Does a .45 acp have stopping power against a bear?

OK I have seen talks of a .45 acp being useless against bear, but there have been reports of a 1911 equipped with a mech tech CCU upper being capable of stopping a bear.

How accurate is this?

What kind of bear did it stop? A cub, full grown, grizzly???

On another note, how effective would a .45 long colt cartridge be against a bear? If it is effective, which bears can it stop?

I am just wondering as I am trying to build an emergency kit and was wondering if I had to utilize something else like a .357 or 5.56mm. I would prefer to keep within a pistol caliber or an AR-15 pistol.

This kit would contain essentials plus a lee portable reloader to make loads on the go.

Please keep in mind that I do understand the potential uselessness of a 5.56mm but if it does have penetrating power with a hollow point and is capable (or if there are reports that may not be worldwide documented) I would appreciate the information.

Also, IF the .45 acp is not effective enough, what is the minimal caliber capable of doing so.

Thanks in advance


Added: but does the mech tech CCU have the ability to stop a bear is the primary question. The other questions are more secondary.

Again, thanks in advance.

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I know the 45acp has a long reputation as a man stopper and that, it is. However for bears it’s underpowered. In fact it only has around 450 ft lbs of energy. For big bears you want a minimum of 1000 ft lbs and the bullet must penetrate deeply through thick hide, layers of fat and muscle and bones. This means the .357 mag with a hard cast flat nosed bullet is the minimum for black bears with about 700 ft lbs of energy and the 44 mag with a 320 gr hard cast bullet with over 800 ft lbs is bare minimum for larger bears. I load my 44 mags for bear with the buffalo bore 340 gr +P+ ammo that’s over 1000 ft lbs for bear protection. And I do NOT depend on any handgun for bears, but I do depend on a 12 ga with slugs and my .338 mag rifle foe bears. Handguns are just in case you can’t reach your rifle or shotgun. And despite what folks think buckshot has failed on bears, it doesn’t penetrate deeply enough.

    We had a guy kill a polar bear here in Alaska, with the little .223 round after he emptied the magazine in it at very close range, he’s lucky to be alive. Its just too small of a round lacking energy and mass for bears.

    Black bears; minimum .357 mag revolver, 30-30 rifle minimum, or 12 ga with slugs.

    Big bears, griz, brown bear etc; Minimum 44 magnum, 454 or 500 S&W much better, minimum rifle 30-06 or better yet .300 win mag or .338 mag, or 12 ga with slugs.

    .45 long colt with +P ammo would do for black bears but not the big bears.

    You see its not what has killed bears, its what has been proven to put bears down consistently. Unless you like risking your life unnecessarily. I have seen brown bears and grizzlies take numerous rounds from high powered rifles delivering over 2800 ft lbs before they died. Enraged bears are hard to kill! Believe me I have had the crap scared out of me from some very bad azz bears that just didn’t want to die. And I have hunted them and guided hunts for them for a few decades. I have skinned out some large bears and found bullets just under their hide. There was one big bear killed in Alaska awhile back that had all sorts of bullets in its hide ranging from pistol ammo to 44 magnum that never made it to the vitals and healed over.

    So I would say get a 12 ga shotgun with a short riot barrel and keep it loaded with slugs. If you want it just for an emergency get a fold down stock and carry it at the ready on a sling. If you reload there are many ways to reload shotgun slugs and its easy to do. Lee and Layman make nice slug molds for casting your own.

    If you can’t fire 45LC +P in your handgun don’t depend on it for bears.

    I have many links and more information with the answers I have relating to bear questions. Just read my answers there is a bunch of information.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well if that's the only option you have then it's better than a slingshot, I am in no way knocking a 45acp I have one but as a backup if I were gonna use a side arm it would be at least a 44 magnum loaded with a minimal of 240 grain core-lokts even better would be 300 grain noslers.

    Ohter good choices but a bit on the heavier bulky side would be: 454 casull, 460 ruger, or the most powerful handgun on the market the one that I would surely want is the .500 smith & wesson, it is an awesome handgun but is heavy and has a fair amount of recoil.

