Suggestions requested

We're taking a family road trip trip to Tuktoyaktuk and looking for suggestions for personal defence guns.

Some criteria:

- Easy to learn and shoot since my wife and myself are both new to guns. I've shot several before, but never owned one. My wife has never shot one (but will be spending some time in class and the range prior to there trip)

- We need to be able to keep it/ them locked in the vehicle since we will have 3 small kids with us

- Prefer simple commercially available guns rather than having to modify them

- Need to be able to carry across the border into Canada. I believe this eliminates the possibility of all handguns

Appreciate if I can get some suggestions including locked storage etc.
 

shade

Well-known member
Defence from what? A 12ga shotgun with rifled slugs is popular for bears.

A large canister of bear spray carried at all times by both adults would be more versatile, IMO. Add a portable bear fence if you'll be camping. This would be in addition to learning about general bear safety - keeping a clean camp, don't eat where you sleep, travel in a group, etc. Bring a firearm if you want, but I think my other suggestions will be more effective in preventing the need for one in the first place.
 

AbleGuy

TeamSuicideChipmunks
We're taking a family road trip trip to Tuktoyaktuk and looking for suggestions for personal defence guns.
Some criteria:
- Easy to learn and shoot since my wife and myself are both new to guns. I've shot several before, but never owned one. My wife has never shot one (but will be spending some time in class and the range prior to there trip)
- We need to be able to keep it/ them locked in the vehicle since we will have 3 small kids with us
It’s great that you are seeking out this advice. This is a problematic post to answer simply and helpfully, though.

Based on your destination, might I assume your main concern is the possible danger presented to you and your family by grizzlies or polar bears? If that’s so, the enormously challenging need for you to buy and then both train properly to prepare to deal with a highly adrenaline charged self defense situation with a new, large caliber, high powered gun before leaving for your trip makes your quest seem somewhat unrealistic. It’s just not likely to be that easy for you and your spouse to quickly gain the needed confidence and proficiency to handle that kind of dramatic situation....for becoming truly competent enough to successfully and safely deal with an unexpected, threatened dangerous animal attack.

In any event, if you’re worried about protection against animal danger, keeping your gun locked in your vehicle (as above noted) makes bringing a firearm with you questionably useful. If you’re threatened with violence while in your vehicle, it’s better to just drive away if you can.

You’re also going to need to research and learn the rather complicated Canadian laws (federal, provincial and territorial) regarding importing, possessing, traveling with and brandishing/using a firearm. Being found inadvertently in violation of any of these would be costly. This is a hugely important issue. While others here may be able to generally advise you on some of the vagaries of these rules, because these provisions are complex and because the penalties for violating them can be very punitive, as the gun owner the responsibility and burden is on you to know these.

I’d have to initially agree with Shade...especially about it being better to stick with a couple of cans of bear spray. I’d be more concerned that having a firearm with you that you’re not both truly proficient with might actually endanger your family more than protect them, by among other things, creating an unreasonably false sense of security encouraging you to take risks you’d otherwise not take.

While I don’t doubt that, given the right amount of time, instruction and practice, you both could learn to competently shoot a shotgun or rifle before leaving on this summer’s trip, gaining the proficiency to use that same gun in a unrehearsed scenario involving panic and surprise is a whole different learning curve.
 
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gatorgrizz27

Active member
Unfortunately, I’d agree with what’s been posted above. Attempting to go from no firearms experience to becoming proficient enough to shoot a charging bear, or one that’s attacking a family member isn’t a matter of taking a class. It’s more akin to never having swung a baseball bat but wanting to become capable of getting a hit against a major league pitcher, in terms of the speed, accuracy, and performance under stress required.

I’m not familiar with how big of an issue bears are in that area, or along your planned route. In most coastal areas of Alaska, there are a ton of bears, but they cause few issues due to how much food is available. On the other hand, there are areas in places like Montana where I simply wouldn’t go without a firearm on my person 24/7, even for something like taking 10 steps from the tent to the truck.

Realistically, if the gun is locked inside your vehicle with some type of trigger lock on it, the only case where I can see it potentially being useful is if you had camped in a large clearing and were able to see a bear intent on coming into your camp. The best action there would be to move camp, but you could stand guard while packing up or fire a warning shot if it came to it. Otherwise it will do you little good. Shotguns and rifles are also not drop safe, which means it’s not acceptable to store them with a loaded chamber and the hammer cocked, even with a trigger lock installed and the safety on, particularly in a vehicle.

However, unless you plan to get rid of it after this trip, it’s still a great idea to buy a gun and train with it, for a variety of reasons.

I’d buy both a .22 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. A Ruger 10/22 and a Remington 870 are the most popular versions of each, good quality, and you should be able to buy the pair for around $500. Let your wife get comfortable with the .22 before moving on to shooting clays with the 12 gauge and low brass shells, ideally with a few steps in between, (like an AR) from either buying, renting or shooting with friends.

