“Crystal clear” is how I remember the day when I shot my first game. I had everything I needed to make the shot! My uncle for advice, a root beer to cool off and my trusty 10mm ammo to ensure accuracy. I was quite impressed with how much power it had and how easily it incapacitated all game.
Needless to say, I was hooked! The sheer power of the 10mm auto is what has made it so popular among shooters. It might be a little heavy and intimidating; however, its versatility and reliability are undeniable!
At a Glance: Our 6 Best 10mm Ammo for Self-Defense and Hunting
- Hornady Critical Duty Ammo 10mm Auto 175gr Flexlock
- Winchester Silvertip Ammo 10mm Auto 175gr
- Hornady Custom Ammo 10mm
- Federal Personal Defense Ammo 10mm Hydra-Shok
- Underwood Ammo 10MM HORNADY XTP JHP
- Sig Sauer 10mm Elite Performance Ammo
My Top Choice
In my opinion, as well as countless other users’, the Hornady Critical Duty 10mm Ammo is the easy winner. It features reliable feed, consistent expansion, and deep penetration. Not only that, but the maximum weight retention also ensures you get the deepest and the most damning shot in history! It’s your all-stop shop for self-defense as well as hunting small to medium-sized game.
Quick History of the 10mm Ammo
The 10mm ammo dates back to about the ’70s when the idea of a flat profiled cartridge first came to light. The major objective was to produce a semi-auto cartridge that could perform similar in ballistics to the .357 and the .44 magnum rounds.
The development of the 10mm auto is attributed to Jeff Cooper and Norma Company. For a second, the 10mm auto saw its few seconds of fame when the FBI adopted it and made it a standard cartridge for their officers. However, these required larger guns which took longer to reload. Moreover, most officers felt queasy handling such large guns, fearing they might shoot someone dead.
Soon, manufacturers took note of the problem and developed a lighter version called Lite rounds. However, the lightweight came with its drawbacks. As a result, the 10mm auto lost half of its power, bringing it down to the modern 40 S&W loads.
In fact, this is how the 40 S&W was developed! The FBI chose for shorter rounds and ended up with what you know as the 40S&W today.
Today, the 10mm auto refers only to a slightly modified version of the original rounds. Subsequently, they pack much more power and penetrate deeper into the flesh.
Hooked in? Shoot over here and watch more:
Which Ammo is Close to the 10mm in Terms of Power?
Usually, manufacturers perform their own ballistics test and make the results public. These results show that the 10mm and the 357 are quite close cousins when it comes to power. You’ll find a standard weight of 180 gr. with a muzzle velocity of around 1100 fps. This makes them perfect for semi-automatic handguns.
Where to Use it?
You won’t often find a cartridge that is as versatile as the 10mm ammo.
- Hunting: With a 10mm ammo handgun by your side, you can take home the biggest of game. I have hunted many bears and deer with a 10mm handgun. So, for those who love to hunt with a handgun, the 10mm auto and the extreme power it provides is definitely a win.
- Self-Defense: On the other hand, you can also use it for self-defense purposes. Those who like to carry around larger guns will find that the 10mm ammo fits right in their requirements.
- Training/Plinking: A few full metal jacket versions of the 10mm auto ammo are available as well. This helps newbies train without worrying about wasting a bunch of money.
Should you use it for self-defense? Watch here:
What to Consider When Buying 10mm Ammo
The following major factors should be considered when buying 10mm ammo:
- Type of Ammo
Although there are various types of ammo on the market, you should only consider two main types: the full metal jacket and the jacketed hollow point cartridges. The JHP rounds expand when they impact, leaving a larger and deeper wound. This makes them perfect for hunting or self-defense.
On the other hand, the FMJ rounds are more suited for training or plinking since they are cheaper. Plus, you can buy them in bulk.
The weight of the bullet is measured in grains. It can determine the extent of penetration as well as accuracy. However, if the bullet is too heavy, it might result in a larger recoil. So, ensure that the weight is optimal.
- Number of Rounds
If you’re an avid hunter, you might need a box of 50 rounds. For them, I always recommend buying in bulk. This will be a cheaper option for you as well than buying individual boxes. However, if you’re going to use it for self-defense, then you can go for fewer rounds, about 20. This is because you might need as many.
Our Reviews on 6 Best 10mm Ammo
Hornady Critical Duty Ammo 10mm Auto 175gr Flexlock: Best Overall Performance
If you’re looking for the best 10mm ammo, then you don’t need to go any further than the Hornady Critical Duty. Equipped with the best bullet tech, it ensures a reliable shooting experience.
