What does Ted Nugent have in common with FBI agents? A 10mm Auto handgun. Designed by Colonel Jeff Cooper in 1983 to replace the .45 ACP – the 10mm has a flatter trajectory, transfers energy better from bullet to target, and features a cartridge short enough to use in a semi-automatic pistol. The bullet itself weighs between 135 and 200 grains, with hollow points being the most common.
The FBI Firearms Training Unit reevaluated the firearms its agents used after the tragic 1986 Miami Shootout. The performance of the 9mm and .38 Special had proven to be inadequate, so the 10mm was field tested by the FBI in a 1911 style firearm. In 1988, the FBI ordered 10,000 Smith & Wesson 1076 pistols to issue to its agents. During field trials, the recoil of the 10mm was too much for the average agent, so they reduced the power. The lighter load had less recoil, but didn't work in the S&W pistol. This led the FBI to cancel their order of the pistols after only 2,400 were delivered. The arrival of the .40 S&W signalled the end of the 10mm, as it was easily controlled and met the objectives of the switch away from the .45 ACP.
Despite the FBI's preference for the .40 S&W, the 10mm remains a capable cartridge and performs exactly as designed. The muzzle velocity ranges from 1,300 to 1,600 feet per second, muzzle energy exceeds 750 foot pounds, and it retains more energy at 100 yards than most .45 ACP rounds.
The 10mm has a group of devoted followers who think the extra recoil – which is only slightly more than a .45 ACP – is worth the increased effectiveness for self defense. It's powerful enough to take most North American game (even troops in Denmark use the round as defense against polar bears).
All the major American ammunition manufacturers still produce the 10mm, with smaller companies such as Cor-Bon, Double Tap and Triton also making semi-custom, high-performance rounds. A 10mm pistol makes a quality addition to any gun safe, and its presence on the range is a certain conversation starter.