Best 10mm Handguns [2022] Which is right for you?

by Travis Pike

January 8, 2022

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The 10mm round is just a different type of cool. It had a short but bright service life and, at one point, was ready to become the new standard for defensive cartridges. The round was developed by Norma with the expertise of famed pistolero Jeff Cooper. The 10mm projectile was a 40 caliber bullet stuck onto a cut and shortened 30 Remington case. The original 10mm load called for a 170-grain projectile traveling at 1,300 feet per second.

That’s a powerhouse for a handgun, and over time numerous loads were developed by both commercial firearms manufacturers and hot-rodding loaders. These can vary from 135-grain rounds at 1,600 feet per second to 230-grain hard cast lead loads at 1,150 feet per second.

Why the 10mm

The 10mm is a very capable handgun cartridge designed to give the user a rod more potent than 357 Magnum in an automatic handgun. The most significant benefit outside of ballistics is magazines that run from 8 to 15 rounds.

The 10mm Auto and versatility go together like peanut butter and chocolate. You can load the rounds incredibly light for a pleasant plinking experience, or load all hot and bothered for hunting, or even bear protection. The round can be used for a wide range of tasks, including concealed and home defense, as well as competition, and hunting medium to large game.

If we graphed the 10mm’s popularity, we’d see some highs in popularity, and then some extreme lows, with a slight resurgence and continued increase in popularity. That’s where we are today. Many manufacturers are recognizing the value of the 10mm round and producing one or two of their pistols in this fan-favorite cartridge.

SpecificationValue
Parent Casing 30 Remington
Bullet Diameter.40 inches
Neck Diameter.423 inches
Base Diameter.425 inches
Case Length .992 inches
Overall Length1.260 inches
Case Capacity24.1 gr H2O
SAAMI Max Pressure37,500 PSI

The 357 Magnum is one of the best fighting revolver cartridges ever developed, but the 10mm benefits from decades of ballistic improvement. When we look at a popular and powerful load like the Hornady XTP 357 Magnum load, which spits a 158-grain projectile at 1,250 feet per second to deliver 548-foot pounds of energy on target, we can easily say that’s a powerful cartridge.

However, let’s look at the original 10mm loading. The 170-grain projectile flies at 1,600 feet per second and delivers over 600 foot-pounds of energy on target. The 10mm outperforms 357 Magnum in both overall power and magazine capacity.

The little 10mm saw adoption with the FBI for a short period where it served after the infamous Miami Shootout left FBI agents undergunned and outperformed and even when they outnumbered the bad guys. The 10mm made its way across the country, but its life was cut short by complaints of excessive recoil, and it’s tendency to break guns.

The FBI load was developed, which reduced recoil and power. Over time the great minds at Smith and Wesson realized that the FBI load could be done with a shorter cartridge, resulting in a smaller, easier to handle gun. Thus, the 40 S&W was born, aka the 40 Short and Weak. The 40 S&W dealt a deathblow to the 10mm and quickly dominated the law enforcement market.

The 10mm’s versatility and the cult-like following has generated numerous firearms designed around the cartridge in most common handgun sizes and designs.

Types of 10mm Handguns

  • Concealed Carry: Admittedly compact and subcompact 10mms are somewhat rare. They most certainly exist and can be found from major companies, including Glock. You’re more likely to find compact 10mm 1911s than most other options. Capacities can vary from 7 to 10 rounds, with options for extended magazines giving you 15 rounds of firepower.
  • Full Size: Full size, duty type 1911s are the most popular and easiest to find option for 10mm aficionados. The 10mm was made to be a fighting gun round, and full-sized handguns are without a doubt the most popular fighting handguns. Barrel lengths can vary from 4 to 5 inches, and capacity can range from 8 to 15 rounds.
  • Beyond Full Size: The 10mm is an excellent long-range performer, and the beyond full-sized category are guns designed for tasks like long-range shooting and hunting. Barrels exceed 5 inches, and this offers a longer sight radius for more precise shots. These big guns are often easier to handle with full power 10mm loads and let you go hot.
  • Revolvers: Yep, the 10mm has found its way into a number of revolvers. Why not? It can outperform the sacred cow that is 357 Magnum, and people still love their blessed six guns. The 10mm in a revolver opens uploading options, even more, giving you even lighter loads and potentially very hot and manageable choices.

