Originally Posted by fastdadio
Here's another thought. While I agree with the suggestions in both the guide gun and the shotgun as being effective close range bear stoppers, the OP did state that he did not hunt. so, with that bit of info, I would highly recommend the 12ga. simply because of the overall versitility. With the proper loads, It can double duty as a home defense gun. Also, as a hiker, there are 12ga. flares that may be carried into remote areas for emergency signaling. I think a good defensive pump 12 could be found on the used market for less $$. A pump gun can be put into action faster and repeatedly cycled faster without losing your sight plane or changing your hold on the gun which is much easier for a novice to pick up on . There is a difference between a good hunting gun and a good defense type gun, and I think the OP is really needing something leaning more toward the defensive end.
-- A short as legal 12 gauge. For AK consider one like the "Marine Coat" ones. Or have it sprayed with a weatherproof coating. Put a big dot site on the front and you are good to go for not much $$.
They're nihilists, Donny, nothing to be afraid of.