Best 10mm Pistols & Handguns: Go Big or Go Home

When discussing the power and accuracy of handgun cartridges, the debate is usually centered around the 9mm vs the .45 ACP (vs the .40 S&W).  But there’s another gun that’s often left out of this debate – the 10mm.

Colt Delta Elite with Boxes of Black Talon 10mm Ammo
Colt Delta Elite with Boxes of Black Talon 10mm Ammo

And depending on who you ask, some shooters will tell you that the 10mm is one of the more powerful handgun calibers out there.  Benefits of this cartridge include deeper penetration and greater muzzle energy than the 9mm and .45 ACP, but that comes at a price. 

10mm Origin

The 10mm was designed in part by Colonel Jeff Cooper, a marine, firearms instructor, and 1911 lover who was looking to improve on the .45 ACP cartridge.  Col. Cooper was known for a number of incredible feats (which you can read about here), but one of his most notable contributions to the firearms world was his assistance with the 10mm Auto, a powerful caliber capable of reaching 1,200 feet per second and able to maintain accuracy beyond 50 yards.

Despite being an incredibly popular cartridge in the early 1980s, the 10mm Auto became yesterday’s news seemingly overnight as law enforcement started phasing out 9mms the wake of the infamous 1986 FBI Miami shootout.  This gun battle led to the FBI creating the .40 S&W, a shortened (and arguably suboptimal) version of the 10mm Auto.

Side-by-Side Comparison of the Most Popular Handgun Cartridges
Side-by-Side Comparison of the Most Popular Handgun Cartridges

While the 10mm didn’t get all of the notoriety that it deserves, it is a well-rounded caliber, which is one of the reasons why it’s garnered a cult following over the years.  It’s even experiencing a resurgence as new hobbyists are discovering just how awesome this cartridge is.   

Whether you’re interested in purchasing your very first 10mm handgun or you just want to add a new gun to your growing collection, we have just the ones for you.

Best 10mm Handgun

1. Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra MS

Know what I love about Rock Island Armory’s 1911s?  They give you that vintage 1911 look and feel, and even when they add a bit of a Hollywood twist, they still don’t deviate from the classics.

Rock Ultra MS
The Rock Ultra MS Is a Mighty Fine Looking 10mm

At first glance, you might be reluctant to even shoot the Rock Ultra MS ($731) because of how beautiful it looks.  But don’t let its flashy design fool you, this 10mm pistol performs with the best of them and might do you everything that your .45 ACP 1911 does and then some.

What makes this gun great?

Aside from its flawless craftsmanship, I really like the attention to detail that was put into the Rock Ultra MS.  The magazine well has a slightly larger-than-usual opening that works brilliantly with the gun’s tapered 8-round magazines, making reloading on the fly simple and convenient.

Another nice perk is the fiber optic fight sight, which makes target acquisition so much easier than guns using standard iron sights.  That, combined with the gun’s smooth design to reduce holster snag, makes the Rock Ultra MS a great weapon for tactical situations.

If you’re one of those people who prefer solid guns with a sturdy feel over polymer-based pistols, you’ll love the Rock Ultra MS.  With an unloaded weight of 37.76oz, you’ll definitely notice it when it’s in your hands.  But still, it’s not an uncomfortable fit and it’s quite nice to shoot.

2. Sig Sauer P220 Hunter

The P220 Hunter ($1,400) is the 10mm Auto variant of Sig’s popular P220 line of handguns. While it’s one of the pricier 10mm pistols out there, buying a Sig Sauer means that you’re guaranteed to get dependability and pinpoint accuracy with every round fired – which is one of the reasons why Sig won the US Army MHS contract at the beginning of the year.

at Cabelas

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What makes this gun great?

The P220 Hunter ain’t no slouch.  It’s big, bulky, and with a weight of nearly 40oz, it’s not something you’ll holster and forget about.  With that said, the Hunter is also a beautiful gun that perfectly combines the power of the 10mm cartridge with Sig’s superior engineering.

The truth is that there’s very little not to love about the Hunter aside from its jaw-dropping sticker price.  Just looking at the gun’s exquisite design and Kryptek camo finish is mesmerizing.  And when you look at all the perks that come with owning this gun, you start to justify its price tag.

