The ultimate handgun cartridge has long been argued in favor of the 10mm, here is a article from a guest writer which is also my father Henry Glenn. My father has worked on, shot and hand built 1911 based guns for as long as I can remember. Here is his opinion on the famous cartridge.
The 10mm was designed to be a superior cartridge to what the FBI was carrying at the time of the Miami shootout in 1986. The FBI set out to research and develop a cartridge that had more stopping power than anything in its current inventory. After much research, testing, and consulting they came to the conclusion that a .400 caliber (10 MM) bullet driven at well over 1000 FPS was the best choice. Problem was no one chambered a reliable pistol in 10MM Auto. The Bren Ten pistol had run into problems and was no longer available. S&W engineered a pistol to meet the FBI criteria and it was adopted. Colt kind of stole some thunder when they came out with the Colt Delta Elite in 10 MM. Though the FBI tested the Colt it was never considered because it was a single action auto.
More problems came the 10MMs way when it came time for FBI agents to qualify. The S&W was a large gun and the grip had a significant circumference which was not good for people with smaller hands. When you don’t have a grip that fits your hand, the recoil is hard to manage. Speaking of recoil, the 10MM has plenty of it compared to the 38 SPL in use in 1986. The FBI soon wanted loads for the 10MM that were not so heavy on recoil so they began to load it down from about 1275FPS to 1000FPS. It was not long after that, an engineer figured out that you did not need the case length of a 10MM Auto to get 1000FPS so the 40 S&W Was born.
I will save the 40 S&W for another article. So it seemed that as fast as the 10MM was out of the gate, it was doomed to die and go to the cartridge cemetery along with many of its predecessors. The S&W was discontinued and the Colt Delta Elite faced some issues with the powerful cartridge.
As I read the magazine articles of the era, everyone was quick to predict the demise of the 10MM. Each one would write about why the 10MM was destined to fail and in went another nail into the coffin. Fast forward to 2015 and the 10MM is not only still here but is thriving. I recently read one writer’s article admitting that he was wrong when he predicted the demise of the 10MM.
The 10MM Auto has matured into a great cartridge that performs without equal. There are many gun manufactures who chamber the 10mm in their current line of pistols. I can’t name them all but Colt, Dan Wesson, Kimber, Rock Island, Witness, Glock, Sig and most custom and semi-custom 1911 pistols are chambered in 10MM. So why did the 10MM come back from the grave that was predicted for it only 2 decades ago? Because it performs well in the guns it is chambered in, and with modern bullets its range of uses have expanded. To prove my point, several years ago I called Starline Brass to order a 1000 pieces of 10MM brass because I was concerned that it would soon not be available for purchase. Starline said not to worry that demand was high for 10MM brass and that it was not going away. Those were encouraging words and now 10MMs are gaining a following every year. The fact is that the 10MM Auto was too good to die and shooters recognized the increase in performance from a 9MM or 45 ACP. Simply put, it has a wide range of uses from formal and informal target shooting, to self defense with modern bullets loaded by several manufactures. A few current manufacturers of the 10MM cartridge are Cor-Bon, Hornady’s Critical Defense/Duty among a few others.
So why do I like the 10MM so much, it is because of its versatility. I load my own target loads and shoot 5 grains of W231 and a 155-175SWC and have a great IDPA gun. I can change the recoil spring and have a very effective home defense or carry gun with the new factory ammo available today. I can buy some heavy bullets for Bear Loads from Buffalo Bore and go about the Montana wilderness with confidence that I could stop a charging bear if necessary. I built a 6″ Long Slide 1911 that makes a great whitetail deer pistol, as well as own a S&W 610 revolver in 10MM that is a dream to shoot and reloads are very rapid with full moon clips and round nose bullets. You can also shoot 40 S&W ammo in it for practice. The 610 is also my carry companion on those fly fishing trips into the back country.
Should it be necessary for me to be involved in a gun fight then I would always want a 10MM with me. Matter of fact my bug out bag has a Colt Delta Elite with several spare magazines and 200 rounds of 10MM in it. I just recently built a 10MM in a Commander length 1911. While the recoil spring is a bit stiff to chamber the first round. I am very happy to know that I have a very capable and concealable pistol with me. The 10MM is everything and more than the FBI wanted it to be in 1986. Now we benefit from having the caliber in state of the art pistols with high tech bullets to shoot in them.