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Old October 12, 2019, 10:27 PM   #1
Forte S+W
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Whatever happened to the 10mm comeback?

Over the course of the past few years, I saw a lot of articles online loudly proclaiming the imminent triumphant return of the 10mm Auto cartridge to the mainstream. An exciting proposition which had excited both long-time fans of the cartridge as well as newcomers who simply liked the sound of it.
Articles on the 10mm Auto spread like wildfire, repeating the tale of the rise and fall of the mighty cartridge, how it had faded into obscurity, and how factory loaded ammunition was by and large just .40 S&W in a longer case, yet the cartridge was in the midst of a resurgence in popularity which would surely result in new pistols coming to market chambered in 10mm with ammo manufactures following suit by ramping up production and loading it up to its original specifications.

However, years have passed, yet the 10mm Auto really doesn't seem to be any more popular than it previously was. It definitely still has a strong cult following, but I wouldn't call it mainstream. No new pistols have been released for the cartridge, ammo still seems to be scarce, expensive, and largely loaded no hotter than its shortened counterpart.

So I've been left wondering lately, whatever happened to the 10mm Auto's highly anticipated comeback? Was it all just one big viral marketing campaign which failed to catch on or something? I just don't understand how something that was so hyped hasn't really seemed to have gone anywhere over the past few years, and am left wondering what exactly suggested it was coming back in the first place. Because honestly, looking back on some of the articles, none of them really explained the basis for the belief that it was making a comeback, save for minor things like Ruger chambering one of their 1911s in 10mm and a few companies offering pistol caliber carbines in 10mm.

Seriously, am I missing something? Because as far as I can see 10mm is no more popular than it was previously, nobody is offering any new handguns chambered in the cartridge, and the hype train appears to have come to an abrupt stop in 2018. It almost seems like it was just a viral marketing campaign which attempted to use the .40 S&W's decline in popularity as a springboard to promote the more powerful 10mm Auto cartridge which unfortunately failed to catch on because the actual sales numbers just weren't enough to convince manufactures to come out with new pistols, and just couldn't appeal to a market full of folks who already considered the weaker .40 S&W cartridge to be uncomfortable to shoot.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old October 12, 2019, 11:05 PM   #2
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I love my 10 mm’s. I have the Springfield TPS 6” and Kimber as well. I want the Wilson Combat and the Dan Wesson 10’s next.


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Old October 13, 2019, 03:13 AM   #3
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OP, you bring up some good points, but the 10mm comeback is a slow, but steady one. 6 years ago when I was getting into guns and watching youtube, 10mm was talked about occasionally, but in the past few years, everyone is talking about it.

For many, many years since the advent of the .40 in the late 80s/early 90s, your only options for 10mm were a Colt Delta Elite or a Glock. The concept of a revolver or even a carbine in 10mm was out of the question. Decades later, with a lot of thanks to the increase in gun owners due to various and sundry reasons, gun companies are looking to grab as much market share as they can, so 10mm, given its power, was something companies wanted to offer to get market share, problem is that they mostly put 10mm in heavy, expensive 1911's because it was cheap enough for the manufacturers to do, and not polymer pistols most people want.

The issue with 10mm is that companies are hesitant to make a full size pistol that's not in one of the big three calibers of 9mm, .40 (because they share frames with 9mm), and .45. Glock uses the same frame for their .45 and 10mm, so why others can't do the same doesn't make sense to me. I would have expected by now that Ruger, S&W, even Beretta and Taurus would be offering some polymer 10mm's, but they're not.

The issue is it's a circle of self fulfilling prophecy. The manufacturer's are hesitant to make a full size semi auto in 10mm because they're not as popular as 9/40/45 and 10mm's aren't as popular as 9/40/45 because the ammo isn't as cheap as 9/40/45 and the ammo makers won't make 10mm ammo in quantities as large as 9/40/45 to lower costs because 10mm isn't as popular as 9/40/45 because there aren't many guns in 10mm to choose from outside of Glock, 1911's, and Springfield.

IMO, there's no reason 10mm, if made in equal quantities as .40, should cost more than .40 does. It's the same bullets, powders, primers, and generally, machines that make it.

The thing about the factory ammo tho is, as you said, companies like Federal load 10mm to not much above that of .40 S&W levels. The ammo companies do this because they're using .40 S&W JHP bullets meant to expand at slower .40 velocities; crank up the velocity to 10mm power and they fall apart in soft tissue, reduce penetration, and low penetration is not good for self defense.