Perks like…

  • Aggressive grip texture that lets you grip firmly on the gun without irritating your hands.
  • Solid stainless steel slide and frame.
  • Ambidextrous safety system that feels natural and easy to operate on the fly.
  • Adjustable rear sight and tritium fiber optic front sight.
  • Match-grade barrel (5”) for improved accuracy over longer range.

But can we just take a moment and appreciate how the gun looks?

P220 Hunter finish
So Much Attention to Detail in the Finish

3. Colt Delta Elite

The Delta Elite ($1,100) is a classic 10mm handgun that’s been around the since the late 1980s and continues to impress and outperform its competition.

Designed for people who love the classic Colt 1911 but want something a little more that only a 10mm can offer, the Delta Elite offers the best of both worlds: a gun worthy of self-defense but powerful enough to take hunting.

Classic 10mm 1911

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What makes this gun great?

I like the Delta Elite because it’s simplistic and effective.  It’s for the handgun owner who’s concerned with performance and dependability but doesn’t want anything too flashy.  This is evident by its basic design, which doesn’t even come with a rail system (although for an additional $100, you can buy the Delta Elite Rail Gun).

The Delta Elite markets itself to the 1911 purists – the people who know and love the time-tested Colt 1911.  But there’s more to the Delta Elite than old-school cool in 10mm.  It’s got a double-recoil spring system that takes some of the kick away from shooting 10mms, as well as a comfortable beavertail grip safety that doesn’t dig into your hand like other handguns.

The Delta Elite performs just how you’d imagine a Colt 1911 would, while also delivering a surprisingly comfortable grip.  It’s just got that timeless design that you can’t go wrong with.

What’s your take on it?

Readers' Ratings

4.94/5 (602)

Your Rating?

4. Glock 20

You didn’t think we’d do a handgun write up and leave Glock off the list, did you?

at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What makes this gun great?

It’s a Glock – ’nuff said.  With the G20 ($605), you get all of the durability and accuracy that Glock models are revered for, but you also get power advantage that comes with firing the 10mm cartridge.

The thing that I like about Glocks is that they’re always the safe option.  If you’ve become accustomed to shooting one of them then you’ll be able to comfortably handle any of them.

Slide Locked Back Glock 20
Slide Locked Back Glock 20

The G20 is essentially a slightly bulkier version of its 9mm counterpart, the G17.  Aside from having slightly wider grips and having a weight of 27.6oz unloaded, as opposed to the 22oz G17, it feels almost the same in your hands.  If you’re looking for something slightly slimmer, Glock also makes the G20 in Short Frame (SF).

For me, making the G20 your go-to defense weapon makes perfect sense because of its generous 15+1 capacity.  And choosing the Gen4 variant of this gun means that you get Glock’s popular dual recoil spring, which gives the kick a noticeable reduction.

We have a complete Hands-on Review of the Glock 20 that you should take a look at, awesome firearm!

5. Glock 40

The G40 ($770) ain’t cheap, but it just might be the closest you’ll ever reach to 10mm perfection.  In terms of how well the gun shoots, you can expect for the G40 to perform similarly to its smaller sibling, the G20.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What makes this gun great?

Think of the G40 as Glock’s 10mm handgun on performance enhancers.  It’s bigger and more accurate than the other 10mm models because of it extended barrel, which is just for 6” in length.

While the G40 probably wouldn’t be my first choice for concealed carry, it’s barrel length does make it an exceptional handgun to hunt with.  The odds of you hitting and dropping that whitetail or wild hog will be better with the G40 than with some of the other 10mm pistols out there.  And since you get the same 15+1 capacity as the G20, you also won’t have any problem squeezing off any follow-up shots.

Glock 40
The muzzle end of the G40 is tapered to reduce holster snag.

The primary purpose of the G40 is to ensure long-range accuracy.  For this reason, all models come equipped with the dual-recoil spring system to help absorb any unnecessary kickbacks that come from firing 10mm cartridges.

And while optics are sold separately, the G40 comes with a pack of baseplates that makes your handgun ready for all of the popular red dot systems, including Trijicon and EOTech optics.  

