An Optics-Ready Hunter: The Devil Dog Arms 5 Tactical 1911 in 10MM AUTO

Earlier this year, Devil Dog Arms (DDA) announced that its 1911’s were available in optics-ready versions, and I immediately asked for their 5 Tactical model in 10MM, specifically cut for the Trijicon SRO optic. I’d used and reviewed DDA’s 1911’s in the past and they were first-rate—accurate, reliable, and solid. But I had yet to use one of their 10MM models.

10MM AUTO is my favorite handgun caliber and one I use a good deal for hunting, and I really wanted to find out what the DDA 5 Tactical and a high-quality optic could do.

The answer: a heck of a lot, and all of it good.

Right out of the box: Devil Dog Arms 5 Tactical 10MM with an optic-ready rear plate.

My 5 Tactical arrived with a one-piece optics plate with rear sight attached. All I needed to do was remove two screws and attach my Trijicon SRO onto the plate. (NOTE: On the DDA website, a customer can select which optic they want their pistol cut to fit.)

The DDA 5 Tactical features a five-inch stainless steel barrel, a frame made of domestic cast steel, and a slide cut from domestic 4140 bar stock steel. It’s a solid pistol, with a crisp trigger and G10 grips that provide a very secure hold even with 10MM recoil. The magazines hold eight rounds of 10MM ammunition, for 8+1 capacity.

DDA’s one-piece optics plate with high rear sight.

The slide features DDA’s Custom Flat Top design with 45-degree angles cut into each of the sides, a threaded barrel for a suppressor, and a rail under the barrel to attach lights and other accessories.

The SRO is built on the mounting footprint of Trijicon’s very popular RMR reflex sight. Designed for competition and hunting, though, the SRO has a wider lens and therefore a wider field of view than the RMR. Perfect for the handgun hunter.

McCombie mounted his Trijicon SRO onto the DDA 5 Tactical.

My SRO featured a 2.5 MOA red dot (also available with a 1.0 or 5.0 MOA dot), is parallax free, and was easily adjusted for zeroing. The red dot’s LED intensity can be increased or decreased depending on lighting conditions. The SRO is forged from durable 7075, T-6 aircraft-grade aluminum, and the housing has been tested to survive typical pistol mounted drops. And the SRO sports a top-loading battery compartment.

5 Tactical and SRO ready to shoot!

To test the DDA’s function and accuracy, I used three different 10MM loads: Federal Premium Solid Core, loaded with a 200-grain Syntech-coated bullet; Sig Sauer Elite Performance and its 180-grain full metal jacket (FMJ); and, Winchester Target, also firing a 180-grain FMJ.

I started by zeroing the DDA Tactical at 12 yards from a rest, and once I had the optic zeroed and has some familiarity with the 5 Tactical, I shot this 0.89-inch, five-shot group with the Winchester Target 10MM:

The DDA 5 Tactical zeroed at 12 yards using Winchester’s Target 10MM ammo.

I was ready for more shooting!

I began shooting offhand at five and seven yards, thinking self-defense distances, but soon accepted that this was essentially a waste of time. A waste, because any non-bullseye hit at these distances was clearly on me, the DDA 5 Tactical was that accurate.

So, I backed off to ten yards, still shooting offhand.

My best ten-yard group came with five shots of the Sig Elite Performance 10MM that pegged a .83-inch cluster. Solid Core did a 1.2-inch group for six shots and shot #6 added .30-inches to my grouping.

At ten yards offhand, the 5 Tactical and Sig Elite Performance scored this .83-inch group.

The real test, of course, for a potential hunting pistol is further out, and so I set up targets at 25 yards. Shooting from a rest, the Winchester and Sig both clocked groups at 2.0 to 2.25-inches without a problem, with a number of the three shots within those groups at 1.0 to 1.25-inches. Deer, hogs, and pretty much whatever else big to medium-sized game, those were vital-zone hits.

And then I switched to Federal Premium Solid Core 10MM. Designed by Federal to penetrate, Solid Core bullets are coated in Federal’s Syntech polymer jacket, which reduces fouling and friction. Federal built these hard-core high-antimony lead bullets with flat-points to drive deep and be able to punch through thick skin and rock-hard bones without coming apart and losing energy. Exactly what I would need for my many trips to Texas chasing big, wild boars.

I shot off a few Solid Core rounds at target I had already in place and was hitting at or near the bullseye. So, thinking of my upcoming hog hunts, I set up a Birchwood Casey Boar PREGAME Splattering Target for the life-like effect.

Hog Killer! Federal’s 10MM Solid Core at 25 yards with the 5 Tactical.

I loaded five Solid Core’s into the DDA magazine and shot off the first three. Then I saw the group and knew it was time to stop. It was never, ever, going to get better than this: an extremely impressive 0.68-inches.

No hog was holding still for shot #4 anyway, I told myself.

The DDA 5 Tactical’s trigger clipped off a very crisp 1 pound, 13 ounces on average, according to my Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge, with just the slightest bit of uptake.

The 5 Tactical’s 3-hole trigger snapped off cleanly.

The DDA’s grip safety fit the web of my hand and thumb nicely, while the manual safety on the left side of the frame snapped into and out of place without needing terrible pressure to perform either movement.

In addition to the very tactile G10 grips, DDA cut 22-lines-per-inch checkering into the front and back strap metal. It’s a nice touch, especially for the hunter whose hands are bound to get wet and grimy in the field.

Checkering on the pistol’s front and back strap (shown) added to the 5 Tactical’s solid feel in hand.

DDA staff tells me the wait times for a new pistol currently run between two and six weeks. Given the general state of the firearms industry and the huge demand, think six weeks and you won’t be disappointed. Also, the optics-ready Tactical and Standard models can be had in 9MM and 45AUTO, with barrel lengths of 3.5-, 4.25- and 5.0-inches.

With the SRO atop, the DDA 5 Tactical will be a great rig for hunting and home defense. I can’t wait to use it afield chasing game, and soon.

Ready for the hunt!

Specs: DDA 5 Tactical Optics Ready

Caliber: 10MM

Action: Single, semi-auto

Capacity: 8+1

Barrel: Domestic 416 Stainless Steel, 5 in., 1:16 Twist

Frame: Domestic Investment Cast Steel

Slide: Domestic 4140 Bar stock

Finish: Black Oxide

Sights: High, Tactical

Trigger: 3-Hole Aluminum

Safeties: Grip and Manual

Grips: G10 Grips

Overall Length: 8 ¾ in.

Weight: 2 lbs., 5 oz.

MISC: Threaded barrel, under barrel rail for accessories and ships with 1 magazine

MSRP: $1,684 ($1,349 base plus $299 optic cut)

For more information visit Devil Dog Arms

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About the author: Brian McCombie writes about hunting and firearms, people and places, for a variety of publications including American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, and SHOT Business. He loves hog hunting, 1911’s chambered in 10MM and .45 ACP, and the Chicago Bears.

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  • kenneth smith April 7, 2022, 12:40 am

    interested in the DEVIL DOG 1911 45CAL. Contact info for local vendors please. Thanks.

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