Why the 10mm Is the Ultimate Handgun Cartridge for Hunting and Personal Defense (Plus 8 of the Best Pistols You Can Buy)
If you want a pistol that can take down a mountain lion but is also easier to carry than a .357 hand cannon for self-defense, the 10mm is the perfect option. Now, this handgun will likely never be an everyday carry gun in an urban setting (it’s not exactly a dainty pistol). But when you’re headed into the backcountry (or live there), the 10mm is ideal for a variety of hunting pursuits and to defend yourself from both animal and human predators.
The most powerful factory-loaded handgun cartridge that still fits into a service pistol-sized semiauto is the 10mm. The “big 10” has a stout reputation among Alaskan bear guides and hunters for its stopping power. It’s also capable of taking down medium-sized game at reasonable distances (out to 100 yards) with the right load and a steady hand. I won’t pit revolvers against semiautos, just know, it does take much more of a time investment and skill to become accurate with a big bore wheel gun than a semiauto. And though semiautos are not easy to shoot accurately, you do have the added benefit of more ammo capacity for multiple follow up shots and faster reloads.
If you’re going to hunt with a 10mm, the 1911s have manageable recoil and are supremely accurate. The downside is they can be unreliable if you don’t keep them clean and well maintained, which can be difficult to do in the backcountry. They also don’t have the magazine capacity of double-stack, striker-fired pistols and are heavy, so it’s best to buy a chest holster for wilderness carry if you plan to buy one. Polymer-framed pistols are going to give you more durability and are less susceptible to the elements. They have a higher magazine capacity, are easier to manipulate in all conditions, and they’re lighter. If you can mount a red dot and white light on one, that will make for a fine sidearm.
If you’re in the market for a hunting/self-defense handgun, these are some of the best 10mms you can buy. Plus, why you need a red-dot sight, and the right ammo to feed your pistol, so you can get optimal performance from your next 10mm.
Glock Models 20, 29, and 40
I want a high-capacity magazine loaded in my handgun when my life is on the line. Attempting to reload when a grizzly is quickly closing the distance is not a situation I want to be in. Only two manufacturers are currently making double-stack 10mm pistols and one of those is Glock. A trio of models exist: the Model 20, Model 29, and Model 40.
The Model 20 and 40 share the same frame and magazine capacity of 15+1. The difference is found in slide and barrel length. The Model 20 features a 4.6-inch barrel, while the 40 boasts a full 6 inches. The 40 is also offered with an MOS cut, allowing the shooter to mount a myriad of miniature red-dot optics using a plate system. A slide-mounted red-dot sight is the wave of the future and greatly extends the distance you can effectively engage a target. Be warned, the 40 is like wielding a small sword—it’s very long and can be a challenge to carry.
The 29 is a sub-compact and holds 10 rounds in a flush-fitting magazine, although it will also accept the same 15-round magazine that feeds the 20 and 40. The 29 would be a great concealed-carry backpacking pistol in the lower 48 states, but it might not be the top choice for colder environments where you’ll likely be wearing gloves, or if you’re in brown bear country. The short grip doesn’t lend itself well to a quick, consistent draw, unless you’ve dedicated a significant amount of training to dial it in.
My go-to is the fourth generation 20 due to its reduced length of pull (compared to a Gen 3) and softer recoil thanks to the pistol’s dual-spring recoil assembly. Those with larger hands will appreciate its similar shape, grip circumference, and length of pull, as it is very close to Glock’s famed 17/22.
Springfield Armory XDM10
Springfield recently entered the polymer-framed striker market with a pair of beefed up XDM’s. A standard 4.5-inch barrel model features three-dot steel sights, while the 5.25-inch barrel model wears an adjustable rear sight paired with a fiber-optic front. Both pistols share 15-round magazines. Three interchangeable back straps, three mechanical safeties, and an ambidextrous magazine release mean the big XDM will fit the vast majority of shooters and offers a high level of safety to boot. My favorite model is the all-new OSP 4.5-inch, which actually features a 5.28-inch threaded barrel. I’m not interested in mounting a suppressor, but will take the boost in velocity (due to the length of the barrel). The OSP features suppressor height sights that pair nicely with a red dot. If you experience an electronic failure, you’re right back to where you started.
