In a previous post I spoke about a woman who had been attacked by a pack of javelina in a suburban setting. (I erroneously said she had been attacked by wild pigs at first, now corrected.) I also mentioned that I accompany my dogs when I let them out into the yard to make sure that they are not attacked by wildlife.
This prompted long time reader knirirr to ask a question …
“Do you know what the effectiveness of the sort of handgun you usually carry (9mm?) is against wild pigs, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Against wild pigs? Not very effective at all. Against javelina? Pretty darn effective!
If the make and model don’t mean much, then don’t let it bother you. Just keep in mind that it is a modern semi-auto handgun, using medium powered ammunition, and it has been optimized to be carried while concealed by making it smaller than a standard handgun. The barrel and grip are both shortened a bit. Each magazine of ammunition holds 15 rounds, and I always carry a spare magazine.
The woman in the article I mention above was attacked by javelina, which are pig-like animals native to North America. They have really nasty and sharp tusks that they can use to tear someone up, but they aren’t very big. The average size for an adult is about 45 to 90 pounds (20 to 40 kg). For comparison, that means most smaller adults weigh as much as a bulldog while the larger weighs as much as a Doberman.
Except, of course, the javelina have tusks that are sharper and longer than the teeth of dogs. They also run in packs of up to 40 individuals, with about 20 animals being the most common.
Another piggy menace is wild hogs, also referred to as razorbacks or feral pigs. They are considerably larger than javelina, weighing in anywhere between 100 to 400 pounds (45 to 180 kg), with an average around 200 pounds (90 kg). They are so dangerous that for thousands of years hunting them has been a mark of extreme bravery, and specialized weapons were developed to bring home the bacon without the hunter being ripped apart by the prey.
The only good news when considering razorbacks is the small size of the group they favor. Males are usually solitary individuals, while sounders (the name for a group of razorbacks) usually consists of two females with their young. This does not necessarily mean that you will always encounter two full grown feral hogs with a bunch of cute and harmless baby pigs, as adolescent razorbacks can certainly be large enough to be dangerous to adult humans. Even so, it is very rare to encounter a sounder that has more than ten individuals.
So let us get back to the question that started all this. How effective would my handgun be against these two potential threats?
If facing a pack of javelina my gun would be perfectly adequate, mainly due to the small size of the animals. 9mm rounds would be able to penetrate the body of the animals to reach the vital internal organs, resulting in shock and internal bleeding. Proper shot placement would be essential for quick incapacitation, as it is for any self defense situation, but the large capacity of my handgun would mean that it is very possible that I could injure or kill enough of the animals in a very short period of time to convince them to break off their attack and take to their heels.
So howsabout using my handgun against razorbacks? The prognosis for my survival isn’t very good.
Razorbacks are notoriously tough and sturdy animals that take a lot of damage without slowing down or weakening. They have tough hides, dense muscles, and very strong bones, all of which means it is rather unlikely that a bullet from my handgun would be able to penetrate to the vital organs. They also usually react to injury by furiously turning on the source of their pain in an effort to kill the threat, which means I’d probably get a few shots off before I was overwhelmed by one or more maddened hogs.
My only hope would be that I would be avenged by game wardens who would hunt down my killers and destroy them as the threat they are.
I would not want to go up against a wild hog with anything less than a full bore rifle of .30 caliber (7.62mm) or better, such as a rifle chambered for the .30-06 or .308 cartridge, but if I had to choose a handgun against the possibility of being attacked by razorbacks I would want something chambered for a Magnum round.
The bad news is that I rarely carry a Magnum as my primary defensive arm, as the most common threat I may face is from human predators where medium powered cartridges mated with a large magazine capacity is the best option. The good news is that it is very unlikely that I would have to defend myself against a sounder of enraged razorbacks.
Let us hope I never have to!