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The Best 10mm Ammo for Every Shooting Situation

The Best 10mm Ammo for Every Shooting Situation

While not as popular as the 45 ACP or 9mm, the 10mm Auto holds a special place in many shooters’ hearts and hands.

However, it makes little sense to spend a lot of money on a beautiful 10mm pistol and then buy ammo as an afterthought.

If you want top-tier results from your gun, then you must fire the best 10mm ammo. As you continue scrolling, you’ll discover our ammo experts' top 10mm ammo picks for every situation.

Our Top 3 10mm Ammo Picks

  1. Speer Gold Dot 200 grain JHP - Best 10mm Ammo Overall
  2. Hornady Handgun Hunter 135 grain MonoFlex - Best 10mm Hunting Ammo
  3. Federal American Eagle 180 grain FMJ - Best 10mm Training Ammo

The Best 10mm Ammo Options in 2024

Best Overall 10mm Ammo - Speer Gold Dot 200 grain JHP


  • Bullet type: Jacketed Hollow Point
  • Primer Type: Boxer
  • Case Type: Nickel-Plated Brass
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,100 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 537 ft-lbs


  • Trusted by law enforcement officers
  • Reasonably priced for a defense load
  • Smooth cycling
  • Reduced chance of over-penetration


  • It is not something you want to take to the range often; it’s pricey
  • Heavier recoil

Why We Chose It

Speer Gold Dot 200 grain JHP is the best ammo overall because it’s reliable and can be used in various situations – though some might find it a little pricey!

Many of my law enforcement buddies say they prefer to fire Speer ammunition. I figure if it’s good enough to earn their trust, it’s good enough for me.

Despite its smoother-cycling nickel-plated brass, it’s still reasonably priced compared to other self-defense ammo, such as Underwood 140 grain Xtreme Penetrator or Federal Personal Defense HST 200 grain JHP.

The jacketed hollow point bullet design reduces the risk of over-penetration, so you can focus on stopping the threat while simultaneously reducing the risk of striking innocent bystanders. Speer’s proprietary Uni-Cor process creates an electrochemically bonded jacket: one that is concentric to promote better accuracy, as well as durable to secure effectively deep penetration. And because the Gold Dot bullet’s hollow point nose cavity is created via a series of two precision die presses, it is programmed to initiate consistently fast and wide terminal expansion.

Just because Speer Gold Dot is the best 10mm ammo doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are a couple of things you might not like about it.

Yes, I said this ammo is reasonably priced for a self-defense round, but it's costly when you compare it to target ammo. This is why I recommend getting most of your shooting out of the way with cheaper ammo and then doing your serious training with Speer Gold Dot 10mm ammo.

Some shooters might also dislike the amount of recoil the 200 grain bullet generates compared to a 155 grain or even a 180 grain projectile. If you’re sensitive to recoil, you should probably consider choosing a lighter bullet (or a less powerful cartridge).

Despite these drawbacks, Speer Gold Dot 200 grain JHP is still the best 10mm ammo overall because it’s highly reliable for a reasonable price.

Best 10mm Hunting Ammo - Hornady Handgun Hunter 135 grain MonoFlex


  • Bullet type: Solid Copper Hollow Point (SCHP)
  • Primer Type: Boxer
  • Case Type: Brass
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,315 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 518 ft-lbs


  • Designed for hunting
  • Trusted brand
  • Non-lead bullets
  • Solid ballistics
  • Lower recoil


  • Limited range
  • Expensive handgun hunting ammo

Why We Chose It

Hornady Handgun Hunter 135 grain MonoFlex is the best 10mm hunting ammo because it’s one of the few 10mm rounds designed for taking medium game. It has the stopping power to take down hogs, whitetail, and small black bears.

Hornady is a leading ammunition brand that I trust in the field, for self-defense, and at the range. Their MonoFlex bullets are legal to use in areas where lead is prohibited, so you can hunt in more places without getting a ticket.

