So, you have a 9MM gun, and you’re wondering how powerful it really is. It’s often thought of as a weak gun that’ll piss off large game, but that may not be true.

So, will a 9mm kill a bear?

Yes, a 9mm will kill or severely injure a bear. A 9mm has around 400 lb/ft of power, and that’s enough to break through the skin, bones, and soft tissues. However, if you could go with a larger caliber, that would be advised. 

Let’s dive into more detail.


Get 100 FREE Survival Ebooks Here

* indicates required

Will a 9mm Kill a Bear?


Will a 9mm Kill a Bear

There have been various cases where bears were killed with a 9mm pistol. So, it can be done. The 9mm gun, if shot in the right areas, will kill a bear. If you do not shoot the bear in the right places, it will become triggered and attempt to maul you.

So, a 9mm is NOT an optimal option for killing a bear.

A 9mm weighs between 115 and 147 grains and has a velocity of around 1,200 feet per second.

Standard bear hunting calibers include the .22 and .308 – these travel much faster and are much heavier. So, it’s advised to use standard bear hunting calibers instead since they deal with much more force.


How to Kill a Bear with a 9mm?


How to Kill a Bear with a 9mm

If you’re in an emergency situation and have already tried making yourself as big and loud as possible, here are some tips to kill a bear with a 9mm.

Firstly, expect to shoot several shots. Multiple grizzlies have been killed, requiring an average of 4 shots.

Secondly, you’ll need to aim for a few select places on the bear to have the best chance.

The best option for you is to shoot it in its head or neck. The second best option is to shoot it right down its spine. And finally, if you cannot get a clear shot of its head, neck, or spine – aim for its chest. 

Bears are very dangerous, so it would be advised to have a friend keep an eye on the bear and assist you with shooting if necessary.

Research has shown that around 99% of failures in stopping a bear attack were due to misfires or not firing the gun. So, it’s important that you fire the gun and you know exactly what you’re doing.

Below is a video of a person killing a bear with a 9mm by shooting at the chest. Note that this does have some graphic content, as it does include an autopsy.

Tips When Hunting Bears


Below are some tips you can use when hunting a bear.

1. Choose the right time of year to hunt


The best time of year to hunt bears is in the spring when they come out of hibernation. Bears can emerge from winter slumber as early February and continue until late May or June, depending on geographical location. Knowing which period works for you will make your hunting season more successful; if it’s too soon, the bear may still be sleeping off its long nap, while a later start might mean that food sources are scarce and the bear has already moved on.  Knowing local climate conditions will help you determine when it is best to begin your hunt for a successful harvest.

2. Know where to find bears


Bears can be found in many different places, but typically they live near wooded areas since these provide them with shelter and food sources such as berries, fish, and other small mammals.  Knowing where the local bear populations are located is important when preparing your hunt. Researching wildlife management areas will provide you with a better idea of which habitats to target. Additionally, scouting the area before you begin your hunt can also be beneficial.  Finding tracks and droppings will help determine if there are bears in that particular region as well as their size and gender.

3. Be prepared for the hunt

Choosing the right weapon and ammunition is essential when hunting bears; they require powerful weapons, such as large-caliber rifles or shotguns, to be killed humanely. Additionally, you will need a bear hunting license and tag that is specific to your state if required by law. These can usually be obtained from local sporting shops, DNR offices, or online stores catering to hunters. Other necessary items for a successful hunt include camouflage clothing, sturdy boots, binoculars, and other optics such as spotting scopes or rangefinders.  These can be acquired at most outdoor stores. Finally, being physically and mentally prepared for the hunt is key. This will help ensure that you are ready to take your shot when the opportunity arises.

4. Be patient and wait for the right shot

The key to hunting bears is patience. You need to be able to stay calm, quiet, and still until you get a good opportunity to take your shot. Bears are incredibly perceptive animals with keen senses of smell and hearing. 

They will often detect any movement or noise from far away if not careful.

To make sure your shot is accurate, it’s important to practice beforehand. Practice shooting with the same weapon and ammunition you’ll use on the hunt. This will help you feel comfortable when it comes time to take your shot and ensure that all of your shots hit their mark.

Additionally, waiting for a clear line of sight is important. If there are any obstacles or branches in the way, shooting may be impossible without endangering yourself or anyone else hunting with you.

Finally, it’s important to remember that bears are incredibly dangerous animals and should never be taken lightly in any situation. Even when the opportunity for a good shot arises, make sure your safety is always a top priority before firing off your weapon.

5. Use the right equipment

When hunting bears, having the proper gear is essential. The most important piece of equipment you will need is a rifle or shotgun with large-caliber ammunition that has enough power to take down a bear if necessary. 

Additionally, binoculars can be helpful for spotting and confirming your target from far away before taking your shot and helping spot any potential danger nearby, like other bears or hunters.

