The 10mm caliber is a popular cartridge size primarily used in handguns. Developed in the early 1980s by Jeff Cooper and the firearms company Dornaus & Dixon, the 10mm cartridge was intended as a high-powered round suitable for both law enforcement and civilian use. Here are some key points about the 10mm caliber:

  1. Power: The 10mm cartridge is known for its relatively high power compared to other handgun rounds. It delivers strong muzzle energy, making it effective for self-defense, hunting, and target shooting.
  2. Ballistics: The typical bullet weight for 10mm rounds ranges from 135 to 220 grains, with muzzle velocities around 1,100 to 1,400 feet per second (fps), depending on the specific load. These ballistics give the 10mm good stopping power and penetration.
  3. Use Cases: Initially, the 10mm gained traction in law enforcement but faced some challenges due to its recoil and the larger size of the handgun required to accommodate it. However, it has found favor among enthusiasts for its performance in hunting and personal defense.
  4. Firearms: Several firearms are chambered for 10mm, including pistols like the Glock 20, Colt Delta Elite, Smith & Wesson 1006, and many others. Some companies also produce carbines and submachine guns chambered in 10mm.
  5. Variants: There are variations within the 10mm cartridge family, such as the shorter and less powerful .40 S&W (Smith & Wesson), which was developed by shortening the 10mm case to reduce recoil and fit in smaller handguns.
  6. Popularity: While not as widespread as some other handgun calibers like 9mm or .45 ACP, the 10mm has a dedicated following among shooters who appreciate its power and performance.

The 10mm has had an interesting journey in the firearms world, facing both acclaim and challenges. Its attributes make it a compelling choice for those seeking a potent handgun round, but it also comes with considerations such as recoil management and the availability of firearms chambered for it.



The recoil of a 10mm handgun can be perceived differently by shooters based on various factors, including the specific firearm, ammunition load, shooter’s experience, and personal tolerance to recoil.

Generally speaking, the 10mm cartridge generates more recoil compared to smaller and lighter handgun calibers like the 9mm. Factors that contribute to the perceived recoil of a 10mm handgun include:

  1. Firearm Design: The design of the handgun itself, including its weight, size, grip design, and recoil mitigation features (such as recoil springs or muzzle devices), can influence how much recoil is felt by the shooter.
  2. Ammunition Load: The variety of loads available for the 10mm cartridge can impact recoil. Heavier bullet weights or hotter loads tend to produce more felt recoil than lighter loads.
  3. Shooter Experience: A shooter’s experience and proficiency with firearms play a significant role. Someone accustomed to handling more powerful handguns may perceive the recoil differently than a novice shooter.
  4. Grip and Stance: Proper grip and stance can help mitigate felt recoil. A proper grip technique, using both hands, and adopting a stable shooting stance can assist in managing the recoil.
  5. Recoil Mitigation Accessories: Some firearms may have accessories or modifications, such as recoil-reducing grips or muzzle devices, that can help reduce felt recoil.

For many shooters, the 10mm’s recoil is manageable with proper technique and training. However, individuals may have different thresholds for what they consider acceptable in terms of recoil. Some may find the recoil of full-power 10mm loads to be stout, while others might not find it too challenging.

For those concerned about recoil, practicing with lighter loads or gradually building up to full-power loads can help acclimate to the 10mm’s recoil. It’s essential to find a balance between the cartridge’s power and the shooter’s comfort level to ensure accurate and controlled shooting.



The stopping power of a firearm cartridge like the 10mm is a subject of considerable discussion and analysis within the firearms community. Stopping power refers to a cartridge’s ability to incapacitate or stop a threat effectively, such as an attacker or, in some cases, dangerous wildlife.

