Social Loads For The 10mm Auto

Over at AllOutdoor Oleg blogs about his experience teaching a new shooter using a Kimber Eclipse II pistol chambered in 10mm ….

Recently, my friends and I taught a new shooter aged 17. In three hours, this slightly built girl went from shooting subsonic .22 from a suppressed pistol to ringing steel and knocking down small tree stumps at twenty paces with a Kimber in 10mm Auto. Watching her shoot this powerful gun with easy competency was fun. Shooting high-power loads from a subcompact Glock 29 I used to own gave me the memory of great torque and recoil, yet a teenage girl shot the same caliber with no great effort. How could that be?  Curious about the increase of power from .22 subsonics to 10mm, I looked up the ballistics by brand and found something curious: the mighty 10 isn’t always as mighty as I remembered it.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • S. Cautela

    Okay… Let’s see here… There are numerous loadings by commercial manufactures that meet or exceed original Norma 10mm loadings… Notably Double Tap and Buffalo Bore… Even the Winchester Silvertips that have been available forever are loaded pretty hot… You must have been firing “10mm Lite” target loads that duplicate hot .40 cal loads or less… Either that or you’ve got a really good 17 year old shooter with good fundamentals… The truth is that with the exception of Norma, Winchester, Double Tap and Buffalo Bore… Few ammo manufacturers have loaded 10mm to it’s true potential… Just look at the mythical Black Talon loadings in 10mm. Barely serviceable .40 SW loadings today.

    • Those first and only 10mm available were loaded very hot. Norma didn’t have the original load out long before they backed them down a notch.
      A really hot 10mm like Buffalo bore will certainly increase wear on your gun to an unacceptable level. You need to shoot lighter loads for regular range practice.
      The Buffalo Bore .380 rounds I use right now are 80 grain Barnes TAC-XP with a muzzle velocity of right at 1300 fps! Great for defense but it’s sure hard on a pistol much like a lot of the rounds Buffalo Bore makes including the 10mm. It’s good ammo no doubt just use sparingly.

      • S. Cautela

        The wear and tear fears can be mitigated rather easily. Both Buffalo Bore and Double Tap use Glock 20’s for their test guns and recommend 24 pound recoil springs which I purchased and has since lessened perceived recoil while I haven’t had a single feeding or extracting problem with standard loadings. That and the fact that it is an extremely durable platform to begin with. If I were using a 1980’s manufacture Colt Delta Elite I would consider shying away from the 750+ FPE hot loads. Responding to another posting regarding the unsupported chamber. There are some outstanding quality fully supported match barrels out there like my 6″ KKM if this is really an issue for you. If you don’t want to spend the extra money then the 25-50 FPS velocity spread that is the result of the unsupported barrel shouldn’t deter you from buying an outstanding pistol.

  • Lance

    Glocks weren’t the best gun for a hefty 10mm Auto its not the gun but it was too light compared to a Delta Elite or other 1911 10mm AUTO. Have to say the recoil is over rated it has no more recoil than a .357 mag is in recoil. Not and is more of a push than snap like a .40 has. 10mm is a good round.

    • gunsandrockets

      I don’t know. Didn’t the Delta Elite have a rep for poor service life and other signs of excess stress?

      I believe the Smith large frame auto and the Glock 20 had the virtue of originally being designed to match the 10mm cartridge, whereas the Colt 1911 was originally designed for the .45 ACP.

      The Glock is particularly lucky because it can use a very heavy slide to soak up 10mm recoil without weighing the pistol down, because of its featherlight polymer frame.

      • Spiff1

        The Glock model 20 was specifically designed for the 10mm round, not a 1911 conversion as many other 10’s are. The Glock 21 is the G20 in .45acp caliber…Very strong!

  • S. Cautela

    An outstanding round that benifets from a drop-in .40SW barrel in some designs… The flex properties of polymer favor the Glock design even though they have less weight than 1911’s and Newton’s Third Law of Physics is being turned on it’s ear. Having 15+1 rounds of near .41 magnum ballistics is nothing to be scoffed at… I’m surprised the model isn’t more popular.

    • gunsandrockets

      Yes, considering how light a Glock 20 is and how many rounds it carries of 10mm, it seems fantastic. Except the grip is too big for many people (including myself).

      • Jason

        And the unsupported chamber isn’t really ideal for the 10mm either.

      • S. Cautela

        The Glock 20 SF is much better and more manageable than the original thick as a fire hydrant 20/21 grip. If you have a pre-SF model like my 21, there are many companies that do backstrap channel reductions for a reasonable price.

  • Will

    What? A GIRL? shocking! That could have been handled better.

    • sauerquint

      “a new shooter aged 17” about covered the handling. You really have to go out of your way to take offense at this. The question I have is why?

  • iksnilol

    I have always liked 10mm, imagine a doublestack 1911. Build it with stiff springs to reduce wear.

    • Cymond

      Check out the STI 2011 “Perfect Ten” longslide.

      • iksnilol

        Not cheap but definately what I was looking for (exept aesthetics but that is no dealbreaker)

  • Formynder

    I would like to politely request that the entire last paragraph be indented or put in quotes or something to show that the entire thing is quoted from the article. Not just to give proper credit, but I thought Steve Johnson was talking about his experience on it until I clicked through and read the original article.

  • deadhorse

    Why does she have two fingers in the trigger guard(lead off pic)???

    • Cymond

      I’ve seen some novice shooters do that, especially with guns that have a heavy trigger pull. My extremely petite cousin visited last year, and she needed 2 fingers to fire a double-action S&W revolver.

      On a 1911? I have no idea why someone would need 2 fingers.

    • S. Cautela

      She’s imitating Carl from “The Walking Dead” with her two finger trigger pull.

  • conrad_carter

    The 10 has been catching on big time thanks to folks who pointed out its benefits and kept demanding ammo as well as gun choices. There is a lot to like and it’s great the little lady can run one. The model 29 has more versatility than almost any gun out there and if you put a .22 slide on the Model 20 SF it is great fun. The barrels by KKM are first rate and interchanging the 10 with the .357 sig or even the .40 short and weak is worth while.