So why don't the ammo companies use properly made 10mm JHP bullets? It goes back to 10mm not being as popular as 9/40/45. I see that Federal recently came out with a 9mm that is polymer coated and is fragmenting, Syntech Defense I think it's called. It's amazing the number of funky new ammo that comes out in 9mm, but the reason it's in 9mm is because 9mm is the most popular pistol caliber in the world. The companies making the ammo see more potential profit in their investment than they do in doing anything with 10mm.

Of course, that's just doing a disservice to the gun community, but companies are in business to make money, not provide some altruistic service for the gun community.

All that being as it may, there are still things 10mm does better than the 9/40/45 or has various reasons for being a better choice than those calibers. More power than all three, higher capacities than .45, able to shoot .40 in some pistols without any modifications are the big three I can think of.

Personally, I'm planning on getting a 10mm Glock soon, probably December. My intent is to handload for it as factory ammo doesn't do 10mm justice and isn't cheap either. I have a bunch of .40 pistols and ammo, so a 10mm that shoots .40 too is nice if I just want to bring it to the range to shoot and not have to spend a couple hours making a box of 10mm.
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Old October 13, 2019, 03:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TruthTellers View Post
OP, you bring up some good points, but the 10mm comeback is a slow, but steady one. 6 years ago when I was getting into guns and watching youtube, 10mm was talked about occasionally, but in the past few years, everyone is talking about it.

For many, many years since the advent of the .40 in the late 80s/early 90s, your only options for 10mm were a Colt Delta Elite or a Glock. The concept of a revolver or even a carbine in 10mm was out of the question. Decades later, with a lot of thanks to the increase in gun owners due to various and sundry reasons, gun companies are looking to grab as much market share as they can, so 10mm, given its power, was something companies wanted to offer to get market share, problem is that they mostly put 10mm in heavy, expensive 1911's because it was cheap enough for the manufacturers to do, and not polymer pistols most people want.

The issue with 10mm is that companies are hesitant to make a full size pistol that's not in one of the big three calibers of 9mm, .40 (because they share frames with 9mm), and .45. Glock uses the same frame for their .45 and 10mm, so why others can't do the same doesn't make sense to me. I would have expected by now that Ruger, S&W, even Beretta and Taurus would be offering some polymer 10mm's, but they're not.

The issue is it's a circle of self fulfilling prophecy. The manufacturer's are hesitant to make a full size semi auto in 10mm because they're not as popular as 9/40/45 and 10mm's aren't as popular as 9/40/45 because the ammo isn't as cheap as 9/40/45 and the ammo makers won't make 10mm ammo in quantities as large as 9/40/45 to lower costs because 10mm isn't as popular as 9/40/45 because there aren't many guns in 10mm to choose from outside of Glock, 1911's, and Springfield.

IMO, there's no reason 10mm, if made in equal quantities as .40, should cost more than .40 does. It's the same bullets, powders, primers, and generally, machines that make it.

The thing about the factory ammo tho is, as you said, companies like Federal load 10mm to not much above that of .40 S&W levels. The ammo companies do this because they're using .40 S&W JHP bullets meant to expand at slower .40 velocities; crank up the velocity to 10mm power and they fall apart in soft tissue, reduce penetration, and low penetration is not good for self defense.

So why don't the ammo companies use properly made 10mm JHP bullets? It goes back to 10mm not being as popular as 9/40/45. I see that Federal recently came out with a 9mm that is polymer coated and is fragmenting, Syntech Defense I think it's called. It's amazing the number of funky new ammo that comes out in 9mm, but the reason it's in 9mm is because 9mm is the most popular pistol caliber in the world. The companies making the ammo see more potential profit in their investment than they do in doing anything with 10mm.

Of course, that's just doing a disservice to the gun community, but companies are in business to make money, not provide some altruistic service for the gun community.

All that being as it may, there are still things 10mm does better than the 9/40/45 or has various reasons for being a better choice than those calibers. More power than all three, higher capacities than .45, able to shoot .40 in some pistols without any modifications are the big three I can think of.

Personally, I'm planning on getting a 10mm Glock soon, probably December. My intent is to handload for it as factory ammo doesn't do 10mm justice and isn't cheap either. I have a bunch of .40 pistols and ammo, so a 10mm that shoots .40 too is nice if I just want to bring it to the range to shoot and not have to spend a couple hours making a box of 10mm.
Well TruthTellers there was a 10mm chambered Thompson SMG, not quite sure if fits the bill for "carbine" but close enough.
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Old October 13, 2019, 09:13 AM   #5
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@TruthTellers

Thank you for taking the time to write out such a detailed response the thread.