Recoil is surprisingly mild. The pistol is extremely accurate, and built to withstand the abuse expected to be doled out in the backcountry. Hunting, defense, and practical target shooting, this pistol does it all, and does it well. Check availability here.
SIG Sauer P220 Legion
For those unfamiliar with the P220, it is the handgun the company’s current stable of pistols owe their heritage to. The pistol was originally developed for the Swiss Army, and officially adopted by them in 1975, chambered in 9mm. In 1976 the pistol was made available in .45 Auto and designed to best the 1911 in every way. It quickly became recognized as one of the most accurate .45s out of the box.
Several years ago, the P220 was offered with a 5-inch barrel and chambered in 10mm. The all stainless-steel construction makes for a hefty pistol, but the weight certainly tames the recoil of the 10mm cartridge, especially with spicy loads. Currently, the P220 10mm is available as part of the company’s Legion line and can be had in two configurations; as a double-action/single-action, or with a sweet single-action only trigger.
If you search the aftermarket, you might be able to locate a used P220 Hunter which was available in Kryptek’s Highlander camouflage. The G10 grips were heavily textured for a sure-grip, while the slide was adorned with very functional sights (fully adjustable rear with a protected fiber-optic front). New or used, the 10mm P220 is a joy to shoot. Check availability here.
If you’re looking for a 10mm 1911 that won’t break the bank, then consider Ruger’s SR1911. The full-size stainless-steel SR1911 Target Model features an all-black BoMar-style, fully-adjustable rear sight and a dove-tailed, smooth black front sight. It’s outfitted with an extended ambidextrous thumb safety, a lowered and flared ejection port for reliability, and a titanium firing pin for longevity. A 5-inch barrel and bushing are match-machined from the same piece of bar stock for a very precise fit. The pistol also features an extended beavertail grip safety, black rubber grip panels and an oversized magazine release, making operation with gloved hands or slippery conditions manageable. Check availability here.
Colt Delta Elite Rail Gun
Colt isn’t in the news much these days as it pertains to 1911s, but this list wouldn’t be complete without one, especially given the fact Colt was the first to chamber a 1911 in 10mm back in 1987. The Delta Elite Rail Gun is constructed of stainless-steel and features a classic 5-inch barrel and an integral frame rail, allowing it to effectively pull double-duty as a camp defender and hunting handgun. The 1913 rail accepts most lights and lasers currently on the market. It also features a beavertail grip safety, an extended thumb safety, composite grips with Delta medallions, and Novak white-dot sights. Check availability here.
Read Next: The Best Handguns, Shotguns and Rifles for the Survivalist
Les Baer Premier II Hunter
The name Les Baer exudes confidence. And though Baer’s pistols might be expensive, you get what you pay for. You can count on an LB handgun cycling properly and to be amazingly accurate. Chambered for 10mm Auto, the Premier II Hunter features a match-grade, 6-inch barrel, tuned LBC Speed trigger and aggressively checkered front strap and mainspring housing. The front sight offers an eye-catching green fiber-optic coupled with a low-mount, fully adjustable rear sight. Like most high-quality pistols, it has some heft to it, weighing in at 44.2 ounces unloaded and measuring 9.5 inches in length.
Remington R1 Hunter
The Remington R1 Hunter adheres to the “black is the new black” dress code for modern 1911s. With its 6-inch barrel, G10 grips, an integral accessory rail, and a black PVD finish, the 10mm R1 Hunter is the do-it-all 1911 of this round-up. Whitetails or black bears, this pistol can get it done. While I’m not particularly fond of fiber-optic sights in a hard-use pistol, I do like the all-black adjustable rear sight and the red fiber-optic front. Add a SureFire X300 Ultra and you’ve got a formidable, light recoiling, accurate platform. Check availability here.
