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By then I wasn’t afraid to scuff the Vaq up anymore and after a couple less serious encounters of the ursine kind, I decided the extra power of +P .45 Colt rounds was preferable to the .45 ACP I usually carried in the woods. At Bowen’s advice, I stoked it with Grizzly Cartridge Company’s 335, which I chronographed at a freight-train like 1,089 fps.

And there it was, in my hand, cocked. I was the most scared I’ve been in my adult life, more scared than riding shotgun at Road Atlanta in a Porsche racecar dropping down Turn 12 at a buck-twenty, more scared than when I was serving legal papers on people, alone, in downtown Atlanta as a law student, more scared than walking down the stairs in the dark for the first time holding my newborn son.