Can someone informed please help me to decide? (Unfortunately, the gun dealers in my area are too agenda-driven to be objectively helpful).
Self-defense while backpacking, mountain climbing, camping and traveling. (Main threats in my neck of the woods: grizzlies and brown bears, coyotes, mountain lions, rattle snakes, vicious dogs, gangbangers who use the backcountry to party, and people who maintain hidden marijuana plantations. I am a hobby astronomer and I might be out at night, with a girl, with food and expensive equipment, and away from campsites).
Gun must be ultra-reliable, light, easy to carry and easy keep out of sight, not extremely tedious to shoot, quick to deploy, and must have a powerful cartridge.
MY SKILL LEVEL:
Although I have an NRA instructor's certificate and can handle a firearm safely, I would consider my aim to be just intermediate. I have not practiced shooting at moving targets (hard to do in my area).
I have spent months reading and talking to people, and considering all factors I have narrowed it down to two choices:
(1) RUGER SP 101 (stainless steel, no exposed hammer spur) in .357 Mag:
(2) SUBCOMPACT GLOCK.
Since I already own a G17, I was initially leaning toward the G26 for ammo interchangeability. But then I thought 9mm is less than ideal against an animal surprise attack, when I might just be able to fire two shots and hit with one (if I'm lucky).
So I started to look at the .40 G27. But THEN I started reading about the .45 G.A.P. G39, and I totally get what Mr. Glock was thinking here. I have not tried one (they are hard to get by in my state), but from what I have read, it's not more difficult to control than the .40, but more effective and with fewer potential technical problems.
So now I'm stuck and can't quite make up my mind.
What speaks for the the G39 -- the caliber -- also speaks against it. I am really concerned that it might become obsolete or so hard to find that it gets impractical. What if I fly somewhere and can't take ammo? Then, there's the ammo cost. If the round does not catch on, ammo prices are going to explode due to less competition.
Advantages of the Ruger revolver: ammo is available virtually anywhere around the world -- at least .38 Special. With the .38, I could also let the girlfriend practice (which I can't really see happening with the .45 G.A.P.) Ammo is about 30-40% cheaper than .45 G.A.P., so I could practice 35% more with .38 Special and finish each session with some .357 Mag, which is what I would have in the drum when in the wilderness. Also, snakeshot is available for the .38 Special, but not for the Glock.
Yes, I am aware that a neither a .45 nor a .357 Mag will be likely to kill a bear. (But I am hoping that it might at least distract and discourage it from continuing an attack).
If I had unlimited funds, I'd consider getting the Ruger for the girlfriend and the Glock for me. (But even then, carrying two kinds of ammo is not ideal).
Then, the next problem: this whole Generation 4 thing. Seems to me that the G39 does not exist in Gen4 yet. Does this mean that the Gen3 G39 will soon be obsolete? Frankly, I don't see any advantage in the Gen4, but again, I don't want to buy something that won't be supported, for which I can't get parts and magazines in a few years.
So what to do? Any input is appreciated!