10mm Auto vs .45 ACP: Great Handgun Cartridges?

What’s The Difference? Is The 10mm The Better Round?

Although the 9mm handgun cartridge has taken over as the most popular, some of us still adore our “large” bore handgun cartridges. When it comes to automatic pistols, there are just a handful of distinct cartridges that we’d classify as huge bore, and the two most popular are the 10mm and 45 ACP. These two American cartridges are excellent ambassadors for the country. Both revolve around power.

A strong cartridge, the 10mm is frequently contrasted with the 45 acp. Both weapons offer a lot of stopping power and are popular alternatives for self-defense. The 10mm is a little bit more potent and has a bigger capacity than the 45 acp.

The 45 acp, however, is a little more dependable and has been used for a longer period of time. The two handgun cartridges are excellent options for self-defense overall, while the 10mm may be somewhat more potent.

You’ll probably have to perform a double take if you place a 45 ACP and a 10mm round side by side. Both bullets have dimensions that are quite comparable. And while they may share a lot of similarities in appearance, they differ greatly in terms of performance.

Make sure you are aware of what you will receive out of each handgun cartridge the next time you are checking your ammunition boxes or organizing your gun closet. Knowing the ballistics and properties of a bullet will aid you with your shot whether you’re hunting dangerous game or self-defending.

Specs comparison Between 10mm vs 45 ACP

Why 10mm vs 45acp?

The two big-bore American automatic cartridges are the primary factor. Even though they are the same length, they compete with one another. Jeff Cooper was a well-known 45 ACP enthusiast who also contributed to the 10mm’s development. The two rounds were inextricably connected by Colonel Cooper.

The two rounds have cult-like followings and are widely popular. There are a ton of devoted admirers of the “Centimeter” who prefer the 10mm in particular. It is obvious that the 45 ACP is a preferred round, especially when used in guns like the 1911, which has a cult-like following of its own.

The 45 ACP is without a doubt the obedient son of the platform when it comes to 1911s. The prodigal son is the 10mm, though. Today, more 1911s than any other platform use the 10mm round.

Fast-forward 70 years and some change, and we get at the renowned Glock series, where the 10mm Glock and the 45 ACP Glock are identical up until you read the model numbers. The Glock 20 is a 10mm gun, whereas the Glock 21 is a 45 ACP.

These two circles, which are connected and adored by their own cults, appear to follow one another from one platform to another. You could be considering joining one cult or another right now, and if you need assistance making your choice, you’ve come to the correct spot.

45 ACP: History and Purpose

John Moses Browning, the hero of American weapons creation, gave birth to the 45 ACP. In 1904, he created the cartridge, and in 1905, it was put into production. The 38 Long Colt was supposed to be replaced with this round since the Army had considered it to be inadequate. The Army, and the cavalry in particular, desired a weapon of 45 caliber.

The Thomspon-Legarde tests of 1904 sparked their interest. In these studies, two Medical Corps personnel used a wide range of handgun calibers to shoot various animal corpses. The 45 was the best choice, according to their tests. However, even they acknowledged the need for adequate instruction and shot placement.

As a result, Colt and John Moses Browning created the Colt 1905 and 45 ACP. The Colt 1905 was further improved upon, changed, and ultimately transformed into the 1911. As everyone is aware, the 1911 won the Army’s pistol test and was adopted as the military’s standard sidearm.

Time and time again spanning from World War I to World War II and even after that, the little round that might prove to be a potent combat round. The 45 ACP was adopted by the United States Military and employed in revolvers and submachine guns.

It saw action in both World War I and World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and several skirmishes throughout the Cold War. Even after the 9mm handgun replaced it, elite troops continued to use it in the War on Terror.

The FBI Hostage Rescue team and the LAPD SWAT were only two of the law enforcement agencies that the 45 ACP worked with. The 45 ACP is still in use today, albeit in less numbers, to support police and military personnel. The 45 ACP hasn’t failed or, to put it another way, been pushed to the rear of the safe even if 9mm is the dominant caliber.

A major firearm manufacturer will probably also produce a 45 ACP variant if they produce a 9mm. Numerous PCCs and subguns from manufacturers like LWRC and CMMG have featured the 45 ACP. A relatively manageable defensive round is the 45 acp.

When it comes to stopping power and recoil, the 45 acp is recognized as the best round for self-defense. The 45 ACP cartridge is popular in America, therefore it’s unlikely that it will disappear any time soon.

