9mm Handgun puts down Charging Bear

This Alaskan Guide has a true tall tale to tell you.

Phil Shoemaker, an experienced Alaskan hunting and fishing guide, was guiding a couple of clients on a salmon fishing trip in the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Alaska.

While there they encountered at close range with an angry bear.

Thank goodness nobody got hurt just the bear.

Whats amazing and you don’t hear too often is that Phil stopped this raging bear with a 9mm pistol at close range.
Phil and his clients were lucky enough to walk away without a scratch.

Season outdoorsman who pack hand cannons will chastised Phil to kingdom come. Phil was packing a S&W 3954 in 9mm, whats odd is he also owns S&W 629 chambered in 44 Magnum but chose to carry the 9mm on this day. I think the moral of the story isn’t all about carrying a hand howitzer but you can carry a 9mm but supplement that with good quality ammunition, good shot placement and luck if you’re ever in an encounter with a bear.

Anyone that knows cartridges will understand that 9mm Luger does not have penetration compared to a more powerful cartridges such as .454 Casull or .500 S&W. In this instances, Phil the guide was packing a 9mm with 147 grain hard cast bullets made by Buffalo Bore. This was design for deep penetration.



We were in thick brush and I was only 8 or 10 feet from the bear when he started growling and huffing. I began yelling and it eventually ran around, behind my two clients, into the brush. But within 15 seconds it came charging back from the area behind us and popped out of the brush 10 feet from me! I had the little S&W in my hands and was thinking I was probably going to have to shoot it but as it cleared the brush it headed toward my clients.

The man had enough sense to grab his wife and fall backwards into the tall grass. The bear seemed to loose track of them, even though it was less than 3 feet away from them and it was highly agitated! It then swung toward me, I was 6 or 8 feet away, and I fired the first shot into the area between the head and shoulder. It growled and started wildly thrashing around, still basically on the feet of my clients. My next shot hit it in the shoulder and it began twisting and biting at the hits and I continued firing as fast as I could see vitals. Five shots later it turned into the brush and I hit it again and it twisted and fell 20 feet from us!
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