Handgun Hunting with the 10mm

By Mark Hampton
Posted in #Guns #Hunting
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Handgun Hunting with the 10mm

January 11th, 2021

5 minute read

As I was browsing through several social media platforms in the hunting and shooting groups, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of handgun hunting being shared. This thrills my soul as I’ve been a dyed-in-the-wool handgun hunter for the better part of 40 years.

Hunting with the Springfield Armory TRP Longslide 10mm handgun
The TRP Operator 1911 in 10mm makes a solid choice for reasonably close-range handgun hunting.

But why does anyone want to hunt with a handgun in the first place? Good question, and there are probably a wide variety of answers. However, the sheer challenge involved would more than likely have something to do with appeal. After all, shooting a handgun accurately, consistently, is more difficult than shooting a rifle with its shoulder support. Add in the fact you must get close to the game in pursuit, and that adds another level of challenge to address.

But, I can honestly say, if you haven’t taken up handgun hunting you’re in for a real treat. It can be very challenging, frustrating at times, but overall – it’s extremely rewarding.

When hunting out of a deer blind, a good rest can be utilized from the window frame. A solid rest will enhance proper bullet placement.

What I Chose

As I write this, the first portion of our firearm deer season is over and now we have an Anterless-Only Season followed by an Alternative Method season, both of which allow the use of handguns. I plan on filling one of my tags with Springfield’s Armory TRP Operator in 10mm — providing the deer read the script. This particular 1911 is a longslide with 6″ barrel. It’s a great choice for 1911 aficionados.

In addition to being a great gun, it’s also in a great handgun-hunting chambering. The 10mm has experienced a rise in popularity, resulting in ammo manufacturers offering some mighty fine hunting rounds.

Springfield Armory TRP Longslide 6" 10mm
Mark decided up on the 6″ Longslide Springfield Armory TRP pistol in 10mm.

What’s the big picture overview of hunting with the 10mm? Well, it’s much like hunting with archery. The 10mm Auto was not designed to harvest big game at long range — and shouldn’t be employed to do so. With the right bullet, it is capable of punching a deer tag within the effective range of the cartridge.

I’m occasionally asked, “What’s your effective range when hunting with the 10mm?” If I’m honest with myself, this is an easy question to answer. The effective range is whatever distance I can keep five out of five shots in a standard pie plate, roughly 8” to 9” in diameter. The pie plate is basically the size of the vital area on a deer. Once I determine my effective range, this becomes my self-imposed limit.

Shooting steel targets provides good practice for hunting situations, and also is a lot of fun!

With aging eyes and iron sights, 50 yards is about my personal maximum range. Your mileage may vary. Yes, I realize there are those out there that can stretch this distance much further. If I mount a red dot sight such as Trijicon’s RMR or Leupold’s DeltaPoint Pro on the TRP Operator, then I could extend the distance a little.

Fuel the Fire

There is plenty of premium factory hunting ammunition available for hunters including Federal’s 180-gr. Trophy Bonded JSP. Choosing the right bullet for the intended task is paramount. Placing that bullet in the vitals is no less crucial. We owe it to the magnificent game we pursue to make a well-placed shot resulting in a clean, quick demise. I want to do everything humanly possible to place the shot correctly as there is nothing more gut-wrenching than a wounded animal.

Federal’s 180-gr. Trophy Bonded JSP round is a great option for handgun hunting and one of Mark’s top choices. Image: Federal Premium

Good practice sessions are important to keep on top of your game. Working on shooting fundamentals such as trigger squeeze, sight picture, breathing, consistent grip, target acquisition and follow-through are essential components of keeping in-tune with your handgun. I like shooting steel targets on my farm for regular practice as the sound of ringing steel keeps my interest. This provides a confidence level I need when a deer or big wild hog appears.

Carrying a 1911 in a good, quality chest holster keeps the gun secure and both hands free to tackle other tasks. Holster shown is a Diamond D Leather Guides Choice.

On the Hunt

On our farm, we have several blinds located throughout the property. A couple of ground blinds are located overlooking trails where the longest shot is approximately 50 yards — perfect placement for the 10mm. The plan is to be in one of those blinds when deer season opens again and hopefully be able to fill a tag and freezer with the TRP Operator.

Opening morning as I eased into the blind before first light, anticipation was in high gear. Fortunately, the early morning fog lifted and a mature doe came slipping along through the woods. The TRP was loaded with Federal’s 180-gr. JSP. At 42 steps, the doe stopped momentarily.

This mature doe fell to the Springfield Armory TRP Operator in 10mm. Federal’s ammo performed flawlessly.

Slowly, I rested the Operator on the window ledge of the blind and settled the sights behind the shoulder. When the hammer dropped, the doe flinched and disappeared immediately. The blood trail confirmed a lung shot and she didn’t run 50 yards. This would fill one of the anterless tags and provide tasty venison for the coming months.

In a few months I’ll be chasing hogs with the 10mm longslide. If you like an adrenaline rush, hunting wild hogs with dogs will get your heart rate accelerated for sure. The action is fast-paced along with being up close and personal. Springfield’s Armory TRP 10mm is ideally suited for such a task.

Wild hogs roam a large portion of the United States. Hunting these overpopulated critters can be challenging, but most rewarding.


With whitetail deer the most popular big game animal in America and the proliferation of wild boar in many parts, it’s no wonder so many 1911 enthusiasts pursue these critters. I don’t know what I enjoy the most, hunting whitetail deer or a big mean hog, but either will be challenging and rewarding. And with the TRP Operator 6″ from Springfield Armory and Federal’s 180-gr. Trophy Bonded JSP, I’ll be ready for ’em!

One other note – I encourage you to check out Yamil Sued’s review of the TRP Operator in .45 ACP. He takes a close look at the gun in this classic cartridge. A cartridge I note has been used in its fair share of hunting as well.

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Mark Hampton

Mark Hampton

Mark Hampton has hunted on six continents, in over 30 countries, 25 states, and six Canadian provinces. He has taken over 200 species of big game with a handgun. His hunts entail 30 trips to Africa in 10 countries, 25 hunts in Asia in 11 countries, plus many other remote destinations. Mark has been promoting handgun hunting and continues to do so today in various platforms. Today, he is the Executive Director of the Grand Slam Club. Mark is actively involved in the hunting community and writes for several nationally recognized publications. Mark and Karen, his lovely wife of 40 years, reside in south Missouri and enjoy hunting on their farm.

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