Guns, Firearms, Projectile Weapon Sports/black bear, defense


I would like to know if my Colt 1911 loaded with .45 acp 230 gr. fmj, would be a good choice for protection against a black bear in a happinstance meeting.  Also about my Ruger Blackhawk .357 revolver loaded with 158 gr semi jacketed hollow point. Would either be a decent choice and or which one would be better.
I'm a fair shot with either one, but untested under such pressure.
I will not be hunting black bear, but working in the deer woods of Arkansas, I prefer to carry a sidearm for safety.
Thank you.

A .45 is a good round and so is a .357 - a .45 makes a bigger hole and tansfers more weight since it is 230 grns vs the 357 at 158 grns.  most guns will stop most thing if bullet placement is right. either gun on a head shot would be fine, but he head is small target and easier to miss.  I would carry a .45 with Plus P - rounds that will give your bigger bullet more speed and energy.  A 45 will carry more rounds than a .357

I started a Gun and Tactics youtube channel where I address a lot of gun issues. Here are links:

A .44 mag or 45 Colt would be good rounds too.

You are looking for blood loss, energy transfer, bone destruction, and big primary and secondary cavities.

Here is some info I put together on bullets.

Ammo and bullets is a very complex subject with lots of variables. I will try to talk about some of these factors and considerations to consider when picking out ammo.

Ammo is about two main things, speed and weight - some say speed is more important, others say weight is more important.  Normally bigger is better, bigger hole, bigger weight. Lots of stuff goes into bullet dynamics.  

When a bullet hits a target, several things happen. It makes a primary and secondary cavity. The primary is the track of the bullet, the primary of a .22 or .45 will only differ by the .45 making a bigger hole, the bigger the hole the more and faster the blood loss. The secondary cavity is made by speed, the faster the bullet the faster it pushes mass out of its path, smashed that flying tissue up against other tissue and organs, so that creates a secondary cavity. The bigger the secondary cavity, means possible more blood loss and possible secondary damage to nearby organs and tissue. A way to picture this is if I shoot in the hand with a  .22, it will make a hole the size of a .22 bullet, that is primary cavity. If I shoot you in the with a .223 traveling at over 3000 feet per second, your hand will explode and meat will fly off the flying stuff is the secondary cavity.

So the bigger the primary and the bigger the secondary normally does more damage and will incapacity the target quicker and more effectively.  A .45 is slower but makes a bigger hole, a 9mm is faster but makes a smaller hole.  The bigger the weight the more the bullet will not be affected by other things like wind, rain, clothes, doors, sheet rock, bone, skin and tissue.  Energy transfer is when the energy of speed and weight of bullet is transferred from the bullet to the body or bone.  Smaller lighter slower bullets will ricochet off bones, buttons, glass and other things easier than a bigger heavier bullet that tends to push forward with all that weight.  A .22 will not shatter a bone like a .45 will. I have seen 9mm and 40 bounce off many windshields of cars when almost always .45s will punch a hole in a windshield.

Remember a pistol is traditionally a Defensive weapon when you let a target get too close and you cannot engage a more powerful Offensive weapon like a Rifle. So pistol rounds have come a long way with more speed, heavier weights and better bullet design over the years.

Therefore, a general rule of thumb, bigger diameter, bigger weight and faster speed is best for most damage and incapacitation.

Bullet design is another factor and what you choose depends on what you want to use the ammo for.  Hollow points tend to lose weight but are designed to expand upon impact, that way you get bigger hole and bigger primary and secondary cavity, however when a bullet expands, it slows down much faster and does not make a long primary cavity like a round nose solid tip bullet.  Then you have frangible bullets that shatter and tear apart, so you get many small primary cavities but not much speed or penetration.  The more the penetration the longer the primary and secondary cavity so the more blood loss and tissue damage.  Most bullets are lead with metal jacket, but you can get steel core ammo that is also called armor piercing sometime. Steel has very good penetration if it is going fast. The best way to tell if a bullet is Steel core is to put a magnet on it, it the bullet sticks it has steel in it.  Lots of fake green tip being sold that does not have a steel core.

Other considerations is when and under what conditions are you planning on shooting, in winter when people are wearing lots of clothes and large thick jacket, hollow point do not penetrate as well as when a guy in t-shirt is hit.

That is just some of the many considerations when choosing ammo and as you can see lots of factors, but the short answer: Bigger, heavy and faster is best.

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Rick Gore


I have a Gun & Tactics YouTube channel where I address a lot of gun issues. Here are links: All About Guns & Tactics . All About Guns Police & Military Tactics . I can answer most general questions about handguns (no value or history). Firearms Instructor for over 30 years. Specific knowledge on Glock and Colt 1911s models. -----------------------NO VALUE OR HISTORY QUESTIONS----------------NO REFERRALS--------- -- **---I have to do this since I keep getting value and history questions---**


I have been firearms trainer/instructor in the Air Force, Civilian Law Enforcement, NRA Pistol Instructor and the FBI. I am a Armorer for 1911s and Glock firearms. I started a Gun and Tactics youtube channel where I address a lot of gun issues. Here are links:

Certified Instructor and Armorer All About Guns .

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