10mm: History and Purpose

In 1983, the 10mm was created at the ideal time. Any early or later, and we might not have ever seen it take off. Based on what Cooper believed to be the ideal combat cartridge, Jeff Cooper and cartridge producer Norma created the 10mm.

In the history of photography, the 10mm was developed in the 1980s. Due to its excellent stopping power, it was adopted by the FBI in the middle of the 1980s. The concept was straightforward: let’s develop a round with higher power than the 9mm and better exterior ballistics than the 45 ACP.

The Bren Ten automatic handgun was produced together with the 10mm. But the guys behind the Bren Ten weren’t doing their jobs all that well. The firearms encountered problems, took a very long time to make, and some even arrived without magazines.

But Sonny Crockett’s appearance on Miami Vice gave the 10mm a big boost in popularity. Miami Vice was released the same year as the infamous Miami Shootout, in which a smaller two-man team defeated FBI officers equipped with 38 Specials and 9mms.

The 10mm was fortunate enough to be around at the same time as the FBI desired a better cartridge. The Smith & Wesson 1076 handgun and the 10mm were both adopted by the FBI. The initial 10mm load had a 170-grain cartridge that was travelling at a speed of 1,300 feet per second and had a massive 600-foot pounds of energy. It’s hardly shocking that the FBI discovered the cartridge to be efficient.

However, such an efficient and powerful cartridge often caused recoil. When FBI agents objected and failed their qualifications, the FBI decided to download the cartridge rather than improve agent training. A 180 grain round moving at 980 feet per second made up the FBI load.

The 40 S&W was developed and quickly dominated the Law Enforcement sector after S&W’s brilliance realized you needed such a long case for such a light load. With new handguns and loads being created regularly, the 10mm has lately had a somewhat spectacular rebirth among handgunners after hanging on for years.

Ballistics comparison Between 10mm vs 45 ACP

It is evident that the 10mm has experienced about 80 more years of evolution than the 45 ACP. Even now, the initial load of the 10mm is still remarkable, and even with wildcat loads, the 45 ACP cannot compete. A factory 180-grain JHP +P load, which produces around 550 foot-pounds of energy, is the closest you can get.

A 200 grain 10mm can strike with more than 700 foot-pounds of force traveling at 1,200 feet per second. Although the recoil from such load is painful, it is still a possibility. That type of force is far stronger than the 45 ACP.

The 45 ACP is more than capable of becoming a man stopper at ordinary self-defense ranges, but there is a point at which the benefits decline. With any round at these typical distances, shot placement is far more crucial than the associated statistics.

With contemporary defensive loads, the only benefit of using a larger bullet is a bigger hole. Excellent work has been done by Lucky Gunner in classifying and analyzing the growth of defensive ammunition. The diameter of 45 ACP JHP loads can increase by up to an inch. As it moves through the body, this kind of growth is certain to cause more harm.

There doesn’t appear to be a 10mm load that can extend up to an inch; most have an expansion of around.68 inches and a maximum diameter of.81 inches.

The 10mm performs better after you are outside of the typical defensive ranges. At 100 yards, the 10mm possesses more energy than the muzzle energy of a 45 ACP. The 10mm is a rather flat-shooting cartridge, and the bullet drop at 100 yards is extremely small. A nice 180-grain load has very little dip at 1,275 FPS.

One of my favorite things to do with a Springfield TRP Operator long slide 10mm is to construct a steel target ring at 100 yards while seated. Hot 180-grain loads work rather well at long range for the 45 ACP. The drop will be between seven and eight inches at 100 yards. You should expect a greater drop with a regular 230 grain ball, up to around a foot.

The problem is that the 45 ACP loses a significant amount of energy and, thus, efficacy at these distances. Even though the 45 ACP has a powerful bullet, it is quite robust and struggles for deep penetration into game animals due to its bulk.

Does The 10mm Have More Recoil And Muzzle Rise?

When comparing the 10mm vs 45 ACP, recoil and muzzle rise are perhaps some of the most important factors to look at. While some cartridges appear to push back more in your hands like a shotgun, others appear to produce a much sharper kick with muzzle flip. Additionally, various rounds of the same cartridge type might have varied sensations of recoil.

True 10mm ammunition is quite powerful. Enough that the FBI’s history majors were unable to handle it. I make jokes and teases, but the 10mm really has a greater muzzle rise and recoil than the 45 ACP. With a lot of flash, loudness, recoil, and muzzle associated with real 10mm ammunition, the 10mm recoils similarly to a 357 Magnum.

