Bears are serious business. Each year, numerous people are maimed or killed by bears throughout North America. Thanks to conservation efforts, bear numbers are on the rise. Both bear species, black bears and grizzlies, are dangerous under the wrong circumstances. More bears and more people in bear habitat means more conflicts. If you live, work, or recreate in bear country, you need an effective defense should things go bad.
Lethal bear countermeasures are just one tool among many to deal with a bear attack. Carry bear spray. Know how to avoid and de-escalate bear encounters. However, if a bear decides it wants to end you, you may have no choice but to use deadly force.
There are many opinions as to which firearm is best for bear defense: handguns, rifles, shotguns all have their advantages and limitations. The shotgun, in particular, has been used for centuries in this role, and many people consider standard Foster-type deer slugs the best load. Problem is, these slugs are designed for thin-skinned, light boned animals which don’t fight back. They deform and fragment within the first few inches after they hit an animal. This is the exact opposite performance you need from a bear round.
Bears are heavy bodied compared to deer, with thick muscle and heavy bones. They require a projectile which drives a wide, deep wound channel, and will not deflect off course. Brenneke’s slugs, for example, act more like a solid dangerous game bullet than a classic shotgun slug. They expand a small amount in the first few inches after a hit which opens an immense temporary wound cavity, but then hold together and punch a long, permanent cavity–as this amazing video shows, over 24 inches in ballistic gelatin. Technology you can bet your life on.