Billed originally as bringing .357 Magnum-level ballistics to a reliable semi-auto pistol, the innovative 10mm Auto was developed by Col. Jeff Cooper and Norma Precision in the early 1980s. Introduced at first in the ill-fated Bren Ten, other makers such as Colt and Smith & Wesson soon picked up the torch and started making handguns chambered for the spicy new cartridge on the block. Although it almost died out in the early 1990s, as some followed the false prophet that was .40 S&W, the 10mm has made a remarkable comeback these days and numerous models are available today.
Here are 10 of our favorites.
Colt Delta Elite
Back in 1986, Colt dropped the Delta Elite 10mm Auto onto the consumer handgun market. Designed after the company's staple Government Model but optimized for the brand-new cartridge, it was familiar and cutting edge at the same time. Fast forward almost 35 years and Colt is still at it because the Delta Elite remains popular and today is available in both standard and railed variants.
CZ's Dan Wesson subsidiary is solid when it comes to making well-finished niche handguns and the 10mm Bruin, the company's first longslide M1911, exemplifies that. The longer than normal slide means a longer sight radius and the 6-inch barrel within allows full-power 10mm loads as much time as possible to use their powder charge. DW also markets several other 10s including the beefy Kodiak.
Debuted in 1991, the Glock 10mm G20 model is roughly comparable to the polymer pistol maker's 9mm G17 model while offering a 15+1 magazine capacity, which was revolutionary when compared to all of the single-stack competitors on the market. Beloved by sportsmen who venture out in bear country, it is little wonder that the G20 is still in production.
If you dig Glock and dig 10 mike-mike, it would be remiss if we didn't at least mention the unsung G29 subcompact which combines the two in a format optimized for everyday carry. With a flush 10-round double stack, this Baby Glock is ready to rock and still weighs just 24-ounces, unloaded.
A long-slide practical/tactical handgun, the G40 goes the opposite direction from the G29 and stretches the Glock to a full 6-inch barrel length, using G20 mags in the process. Tipping the scales at 44.6-ounces when loaded, look for the G40 in Glock's optics-ready MOS format for pairing with the appropriate red dot.
Don't get us wrong, Kimber has delivered several sweet M1911A1-style 10s to the market including the Camp Guard and more recently the stunning Rapide Black Ice, but our favorite has to be the Target Long Slide. With its distinctive 6-inch format, adjustable target sights, and match components, it's ready for the range.
Pitched at hog hunters and fans of the “centimeter,” Ruger expanded its M1911 line to include a 10mm Auto offering in 2017. The SR1911 variant is a full-size, stainless steel 70 Series handgun that carries the same Bomar-style adjustable sights as on its Target model. In a departure from your standard Government Issue, Ruger uses a black nitride-coated bushingless bull barrel for this 10mm coupled with a full-length steel guide rod — both firsts for the company.
Smith & Wesson was an early player in the 10mm Auto's debut, marketing its beautiful stainless Model 1006 semi-auto in the Miami Vice era as an evolution of the old 645/4500 series. While, sadly, that WonderTen is long out of production, Big Blue is still very much in the 10mm biz, offering the Model 610 revolver in a couple of different barrel lengths.
Illinois-based Springfield Armory was one of the OGs when the 10mm came on the scene, importing the German-made Peters-Stahl Omega M1911 in the mid-1980s. Since then, they have long ago moved to a more domestic catalog of offerings (besides the XD, which by the way is offered in 10mm as well) with guns like the TRP Operator. With basically all the features you could want in one platform, why not? For a more affordable Springer in the same chambering, look into the newly released $800-ish Ronin.