bruce and others, 9MM is nothing against a bear.
Scale up.
During hunter education class we were told by the EPO officers that in MA Black bear are literally everywhere (including in a highly populated city where I saw one myself last year) and that they are a very tough animal to injure muchless put down. He said that between their dense thick & matted hair awe ll as their not so thin skin and triple layered musculature they are not an animal to be taken lightly. He suggested .44 Magnum if hunting by pistol and 30-30 by rifle as a minimum.
The instructor was a Lt. and regional director of the MA Environmental Police Office. He was dead serious and suggested folk not go taking shots at one with "grandpa's dubya dubya 2 forty five" as it would do nothing at all but make the bear mad and want to kill if not eat you.
From what I saw of the one I cam across IRL they move fast as fuck too. Forget about out running one and the EPO guy said they will climb whatever to get you if pissed off including high trees which they otherwise will generally not scale unless spooked, or angered.

Anyway on from that my only other suggestion would be don't be carrying unloaded.
Condition 1 cocked and locked, or in a striker fired pistol primed, FTW.
If the bear had swiped at you and ripped the muscle off your weak arm then what would you do to load? What if it had your arm in it's mouth?
That is what happened to dude in the article and that guy along with his daughter got _fucked up_ in what he described as a matter of seconds. It wasn't a long drawn out run or fight. Just boom the thing was all over the both of them in an instant, and then they were done.

Congrats to you guys being super fortunate and surviving.

- Janq would invest in a .460 revolver for Alaska wilderness trips
 

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Well said Pappa Janq.

I wouldn't mess around with anything less than the hand cannon I was considering a month ago (S&W 4" .500 revolver). You have 5 shots to take that bear down, and only one will do it. Needless to say, I wouldn't be messing around with bears with a 9mm... Might as well not have anything. It would take a very well placed shot on the eye, mouth, or something to really take a bear down with a 9mm.
 

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There are many good deterents while living in bear country. A very good pepper spray works wonders. For those that don't know bears mainly depend on their sense of smell, and a good pepper spray will screw that up.
I've also heard of flare guns, which makes sense. But, if you want to kill it, I'd recommend a 45-70 or this (as shown above) http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&content=36302

Of course most of this is directed at Brown bears, but I would imagine it would do the trick on a much smaller black bear.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well aware of the caliber issue. Part of the reason for carrying is simply for a noise maker. Hope to scare the bear off, and alert nearby hikers.

(3 shots in succession = distress signal)

I plan to invest in a .44 before returning - its alway been in the back of my mind but this demonstrated the importance.

Daniel, Janq, thanks for the input.
 
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