Kimber Super Jagere
Kimber’s Super Jagere is an optics-ready thumper that can tackle most tasks. The Jagere effectively blurs the lines between hunting and backcountry defense. While magazine capacity is limited to eight rounds, the pistol is setup from the factory to make best use of each and every one of them. Originating from Kimber’s custom shop, the Jagere is outfitted with a Leupold DeltaPoint PRO red-dot sight milled into the slide. Forward of the ejection port are six ports that match those found in the barrel. The ports effectively mitigate muzzle rise when the gun is fired, and also make tracking the red dot a whole lot easier, allowing for quick follow-up shots.
The long slide, 6-inch barrel, porting and all-stainless construction make even hot 10mm loads manageable. It is heavy, and long, so a chest holster is in the cards. The pistol is a tack-driver and the factory installed red-dot sight makes stacking rounds on target look easy. If a railed dustcover was added, the Jagere would have checked all my personal boxes.
The Benefits of a Red-Dot Optic
I am a huge proponent of red-dot sights on pistols. The advantages are just too good to ignore. A miniature red-dot sight milled into the slide of your pistol makes shooting on the move and shooting at moving targets significantly easier, as the shooter simply places the dot on the target and squeezes the trigger. It takes sight alignment completely out of the equation. A red-dot equipped pistol allows the shooter to remain focused on the threat, and prior to pulling the trigger, they don’t need to refocus on the front sight. Simply place the dot where you want the bullet to impact. The level of precision a small, bright dot provides versus iron sights at distance can’t be overstated and might be the most significant advantage a red-dot sight has over iron sights for the casual shooter.
Adding a red dot takes away sight radius, so there is no accuracy benefit to having a pistol with a longer slide, i.e. the Glock 40. With that said, back-up iron sights are a mandatory addition to any pistol used outside of a flat range. Not only do they act as a back-up sighting system in the unlikely event the electronic sight should fail, but the sights are training wheels to get a new red-dot shooter up and running by offering a familiar sight picture. If your iron sights are aligned, your red dot will be sitting on top of the front sight post.
What Ammo Should You Feed a 10mm?
I love the 10mm, but getting ammo that lives up to the platform’s potential hasn’t always been easy. There have traditionally been two extremes: lightly loaded personal defense rounds that are barely hotter than standard pressure .40 S&W duty ammo, or smoking hot loads that feel like they’ll sheer the slide from your pistol’s frame.
Federal Premium is now making a 180-grain, Trophy Bonded JHP load. I’ve shot a bunch of it, and while it is stout, it’s not wrist-wrenchingly obnoxious. It’s accurate to boot, printing a 1.9-inch five-shot group at 50 yards through a Glock 20 with a KKM Precision barrel. Muzzle velocity was 1,275 feet per second (fps) with 650 foot-pounds (ft.-lbs.) of energy and retained 417 ft.-lbs. at 100 yards.
The Trophy bonded-core bullet is said to expand and hold together, which hasn’t always been the case in the 10mm. Often, the choice has been between bullets that fragment, or bullets that won’t deform even if driven into a railroad tie. Federal’s 10mm load offers deep penetration on the toughest game animals and reliable expansion.
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10mm Auto jacketed flat point cartridge
|Place of origin||United States|
|Parent case||.30 Remington|
|Case capacity||1.56 cm3 (24.1 gr H2O)|
|Rifling twist||406.40 mm (1 in 16 inches)|
|Primer type||Large pistol|
|Maximum pressure (C.I.P.)||230 MPa (33,000 psi)|
|Maximum pressure (SAAMI)||37,500 psi (259 MPa)|
|Test barrel length: 117 millimetres (4.6 inches)|
Source(s): Underwood Ammunition XTP-JHP
Underwood Ammunition FMJ-FNRBCD Performance Plus Ammunition
The 10mm Auto (10×25mm, official C.I.P. nomenclature: 10 mm Auto, official SAAMI nomenclature: 10mm Automatic) is a powerful semi-automatic pistolcartridge first developed by U.S. MarineJeff Cooper and introduced in 1983 with the Bren Ten pistol. Its design was adopted and later produced by ammunition manufacturer FFV Norma AB of Åmotfors, Sweden.
