3 Best Bear Defense Pistols When You Have Seconds to Live

Image of Bryan Hill, Founder of Pistol Wizard Bryan Hill / March 21 2024

Bear defense pistols can be drawn in 1.5 seconds or less, so you can fire before you get mauled.
They need to be powerful enough to punch through the bones of huge, dangerous animals, but not so powerful that it's slow to shoot, or inaccurate when fired quickly.

What fits the bill? Pistols chambered in 10mm, loaded with bear defense ammo.


Glock 40 MOS
Pistol Size Length: 8-10". Any longer and they become slower to aim. Any shorter and they may lose too much power to reliably stop large animals.
Frame Material Steel or polymer.
Weight Weight: 1.5-3.0 lb. Anything in this range is a balance between comfort of carry and reducing the recoil of your stronger ammo.
Ammo Caliber 10mm.Strong enough to perform vs. large animals, with good ammo capacityand acceptable recoil.
Ammo Capacity 14+ rounds. More is better.
Best Upgrades Pistol light, Threaded barrel, Compensator, Laser Grips or Red Dot (optional)
Storage Chest holster or belt holster or a secure storage safe.
For more info, see our Bear Defense Whitepaper.

  1. Under $600
  2. Over $600

Best Bear Defense Pistol under $600

The Glock 20 is the easiest to carry bear defense pistol. It's not too big, and light enough to carry all day, but it has less power and more recoil than the other options.

Updated hourly

Glock 20
@ Ammunition Depot
Compare Prices
$524.99 @ Ammunition Depot
$579.00 @ Impact Guns
1.7 lb
8.07"L x 1.3"W x 5.5"H

Best Bear Defense Pistols over $600

At this price point, the Glock 40 MOS is a great balance of price, weight, and aftermarket support.

The EAA Witness Hunter 10mm has a better trigger and less recoil, but is heavier, and it's harder to find holsters for one. It also has an frame-mounted optic mount, which offers more performance at the cost of some bulk.

Updated hourly

Glock 40 MOS
@ Primary Arms
Compare Prices
$700.00 @ Primary Arms
$700.00 @ Impact Guns
$700.00 @ Impact Guns
$769.99 @ Rainier Arms

EAA Witness Hunter 10mm
Compare Prices
15+1 14+1
2 lb 2.88 lb
9.5"L x 1.3"W x 5.5"H 10"L x 1.3"W x 5.4"H
  • Least recoil
  • Best trigger
  • Frame is drilled to fit optics mounts instead the slide. If you mount an optic, you'll improve recoil, but may need a custom holster.
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