As a young man, my constant companion on duty and when hunting and hiking, was not a 10mm, but instead a Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum. While the four-inch barrel .357 Magnum is a great all around handgun for personal defense, I moved to the 1911 .45, which I found ideal and managed to carry on duty. With the 1911, safety, reliability, and hit probability are all that could be desired. Occasionally, I wondered if it was practical to combine the features of the 1911 with a hard-hitting 10mm cartridge to make a suitable outdoor 1911.
By Wilburn Roberts
For years, I have been concerned with animal defense. Among the many things I wish I had not seen was a photo of a pretty, four-year-old girl, with most of her scalp and face gone. She had been killed by a large dog. These attacks seem depressingly more common these days, as inadequate personality types and ex-cons get these animals and treat them badly. Others simply have no idea how to treat an animal and have no respect for their capabilities.
Twenty years ago, a correspondent in Alaska asked me to recommend an outdoor load for his use as a lawman. The load also needed to be suitable for dangerous animals. He said, “Both bad guys and wolves come with a layer of fat and fur.”
I recommended a Hornady 250-grain XTP—at a hot 938 fps. I used heavy duty recoil and firing pin springs. I loved the load, although it cracked the frame of my 1911 at a high round count. However, by then, I had won several bowling pin matches.
I retired the Colt after 15,000 rounds. A friend purchased it and used it with the cracked frame for many years. I think my Alaskan friend liked the load as well. Again, I looked to the Magnum revolver as a trail gun.
Ruger SR1911 10mm
I had experience with the 10mm 1911, but reliability and longevity were not what I wanted; then came the Ruger SR1911. This pistol features adjustable sights, making it a true outdoor pistol. The bull barrel and full-length guide rod make for a muzzle-heavy pistol that dampens recoil. This pistol is as suitable for constant carry as any steel frame 1911.
The SR1911 features a well designed beavertail safety that helps with the pistol’s recoil. The Ruger weighs 39 ounces. That is recoil absorbing weight! The recoil is controllable, even with full power loads, including the Double Tap 200-grain flat point. The piece allows relatively fast follow up shots, and also rides well on the hip.
Load choice makes the difference. If you wish to use the pistol for deer or hog, the Hornady 180-grain XTP is a great choice. Federal Cartridge offers a bonded core 180-grain bullet that offers excellent performance. It is a pure hunting load. For defense against animals the hard cast, lead bullet from Double Tap works well. We need as much penetration as possible.
An outdoor pistol is often exposed to the elements. Stainless steel is a good choice for most of us. The primary cause of finish wear is friction from the piece being drawn from a holster. A tightly fitted leather holster offers a good balance of speed and retention. My pistol is most often carried in a Galco Combat Master, a classic design with much to recommend.
My personal SR1911 10mm has been upgraded with a few judicious modifications. Friends using other examples have reported 4.75-, 5.0-, and 5.25-pound trigger release. My SR1911 arrived with a 7.0-pound trigger compression. I replaced the trigger, sear, hammer, and disconnect with quality Ed Brown parts. The trigger was adjusted to 4.25 pounds, ideal for a trained shooter. I also added a magazine well that aided in rapid magazine changes. The pistol was also fitted with a set of Ahrends skip checkered grips. These are first class, hand-cut grips that offer a good balance of adhesion and abrasion.
This combination of upgrades made a difference in handling. My choice for outdoors defense and trail use has turned out well. The pistol is also suited for town use with proper loads and a well designed IWB holster.
There are areas in which feral dogs are a problem. I have dealt with them and seen what they do to livestock, children, and the elderly. The 10mm is a good choice for these problems. With proper loads, the 10mm is well suited for defense use against mountain lions or small bears.
5-Shot Groups From a Solid Bench Rest at 25 Yards
|CCI Blazer 180-grain FMJ||2.8 inches|
|Federal 180-grain Hydra-Shok||2.0 inches|
|Hornady 155-grain XTP||2.2 inches|
|Hornady 180-grain XTP||2.0 inches|
|Double Tap 135-grain JHP||2.5 inches|
|Double Tap 200-grain FP||2.4 inches|
|SIG Elite 180-grain FMJ||2.2 inches|
I like the 10mm very much. It isn’t as controllable as the .45, but is much faster into action and features faster follow-up shots than the Magnum revolver. It is accurate, reliable, and with certain modifications, it is a very good shooting handgun. When originally adopted by the FBI, there were two tiers of loads, a standard defense load, and a high-powered, high-penetration load–—that also works well for outdoorsmen.
Are you a 10mm fan? What is your favorite 10mm load? Do you carry the 10mm daily, for the outdoors, or home defense? Share your answers in the comment section.
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