Aug 29, 2011 at 12:39 am #1278640
@rodneyondarockLocale: Southern California
Since there's been a few news reports around the world of wild animals killing experienced hikers on foot, attacking tent sleepers in Norway, as well as accidentally discovering an illegal marijuana farm in national forests, that are guarded by armed bears with machine guns…
Curious, how many of you "have a friend" who is packing? and with BPL in mind, what type of security products would your friend recommend…
My friend is thinking of possibly something in the high caliber with stopping power, that can endure dirty conditions, with night sights, low probability of jam and malfunction, low accuracy is OK since it will be used for close distance (this is not for hunting) and of course LIGHTWEIGHT.
For the sake of this topic:
1) let's ackowledge that we are all aware that weapons are not allowed in most wilderness areas
2) let's skip the debate on the legality of carrying.
3) let's exclude the recently popular machete option.
4) let's agree to move pro/con gun control debates to another thread in chaf.Aug 29, 2011 at 1:09 am #1773820
My friend says skip the gun and spend $40 on some bear spray if your friend is that worried.
-less chance of a nasty legal tangle if your friend actually used it on something
-probably far more effective against a bear
-no potentially fatal accidents
-in the 1/1000000000000000 chance your friend has an encounter he/she'd probably be more inclined to actually use it without panicking
And if your friend is accosted, kidnapped, attacked, or robbed by machine-gun-wielding pot growers your friend is F-ed regardless of what he/she's carrying.
My friend says your friend should relax.
Besides, my friend has always wondered…Say your friend is armed with a big gun. At what point do they open fire on the bear? 20 feet? 10 feet? 5 feet? 2 feet? When it's on you? Warning shots? It'd be pretty crappy to shoot up a bear over a mock-charge.Aug 29, 2011 at 4:19 am #1773827
> 1) let's ackowledge that we are all aware that weapons are not allowed in most wilderness areas
Not sure where you got that idea, but it's incorrect. The correct answer is that it depends on federal laws, state laws, and county ordinances in the area where you will be traveling.
> 2) let's skip the debate on the legality of carrying.
Not sure what that means. It is legal to carry in many National Forests, etc., but you need to check the laws in the area.
If you are implying that someone might disregard the applicable laws, I really suggest that person researches what penalties there could be.
> and of course LIGHTWEIGHT.
Define lightweight in ounces or grams.
From the second poster:
> And if your friend is accosted, kidnapped, attacked, or robbed by machine-gun-wielding pot growers your friend is
> F-ed regardless of what he/she's carrying.
Why? That doesn't make sense.Aug 29, 2011 at 4:20 am #1773828
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Curious, how many of you "have a friend" who is packing
Found out that an environmentalist/left-wing acquaintance of mine carried a handgun when backpacking, so you never know. Probably since he was well-known in this area and his advocacy in expanding wilderness areas, he was likely worried that a lynch mob of ranchers would recognize his truck. Despite lots of weight-lifting, he started having joint issues and wasn't able to carry even an ultralight load a couple years after retiring at 60.Aug 29, 2011 at 4:30 am #1773830
I'll echo Craig's suggestion to carry chemical spray.
Also, I'll add that when a person does decide to carry a gun they should have (a) an understanding of the laws and regulations, (b) a good lawyer, and (c) "less-lethal" options (chemical spray), and retention support options (knife).
Finally, there are several things about your post that lead my to believe that you don't have much experience with firearms. If you decide to start carrying a gun, the type of gun will most likely be less important than the level of training and amount of practice you achieve. Most likely, by the time you have the level of experience you need, you won't need or want to ask anybody for suggestions.Aug 29, 2011 at 4:45 am #1773833
You would probably want a revolver over a semiauto pistol. Greater reliability, simplicity, no magazines, etc.