There are few things that would turn a woman off from wanting to shoot a gun more than being handed a 12 gauge loaded with slugs and never having fired a gun. The recoil is brutal.
 
Thanks for the suggestions folks. I understand and appreciate the need for getting proficient and I agree that it would be somewhat challenging to be real good with a weapon at such short notice (only a few months), but also know that we have to start somewhere. Also plan on taking all the usual bear precautions as well. We absolutely plan on getting bear spray. The idea is to have it available at night when we are camping in our pop-up camper (just in case).

Once again, ALL other bear precautions will be followed to ensure we do not put ourselves in a situation where the weapon must be used.
 

AbleGuy

TeamSuicideChipmunks
If your dead set on taking a gun with you, here are some recent Expo threads on that topic. And note the difference between advice on transporting a long gun through Canada to Alaska vs. actually trying to get the required permits to transport it and use it inside the country. You might share the results of your search with us here.

jjrgr21 said:
What are the regs on taking a rifle into Canada.
“As a tourist it cannot be done.
US citizens enroute to Alaska can get permission to transport the gun thru the country but as a tourist in Canada, not a chance.”




mobydick 11
Active member

Jan 5, 2020
OP if you intend to bring a hand gun or any gun through Canada please make sure you know are current laws . cfp-pcaf@rcmp-grc.gc.ca .Make sure you have all the paperwork with you when you get to the border .Make sure the first thing you say to the border guard is, I have a restricted firearm with me .Now have fun and enjoy your trip ,looking to do it soon as well

FrenchieXJ
Expedition Leader

Apr 11, 2019
Go online and read the requirements to enter the country. I would suggest "bear spray" if your looking for protection.
Some rifles with a permit are OK! You will need to go online and get your paper work ahead of time. You will need extra copies of your paper work, to bring with you.


Plus, here are some discussion threads touching on the subject of taking guns into Canada:
(there may be others here...do your research...but good luck trying to use the pretty worthless search tool)



Lastly...re: your “The idea is to have it available at night when we are camping in our pop-up camper (just in case).” I encourage you to seriously practice this response inside your camper before leaving, actually loading and practice firing using only snap caps, first without the kids and spouse present, then with them participating.
 
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PPCLI_Jim

Adventurer
As a Canadian, I'd recommend to go with bear spray combined with bear bangers. These you can get in pen flare type or a low pressure 12g flare gun/ shot gun type. The 12g ones are about 5$ a round roughly, but you can cross the border with a USCG approved type launcher.
 

mep1811

Gentleman Adventurer
I had no problem transporting my 4570 and 12-gauge to Alaska across Canada.
I have all my paperwork correctly filled out and the key was telling the customs officers I was transporting them to Alaska.

I was told in no uncertain terms that firearms are not permitted for self-defense.

I had bear spray, air horns and bought bear bangers at the first Canadian tire I got to in Canada.

Once I got into Alaska , the long guns came out , picked up my handguns in Tok and back to living in the land of the free and Home of the brave.
 

rnArmy

Adventurer
A Marlin 45-70 lever action guide gun is a popular rifle up there. But you're more likely to carry your bear spray with you because of convenience. I'd have both available personally.
 

Ducstrom

Active member
I'd also recommend the bear spray route. I've spent a lot of time in the BC woods for work packing either bear spray with bear bangers or a shotgun. Deployed both a shotgun and bear bangers in the bears (both black bears) general direction to scare them off. Never had to deploy the bear spray.
I think the air horn is a neat idea over the bear bangers though. When I set mine off the bear was so close I ended up firing 2 straight up in the air. Had I shot them in the bears direction it would have exploded behind the bear. Something to think about.
Just be bear aware, keep a clean camp and make noise as you hike.
 

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Alloy

Well-known member
Care to elaborate? Or just spewing typical anti-gun BS?

I own 20 something guns. None have ever harmed my children. Although they’ve never been attacked by a bear either, so I guess we don’t really know...
A firearm is an inanimate object. A tool, no different than a hammer or a knife.
Geeezzzz ...... next time I'll make sure to include knives, axes, sling shots, bow and arrows, fireworks, bikes, hammers, fires, stoves, trampolines, lawn mowers and 110V electricity.

I've had a gun license for many years. Since the days it was called a Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC) here in Canada.
 

shade

Well-known member
Geeezzzz ...... next time I'll make sure to include knives, axes, sling shots, bow and arrows, fireworks, bikes, hammers, fires, stoves, trampolines, lawn mowers and 110V electricity.

I've had a gun license for many years. Since the days it was called a Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC) here in Canada.
You forgot lawn darts.

Don't worry about it. Gun discussions often kick off conversations that would go much better in person than online.
 
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