Hard Lessons in Handgun Hunting

I headed into day three of my hunt feeling dejected. In my hand rested the Springfield Armory TRP chambered in 10mm, but in my mind two misplaced shots still rang. My first handgun hunt with iron sights wasn’t going well. However, the lessons I learned over those two days would make me a better handgun hunter on the third and final day of the hunt.

While I’ve hunted with the .460s and .500s of this world, the 10mm is new to me. Its smooth, unobtrusive nature pleasantly surprised me while I tested it out on the range. The cartridge is plenty capable of taking down large game. The Barnes TAC-XP round has a muzzle velocity of 1150 fps and enough energy for hunting Oklahoma whitetail. I felt that my comfort range with the Trijicon night sights was 30 yards.

The first doe casually cruised at 30 yards, right in my comfort zone. The second my finger touched the crisp, SA Gen 2 Speed Trigger, I knew the shot was inaccurate. Lesson one—rushing a shot, no matter the situation, never ends well. If TRP10I’d waited and taken a couple of extra breaths, it would have made all the difference.

Lesson two came when a doe bolted in close. Elevated 30 feet in the air, I didn’t think I needed adjustments. I was wrong. This shot went awry too. I spent plenty of time behind the TRP 1911 on the range, but failed to practice how I was going to be hunting. I didn’t factor in shooting from a stand, elevated shot angles or shooting from sticks. All those errors could have been prevented with a little preparation on my part.

I ranged the furthest mesquite tree at 50 yards. I had zero faith that I could make a successful shot from my stand at that distance, but as hunters we come to expect the unexpected. Sure enough, the doe stopped at the mesquite tree as I pressed the trigger. SCORE! The TAC-XP connected right in the boiler room as the doe fled.

I’d done it.

Handgun hunting with iron sights is exciting, but a different beast. I liken it to bow hunting. The shots are close, and the hunter requires more preparation to be effective. Looking back, the only flaw was my own lack of proper preparation and my shortcomings at the range. The Springfield Armory TRP 1911 performed as advertised. Built for the hunt, this gun earned a place in my vault for the next up-close-and-personal encounter with whitetail. ~ KJ

Kevin Jarnagin
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma, but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter, and knows his way around a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.