The good old .45 ACP was the answer to the .4 Colt, then, when the US Army went from revolvers to semi-autos feeling the need to actually hit and down attackers reliably. There are other great revolver cartridges, that just outperform what semi-autos have to offer. The good old .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum come to mind. Jeff Cooper was looking for a round that could do to the .45 ACP what .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum could do to .45 Colt, in simple terms, a round that would eclipse it. It would bring more penetration, more energy, and overall better ballistics. So, the 10mm was born.
At the beginning, this cartridge did not catch on as expected. Debuted in 1983, there was only one manufacturer for this cartridge, and only one manufacturer offering pistols able to shoot it. All of this would change with the disastrous 1989 FBI Miami shootout. There are different lessons to be drawn from this fight, but one of them was that the agents in it were just outgunned. To remedy the situation, the FBI adopted the 10mm caliber.
This new love affair did not las long. Agents had difficulties handling the recoil of this hard hitting round. In order to help, they came up with a lighter load which ultimately led to the development of .40 S&W.
While that could have been the end of this cartridge, there were other companies adding their rather hot loaded 10mm ammo to the market which was welcomed by shooters looking for more power. This way, the 10mm of today came into existence, a big round with a ton of energy able to be shot out of the comparably small package of a pistol. If you are looking for such a gun as a range toy, to defend yourself, as home-defense or backpack gun, here you get some of the best you can find on the market today.
The Colt Delta Elite is the original 1911 pistol chambered in 10mm. To understand its significance, we have to take a step back. The 10mm cartridge is hard hitting, but not only the target, but also the shooter with its strong recoil. However, if you have shot a Glock 19 in 9mm and compare it to a traditional 1911 chambered in .45 ACP, you might notice that the recoil difference is not that much. In other words, if you opt for a 1911 in 10mm, you are not getting that much more force to deal with compared to a Glock in 9mm.
The Colt Delta Elite is no exception to that and achieves this feat the same way as any other real 1911. It is big and it is heavy. The weight soaks up the recoil. Actually, it is the inertia of the mass of the gun that has to be overcome. So, this 1911 takes a big part of the force onto itself instead of just transferring it into the hand of the shooter.
As a true 1911, the Colt Delta Elite comes with the same ergonomics ad controls. That makes it a very safe gun, as it features a manual thumb safety as well as a grip safety. It points naturally, and it offers a good grip that allows for a great recoil control.
Built to be reliable, it features a dual recoil spring that helps to dampen the felt recoil even more. Also, you get an arched mainspring housing and a rounded, Commander style hammer.
The Springfield XD-M Elite Compact OSP is a small pistol in a big bore caliber. You can carry it concealed and still have a capacity of 11+1 rounds despite its size. The barrel length stands at 3.8 inches. The controls are fully ambidextrous, and the trigger is very responsive. Being optics ready, you can attach whatever red dot you want to get your gun on target faster if push comes to shove.
8. Dan Wesson Elite Series Titan
The Dan Wesson Elite Series Titan follows the concept of mass soaking up recoil with its all-steel frame. Also, it is a 1911, so you get the reputation and the good trigger coming with it. Being only single action, the hammer has to be cocked before you can achieve anything pulling the trigger. However, that makes for a light pull with a very crisp break.
Contrary to other 1911s, this gun does come with a higher capacity. While the old-style 1911s feature only single stack magazines making them rather slim, they do lack in the round count department. The Dan Wesson Elite Series Titan has non of that. It offers 13+1 rounds to the shooter.
This gun is rugged, coming with rugged night sights recessed into the slide as well as with snake scale serrations forward and aft on the slide. The G10 competition grips make it natural to shoot and to control the recoil. For home defense, you can add accessories thanks to its tactical rail. A squared off trigger guard and a flat faced trigger make the package complete.
The Ronin 1911 from Springfield Armory offer a mix of the classic 1911 and modern features. It comes with a forged carbon steel slide and frame and a hammer-forged barrel. That makes it very durable and rugged while also being accurate and easy to control during shooting. To make the look more classic, it comes with smooth and checkered Crossed Cannon wooden grips that also give you a good hold of the gun.
The Kimber Custom TLE series, with TLE standing for Tactical Law Enforcement, are built for great performance. For that, they feature match-grade barrels and bushings. The trigger pull is set at 4 or 5 pounds, and they come with a steel frame bringing more weight and a better recoil control. There is a 30 lines per inch checkering on the front grip strap to give operators a positive control when firing in rapid successions. Aiming is done with 3 dot tritium night sights that improve target acquisition on low light conditions.
The M&P M2.0 from Smith &Wesson is meant for self-defense, but also for sporting and professional use. For that, it comes with an extended stainless-steel chassis and a low bore axis making recoil control easier and reducing muzzle rise which allows for quicker follow up shots.
The Trigger is very light and very responsive. The texture on the grip gives you a good purchase, and you get 4 interchangeable palmswell inserts. This allows you to fit the grip exactly to your needs. The Armornite finish is rugged and corrosion resistant.
4. Wilson Combat CQB
The Wilson Combat CQB comes with all the firepower you expect from 10mm and the quality and reliability Wilson Combat is known for. At 25 yards, it is no challenge to get 1-inch groups. For that, it features a 5-inch stainless steel match grade barrel ad bushing which are hand-fitted. Add to this the carbon steel frame and slide, and you get a very good package. Also, it features a high-ride Bullet Proof beavertail grip safety, and a contoured magazine well. To enhance you hold, the grip sports front strap checkering. You aim with a rear Battlesight, and a fiber optic front sight. This is the go to gun for everyone who just wants the best and can afford it.
The Rock Island TAC ULTRA FS is on the budget sight of things and comes with a full tactical rail to mount different accessories. Also, it is constructed with 4140 Ordnance steel giving it great durability. The barrel has a length of 5 inches and a full-length guide rod. The rear sides are adjustable and low profile. The front sight are high visible fiber optic allowing for a quick target acquisition.
The hammer and trigger are skeletonized and feature an adjustable over-travel stop. A parkerized matte coating makes the gun durable and give it a good look. Last but not least, it comes with G10 tactical grips for a secure hold while shooting hot 10mm rounds.
Looking for a pistol for hunting and competition? Then the Glock 40 MOS is your pick. It features a 6.02-inch barrel for more accuracy and performance. It squeezes a few extra feet per second out of the 10mm projectiles. Also, with the corresponding long slide, you get a longer side radius.
In the MOS configuration, you can use various red dot optics. As a Gen 4, you get different grip inserts, so you can fit it to the size of your hand. That includes optional beavertails to protect you from slide bite. Even with its size and capacity of 15+1 rounds, it is still fairly light weighing only 32.28 ounces. That makes it easy to carry if you can handle the size. For the recoil, the lower weight does not help much with that, but a polymer frame does have some give for the recoil force taking away at least a little bit of it.
The Sig Sauer P220 Legion features SIG`s Legion gray coating and G10 grips. There is checkering at the front strap and under the trigger guard. With it, it does not only look cool but allow for good recoil management. The slide is made from stainless steel sporting front cocking serrations and SIG`s Electro Optics X-Ray high visibility day/night sights. The frame is stainless steel as well, and the barrel is made from carbon steel. This makes it very durable and accurate under all circumstances.
There you have it guys, some of the best 10mm guns you can find. If you have another one that should make the list, sound it off in the comments, and let us know what makes it so great.