As one biologist put it "Experience shows that putting firearms and grizzly bears in the same place ends up with dead grizzly bears."
Well, the corollary is that putting firearms and grizzly bears in the same place ends up with live humans.
Experts stress that pepper spray works more than 80% of the time and is easier to carry, aim, and use.
It is probably the best alternative for the average person as it is hard to place your shot with a firearm while freaking out at that HUGE bear "bear"ing down on you.
Still, having the firearm as a back-up for worst case scenarios and the occasional problem with your fellow humans, wolves, etc. is comforting.
Plus, it is hard to signal for help by firing your bear spray three times in the air.