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10mm Auto Cartridge: A Truely Versatile Semi-Auto Round

10mm Auto Double Tap 200gr DT Hunter

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10mm Auto Double Tap 200gr DT Hunter

10mm Auto Double Tap 200gr DT Hunter & Hornady 180gr XTP Hollow Points

Why choose the 10mm Auto Cartridge?

Recently I wrote an article about the common calibers most people might choose for their semi-automatic pistols. Actually, it wasn’t really about the common calibers, but the most popular calibers, which everyone knows as the 9mm Parabellum, the .40 Smith & Wesson, and the .45 ACP. This debate has raged on for as long as I can remember, and it always seems to end up like the Chevy vs. Dodge vs. Ford debate. It’s tiring, it’s old, and frankly none of them particularly outperform the other that well. They all have their place, but let’s be honest, none of them come close to a magnum cartridge.

That’s where cartridges like the 10mm Auto, the .460 Rowland, and the .50 AE step in. Now, since I have never shot a .460 Rowland, and the .50 AE is basically just a hand cannon unfit for day to day carry, my focus here will be on the 10mm Auto. Sure, there are other rounds out there like the .357 SIG that offer some pretty interesting ballistics in a semi-automatic configuration, but even this does not come close to a 10mm in true versatility, in my humble opinion.

Just My Opinion, Take it for What It’s Worth

The 10mm Auto Cartridge, in my opinion, is one of the greatest rounds to exist in a handgun cartridge, and dare I say the best cartridge in the world of semi-automatics. Now, many would probably argue with me on many of the finer points of the 10mm Auto, and some may even be right, but truly I can’t find another round out there that matches its combination of power and versatility. This is a round that doubles as an extremely effective man-stopper as well as a cartridge that can be loaded with heavy hard cast bullets for a great woods carry gun. I would say that there is really nothing in the lower 48 that a 10mm Auto couldn’t take down. Go north a little, it might be a slightly different story.


10mm vs. 9mm Comparison with a .22 LR and Penny for Scale

10mm vs. 9mm Comparison with a .22 LR and Penny for Scale

The 10mm Auto is a great cartridge, that can be loaded light to .40 S&W specs for fun plinking and target practice, or as heavy as a .45 ACP at 230 grains, but moving much much quicker, with a lot more energy. Checkout Doubletap’s 10mm 230gr hard cast Bullets in their DT Hunter lineup, they are an amazing load pushing a 230gr projectile to speeds in excess of 1100 fps and 641 ft/lbs of energy. The original Norma specs for the 10mm were a 200 gr bullet moving at 1200fps with 640 ft/lbs of energy. This matches a 200gr .357 magnum, and can easily be pushed into the range of a .41 Magnum. It truly is a versatile pistol cartridge. Even without reloading, some of the better factory loads really show some great ballistics results. Checkout Doubletap, Buffalo Bore, and Underwood Ammo for some really great loads. These are great manufacturers and I would suggest you check them out, they do not disappoint.

It’s New(er) but Has A Lot of History

Most folks in the firearms world know the story of the 10mm Auto pretty well, how it came into existence, and how it ultimately was replaced with the advent of the .40 S&W (thus dubbed the “40 Short and Weak”) because basically, some of the FBI agents that were required to train and carry the 10mm could not handle its power. There is some myth to this however, and the 10mm seems to have built sort of an overall mythology to it throughout the years. Either way, retelling the whole story of how the 10mm Auto Cartridge came into existence is basically beating a dead horse. If you want to read all about it, check out the 10mm Auto Wiki Page, or one of the other thousands of websites that have covered that little bit of trivial history.

Now, I will say me experience with 10mm has been completely lived out through the Glock 20 and Glock 29. So there is a possibility that other 10mm Auto’s handle differently, and offer varying degrees of perceived recoil. I can’t imagine though, that this round was truly too powerful for an FBI agent to carry and use effectively. Checkout the Glock 20 10mm Auto review over at the The Truth About Guns, it’s a great write up and definitely underlines my point that it is in fact, a quite manageable recoil.



