Ballistic Gel Testing the 10mm

By Yamil Sued
Posted in #Gear
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Ballistic Gel Testing the 10mm

January 27th, 2020

3:44 runtime

The 10mm 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 would prove itself to be a capable performer in both self-defense and hunting applications.

Proving the Perception

But how powerful is it, exactly? We all hear about how terrific the 10mm is, but what if we put it to the test?

I decided to do just that, taking a Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite Operator 10mm 1911 and running three different 10mm loads through it and into ballistic gelatin. Check out my video above to see how it all did on the range.

Yamil used a Range Officer Elite Operator in 10mm for the ammo test.

I selected three loads, all with bullets weighing 200 grains, and covering both high-performance hollowpoint defensive loads as well as basic FMJ ammo. I tested Federal Personal Defense HST, Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Gold Dot Hollowpoint, and CCI Blazer FMJ range ammunition.

The first load tested was Federal’s 200-gr. HST 10mm.

How It Did

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.

The author set up 32″ of ballistic gel for the testing.

Both the Speer and Federal penetrated 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.

Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection 200-gr. 10mm ammo was also tested.

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.

Yamil also threw some Blazer 200-gr. FMJ ammo into the mix.


My test was intended to show ammunition performance and penetration of the 10mm round, both hollowpoint defensive rounds and FMJ range ammo.

The two hollowpoints expanded nicely and stopped at around 18″ of penetration. The FMJ round blasted through all 32″ of the gel.

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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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Yamil Sued

Yamil Sued

Yamil is a graduate of the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photographic Arts and Sciences in Santa Barbara, CA with a Major in Illustration Photography and Color Technology with over 34 years of professional experience. Yamil started his professional relationship with the Shooting Industry in 1995 and has since worked with companies like Springfield Armory, S&W, Glock, FNH USA, Remington, Bushmaster, Bushnell, Leupold, Aimpoint, PWS, Vortex Optics, Cor-Bon Ammunition, ERGO Grips, AmeriGlo Sights, Krause Publications, Comp Tac Victory Gear, The Beta Company, IDPA, MGM Targets, Rainier Ballistics, Rock Castle Shooting Center, SIG Sauer and was a Staff Photographer for Cabela’s in Sidney, NE. Yamil is also a Writer and Photographer for Guns & Ammo, Guns & Ammo SIP's and Gun Digest.

© 2020 Springfield Armory. All rights reserved.

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