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Solo Wilderness Security
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folecr r
(folecr) - M
friends on 08/29/2011 11:25:17 MDT Print View

I just bring my gun nut friends along.

Fred Thorp
(BFThorp) - F
Rational? on 08/29/2011 11:49:51 MDT Print View

...“Irrational people will have already have disarmed you and killed you with your gun or their guns.”

…”he just assumes that he couldn't carry enough fire power to make a difference if he ever needed to get into a fire-fight with druggies who have set up their grow operations in the National Forest.”

I don’t agree with these assumptions, but everyone has to make their own decisions, informed or not.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
"Solo Wilderness Security" on 08/29/2011 12:16:10 MDT Print View

All the bears I know prefer an HK or MP machine pistol, so that's what you will be up against; and unlike what you see on TV, a rifle or handgun will be useless in the face of such overwhelming firepower superiority.

When you have acquired your shooter, please let us know, so we can rat you out.


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
firearms on 08/29/2011 12:56:07 MDT Print View

when I'm working I carry my firearm into the backcountry, when I'm recreating I leave it at home

if I'm in grizzly country I carry bear spray, regardless if I have my firearm or not- it's going to be more effective for a charging grizzly

have there been times I wished I had my sidearm, a few- but so few that I plan on continuing to leave it at home on non-work trips

for those wondering on the pepper spray, the bear spray is very (very) effective against any two legged species- OC spray is measured in Scoville units (measures heat) and bear spray is typically stronger than LE OC spray- also a much larger quantity :)

my advice to your "friend" is forget about the sidearm for the backcountry, the city....... that's another matter altogether

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
wind on 08/29/2011 13:35:26 MDT Print View

What about bear and pepper sprays in the wind? Where I live, there are very few bears, but lots of tweakers and dirt people (desert variant of hill billy), and here in the desert the wind blows (both figuratively and literally). It's always blowing... So, what do you do if your assailant is coming at you from down wind?

Also with regards to practice- I was reading a similar discussion in another forum where someone made a pretty good point, I thought. While most gun nuts are pretty well practiced with the operation with their firearms, how much practice does that average outdoors-man have with a bear spray canister? I mean, I dunno how much one costs, but for $20 I can rip out quite a few rounds at the shooting range with my handgun. How much practice does it take to be proficient with a bear canister? With practice drawing a firearm becomes a reflex.

Now, out of all the time I spend in the desert I've never carried anything more than my 4" tactical folder (but I always carry that with me anyway). I've never been assaulted but have run past some shady looking people out in the desert of a few occasions.


Rodney OndaRock
(RodneyOndaRock) - F

Locale: Southern California
Further clarification on 08/29/2011 14:20:54 MDT Print View

1) Thank you everyone for taking the time to provide feedback.
2) A hot topic draws many diverse points of view.
3) My friend's concern scenario is such: sleeping in a solo tent, stealth camp in the national forest, visibility is limited to a tent shadow at best. A bear, mountain lion or human attacks you while in the tiny tent.

That was the reasoning for "low accuracy is OK" because the situation might be shooting at the sudden tent intruder biting the camper's foot. distance range 5 ft ?

The other issue is with a shorter barrel, generally it's less weight, but at the trade off accuracy.

If a bear invades your tent and bites your foot, pepper spray will blind you just as much in a tight tent space.

As for the 2 legged attackers, a pepper spray can is not taken seriously as a deterrent, since some of those guys use it as a dinner condiment. Also, a can runs out of spray pressure in 30-45 secs, where as the stopping power is limited by your refill inventory.

The "packing" gear feedback I gathered from the posts:
Smith & Wesson 342PD, titanium
S&W 337PD
any caliber in the 40-45 area is fine
.44 Magnum revolver
Glock in .40, 10mm, or .45
glock in 9mm, .40 or .45 is enough gun

Generally impractical to carry while moving on the trail during the day, those encounters can be mitigated in a variety of ways. So during the trail walk, the toys would be in bag. It's the night/sleep when a person is most vulnerable.

I was surprised that the Glock was of interest for the outdoors, no one mentioned stun or taser guns. They prob would not be effective on fat and furry predators, 2 or 4 legged.

All laws, risks and liability considered, I was curious what BPL people were packing, with UL weight consideration vs effectiveness.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Fred Thorp
(BFThorp) - F
Carrying? Why not. on 08/29/2011 14:34:55 MDT Print View

"Generally impractical to carry while moving on the trail during the day"

Not at all. Concealed and quickly accessible is easily done.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: Carrying? Why not. on 08/29/2011 15:03:06 MDT Print View

"Not at all. Concealed and quickly accessible is easily done."

Yeah, I was wondering about that one. It seems that that hip-belt would be in the way of most ccw holsters. At least most that I've seen... But, it did get me thinking, a cool ccw hip-belt pocket holster might be a possibility.


Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: wind on 08/29/2011 15:15:30 MDT Print View

What about bear and pepper sprays in the wind? .Black bears (specifically) I have run into have been pretty silent in the forest, and have usually crossed my path from thick brush with barely a sound (most just flee with a flash of bear booty).

If an altercation with a bear were to happen, it'd likely be hand-to-hand (or hand-to-paw) where wind would be negligible given how quick, yet stealthy bears can be.

I fire off some bear spray every so often in a strong breeze/wind. It is highly pressurized. While firing bear spray into a strong wind can be problematic, it does pretty good in a crosswind. With a canister, one really does not need much (if any) practice as the spray comes out as a pretty deng big cone (different experience IMO, firing than a handgun, which I practiced with for my previous job at taxpayer expense -ranges, close quarters, switching from carbine to pistol, etc...).

Edited by hknewman on 08/29/2011 16:12:34 MDT.

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Lawn Chair Pack'n for Solo Wilderness Security on 08/29/2011 19:02:59 MDT Print View

Is it too late to get in my less than two cents?

I don't carry a defensive firearm any longer on any back-country trips as I have found them to be heavy, awkward and generally of no use. On a hip belt they largely serve to pull my pants down and get in the way of my pack belt. Instead I have taken to packing an old aluminum lawn chair with green straps. It is every bit as heavy and awkward but with greater utility after I hump the thing up a mountain.

Let me explain:

In case of a grizzly encounter on the trail one can wave the lawn chair overhead while making huffing noises and clacking one's own jaws. The bear will either:
1) Think you are a thirteen foot bear and leave you alone or:
2) have a concern about ingesting second hand LSD and leave you alone.

At bedtime one hangs the chair from an overhead branch to swing in the wind. Any bear encountering such a thing will:
1) Be creeped out by the odd thing swinging in the wind and leave you alone or:
2) Recognize it as a lawn chair on a string and leave you alone with the same concern for the possibility of ingesting second hand LSD.

It works for two legged pests as well. Now suppose you should come upon a group of drunken lowlifes. With that old lawn chair on your back they will surely recognize you as one of their own. Anybody with something of value surely wouldn't be schlepping an old lawn chair around. Home free! (this works better if you trade the Patagucci R1 for an old army shirt btw)

So there you have it - wilderness security at its best!

PS Don't worry, folks on the trial will still notice you are pack'n and suspect you might be a little crazy- just a nice sort of crazy instead of a dangerous sort of crazy.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Solo Wilderness Security on 08/29/2011 19:40:01 MDT Print View

If you end up bumping into a pot field, I think the likely scenario is you would end up quickly drawing and shooting an armed growing before he can draw on you on the outskirts of an operation and then run your butt off. Either way, not a good situation if you are going to be chased.
Learn the signs, stay away from small streams on the side of well wooded mountains that lead into bigger creeks or rivers. Pot farmers need a water source and they would rather set up on some steep hill than right next to a river where people might be fishing or floating down. If you see any tools, buckets, piping, strange soil modification or digging, turn right around.

Has anybody here had luck with a chest mounted rig?

J Boro
(JBend) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: wind on 08/29/2011 20:43:49 MDT Print View

Lots of really good points here.

If your concern is unwanted midnight visitors, then there are a few simple things you can do and should do before you arm yourself to the teeth. First, in potentially shady areas you may want to stealth camp which can eliminate problems with people and bears. I sometimes camp along the edge of brush or downed trees. This gives me a feeling of some protection on a few sides and I at least know that nothing big is going to come sneaking up from that side. It also gives you some camo so that you are not visible from the trail. If you head uphill you'll also deter the lazy from stumbling onto your camp.

If you are part of the incredibly small unlucky minority that encounters a problem bear or person then you have to weight the benefits and drawbacks to guns vs. bear spray. In open terrain, where you may get a few seconds to respond, both guns and bear spray would be effective against people and bears. Spray allows more room for error and is generally more accessible than a gun. Also, with people, it is likely that you will be blindsided so unless your gun is in your hand it will probably be useless. In a tent however, it's likely that you'll blind yourself as well as the bear whereas a gun is quite effective.

For me, then answer to this conundrum is usually a knife mounted in a deployable position camouflaged on my pack (fallkniven f1 or Esee Izula). If I sense a potential problem, then I'll undo the snap and it is ready to deploy. It's fast enough to surprise a human attacker (quite deadly as well) and while it won't lop a bears head off, it's better than your bare hands if you are in a tent. It's also socially acceptable on the trail.

Lastly, you may want to take into account who else is out on the trail. If it's an area that is accessible to a lot of people then you probably don't have people exercising food discipline and are more likely to have an animal encounter in addition to problem people. For those reason, I'd be more likely to carry a knife and a firearm on quick overnighters or weekend trips than I would far into the backcountry.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Solo Wilderness Security on 08/29/2011 20:46:15 MDT Print View

Get one of the smaller fanny packs, and wear it with the pouch to the front, over your pack's hip belt buckle. Place your firearm in the fanny pack, out of sight but readily accessible. Keep wearing the fanny pack whenever you take off your pack.

