Choosing a pistol for hunting/backcountry bear defense
My wife will be going on her first backpack trip ever with me in July and we are spending more and more time in our pop-up camper. Over dinner tonight she mentioned that the smoked salmon would be great to bring backpacking . After she performed the Heimlich on me and I stopped sputtering, I explained why we bag our food, take great care with our meal prep, and whatnot when backpacking. We get bears in our YARD for crying out loud.
So I got permission for a pistol! Hippie girl's really coming around on this gun thing . Background: I'm not a cool-gun collector and am not into having a gun so I can show it to other people for oohs and aahs, this will be a tool. It won't be conceal-carried, this is a sidearm for hunting and camping (not hunting with the pistol). I'm comfortable with rifles and shotguns but have never fired a pistol. I commit to learning how to use it safely and accurately and I enjoy shooting. I'm 6'1 and 175 pounds.
So questions: cartridge for last-ditch defending against an attacking black bear? They're the worst villain I worry about, anything that'll do a bear will sure ruin a mountain lion's day. Revolver or semiauto, pros/cons?
Considerations: prefer not too huge and heavy, but I know it'll have to put some foot-pounds down to help much with a bear. My wife, who reluctantly learns how to safe and occasionally fire all the guns, should be able to fire it reasonably accurately in extremis but only if I'm already torn apart or too far away to save the dogs or whatnot. This'll be my weapon. I don't need a cannon for it's own sake, but I do need something that'll put the hurt on a 400-pound animal. Should have adequate stopping power to put one down with accurate shots if it comes to that.
Haven't researched much yet (I come here first!), so I don't really know what sidearms go for, but initial budget maybe $300 to $500?
Bees, brews and fun
in Lyons, CO