Several factors contribute to a cartridge’s stopping power, including:

  1. Bullet Design: The design of the bullet itself can impact its terminal performance. Factors like bullet weight, construction, shape, and expansion upon impact can affect how much damage it inflicts on the target.
  2. Velocity and Energy: The velocity and energy of the bullet when it hits the target are essential. The 10mm cartridge typically delivers higher muzzle energy compared to some other handgun calibers, which can contribute to its potential stopping power.
  3. Shot Placement: Regardless of caliber, shot placement is critical for effectively stopping a threat. Hitting vital areas such as the heart, brain, or central nervous system greatly increases the likelihood of incapacitating an assailant.
  4. Target’s Physiology and Adrenaline: Factors such as the size, clothing, and state of the target (adrenaline levels, intoxication, etc.) can affect how effectively a round stops the threat. These variables are unpredictable and can impact the cartridge’s perceived stopping power.
  5. Penetration and Expansion: A balance between penetration and expansion is crucial. Over-penetration or lack of sufficient penetration can reduce the bullet’s effectiveness, while excessive expansion might limit penetration, reducing stopping power.

The 10mm cartridge is known for its relatively high muzzle energy and penetration capabilities among handgun calibers, which contributes to its perceived stopping power. This makes it suitable for various applications, including self-defense, hunting, and bear defense.

However, it’s essential to note that no handgun cartridge guarantees an immediate stop of a threat in every situation. Shot placement, multiple shots if necessary, and situational awareness play critical roles in effectively neutralizing a threat. Therefore, while the 10mm is recognized for its stopping power, it’s just one aspect to consider alongside other factors when choosing a firearm for personal protection or other purposes.



The 10mm cartridge is often considered a good choice for bear defense due to its powerful ballistics and ability to penetrate deeply. However, when it comes to defending against bears, several factors need consideration:

  1. Firearm Selection: Firearms chambered in 10mm, especially larger handguns like the Glock 20 or certain revolvers, can provide sufficient power and capacity to deter or stop a bear attack. The 10mm’s high muzzle energy and penetration can be advantageous in such situations.
  2. Adequate Ammunition: Choosing appropriate ammunition is crucial. Some ammunition brands produce specialized loads explicitly designed for bear defense, featuring heavier and deeper-penetrating bullets for better performance against large, thick-skinned animals.
  3. Shot Placement: Skillful shot placement is vital. The shooter must aim for vital areas like the head or chest to stop the bear effectively. However, in a high-stress situation like a bear attack, achieving accurate shots can be challenging.
  4. Firearm Proficiency: Proper training and familiarity with the chosen firearm are essential. Handling the recoil of a powerful round like the 10mm and being able to shoot accurately, especially under duress, is crucial for effective bear defense.
  5. Bear Behavior and Awareness: Bear encounters can vary. Understanding bear behavior, using bear deterrents like bear spray, making noise to avoid surprising a bear, and maintaining situational awareness in bear country are crucial aspects of bear defense.
  6. Backup Plans: While a 10mm handgun can be a good option for bear defense, it’s also wise to have a backup plan. Carrying bear spray or traveling in groups can provide additional layers of protection.

Remember, no firearm guarantees absolute safety in a bear encounter. Situational awareness, preventive measures, and understanding bear behavior are equally—if not more—important. In certain situations, creating distance or using bear deterrents might be more effective than relying solely on a firearm.

Always prioritize safety and understanding the regulations and guidelines regarding firearms and bear encounters in the specific area you plan to visit.



Comparing a 10mm pistol and a 10mm revolver involves considering various aspects that differentiate these firearm types:

  1. Action Mechanism:
    • Pistol: A 10mm pistol usually operates with a semi-automatic action, utilizing a magazine to feed cartridges into the chamber. Pistols have a slide that reciprocates to load the next round after firing.
    • Revolver: A 10mm revolver, on the other hand, uses a cylinder that rotates to align a chamber with the barrel for firing. Revolvers come in both single-action (requiring the hammer to be manually cocked) and double-action (where pulling the trigger cocks and releases the hammer) varieties.
  1. Capacity and Reload Speed:
    • Pistol: Typically, pistols have higher ammunition capacities due to their magazines, holding more rounds (usually ranging from 10 to 15 rounds) before requiring a reload.
    • Revolver: Revolvers generally have lower ammunition capacities, commonly holding 6 rounds or sometimes slightly more, depending on the specific revolver design.
  1. Size and Weight:
    • Pistol: Pistols tend to be more compact and have a slimmer profile due to the internal magazine and slide mechanism. They are usually lighter and easier to carry concealed.
    • Revolver: Revolvers often have a bulkier frame due to the cylinder, which can make them thicker and heavier compared to pistols of similar caliber. Concealed carry of revolvers might be more challenging due to their size.
  1. Maintenance and Reliability:
    • Pistol: Semi-automatic pistols can be more prone to malfunctions due to their complex feeding mechanisms. However, modern designs are generally very reliable with proper maintenance.
    • Revolver: Revolvers are known for their simplicity and reliability. They have fewer moving parts and are less likely to experience feeding or ejection issues, making them more dependable in some situations.
  1. Recoil Management:
    • Pistol: The recoil in a 10mm pistol might be perceived differently based on the design and weight of the handgun. Some pistols have recoil mitigation features, making them more manageable.
    • Revolver: Revolvers, especially those with heavier frames, can help absorb some of the recoil of the 10mm cartridge, making it more controllable for some shooters.