- 10 mm FlexLock JHP bullets
- 175-grain bullet weight
- Locked jacket and core
- Vast bullet expansion and maximum weight retention
What Other Users Are Saying?
Most users found the Hornady Critical Duty 10mm ammo to be the best in the market for self-defense and hunting. It uses a relatively new technology called Flex-Lock. As a result of this technology, the jacket and the core of the cartridge is mechanically locked onto each other.
Thus, users found that the bullet did not separate from the core after impact and achieved maximum weight retention. In addition, the vast bullet expansion further ensures that they left the deepest wounds for quick incapacitation. Furthermore, the Flex-Lock technology makes sure that the bullet expands only when it needs to.
Lastly, the bullets come in a pack of 20, which most users found quite sufficient for self-defense purposes.
Want full gel ballistic tests? Watch:
- Tends to leave deeper and larger wounds
- Expands to a larger extent
- Reliable performance with minimal clogging
- Heavy bullet weight ensures maximum penetration
- Bullet and the core do not separate after impact
- Larger recoil
- Not optimized for short handguns or conceal and carry style guns
All in all, the Hornady Critical Duty 10mm ammo is tailored for big handguns. It shows exceptional ballistics performance as well as superior penetration!
Overall rating: 4.8
Winchester Silvertip Ammo 10mm Auto 175gr: Best Value for Money
A showstopper round to protect you at all costs, the Winchester Silvertip 10mm ammo is highly coveted in the shooting world. With 20 bullets in the pack, it is all you could need and more.
- Silver tipped Jacketed Hollow Point bullets
- 175-grain bullet weight while the muzzle velocity is 1200 fps
- Consistent expansion with a jacket profile
- Maximum stopping power
What Other Users are Saying
The Winchester Silvertip is quite popular among enthusiasts due to its amazing stopping power. The high stopping potential ensures that the bullet always penetrates deep inside the target without leaving the other side.
Furthermore, the hollow profile further allows for maximum expansion. This ensures deeper and larger wounds so you can take down any threat with a single shot. Not only is the Winchester powerful, but it is reliable as well. The reliable and smooth functioning ensures smooth feed as well as a clog-free experience.
Watch how it performs in real life:
- Vast expansion and maximum penetration depth
- Allows you to quickly incapacitate any threats
- Corrosion free due to the brass primer
- Provides maximum stopping power
- Extremely reliable feed
- Standard recoil
- Does not retain weight
The Winchester Silvertip is the best 10mm ammo for self-defense on the market due to its reliability. With this ammo by your side, you can take down the biggest of threats or animals in seconds.
Overall Rating: 4.7
Hornady Custom Ammo 10mm
Another from Hornady, the Custom handgun 10mm ammo is perfect for hunting medium to big game as well as self-defense! The expansion, penetration and the sheer power it holds are unbeatable.
- A pack of Jacketed Hollow Point bullets
- 1180 muzzle velocity
- Bullet weight of about 180 gr.
- Brass jacket and boxer primer
What Other Users are Saying
Users noted that whether they used it for hunting or self-defense, it was accurate and precise in both the cases. Some users took issue with the heavyweight, but others were quick to point out that the heavy weight of the round was responsible for the excellent penetration capabilities of the bullet.
In addition to this, it defeats all kinds of clothing and hides and only expands when it hits flesh. In fact, users were surprised that it expanded about 60% larger than its diameter. Moreover, the brass construction allows for reliable feeding and adds to the anti-corrosive properties of the rounds. Also, it ensures that the bullet can withstand the extreme pressures of the bullet chamber.
For more information:
- Anti-corrosive so, you can use it in all weather
- Superior penetration capabilities and 60% expansion
- Easily withstands chamber pressures
- Accurate, precise and reliable feeding
- Can pass through hides as well as clothes
- Heavyweight bullet
- Velocity is a little less when compared to the weight
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, the Hornady Custom Handgun 10mm ammo is perfect. You can hunt, conceal and carry or keep it locked up in a safe!
Overall Rating: 4.6
Federal Personal Defense Ammo 10mm Hydra-Shok
Intended for self-defense and for use by the authorities, the Hydra Shok 10mm ammo delivers controlled expansion and penetration. Also, the maximum weight retention has rendered it a cult favorite.
- 1025 fps muzzle velocity while the weight is 180 gr.
- Hydra Shok technology with a center post design and notched jacket
- Controlled expansion
- 10mm Jacket Hollow Point Rounds
What Other Users are Saying
Most users seem to love the HydaShok feature. The center post and the notched jacket design ensures that the bullet can pass through the thickest of materials and fabrics. This ensures a more reliable expansion and a deeper penetration. And that’s not all! The expansion is quite rapid which is suitable for most self-defense purposes.
