hog hunting handgun texas
Hunting feral hogs with handguns is a great way to sharpen your handgun shooting skills. (Photo credit: Kat Ainsworth)
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Hog hunting may not be fresh and new – okay, nothing involving hogs is ever really fresh – but hunting them with handguns has taken a while to really gain traction (and even now not enough of you are doing it). We need all the hog hunters we can get (it’s a great way to practice social distancing) and as someone who actually prefers handguns to long guns for hog hunting, I’m happy to spread the good word.

In fact, it’s been about one day since the last time I shot a hog with a handgun. You could say I really enjoy it.

These are some of my top picks for handguns you can and should try on feral hogs (or whatever appropriately-sized animal you’re after). This isn’t just about the guns, though; this is about caliber, so pay attention.

Remington R1 10mm Hunter Long Slide (Kat Ainsworth for TTAG)

Remington R1 10mm Hunter Long Slide

Let me nip those anti-Big Green comments in the bud right off the bat. This is my favorite handgun of Remington’s entire lineup, and I’ve run not one, but four of them hard enough to know this model rocks.

The R1 10mm Hunter has a six-inch match-grade barrel – hence the “long slide” in its name – and a durable stainless steel frame and slide. No, this isn’t a lightweight poly pistol, it’s a heavier gun and it’s made for hard use. It weighs in at 41 ounces empty and has an eight-round capacity so it doesn’t get too weighed down when it’s loaded.

Is eight rounds enough? Of course it is. You only need one shot whether you’re hunting hogs or deer and if you come upon a big sounder of feral hogs you’ll have enough ammo to drop several in a row (I’ve done it).

Other features include LPA Fully Adjustable Match Sights, an extended beavertail grip safety, and Operator II VZ G10 grips. There’s an accessory rail under the barrel for whatever you want to add on to the gun, too. I put a Crimson Trace green laser on mine for hunting hogs at night.

This is an accurate gun. Firing from the bench you can consistently nail five-shot groups around two inches from 25 yards on the bench. Yes, that widens a bit firing offhand, but it’s still good. This is my go-to hunting handgun and I’ve also been known to carry it while working in the yard or out on the ranch. 10mm really is that good.

Do I recommend it as a daily carry? Not as a general rule, no, but the R1 10mm Hunter definitely has its uses.

MSRP: $1310

GLOCK 20 Gen4 (Kat Ainsworth for TTAG)

GLOCK 20 Gen4

On the plastic fantastic side of the equation there’s the GLOCK 20 Gen4. It’s another 10mm semi-automatic, sure, but when it comes to running down feral hogs with handguns it really is a stellar caliber for the job. With the G20 you get greater capacity than running a 19911 — the G20 holds 15 rounds — and you might be a bit more comfortable if you ding it when it’s out in the field.

Features of the G20 Gen4 include a 4.61-inch barrel, an overall length of 8.07 inches, and a width of 1.34 inches. The gun ships with the usual GLOCK safety trigger and white sights. As for weight, it weighs in at 30.69 ounces empty and bulks up to 39.86 ounces fully loaded.

This is another accurate gun. It isn’t as precise as the aforementioned R1 but it still performs well. Shooting from the bench the average five-shot group at 25 yards has been around 2.6 inches. Shooting offhand it opens up to over 3 inches. That’s still a dead pig.

And since we’re talking about a hunting handgun it really is that first-shot accuracy you need. Consistency is fantastic and desirable, but larger, tight groups aren’t quite as mandatory with a hunting gun. Do I prefer it? Yes, but it isn’t something to stress over.

One downside here is I’ve run my G20 Gen4 and had dirt stop it from cycling on more than one occasion. Yes, you read that right. A polymer pistol has proven to be more finicky than my 1911s. Really. However, it doesn’t take much effort to wipe it off and keep going.

I do appreciate the fact that it’s an affordably-priced pistol so I don’t flinch as badly when I scrape it against a tree. Plus variety is awesome and I’ve been known to chase hogs with multiple handguns on me.

MSRP: $599.99

Remington R1 Tomasie Custom in .40 Smith & Wesson (Kat Ainsworth for TTAG)

Remington R1 Tomasie Custom

Yes, another Remington and here’s why. It turns out .40 Smith & Wesson is a kickass cartridge for taking care of feral hogs and this specific handgun has simply delivered the precision I like while hunting.

There’s a whole wide world of .40s out there but not all of them have longer barrels or are made for above-average accuracy. Since this particular gun fulfills those things yes, it’s a second Remington handgun. Don’t like it? Make your own list.

The R1 Tomasie has a five-inch barrel and an adjustable match-grade trigger because this is the gun competition shooter Travis Tomasie designed to be used for competition right out of the box. It’s unlikely he meant for me to take a gun like this hunting, but that’s what’s happened.