Best 10mm by Category

Editor’s Choice

Tanfoglio Witness Elite

Tanfoglio Witness Elite
  • Extremely Well Made
  • Amazing Trigger
  • Very Modular
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Best Concealed Carry

Glock 29

Glock 29
  • Small and Compact
  • Very Reliable
  • Affordable and Easy to Find
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Best Home Defense

Glock 20

Glock 20
  • 15 round magazine capacity
  • Glock Reliability
  • Modern and Modular
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Best 10mm Revolver

Ruger GP100

Ruger GP100
  • Outstanding Trigger
  • Easy to Control
  • Can shoot 40 S&W as well
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Best Budget 10mm

Rock Island Armory Ultra

Rock Island Armory Ultra
  • Excellent features
  • Affordable
  • 1911 aftermarket
Check Price
Wildcard

CMMG Banshee

CMMG Banshee
  • AR-type platform
  • Radial Delayed system reduces recoil
  • Excellent at longer ranges
Check Price

Best 10mm Handgun Reviews

The 10mm handgun is a popular choice for many reasons. Do you have your sights set on one? Let’s look into the specifics of each of our favorites and see what would be the best for you.

#1 Tanfoglio Witness Elite LTD

Editor's Choice
Tanfoglio Witness Elite LTD 10mm

Tanfoglio Witness Elite LTD

The Tanfoglio Witness Elite LTD seems to be the number choice for 10mm guns for the major power factor class.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value C

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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TBD

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Tanfoglio Witness Specs

  • Barrel Length 4.75 inches
  • Weight 39 ounces
  • Capacity 14
  • Caliber 10mm

Tanfoglio Witness Elite LTD 10mm Review

I’m far from a competitive shooter, but I do hang out with a few fellas who love IPSC. The Tanfoglio Witness Elite LTD seems to be the number choice for 10mm guns for the major power factor class. In my time shooting with these friends, I’ve been left nothing but impressed with the Tanfoglio Witness Elite LTD.

This all-metal shooter isn’t afraid of being a hefty girl, and as Freddy Mercury once said, fat-bottom girls make the world go round. The Tangfolion eats up the recoil of the 10mm round and delivers an ultra-smooth, premium shooting experience. The trigger is divine, and the 14 round magazine delivers plenty of 10mm. 

These guns are highly modular, and it’s not uncommon to see Tangofolios equipped with optics, compensators, changing handles, gas pedals, and beyond. All in an attempt to make a smooth shooter even smoother and to wring out an extra ounce of performance.

Tanfoglio Witness Elite LTD Pros and Cons

  • Excellent trigger
  • Low Recoil
  • Outstanding CZ style ergonomics
  • Very Expensive

#2 Glock 29 : Best Concealed Carry 10mm

Glock 29 10mm

Glock 29

The Glock 29 is a bit bigger than most subcompacts but still easily squeezes into waistbands and hides effectively. The Glock 29 is built to be dependable with all manner of 10mm loads, including the lighter, more comfortable options.

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  • Shootability B
  • Reliability B+
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B-

Based on 5 Reviews

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Glock 29 Specs

  • Barrel Length 3.78 inches
  • Weight 24.38 ounces
  • Capacity 10 (15 optional)
  • Caliber 10mm Auto

Glock 29 Review

The Glock 29 almost wins this class by default. There simply aren’t many subcompact 10mms. That’s not to say the Glock 29 isn’t a solid gun. The little Glock packs 10 rounds of 10mm and can accept the 15 round magazines from the Glock 20. This little guy is built with the same level of Glock durability and reliability we see throughout the entire series of Glock pistols.

The Glock 29 is a bit bigger than most subcompacts but still easily squeezes into waistbands and hides effectively. The Glock 29 is built to be dependable with all manner of 10mm loads, including the lighter, more comfortable options. The Glock 29 is currently available as a fourth-generation gun and packs a small rail for adding lights or lasers, as well as the Gen 4 recoil reducing guide rod. You might need it in this little fella.

The Glock 29 is a great gun, but it could use a longer grip for more control. Without something like the Pearce grip extensions, you’ll find yourself rocking a handing pinky. Other than that, the Glock 29 offers a modern polymer frame, subcompact option for concealed carry.