Although it was selected for service by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1989 from the aftermath of the 1986 FBI Miami shootout, the cartridge was later decommissioned (except by the Hostage Rescue Team and Special Weapons and Tactics Teams) after their Firearms Training Unit eventually concluded that its recoil was excessive in terms of training for average agents and police officers' competency of use and qualification, and that the pistols chambered for the cartridge were too large for some small-handed individuals.
These issues led to the creation of and following replacement by a shorter version of the 10mm that exists today as the .40 S&W, and while the 10mm never attained the mainstream success of this compact variant, there is still an enthusiastic group of supporters and users, and in recent years has started to grow again in popularity.
When FFV Norma AB (now Norma Precision AB) designed the cartridge at the behest of Dornaus & Dixon Enterprises, Inc. for their Bren Ten pistol (a newly developed handgun with design inspired by the CZ 75), the company decided to increase the power over Cooper's original concept. The resulting cartridge—which was introduced in 1983 and produced since—is very powerful, retaining the flat trajectory and high energy of a magnumrevolver cartridge in a relatively short, versatile rimless cartridge for a semi-automatic pistol.
One of the first issues with its early acceptance and prosperity was the result of quality problems as a result of rushed production to meet numerous (some even defaulted) pre-orders of the pistol it was originally—as well as then being only—chambered for: the Bren Ten. An example is the peculiar circumstances surrounding the pistol's distribution at its primary release, leading to a number of initial Bren Tens sent to dealers and customers without magazines (the magazines themselves had complications). The relatively high price of the Bren Ten compared to other pistols of the time (manufacturer's suggested retail price was $500 in 1986, the equivalent of 1,200 United States dollars in 2021) was another factor in its demise, and the company was eventually forced to declare bankruptcy, ceasing operations in 1986 after only three years of inconsistent, substandard production. Had it not been for Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company making the unexpected decision in 1987 to bring out their Delta Elite pistol (a 10mm Auto version of the M1911) and later, the FBI's adoption of the caliber in 1989, the cartridge might have sunk into obsolescence, becoming an obscure footnote in firearms history.
Due to media exposure in the television series Miami Vice, where one of the lead protagonists had used the pistol as his primary signature weapon, demand for the Bren Ten increased after manufacturing ceased. In the succeeding five years, prices on the Standard Model rose to in excess of U.S. $1,400, and original magazines were selling for over U.S. $150.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation briefly field-tested the 10mm Auto using a M1911 pistol and a Thompson Model 1928submachine gun before adopting the Smith & Wesson Model 1076 in 1990; a short-barreled version of the Model 1026 with its slide-mounted decock/firing pin block safety supplanted by only a frame-mounted decocker. A contract was signed with Heckler & Koch to produce a quantity of the specialized MP5 utilizing the cartridge, designated MP5/10 for use by their Hostage Rescue Team and Special Weapons and Tactics Teams. Since 1994, both units still field the weapon and caliber to this day.