Yours was just the sort of detailed, tangible response that I was looking for, as it actually explains why there aren't more pistols and ammo being developed for the 10mm Auto cartridge.

It's a real shame too, because I would love to own something along the lines of a Smith & Wesson M&P10mm or a Ruger SR10. Right now the options are rather limited and most of them are single stack 1911s. Other than that there's mostly just Glocks and a few other European pistols. Don't get me wrong, I love European pistols, (my favorite is the Walther PPK/S) but I'd like to own an American-made 10mm pistol.

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Old October 13, 2019, 10:19 AM   #6
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Most people don't start off with a 10mm as a first, second or even third pistol. Let's say you already own: 9/40/45/38/357/44 What in the world is a 10mm going to give you that you "need" or conceivably want in a handgun but don't already have?

A full power 10mm round in a carbine might be a different animal but the velocity curve tends to run on the flat side from 5" to 16" so again what is the advantage? You won't get more power than you will out of 5.56, which gives less recoil, higher capacity and is a fraction of the price per round.
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Old October 13, 2019, 10:44 AM   #7
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Thank you for taking the time to write out such a detailed response the thread, especially when you could have just as easily written me off as a troll as others in this thread have. (Do trolls really take the time to type out as much as I did around here? I'm used to seeing trolls just post lazy, inflammatory comments to get maximum attention with minimal effort.)

Yours was just the sort of detailed, tangible response that I was looking for, as it actually explains why there aren't more pistols and ammo being developed for the 10mm Auto cartridge.

It's a real shame too, because I would love to own something along the lines of a Smith & Wesson M&P10mm or a Ruger SR10. Right now the options are rather limited and most of them are single stack 1911s. Other than that there's mostly just Glocks and a few other European pistols. Don't get me wrong, I love European pistols, (my favorite is the Walther PPK/S) but I'd like to own an American-made 10mm pistol.
Well, ya kinda asked for it by starting off with a deliberately provocative subject statement and content that more or less fits the profile of "this cartridge sucks because" and didn't seem connected to reality. Sorry if I overreacted.

My advice get one and find out for yourself. Buy a quality one and you will likely have no problem selling it a decent price should you decide it is just a bunch of hype. The only thing I'd suggest is--if you're going the handgun route--get one with a 6" barrel as it does pick up extra performance from the added length over say a 4.5 or 5 inch. I have a Glock 20 now--but next time around I'd probably get a 1911 style sig or Springfield armory one. be sure the barrel chamber opening fully supports the case base.
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Old October 13, 2019, 11:02 AM   #8
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the come back is just a romantic but fleeting dream. general factory ammo is still weak and the only way to get the true benefit from the round was to invest in reloading supplies or spend a lot of money buying boutique factory loads.
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Old October 13, 2019, 11:10 AM   #9
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the come back was in the minds or reloaders. general factory ammo is still weak and the only way to get the true benefit from the round was to invest in reloading supplies or spend a lot of money buying boutique factory loads.
Are you suggesting the increase in manufacturers making pistols, carbines and aftermarket parts for 10mm (which has been easily ten-fold or more in the past ten years) are all due to reloader's demand?
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Old October 13, 2019, 11:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
Are you suggesting the increase in manufacturers making pistols, carbines and aftermarket parts for 10mm (which has been easily ten-fold or more in the past ten years) are all due to reloader's demand?
I'm suggesting they are dipping their toes in the water but won't dive in because they see the demand is for other guns and calibers.

*** I edited my initial post before I saw your quote of mine...
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Old October 13, 2019, 11:22 AM   #11
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I never actually said anything bad about the cartridge itself, I merely questioned the articles which repeatedly hyped it up as being in the midst of a comeback, despite the fact that it wasn't really getting any new firearms chambered in it.
I don't consider companies rechambering existing pistols which were already historically available in 10mm Auto to be "new" pistols either, so the fact that multiple manufactures have released their own take on the Colt Delta Elite 1911 doesn't really strike me as strong indication that the cartridge has come back into the mainstream, so much as it is merely a nod towards those who recognize the cartridge and which to own it.

I mean, think about the .380 ACP, when it had a comeback about a decade ago, everybody started coming out with all new designs to make the smallest, lightest .380 pistol they possibly could because the Keltec P3AT and later the Ruger LCP were selling like crazy, breathing new life into the cartridge by essentially restoring its role as a cartridge for smaller, more compact pistols.
By comparison, the 10mm Auto's comeback wasn't prompted by a new pistol design chambered in the cartridge, (although there was some talk of the BrenTEN being revived alongside it which sadly didn't go anywhere...) so it just seemed to me like a lot of lip service.

If anything, the whole reason why I posted this thread is because I'm disappointed that the 10mm Auto hasn't really made as much of a comeback as articles claimed that it would, because I've actually been waiting on buying a 10mm pistol in anticipation of new firearms of more modern design coming out in the cartridge, which sadly hasn't really happened, not for handguns at least.
Eventually I'll probably end up getting one of the 10mm 1911s on the market just to scratch the itch, but what I was really hoping for was a new, American-Made, double-stack 10mm pistol to hit the market. Which to the best of my knowledge, hasn't happened. It's actually kind of funny how an American cartridge like the 10mm Auto is offered by far more European companies than domestic ones.

Oh well, sorry for the misunderstanding, these are just the sorts of threads that I tend to write, and this is the first non-brand-specific firearms forum that I've ever signed up with, ergo it seemed like the best place to post such a general question.
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Old October 13, 2019, 11:26 AM   #12
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One thing I do wonder is how many people that have tried the best millimeter in the past few years decided to stay, or turned around and sold it?

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Old October 13, 2019, 11:32 AM   #13
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of all the factory ammo made by the big 3 or 4, the Win STHP was the closest to real 10mm velocities and weight combinations, and even it was 150 fps slower from full sized guns than advertised. now, add the very high price for a box of 50 rounds and you see that there was little to any advantage over the .45acp or even some .40cal rounds. most shooters saw very little sense in buying 180 and 200 gr. target ammo made by the big ~3 from a LGS when those rounds tipped the velocity scales at just above 950 fps from their own full sized guns.
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Old October 13, 2019, 11:42 AM   #14
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I didn't get any 10s based on some new advertising push. I am probably an advertising companies worst nightmare cause ads don't even register and hype goes straight to my internal recycle bin. I'm probably a bit slow to embrace the new stuff so that probably saves me some money too. lol

I have a few 10s but was really only interested in them as back up woods guns, or on the east/northeast mountains as a primary. I'm not a 1911 guy, but the RIA high capacity 10mm has me interested and will probably get that in the next year.

I wouldn't expect some 10mm craze to catch on like wildfire, but I also don't see it becoming obsolete. I don't see Less Interest. Ammo prices for the past 3-4 years have been the same from what I have seen. You have remington that still charges an outrageous price for a box of 50. And then you have S&B where you can buy 2 boxes of 50 and a few more rounds for the same price as the remington... and nothing has changed on that for years. And federal still makes the most embarrassing self defense loads the for 10mm on the market. If you want good 10mm you have to shop Underwood, BB and DT. Underwood has some great selections of 10mm for cheaper than the others and probably better ammo too.

Cheaper ammo prices would be nice. Overall I think the 10mm is probably in a good place right now.
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Old October 13, 2019, 12:00 PM   #15
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Over the course of the past few years, I saw a lot of articles online loudly proclaiming the imminent triumphant return of the 10mm Auto cartridge to the mainstream.
Since you didn't cite any sources, who did the articles. Not being a follower of the 10mm, I never noticed such an even as forthcoming. I would tend to believe that the hoop-la was more from wishful die hard fans than any sort of actual industry effort.

In going back and doing a search online and finding some of the articles, what I am seeing is maybe more of a bit of confusion on the part of the authors and readers. They have assumed that since a few new folks are offering or re-offering the 10mm that there is some sort of comeback as a result and that the cartridge will be more accepted/used/shot in the general shooting population.

This large comeback seems to be more of speculation based on misinterpretation of non-specific information, or maybe it is just confusion on what it means to be a "comeback." A few companies are now offering 10mm options as a new option or are re-offering them, but it isn't as if they are doing this in response to some sort of new need or demand. They just seem to be expanding current offerings into 10mm to satisfy a real, but limited demand.

It is interesting that folks are writing about a comeback of a cartridge that wasn't ever that popular in the first place. From what I can tell, the "comeback" has occurred in the sense that there are more options available to a niche group of diehard shooters who love it. That is not the same as being popular in the general shooting population.
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Old October 13, 2019, 12:52 PM   #16
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Me, I'm wondering if .45 super can be as good or better than 10mm!
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Old October 13, 2019, 01:04 PM   #17
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Based on the load data I've seen, .45 Super comes close to full power 10mm loads, but doesn't quite equal them and certainly doesn't exceed them. .460 Rowland on the other hand can, but being a rather obscure cartridge which requires expensive aftermarket modifications to fire it out of a 1911.
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Old October 13, 2019, 01:19 PM   #18
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Before Wal-Mart stopped selling handgun ammo, caliber popularity tied to "mart calibers".
"Mart caliber" = 9mm/40/45 FMJ
Inexpensive 10mm FMJ not available at the mart, so popularity limited.
The end of mart handgun ammo, for many this means go to local gun shop or the inconceivable buy ammo online, maybe in quantity greater than a box or two.
Once exposed to online ammo selection, some may discover that ammo in other calibers like 10mm is easily obtained.
Just maybe they will get a 1911 in 10mm or a 10mm Glock, thanks to enlightenment beyond the former limitation of mart calibers.