Glock 29 Pros and Cons

  • Small and Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Reliable
  • Heavy recoil
  • The grip is too short.
  • Average Glock sights

#3 Glock 20 : Best Home Defense 10mm

Glock 20

Glock 20

The Glock 20 is a big full-sized gun capable of accomodating a light, and that’s a must for home defense. The full-sized nature makes it easy to control and handle for the home defense encounters.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 6 Reviews

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Glock 20 Specs

  • Barrel Length 4.61 inches
  • Weight 27.34 ounces
  • Capacity 15
  • Caliber 10mm

Glock 20 Review

The Glock 20 is one of my favorite 10mms for a few reasons. First, it’s a plug and play 10mm pistol with no tuning, parts swapping, or load testing needed. Second, the Glock aftermarket is massive, and you can customize it if you so choose. Lastly, it’s dead nuts reliable. The Glock 20 is a modern polymer, striker-fired 10mm that keeps things simple. It’s an easy transition for most shooters who’ve grown up on similar guns.

The Glock 20 is a big full-sized gun capable of accomodating a light, and that’s a must for home defense. The full-sized nature makes it easy to control and handle for the home defense encounters. It’s comfortable to shoot and can be done with relative ease with a single hand. The Glock 20’s 15 round magazine also offers you comforting capacity when things go bump in the night.

The Glock 20 is a great do it gun if you live in a rural environment. It’s capable of home defense, as well as dealing with predators on four legs and pests. Perfect for hiking, hunting, and riding the range with. The Glock 20 is the choice of the elite Sirius Patrols of Denmark for polar bear dissuasion.

Glock 20 Pros and Cons

  • Comforting Capacity
  • Reliable
  • Easy to shoot
  • Average Glock sights

#4 Ruger GP100 Match Champion : Best 10mm Revolver

Ruger GP100 Match Champion

Ruger GP100 Match Champion

The Match Champion might be made for competition, but it’s an outstanding revolver for various roles. It’s too big for concealed carry but could be used for hunting, home defense, or just having fun.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

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Ruger GP100 Specs

  • Barrel Length 4.2 inches
  • Weight 38 ounces
  • Capacity 6
  • Caliber 10mm

Ruger GP100 Match Champion Review

The Ruger GP100 Match Champion is one of the few revolvers out there that has tackled the 10mm. The 10mm can be loaded in all manner of ways. From hot-rodded loads to soft recoiling plinking cartridges and this makes it an excellent revolver round. Revolvers can handle loads hotter and weaker than most automatics. The GP100 Match Champion allows a reloader to try all sorts of 10mm loads.

The Match Champion gains its name from the fact it’s designed for the IDPA revolver classes. This full-sized revolver is designed to be easily controlled and fired rapidly for these competitions. The gun is outfitted with full-sized wood grips, easy to see high visibility sights and an ultra-smooth double-action trigger.

The Match Champion might be made for competition, but it’s an outstanding revolver for various roles. It’s too big for concealed carry but could be used for hunting, home defense, or just having fun. It’s tough to hate a six-gun, and they are always fun to shoot.

Ruger GP100 Match Champion Pros and Cons

  • Full of Premium Features
  • Highly Accurate
  • Soft recoiling
  • Hefty weight and massive gun

Ruger GP100 Match Champion Gun Deals

#5 Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm : Best Budget 10mm Pistol

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm

The best budget 10mm I’ve ever handled or seen is, without a doubt, the Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm. This is a 1911 platform, but RIA has outfitted it with numerous modern features to modernize the old man.

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  • Shootability B
  • Reliability B+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

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Ultra FS Specs

  • Barrel Length 5.0 inches
  • Weight 46.8 ounces
  • Capacity 8+1
  • Caliber 10mm Auto

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm Review

A lot of the guns on this list are quite expensive. 10mm can be a costly caliber to get into, but budget options exist. The best budget 10mm I’ve ever handled or seen is, without a doubt, the Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm. This is a 1911 platform, but RIA has outfitted it with numerous modern features to modernize the old man. The Ultra FS is a single stack design, so you are limited to 8 rounds, but get an ultra-thin grip with those famed 1911 ergonomics.

The full size ‘Government’ profile 1911 is a big gun, and that makes handling the 10mm a comfortable affair. The extra features include the LPA rear sight and high visibility front sight gives you a rapid sight option that’s also adjustable. The grips are G10, and keep the gun locked in your hand even when the 10mm is a thunderous load.

The addition of a nice long beavertail also allows for a comfortable high grip to maximize control over the gun and to fight muzzle rise. The gun maintains the simplistic appeal of a 1911, but the modern features add a nice touch to a budget 10mm.

