10mm thoughts

The 10mm is the dumbest autopistol cartridge ever.  Seriously.  As much as I revere Jeff Cooper for what he brought to the school of defensive pistol shooting, this was not a good idea.  You want to talk about an answer in search of a question, look no further than the 10mm pistol cartridge.

49 comments for “10mm thoughts

  1. November 24, 2009 at 11:29

    I personally thought the concept of scout rifle was a bit weak.

  2. November 24, 2009 at 11:32

    I like the concept, but I don’t like paying 2 grand for a rifle.

  3. November 24, 2009 at 11:37

    You’re just lucky I can’t pull off the Breda Death-Stare™

  4. November 24, 2009 at 11:52

    Why? If the 10mm was popular and avaialble and ammo subject to economies of scale like .45 and comparable in price, and gun makers didn’t make weak-sister versions of their pistols to fire it… It’d see nothing against the round.

    What is your specific objections outside of those I highlighted that would go away if the caliber was widely adopted?

  5. November 24, 2009 at 11:54

    There isn’t anything you can do ballistically with a 10mm that you can’t do with a hot .45 ACP. There isn’t anything you can do ballistically with a 10mm that you can’t do with a hot .357 Magnum, for that matter.

  6. pdb
    November 24, 2009 at 12:22

    The 10mm is as ineffective as all the other autopistol calibers, yet costs more, is harder to shoot fast, cracks frames and with a short, blunt bullet and long, straight walled case is shaped exactly wrong for reliable feeding.

    I personally think the “357” Sig and the 5.7 FN are about as stupid with the .45 GAP running close behind.

  7. aczarnowski
    November 24, 2009 at 12:35

    Hornet nest, stick, some assembly required.

  8. NMM1AFan
    November 24, 2009 at 13:06

    I dunno, I think the .50 Action Express is up there, too.

    10mm would be ok in a sturdy enough handgun to really get the benefit of max loadings. Problem is nobody makes one.

  9. HK_USP_45
    November 24, 2009 at 13:35

    Caleb, I have to disagree with you on this one. You said: “There isn’t anything you can do ballistically with a 10mm that you can’t do with a hot .45 ACP. There isn’t anything you can do ballistically with a 10mm that you can’t do with a hot .357 Magnum, for that matter.”

    If redundancy of ballistics were an issue, we wouldn’t have 90% of the calibers on the market now. Should we stop producing .30-06 because we now have the .308? My 7mm Weatherby is better ballistically than a lot of other rounds, should we take everything else that is inferior off the market?

    There isn’t anything wrong with innovation and people trying to devlope new rounds that are better than what’s out there. Sometimes there will be success, sometimes there will be failures. Some will fall in between. The .40 S&W is a pretty popular cartridge right now, and it wouldn’t be around at all if not for the 10mm, and the limp-wristed FBI agents that couldn’t handle it.

    And I have to agree with pdb, the .357Sig and .45GAP are far more useless rounds than the 10mm. But they all have a purpose for why they were developed. I like seeing new stuff on the market. (And I also like the 5.7 FN. It’s just fun to shoot, and the pistol itself is a great shooting pistol.)

  10. November 24, 2009 at 15:11

    I agree that innovation is a good thing. My point is that if you buy into the marketing and buy a 10mm, don’t delude yourself into thinking that your new deathray is any more awesome than a cartridge that’s been around for 100 years. I do however support new cartridges, because I’m a dirty capitalist.

  11. HK_USP_45
    November 24, 2009 at 15:21

    Caleb,

    I agree, and as far as I’m concerned, just about every cartridge is pretty awesome and everyone has their own place, if for nothing more than providing fun at the range. Even my 7.62 Nagant, that I paid $79 for the revolver and ammo is $50 per box, is awesome to me. I’m simple to please.

    I don’t know enough about the 10mm ballistically to compare it to the .45, but I can say that no matter what you shoot, be it 10mm, .45, .380, .357, 9mm, nothing will be effective if you can’t hit your target.

    And I also don’t buy into this crap that a lot of people are putting out there that the .45 is some magical caliber in which one shot will drop any person on the spot. It’s simply not true. I’ll take a Beretta 9mm with 15 rounds any day to a 1911 .45 with 7. Same with rifles, everyone thinks the 7.62×39 is some powerful, mystical force that is the end all be all for dropping people in one shot. Not true.