The gun has an 18-round capacity, which rocks when you come up on a sounder of swine. There’s a flared magwell that makes reloading in the dark a bit simpler. It has a red fiber optic front sight and adjustable rear sight that work great – no need to change out sights – and it has an ambidextrous thumb safety.

This pistol is insanely accurate, which I love, and it weighs 41 ounces empty.

The downside? Well, you’d have to find a used model…Remington isn’t making them anymore. But the point here is .40 S&W is hell on hogs. One shot and they’re down whether it’s a head or heart shot.

Granted, you’d better be using good ammo, but it works well. Beware going to a gun with a shorter barrel…you do lose an edge there, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible (I’ve dropped a couple with my G27). Give the .40 Smith & Wesson plenty of consideration when you’re shopping for a hunting handgun.

Used: usually around $1,000…look around, they’re out there.

Bonus Round!

It’d be doing you a major disservice if I didn’t mention any revolvers here and that means a nod to the Ruger Super Redhawk in .44 Magnum.

Ruger Supre Redhawk revolver
Courtesy Ruger

Mine has a 7.5-inch barrel but you can always go for the 9.5-inch barrel if you’re really trying to get every bit of velocity out of that round. Both have a six-round capacity and the shorter-barreled model has an empty weight of 53 ounces. Believe me, you want that little extra weight to absorb some of the .44 Magnum’s recoil.

This is a precise revolver and one I absolutely love. Get yourself a good holster for it if you want to be able to carry it some way other than in your hands, because I know you aren’t shoving unholstered handguns loose in your backpack, right?

Super Redhawk MSRP: $1,159

Other guns I’ve been known to take hog hunting include the Magnum Research .500 Linebaugh, Desert Eagle .429, and Taurus Raging Hunter in .44 Magnum. I’m not a fan of 9mm or smaller on hogs. It isn’t that it can’t be done it’s more along the lines of just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Even feral hogs deserve a one-shot kill.

What’s your go-to hog hunting handgun?


Shameless bit of self-promotion: if you’re seriously into handgun hunting or just considering it, check out my book, Handgun Hunting. You can find it here.



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    • hand gun for hog hunting? sounds like suicide by wildlife to me.

      If its not .44 magnum or .454 casull, its inadequate for hogs, even then, an AR pistol is going to be the minimum for me. Unfortunately, budget.

      • Shot a javelina with a .454 once. Dropped him instantly, cleaned and gutted with one shot. Hit him in the shoulder but unfortunately he was quartering toward me. I was shooting a flying ashtray hollowpoint, loaded down to 30 grains of H110. Should have been shooting hard cast instead. Poor little oinker was flattened like a whoopee cushion. Oops.

      • Nevermind the three hogs shot 10mm. In the above photo.

        Next we’ll hear how a 9mm will just make a grizzly angry, even though one of the more recent documented Kodiak handgun defense was with a 9mm.

        Also, you need at least a magnum for hunting elk and .270 Win isn’t good for anything (Jack OConner?)

  1. Dan Wesson, .41 Mag (8″ barrel, with scope). Buffalo Bore hardcast ammo.

    Thompson Center Contender, .357 Herrett

  2. It’s been 20 years since I sold it, but I had a Super Redhawk exactly like Kat’s, 7.5 inch barrel and all, and that one had a pistol scope on it. The scope nicely tamed the muzzle-flip, but none of the prodigious *BOOM* from the magnum cartridge. At the time, I thought it would make an excellent hog gun, as we have an ample population down here.

    Yeah, I kinda miss it, especially the sensation of the detonation pressure-wave cutting through my teeth, front-to-rear. Oh, and every head on the firing line automatically turning to me when I lit off the first round. Muffs on, at the range : “Pop! pop! pop! *BOOM*” πŸ˜‰

  3. I just bought a Springfield Armory TRP 1911 6” long slide chambered in 10mm for this very thing. It has a Trijicon RMR 1MOA red dot milled into the slide. It has a OD green frame and I can’t wait to use it

  4. Kay – are there commercial.40S&W rounds you prefer or do you need to hand load to get the performance needed for hogs? We have feral hogs in southeastern Ohio and considering the dense vegetation and rough terrain a handgun would be a great option.

  5. And you “may” need that feral porker to put food on the table. I’ll never hunt for ’em but I’d get a rifle for porky πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·πŸ½πŸ½πŸ½πŸ½πŸ½πŸ½πŸ–πŸ–πŸ–πŸ–

  6. I’m using a Colt Anaconda with an Aimpoint T-2, works great with NVG as well.
    I’d run with a longer barreled red dot Glock 10mm (G40 MOS)
    Cerberus Capital/Freedom Group/Big Green? NO WAY would I risk my life on their lack of QA.