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm Pros and Cons

  • Excellent Sights
  • Modern Features
  • Budget price tag
  • Excels in no particular field

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm Gun Deals

#6 CMMG Banshee 10mm : Wildcard

CMMG Banshee 10mm

CMMG Banshee 10mm

The CMMG Banshee is legally a handgun, so I’m not breaking the theme of best 10mm handguns, but it’s not a traditional handgun. This AR pistol from CMMG really lets you unleash some 10mm magic.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value C

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

F-

Based on 1 Reviews

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CMMG Banshee Specs

  • Barrel Length 8 inches
  • Weight 5 pounds 9 ounces
  • Capacity 30
  • Caliber 10mm Auto

CMMG Banshee 10mm Review

I like throwing a wildcard in every now and then, and the CMMG Banshee is most certainly a wild option. It’s legally a handgun, so I’m not breaking the theme of best 10mm handguns, but it’s not a traditional handgun. This AR pistol from CMMG really lets you unleash some 10mm magic. By its nature as an AR pistol, it’s very easy to control, can be easily braced, and shot out to 100 yards with relative ease.

The long barrel allows you to maximize velocity from the 10mm, and the easy addition of optics extends your effective range and speed of engagement. The CMMG Banshee 10mm would be an excellent home defense gun, a great truck gun, a pest control device, or whatever else you want it to be. The CMMG Banshee uses radial delayed blowback to provide outstanding control and recoil reduction on top of unbeatable reliability.

Oh yeah, it uses Glock mags too.

CMMG Banshee 10mm Pros and Cons

  • Easy To Control
  • Long Effective Range
  • Easy to accessorize
  • Not concealing this one

CMMG Banshee 10mm Gun Deals

10mm Ammo 180 gr

Federal American Eagle Pistol 10mm 180 Grain
Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Sportsman’s Guide $0.71
GunMag Warehouse $0.85

10mm Ammo Varieties

10mm Pistol Ammo Varieties
Marketplace
Cost Per Round
GRITR Sports $1.89
Sportsman’s Guide $0.52

Choosing a 10mm Handgun

Are You Sure It’s For You

As a 10mm fan, I always ask people if they are positive the 10mm is the experience they want. 10mm is a great cartridge, but it’s not as plug and play as something like the 9mm. The 10mm Auto means learning to read the box of ammo before you buy it. Many loads are similar to the FBI lite load, and if that’s what you want to shoot, the 40 S&W offers a cheaper and more ergonomic option.

On the flip side, the standard 10mm Auto loads can be hot and heavy recoil wise. They don’t touch the 44 Magnum, but you better dot your Is and cross your ts on the handgun fundamentals side. A Buffalo Bore 10mm load through a Glock 29 is not for the faint of heart. Before going 10mm, read which loads you want, learn about swapping recoil springs, and get ready for a not so cheap investment.

Size and Weight Matters

10mm is a long cartridge, much longer than a 9mm or 40 S&W, and this can affect the comfort of a double-stack gun. 15 rounds of 10mm in a Glock 20 is great, but the grip might be a bit big, too big to be comfortable for some. Look at the manufacturer’s listing of the grip width of the gun, and compare it to one currently in your armory.

Most 10mms are bigger guns, and that’s great for recoil control, but it can be a poor concealed carry firearm. Little 10mms exist but can be tough to handle with full power 10mm loads. A lightweight 10mm with a real 10mm load can be an experience. Do you know that guy that gives his high fives with a little too much gusto? That’s how firing a small 10mm can make your hand feel.

The Uses of a 10mm

Concealed Carry

Compact, carry ready 10mms can be a potent option that gives you a defensive tool that can handle vermin on both two legs and four. The downside is you lose some benefits of the 10mm—namely, velocity and effective range. The shorter barrel hampers velocity, and if velocity is hampered, the round may not expand effectively on a soft target. It pays to do research on which rounds work best with your shorter barrel. The shorter sight radius also affects long-range shots and makes them a bit more challenging. 

Home Defense

The 10mm is an awesome home defense cartridge, especially when it’s chambered in a modern double-stack handgun outfitted with a rail. The cartridge was designed from the ground up to be a potent man stopping round, and it is just that. The 10mm in a full-size firearm is hardly a challenge to handle, even with the original 10mm loads. I’d avoid hot hard cast lead loads in favor of hot JHPs in this situation.