During testing of the caliber in 1988, it was decided that the full-power commercial load of the 10mm Auto was the best available semi-automatic pistol cartridge for law enforcement usage, but it produced excessive recoil for most agents. Thereafter, experiments were carried out, and a specification for reduced-recoil ammunition was created. The requirement was later submitted to Federal Premium Ammunition for production and further review. This became known as the "10mm Lite", or "10mm FBI" load, remaining common from various manufacturers today. With some pistol reliability problems increasing in this lighter load,Smith & Wesson observed that a version of the 10mm case reduced to 22 millimeters in length from the original 25 mm could be made with the retained performance parameters of the "10mm Lite". This altered cartridge was named the .40 Smith & Wesson. The shorter case allowed use in pistols designed with similar dimensions to those chambered in 9mm Luger, with the advantage that smaller-handed shooters could now have smaller-frame semi-automatic handguns with near—or in some cases, exact—10mm performance. Colloquially called the "Forty Cal" and other synonyms, this innovation since became a common handgun cartridge among law enforcement agencies and civilians in the United States, while the parent 10mm Auto remains fairly popular.Armscor, Colt, Dan Wesson Firearms, Glock, Kimber Manufacturing, Nighthawk Custom, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, Inc., STI International, and Tanfoglio still offer handguns in 10mm Auto. In 2015, SIG Sauer entered the 10mm marketplace with their P220 model chambered in 10mm. Ruger introduced a 10mm auto model to their popular SR1911 line in mid 2017, followed by their Blackhawk, Redhawk and 10mm GP100 Match Champion and Wiley Clapp models in 2018. The Springfield Armory XD-M series added a 10mm offering in late 2018.
The 10mm Auto has 1.56 milliliter (24.1 grainH
2O) cartridge case capacity.
10mm Auto maximum CIP cartridge dimensions
The common riflingtwist rate for this cartridge is 406.40 mm (1 in 16 inches), 6 grooves, Ø lands = 9.91 mm (.390 in), Ø grooves = 10.17 mm (.4005 in), and land width = 3.05 mm (.120 in). A large or small pistol primer is used.
The Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (C.I.P.; Permanent International Commission for the Proof of Small Arms) rulings indicate a maximum pressure of 230 MPa (33,000 psi). In C.I.P. regulated countries, every pistol/cartridge combination is required to be proofed at 130% of this maximum C.I.P. pressure to certify for sale to consumers.
The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) maximum pressure limit for the 10mm Auto is set at 37,500 psi (259 MPa).
At full potential, the 10mm Auto produces energy slightly higher than an average .357 Magnum load and below standard .41 Magnum rounds. The cartridge is considered to be high-velocity, giving it a less-curved flight path upon firing (also termed "flat-shooting") relative to other handgun cartridges. More powerful loadings can equal or exceed the performance of the .357 Magnum, and retain more kinetic energy at 100 yards than the .45 ACP has at the muzzle.
The 10mm outperforms the .40 S&W by 270–300 ft/s (82–91 m/s) for similar bullet weights when using available full power loads, as opposed to the "10mm FBI" level loads still found in some ammunition catalogs. This result is due to the 10mm Auto's higher SAAMI pressure rating of 37,500 psi (259 MPa), as opposed to 35,000 psi (240 MPa) for the .40 S&W, and the larger case capacity, which allows the use of heavier bullets and more smokeless powder.
The 10mm Auto is marketed for hunting, defensive, and tactical use and is one of the few semi-automatic, rimless cartridges that is legal for hunting white-tailed deer in many U.S. states. The round makes the "Major" power factor ranking in the International Practical Shooting Confederation, even in lighter loadings.
The FBI Hostage Rescue Team, Special Weapons and Tactics Teams, and various other law enforcement agencies continue to issue or authorize the use of 10mm, including: the Coconut Creek Police Department, Glasgow, Montana Police Department, Weimar Police Department, and the San FranciscoBay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police Department.
In military use, the government of Denmark has issued the Glock 20 to the Slædepatruljen Sirius (Sirius Sledge Patrol) headquartered in Daneborg, NortheastGreenland. The pistols were issued as a defense against polar bears which the unit encounters during patrols.
- ^ ab"AMERICAN SPECIAL OPS – FBI HRT". Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^ ab"AMERICAN SPECIAL OPS – FBI SWAT". Retrieved 2015-01-30.
