The 10mm Auto is an undeniably powerful round, born in the mid-1980s from disappointment with the perceived inadequate performance of the 9mm. The cartridge was designed from the ground up to have immense stopping power, and it would prove itself to be a capable performer in both self-defense and hunting applications.
Testing the Perception
But how powerful is it, exactly? We all hear about how terrific the 10mm is, but what if we perform a 10mm gel test to see what kind of penetration and expansion we can expect?
I decided to do just that, taking a Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite Operator 10mm 1911 and running three different full power 10mm loads through it and into ballistic gelatin. Check out my video above to see how it all did on the range.
For this 10mm ammo comparison, I selected three loads, all with bullets weighing 200 grains. These loads covered both high-performance 10mm self defense ammo as well as basic range ammunition. I tested Federal Personal Defense HST, Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Gold Dot Hollowpoint, and CCI Blazer FMJ range ammunition. Both of the full power personal protection loads used proven hollowpoint bullet designs while the range load used a 10mm FMJ projectile.
10mm Ballistics Performance
I set up a 32″-deep batch of ballistic gelatin and set about running all three loads through the RO Elite Operator 10mm. I was very impressed with the performance of all three loads and found that the 10mm does really push out some power.
Hollow Point vs. FMJ in Ballistics Gel
When testing 10mm penetration, both the Speer and Federal drove to roughly 18″ deep in the gelatin (within 1″ of each other), and expanded very nicely. These are both very powerful and effective rounds.
With the Blazer load, the FMJ punched clean through all 32″ of the gelatin, and impacted heavily on the safety berm behind it.
Excessive penetration is generally not preferred for defensive ammunition. While FMJ loads are great for paper targets, they simply do not expand in an attacker and will generally overpenetrate as this 10mm gel test shows.
I also chronographed all three 200-gr. loads to see how they performed. The Federal HST came in at an average of 1,130 fps, the Speer Gold Dot at 1,100 fps, and the Blazer ammo at 1,030 fps.
My test was intended to show 10mm ammunition performance and penetration, both full power self defense ammo and FMJ target ammunition.
I think that the results speak for themselves — the 10mm is an undeniably powerful round, and one that clearly will excel in both a hunting and self-defense role.
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