5 Best 10mm Handguns [Buyers Guide]

The 10mm cartridge was first designed by for the F.B.I. in 1983 as a standard-issue service pistol with greater stopping power and better ballistics than the 9mm and .45 ACP.

The problem with the original 10mm chambered pistols was the recoil was too strong and the pistols were too big for agents with smaller hands.

As the F.B.I. started to do away with the 10mm as their service pistol, they had trouble finding a caliber that could have better accuracy than .45 ACP and better recoil control and stopping power than the 9mm. As we fast forward to 2022, there are numerous companies that produce phenomenal pistols chambered in 10mm.

Our goal today is to show you the 5 best 10mm handguns on the market today, such as the Glock 20, Glock 29, Ruger Super Redhawk, Sig Sauer P220, and the Colt Delta Elite.

Glock 20$613.99 from GUNS.COM
Glock 29$591.99 from GUNS.COM
SIG SAUER P220$2,039.99 from GUNS.COM
Colt Delta Elite$2,285.99 from GUNS.COM
Ruger Super Redhawk$1,199.99 from Sportsman’s Guide

The 10mm Auto Origin Story

Although Colonel Jeff Cooper was a staunch believer in the .45 ACP, he also expressed an interest in a pistol caliber capable of pushing a larger 200-grain bullet at 1,200 feet per second. The reason was that he thought that such a caliber would be ideal for engaging threats out to 50 yards with a handgun.

Colonel Jeff Cooper ended up playing a prominent role in developing and designing the Bren Ten 10mm semi-auto pistol. The Bren Ten was a CZ 75-based pistol designed around the new 10mm auto cartridge. The Bren Ten and the 10mm Auto cartridge enjoyed a surge in popularity in the early- to-mid-1980s thanks to the TV show Miami Vice, but manufacturing and supply problems kept the pistol and 10mm auto cartridge from coming to fruition.

Consequently, on the morning of April 11, 1986, eight Miami FBI agents moved on two wanted bank robbers. In the ensuing gunfight, Special Agents Dove and Grogan were killed along with the two bank robbers. The event shocked the nation and the law enforcement community as a whole. The autopsies of the two bank robbers revealed that the then-issued 9mm lacked sufficient penetration to incapacitate the bank robbers. Had one round penetrated the bank robber’s bodies by an inch more, it’s likely that the two FBI agents would have survived the gunfight.

This event became a driving force behind the 10mm Auto and validated that magnum-level ballistics in a semiauto pistol had real-world applications in the law enforcement community.

At the time, with the FBI declaring their 9mm service handguns deficient in “stopping power," the search began for a more powerful cartridge capable of enough penetration to incapacitate a threat. As a result of the search, the FBI selected the 10mm Auto as its new service round and issued new pistols to all of its agents shortly thereafter.

What is a 10mm Handgun Good For?

Many people question the purpose of having a 10mm pistol when the ballistics of the .45 ACP and 9mm are much better than they used to be. A 10mm chambered pistol is not going to be the best option for a concealed carry weapon (CCW). Most 10mm pistols are heavier, longer, and wider than any of the top CCW’s you’ll find on the market today. The best use for this pistol is to use it in a hunting application or as a hiking pistol, especially in the mountains.

A 10mm has more energy than the .357 Magnum and often comes in a smaller frame than the bigger Magnum revolvers. If you’re hunting in areas with Mountain Lion, Bear, Wolves, Moose, or Elk, you have to understand that a 9mm pistol is only going to piss those animals off. I’ve seen a bear shake off 9mm bullets like they were bbs and unless you hit them in a vital organ, you’re going to be punished with your life if that bear charges you. A 10mm bullet can be fired from further distances and provides the stopping power to ensure you humanely kill your prey.

Glock 20 Gen 4

The Glock 20 is similar to the Glock 29 with firing the 10mm bullet and the always-impressive ergonomics of the Glock pistols. However, the Glock 20 is relatively huge with an 8.07" overall length and 4.61" barrel. The Glock 20 is built with the Glock Hi-Tech polymer to significantly reduce the felt-recoil and increase the durability of the gun. It’s built with a reversible mag catch to accommodate left-handed shooters. Similar to all Gen-4 models, the Glock 20 comes with the Modular Backstrap System (small, medium, large) to cut down on the overall size of this powerful pistol.

Glock 20 Gen 4

$613.99
at GUNS.COM
Prices accurate at time of writing

To me, the Glock 20 separates itself with its exceptional accuracy due to its relatively long line of sight and larger frame. The longer line of sight makes it easier for the shooter to aim down the sights and fire accurately, especially at longer ranges (50-60 yards). The Glock 20 is heavier because it allows the felt-recoil to be absorbed by the polymer frame, instead of your hands.

Specs

Weight 1.72 lbs
Weight w/unloaded mag1.92 lbs
Weight w/loaded mag2.49 lbs
Height5.51"
Barrel Length4.6"
Overall Length8.07"
Slide Length7.6"
Caliber10mm Auto
Magazine Capacity10/15
Trigger Pull Weight28 N/ 6.29 lbs of force
Overall Width1.34"
Slide Width1.12"
Trigger Distance2.85"
Line of Sight (Polymer)6.77"
Line of Sight (steel)6.73"
Line of Sight (GNC)6.69"
SafetySafe Action
MSRP $580.00

 


Sig Sauer P220

The P220 Legion is built with a relatively long barrel (5") and is almost 9" in overall length, in order to provide a comfortable shooting pistol. The slide and frame are finished in the Cerakote® Elite grey finish to provide unequaled hardness, abrasion resistance, and lubricity (friction-reducing inside the barrel). The grip is made with the custom G-10 grips for maximum retention and greater ability to shed water, dirt, and sweat. I’ve always loved the idea of a manual safety lever, which can be easily flipped on and off without changing your grip or removing your hand from the pistol. It’s also built with the highly visible SIG SAUER Electro-Optics X-RAY day/night sights for quick and easy target identification.

