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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.