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Glocks for Hunting?

Glocks for Hunters?

The Myth: Glocks are only self-defense and have no role for hunters.

There’s no question that Glock handguns are among the most popular choices for defensive, law enforcement, and military use throughout the world, and for good reason: they’re extremely reliable, lightweight, relatively inexpensive and generally quite accurate. But why haven’t Glocks been widely embraced by outdoorsmen?

The Test: By evaluating various key elements, we will determine whether a Glock 20 in 10mm Auto is a viable handgun for big game hunting, animal defense, and general “outdoor” use traditionally reserved for big bore revolvers.

The Cartridge: For starters, the only Glock that can even be considered an appropriate big game handgun is the Glock 20 chambered in the potent 10mm Auto cartridge. Mike McNett at Doubletap Ammo built his business around the 10-mil and offers more loads than any other manufacturer. His hunting loads include a 200 gr. Nosler JHP that leaves the Glock’s barrel at roughly 1200 feet per second, and hard cast flat nose bullets of 200 and 230 grains with muzzle velocities of 1300 and 1120 fps, respectively. By comparison, Federal’s 210 gr. JHP factory .41 Magnum load moves along at 1230 fps out of a 6” barrel. On paper, the 10mm is capable of taking deer-sized game as well as feral hogs, mountain lions, and small to medium-size black bears, it has been used successfully on bigger game like elk as well. 

The Criteria:

Accuracy: A handgun designed for hunting game animals must possess inherent accuracy beyond what is expected of pistols designed for defensive use. The “experts” tell us that the average lethal force encounter takes place at around 7 yards; most hunting shots will be at more than three times that distance. We are already handicapping ourselves balistically by carrying a handgun rather than a rifle afield so, from my perspective, there is less margin for error with a handgun on game. We shot the Glock 20 using various loads, including Doubletap’s full-power hunting ammo. The combo was capable of five-shot groups in the 1.5-1.8” range at 25 yards and minute-of-lung hits at 50. With a self-imposed limited of 35 yards (the same limit I use with a bow) I would feel confident of making ethical hits on game with this handgun.

Reliability/Durability: This is the category where the Glock blows away the competition. I don’t like making claims of absolute superiority but here goes: in my experience, the Glock is the most durable and reliable handgun on the market—period. This is why I think the Glock 20 is worth considering as an outdoorsman’s sidearm: it’s not prone to corrosion; you can carry it on the Alaskan coastline or in Southern swamps without having dreams about rust. You can carry it in the snow or in the desert Southwest, you can leave it in a tackle box. They just work. Try that with your $3,000 custom 1911 in .460 Rowland, when it rains, you will cry.

Shootability: I’ve been shooting handguns of every flavor for more than 25 years but I’ll admit that the plurality of my shooting is with various Glocks. I carry Glocks for self-defense and I use a Glock for USPSA matches—I’m comfortable with them. That said, the Glock trigger can take some getting used to. To make the Glock 20 a little more forgiving on the longer shots, I added a drop-in trigger kit from Glockmeister and a set of competition sights from Brownells.

The Glockmeister trigger kit uses factory Glock parts (with an aftermarket spring) to achieve a trigger pull a bit smoother and about a pound lighter than the 5.5 lb. trigger on a factory Glock. It’s not as slick as the Vanek trigger I use on my race gun, but it’s a fraction of the price. If you’re going to use your Glock for defensive use as well as hunting, I would leave the trigger alone. I bought this one from Smitty.

If there’s one thing that I would replace on every Glock it’s the factory sights. Where I live in the South, deer are pretty nocturnal so the ability to see your sights close to the end of legal shooting hours is key. I chose Brownells’ Sevigny Mixed Sight Set which uses a plain steel rear sight with a nice wide notch and a fiber-optic front sight that includes both red and green inserts.

Intangibles: Three other factors to mention about the Glock 20: 

1. It’s small enough and light enough (under 40 ounces loaded) to ride on your hip all day without dragging your pants to the ground. 

2. It holds an unreal 15+1 rounds, which is great if you plan to use it as your defensive carry gun as well. Note: Make sure this is legal for hunting in your jurisdiction

3. Did I mention that Ted Nugent uses one? Enough said.

Conclusion: The 10mm Glock is an incredibly versatile handgun that uses a powerful cartridge. At reasonable distances, the Glock 20 is a perfectly viable handgun for big game and a great all-around choice for the great outdoors. This myth is dead wrong: Glocks aren’t just for guys in photographer’s vests and 5.11 pants.

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18 Responses to Glocks for Hunting?

