I've had quite a few bear encounters over the years. Some were downright scary. Some were kind of comical. I've had few in KY, most of them were in ON and MN. What I can tell you is this: 1) Under most circumstances, unless you're coming between a black bear and its food or a sow and its cubs, you can usually bluff your way out. 2) If I was seriously worried about defending yourself against a bear, one of the last things I'd want at hand is a 9mm auto. You might kill it, but you'll die trying. I'd start with a stout 44 MAG and go up from there. Big bore rifle, shotgun with slugs-- that sort of thing. I've gone armed before, but it was more as a hedge against 2-legged rattlesnakes. 3) I had a buddy who got on the bad side of a bear and had to shoot it out. He had a 30-40 Krag with a full magazine and emptied into the bruin before it fell at his feet. They will take a lot of punishment. 4) The best thing I've found when meeting a bear is a) make sure he's got a way out. b) Make sure you've got a way out. Don't block A and use B and back your way out, explaining to the bear what your intentions are. Most bear don't want a confrontation, and will take your cues. It's a lot like meeting up with a irate landowner with a shotgun. He usually just wants you off his property and will let you go as long as you show proper respect.