Perhaps a Smith & Wesson 342PD. From a recent review: "…the lightest of the Centennial series, weighing a feathery 10.8 ounces. Smith & Wesson has pioneered the use of titanium alloys in its revolvers, resulting in weapons that are much easier to carry concealed, without sacrificing strength. Titanium, when compared to steel, is lighter, tougher, and absolutely rust-proof. The 342PD is over four ounces lighter than the aluminum-frame/steel cylinder 442, and three-quarters of a pound lighter than the stainless steel model 640. In a pocket gun, every ounce counts, and the 342PD is the lightest concealed-hammer .38 Special revolver you can buy. Only the S&W 337PD exposed-hammer Chief’s Special is lighter, by one-tenth of an ounce."
Plus pepper spray and a knife…Aug 29, 2011 at 4:51 am #1773834
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
I am moving to the US shortly from Europe and this is the one item that really scares the crap out of me whether its in a City or in the middle of a forest.Aug 29, 2011 at 6:52 am #1773844
@towalyLocale: Smoky Mtns.
In my particular area, bear hunting(black bear) is very common. For a handgun, I think any caliber in the 40-45 area is fine. People use 357 Magnum, but that might be a little light for the job if the bear is large or closing in on a charge. Also, the same caliber selections are fine for personal defense against human assailants too.
The most commonly used guns are .30-30 Winchester lever-action rifle, or .44 Magnum revolver, both of which are big(especially the rifle) and heavy.
Polymer-framed semi-auto pistols like a Glock in .40, 10mm, or .45 would do just as well, are very reliable, have alot of rounds in the magazine, and are lighter than steel-framed pistols. Glock is known for reliability(no-jam), and known for light weight, and they make some very compact and light models for carrying easily.
Chances are that you won't ever need any of that stuff, but you never know.
If guns are too scary, I can tell you that bears don't like dogs(medium-large), and neither do criminals, so a dog will typically help keep both problems away. Hunters here use packs of dogs for bear hunting, and the bears always run from the dogs until they are treed, or the dogs catch them(which doesn't come out well for the dogs usually). However, some other hikers don't like you to have a dog with you either, and you might catch some flak from them for bringing a dog.
Basically, do what you think you have to do. There is almost always somebody who is going to have some kind of opposition to almost anything you do.Aug 29, 2011 at 7:12 am #1773847
I'm very pro "self defence" and I own a few defensive firearms for home protection and maintain proficient use in them. You could say I am a gun-guy.
The first step is making the promise to yourself to never willingly become a victim, self defense is a mixture of mostly mental preparedness, maintaining situational awareness of what us occurring around you, a little bit of dark intentions for any thing or person that means you harm, and lastly having a weapon or means to project physical force upon those who would harm you.
Now all that sounds pretty gung-ho, but avoidance and de-escalation is the name of the game. Hikers tell you about the tweakers at a shelter, bypass them and stealth camp elsewhere. Rangers posted signs at the trailed about problem bears? Hit another weekend loop somewhere else. Hike up onto a grow op/meth lab? Beat feet outta there!
Onto hardware: what you carry is a function of threat assessment vs your visible profile vs weight. Not enough weapon and your unable to project stopping force, too much and you risk scaring passers-by, maybe getting the police called on you. Likewise too much and youre weighed down.
If profile and weight weren't factors, we would all stroll out into bear country with RPG's or belt fed lmg's. But they are.
If you're worried about bears only, bear spray is the most survivable option. Alaskan police have done studies. Handguns (including magnum revolvers) offer negligible protection, large caliber rifles and 12 gauges give you about a coin tosses chance of survival, bear spray is like 90%+ survival rates in attacks.
If you're worried about people, a big gun can be a deterrence, or it can be an object to steal from your dead corpse, and this is why profile is equally important as stopping power. A full power modern handgun like a glock in 9mm, .40 or .45 is enough gun for a person or black bear, and can be carried in accessible fashion without drawing too much attention. You can also get some bird shot cartridges that will open up survival hunting options.
