The chance that you’d ever be attacked by a bear while hunting, fishing or hiking is slim. However lightning can strike the same spot twice, such as a Washington man who was attacked twice in four years. 

Shooting a bear in self-defense should only be done as a last resort. This means you have exhausted all other options to avoid the bear and have no other methods of defending yourself. With proper shot placement (after hours of practice) you may just live to tell the story.

There are a few different ways to defend yourself against an angry bear. If you can’t avoid it and you don’t have a high powered rifle or a can of bear mace within reach, the next best thing is a big bore revolver. Here’s where you want some power.

But before we get into the various revolvers, don’t forget to practice shooting these guns before you go hiking or fishing. In other words, don’t wait until your life depends on it before you ever shoot it. Here are three of my favorite guns for defending yourself against a bear attack.

Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum

The Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum is most likely the smallest cartridge you would want to carry anywhere in bear country. The .44 Mag projectile is able to stop a bear dead in its tracks, and with the least amount of recoil out of any gun on this list, it’s easier to get back on target and shoot more than once. You can pick one up with a barrel as short as 4 inches and as long as 7.5 inches depending upon your preference.

Magnum Research BFR454C6

The Magnum Research BFR454C6 revolver is chambered in .454 Casull and throws a big bullet down range that is capable of doing a lot of damage to whatever is on the receiving end. Recoil on this gun tends to be tremendous, so it is important that you practice with it often. These projectiles also tend to be a bit more on the expensive side. Barrel lengths are longer than you might like starting at 6.5 inches and going up from there. So, hiking with it may not be an option for some.

Smith & Wesson .460XVR

The Smith & Wesson .460XVR revolver gives the phrase “hand cannon” new meaning. The .460 caliber projectile is simply devastating, and the recoil is ferocious. A ball of fire has been known to follow the bullet out of the barrel, and if the shooter doesn’t have a firm grip on the gun, he risks injury. However, people all around the country shoot this gun on a daily basis without being hurt, just as long as proper technique is used. S&W make this gun with a barrel as short as 3.5 inches, so it’s great for extended fishing, camping or hiking trips. 

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