CAVEAT: be sure you either (1) have a current Concealed Carry Permit issued by the state in which you are doing this, or (2) that said state will honor the CCW you do have if it was issued by a different state. Twenty-five states will issue CC permits to non-residents, but don't just assume reciprocity exists.

See for the latest information. According to them;

The District of Columbia does not issue CC permits nor will they honor ANY permits from ANY state.

Illinois (IL) and Wisconsin (WI) are "Non CCW issue states".

Colorado (CO), Michigan (MI), South Carolina (SC), New Hampshire (NH),
Florida (FL), and Maine (ME) only honor permits from residents of the issuing states. (Interesting as all of them except MI issue non-resident permits themselves.)

Vermont, Alaska & Arizona: Anyone who can legally own a firearm can carry it concealed. No Permit/License is required.)

OPEN CARRY without a permit is legal in most states, but it is your responsibility to KNOW before you try it. If you're worried about other people, open carry (where the bad guys can see it) is a far better deterrent than concealed carry and you don't have the hassles associated with permits.

Alaska is a totally different animal but here in "the lower 48", I've never seen the chippies and marmots numerous or bad enough to warrant packing a gun on the trail. Mosquitoes, yes, but I can't carry enough ammo to even put a dent in their numbers.

Edited by wandering_bob on 08/29/2011 22:30:55 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Best choice - IMO on 08/29/2011 22:12:51 MDT Print View

The Tarus 444 Titanium in .44 magnum at 28 oz is the lightest gun that will "Do the job." if you do yours and get a decent head shot on a brown bear.

I own guns but have no revolver yet. When I DO get one next June it will be this model for protection from brown bears. A .44 magnum is the MINIMUM cartridge one should consider for stopping dangerous North American game.

BTW, I read "scribbles" comment, "Glock for the city. Bear spray for the wilderness." So far that's exactly what I've been doing - and the biggest bear spray canister.
But for brown bear country the Tarus 444 Titanium is the lightest gun in .44 magnum you can find anywhere. Great design and excellent quality.

Edited by Danepacker on 08/29/2011 22:20:34 MDT.

joseph peterson
(sparky) - F

Locale: Southern California
Solo Wilderness Security on 08/29/2011 22:17:19 MDT Print View

The need to carry in the city or the wilderness just reaks of fear. I realize others see it different, but I see it as a sign of fear.

And yes I live in a rough area of a rough town, and hike in bear and mountain lion country.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Fear, etc. on 08/29/2011 22:52:10 MDT Print View

Joseph, there's fear and there's prudence. The two are not the same.

If you feel you're more macho than me for not carrying in "Indian Territory" and in wilderness areas with dangerous game then fine. For me it's not fear but prudence, kinda like "accident insurance".

Remember, "When seconds count the police are only minutes away."

If you're ever UNarmed and at the wrong end of a gun in a potentially deadly situation you'll know fear and only fear.

If you're ever armed in the same situation you'll know both fear and hope of survival.

When an FBI agent friend and a Henderson police friend both tell me to carry in Las Vegas metro area I feel they are advising me out of an abundance of prudence. So I carry, mostly at night. Plus I have the feeling that my home is secure when these firearms - properly stored - are in the house. As former armed security I have been trained by private companies on the use of deadly force with several types of weapons so I know the ways and times to deploy them and when NOT to.

In a wildnerness situation I may carry only bear spray where there are black bears and will ALWAYS carry at least a .44 magnum where there are brown bears (griz).

As for you, God bless you with continued good luck.

** ADDENDUM: I stand corrected, the Smith & Wesson "pd" series of titanium revolvers in .44 magnum is 3 oz. lighter than the Tarus 444 Ultralite titanium in the same caliber, albiet more 'spensive than the Tarus. Either are excellent choices.

Edited by Danepacker on 08/30/2011 11:49:45 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Pack a couple of Claymores on 08/30/2011 03:14:10 MDT Print View

All Jokes aside, I do find this conversation a bit crazy.

I never hike in the forests in the UK or Ireland as the Treeline ends at about 300m and Met Labs and Pot growing operations are normally in Cities :-)

I| do have cousin in LA who was shot along time ago.

Edited by stephenm on 08/30/2011 03:38:13 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Luck on 08/30/2011 06:17:04 MDT Print View

I have ha the same luck as Joseph. Amazing its happened to both of us.

Edited by alexdrewreed on 08/30/2011 07:21:42 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Solo Wilderness Security on 08/30/2011 06:31:18 MDT Print View


Edited by kthompson on 08/31/2011 06:32:31 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Fear and danger on 08/30/2011 06:40:34 MDT Print View

By far the most dangerous thing we do is drive to the trailhead.