I have fished Alaska for 30 years - Kenai River, Yakutat, Cordova, Kodiak. I have seen and fished with and around many bears, both blackies and brownies. I have carried a Mossberg 500 with the pistol grip and the legal 18" barrell at times with the usual first couple of birdshot, then buckshot, then slugs. Packing a shotgun is a pain in the ass. It is just more stuff to get in my way. Leave the shotguns to the guides that watch over you. I have also carried bear spray. Great stuff because it is compact and easy to carry. Great idea except you have to be real close to the bear and hopefully not downwind since you will end up with it in your face. I finally bought a Taurus Raging Bull 454 Cassul. It has a 6" barrell and is stainless so I don't worry much about rust. It also comes from the factory with a ported barrel which makes it shootable. It carries fairly comfortably in a nylon shoulder holster so I can easily fish while I am carrying it. Also, it will shoot 45 long colt which makes it affordable for practice. When I am in the bush, I load it with CorBon 325gr cast lead bullets. These bad boy carry an impressive punch. I have never fired a round from any gun while fishing in Alaska. I have had my gun out and ready to go on a couple of occasions but am thankful that I never had to pull the trigger.I have had some close visits from bears but have always followed the common sense advise of the experts including making lots of noise when I am on foot, keeping food and garbage away from my camp, and mostly respecting bears and their territory whenever I am there.