Alaska - Choice of Arms

Choice of Arms -

All right, I have arrived in the Frozen North, and will soon be a householder again. In the coming weeks I mean to look about me for some weapons. I haven't had privately owned weapons in about three years (moreover, the weapons I did own were inheritances or gifts, meaning that I do not have experience in shopping for firearms). I am looking for some advice.

I am not a young person and I am not a hunter. I do like long walks and don't look for trouble. I am over 6' tall but I don't like recoil for the sake of it - recoil that is needed for stopping power, that's a necessary evil. I don't intend to put together a large collection - I simply want a last line of defense against any charging moose, grizzly bears, or "two-legged rats" that I can't avoid or escape.

My prior experience is with various handguns - I especially liked the Ruger SP-101 (pocket-sized .357; I typically fired .38's out of it) - and with military-issue rifles and carbines (M-16, M-4; I liked firing them but do not have direct experience with their stopping power). I very much believe in regular practice, so I want the ammunition to be reasonably priced. I also believe in regular maintenance, and in having time for good books and weblogs and marital bliss and so forth, so something that is easy to take apart and clean in a reasonable time is a definite plus. I had a few bad firing-range experiences with jamming semiautomatics, so that I'm prejudiced in favor of revolvers, but might be talked out of this prejudice.

What I have in mind is one weapon for animal defense, and one for "human defense." Now some say that a large-caliber handgun is good enough for the bears; others that you need something bigger (whatever I have needs to be reasonably transportable - no native bearers here - so that it will actually be on my person in the event of something unpleasant). What do you say? What weapons do you recommend for someone like me? Do you have any tips on shopping? Also - if I need to do some reading and research to make a good choice - where are the best places to go for that?

No comments: