There’s nothing new about the quest for a good bear-country sidearm, and what we’re carrying is evolving. Giant revolvers, though still popular, are somewhat antiquated. The Glock 20 is rapidly becoming the preferred arm of choice, and for good reason. It is more streamlined, more shootable, and it carries more ammo than a revolver, yet it is still dependable and powerful. My pal Andrew Brady of Lone Star Armory showed me a few tricks to improve a stock Glock.
Replace the Sights
Chances are an encounter with a bear that requires using a pistol will happen very fast. You may not even have time to aim, but any edge you can give yourself helps. XS Sight Systems makes by far the fastest-acquiring sights that I have used. In particular, I recommend its Big Dot express sights ($125).
Swap the Barrel and Recoil Assembly
A quality aftermarket barrel ($140) will increase accuracy. The new barrel, along with a guide rod and recoil spring ($40), can be easily swapped out while your pistol is field stripped.
Modify the Grip
The grip angle on Glocks is a big turnoff to some shooters. Their relatively “steep” angle gives a shooter the feeling of awkwardly having to point the pistol down, compared to a 1911, in order to level the sights. We outlined the steps to change the grip angle below. Grinding on a new pistol might feel counterintuitive, but you end up with a better-shooting gun.
It just keeps going on in this article. I am a fan of the 1911 with its eleven degree grip angle and narrow profile, and I don’t like the feel of the sharp edges of a Glock. If you don’t want to shoot a 1911 but want a double stack higher capacity magazine, why not choose a Springfield Armory XD or XDm which is modeled in the same fashion of the eleven degree grip angle?
Or why not choose a .357 magnum or .44 magnum revolver? Why would anyone spend the kind of effort and money necessary to pull this off when you can buy a new gun for the same amount? I think the gunsmiths at Hyatt Gun Shop would look at you weird if you brought them these plans.
And for the record, a .45 ACP has proven enough to turn a bear away.