Rudy wrote:
January 20, 2015

I own a Glock 20sf with a 6 inch KKM match barrel. I do a lot of wild hog hunting and as you well know they are hard to put down and have a nasty disposition. My load is 220gr hc from Underwood ammo rated at 1200fps. I am getting much higher velocities in my gun and it drops those Wildhorse like a bad habit DRT. Best handgun that I have ever used for hog hunting. I highly recommend it and with the KKM barrel you can really reach out to 100 yards or so with confidence that it will get the job done.

Glenn Hughes wrote:
January 18, 2015

Bought a new Glock 20SF and love the way the gun shoots. It is going to be my main shooter.

Jeff wrote:
November 08, 2014

I just ordered my 9' lonewolf barrel for my G20, my Mako scope mount and my scope, glock hunting for deer will be brand new for me. BUT I trust that between me and my Glock we should feed the family this season.

Al wrote:
October 13, 2014

I have the G20 with a factory 6' barrel. I use a Leupold rear sight and Double Tap Hunter ammo. It claims 1400 FPS out of the stock barrel and is getting about 10[%] better muzzle velocity with the 6' barrel. Whatever the numbers show, I can tell you that it is bad medicine for deer.

James Sexton wrote:
September 03, 2013

I have also to note a 40s&w does amazing on a dear at 40 yards my wife killed a huge 10 pointer at 40 yards with a glock 35 with 6 inch lone wolf barrel and 180 grain handloads leaveing barrel at 1300 fps its amazing how well handgun hunting and exciting handgun hunting is growing go glock all the way I will post this years hunts on youtube god bless safe shooting and hunting and keep the right to bear arms my 2cond amendment brothers and sisters and family god bless

James Sexton wrote:
September 03, 2013

I have a glock 20 with a lone wolf barrel and all sorts of extras fulcum trigger everything it holds 2 inch groups at 50 yards and it is a 6 inch barrel with ports it has velocities of 1386 with a 24 spread it is amazing I also have a eaa in match 10mm with6 Iinch hunter barrel Iit holds a 1400 fps with a 32 spread useing 180 grain double tap and Iits devastating on dear shot one this past year at 65 yards droped in his tracks thanks for glock and lone wolf and eaa for the best 10mm on market

Mike wrote:
January 04, 2013

What kind of ammo can I use on my 10 mm glock? Is it interchangeable with any other caliber?

Gruntstang wrote:
December 11, 2012

Underwood ammo a box of 50 for a price not much more than a box of 20 double tap. It's the real deal.

Gil wrote:
November 29, 2012

I am In law enforcement. My duty weapon is a sig 226 in 40 cal. I decided to buy the glock 20, and I am so impressed with gun and and the firepower that I bought another glock 20. The only ammo I carry in the glock 20 is double tap. The glock 20 is one awesome firearm.

derrick mobley wrote:
August 01, 2012

been carying one here in alaska since 2008.still not a chance to kill any thing with it yet had a chance at a caribou at 30 yds but i had my rifle in my hand. this fall hopeing to take a deer with it on pow island

john wrote:
July 29, 2012

just bought a glock 10mm. I am so impressed with the gun and cartridge.I cant wait to take it on stand this deer season

Robert Demers wrote:
July 24, 2012

People forget the hunting laws in different states. You get caught with a magizine that holds over 6 rounds and mr you are trouble. It don't matter if it is a center fire or rim fire ( here it must be a center fire and a magazine which holds 6 rounds or less ) . I guess what it comes down to is not the make of the hand gun but being sure you have the power there such as the .40s&w the .20 cal. Or .45 and knowing the limits of what you are shooting. I have shot white tails with my Glock 22 ,23 my Glock.21 in .45, and with my Glock 20 .20cal. All were swift harvest but I had to Gerry rig my magazines to hold less than they came with.

Lance h wrote:
July 22, 2012

I have the Kkm 6 inch precision barrel and is fully supported. I can get well over 500 foot pounds at 100 yards with 180 grain bullets. I believe this barrel to the best on the market.

SJO wrote:
July 18, 2012

About time! I love my Glock 20 whether shooting .40 caliber or 10 mm. It is so versitile and fun to shoot.

TM wrote:
July 18, 2012

I have taken many deer with my Glock 20. Anywhere from 10 yds to 80 yds. All DTR.

KW wrote:
June 03, 2012

Yes, Glock still makes the 6" barrel for the G 20. I would choose it over aftermarket barrels for a variety of reasons.

Mike Hanson wrote:
May 31, 2012

It all depends on which cartridges are allowed for hunting in your particular state.

SDWelling wrote:
May 31, 2012

Great article. I've wanted one of these for the same purpose for a few years. I live in MD and the law is pretty specific w.r.t. muzzle energy (which the 10mm exceeds) and barrel length (which is 6"). Does Glock still make a factory 6" bbl? How do the aftermarket 6" barrels compare?