Hunting and Field Use

Full size or beyond full-size 10mms make excellent field guns. So much so the Denmark Sirius Patrols are armed with Glock 20s to deal with polar bears. The hot little 10mm does an excellent job at hunting medium-sized animals and can dispatch bears and dangerous critters with ease. The added ability to hold 2 to 9 rounds more than a revolver means more follower up shots as well.

Action Types

The 10mm has leaked and spread into various platforms from numerous companies and even action types. Let’s talk about the various action types you’ll find 10mms chambered in.

Striker Fired

Striker fired guns are the current hotness, and these guns lack a hammer of any kind. Instead, the striker, if propelled by a spring to strike the cartridge and ignites the primer. Striker fired guns often feature partially cocked strikers that are fully cocked and released by the gun’s trigger. This sits somewhere in between a double and single action and provides the user with one consistent trigger pull.

Single Action

Single action guns are often hammer-fired, and in the world of the 10mm, they are most often 1911s of some type. In a single action gun, the trigger’s only job is releasing the hammer. The hammer strikes the firing pin, causing the gun to fire. The slide reciprocates and recocks the hammer for the next shot. These guns tend to have excellent triggers. 

Double Action / Single Action

Double Action / Single Action guns remain popular in the face of striker-fired supremacy. DA/SA guns feature a long and heavy trigger pull for the first shot. After the first shot, the slide cocks the hammer automatically and creates a smoother and lighter single-action pull. DA/SA guns offer shooters restrike capability and a long, deliberate trigger pull for the first shot, which many fans feel increases their safety.

Revolver Actions

Revolvers are a slight bit different from the above-listed action types.

Single action revolvers require the user to manually operate the hammer for every shot.

Double Action Only revolvers mean the trigger is consistently long and heavy for every shot, but there is no hammer manipulation required by the user.

DA/SA revolvers have a double-action trigger, but the user can manually cock the hammer for a shorter and lighter trigger pull.

Ride the Lightning

The 10mm is an awesome round capable of outstanding performance. This little powerhouse is fearless, capable, and can deliver accuracy and range beyond the norm. The 10mm’s cult following has remained so loyal for so long for a reason. The 10mm offers you magnum performance in an automatic pistol that’s hard to beat. Check out why happiness is best measured by the centimeter.

10mm Handgun Starter Pack

If you’re looking to pick up a 10mm, there are a few extra things you’ll probably also want to pick up.

  • Handgun Safe: The first thing that should be considered with firearms is safety. When most people think about firearm safety, they think of safe firearm handling, however, safety should continue to be a concern even when you’re not using a firearm. Handgun safes are a perfect solution to store your handgun safely so that no unauthorized persons (especially children) can have access to it while also allowing you to access your pistol in the handgun safe quickly should you need it in a defensive scenario. Check out our article on the Best Handgun Safes to help you decide which one is best for you.
  • Gun Cleaning Kit: There’s no way you should pick up a new handgun and not keep it well maintained. We’ve got a whole article dedicated to gun cleaning kits to guide you in everything you’ll need to keep your pistol in tip top shape.  
  • Eye Protection: This should go without saying, but you need to invest in some quality shooting glasses. One errant piece of brass, and you’re in for a bad day. Check out our recommendations for the best shooting glasses!
  • Hearing Protection: Let us help you out! We’ve gathered all of our favorites to help you decide what the best hearing protection is for you.

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I have owned this gun since 2011 and is model 20SF never had any issues or problems is my hunting company when I go out into the woods. I have shoot this gun until my hand hurt never a fail. Amazing reliability, is not an everyday cary like I said is my hunting buddy.

  2. Awesome, and more fun than you’d think. I don’t understand what the issue is with recoil, just learn to roll with it. This Glock feeds every time with all different brands and wieghts. I love it and carry it everyday.

  3. This is my second G29 and I agree withG Coyle it’s a great gun. I don’t see any problem with recoil. I found it softer shooting than a G22 I had. Glock sights are Glock sights. If you like different ones, change them. This gun has fed everything reliably. It’s not pretty but I didn’t buy it for it’s looks. Some people complain about the short grip but I usually carry and shoot sub compact guns so it’s not an issue. I rated it 5 stars. It’s an A+ for me. It’s comfortable, powerful, reliable and accurate that sounds like a home run to me.

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