What does Ted Nugent have in common with FBI agents or with Sonny Crockett, the Miami Vice character? They have all used a 10mm Auto handgun. The 10mm Auto was designed by Colonel Jeff Cooper in 1983 to replace the .45 ACP. The 10mm trajectory is flatter than the .45 ACP, and transfers energy better from the bullet to the target. The cartridge has a rimless case and is short enough to use in a semi-automatic pistol.
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. The 10mm was field tested by the FBI in a 1911 style firearm. The FBI ordered 10,000 Smith & Wesson 1076 pistol to issue to its agents in 1988. The recoil of the 10mm during field trials 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. The FBI canceled 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 preference of the FBI for the .40 S&W over the 10mm, the 10mm remains a capable cartridge. It performs exactly as designed. The muzzle velocity ranges from 1300 to 1600 feet per second, and muzzle energy exceeds 750 foot pounds.
The 10mm retains more energy at 100 yards than most .45 ACP rounds have at the muzzle. 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. The 10mm is powerful enough to take most North American game. Elite troops in Denmark use the round in defense against polar bears.
All the major American ammunition manufacturers still produce the 10mm. The bullet weighs between 135 and 200 grains. Hollow point bullets are the most common. Smaller companies, such as Cor-Bon, Double Tap and Triton also make semi-custom, high performance 10mm rounds. A 10mm pistol makes a quality addition to any gun safe and its presence on the range is certain to start some conversations.