Shooting 10mm Handguns

If you’ve not shot 10mm extensively, I’d recommend giving it a try to see whether you like to or not.  Some people swear by the 10mm Auto, while others prefer their .45 ACP, 9mm, or whatever other calibers they’re loyal to.  But at the end of the day, it’s about what you’re able to shoot comfortably and accurately.

From Left to Right: 9mm, 7.62, .357, 10mm Auto, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .50  
From Left to Right: 9mm, 7.62, .357, 10mm Auto, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .50

Some people feel like the recoil from a 10mm is a tad too strong, causing them to sacrifice accuracy for power, while other shooters describe the 10mm’s recoil as noticeable but easy to manage.  At the end of the day, it’s all about how the gun feels in your hands.  So give the 10mm a try and see how you like it, and if you’re not too thrilled about the recoil, start with a Gen4 Glock.

Interested in using your 10mm as your CCW? Well, maybe you can – read up on How to CC A Full-Sized Pistol

Do you hunt with a 10mm? EDC? Just like how they shoot? Let us know all about it in the comments!

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54 Leave a Reply

  • Tom N

    If only SIG put out a P220 with a mag capacity of 15 rounds to compete with the G20, I’d be sold.

    1 week ago
  • Tom N

    If SIG would only put out a P220 with 15 round mag capacity to compete with the G20 I’d be sold.

    1 week ago
  • Ben K

    Glock needs to make a single/single-and-a-half stack, G19 sized (especially width-wise), 10mm with a 10+1 capacity. I'd buy that in an instant.

    2 weeks ago
    • Nimpicus

      Look at g29 i haven't read the article but might be what your looking for.

      1 minute ago
  • Jeff Martin

    I've been carrying a G20 Gen4 for a year now. Absolutely love it!! It's become an extension of my hand when I use it. If your looking for an entry platform into 10mm, the G20 is it!

    1 month ago
  • Mike Shell

    My favorite is the Glock 40 MOS. It my house gun and CC in my vehicles. The G20 is my personal CC piece.

    For CC I use BT ammo. But roll my own for range and cans. I love the way the 10mm makes a can jump.

    I’m such a 10mm fan boy I also have a Ruger revolver and an AR-15 that uses Glock mags.

    Long live the 10!

    2 months ago
  • bob hayes

    i would like to cc a good 10mm, but also want one i can get some accurate distance out of. suggestions

    4 months ago
    • Mike Shell

      I’d recommend the G20.

      2 months ago
  • Deon Paone

    I overpaid for my glock 20 gen 4 10mil. But it was after covid and riots. Only gun i would ever do that for. What an amazing piece of hardware. Barley feel a difference than my glock 22 40cal gen 4. But you can hear the difference. So much fun

    4 months ago
  • Dave

    Not sure if anyone already said this but that FBI shootout is what prompted the adoption of the 10mm round. That round was very powerful and was considered by many to have excessive recoil. So the FBI then considered the .40 as a replacement for the 10mm.
    Do your research and shop around. All too many ammo manufacturers are selling "watered down" 10mm ammo! There are many others, however, that are selling the real deal. Some of the better ones exceed 1200 fps and the best ones 1300-1500 fps! As always your mileage may very, depending on barrel length, etc.

    5 months ago
  • Andy Bones

    I really wish Beretta made a 10mm in the 92/ 96 frame. Yes the 96 is chambered for the .40 and I have heard of people modifying it for 10mm, but obviously that's gonna be a pain in the ass & never have the reliability of a purpose-built weapon. I love Berettas. They're beautiful, reliable, comfortable & they've got higher capacity mags out of the gate. And who doesn't love the cutaway slide on these Italian gems. Glocks are excellent weapons but I just don't like their look and polymer frames, rugged and light as they may be. I don't want to be stuck with Glock as the go-to quality handgun with good mag capacity. I want steel dammit

    6 months ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      I hold out hope that someday we'll see a 92 frame in .45 ACP. I would take 10mm too though!

      Would also love to see the CZ97 get a facelift, bigger mag and cut for a red dot would be awesome.

      6 months ago
  • Jes

    Where is the EAA witness, full size and compact in steel or polymer frame? They are half the price of some of those you listed and are better quality than the glocks.

