Asking a Southerner about the guns needed in Alaska for homesteading may not be the best idea. There is a different type of wilderness there. The best advice will come from someone who lives in the wilds of Alaska or nearby in Canada. They should certainly know what is needed. But people have differing views and preferences for an Alabama deer rifle, so I’m sure it’s the same for the weaponry used in Alaska. Perhaps others with a more intimate knowledge on the subject will chime-in under the comments sections.
Assuming one avoids choosing a bear-prone location for homesteading, here are this Southern boy’s suggestions and thoughts for what a person might want to have:
I suggest having a sidearm capable of killing a bear to be kept on your person anytime you’re outside at your remote homestead and at other places where it seems prudent. The .44 Mag is a starting point, with heavier calibers available to choose from. (Jeremy and Mr. Bane make excellent suggestions regarding those.) Since the excitement of a bear attack might cause one’s brain to freeze-up, the double-action variety of handguns seems the way to go, though single-action revolvers in the same calibers are just as powerful and cost significantly less. That cost factor (and how it looks and feels) was why I bought a Super Blackhawk. But I don’t live or often go where a bear might kill and eat me.
I also suggest having bear-repellent spray handy, since some wildlife experts claim it is more effective at warding off bear attacks than a gun. (See link under comments on my article about the .44 Mag) Perhaps the spray could be kept in various places that you frequent, such as your house and outhouse, sheds, a feeding or milking stall for livestock, a chicken pen, etc.
Also of high importance is that the spray is something a little old lady can use. If you have a wife or children or parent there, they should be taught to use the spray as well as a firearm that’s within their capability to shoot accurately. And they should be taught where to aim for various critters, especially for bear. That firearm may have to be something simple and intuitive. That’s why my wife grabbed my break-action, exposed hammer .410 during the rattlesnake crisis. Her child was endangered and she knew she could handle that little .410 without thinking – without having to remember how to load it or how to make it shoot. And I had her practice using it before the incident. It was simply apparent; intuitive. IMO, that pretty much rules out pumps and semi-autos for this group of people – the gun-shy, young, or frail people. They may someday need to defend themselves or the kids, alone.
The best choice for a powerful and intuitive weapon is a
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