Holdouts? Sure.
9mm advocates that prioritize cheapest ammo, most rounds fired in the least amount of time, they will still resist 10mm, along with 40 and 45
Someone content to bet their life on a 32 acp - beyond hope..
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Old October 13, 2019, 01:37 PM   #19
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the approach to this is all wrong by the gun manufacturers IMO. The guns themselves are not the question/problem/issue.... its the ammo situation. factory loaded stuff is weak and at best only marginally better than .40cal but at a higher cost. properly loaded 10mm is only available through mail order and at a much higher price by the time its in your hands.

if underwood were to sell their 165gr. jhp 10mm in gun shops for the same price as federal hydrashok .45acp et al. things could really start to turn around for the 10mm. until then its either carry one with weak factory loads available in your locale or invest in reloading it yourself.
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Old October 13, 2019, 02:22 PM   #20
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I had to modify my remarks, and start all over. I thought that the 10mm was too much for most people to handle. But when I looked for ammo, most of what I found was weak.
10mmm.....e0cd20a14adf521bf3c044a5cf1e01df.jpg
This was typical, a 180 grain at 1,180 FPS. I can get that much power with a .45 Auto.

I figured that load at 557 foot pounds of ME, which is OK. But I was thinking a 10mm should have 700 foot pounds of ME.

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Old October 13, 2019, 02:31 PM   #21
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I have fired the 255 gr BB Hardcast in my G21 with some modifications and it felt like it had noticeably more wallop than the 220 gr BB Hardcast in my G40.

The only 10mm ammo that was right up there with the 255 gr BB Hardcast was the UW 140 gr Xtreme Penetrators.

For the woods these days I pretty much just use the UW 200 gr polymer coated hardcast. The 220 works great too and doesn't feel like I am pushing the gun to it's limit, but if I need more I have the big bore revolvers.
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Old October 13, 2019, 02:37 PM   #22
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10mm never went anywhere, no need to comeback. There are more people buying 10mm than ever before. There are more options for guns and ammo is easier to find than ever before.

But to expect the round to be as common as 9mm or 45 ACP is unrealistic. It is, and always has been a specialty round. For use against human threats or paper punching it is more powerful than needed.

But it does fill a role for guys who want a semi auto instead of a revolver or big game hunting or large predator hunting. The round has proven capable on cape buffalo and brown bear and comes in a lighter, more compact gun than magnum revolvers. And it is growing in popularity among that segment.

Also, as the 40 S&W declines in popularity I expect the 10mm to grow even more to fill part of that gap.
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Old October 13, 2019, 02:42 PM   #23
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In response to some posts made while I was typing. The 10mm is versatile enough to literally shoot 40 S&W rounds from 10mm pistols as well as lighter 10mm loads that mimic 40 S&W. The better loads will shoot 200 gr hardcast loads to 1300 fps or a touch more. While there are some 45 ACP loads shooting 255 gr loads, the much better SD of 10mm means penetration is going to be MUCH better with 10mm. With less recoil.
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Old October 13, 2019, 03:05 PM   #24
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Yes, the 10 IS making a comeback, I personally bought my first 10mm back 2 years ago. I also belong to a gun club with 2000+ members and the casual buzz conversations i'm hearing more frequently is "10mm" . The semi handgun crown is bored. There's a bazzilion different configurations or 9mm and 45acp. The FN5.7 sparked some initial "hype" but it's a very expensive, and PIA to handload so it's dying . The 357 Sig, same deal, initial major hype. but another prepitarty, pia to handload caliber so it too is much less popular. So what's the new flavor of the month caliber that's easy for handloaders ? The 10mm !!
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Old October 13, 2019, 03:21 PM   #25
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american man, thanks for the post. I have a glock 21c that I am trying to decide between 10mm conversion or .45 super. With the .45 super would just need a fullly supported barrel, recoil rod and spring and .45 super brass.
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