  12. November 24, 2009 at 15:25

    Yeah, it’s not that I think that the .45 ACP is a magical death ray or anything like that, it’s more that in pistol cartridges you’re talking about almost zero difference in actual terminal ballistics. The .40/9mm/.357/.45 debate is essentially the same as debating which shade of the color blue is the most awesome. In the end, they’re all blue.

    The point though isn’t to discourage people from buying a 10mm. If you’re buying a gun for defensive applications, once you hit the 9mm and greater threshold it doesn’t really matter. I’m particularly down on 10mm though because of all the wacky cultists that think it’s the best thing EVAR OMG1111!!1

  13. November 24, 2009 at 15:29

    “There isn’t anything you can do ballistically with a 10mm that you can’t do with a hot .357 Magnum, for that matter.”

    Except launch it from a reasonably sized auto loader. ;)

  14. November 24, 2009 at 15:32

    Hence the qualification of “ballistically”. :)

    In all seriousness though, adding “launching platforms” to a conversation about “projectile function” fundamentally changes the nature of the debate. Then you start taking into account things like pistol ergonomics, which are actually a lot more important that the minimal amount of “stopping power” that a pistol cartridge has.

  15. Hyman Roth
    November 24, 2009 at 15:44

    10mm is pointless. It doesn’t fit concealable guns, and there is debatable power advantage over other top handgun cartridges. Check the Federal & Remington specs.

    But the .357sig is not useless. Bottleneck = most reliable feeding. And the ballistics of a fast 125gr bullet are tops for stopping.

    HK_USP45, you can get a .32acp cylinder for that Nagant…

  16. November 24, 2009 at 15:47

    Except that a bottleneck cartridge is more prone to bullet setback, doesn’t feed well in 1911 style handguns, and that the 125 grain .357 Sig load doesn’t do anything that a 125 grain 9mm +P load can’t do.

  17. November 24, 2009 at 17:21

    I think it was an idea worth trying, it just didn’t work out in the real world. He admitted as much in one of his commentaries. Lessons are learned that way and we get cool new stuff.

  18. November 24, 2009 at 18:06

    But what if you want a little more, something very special. I mean, most blokes will be using a 10mm, and you’ve got a 10mm round in your pistol, where can you got from there? Where?

    Nowhere.

    Now what I do, when I need that extra push, when I need a little more, is go to 11mm.

  19. Timmeehh
    November 24, 2009 at 18:13

    “Same with rifles, everyone thinks the 7.62×39 is some powerful, mystical force that is the end all be all for dropping people in one shot. Not true.”

    Of course not, the “powerful, mystical force that is the end all be all for dropping people in one shot” is the 7.62×51.

  20. HK_USP_45
    November 24, 2009 at 18:24

    Timmeehh,

    Even that people will argue over. I happen to side with you, I love the 7.62 NATO. But some will argue that the 7.62x54R is better. I got into a huge discussion with Richard Venola about that, and he argued about how superior the 7.62 Soviet and 7.62 Russian are. I’ve heard other’s argue that, too.

    That’s why I’m saying, everyone has their holy grail for calibers that they think are one hit kills.

    Honestly, though, pretty much any thing in .30 cal is hard to beat for a hard-hitting all-purpose round. That includes .30-06, and all the 7.62s (NATO, Soviet, Russian). But that still doesn’t mean they are going to drop everything on the spot with one shot.

  21. November 24, 2009 at 18:38

    Okay, first of all the trajectory of the 10mm Auto cartridge is way beyond that of the .45 Auto IF you’re trying to shoot something at 100 yards Plus. For personal defense, the FBI agents who have used it, swear by it because I interviewed a couple years ago, but who have probably retired by now.

    Secondly, the 10mm Auto is a whole lot easier to work with in terms of chamber pressures than the .40 Small & Weak, even though the .40 S&W is far more popular, but popularity is not always a sign of good taste, is it?

    Lastly, the 10mm Auto makes way more sense than the .38 Stupid. It delivers far more energy on target and it offers a real world performance than only the ‘hottest’ .357 Magnum revolver loads can match in terms of ‘practical’ effects.

    But the biggest advantage to the 10mm Auto cartridge will always remain its far flatter trajectory over most any other conventional auto-pistol, Major bore diameter (that’s .40 caliber and above for the non-gun civilians) caliber.

    The only criticism I can state for the 10mm is the 10mm Silvertip Hollowpoint will NOT penetrate the spinal column of a whitetail deer…..even at point blank range. Trust me on this one, I know.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  22. November 24, 2009 at 19:27

    There is such a thing as a one hit kill, you just have to scale up to artillery calibers. Or use an A-10.