Sig Sauer P220 Legion

$2,039.99
at GUNS.COM
Prices accurate at time of writing

The P220 comes with 8 rounds and if you buy from Sig, you’ll receive 3 8-round mags with your purchase (saves you about $30). The best features are in the grip and trigger assembly because Sig provides the shooter with the best ergonomics of any of the 10mm pistols. I’m not a fan of the Sait trigger, but the X-Five undercut in the trigger guard and the beavertail on the backstrap allow me to reach up as high into the grip as I want. This gives me incredible control over such a big and heavy pistol.

Specs

Weight2.75 lbs
Height5.5"
Barrel Length5"
Overall Length8.8"
Sight Radius7"
Caliber10mm Auto
Magazine Capacity8
Overall Width1.3"
Slide Width1.4"
SafetyManual
MSRP $1,600

 


Glock 29 Gen 4

The Glock 29 is very similar to the Glock 20, but the 29 is more than an inch shorter in length and height than the 20. The smaller gun allows you to conceal carry a 10mm pistol, which you just don’t see very often. The Glock 29 is also a half-pound lighter when fully loaded, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you’re carrying it all day, you’d notice for sure. All Glock 10mm pistols are built with a heavier 6.29 lbs of trigger pull, most likely due to the size and power of the 10mm bullet.

Glock 29 Gen 4

$591.99
at GUNS.COM
Prices accurate at time of writing

As you can see in the video below, the Glock 29 does come with more felt-recoil than the Glock 20. Personally, I’d rather carry the Glock 29 if I were using it mainly to hike in the Rockies or forests across the country. However, I’d rather have the Glock 20 if I were living in Alaska and wanted to ensure I had the smoothest shot possible. A lot of people don’t realize that the Apex Predators in Alaska are bigger than they are in the “lower 48".

Specs

Weight1.52 lbs
Weight w/unloaded mag1.68 lbs
Weight w/loaded mag2.04 lbs
Height4.53"
Barrel Length3.78"
Overall Length6.97"
Slide Length6.77"
Caliber10mm Auto
Magazine Capacity10/15
Trigger Pull Weight28 N/ 6.29 lbs of force
Overall Width1.38"
Slide Width1.12"
Trigger Distance2.85"
Line of Sight (Polymer)5.91"
Line of Sight (steel)5.87"
Line of Sight (GNC)5.83"
SafetySafe Action
MSRP $585.00

 


Colt Delta Elite

There are not many companies in the world that can bring a sense of nostalgia like Colt 1911 can do. The Colt Delta Elite 1911 is made for hunters or Alaskans that are likely to encounter a bear, wolves, elk, moose, or Mountain Lion. At 2.3 lbs it’s heavier than the Glock 29 by a full pound and is going to be very difficult to conceal an 8.5" gun.

Colt Delta Elite

$2,285.99
at GUNS.COM
Prices accurate at time of writing

I recommend shooting the 155-grain bullets from this pistol because it seems to feed better than the 185-grain bullets. The safety features include a manual safety lever and a grip safety for an added security feature. If you’re a lefty, I recommend against this pistol because it’s much more awkward for us to use the safety and I hate having to cross my hands to secure my pistol. The Colt Delta Elite is still an absolutely beautiful and effective 10mm that you’ll be incredibly happy with.

Specs

Weight 2.3 lbs
Height5.5"
Barrel Length5"
Overall Length8.5"
Caliber10mm Auto
Magazine Capacity8+1
Trigger Pull Weight2
Overall Width1.25"
SafetyFiring Pin Block
MSRP $1,299.00

 


Ruger Super Redhawk

The Ruger Super Redhawk Is not only beautiful, but it’s also incredibly capable of carrying for hunting or competition shooting purposes. The Super Redhawk provides a rare combination of size, power, dependability, and accuracy. Most of these features are made possible by the triple-locking cylinder (front, bottom, and rear), which ensures the cylinder is always in perfect alignment with the barrel.

Ruger Super RedHawk 10mm

$1,199.99
at Sportsman’s Guide
Prices accurate at time of writing

The barrel is cold hammer-forged to ensure the barrel is free of debris and doesn’t corrode or warp the barrel over time. The safety is built into the hammer with a transfer bar that increases the weight it takes to pull the trigger. This feature prevents accidental discharges from drops or banging the gun on trees and rocks during a hunt or hike.

Specs

Weight 3.31 lbs
Height5.8"
Barrel Length7.5"
Overall Length13"
Caliber10mm Auto
Magazine Capacity6 rounds
Trigger Pull Weightabout 7 lbs of force
SafetyFiring pin block
MSRP$850.00

 

Conclusion

10mm pistols aren’t very common, but they can offer us a way to carry a pistol with .357 Magnum stopping power, without carrying the big bulkiness of a .357 Magnum.

My top recommendation would be the Glock 20 because it’s long enough to stabilize the felt recoil, gives you a longer line of sight for better accuracy, and it comes with the Glock name. However, the Sig P220 feels better in your hand, has better sights, and comes with a thumb safety for added confidence in your security.

If you’re looking for something with the most nostalgia and beauty, then the Ruger Super Redhawk is the gun for you. The Glock 29 is probably the only 10mm pistol that I would recommend trying to conceal carry because it’s the smallest and shortest on the list.

With advantages to each pistol, you’ll have to figure out which one fits your purpose the best and be assured that any of these pistols will make you a happy camper.


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