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Thread: Question about Handguns.

  1. #1
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    Default Question about Handguns.

    I have a question about handguns, and I'm not certain where else to put it, since it doesn't relate to hunting. I'm planning a trip next fall, and I'm curious about the necessity/legalities of having a handgun as part of my kit. I have a shortbed Nissan pickup truck with a camping shell, but have to use a special tent to allow me to sleep in the back. Is it a terrible idea to have a weapon (reasonably) handy should something come calling in the middle of the night? How about legal? I'm not familiar with Alaska laws concerning such things. Could someone fill me in?
    Again, I'm not concerned with going hunting on this trip. A little fishing for sure...but then again, isn't it a good idea to have a large caliber handgun handy while fishing in the back country?

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default

    The appropriate forum would be under "shooting". Go read through that forum and you'll find your question answered several times over. The biggest debate is going to be what kind of gun you'll be arming yourself with. Bear protection is the primary back country issue.

    The short answer to your question is, yes. Yes, you can carry legally in AK in most places. Yes, it is generally a good idea to arm yourself, especially if you're going out in the back country.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Bring one

    Bring one. That way you look Alaskan and will blend right in. The tourists will envy you for living in such a great place and you will have peace of mind.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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  4. #4

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    There might be issues depending on whether you're in Alaska already, or if you're driving into it (not sure from your post). Canada is very, very strict about handguns, even if you're just passing through. If you're going that route, then it's best to just send it & pick it up later.

    If you're already in Alaska, then that's not an issue. We're very open to carrying protection when fishing, etc.; there should be no problem so long as nobody shoots recklessly. Animal attacks are very rare, but people take them seriously.

  5. #5
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Handgun for Alaska

    You should post this in the "Alaska Handgun" section. I am sure you would get many responses from folks that know. As stated earlier, if you are driving through Canada, do your homework. As for being in Alaska, I don't see any concerns. Concealed carry is permitted in most, if not all, of Alaska. So having a handgun in the truck or while fishing is of no concern. The rules in some of the parks, such as Denali, are different. So if visiting any parks, check with them specificaly to find out what the rules inside park boundaries are. Need a gun. Smith and Wesson Model 500 with 4" barrel. Best money I have spent in a long time. Peace of mind and then some. There is a book "Highway Angler" by Gunnar Pederson (I think) that may be of interest to you. A great book is "Flyfisher's Guide to Alaska" by Scott Haugen. Details and maps of fishing spots all over the state. Each area of the state is broken into chapters. Best Alaska fishing book I have seen. It does not matter if you fly fish or not, the maps and directions to fishing locations are what makes this book so great. Both books are sold on the forum store. At the top of the page, click on "Store", then "Fishing" and there is 3 pages of Alaska fishing books. The two I suggested are there I am pretty sure. If you plan on fishing in Alaska, go ahead and buy them now. Tons of information in there. Tons.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    A 12 guage shotgun is the ideal when it comes to bear protection and the biggest gun out there isn't the answer. You have to be able to hit the target which on a charging bruin is his head, something the size of a pie plate coming at you at 30mph. It's important to be extensively trained and comfortable with a gun, second nature is key. The hand gun forum does have alot on this subject.

    I'd say be bear aware is number one to quote the local classes. Be carefull about food tooth paste etc. keep your eyes open and although some laugh I think bear bells are good because you don't have a choice but to be noisy while walking making it hard to surprise one around the bend while your hiking looking at your feet....

    And yes Canada is a pain about hand guns.
    River Runnin

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Thumbs up bells

    "I think bear bells are good"


    I like them too. Not on me, but on my food bags at night. Nice to know when company comes.

    http://www.rei.com/product/721998?vcat=REI_SEARCH
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River Runnin View Post
    A 12 guage shotgun is the ideal when it comes to bear protection and the biggest gun out there isn't the answer. You have to be able to hit the target which on a charging bruin is his head, something the size of a pie plate coming at you at 30mph. It's important to be extensively trained and comfortable with a gun, second nature is key. The hand gun forum does have alot on this subject.
    <snip>
    A shotgun is fine unless you don't get to use it. Grizzlies will often turn their charge at 7 to 10 yards from you ...if he doesn't change direction and you miss just once, then the shotgun will be of no use to you because when the bear is upon you, it'll be near impossible for you to turn that muzzle to where it needs to be. This is where a handgun is important ...it is what gives you a chance to turn that muzzle to point into the target area when it's most important ...when the bear is all over you like bad breath.

    And yes, a pie plate is about the size of the target. No, the target is not the bear's head. Head's bob up and down and turn to the side ...a hard target to hit. When a bear's head is focused on a target (that's you) and charging, his nose is pointing right at you and his forehead is slanting back at about an 80-degree angle ...and it's got gristle on the outside, thick bone on the inside ...natural protection against other bears. Try taking an inch thick piece of hardwood and leaning it back at 80 degrees (20 degrees above horizontal) and shoot it with your gun level, then come back here and tell us that's the shot that you want. Nope. You aim for the upper chest area, dead center in the heart and lungs. You are hoping to drive through and damage the spine (a quick drop) and as a minimum to destroy a lot of heart and lung tissue so even if the spine is OK the bear won't last much longer.

    .44 Mag through 500 S&W are commonly used. My opinion is that a .480 Ruger is the minimum ...much more punch of a .44 mag, much higher knockdown value, but only a little higher in recoil. Shooting 500 S&W Specials out of a Model 500 provide more power than your hot 44 mag rounds yet have a much higher knockdown potential due to the larger caliber and the mass of the bullet. And those rounds have LESS recoil than a 44 mag. And if you have a 500, then you can always work your way up later if you so desire ...else just keep shooting those 500 Specials and feel happy that you're equipped far better than you'd be with equivalent power (muzzle energy or velocity) from a 44 mag. And for those that argue that the 500 is too heavy and bulky ...check the specs. The standard 4" model that most carry only weighs a measley 2 ounces more than the typical Ruger Super Redhawk with 7-1/2" barrel.

    Brian

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    Default

    If you decide to pack a gun of any type, make sure you learn to use it well, and practice regularly. Poor use of a gun can really irritate a bear.

    I read a statistic a few years back that people with guns were about twice as likely to get mauled by a bear than people without guns. The problem seem to be that people with guns tend to shoot at a bear when he is doing his typical bluff charge. The bear gets angry and kills the shooter. The bear may die later, but that's too late to help the shooter. Happens way too often in Alaska.

    This is actually a point in favor of bear spray. The can of pepper offers some degree of (false?) assurance, and the hiker stands his ground rather than runs, and he can't shoot far enough to tick off the bear. The bear usually backs off and that's the end of the story.

    Of course if the bear continues to charge you can always spray yourself and the resulting pain will be great enough that being eaten will feel better than living.

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    The standard 4" model that most carry only weighs a measley 2 ounces more than the typical Ruger Super Redhawk with 7-1/2" barrel.
    Not to pick nits, but comparing like to like would be the snub nosed 500 survival model to the Ruger Alaskan at 51oz vs. 41 oz. Still not much difference.

    An interesting read on the survival models:
    http://www.gunsmagazine.com/F0307.html
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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