A Deadly Bear Attack, The Feds and 9mm Pistols
Phil S. has been a backcountry guide in the Alaska wilderness for over 33 years.
He’s led hunters, anglers, and photographers all over Alaska.
One summer he took clients salmon fishing near Becharof National Wildlife Refuge.
During the trip, a brown bear showed up.
Phil had never had to shoot a bear in self-defense…
But, that all changed with his trip.
As the bear charged within six feet of the group, Phil fired a single shot hitting the bear in the shoulder.
It growled and started wildly thrashing around, but remained on its feet.
He fired again, hitting the bear in the other shoulder.
After firing five shots – all hits on the bear – the animal turned around, walked a few feet, and dropped dead.
Thankfully, Phil and his clients walked away from the incident without a scratch.
So, what gun did Phil use to save himself and his clients from the bear?
His 9mm pistol.
And while few people would think to carry a 9mm pistol as a bear defense gun…
Phil proved it’s possible to stop a massive bear with good ammunition and good shot placement.
Brown bears are big, tough animals.
But, most 9mm pistols have larger magazines compared to bigger caliber pistols.
This allows the shooter to take many shots.
And there is less recoil than with larger caliber handguns.
Which means the shooter can stay on target easier, and put more rounds down range.
Plus, 9mm handguns are smaller and easier to carry on trips compared to large framed revolvers or long guns.
In fact, modern 9mm pistols have proven so effective, the FBI is going back to them.
Currently, the standard-issue pistol for FBI Agents is the Glock, Gen 5 9mm.
This is a change from larger caliber weapons of the past.
And this is an important change…
Because the FBI is a national law enforcement organization.
They set standards that local law enforcement agencies follow.
But the FBI did the exhaustive research on 9mm pistols and bullets.
And, here are the reasons the FBI chose to go with the 9mm round.
Penetration: The single most important factor in wounding a target is to have penetration to a scientifically valid depth.
According to the FBI, this bullet penetration depth should be between 12”- 18”.
The projectile must penetrate deep enough to reach vital organs such as the heart, lungs, aorta, liver or spleen.
The goal is to cause rapid blood loss.
Depending on the size of the person and the bullet path, 12” to 18” is a realistic outcome with good shot placement.
This can be achieved with a quality 9mm round.
In fact, according to the FBI…
Under identical testing conditions, 9mm Luger rounds outperform most premium rounds of .40 S&W and .45 Auto.
Accuracy: According to the FBI stats, police officers miss between 70-80 percent of shots fired during an incident.
But the majority of shooters are both faster and more accurate when shooting a 9mm vs a .40 caliber.
As mentioned, 9mm pistols have less recoil compared to larger calibers.
This means the shooter will usually be more accurate with their shot placement.
This lower recoil also means less recoil anticipation.
Which all allows for faster target reacquisition…
And faster reacquisition creates more accurate and faster follow-up shots.
Magazine capacity: A 9mm pistol usually holds more rounds than larger caliber pistols.
For example, the Glock 17 9mm holds 17 rounds, but the Glock 23 .40 caliber holds only 13 rounds.
So, you can carry more rounds with a 9mm compared to a .40 or .45 caliber.
And having more ammunition on hand is always a good idea.
The fact is, ammo trends are determined by many factors including technology, reliability, and ease of use.
And 9mm is popular because it is a versatile cartridge.
Plus, advances in the technology have improved 9mm performance.
The FBI has provided the science and the math to prove 9mm is a great caliber choice.
I personally use the 9mm round for both my home defense and concealed carry guns. (I use Speer Gold Dot ammo.)