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Does your kit include a gun?
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Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Ultralight Peashooter on 12/16/2007 19:36:08 MST Print View

Boy, do I hate to get into this, but...

Any gun that is light enough to pack is too light for safe protection. It may have some intimidation value against someone who doesn't know better, but it will tend to produce false confidence. Anyone who knows what they are doing can take it away and do unwelcome things with it. As to the 9.4 ounce toy. Believe me, please; it will not stop more than an enraged chipmunk - provided it could hit it. Mabe if you threw it.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Does your kit include a gun on 12/16/2007 21:35:40 MST Print View

"Ultralight peashooter" is a very appropriate name!

About the only effect that .32 caliber popgun is going to have on a bear is to gain you his full and undivided attention; probably NOT something you'd enjoy.

I've had professional guides tell me that if you shoot a black bear, the odds are 50/50 that he'll charge rather than run away. With a grizzly, it's 100/0.

And a do you plan to get those tiny contacts through all that fur and into his skin? Answer - you won't, and the electrical charge won't reach him.

Bottom line: Leave Yoggy alone and he'll return the favor. Why look for trouble?

Edited by wandering_bob on 12/16/2007 21:38:50 MST.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Re:Re: Ultralight Peashooter on 12/16/2007 22:11:52 MST Print View

"Any gun that is light enough to pack is too light for safe protection"

---I'm definitely not an expert but these kinds of weapons are very accurate at close range (Kel-Tec P32= 1 inch groups @ 7 yards). The .32 auto cartridge has a deep history with law enforcement as well as military personnel. It is still popular as a secondary weapon, especially with undercover officers.

That being said, of course the .32 won't have the stopping power of a .38 or a 9mm but, if the shooter is accurate, it can still be very deadly. Also, because this gun is "wimpy", shooters experience much less recoil, enabling successive shots to be fired with more accuracy (especially nice for shooters with weak arms).

Also, I think most everyone will agree that the utility of a gun is very low in the backcountry, unless you are hunting or in polar bear country. So if a person chooses to pack a gun, one of the small and light ones may be worth consideration. Obviously the weight penalty is reduced but also, because they are so compact, they can be kept "at hand" much easier, even covertly (ie: concealed) if need-be.
It's clear that some people choose to pack guns in illegal areas (like ALL national parks), but what good is a gun if you cannot access it quickly?

For comparison I have calculated the general "power factors" of the Beretta 92 (9mm) vs the 15.5oz (loaded) Kel-Tec PF-9 (9mm).
PF= bullet weight * muzzle velocity.

Berreta 92: 124 gr * 1250 fps = 155,000
Kel-Tec PF-9: 115 gr * 1298 fps = 149,270

We can see that the 15oz gun can really stand up with a big boy here. Also, because the gun shoots at a higher velocity, penetration and fragmentation may be better. Couple that with hollow point expanding ammo and you have a serious lightweight weapon.

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 12/17/2007 15:55:40 MST.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Pea Shooter or Cannon? on 12/16/2007 22:13:55 MST Print View

Interesting discussion. Having a weapon is one thing. Having it available and ready for use in a surprise incident in a few seconds is something else. Knowing how to use it and packing it in a ready mode is still another.

If you look at the potential threats and the needed protocol to deal with them, I have to wonder whether it's worth it.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Re: Does your kit include a gun on 12/16/2007 22:28:01 MST Print View

"About the only effect that .32 caliber popgun is going to have on a bear is to gain you his full and undivided attention"
---There is no denying that, but why shoot a bear if it isn't charging/attacking you?

"I've had professional guides tell me that if you shoot a black bear, the odds are 50/50 that he'll charge rather than run away. With a grizzly, it's 100/0."
--- Again, a person would have to be stupid to shoot a bear that is not attacking/charging. And IF a bear were to charge, I would advocate firing a warning shot or two if there is time (and better options are exhausted). I have seen video of a fishing group who were charged by a mother grizzly. She was with cubs and a quick shot from a gun caused her to abort and back off from the human intruders. In addition, most black bear experts advocate fighting black bears IF they do attack. In this rare case I would definitly rather use a compact gun than a knife or fists, but hopefully bear spray and warning shots could be utilized prior to such a terrible event.