Furthermore, during tests, users found that it penetrates about 15 inches inside ballistic gelatin. Also, users noted that the rounds showed almost 100% weight retention. This means that the shots will be much more precise and accurate.
For a full review:
- 100% weight retention for deeper penetration
- Controlled and rapid expansion through all kinds of fabric
- Tested rigorously through FBI standards
- Leaves deeper and larger wounds
- Precise and accurate shots
- Hard recoil
- Very low velocity
All in all, the Federal Hydra Shok 10mm ammo is perfect for law enforcers and self-defense users who need a reliable option to keep them safe.
Overall Rating: 4.6
Underwood Ammo 10MM HORNADY XTP JHP
Underwood has been manufacturing some of the world’s most reclaimed and renowned ammunition. This pack includes 20 rounds and each bullet weighs around 180 grains. We find that this bullet is a great choice and a humble alternative to most jacketed hollow points.
- Each bullet weighs about 180 grains
- Muzzle velocity of 1300 ft/s and muzzle energy of 676 J.
- Includes 20 rounds.
- Made within the United States. Genuine product.
- Nickel-plated cover gives it a longer life
What Other Users are Saying
The Underwood Ammo is a great choice for beginners as well as professionals. Each bullet is cased with a tough plating of nickel. This is mainly for enhancing shelf life and for protecting against corrosion. So, with the Underwood, your rounds will stay healthy. As for the cleanup, Underwood provides the easiest cleanup while reloading.
Furthermore, it is an XTP JHP, which means that it expands upon penetration. As for the cartridge, this ammunition uses a 10mm auto cartridge. And it has a muzzle velocity of 1300 ft/s. It makes excellent use of Hornady Extreme Terminal Performance (XTP). This makes it ideal for target practice and self-defense.
Watch how it performs under extreme testing:
- Best JHP in the market
- Great muzzle velocity. Fast yet stable
- Nickel plating enhances product life and durability
- Moisture and corrosion resistant
- Penetration isn’t satisfactory. Might require extra force
So, for now, we can safely say that Underwood will remain one of our favorite ammo brands due to its durability and immense power.
Overall Rating: 4.5
Sig Sauer10mm Elite Performance Ammo
With the most superior JHP bullets, the Sig Sauer ensures that you get only the best and most top-notch performance for hunting and self-defense.
- 10mm Jacketed Hollow Point Bullets in a pack of 20
- V-crown profile
- Brass cases for the non-corrosive feature
- 180 gr bullet weight as well as 1200 fps muzzle velocity
What Other Users are Saying
Users noted that the V-crown design allowed for a smaller cavity inside the larger cavity. Thus, it helped control and program the expansion while maintaining appropriate velocity. Furthermore, the jacket of the bullet is locked to the core. As a result, the cartridge tends to be better at structural integrity.
Moreover, it helps maintain maximum weight retention, which, in turn, helps the bullet penetrate deeply. In addition to this, all the brass cases are coated with a special material called Techni-Crom. Users found that it made for excellent corrosion resistance as well as enhanced lubricity. Lastly, the nickel plating helps in making the chamber checks easier and faster.
Watch how it performs with a real gun:
- Controlled expansion as well as maximum weight retention
- Maintains structural integrity and penetrates deeper
- Ensures superior corrosion resistance
- Easy and fast to perform chamber checks
- Enhanced lubricity
- A little expensive
- Very heavy
The Sig Sauer is definitely head turning with its hi-fi technology and superior expansion control. Packed with a mighty punch, it can take down the biggest game or incapacitate the largest threat without hassle.
Overall Rating: 4.4
Other Great 10mm Ammo
- Armscor Handgun Ammunition
- Remington – UMC Ammo 10mm FMJ
- CCI – Blazer Ammo 10mm Auto FMJ
- HSM Ammunition – Bear Load 10mm Auto Ammo
Is the 10mm auto the best in the market? Perhaps not! However, it can still serve you well for cases of self-defense and hunting small to medium sized game. Although I loved all the choices, one stood out as clear as day! The Hornady Critical Duty 10mm is the best ammo in the market due to its reliability and power.
Its expansion, penetration and weight retention are all admirable! However, for me personally, I enjoy using it in bigger handguns. It makes it easier to tackle some of the bigger game easily. Moreover, it is quick and easy to incapacitate the game or any threat due to the large wounds it leaves.
So, which will you choose?
I enjoyed this article, many thanks to the author!
I enjoyed your article, most informative. I wondered what your opinion is of frangible rounds for self-defense in 9 or 10mm, particularly in the indoor setting.