The MonoFlex projectile’s light 135 grain translates to a flatter trajectory accompanied by lower felt recoil. Less recoil equates to less muzzle flip, which means you can spend less time restoring your aim on the target after each time you fire. Fast follow-up shots are more important during self-defense than they are during hunting – but if you seriously tick off a black bear, then you’ll be glad to be able to calm it down quickly.

The MonoFlex is entirely made out of copper with the exception of its Flex Tip. In addition to keeping the nose cavity free of debris that could inhibit terminal expansion, the supple Flex Tip compresses during penetration to help yield faster, wider expansion. And because copper is such an inherently tough metal, it resists fragmentation that could lead to shallow penetration depth.

These rounds also come with a couple of downsides for hunters.

In general, handgun ammunition has a relatively limited effective range for hunting – even the big boys, like 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum. Hornady’s 10mm hunting rounds are no different. The lightweight bullets also won’t carry terribly much energy downrange, so your targets had better be nearby.

If you’re looking for a 10mm hunting bullet with high velocity and muzzle energy, check out the Federal Fusion 200 grain Bonded SP. It’s a little slower than the Hornady, but it packs more of a punch, which suits it better for the United States’ larger game animals.

The other drawback of this ammo is the expense. It’s costlier than Federal Fusion and Sellier & Bellot XRT Defense 130 grain SCHP, which can also be used for hunting with a 10mm Auto pistol.

Hornady is a trusted brand – the pride of Nebraska, which has been in business more than 70 years. When you pull the trigger on the buck of a lifetime, you can rest assured the Big H’s ammo will fire and cycle through your firearm reliably.

Best 10mm Self-Defense Ammo - Hornady Critical Duty 175 grain InterLock


  • Bullet type: Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP)
  • Primer Type: Boxer
  • Case Type: Nickel-Plated Brass
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,160 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 523 ft-lbs


  • Trusted brand
  • Designed for law enforcement
  • Smooth cycling
  • Solid ballistics


  • Expensive

Why We Chose It

CCWers and law enforcement across the nation trust Hornady Ammunition. Hornady Critical Duty 175 grain InterLock performs well in all self-defense situations, whether you’re carrying a Springfield, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson or Glock. Some guns might prefer a specific round over another. It’s up to you to determine which ammo your firearm prefers best.

Hornady Critical Duty series ammunition features the FlexLock projectile. Like the FTX, its nose cavity contains a supple polymer column called the Flex Tip. The Flex Tip shields the nose cavity during penetration of barriers, which prevents the nose cavity from losing its ability to initiate terminal expansion as a result of clogging with fabric, drywall dust and other debris. The FlexLock also features an InterLock band: a feature that keeps the bullet’s high-antimony lead core and copper jacket mechanically anchored together. The benefit is higher weight retention, which secures deeper penetration if the bullet has to pierce a barrier before reaching the threat.

As much as I love Hornady Critical Duty, I must be honest and mention the cons.

First, it won’t be as good as Underwood 200 grain Hard Cast ammo for bear defense while hunting in Alaska or any other state with grizzly bears. Hard cast loads are the best 10mm ammo for bear defense because their heavily alloyed bullets are nearly immune to deformation. The hard cast bullet accordingly focuses all of its available energy on deep penetration – crucial when you want to reach a big bear’s heavily armored vital organs.

The other critical con (See what I did there!?) is the price tag – but if you want the best ammo, you’ll need to pay the price. Hornady is usually on the leading edge of bullet and ammo technology, which is why their ammo is often some of the most expensive on the market.

Even with the cons, I wouldn’t hesitate to feed a Ruger SR1911 Hornady Critical Duty 175 grain InterLock. It’s dependable, it’s accurate, and it delivers the reliable terminal ballistics you want when you’re playing for all the beans.

Best 10mm Training Ammo - Federal American Eagle 180 grain FMJ


  • Bullet type: Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
  • Primer Type: Boxer
  • Case Type: Brass
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,030 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 424 ft-lbs


  • Trusted brand
  • Reasonably priced
  • Similar ballistics to defense ammo


  • It’s not self-defense ammo, and I prefer to train with the same ammo I would entrust my life to

Why We Chose It

Training is critical to success if you intend to walk away from a life-or-death situation unscathed. Federal American Eagle 180 grain FMJ is one of my go-to rounds for training because it’s reasonably priced, produced by a trusted brand, and offers similar recoil and ballistic performance to many lines of defense ammo.