"And a do you plan to get those tiny contacts through all that fur and into his skin? Answer - you won't, and the electrical charge won't reach him."
---Admittedly, this was just a silly musing, but since you mentioned it, I decided to look it up. I found that a tazer can penetrate up to 2 inches of clothing! This is, of course, probably measured at close range etc, and so who knows if it would work? I wouldn't bet my life on it.

"Bottom line: Leave Yoggy alone and he'll return the favor. Why look for trouble?"
---Agreed! Don't totally discount the discussion though. What about two legged problems?

Bottom lines:
1. Human and animal attacks DO occur in the backcountry.
2. Some people choose to pack guns, legally, illegally, or both.
3. One day it might pay off to be properly trained and equipped , but that would be a very rare event indeed.
4. IF a person chooses to pack, there are important tradeoffs to consider btw weight, power, and usability.

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 12/16/2007 22:59:51 MST.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
guns on 12/17/2007 06:44:46 MST Print View

Deadly is one thing ... stopping a charging bear is something else all together.

Don't kid yourself .... any handgun that will stop a 400 plus pound charging black bear, or a Griz twice that size is going to be substantially larger than a .32.

If you decide to trust your life to even a 9mil, well, good luck.

You may kill the bear, that's true, but it will take him a long time to bleed out, and a very upset bear, full of little holes, is not something I'd like to spend any time with. A large cat will, so I've heard, always attack when wounded.

Even a 12 gauge is questionable in my mind.

Pepper spray, on the other hand, has an excellent record of stopping very large charging animals dead in their tracks.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re:Re: Ultralight Peashooter on 12/17/2007 08:38:04 MST Print View

The formula for bullet energy is (V in feet*V in feet*bullet weight in grains)/ 450400 = energy in foot pounds. So, no, the .32 does not stand up to the 9mm in any way, shape or form. I have seen people survive being shot near the heart at close range with .380 and even .357 magnum - before returning fire - and then surviving the incident. So please disabuse yourself of the concept of "stopping power." It is highly relative. Some of the other respondents have given good answers to this issue, so I will get out while the getting's good.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Does your kit include a gun? on 12/17/2007 10:50:42 MST Print View

Vick is right about stopping power.

Even a cannon is useless if you can't or don't hit the target with it.

It takes a cool head and a steady hand to place a bullet in a lethal spot in something that weighs 400+ pounds, has three inch claws and teeth, and which is closing the distance between you at 40 mph, all the while retaining control of your anal sphincter.

What most folks don't even consider is knowing WHERE are the lethal spots in the target animal. Furthermore, those spots keep moving up and down as the animal bounds toward you.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Does your kit include a gun? on 12/17/2007 11:35:39 MST Print View

Up here hand guns are illegal, so no, I don't carry one. For me, hiking is time off/vacation/fun, so I wouldn't really relate guns with hiking. When I go on vacation, I don't worry about shooting someone or something. If I did, I would select a different activity.
As for bears, there are plenty up here - see them all the time up north. I clap my hands and tell'em to "go-on, get goin'"...they run. If not, then I always figured we'd drop the gloves - may the best mammal win.
And since no one here carries a handgun, I always thought that my "crotch kick" was quite impressive - so us Canadians wear jocks in the wilderness.;)

Charles Bilz
(denalijoe) - F

Locale: California
Re: Doesyour kit need a gun? on 12/17/2007 11:59:16 MST Print View

Adding my two cents worth...

If you feel you have to have a gun in your kit make sure:

1. You have the proper training on how to use it.
2. Its readly available to use. A gun in your pack is useless if you need to use it.

ANY gun will be more effective against the two legged varity of animal than a four legged one. So a .32 might be all you need. But having a gun with you can give you a false sense of security.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Guns in the Backcountry on 12/17/2007 12:53:59 MST Print View

I agree with most of your points. Also, I'm NOT advocating carrying a gun at all, I'm merely exploring the idea of packing one. I also agree that pepper spray may be the best option for a bear attack.