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- ^ abDeMille, Dianne; Priestley, Stephen (December 2005). "Permanent Presence: Recruiting, Training, & Equipping Rangers in the Arctic". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^Donnelly, John J. (1987). The Handloader's Manual of Cartridge Conversions. Stoeger Publishing Company. p. 941. ISBN .
- ^Howell, Ken (1995). Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges For Rifles and Handguns. Precision Shooting, Inc. p. 546. ISBN .
- ^ abcdefghijk"C.I.P. – Table of Dimensions for Cartridge and Chamber of 10 mm Auto"(PDF). Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^ abcdefghij"SAAMI – Maximum Cartridge/Minimum Chamber Drawings for 10mm Automatic"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-01-30. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^ ab"C.I.P. – List of TDCC – Tab IV – Pistol and revolver cartridges". Archived from the original on 2015-01-30. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^ abcd"SAAMI – Velocity & Pressure Data: Centerfire Pistol & Revolver"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^"Glock 20 | G20 | 10mm Pistol | GLOCK USA". Archived from the original on 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
- ^ abcde"The 10mm Auto Cartridge". BREN-TEN.com Website. Archived from the original on 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^Ayoob, Massad (2007). The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery (6th ed.). Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. p. 99. ISBN .
- ^"Dornaus & Dixon Enterprises And The Bren Ten PART 3: The Demise of Dornaus & Dixon And The Bren Ten". BREN-TEN.com Website. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^"The Bren Ten In Detail PART 1: Bren Ten Production Modifications". BREN-TEN.com Website. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^US Inflation Calulator, accessed April 4, 2021.
- ^Hogg, Ian V.; Walter, John (29 August 2004). Pistols of the World. David & Charles. p. 88. ISBN .
- ^Fjestad, S. P. (1992). Blue Book of Gun Values (13th ed.). Blue Book Publications, Inc. ISBN .
- ^ abSweeney, Patrick (30 May 2008). The Gun Digest Book Of The Glock. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media. pp. 60–61. ISBN .
- ^Hill, Tracie (2008). "WHAT'S NEW". 10 (2nd. QTR., 2008). The American Thompson Association: 6. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- ^Martin, Clay (October 10, 2018). "Springfield Armory XDM 10mm – The 10 We Have Been Waiting For". gunsamerica.com. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
- ^Ballistics information on Underwood Ammo's full-power 180 gr (12 g) 10mm loadArchived 2015-01-21 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^Ballistics information on Federal Premium Ammunition's "10mm Lite" style American Eagle 180 gr (12 g) 10mm load.
- ^Ballistics information on Federal Premium Ammunition's American Eagle 180 gr (12 g) .40 S&W load.
- ^Sweeney, Patrick (10 December 2004). The Gun Digest Book of Smith & Wesson. Iola, wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. p. 199. ISBN .
- ^"Natchez Shooters Supplies – COR-BON 10mm Auto 200 gr Hunting Penetrator 20/box". Archived from the original on 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
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9mm Vs. 10mm: Which Handgun Should You Pack?
It may seem silly to compare the 9mm to the 10mm. Even if your ballistics knowledge is minimal, you probably know the 10mm is more powerful. The best 9mm loads will push a 124-grain bullet to about 1165 fps from a common duty- or similar-sized handgun. That equates to about 374 foot-pounds of energy. The best 10mm handgun loads will drive a 180-grain bullet to around 1250 fps and generate more than 600 foot-pounds of energy. So why bother with the comparison?
Well, first off, our research indicates that “9mm or 10mm?” is one of the most common questions shooters are asking these days. These may be largely new shooters, but that’s a good thing, and new shooters really need to get the answer right. But even for more experienced handgun shooters, the question is not a total no-brainer.
Why? Partly because power is not everything, and mostly because not everyone uses handguns for the same reasons. Some people carry a handgun to protect themselves from other people. Some only own a handgun for recreational purposes. Others might keep a handgun at home just in case it’s needed for self-defense. Finally, some only intend to use their handgun for hunting. Application matters. You wouldn’t want to drive a nail with a screwdriver or shoot an elephant with a .22 LR. This means that the best way to make the comparison is to consider what the handgun will be used for. So, let’s break it down.