    But mostly I only replied to say that Kevin wins the thread with the best Spinal Tap reference evar.

  23. November 24, 2009 at 20:34

    Frank, I actually agree about the flat trajectory and the 10mm for hunting. If I were actually doing a serious piece on the 10mm, I’d point out that it is a solid hunting round out of a revolver. I would also point out though that you can get just as good ballistics out of a .357 and a .41 Magnum.

  24. November 24, 2009 at 20:57

    Yeah, but I’m using it in a Delta Elite and have been for almost two decades. Do you want a testimonial on what I’ve shot with it?

    My problem is someone will say, “Yeah, that’s a GREAT round for hunting, but I want something for self-defense.” SAY WHAT? If your favorite blaster won’t stop a 14 pound red fox (as in IMMEDIATELY), what makes you think it will save your butt when the Mr. Non-Human appears and proceeds to take whatever he wants from you, including your life and livihood?

    That’s why I only trust those calibers in handguns that I’ve personally used to stop/kill things. A crude methodlogy? Perhaps, but it’s one I trust because I don’t believe there IS such a thing as Handgun Stopping Power.

    Only effective shots made from whatever distance the situation presents itself in a heartbeat are what counts. Yes, urban situations are far closer than where I live, but don’t think they are going to be exclusively THE situation. Life and Death isn’t that predictable.

    For me the 10mm Auto remains the best auto-pistol cartridge in a conventional size handgun like the Colt Delta Elite, and I know from experience it beats the living Hell out of the .38 Stupid. It’s not better than the .45 Auto, It just shoots far flatter and farther.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  25. Shepherd
    November 24, 2009 at 21:02

    It is in compact automatics that the 10mm shines, not revolvers. Moreover, 10mm exceeds even the venerable .44 Magnum in the shorter barrels found in automatics.

    Look at this performance comparison:

    .44 Magnum – S & W 629-5 Mtn. Gun 4″ barrel
    (39.5 oz, 9.6 inches long)
    Federal, 240 grain, 1094 fps
    5.18 N*s, 638 fpe

    10mm Auto – Glock 20
    (27.7 oz, 7.6 inches long)
    Doubletap, 200 grain, 1300 fps
    5.16 N*s, 751 fpe

    There you go folks, 10mm beats 44 magnum, and does so in a shorter, lighter gun. The physics is simple — in a short barrel, the higher pressure of 10mm wins. You have to take your magnum revolver loads to 7″ barrels for the increased case capacity to win out. And win out it does — at 7″ barrel, the 44 magnum is twice as powerful! It’s just not there at shorter lengths.

    Go to ballisticsbytheinch.com — it is a revelation, particularly for those of us used to “a revolver for woods carry” wisdom.

  26. November 24, 2009 at 21:30

    Frank, that’s fair – I don’t think that there’s anything WRONG with the 10mm from a ballistic standpoint. I just think that for the money if all you’re looking for is a defensive gun, the average person/shooter would be better served by something that’s more affordable and practical.

  27. Shepherd
    November 24, 2009 at 21:52

    Please allow me to expand to cover “affordable”:

    S&W 629 4 inch: $780
    Glock 20: $560

    At that price point, the comparison really should be Glock vs. Super Blackhawk, but I don’t see single action revolvers as practical self-defense guns. For practical, affordable woods carry, the Glock 20 is hard to beat.

  28. November 24, 2009 at 21:58

    Used Glock 9mm: $330

    And the best part about the Glock 9mm, aside from the all the bullets it holds, the fact that it’s more than suitable for defensive use is that you can actually afford to practice with it.

  29. Shepherd
    November 24, 2009 at 22:12

    I think we have different self-defense experiences. Your 9mm advice is great advice against the very real threat of violent young men found in metropolitan areas. My experience is with wild carnivores over 300 lbs.

    The 9mm round is simply not adequate for my needs.

  30. November 24, 2009 at 22:13

    Yes, I am city folk.

  31. November 24, 2009 at 22:35

    Caleb: I understand “affordable”, but the use of the word “practical” is open to interpretation.