I was calculating a power factor which is very similar to bullet energy. Since you mentioned it, I calculated energy below (EDIT: I was actually comparing 9mm to 9mm in the first place):
Bullet energy as defined by Wikipedia is E = m • v2 / (2 • 32.1739 • 7000)
So for the Beretta 92 (124 gr, 1250 fps): 124 * 1250^2 =
193750000/450434.6= 430.14
And for the Kel-Tec 9mm (115 gr, 1298 fps)= 115 * 1298^2=
193752460/450434.6= 430.15
You can see that the guns are practically identical here!

I agree.

I think almost anyone can agree that a small gun is of limited utility when confronting a bear (esp. a griz), and that bear spray is the way to go. That being said, it is a fact that there is still inherent utility in packing a gun, for bear but especially for human attacks.

There are documented stories (which I accidentally erased the links to) where people have repelled bear charges by scaring them with gun blasts. A man even killed a 750lb Grizzly with 5 shots from a .45Mag.

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 12/17/2007 15:57:18 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Well.... on 12/17/2007 15:23:50 MST Print View

Yes and no.
Do I carry in NP's? No. I would not break the laws here.

Do I have a CCL? Yes. Do I train with my husband? Yes. Have I taken classes on shooting and carrying concealed? Yes.

I don't take my right to carry lightly. If you haven't seen it, you should check out The Safepacker setup. It is designed to be attached to your backpack and is made for many pieces. It allows immediate access. I should also point out that Camelbak makes a series of daypacks for people who carry as well. You won't find them in REI, but oh well.

I am very pro gun rights and will talk about it to almost every female friend and hiking partner I go out with. I have gotten a couple so far to take classes and one even fell in love with the Safepacker. We have matching ones now.

Is it UL? Not by any means. I am fully aware that when I do choose to carry I am carrying 2-3 lbs of weight that has one purpose. I carry an officer size Kimber 45 with laser rubber grips and an an extra magazine loaded.

I carry for many reasons but one is that it leaves my husband with peace of mind. He has never stood in my way for hiking and told me to not go. If he is not there to protect his family he would want me to do the same. Hence I carry on trips with my son.

Would I use what I carry? I hope I never have to. I also carry pepper spray as well, that is my first line of defense.

Then again, unlike many of the men here, I am 5'4". And I have met many a shady character out there. The reason I took up taking classes was due to meeting a real winner on the trail in 2002 or so. The man would not leave my kid and I alone, following us on the trail until we shook him by running for our lives and beating him simply by speed!

bobby c
(bobbycartwright) - F

Locale: i don't need no stinkin badges!
if you're gonna do it, do it right on 12/17/2007 16:13:52 MST Print View

hey steve, no offense but if i were to be shot, i'd rather it be by a .32acp or a 9mm. very little interior damage and not alot of stopping power. steve cooper, the gun guru of arizona's gunsite ranch is a die hard .45acp fantatic and i have to agree with him that there is little better for a self defense handgun than the 1911 model colt service pistol. also, the s&w .38 that i reccomended

is capable of carrying a .38+P load, which is basically a standard .38 bullet with extra juice, making it comparable to a .357. many people become complacent with their handguns solely due to a high magazine capacity and will never realize that:

#1, the primary object of a confrontation is to avoid it, and if that is not possible then
#2, to win said confrontation with as little effort (less trigger pulling, ie...using a respectable caliber) and as efficiently as possible with the best weapon most suited for defense.

talk to some military guys that were in the service in the 80's when the government switched from the .45acp which had been in service since before 1911, to the 9mm 92f beretta. there were servicemen that threatened resignation if they were ever going to be forced to carry the 9mm into a combat situation. and the arguement that 9mm is widely carried by police isn't valid, just look at all the dumb things cops do and see if you could trust them to make the correct decision about their own weaponry.

fyi i don't even own a gun but i've used them since i was old enough to walk yet it's probably been a decade since i've fired one. my dad is a former marine/gun nut and that's where i got all of my gun experience.

i pity the fool that thinks i'm gonna be the next victim on the trail, alreay been in a few of those situations in the urban jungle and i don't have too much fear of anyone in the wilderness. broken bones, sprained ankles and hypothermia are something else....

