Will a 9mm Kill a Bear? [What You Should Know]

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.

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?

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. 

Some bears come out of hibernation as early as February, while others may not emerge until May or June.

2. Know where to find bears

Bears can be found in many different places, but typically they are found in wooded areas. They are located near their favorite food sources: berries, fish, and smaller mammals.

3. Be prepared for the hunt

Choose the right weapon. You will need a large-caliber rifle or a shotgun. Choose the proper ammunition. 

You will need ammunition that is designed to kill large animals. Additionally, you will need to find a time when the bear is active. Finally, you must be physically and mentally prepared for the hunt.

4. Be patient and wait for the right shot

The right time to shoot a bear when hunting is when the bear is in your sights, and you are confident in your shot.

5. Use the right equipment

 You will probably need a rifle, additional rifle accessories (like a shotgun sight), a bear hunting license, a bear tag, a hunting blind, binoculars, sturdy boots, a good camo, and cooking equipment.

6. Be aware of wind direction

Wind direction is essential when hunting because it can help you determine where the animal you are hunting is likely to be. 

If the wind is blowing from the direction the animal is likely to be, then the animal will be able to smell you and will be more likely to avoid you. 

If the wind is blowing in the opposite direction, the animal will not be able to smell you and will be more likely to come toward you.

7. Move quietly and cautiously

The best way to move quietly and cautiously when hunting is to use a ground blind. This will allow you to move around without being seen or heard by your prey. You can also use a tree stand, but be sure to be very quiet and stay still once you are in position.

8. Have a backup plan

If SHTF, you’ll need a backup plan. Having a friend help you while hunting is one of the best things you can do. But you’ll want to act big and loud if worse comes to worst.

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?

It depends on the type of bear. For a black bear, a rifle such as a 3006 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.

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!

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