    Kinda like my battles with the administration of USPSA years ago when they used the word “Practical” to describe their ‘games’ when everyone (who was involved in the formation of IPSC) now agrees they should have used the word “Combat”, but it was too politically offensive…..especially so in foreign countries, but’s another matter altogether.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  32. HK_USP_45
    November 24, 2009 at 23:09

    This is just my opinion, and I’m sure I’m about to start a crap-storm, but I do not see a revolver as a PRACTICAL self-defense weapon for carry. I know they are reliable, and if one round doesn’t go off, the next one is still ready, and blah, blah, blah. HOWEVER, to me, practical is NOT 5 rounds (with one chamber empty). WTF is 5 rounds? My own personal run-ins with bad guys, has involved more than one person. They haven’t traveled alone, but in packs. I want more than 5 rounds. Or even 6. For the same weight and size, I can get something that holds 12 or more rounds of 9mm. That’s just my opinion, and I’m sure there will be a lot of people with more experience than me that object.

  33. November 24, 2009 at 23:12

    A 5 shot j-frame beats the pants off no gun, though. As for stopping power, a 158 grain lead SWHP has put a lot a lot of bad guys in the dirt, so I’m not going to worry about stopping power.

  34. Mike
    November 25, 2009 at 05:17

    I like the 10mm as a cartridge but don’t really like any of the guns chambered for it. If I spent a lot of time out in the woods I might consider a 10mm glock but even then I think I would be better off with a .40s&w and then one of the super large PITA to shoot short revolvers like the Ruger Alaskan in .45lc or the .500 S&W survival gun.

    As for most useless round I think .45gap takes the cake .357sig would be alright if it did something unique.

  35. Jason
    November 25, 2009 at 11:08

    A question nobody asked? The question is, “Handgun hunting?” More specifically, “Semi-auto handgun hunting?”

    It may not be the question you asked, but it is a question, and both 10mm and 357 SIG are perfectly good answers that satisfy plenty of people.

    And speaking as a fan of 9mm +P+ for defense, it’s tough to find loads that exceed 1250 fps with a 125 gr. bullet. With 357 SIG, 1400 is a good baseline, and 1500 is not unreasonable out of a longer barrel, which is still shorter and more compact than .357 revolvers with similar ballistics. In that respect it accomplishes everything the designers set out to do. Is it worth the extra cost and recoil? For the average person, probably not.

    But let’s put it another way. Would you carry a 4″ .357 magnum revolver for self defense? Or keep one by the bedside? A lot of people would answer “Sure!” A lot of people do exactly that. Now, would you carry a .357 magnum revolver over an inch shorter than a S&W 686, a quarter pound lighter when fully loaded to its sixteen round (Yes, you heard right, it’s magic) capacity, with a recoil-reducing spring mechanism, lighter trigger, the option to mount a light, fast reloads, and your choice of several different models of night sights or other high-visibility sights?

    What is this amazing firearm? A humble Glock 35 with a 357 SIG conversion barrel. Which can incidentally also be converted to .22 LR for cheap and easy practice with the same trigger and grip, an option not even available with a revolver.

    For everyone? No. But speaking as someone who owns a variety of guns – including .357 magnums and several 9mms that love +P+ – 357 SIG fills a niche that no other cartridge does.

  36. James
    November 25, 2009 at 12:24

    “There isn’t anything you can do ballistically with a 10mm that you can’t do with a hot .45 ACP. ”

    BS FLAG!

    Buffalo Bore’s loading of the Speer Gold Dot 180 grain bullet is rated at 1,350 feet per second at the muzzle when fired from a five inch barrel. This comes out to 782 ft-lbs of energy. When you can find a 45ACP that breaks 600 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle, I’ll kiss your a$$ as deeply as you would like. You can barely break 500 without a +P load. I welcome data/evidence to the contrary.

  37. November 25, 2009 at 12:41

    Seeing as I said a .45 ACP or a hot .357 Magnum, I’ll confine comparisons of the .45 ACP to “two legged badguys” and use .357 for hunting comparisons. And oh look, a .357 Magnum round from Buffalo Bore that does 1400 fps at the muzzle with a 180 grain bullet. That’s 783 foot pounds.

  38. Robert
    November 25, 2009 at 14:06

    I’ve always thought the 10mm in a subgun role is just about right. You have the barrel length to really get the full advantage of the higher velocity of the round, and in theory it would be a touch more accurate than a pistol.

  39. James
    November 25, 2009 at 14:14


    Caleb, on November 24th, 2009 at 11:54 Said:

    There isn’t anything you can do ballistically with a 10mm that you can’t do with a hot .45 ACP. There isn’t anything you can do ballistically with a 10mm that you can’t do with a hot .357 Magnum, for that matter.

