There’s no doubt the 9mm Luger reigns as the most popular caliber for concealed carry today. It achieves a great balance of downrange energy and manageable recoil, especially in concealed carry firearms. However…
If you’re searching for a more capable round in terms of terminal performance, and don’t mind larger-framed guns and added recoil, then don’t neglect the 10mm Auto.
Developed by Lt. Colonel Jeff Cooper in 1983, the 10mm Auto features a .40-caliber bullet placed in a rimless case designed for semiauto handguns. It was adopted by the FBI in 1989, after concluding that the Bureau needed something more powerful than 9mm to stop determined attackers. However, the 10mm was later discontinued when some FBI officers felt it was too big and powerful to handle effectively. As you can see from the table below, the 10mm packs quite a wallop!
Consider Winchester’s vaunted Defender 10mm round, that features a 180-grain bonded hollow point bullet leaving the muzzle at 1240 feet-per-second (FPS), resulting in 614 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy. This makes the 10mm round more powerful than a 357 Magnum, and has nearly double the energy of a 9mm Luger.
|Winchester Product||Bullet Weight (Grains)||Muzzle Velocity (FPS)||Muzzle Energy (ft.-lbs.)|
|Defender 10mm Auto||180||1240||614|
|Defender 9mm Luger||147||1000||326|
|Defender 40 S&W||165||1140||476|
|Defender 357 Mag||125||1325||487|
|Defender 45 Auto||230||920||432|
However, due to Newton’s Third Law of Motion that states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, the 10mm’s recoil is stout when compared to less powerful cartridges. Still, for experienced handgun shooters, it is manageable depending on the weight of the gun and the ammunition used. Modern pistols with better ergonomics and recoil mitigation advancements have also made the 10mm easier to manage.
Another advantage the 10mm has over the 357 Mag and the 44 Mag, is that it can be chambered for semiauto pistols with more than double the capacity of traditional revolvers. This makes it a formidable choice for many different defensive purposes. 10mm pistols are great sidearms while in bear or big boar country, or for home defense where the pistol doesn’t necessarily have to be concealed on your body.
In sum, don’t forget about the 10mm Auto!