Whatever you carry, practice is everything. You must be able to rapidly deploy the weapon and engage the threat, or you may as well leave it at home.
For my needs I chose concealable pepper spray. Will put a person in the dirt, and I can flee the scene without informing any police, or leaving a body count (maintaining low profile), legal in more areas then the firearm, and easy to dispose of if you're in an area with questionable legality. Buy more online if you need it, get it shipped right to you at a supply point.
Good police grade pepper sprays will have a more potent mixture then bear spray formulas, so it will perform double duty. I'll return later with some links to suggested products.Aug 29, 2011 at 7:26 am #1773853
@aaronmbLocale: Central Valley California
I'll second all of Craig and Tommy's comments above.
Regarding "where" – there's a big difference between National Forest and National Park. If you're genuinely concerned about the Pot Growers, call your local NP/NF agency and ask them if it's relatively safe to hike near ______. I've heard of instances where hikers were actually cautioned against going into certain areas "before law enforcement can sweep that area."
One big thing to keep in mind is Tommy's suggestion about training. The finest bear gun or man stopper isn't worth a hoot if you can't shoot straight. Practice, practice, practice – to the point, as suggested, that when you're capable and ready (whatever that really means), this won't be a question. I grew up shooting responsibly and still shoot often; thousands and thousands of rounds have gone through my hands, through various calibers big and small; I own firearms, including something appropriate for what you're investigating. BUT, despite any concerns I've had about bears or bad guys, I have yet to pack a piece on the trail. I'll take Bear Spray, first, then when I can put a good lawyer on retainer, I'l consider the Glock. With that, though, I can't say I've never seriously thought about it a few times while packing gear. Each time, though, I've come to "how am I going to carry this thing?" It's certainly light enough, but it won't carry comfortably on my hip or back and it's worthless if it's carried in the backpack.
Half of my trail time is spent in areas where I'll see at least a handful of people everyday; if I were going out to more remote locations more often–spending more time in the National Forest–I might reconsider and figure out a comfortable light weight method of carry that won't interfere with a pack.Aug 29, 2011 at 7:34 am #1773854
@scribblesLocale: Atlanta, GA
Glock for the city. Bearspray for the wilderness. It's very simple (to me).Aug 29, 2011 at 7:41 am #1773858
+1000 on the bear spray. Maybe if you're in parts of Alaska, and then it's a very specialized piece of hardware. But it's easiest, lightest, and safest to just carry spray; and that's coming from a guy with 2 safes who plays a lot of gun games.Aug 29, 2011 at 7:46 am #1773860
@mzionLocale: Boulder, CO
Sig Sauer in the city. Heavy steal frame for smooth repeating fire and no safety.
But in the backcountry I really go without 'protection.' Scariest thing I've ever encountered in the woods was having to cross a busy highway. 99% of the people you will see are going to be like minded and friendly and most of the large mammals will simply run away.Aug 29, 2011 at 7:49 am #1773863
For the people suggesting bear spray, realize that while a bear is much bigger, they have more sensitive noses and spray that will cause a bear to make a 180, might not be as effective against an angry person. Since our noses are so comparatively dull, the formula for.human pepper sprays is a more severe mixture
Bear spray is meant to be a screening device, creating a hanging cloud of deterrent between you and the bear. human sprays are meant to be aimed and is a more persistent, concentrated agent.
If you want dual protection carry a potent human oriented formula that will also be sufficient to keep the bears away.Aug 29, 2011 at 8:02 am #1773868
I just carry a light weight plastic "This Property Protected by Acme Security" sign and post it outside my tarp. That keeps all the bears and bad guys away! ;)Aug 29, 2011 at 8:29 am #1773874
"My friend is thinking of possibly something in the high caliber with stopping power, that can endure dirty conditions, with night sights, low probability of jam and malfunction, low accuracy is OK since it will be used for close distance (this is not for hunting) and of course LIGHTWEIGHT."