Federal Premium is one of the most trusted brands because they consistently produce high-quality ammo at their factory in Anoka, MN. Many firearm enthusiasts love Federal’s American Eagle brand because of its affordability and reliability. You can purchase these rounds at a decent price and won’t have to worry so much about jams or failures to fire.

That said, I’m a huge proponent of training with the same ammo you would normally carry. There’s no better way to familiarize yourself with your self-defense loads’ performance than by training extensively with them. But I understand that training can get very expensive, which is why I think Federal American Eagle 180 grain FMJ is an excellent option for the days when you’re unwilling to spend a house payment on ammo.

Best Target/Competition 10mm Ammo - Magtech 180 grain FMJ


  • Bullet type: Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
  • Primer Type: Boxer
  • Case Type: Brass
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,230 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 605 ft-lbs


  • Inexpensive
  • Well established brand
  • Good ballistic performance
  • Lower recoil than other loads


  • Lesser known ammo brand
  • Handloads make for the best competition ammo

Why We Chose It

Magtech 180 grain FMJ is perfect for taking to the range for a fun day of target shooting or even a little competition shooting.

These rounds are super cheap compared to hunting and self-defense ammo, which means you get to send more bullets downrange for less dough.

Many shooters might not have heard of Magtech. It’s a well-established ammunition company headquartered in Brazil (a subsidiary of the massive CBC Group, which also owns Sellier & Bellot and MEN), and is known for producing quality ammo for various applications for many years. Fiocchi Range Dynamics 180 grain FMJTC is another option (albeit a bit pricier).

The 180 grain bullets tend to generate less recoil energy than heavier ones (i.e. PMC Bronze 200 grain FMJTC). If you don’t like the kick of the heavy projectiles, try a lighter alternative.

The biggest drawback is for competitive shooters. We all know handloads tend to perform better than factory-loaded ammo, so if you’re looking for the perfect 10mm Auto competition ammo, you might have to try loading it yourself.

For the rest of us who want to punch a few holes in paper or listen to steel ring, Magtech 180 grain FMJ is an excellent choice for your 10mm Auto pistol.

Best Bulk 10mm Ammo - Sellier & Bellot 180 grain FMJ


  • Bullet type: Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
  • Primer Type: Boxer
  • Case Type: Brass
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,164 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 543 ft-lbs


  • Inexpensive
  • Trusted brand
  • Reloadable


  • More expensive

Why We Chose It

Sellier & Bellot 180 grain FMJ is the best bulk 10mm ammo because it’s reliable, inexpensive and reloadable.

Sellier & Bellot has always functioned well in my firearms. I’ve rarely had a problem with it while firing at the range.

If you’re into compounding ways to save money, then these are the rounds for you. Not only are they super cheap, but the brass is also reloadable thanks to the noncorrosive Boxer primers and quality brass Sellier & Bellot uses.

The biggest drawback of buying ammo in bulk is the initial cost, but the savings are well worth it when you see how much you save per round. You might find that Blazer’s aluminum-cased 200 grain FMJ ammo is a little less expensive, but you can’t reload it. Aluminum cases aren’t supple like brass ones, and will not return to their original dimensions following ignition. Blazer loads their aluminum cases with Berdan primers (which require an external anvil and dual flash holes) to discourage people from even attempting to reuse them.

It’s tough to beat Sellier & Bellot 180 grain FMJ when you need ammo to stack to the rafters, or if you plan to meet some buddies for a fully loaded range day. Those Czechs make some seriously good ammo!

10mm Bullet Types

10mm ammo uses several bullet types depending on which shooting application you plan to use, your Remington or Colt 1911.

Below, I’ve made a quick reference list of what they are and the best uses for each type of bullet.

