February 15, 2024

Is the 9mm with thoughtful bullet selection enough stop a charging grizzly bear? Some say yes, some say no. Is the 10mm a better option? From a raw-power perspective, the numbers don’t lie. It certainly packs more punch. Should the pistol you shoot most often, are most familiar with, and shoot best be taken into consideration? Probably.

Choosing a sidearm for backcountry bear defense is a personal choice often based on hypotheticals and opinions more likely formulated in a coffee shop rather than practical field experience. The simple truth is getting meaningful reps in with rogue bears isn’t realistic or recommended. If your contention is carrying a pistol in bear country increases your odds of getting home safe in the unlikely event of a close-quarters tangle with a grizzly, shop the builds below. They may be exactly what you need to get the job done.

Smith & Wesson has been in the pistol game since 1852. That’s more than 170 years of American pistol manufacturing experience and refinement. Their M&P 2.0 is a prime example of that refinement. Extreme build quality, ergonomics, intuitive functionality, and ultimate reliability are hallmarks of this full-size, striker-fired handgun. More the rule than the exception these days, the slide is cut and optics ready (we’ll get to that later). When it’s time to make it go bang, the M2.0 flat face trigger provides consistent finger placement for more accurate and repeatable shooting. Forward slide cocking serrations add purchase when chambering or clearing a round. The low barrel bore axis makes the M&P pistol comfortable to shoot reducing muzzle rise and allowing for faster aim recovery — extremely important in any defensive situation where on-target follow ups can be the difference between life and death. 18-degree grip angle is optimal for natural point of aim. Enhanced grip texture allows the user to manage recoil, as well as keep a firm grip in dynamic situations/inclement weather. Picatinny-style rail integrates with accessories like lights and lasers. M&P’s patented take-down lever and sear deactivation systems allow for disassembly without pulling the trigger. Armornite® durable corrosion resistant finish. Seven mounting plates and four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts included. The 9mm version weighs in at 29 oz and holds 17 rounds. The 10mm model is a nominal .3 oz heaver and holds 15 rounds.

Our friends at SCHEELS have plenty of bullet offerings chambered in 9mm and 10mm. Generally speaking, hard-cast pistol ammunition is purpose built to hit hard and drive deep – two very important attributes considering the intended application.

Faster on target, more precise aiming (particularly in the heat of the moment) and the ability to remain threat focused are just a few advantages of pistol-mounted red dot sights. Simply put, there’s a reason pistol manufacturer’s offer models optimized to accommodate a red dot sight. Ideal for standard and full-size handguns, the Vortex® Defender-ST boasts a large, ultra-clear aspherical lens, providing an optimal sight picture and rapid target acquisition. Motion activated dot with 10-minute auto shutoff ensures you have a point of aim the second you reach for your firearm. And with its 25, 000-hour battery runtime (setting 6 continuous on) you can rest easy knowing your Defender-ST will have your back when you need it. When it is time to change the battery, the top-load design makes it fast and easy without requiring a re-zero. ShockShield polymer insert absorbs shock to the 7075-aluminum body protecting it from everyday abuse. Fast-Rack texturing on front face provides purchase for racking the slide off any surface. Waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. Delta Point Pro footprint. 3 MOA and 6 MOA dot models available to match user preference. Comes with mounting hardware to match nearly every compatible production pistol.

It’s our hope you can learn and laugh along with the expert voices we feature on this blog. We want to be clear that the opinions you see featured here are just that: opinions. The content belongs to the authors and is not necessarily the opinion of Vortex Optics.

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