9mm Vs. 10mm for Concealed Carry
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to concealed carry, including how comfortable a gun is to carry. Most 10mm handguns are heavy; about the lightest 10mm you can find is the Glock 29, which weighs in at 32.8 ounces with a loaded 10-round magazine. A similar-sized Glock 26 (which is a 9mm) with a loaded 10-round magazine weighs just 25.75 ounces, or about 20 percent less. In fact, a Glock 19 (also a 9mm) with a loaded 15-round magazine still weighs less (30.16) than the loaded Glock 29.
Recoil and terminal performance are important for concealed carry too. The 10mm G29 recoils with almost 10 foot-pounds of energy. The 9mm G26 has about 40 percent less recoil, making it much more comfortable to shoot. This allows for better accuracy and faster follow-up shots. Regarding terminal performance, the 10mm will generally damage more tissue. But, when you consider carry comfort and shootability, the 9mm is probably the best choice for all but the most experienced shooters. There’s a reason most police departments issue 9mm handguns.
9mm Vs. 10mm for Recreational Shooting
For recreational purposes, you don’t want a handgun with heavy recoil or one for which ammunition is expensive. Both will make your range time less enjoyable. At even the best pandemic prices, a 50-round box of 9mm ammo will cost you about 70 cents per round, whereas 10mm rounds go for about 85 cents each. That’s not a tremendous difference, but it adds up; for a 1,000 rounds, it’s a $150, and a 9mm will ring steel just as well as a 10mm.
9mm Vs. 10mm for Home Defense
Home defense is similar to concealed carry, but handgun size and weight are not as important. A home defense handgun will spend most of its life in a safe or lock box. However, a home defense handgun might need to be used by any member of a household. Here again, the shootability of the 9mm makes it a better choice where a family is concerned.
9mm Vs. 10mm for Hunting
Recoil while hunting is not so important, partly because repetitive follow-up shots are not often used; it’s generally a one-shot proposition. For smallish critters, the difference between the 9mm and 10mm is irrelevant. With larger game like feral hogs, deer, and maybe even black bear, the 10mm is clearly the better choice. Its heavier bullets will be better at breaking bones and the increased tissue destruction can help deliver a more humane kill.
9mm Vs. 10mm for Bear Protection
Along the same lines comes defense from four-legged predators such as bears and maybe mountain lions. If you must shoot in one of these instances, it will likely be a last resort, the shot will be close, and you might only get one trigger press. The edge here goes to the 10mm for the same reasons that it’s a better option for big-game hunting. Can you stop a big bear with a 9mm? Yep, and it’s been done. But I’ll take a 10, thank you very much, and you should too.
The Overall Winner Is: 9mm
The 9mm is simply a better choice for most people, in most situations. That’s no knock on the 10. Introduced in 1983, the 10mm was originally quite popular, but interest began to fade with the introduction of the .40 S&W in 1990. The .40 S&W was a 9mm-like version of the 10mm, in that it offered some of the 10’s power but was easier to shoot. Ironically, with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies’ transition back to the 9mm, 10mm popularity has been renewed. It’s a fantastic cartridge for just about anything you want to do with a handgun if you can handle it well, but its recoil and weight make it less than optimum for most shooters.
Unless your primary reason for buying a handgun is for hunting or defense against bears, overall, the 9mm is the better option. It’s easier to carry concealed, better for recreational shooting, can generally be managed by most family members, and with the right ammo, it will cleanly kill a mud-caked feral hog or a 10-point buck—and even stop a bear in a pinch.
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Nothing serious, I smiled back. - I see, our toy has woken up. Maybe we can continue before she gets bored. I dont think she was bored looking at what we were doing here, I replied. - Besides, you forgot one important point.