10mm Auto Cartridge: Just How Much Recoil Does It Have?

Glock 29 with Doubletap 200gr DT Hunter Ammo and Extended Glock 20 Magazine

Glock 29 with Doubletap 200gr DT Hunter Ammo and Extended Glock 20 Magazine

All of this is not to say the 10mm Auto Cartridge doesn’t have recoil, it most definitely does. I am just saying, it is not the infamous thing people have made it out to be. It has gotten a bit of a bad wrap if you ask me, but I wouldn’t let that make you hesitate to try it out. I have never found the 10mm Auto to be anything hard to manage in fact, not even on my first go around. Does it have a little muzzle flip? Sure. But I couldn’t really say it’s anything worse to shoot than a .45 ACP, maybe a little “snappier” but nothing unmanageable. That is coming from a pretty averaged size guy, I weigh 195lbs and I’m 5’11”. I think this may have discouraged a lot of people from the 10mm Auto, as that seems to be the general consensus, that it is “too hard to control” or get follow up shots with. Honestly, that is a load of crap. If you don’t believe me, go down to your local gun range, rent a 10mm and give it a try. I promise, you will love it! Well, at least I hope you will.. Because it’s an awesome round! I shoot a Glock 29 10mm Auto on a regular basis which is really the snappiest your gonna get out of a 10mm, and it doesn’t give me any problems.

Anyway, I am sure I will be covering some of the finer points of the 10mm Auto again in future articles. Until then, if you have not shot one, get out and give it a try. If you want a truly full powered Semi-Auto cartridge that offers great versatility and amazing ballistics, check out the 10mm Auto. It is my daily carry as well as my wood’s carry gun, with different loads for each scenario, and I always feel confident that I have my bases covered with this amazing round.

For additional information on the 10mm Auto Pistol Cartridge, check out the 10mm Auto Cartridge Data Page inside the Firearm Cartridge Library at Bullet-Blog.

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8 Comments

  1. Ever since I frist read up on the 10mm I’ve wanted so bad to try it. It’s difficult getting to shoot guns where I come from, especially relatively uncommon rounds like this, but just like the .357 SIG also mentioned in the article, I’ve always found it fascinating.
    Here’s hoping I get to try it sometime!

    • I am the same way. The .357 SIG is on my short list of cartridges I would love to own a pistol for.. the only thing that has held me back so far is that its a bit of a pain to reload for.

      Like the screen name..Is that a Pantera Reference? 😉

  2. I’d never heard of a 10mm round, so I found this to be an interesting read, particularly the history of it. If i ever get the chance, I will definitely look into using it, so I can determine for myself how it performs.

    • Its a great round, especially if you reload. Unfortunately, its sort of a Niche cartridge still, although its regaining popularity the past few years.

  3. So far from what I can see these bullets seem to be very effective. It seems as if they have the ability to really bring some extra punch to a submachine gun. I’m interested in bullets I think simply because they are the heart of a weapon.

  4. From the sounds of this article I would like to see the shooting comparison between the 10mm Auto vs. the 40 S&W. There aren’t that many guns that are chambered in 10mm Auto from what I know. Glock 20 being one of those weapons encourages me to do some research to find out about other weapons that are chambered for that specific cartridge.

    • There are definitely very few guns chambered for 10mm compared to the .40 S&W or most other popular rounds. The 10mm sort of fell out of favor after the FBI adopted the .40, which is too bad because it really is an amazing round. There is a niche group of people I know who would love to see the 10mm Auto used more widely. I am working on a write up that compares some of the different guns chambered in 10mm, I will post it as soon as I get it finished up.

      • 10mm is a amazing round but I think that the .40S&W and the 9mm just overshadowed the round. I do not think there is a submachine gun that is chambered in 10mm round. I think some newer guns should have been chambered in 10mm its just would allow more of a window of opportunity to see the 10mm round perform very well against the 9mm round. It is a sad event that 10mm is not chambered too often in most of these guns.

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