A bear hunting license and tag are also required in most states, so make sure to check your local regulations before heading out on the hunt.

Additionally, having a ground blind can help you remain hidden from view while moving around with minimal noise detection by any nearby animals and cooking supplies for eating after the hunt is over.

Finally, having a hunting partner with you is always recommended as it can provide an extra set of eyes to help spot your target and another person who knows what’s going on when things don’t go according to plan.

6. Be aware of wind direction

Get 100 FREE Survival Ebooks Here

* indicates required

One mistake that many hunters make is not considering the effect of wind direction on their hunt. Wind can play a huge role in your hunting expedition’s success, as it carries scents that can alert animals of your presence. 

If the wind is blowing in a direction away from where you expect to find bears, then they will not be able to smell you and may come closer than expected.

However, if the wind is pointing toward them, they will likely be able to detect your scent and avoid the area. Therefore, it’s important to consider wind direction when choosing a spot for hunting.

7. Move quietly and cautiously

It is important to move as stealthily as possible when hunting bears to avoid detection. This means staying low to the ground and avoiding any sudden movements or loud noises that could alert nearby animals of your presence. 

The best way to do this is by using a hunting blind, which can help you stay hidden from view while still being able to move around with minimal noise detection.

Additionally, having a tree stand can be helpful in some cases as it allows you to stay elevated and have an enhanced view of the area around you while still remaining hidden from sight.

8. Have a backup plan

When hunting bears, there is always the potential that something could go wrong or not according to plan, so it is important to have a backup plan in place. 

Having someone with you while hunting can be incredibly helpful, as an extra set of eyes and ears that can spot potential danger before it’s too late or help if things don’t go as planned.

Additionally, having some sort of signal or plan to enact SHTF can be a huge help in these situations and ensure you are prepared for anything.

For instance, having an emergency whistle that both of you carry with the intention of using it as a distress call if needed is always wise when hunting in bear country.

By the way, did you know that you can hunt with a slingshot? Learn more in our article.

What Gun Should You Use When Hunting a Bear?


What Gun Should You Use When Hunting a Bear

It depends on the type of bear. For a black bear, a rifle such as a 30-06 or a 7mm Magnum is a good choice. For a grizzly bear, a larger caliber rifle, such as a 300 Winchester Magnum, is a good choice.

You can also size up in caliber if you’d like to – no harm in that.

You can find out which type of bear lives near to you with a quick Google search. But, for the most part, it’s mainly black bears, with a few areas with grizzly bears.


Is a 9mm enough to stop a bear?

A 9mm handgun may not provide sufficient stopping power for a charging bear, especially larger species such as grizzly or brown bears. While it’s possible to kill smaller black bears with lesser calibers, your aim must be perfect, and there are far better options available.

A bigger caliber that can shoot heavy bullets would typically be recommended, like the .44 Magnum or even shotguns loaded with slugs for reliability in stopping large animals such as bears.

Will a 9mm go through a bear skull?

The penetration of a 9mm bullet into a bear’s skull would be largely dependent on factors such as the angle and distance of the shot and whether it strikes an area where the bone is particularly thick or not.

In theory, while under certain conditions, it could penetrate through to reach vital parts like brain tissue if fired at close range, this isn’t ideal in mitigating dangerous situations with bears due to potential ineffective stopping power.

Therefore, relying solely on standard calibers like 9 mm for large predators’ protection may pose risks considering their dense build and potentially violent reactions when being threatened.

What size handgun will kill a bear?

While any handgun can potentially kill a bear with precise shot placement, larger caliber handguns are often recommended for their increased stopping power.

Calibers like .44 Magnum and above (like the .454 Casull or even the 500 S&W) tend to be chosen specifically when one is looking for a gun that could stop an aggressive large animal such as a grizzly bear in its tracks. But remember: successfully warding off a charging predator requires sufficient firepower, accuracy under pressure, and knowledge of anatomical weak spots.

Final Words


So, will a 9mm kill a bear? Yes, it will if your shot placements are correct – meaning you shot the head or neck. But, it is highly recommended to use a higher caliber rifle, as the chances of killing it are much higher, and shooting the head or neck is very difficult.

You would need to be exceptionally skilled to kill a bear with a 9mm. You can also use a few tips above to help you if you ever want to bear hunt.

I hope you found this article helpful, and happy hunting!

This article was about whether a 9mm can kill a bear – it can, but it’s not ideal, for many reasons. If you enjoyed it or learned something from it, we invite you to continue to browse our content. You can click on the link below to view our homepage for this prepper website. is the Premier Prepper Website on the Internet.

Please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Also, consider sharing this content and subscribing to get 100+ free survival ebooks.

Read new Content

Check out our YouTube Channel

View or Listen to Podcasts

View Prepper FAQ’s

prepper podcast
Prepper FAQ's

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!