    7 months ago
    • djschloss


      6 months ago
  • Steve Howland

    Curious that your article never mentions or shows (for comparison) the .41 Remington magnum. What, no love for Elmer Keith?

    10 months ago
    • Andy Bones

      I know very little about the .41 Remington Magnum- is that a round made primarily for revolvers? I don't think I've ever seen .41 in a semi-auto, but then again Coonan makes that 1911 chambered for .357 magnum. Forgive me if I'm way off, I am no gun expert.

      6 months ago
  • Bob long

    I can tell you have never taken a rock island apart or stripped one Because if you had you would see the so called craftsmanship which isn’t there. Slop should never be part of a 1911 trigger but it comes standard with rock island 1911s. Love the rest of your recommendations but I can tell who sponsored this review to get RI first on this list

    11 months ago
    • David, PPT Editor


      None of our reviews are sponsored, the order of the list has no correlation to what we recommend first or most. It's just formatting!

      11 months ago
  • Joachim Goerner — Osnabrück/Germany

    Hi! Well I think this here is THE ultimative cartridge for Your 10 mm AUTO pistol: Underwood 10 Xtreme Penetrator 100 gr solid copper bullet with muzzle speed — ATTENTION! — 1'850 fps. It's the same velocity that Sellier & Bellot's Tokarev cartridge produces but due to the very much more greater bullet weight the momentum is now what You need for effective one-shoot-knockdown in defence situations. Note that standard ammunition in this calibre typically leaves the barrel with only few feet per second above sonic speed, so that on the way to the target the bullet's speed switches from supersonic to subsonic and at that point the bullet's trajectory gets a knick so that the bulllet nipps off and veers away. That's an aerodynamical inevitability You know. A very high bullet velocity makes it much more easy to hit targets that move unregularly. And the recommended Underwood Ammo does not have the murderer recoil of the standard cartridge with 200 grain projectile and momentum far above 200'000 grfps* ................. Regards! Jim *grain-feet-per-second [momentum = weiht X speed]

    11 months ago
    • Jim Goerner

      If Yo have the money: Ed Brown! Or the very brandnew Kenai Special from Les Baer. And do not shoot onto animals just for fun please. By the way in Germany we do hunting suchaway that the animal dies in time by one precise single shot. And hunting with pistols is prohibited .....

      11 months ago
  • Jim L.

    G20 Gen4 with Delta Point Pro red dot for my country pistol and G29 Gen4 for my city pistol. Both have, what I consider the most important upgrade to ANY Glock, get rid of the plastic guide rod and go to tungsten.

    11 months ago
  • 9x25J

    I carry a g40 in the winter. Sometimes even with a 7" kkm (either 10mm or 9x25 dillon) barrel. Never had a problem with concealment. When I go back to g19 in summer, feels like a toy. Occasionally carry the 10mm match champion ruger revolver. Super comfortable in 1791 leather holster.

    11 months ago
  • Dan Myers

    A very nice caliber to handload for with the range of bullet weights and powders. My pistol is a glock 20sf with a lonewolf longslide 6.61" barrel, linear compensater, Haley Skimmer trigger, steel guide rod, 24lb spring, vortex venom 3moa, and crimson trace laser. It's a big rig but still lighter than a 6" revolver and with over double the shots. The longer barrels can really take advantage of high power loads and hit the target. This is one of two pistols i've owned that will hit anywhere you aim it, the other being a colt anaconda.

    1 year ago
  • Carson Caudill

    Glock 20 SF isn't flashy but does function well. Not the accuracy or trigger of any 1911 but goes bang and carries nearly twice the rounds of a single stack with less weight. The monster grip remains to be dealt with, one of the reason it took me from 1976 and my first Colt Commander to 2003 to finally drink the Kool-aid and get a Glock 20 and another few years to upgrade to the G20SF.

    1 year ago
  • B

    Springfield Armory. XDm 10.

    1 year ago
  • Jimmy Guidry

    I have fired a Colt delta elite and a Kimber eclipse custom 11 . Both were flawless at the range. I just liked the feel and looks of the Kimber more. I bought one. I took a black bear with it in Me. The 10MM is a serious hunting round.

