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Hog Hunting with the 10MM XD-M Elite

December 2023
Author: Drew Case

The 10mm is a favorite for folks looking for a pistol with punch. Few would dispute the power or punch of the .357 Magnum, especially for self-defense. The problem with that round is you are generally limited to a revolver with limited round capacity and also the bulk and weight of a revolver. When you get that in a small package for concealed carry, it has some noticeable recoil and limited accuracy at distance.

While revolver fans will of course argue for the reliability of the revolver over the semi- auto, let’s be honest, with most of today’s semi-auto pistols, with a good gun and ammo, reliability should not be an issue.

Now, when you compare the ballistics of the 10mm to the .357 Magnum, like I did, you’ll see they are neck and neck depending on the loading. I found that Federal’s Fusion 200 grain Bonded Soft Point has as much or more punch than most of the self-defense rounds for the .357.

What does this mean? Well, for me, it meant I had the punch of the .357 I wanted, but in a semi-auto platform. And in the case of Springfield’s XD-M Elite 4.5" OSP 10mm, it has a magazine with 16-round capacity and is a very accurate platform. With it, I also get red dot capability for even better accuracy and quicker follow-up shots.

I have done a few articles on this gun, including one about long-distance accuracy for The Armory Life where I easily took it out not just to 50, but 100 and even 200 yards. I could not have done that with a revolver, and certainly not as fast as I did. The recoil is substantially less in the semi-auto platform, so much so that it’s one of my wife’s favorite pistols, or as she would say, “Mine now.”

We like to camp and hike in bear country, and it’s now our pick to take along for just those reasons. Having 16 rounds of 10mm with great accuracy and fast follow-up shots is definitely worth considering for self-defense against large four-legged threats, let alone two-legged ones.

That got me thinking, how could I prove all this? It just so happened that I was going hog hunting in Oklahoma and thought it might be a great venue for this gun. Hogs, as everyone knows, are notoriously tough and often take off after being shot, never to be found, and that is using high-powered rifles. What better way to test the 10mm’s punch from a pistol? I wanted to show just how effective and accurate the 10mm is in real life, not just on the range against steel and paper.

I went to No Mercy Hunting Services in Southern Oklahoma to go hog hunting. They have quite the setup there, and the options were endless. I had about 18 different tree stands from which to choose and a couple of ground blinds. After not seeing a decent-sized hog after sitting for about three hours, we decided to go stalking again.

Most of the ground was heavily covered with trees, with open areas of downed trees and thick weeds two to three feet high. This is where the hogs like to hide. Their favorite place to hide during the day is under fallen cedar trees in the shade where they can get in under it and carve out a bed in the dirt. They like the freshly moved cool dirt to lie in. You often can’t even see them until you practically step on them, and that’s if you are quiet enough to sneak up that close. They use their hearing more than any other of their senses, so you have to walk ever so carefully not to step on any twigs or branches. It’s actually extremely energy- draining because you are so focused on where you step. One “crack” of a twig and they are up and gone.

We covered a lot of ground, seeing a lot of hogs, but not getting any good shots, and also not seeing the size of hog for which I was looking. The terrain we were hunting in ranged from canyons, creeks, and hillsides to heavy timber. We typically found them by hearing and smelling them. The biggest challenge after finding them was getting a clear shot without having branches in the way.

After several hours of stalking, covering two to three miles, we came up to a hill on the fence line. We could smell them at first and then got close enough to hear them. My guide, Matt, sent me ahead to see if I could get a visual and a shot. I slowly crept to the edge of a small cliff and waited for several minutes to get a visual. I could hear them but still could not see them.

After standing there for what felt like hours, I realized there was a really nice hog directly below me under a log about five feet away. I could see his ears and snout. I had Matt circle around to the left and make some noise. Much to our surprise, in the thick bush, about 50 hogs came running out in every direction. Some of them came running towards me and kicked up the one under the log. He took off running and ran right in front of me in a small clearing up the hill, giving me the perfect shot. I shot him on the run at about 10 yards. I could not believe how far he ran as I watched him go up and over the hill. I knew he would not go far. I could see it was a perfect shot. We walked to the top of the hill, following a blood trail, and there she lay. It was a nice size sow.

When people say hogs are tough, that is an understatement. When we processed her, it was a perfect double lung shot that actually took the entire top of the heart off with the round going out the other side. It was clear the bullet quickly mushroomed, as the entry and exit holes were about the size of a 50-cent coin. The 10mm did exactly what I expected, as did the XD-M Elite pistol. This gave me all the confidence I was looking for regarding taking this gun and caliber for self-protection into the wild as a sidearm. The accuracy was exceptional, the shot hit exactly where I was seeing the red dot from the HEX Dragonfly, and the 10mm lived up to its reputation, and then some.