Both 10mm pistols and revolvers have their merits and are preferred by different individuals based on personal preferences, intended use (such as self-defense, hunting, or target shooting), and shooting style. The choice between the two often boils down to factors like capacity, ease of use, maintenance preference, and comfort in handling the specific firearm type.

Several 10mm semi-automatic pistols have gained popularity among firearm enthusiasts and shooters. Here are some of the well-regarded and popular 10mm handguns:

  1. Glock 20: The Glock 20 is one of the most widely known and popular 10mm pistols. Known for its reliability, durability, and high capacity (typically holding 15 rounds in a magazine), the Glock 20 is favored by many for its performance and versatility.
  2. Colt Delta Elite: The Colt Delta Elite is a classic 1911-style pistol chambered in 10mm. It has a storied history and a reputation for accuracy and solid construction. Its design appeals to fans of the 1911 platform and those who appreciate its heritage.
  3. Smith & Wesson M&P 10mm Series: Smith & Wesson offers several models in their M&P series chambered in 10mm. These pistols often feature ergonomic designs, customizable grips, and reliable performance, catering to those who prefer modern polymer-framed handguns.
  4. SIG Sauer P220 10mm: The SIG Sauer P220 chambered in 10mm is another popular choice. Known for its craftsmanship, accuracy, and smooth trigger, it has a dedicated following among shooters looking for a quality 10mm handgun.
  5. Springfield Armory XD(M) 10mm: Springfield Armory’s XD(M) line includes a 10mm variant, combining a large capacity with the company’s reputation for reliability and ergonomic design.

These pistols vary in terms of design, features, and ergonomics, catering to different preferences among shooters. Factors such as capacity, grip comfort, trigger feel, and overall build quality often influence an individual’s choice when selecting a 10mm semi-auto pistol.

Each model may offer unique advantages, so it’s essential to consider factors such as intended use (self-defense, hunting, target shooting), personal preferences, and comfort when selecting a 10mm pistol. Trying out different models at a firing range or seeking firsthand experiences and reviews can be beneficial in making an informed decision.

While 10mm revolvers are less common compared to their semi-automatic counterparts, there are still a few models that have gained popularity among enthusiasts:

  1. Smith & Wesson Model 610: This revolver from Smith & Wesson is chambered in 10mm and has a stainless steel construction. It is known for its quality build, accuracy, and the ability to use moon clips for easier reloading.
  2. Ruger GP100 Match Champion: Ruger offers a variant of its GP100 revolver chambered in 10mm. The Match Champion model features a tuned action and enhanced sights, providing a smooth shooting experience.
  3. Dan Wesson Bruin: The Dan Wesson Bruin is a high-end 10mm revolver known for its precision and performance. It features a hefty frame, adjustable sights, and a strong build that appeals to those seeking a quality 10mm revolver.
  4. Charter Arms Pitbull: The Charter Arms Pitbull series includes a model chambered in 10mm. Unique to the Pitbull series is its ability to use rimless cartridges without the need for moon clips, making it convenient for reloading.
  5. Taurus Raging Bull: Taurus manufactures the Raging Bull series, which includes revolvers in various calibers, including a 10mm variant. These revolvers are known for their robust construction and recoil-absorbing features.

10mm revolvers, while less prevalent than their semi-automatic counterparts, offer a different shooting experience and appeal to those who prefer the simplicity and reliability of revolvers. Factors such as build quality, ergonomics, and ease of use play a significant role in choosing a 10mm revolver, similar to considerations for semi-automatic pistols.


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