    However I would rather have a 12 gauge (remington super mag, Mossberg 835 ulti-mag) capable of shooting 3 1/2 inch double ought buckshot for a charging bear as it will be far easier to hit the animal and have enough oomph to take him down before he takes you down so long as the range is under say 10-30 yards and less.

    A 300 grain Rifled slug from the same shotgun would be an awesome load for bear stopping power but again it is a lot harder to hit a 1000lb grizzly charging you looking for a meal as most human nerves and adrenaline will be pumping so hard that you just won't be able to hold steady enough for a lethal shot, where as with the buckshot you stand a lot better chance of hitting it end even if you dont kill it instantly it will most likely put him down and allow for a quick follow up shot.

    So in closing I would not bet my life on a 45acp with even the hottest loads to stop a pissed off charging bear. and the .223 caliber is nothing more than extra weight so leave it at home and get a 30-06 or even better a 300 or 338 win mag. If those aren't an option just go with the 12 gauge with a rifled barrel with 300 grain sabot slugs and it'll take care of a bear at 100 yards as long as the shot is good. Load 2 slugs back to back followed by the buckshot loads. Just be careful and good luck to ya.

  • 1 decade ago

    .45 ACP will most likely stop a black bear, however it will only enrage a brown bear. Contrary to popular belief, black bears, while smaller, are much more of a threat than brown bears. I have lived and worked among bears for a long time, and I usually carry a .45-70, a 12 ga. or a .460 S&W. The minimum for browns is a .44 Mag.

    5.56 is pretty much useless for bears. I have personally seen bear skulls which have resisted direct hits from a .30-06.

    If you need to have a pistol, I would choose the S&W 460V, A .454 Casull will work, and I would feel nervous with a .44 Mag between me and a brown.

    Source(s): 3 bears taken, one in self defense.
  • 1 decade ago

    Bears are big. Really, really big. and they have big bones. Covered by huge, dense muscles. Covered by layers of gristle and fat. Covered by a thick, dense pelt.

    Is it possible to kill a bear with a .45? Sure. A well-placed shot can certainly do the trick. For that matter, a well-placed .22 can do it.

    The question really is, are you going to have a chance to get off a well-placed shot?

    People who live in areas where bear attacks are likely carry 12 gauge shotguns with magnum slugs. Not only can you kill a bear with that, you can cripple it. Which, if one is charging you from a short distance away, is just as good.

    A really powerful handgun, like a .454 Casull or a .500 S&W, would be better than a .45, but far inferior to a rifle or a shotgun slug. And the odds of hitting with a monster handgun are much lower than the odds of hitting with a longarm.

    When it comes to bears, bigger really is better. If you are determined to go with a handgun, get the biggest freakin handgun you can handle.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Your Best Choices are a 44 Magnum, 12 Gauge with rifled slugs, or a 45-70 Government rifle caliber.*

    Source(s): * Run like a Deer.*...................Fly like an Eagle.*~~
  • 1 decade ago

    A very small bear maybe. For a full grown bear any handgun usually just enrages it if you shoot it; but the 45 is good for your final exit just before the bear engulfs you. I still maintain the "buddy system" is best of all; squirt bacon grease on your buddy and shoot him in the leg and then pretend you are Jesse Owen.

  • druck
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Mechtech 1911

  • gigee
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Mech Tech 1911

  • 1 decade ago

    It wouldn't be my first choice but it isn't the worst in a close quarters self defense situation. I would prefer my .416 Rigby in a long gun or a .500 S&W as a back up. But a fully loaded Glock Model 21 in .45acp at close range is a lot of fire power!!!

  • 1 decade ago

    black bear? sure, but it more than likely will not attack you in the first place. so you main concern would be a brown bear whitch i would not go below a .44 magnum or .45 long colt with a 300 grain hollow point.

    that's what i carry when in the woods.

    so i would go with a .45 long colt if you dont like recoil.

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