Edited by bobbycartwright on 12/18/2007 06:19:05 MST.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
yep on 12/17/2007 16:49:47 MST Print View

After an encounter mtn biking with a cougar I carry a 44spl [not magnum].
Staring down a full grown cat clad in lycra with a rock in my hand is not a repeat life experience.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Guns in the Backcountry on 12/17/2007 18:31:31 MST Print View

Bobby, no offense taken! I don't own a gun either but I have became more interested as this thread has progressed. That little S&W sure is good lookin. Watch out though, because a horde of people are about to jump down your throat and say that a .38+P won't stop a bear.

Forrest G McCarthy
(forrestmccarthy) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
bear mace vs a firearm on 12/17/2007 19:47:39 MST Print View

In my opinion most situations where a gun might be useful a can of pepper spray is a better option. This includes potentially violent bear and human encounters. My wife does a lot of solo hiking and it gives me piece of mind that she carries big can of bear mace. Bear mace is my primary protection when in grizzly country. This includes the Northern Rockies and most of Alaska. Even when riffle hunting I carry a can of bear mace.

Most bear encounters can be resolved without bear mace or a firearm. I am a believer in being hyper-aware and making lots of noise. Every bear encounter I have had, except one, the bear fled as soon it sensed human. I was once bluffed charged by a black bear.

That said when in the high arctic I do carry a firearm for protection against barren land grizzlies and polar bears. Barren land grizzlies and polar bears can be aggressive and are known to consider humans as food. When guiding it is my responsibility to provide safety for my clients and I carry a 12 gage shotgun with slugs. On light-weight personal trips in the high artic I prefer a S&W titanium .44 mag with 310 grain bullets. Besides the weight saving a revolver is more assessable in many situations. When carrying a fire arm, I or someone I am with also carries bear mace. Anyone that decides to carry a firearm should enroll in a hunter safety course or equivalent safety training. Additionally, many hours of target practice are needed.

The situations that I question the limitations of bear spray include being attacked in a tent and an upwind bear encounter. Having a bear attack while in a tent has occurred in the arctic. It would be a highly unlikely event in the Rocky Mountains. Nonetheless deploying bear spray from inside a tent seems problematic.

Almost every bear encounter I have had involved a bear that was up wind and did not smell my presence. Had I needed to deploy bear spray I am concerned that it may have blown back at me. This could result in me becoming disabled instead of the bear. With a 12 gage or .44 this would not be an issue. However, I personally would rather mace a bear then shoot a bear.

Edited by forrestmccarthy on 12/17/2007 19:52:29 MST.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
11,000 ftlbs of stopping power, lightweight version available on 12/17/2007 20:16:11 MST Print View

"Staring down a full grown cat clad in lycra with a rock..."
Pyeyo, you get the cahones award!

For those that want to carry, it looks like there is something closer to a 'sure fire answer': The Barrett 82A1, with 11,098 ft lbs of energy is about as good as you're going to do. If the heavy version 30.9 lbs is too heavy, they do have a lightweight version under 30 lbs. Maybe there'll make an ultralight version....;)

Assuming you can shoulder, release safety, aim and fire and hit the target. If you miss, you get 9 more shots, maybe...

Short of that, it's probably pepper spray or the 'Shield-o-Jesus'.

In you're tent I think you're SOL.

Edited by eaglemb on 12/17/2007 21:09:23 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Guns on 12/17/2007 20:53:47 MST Print View

Oh boy do we really need to carry fire arms out there......Noooooooo. Just my two cents worth. I'm from the big city and I would rather take my chances un-armed in the Sierra's versus walking around the 10th largest city at night. Bear protection? Really. By the time you actually get to defense mode and reach for you firearm it might just be too late. I am not a anti gun person, just that by reading this post I think most of these posts are stemmed from paranoia. Interesting post. Lol.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Guns on 12/18/2007 08:53:16 MST Print View

Ken: Do you ever pause to think that for some of us it isn't about bears? I have little fear of bears. When I carry it isn't for that reason.

Yes, I do fear two legged creatures. At my age I have had plenty of reasons to not trust men. You can call me paranoid if you want. I prefer to call myself trained and self sufficient.

Michael Reagan
(MichaelReagan) - F

Locale: Southern California
Good discussion on 12/18/2007 09:51:43 MST Print View

I would like to compliment all the participants for maintaining a reasonable and respectful conversation on a "hot-button" topic that tends to wreak havoc in most other internet forums.

Good job, folks!