The 10MM: A Hog-Worthy Handgun?

I was just thinking about trying out the green light I had attached under the barrel of my 10mm PARA Elite LS Hunter, a semiauto 1911 pistol, when I noticed a dark blotch off to my right.

by Brian McCombie


Mostly overlooked as a hunting handgun, the author’s experience with the 10mm Auto proves this nifty load is plenty potent on rangy feral hogs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a quarter-hour from actual sunset, but already dark in the thick patch of South Florida jungle where I sat sweating, a shiny 10mm pistol within easy reach on my lap. I was hunting the area’s abundant feral hogs, and expecting company at any minute. Any second, actually. And why shouldn’t I? My ground blind was perched barely 25 yards from an active feeder, positioned just so beneath a large palmetto tree. Behind the feeder was a solid wall of tall green vegetation, and the sandy two-track directly in front of me was surrounded by overhanging brush. Even without the lure of shelled corn, the spot reeked of hogginess.

Actually, I had pretty much lost sight of the feeder ten minutes before, as the shadows began overtaking the area. I was just thinking about trying out the green light I had attached under the barrel of my 10mm PARA Elite LS Hunter, a semiauto 1911 pistol, when I noticed a dark blotch off to my right.

On second glance, the news was even better. The blotch was moving.

I guessed the dark brown visitor as a younger boar, maybe 125 pounds. He moved through the brush cautiously, an occasional grunt helping track his progress. The wild pig clearly knew about the feeder, but he also sensed something wasn’t quite right. As he paused behind a thick bush I raised my PARA and poked it out the blind window, in the process making sure my Burris FastFire III optic was ticked “on.”

Suddenly, the boar spun around and dashed back the way he’d come. Damn! I was just returning my PARA to my lap when the indecisive hog darted back into view. It sprinted up the two-track trail then froze, eyeballing the feeder, nose up and testing the air.

I slid the 3MOA red dot of the FastFire III onto the hog’s low-shoulder area, let out my breath and squeezed the auto’s trigger. The hog squealed once, dashed passed the feeder then veered into the inky brush. Just before it vanished, I saw the wounded hog bounce off a tree trunk.

Indeed, with that bounce and his piercing squeal, I knew I’d hit the hog; when my guide showed up a hour later, we used flashlights to find a blood trail and then the hog himself, stone dead just 75 yards from the feeder. The Barnes VOR-TX round, firing a 155-grain TAC-XP bullet, had done a “through-and-through” on the hog, just behind the front leg and piercing the back of his lungs. Mission accomplished.

The author’s PARA Elite LS Hunter handgun proved to be dependably deadly on a handful of feral hog hunts in 2015.

I tried hog hunting with a handgun for the very first time in 2015, using the PARA Elite LS Hunter; to date, I’ve been fortunate to take nine hogs using a 10MM handgun (plus one spike buck). Hog hunting with a 1911 model 10MM has become my new favorite way to bring home the bacon.

Why am I so excited about my “new” hog weapon? It’s a great deal of fun. While the 10MM is certainly powerful enough for bigger game, it’s still a handgun—so you have to get relatively close. Good stalking skills are a huge help!  Much like archery hunting, the handgun option also puts a premium on stealth and silence, as well as making sure to use the wind to your advantage. And it also helps to be quick and decisive when the shot presents itself.

While the 10MM is certainly powerful enough for bigger game, it’s still a handgun—so you have to get relatively close.

Developed by tactical handgun guru Col. Jeff Cooper, the 10MM Auto was designed as a more-powerful option to the 9MM, while being a flatter-shooting, longer-range round than the .45 ACP. The first pistol chambered in the new round was the Bren Ten, introduced in the early 1980s. The 10MM Auto was briefly adopted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the late 1980s, but soon gave way to the lighter-recoiling .40 S&W.

But shooters in the know knew: In the 10MM Auto, you had magnum power in a relatively short, rimless cartridge, one designed to be used in a semiautomatic platform that could deliver substantial numbers of rounds down range, quickly.

ParaGun600 For exciting, challenging hog-hunting action, it’s hard to beat the “up-close-and-personal” experience the 10mm Auto demands.

As noted, I began my 10MM adventures with the PARA Elite LS Hunter, a long-slide 1911 with a 6-inch barrel. Unfortunately, PARA is no more. Bought up by Remington several years ago, PARA was recently closed for good (though some of the handguns can still be found, in stores and online). The industry rumor is Remington will eventually debut several new 1911s based on past PARA models, including a 10MM option. I hope so!

With some practice, I was soon able to drill a target the size of a hog’s kill zone at 30 yards using my PARA. More practice got me to 40 yards, and now I’m pretty comfortable hunting at this distance.

I’ve also hunted with the 10MM Long-Slide 1911 made by Republic Forge, a custom gun maker based in Texas and it’s a great handgun—accurate and comfortable in my hand. I have shot the Glock 20 Gen4 as well, a polymer-framed 10MM that holds an impressive 15 rounds, and found it dead-on accurate and easy to use.

In addition, Wilson Combat, SIG Sauer, and STI International also make some very nice 10MMs.

I’ve mostly used the Barnes VOR-TX ammunition in my 10MMs, for practice and hunting, and it’s a damned effective round. It moves out of the barrel at a stout 1,150 fps, with almost zero drop out to 40 yards, and it punches through hogs with ease.

Other ammo makers with some impressive 10MM offerings include: Sig Sauer’s new V-Crown 180-grain JHP load; Dynamic Research Technologies and its screamer Terminal Shock 105-grain load (1,540 fps out of the barrel); and Federal Premium’s Vital-Shok with a 180-grain Trophy Bonded JSP bullet. I’ve used all at the range and they performed very well; I will be field-testing each round in 2016.

If you’re a reloader? Nosler has a number of 10MM bullet options for you: 135-grain JHP, 150-grain JHP, 180-grain JHP, and 200-grain JHP.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A Texas hunt allowed the author to test-drive a Republic Forge Long-Slide 1911, with impressive results.

The Burris FastFireIII is a pleasure to use. The 3-MOA dot is large enough to get on target quickly, but not so big as to obscure your target’s kill zone. It has three manual brightness settings, plus an automatic brightness adjustment setting. The top-mounted battery offers easy access, without removing the sight. Windage and elevation adjustments are accurate and easy to adjust.

On the Republic Forge 1911, I used Trijicon HD Night sights and was very impressed. Extremely visible, the HD got me on target quickly, helping me take a hog at 25 yards that suddenly popped out of the South-Texas brush on a deer hunt, and a spike buck at 35 yards on the same hunt.

Leupold’s new DeltaPoint Reflex Sight is another great option for the 10MM platform, as is Cabela’s Tactical Reflex Sight with Rear Facing Brightness Control, and Trijicon’s RMR sight.

I haven’t gotten a chance to bring down a hog with it yet, but I have attached a Nite Hunter archery night light to the underside of the PARA’s slide, securing it to the mini-rails. It lights up a fine swath of night out to 50 yards, and paired with the FastFire III should be a great combo for an exciting night hog hunt. One of my New Year’s resolutions: bring down a hog with this light and pistol in 2016.



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