I will not comment on bears, but for the two legged threats: When I don't know much about the shooter, I generally recommend a Glock-19. Easy to shoot, durable, reliable, available parts, and cost of practice ammo. Airweight revolvers, I'd skip. Laws, you need to know. Understand, stopping power of most self defense handgun calibers pretty much sucks.
"low accuracy is OK" … Discounting the need for accuracy worries me.Aug 29, 2011 at 9:20 am #1773887
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
I was backpacking to the summit of Mt San Jacinto out of Idylwild on the deer springs trail. I ran in to drugged out guy who was coming down the trail he asked me where I was going I lied to him. But then I looked down on the switch backs he turned around was following me up so I hiked really fast and ditched him and instead of camping at the designated area. I spent the night off trail 2 miles past over looking the trail in secluded area.
Bears and pot growers avoidance is the best weapon and speed and evasion techniques, good physical shape to get out of the situation as quickly as possible is your best weapon . Self defense how to disarm and take a man out quickly so you can get out of there is a last resort.
Good old fashion art of talking and bargaining your way out of a situation is also good with marijuana growers they don't need dead bodies planted all over the place. Just say you stumbled upon the area by accident and you could care less about what their doing and will not report them because what they are doing is a great service to the medical marijuana user and their saints for what their doing. Keep your word to them when you get out of there.
Most rational people will listen and let you go. Irrational people will have already have disarmed you and killed you with your gun or their guns.
TerryAug 29, 2011 at 9:38 am #1773894
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Solo Wilderness Security Posted 08/29/2011 05:51:36 MDT by Stephen Mullen (stephenm)
I am moving to the US shortly from Europe and this is the one item that really scares the crap out of me whether its in a City or in the middle of a forest.
Would not worry about it too much except around trailheads with easy vehicle access (i.e. close to a good road). I often solo and have my gear ready to go after turning off the car. Solo I definitely carry bear spray (for starters) that will knock a grizzly off a kill, plus anything else with a nose.
Jeff LaVista … bear spray vs mace on 08/29/2011 08:49:40 MDT
….For the people suggesting bear spray, realize that while a bear is much bigger, they have more sensitive noses and spray that will cause a bear to make a 180, might not be as effective against an angry person. Since our noses are so comparatively dull, the formula for.human pepper sprays is a more severe mixture
There were some well publicized "tests" about a decade ago, where some law enforcement officers sprayed bear spray on a volunteer or 2 to see if the top brand(s) would work on humans (think it was written up in Backpacker magazine as a blurb also). They found it worked "surprisingly" well – also keep it secure in your vehicle, as apparently some crashes occurred after accidental discharge inside an auto.
ADD: that's bears and humans, not sure if there's been any tests or incidents with other animals – not even sure it would be legal to conduct such testing anyways.Aug 29, 2011 at 9:50 am #1773895
@richardcullipLocale: San Diego County
My friend, who hikes around the Southern Sierra mostly in the Golden Trout Wilderness, doesn't feel the need to carry any protection from large animals of either the two-footed or four-footed variety.
The only black bear he's ever encountered while on the trail was more scared of him than he was of the bear. That bear swapped ends very quickly and scampered off up the hill away from the trail.
As for the two-footed variety, 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. So far this approach has worked for him since the late 60's and he sees no need to change his "No Packing" approach while out enjoying the wilderness.Aug 29, 2011 at 10:02 am #1773902
Richard and I must have the same friend.
And I'm with Terry. I think my wits are likely to be much more valuable than a firearm in dealing with other people.Aug 29, 2011 at 10:25 am #1773911
I just bring my gun nut friends along.Aug 29, 2011 at 10:49 am #1773927
…“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.Aug 29, 2011 at 11:16 am #1773938
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
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.
Thanx.Aug 29, 2011 at 11:56 am #1773947
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 altogetherAug 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm #1773961
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.
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