    1 year ago
  • Diver

    I recently picked up the RIA 1911 A1 FS. I enjoy several 1911's in .45 and 38 super. The 10mm does not disappoint. Right out of the box I was punching accurate shots at 25 yds with little adjustment to my grip. I had an issue with the included mag and Rock Island replaced it without hesitation. This has become my #1 carry in the field. It is a super value at $580.

    1 year ago
  • Bill Mancuso

    I know the hate against Springfield but my TRP 6" is pretty sweet as is my Rock Island double stack but just became my favorite and will be my walking around deer firearm is the CMMG 10mm 8" nelly

    1 year ago
  • Louis

    Brandon, You have the wrong Rock Island Armory Pistol listed This one is a .45. Their 10MM is a different model number.

    1 year ago
  • Robcat

    Glock 20 for home and camping...G29 for edc.

    1 year ago
    • R

      My EDC

      1 year ago
  • JoGun


    1 year ago
  • JoGun

    Springfield Armory??

    1 year ago
  • JoGun

    No CZ??? No Dan Wesson???

    1 year ago
  • Billyjojimbob (an abvious sudonym

    Why not the Ruger SR1911 10mm?

    I was between the Ruger and Delta Elite 10mm when I learned the Ruger has full case support and the Delta Elite does not. What really put me over the top is some 10mm ammo state NOT to shoot with the Delta Elite because of this case support issue. In my mind, that puts the Ruger above the Delta Elite if you are looking for a 1911 10mm.

    1 year ago
  • Dog Soldier

    I have had a Colt Delta Elite 10mm pistol for years an excellent and very serviceable pistol. I was trained trained with 1911 type .45 A.C.P. pistols for a back up weapon for my primary weapon a rifle. In May 1966 I had a malfunction my XM-16-E1 Rifle and and I was wounded and could not use My left hand so I gave my extra rifle ammunition to my fire team and went back to the landing zone to be medically evacuated and over the years the strength of my left hand has seriously decreased and at my age I am not longer making air assaults against an armed human enemy. Today I am only hunting wild boars. I just want to say wild boars are exciting to hunt and with the recopies my friends and I have they are magnificent eating! Today I carry a Glock Model 20 in 10mm. The most surprising thing about it is the the perceived recoil is much better and it is easier to use more accurately. So I carry it all the time.

    1 year ago
    • Thomas Larabee

      I agree, I'm damned near to 60, with failing eyesight. Built a custom Glock 20 SF Longslide from Lone Wolf. About to swap out my basic Trijicon night sights with the TruGlo TFX Pro sights. Also ordered a Timberwolf frame and parts kit. Already have their Ultimate adjustable trigger in my SF. Can't wait to take it Deer hunting on Kodiak Island this Fall.

      1 year ago
  • lalakai

    The 10mm has long been a favorite of mine and I'm very happy to see the renewed interest and support. Years back I was fortunate enough to come across the 10mm in a revolver, the S&W 610 w/6" barrel. Definitely not for conceal carry and not the first choice for a defensive weapon, but for hard plinking and solid hunting, this is a great pistol.

    1 year ago
  • Hayden D McCall

    The link to the Rock Island 10mm sends you to a .45 ACP model.

    1 year ago
  • Eugene

    You forgot the EAA/Tanfoglio Witness line. They were still making a full size, all steel 10mm when almost every manufacturer dropped the cartridge from their line-up. It's based on the CZ design and definitely gives the rest a run for their money, I know, I own a the Witness, RI 10mm, and the G20. I prefer the Witness, all steel, double/single action, 14+1 capacity, and very accurate.

    2 years ago
  • michael

    The margins on each side of the page are kind of wide--on other pages there's less scrolling and they set stuff out with mag capacity accuracy etc--genuinely hope this helps

    2 years ago
  • F Carlton McLean Jr.

