10mm Ballistics

10mm ballistics with pistol and chronograph at a shooting range

An in-depth look at 10mm ballistics with velocity, energy and drop data for the most popular loads in the United States.

  • The 10mm is an extremely powerful semi-automatic pistol cartridge designed for self-defense.
  • With its flat trajectory and tremendous energy downrange, the 10mm delivers reliable stopping power over long distances. Its resultant high recoil may cause some shooters discomfort and prohibit accurate rapid fire.
  • Led to the creation of the less powerful but more manageable 40 S&W, which uses the 10mm as its parent case.
  • Muzzle velocity comparable to a 22 LR, but with a five times heavier bullet.

10mm Ballistics Chart

Bullet NameBarrel LengthMuzzle25 yds.50 yds.75 yds.100 yds.Muzzle25 yds.50 yds.75 yds.100 yds.Muzzle25 yds.50 yds.75 yds.100 yds.(G1)(G7)Sect. Density
Sellier & Bellot - 180 Gr. FMJ5116411041052970970544489444377377-0-1.1-9.5-9.50.1550.161
Magtech - 180 Gr. FMJ512301176112910891054605553510474444-0-1.6-4.8-9.90.1970.161
Magtech - 180 Gr. JHP512301170111810741037605547500461430-0-1.6-4.9-10.10.1740.161
Sellier & Bellot - 180 JHP511651115107210361004543497460429403-0-1.7-5.4-110.1780.161
Prvi Partizan - 170 Gr. FMJ5.911151039982935895469408364330303-0-2-6.3-130.0940.151
Remington UMC - 180 Gr. FMJ4115011031063528486451-0.2-0.90.161
Federal HST - 200 Gr. JHP511301051991943902567490436395361-0-1.1-4.3-100.0960.178
Underwood - 200 Gr. JHP12506940.178
Blazer - 200 Gr. FMJ510501015985959935490458431408388-0-2.1-6.4-13.20.1730.178
Winchester - 180 Gr. FMJ5.5108010451015988964466437412391372-0-2-6.1-12.40.1950.161
Fiocchi - 180 Gr. FMJTC5125011261037624507430-0.65-3.250.1620.161
Federal - 180 Gr. Trophy Bonded Bear Claw512751192112310671021650568504455417-0-0.6-3-7.20.1380.161
PMC - 200 Gr. FMJTC510501008972941912490451420393369-0.80-3.8-8.60.1410.178
Underwood - 200 Gr. Hard Cast12506940.178
Buffalo Bore - 180 Gr. JHP1350728
Hornady Critical Duty - 175 Gr. FlexLock51160110710621024992523476439408382-0-1.8-5.5-11.20.156
Hornady - 180 Gr. XTP512751207114810971055650582526481445-0-1.5-4.6-9.60.1670.161
Sig Sauer - 180 Gr. V-Crown512506240.161
Speer Gold Dot - 200 Gr. JHP5110010541015981951537493457427402-0-1.1-4.2-9.60.1550.178
Winchester Silver Tip - 175 Gr. JHP5.512901141649506-0.70.156

10mm Origins

Lieutenant Colonel John Dean “Jeff” Cooper was a United States Marine, a firearm expert, and the creator of the modern technique of the pistol. Cooper also conceived the 10mm, a round he designed not only to shoot flatter than the 45 ACP, but also to deliver more energy to its target than the 9mm.

The 10mm took its case from the 30 Remington, shortened and straightened to seat a 0.4005” diameter projectile. The power of Cooper’s round increased even more during its development. Its trajectory thus rivals a magnum revolver load, but its shorter overall length supports the operation of a semi-automatic. Its full name is indeed 10mm Auto.

Physical Dimensions

The 10mm is 0.33” shorter than a 357 Magnum cartridge, but at full power offers a measurable energy advantage.


Shooting 10mm at the range

When 10mm ammo has a 180 grain bullet and 1,250 fps muzzle velocity, its muzzle energy is 624 ft lbs. The 357 Magnum’s heavyweight 158 grain bullet at the same muzzle velocity translates to a 14 percent loss of energy. Compared to the 9mm there is no contest — the 10mm’s heavier, faster bullet necessarily does far greater damage downrange.

In terms of trajectory, the 10mm beats out the 45 ACP as Cooper intended. The older round offers a relatively slow 830 fps muzzle velocity, which drops its 230 grain bullet approximately 15” at 100 yards. The 10mm bullet can drop as few as 10” in the same distance.

The 10mm’s flat trajectory comes at the expense of greater recoil. At about 11 ft lbs of energy, the 10mm can easily deliver twice the kick of a 357 Magnum or 45 ACP, and three times that of a 9mm. The FBI for the most part abandoned the 10mm for the 40 S&W because of its powerful recoil, sacrificing about 300 fps of muzzle velocity in the process

If you want a semi-automatic carry weapon that is more accurate than the 45 ACP and more powerful than the 9mm, then the 10mm is well worth exploring. But if you are concerned about recoil compromising your ability to line up accurate, rapid follow-up shots, you may find the 10mm impractical for self-defense. The 10mm is a try it before you buy it kind of cartridge.

Other Attributes

  • Originally designed specifically for the Bren Ten. Although the handgun was unpopular when it was introduced and soon discontinued, fans of Detective Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice would eventually turn the Bren Ten into a collector’s item.
  • Still used by law enforcement agencies including the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, SWAT teams, and several U.S. police departments.
  • Several rifles are available chambered for 10mm, including the AR-15. It is a suitable round for hunting medium game, and has even been issued by the Danish navy for defense against polar bears.


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