The claim that 10mm may be downloaded is untrue. If so, the argument is between 40 S&W and 45 ACP rather than 10mm and 45 ACP. A shooter must practice hard and frequently to learn how to manage the powerful 10mm round. In small-caliber firearms like the Glock 29, it’s far less amiable. The 45 ACP Glock 30 is a lot more cozy and simple to use.

The 10mm recoils with a snap and fury, but the 45 ACP has a slow-rolling recoil. The 45 ACP enables quicker follow-up shots, which are crucial at typical self-defense ranges. Shorter barrels also make the 45 ACP less showy in general.

Suppressed Use

If you enjoy using suppressors, you probably also enjoy the 45 ACP. Standard 45 ACP ammunition is subsonic by nature and is fairly simple to suppress. There are two issues to consider while trying to silence a gunshot. The traditional muzzle explosion comes first. That portion must be silenced by a suppressor. The fracture caused by supersonic shots makes up the second component.

Even with a suppressor, supersonic shots are rather loud and may be harmful to your hearing. Since subsonic loads lack this crack, they are frequently quieter and less difficult to suppress. The 230-grain FMJ loads that come standard in the 45 ACP are subsonic and extremely quiet when suppressed. These ammo are accessible, common, and compatible with all 45 ACP weapons.

The 10mm may be modified to be subsonic even though it is not inherently so. A lot of ammunition producers provide a 220 grain suppressed load for a suppressed 10mm that may be quite quiet. It’s uncommon, though, and it’s not always inexpensive either. The 45 ACP is clearly superior when it comes to suppressed usage.

Stopping power

Both rounds have amazing stopping power, but they approach the concept of stopping power in different ways. Powerful rounds are produced by both the low velocity and heavy weight of the.45 caliber and the high muzzle velocity and light weight of the 10mm.

10mm might provide the speed you’re searching for. Compared to the.45ACP, the 10mm has a higher muzzle velocity and energy. However, the 45 has a large diameter and has proven durable. When you’re in a perilous scenario, having maximum damage is highly useful, and the 45 will offer you the biggest bullet expansion.


The 10mm has a muzzle velocity of 1008 fps, muzzle energy of 406 ft/lbs and a velocity of 917 fps at 100 yards. On the other hand, the 45 acp has a muzzle velocity of 840 fps, muzzle energy of 368 ft/lbs and a velocity of 792 fps at 100 yards.

Optimal performances

10mm Ammo

The 10mm performs best when used for hunting dangerous game in the field. The 10mm will cover all your bases whether you’re going on a game hunt or need to stay safe from powerful predators. Additionally, it has the benefit of often storing more rounds than handguns with.45ACP chambers. When using the 10mm, get precise, lethal penetration.

With power levels comparable to or greater than the.357 Magnum, the 10mm Auto is the most potent common semi-auto cartridge. However, the 10mm employs larger projectiles, ranging from around 135 grains to 230 grains, but lesser loadings are possible. The so-called “FBI loads” are lower-recoil, lower-power loadings that are fairly common.

Unquestionably, the best handgun round overall is the 10mm. Given that a low-recoil 10mm load is essentially a.40 S&W in a larger case, you may utilize a light loading for target shooting or carrying.

45 ACP Ammo

A relatively manageable defensive round is the 45 acp. When it comes to stopping power and recoil, the 45 acp is recognized as the best round for self-defense. Recoil doesn’t interfere despite 45 acp bullets being hefty. The 45 acp’s sluggish velocity and substantial weight make it ideal for hitting broad regions and inflicting significant wounds.

Shooting in small, enclosed spaces won’t also be harmful. When used for home defense, the 10mm might be regarded as hazardous. Exit velocity can be hazardous despite its deep penetration.

Weapon Selection

So the 45 ACP has now existed for more than over a century. The 10mm is still a baby compared to other cameras. There are many fewer weapons available for the Gen-X 10mm than there are for the 45 ACP. In fact, there are more 45 ACP 1911 variations than there are 10mm weapons.

There are several platforms, both new and ancient, for the 45 ACP. The 1911 platform and contemporary polymer frame platforms have both firmly established the 10mm.

Both have been common in a variety of shooting sports and come in quirky options like revolvers and PCCs. However, the 45 ACP is the most popular choice when it comes to choosing a gun. In comparison to 10mm, there are many more guns available in 45 ACP, including the legendary HK MK23.

Nevertheless, the 10mm is not a weak cartridge, and you should be able to select almost any sort of rifle you could possibly desire, with the exception of the Mk23.

Is 10mm Better Compared To The 45ACP?