    I can't see how any 10 mm pistol can beat the Glock 40. I have hunted and collected guns since the 1950's when I was 10 years old. Shotguns, especially Brownings, are my favorite firearms & I would have bet decades ago I would never like or buy a plastic pistol. I was wrong. It is ashamed that the Glock 40 doesn't look more like a 1911 because I have always thought they were what all pistols should look like (steel with grip safety, & perfect design), but the Glock 10 mm is really different & shoots more like a rifle. If a zombie apocalypse ever happens or an alien invasion occurs overnight, I will be comfortable knowing that I am carrying a Glock 40, but I will go one step further and have to admit that the Sig Hunter appears to be one beautiful piece of craftmanship.

    2 years ago
    • dennis W Bechtel

      recently purchased a 10mm ruger src,1911 pistol ,its more accurate then my Glock 40 and way more accurate than my colt delta elite ,the rear sight of the colt flew off the top of the barrel ,when I fired it,the glocks trigger right outta the box is terrible,the ruger is different with a ramped bull barrel and a captured slide spring and full length guide rod,shot about an inch at 37 ft. with 24 rounds right out of the box ,adjustable trigger is a big plus and it is easily tunable by a user /shooter .180 grain seiler & Beloit ,czek ammo.

      2 years ago
  • Juanrudy Verdin

    I love my G20sf ,and I have seen the Rock islands 1911 version,I've done a few mods line a ghost 3.5 #trigger bar with 5#spring kit and a maritime firing pin plunger 22#tungsten recoil spring and crimson trace trace laser .I I had my choice I would go the Sick 220 or Dan Wesson or rock island

    2 years ago
  • Mac

    >SIG's superior engineering

    Where did you even pull that from?

    2 years ago
  • Timothy Yates

    I would also agree with 10mm Jesus. The DW Silverback is the 10mm king. I denounce his reference to God.

    2 years ago
  • 10mm Jesus

    Dan Wesson Silverback. The best 10mm hands down. Then Glock 20, then Sig P220, followed by Rock Island Tac Ultra ( after sent in for service twice ), then ruger Blackhawk, Delta elite comes next, Glock 29, dan Wesson vbob classic rounds the list.
    This is my list based on what I own. If you have the funds, the Silverback is by far the best of the bunch. Got rid of a 10mm nighthawk, and les Baer after issues and fell in love with the DW.
    10mm is GOD. The real one. Not the make believe one.

    2 years ago
    • pcb

      It's entirely possible to provide gun feedback without invoking God or Jesus. What an ass.

      2 years ago
      • Jeremy

        If there is no God then why do they always have to constantly say their isiant one. Lol.

        2 years ago
    • taylor

      its not jesus bitch

      2 years ago
    • James Sanderson

      I too denounce your ignorant statement.

      1 year ago
  • maxgage

    great for EDC and can be hot rodded for hunting

    3 years ago
  • Marcus

    How about the new line of Tanfo's like the new STOCK I with a CZ design?

    3 years ago
  • Trubrit

    You missed Kimber off the list they have been supporting the 10mm for years in various models. I shoot a TLE. I had a Delta Elite back in the early 90s. Found the 200g Black Talon to be the most accurate and controllable of all the rounds available at that time. I still use the BT for my carry rounds. 200g @ 980 fps is just right. For range ammo I use a 180g JHP @ 1,050fps. At these weights and speeds the gun is controllable. I am not a big guy so trying to control rounds in the 1,300 fps range would not work for me. I shot UKPSA with a 1911 .45 for years but always thought the 10mm was the way to go for a combat handgun round. In the 80's the emphasis was still on concealed carry stages and loads that you would carry for self defense. The popular round at that time was a 200g semi wad cutter at 1,000 fps. Always made Major. Now, the IPSC is a gun game with game loads, race guns, and gaming equipment. You have to go IDPA now to match the original concepts. People spout that the 9mm is a great stopper,, but I disagree. A typical 9mm will have 15 rounds, the 10mm has 10, in a 1911. I have the confidence that in a situation that even if one of my double tap rounds is wild or a wing shot, the one to center mass will stop the threat. I do not believe the same can be said for the 9mm. You must get your shots in the A zone with a 9mm.
    Yes I can double tap head boxes at 7 yds, and center mass at 25. OWB draw and fire from concealed 1.34 secs average (7 yds). This is getting good hits.
    I chose to switch to the 10mm from the 45 years ago because I wanted the challenge. Still loving it.

    3 years ago
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