    I’m sorry, sir, but I fail to see the “or” there. I didn’t point out the 357 data, because I was aware of its existence. I only took issue with the 45ACP claim.

    To be fair, I would appear to owe you an a$$ kissing. I found that Doubletap loads a 185gr Nosler that claims 616 ft-lbs. That’s still a 21+% reduction compared to the 10mm, however.

    I’m not trying to pick a fight. I respect your opinion, and most of the time I agree with it. I’m also not one of those raving maniac “cultists” that you referred to. However, I did a significant amount of research before switching my #2 carry from 45 to 10mm.

    My #1 carry would tend to argue strongly with your “once you hit the 9mm and greater threshold it doesn’t really matter” statement, but one argument per day is enough, unless you’re interested.

  40. Tam
    November 25, 2009 at 15:21

    Foot-Pound Freaks get over-excited about numbers vs. actual terminal bullet performance.

    The best was “Shepherd” comparing a downloaded Federal “personal defense” .44 Magnum load to a primer-flattening “maybe-SAAMI-maybe-not” top end 10mm boutique loading.

    Care to compare apples to apples, “Shepherd”?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the 10mm is a great cartridge: I’ve owned a Glock 29, a Delta Elite, and a S&W 610; I was posting in the “10 Ring” subforum at Glock Talk with Mike McNett long before he got his FFL. But let’s not go writing checks our gun knowledge can’t cash, okay?

  41. November 25, 2009 at 15:43

    FOOT POUNDS ARE LAW

  42. Hypnagogue
    November 25, 2009 at 17:20

    Yes, foot pounds are law. Colorado DOW regs: 550 ftlbs at 50 yards.

  43. November 25, 2009 at 17:39

    Well, I suppose that’s no more ridiculous or arbitrary than Indiana’s regulations on “legal” deer cartridges, which are based entirely on case length. That’s why the .45 Colt, which wouldn’t be legal in Colorado unless it was loaded hot is legal in Indianastan. Foot pounds is almost as meaningless a measurement of terminal performance as the “temporary wound cavity” in handguns.

  44. Hyman Roth
    November 25, 2009 at 19:49

    “Except that a bottleneck cartridge…doesn’t feed well in 1911 style handguns,”

    My GPS unit won’t mount in a Model T. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. The platform is the issue, not the accessory.

    “…the 125 grain .357 Sig load doesn’t do anything that a 125 grain 9mm +P load can’t do.”

    1350fps from a 125gr 9mm load? What brand/load, and safe for what factory gun/waranty?

  45. November 25, 2009 at 19:52

    So what if it goes 1350 fps? The 147 grain Ranger load from a 9mm will penetrate 12 or more inches and expand to about .60 inches. Which is exactly what the 125gr .357 McSilly will do at 1350 fps.

    So yeah, in tissue the .357 Sig won’t do anything that a 9mm won’t do.

  46. Shepherd
    November 25, 2009 at 22:20

    Tam,

    How to respond?

    It is a simple matter to show that, holding barrel lengths and sectional density constant, muzzle velocity is calculated by a time integral of pressure (yes, regardless of caliber). It is also a simple matter to show that there is then a range of barrel lengths where the higher pressure of 10mm Auto outperforms .44 Magnum for muzzle velocity, for both ideal and real world powders. That’s a technical matter, and quite easy to demonstrate using deterministic systems modeling, which was my engineering post-graduate focus, those many years ago, or by empirical analysis which anyone here can easily attempt. I’m quite prepared to “cash that check” — I have every day for the last 20 years on systems quite a bit more complicated than firearms.

    Your rudeness, on the other hand, is not so simple. Enjoy your echo chamber, it has been tuned to your voice. I leave you to it.

  47. November 25, 2009 at 23:04

    Wait, is it Tam’s echo chamber or my echo chamber? Whose voice is it tuned to, because she’s an alto and I’m a tenor; these things are important.

  48. Wolfwood
    November 25, 2009 at 23:57

    Incidentally, is there any truth to the rumor that if you’re going to get a Glock for multiple calibers that it’s better to get it in the more powerful one? For instance, to get a Glock 33 and then buy the 9mm barrel? I don’t know why, for the same price, a Glock 33 would be stronger than a Glock 26, but that’s what I’ve heard.

  49. pdb
    November 26, 2009 at 12:37

    Wolfwood,

    No. If you want a nine, buy a nine. If you want a fo-tay, buy a fo-tay.

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