  7. Not my cup of tea but I ate plenty of them as a kid back in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s living in Naples Fl. Dad was a hardcore East Tenn hillbilly with six kids to feed. He was a surveyor on the crew mapping out what is now I-75 from Naples to Miami. Lots of swamp that had to be surveyed that was filled with lots of hogs, deer and gators (mighty tasty too) and the Snook never had a chance against him.

  8. Feral hogs? I prefer a Marlin lever 45-70 with a bullet from Buffalo Bore, such as the 405 gr. expander.

    I don’t know about a handgun for that, I guess i’m too chicken πŸ™‚

    However, a buddy of mine loves the 357 revolver in the top of an alligators head….I would think that alligator is also fairly feral, just hard to get at with a rifle.

  9. Since the subject is hunting, a G40 would be a better choice than a vanilla G20. The 40 has a 6″ barrel, weighs 5 oz. more (to soak up recoil) and is precut for an optic.

  10. The Blackhawk .41 mag was made for hog hunting back in the day. Wish I had kept mine. Ammo was always a problem finding. Circa 1981 +-.

    • +1. 41 mag is such a great caliber. More oomph that a .357, but easier on the hands than a .44.

      As far as ammo, back in the early β€˜80’s it often was a bit of a challenge finding ammo on store shelves (gun shows were the usual solution then). Today, Ammoseek and the web are your friends; so problem finding it. Heck, these days you can easily find online sources for oddball stuff like .357 Herrett, which for years was available only if you reloaded it yourself.

      As alluded to in a message above, after years of searching I finally found a minty Monson-made, Dan Wesson pistol pack in .41 mag. Has 6” and 8” barrels, and the 8” one is kitted out with an extended relief scope. Great revolver.

      • there are lever guns in .41 to go along.
        there was a deagle in .41.
        and a seller on harmfist is trying to unload a tanfoglio witness in .41.

  11. Got the same redhawk with a Leupold scope. Love that gun and it’s hell on whitetail. Fireballs are readily visible through the scope.

  12. If you have appropriate Bear medicine, you have Boar Medicine. You just need to be good enough to give that spoonful of sugar. Lol

  13. Ruger security six, 357 mag., 6 in. barrel. Also Springfield XD mod. 2 in 40 cal. Rifle, 30-30, not in vogue but drops ’em every time.

  14. I beleave 1911s with the .460 Roland conversion would be just fine with 10 round magazine. Would be as good or better as any 10mm and with the heavy bullet weight better than .357 mag, and equal to a .41mag or mabey slightly better. But thats just my opinionated lean as I love 1911s.

  15. Uh… top 3 hog hunting handguns = 1) .44 magnum, 2) .41 magnum, and 3) .357 magnum.

      • The 10 is actually almost a .357 magnum not almost a .41. The 10 fans like to take the powder puff loads in .357 compared to the full bore stuff in 10. But with the hot (but not +p) loads the .357 is slightly more powerful. More importantly is the sectional densities give the .357 a significant advantage. A 158gr. .357 slug has about the same SD as a 200gr. 10mm one. And there’s nothing in 10 that compares to the 180-200gr. .357s. For self defense (against humans) the 10 might actually have an advantage, but where deeper penetration is needed the .357 is superior.

  16. One of my two big boomer (.44 mag and above) handguns is a stainless 5.5″ Ruger Blackhawk Bisley in .45 Colt. It’s a beast and in .45 Colt it’s capable of hitting very hard with big heavy bullets but with less pressure than equivalent .44 magnum loads. I really love this gun.

    My other is a Performance Center S&W 629 V-Comp .44 magnum. It’s all factory except I mounted a Trijicon RMR on it. The trigger is amazing and it shoots like a dream. With the red dot it would make a fantastic hog hunting gun. The only downside to the S&W is it’s weakness. You’re very limited in the ammo choice department. Still, even S&W safe .44 mag ammo is plenty to put pigs down.

    Unfortunately I live in central Oklahoma where there’s only one small public hunting area so it gets slammed. Most of the landowners either lease their property to commercial hunting companies or charge big bucks to allow strangers to hunt pigs. Since I don’t have friends or family with land it’s no hog hunting for me.

  17. Whenever I’m hunting here in Georgia, where hogs are likely, I have my Taurus Raging Bull in .44 mag. Just can’t see a .357, .40, or .45 being as effective. Raging Bull is fairly heavy, so much of the kick is absorbed.

  18. Hogs found my clear-cut timber farm ideal and it didn’t take long to for it to get infested. I keep a Para Ordnance “Big Hawg” on me in case I run up on an angry sounder. 12 + 1 capacity in a .45 ACP 1911 frame. I have added extended mags giving me 20 + 1. Will fit in a 1911 holster. Ammo is not too hard to find. Heavy, but that’s the trade-off in any hand gun for hogs. I understand the one-shot per kill goal, but the sounder presents one of the most sound arguments against banning high capacity mags.

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