There is no absolute superiority between X and Y in the world of guns and ammunition, and that applies between the 10mm vs 45 acp as well. Everything is situational. By putting the rounds in a tactical perspective, I could probably come up with reasons why 22 LR is preferable over 9mm. Simply said, there is no best round, although there may be a best round depending on the circumstances.

When should you choose 45ACP?

When price and availability matter

Choose the 45 ACP if you never want to look far and wide for ammo. In terms of pistol rounds, the major three are 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. Anywhere that sells pistols, 45 ACP is available, frequently in a variety of sizes, numbers, and loads. Both normal target loads and specialized defensive loads frequently contain 45 ACP.

When comparing like with like in terms of bullet type and ammunition quality, 45 ACP ammo also frequently costs less. In times of a shortage of ammunition, 45 ACP is frequently produced first.

Suppressor used

The superior round for suppression is the 45 ACP, as was already noted. The greatest common handgun caliber for use with a suppressor is really the 45 ACP. Through a suppressor, it is not only superior to the 10mm, but also to the majority of pistol ammunition.

You dislike recoil

A softer shooting caliber with less snap and pop is the 45 ACP. Obviously, 9mm could be a better choice than either if recoil is a concern. But when choosing between 45 ACP and 10mm, 45 ACP is the more manageable round.

When to choose the 10mm auto?

Range and power

Want to fire a flat shooting cartridge with higher power to reach out and touch your target? Then 10mm is the cartridge for you; it performs well whether fired from a handgun, a subgun, or a PCC. For a handgun cartridge, its power and range are unmatched.

Field work and hunting

Using a pistol for hunting may be tough and exciting. The 10mm has an automatic alternative, however revolvers are typically used in this situation. A 10mm defensive pistol may also be a choice for you if you enjoy hiking, hunting, or camping. On two legs as well as four, it is capable of fending off predators and pests.

Capacity matters

The 10mm is the caliber for you if you believe that more rounds are preferable to fewer rounds. The 10mm can fit somewhere between two and three more rounds on average. Also, the 10mm is more usually available in a twin stack platform.

Defensive shooting

Both the 10mm and the 45 ACP function effectively in a defensive capacity. Which one is superior to the other? Probably, but the one with the gun has the actual advantage. More important than the muzzle energy and bullet size differences between the two weapons is shot location.

Is 10mm better?

It is ridiculous to argue that 10mm is “better” than.45 ACP. improved how? For what precisely is better? There are a few tiny advantages to 10mm, but how much those advantages mean to you will vary.

The 10mm produces more stunning statistics on paper. There is a wider variety of loadings. In a magazine, you receive one or two extra cartridges. The Glock 20 carries 15+1 compared to 13+1 in the normal magazine of a Glock 21 in.45 ACP, while the Colt Delta Elite holds 8+1 compared to 7+1 in a GI magazine for.45 ACP.

That stated, . The smart guy firearms for a while have been the 40 S&W and.38 Super, and many of those weapons have a 1 or 2 round capacity advantage (depending) over 10mm. They can, but not always do.

The superior wood cartridge is 10mm. It has a flatter trajectory and more power than.45 ACP (though.45 Super matches it); even.45 ACP+P loads have about double the drop over the same distance as 10mm. The same is true for.45 Super; large projectiles begin to fall earlier.

Even in the best cases, 10mm is often more costly than.45 ACP. Depending on the manufacturer and box, the cost of a box of 50 hardball practice rounds in.45 ACP can range from $20 to $25 to upwards of $35. But anticipate paying extra. The issue of which is better regarding self-defense then arises.

It is irrelevant. All that is required is carrying a good hollow point and setting it properly. Unless the shooter executes their job as a marksman, pistol calibers are typically terrible at stopping people.

In contrast to past analyses by people like Marshall and Sanow, Greg Ellifritz’s study on caliber employs data that also includes contemporary ammo. 9mm offers a little advantage over 45 ACP.

While there isn’t a direct comparison between 10mm and 45 in the statistics, 10mm light loads are similar to.40 S&W, and it only slightly outperforms 9mm. . Hot loads of 10mm are essentially in the same range as 357 Magnum, both in standard and.357 Sig, which only slightly outperformed 9mm.

As a self-defense round against two-legged predators, neither is superior. Almost regardless of caliber, a good bullet that is put where it needs to go will function.

Both the respective cartridges and firearms are equally precise by nature. In terms of recoil energy, light loads of 10mm and standard-pressure loads of.45 ACP will be equivalent; hot 10mm will be snappier. Additionally, 10mm will cost more to shoot with.

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