At one time, I carried a small frame Glock, in the .357 Sig round, when I ventured into the backcountry of WV. One nice February day, I thought I was alone in the Otter Creek Wilderness Area when I heard brush breaking below the trail. I pulled the unchambered weapon, thinking the warm weather had brought the bears out early, but what I found was another fisherman. He had also decided to hit the backcountry that fine day. I had pulled a weapon on a fellow outdoorsman, granted it was unchambered, I still felt very bad about it. That was the last day I carried in the backcountry.
I have also been within 15 yards of a charging grizzly in Yellowstone - I walked up on three of her cubs. I can tell you that a handgun, no matter what caliber, would have done me no good in that situation. If you can hit a target moving 25 MPH, while fight/flight is kicking in, you are a better man than me. Handguns are not the proper weapons for self-defense against four-legged threats.
Of course, someone intent on committing a violent crime is not going to be concerned with carry laws. I have done quite a few of solo backcountry adventures in GSMNP and RMNP, and the two-legged predators are almost always the biggest threat in the backcountry. This just levels the playing field a bit.