This one has had me curious for awhile. How actually useful are bellyguns for hunting & critter defense in AK?
I should start this with my usual disclaimer that I share Metthew Quigley's view on handguns. Carry one professionally for 30 years and a person develops an opinion what they are good for and what they aren't. For work & personal defense I carry a Kimber custom shop 3" 45ACP, but given any opportunity, when the chips are down I would far rather have an 870 full of 4 Buck or a Remington 700 in my hands.
I do currently own one 44 Mag (SS Ruger Bisely Hunter) purely for the hell of it. A few years ago age related near vision issues raised their unwelcome head, and open sights all are situated right at the distance where everrything is most fuzzy. If I clamp a red dot or scope on the Bisely it is flat out deadly out to 100 yards, but is then a PITA to lug around. The trituim three dot sights on my Kimber are a big help for 2 legged defensive work.
from over the years I have quit a bit of experience shooting/hunting deer with the 44 Mag and from that experience my guess is it's pretty marginal (but better than nothing) to stop a POed bear. Of course with the bigger stuff like the 460 & 500 there is a lot more thump, but there is till the PITA factor of having to lug it around, and a person still has to hit what he's shooting at under severe duress.
A couple years ago our Leg. passed a law to make it legal to carry a bellygun when bowhunting. This was in response to an exploding cat population, patricularly out in the western part of the state, and some uncomfortably close encounters that happened to bowhunters out there as a result. There is no question cats have gotten more than a toe-hold here in ND, but in all the years I've bowhunted the Breaks, I myself have never seen so much as a track. I'm thinking I would be better off to arrow it rather then try to bellgun it, myself. In fact, every time I think about taking one of my recurves and the Foxpro up into the Pembina Gorge (about 70 minutes north of my place, right on the Canadian border) to try to call in a kitty long about Feb or early March, the idea sounds better & better...
But I digress... So who of you AK res-dudes carries a pistol when hunting, and have you used it (presuming you couldn't get at a rifle or shotgun) in defense of life against some critter?
Or, is the weight better taken up with a couple pounds of food or other gear in the pack?