We keep hearing "heavy for caliber". That is true, but it works slightly differently in rifles vs pistols. What we are really talking about is sectional density.
Sectional density is the mass behind the frontal area of the bullet. It is the momentum that drives the bullet through the target. Handgun bullets have poor sectional density compared to rifles. That, plus velocity is why something like a .26" rifle round can be very effective on 600lb animals. That rifle bullet may be 140gr compared to a 50gr handgun bullet.

So, a .44 mag is a low level backup. The bigger hand cannons are a challenge to manage and practice with! Where a carbine will have much better penetration. Especially at the sloped skull of a charging bear.