Bonded Soft Point (SP)

Bonded soft point bullets are practical for hunting and self-defense because they cause so much damage following impact. The bonding process yields a jacket which is tightly rooted to its lead core. This helps keep the bullet remain more intact during penetration of barriers and soft tissue, which ensures it conserves sufficient momentum to enter deeply into the quarry or threat.

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)

A full metal jacket is an excellent all-around bullet for training, plinking and target shooting because it’s inexpensive and highly dependable. However, I don’t recommend the FMJ for self-defense. Its inability to undergo terminal expansion predisposes it to over-penetrate, and also causes it to inflict less damage to the target.

Full Metal Jacket Truncated Cone (FMJTC)

A variation of an FMJ is the full metal jacket truncated cone. It is best used for target practice and competitions because it cuts a cleaner, more distinct hole through paper and cardboard. Note that the FMJTC’s flat tip enables it to punch a wider hole through soft tissue than a conventional round nose FMJ. Even so, the FMJTC cannot unleash the terminal expansion that is desirable for defensive applications.

Hard Cast Bullets

Hard cast bullets are made of lead that has been heavily alloyed with additional metals such as antimony, tin and silver. They penetrate more efficiently than traditional lead-core bullets because they don’t expand, thus making them more practical for hunting and defense against dangerous game.

Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP)

Jacketed hollow points have many different names depending on the brand. Hornady XTP and FTX are some examples that immediately come to mind. A JHP is ideally suited for self-defense and some hunting scenarios. Its hollow point nose cavity fills with pressurized soft tissue during penetration, thus forcing the bullet to widen out. It gouges a wider wound channel, disperses more of its energy laterally, and reduces (but doesn’t eliminate) the risk of over-penetration as a result.

Solid Copper (SC)

Also known as monolithic bullets, solid copper bullets are entirely made of … well, you get it. The Black Hills HoneyBadger and Underwood Xtreme Penetrator are two examples of solid copper projectiles. They’re often used for self-defense and hunting in areas that restrict lead bullets.

A copper bullet isn’t just nontoxic. It conserves accuracy by preventing lead fouling, exhibits excellent in-flight rotational stability because its lack of a jacket means that it cannot have concentricity flaws, and penetrates soft tissue efficiently due to copper’s inherent toughness.

Many solid copper bullets do not have hollow point nose cavities. Instead they have grooves which channel soft tissue inward, pressurize it, and jet it outward at high velocity. The resultant wound cavity can be immense.

Solid Copper Hollow Point (SCHP)

Another variation of an SC bullet is the solid copper hollow point. Barnes loads the TAC-XP, which is one of the best examples available.

These bullets are used for self-defense and hunting, especially where lead projectiles have been banned by law. Copper bullets perform differently than lead bullets. If you plan on carrying them, be sure to practice with solid copper bullets, too. Otherwise, you might be surprised by the differences.

Choosing the Right 10mm Ammo For Your Situation

Purchasing the best ammo ultimately comes down to what you will use it for. Let’s discuss which ammo types work best for various situations.


Hunting with full-power handgun loads like the 10mm is becoming more popular due to the challenge it presents. We still want to be ethical during our adventures, of course, so we should always use JHP, SP or SCHP projectiles while hunting.

Even though a round like the Hornady Custom 155 grain XTP might seem a little light, it has plenty of stopping power for whitetail deer at close range and is a much better option than an FMJ, which will kill the deer but is not as effective. Note that FMJ bullets aren’t permitted for hunting in some jurisdictions, too.


I’m not inclined to take any chances when it comes to defending myself and my own. This is why I always load JHPs in my carry gun: I know a JHP can stop a threat whilst simultaneously reducing the risk of over-penetration.


As I mentioned earlier, I prefer to train with the same ammo I will carry – but I acknowledge that can get expensive. If I plan to do a lot of training, I tend to go with the cheapest ammo that offers ballistics similar to the rounds I’ll be carrying.

Practice as you play.

Competition & Target Shooting

When competition shooting, you need the best ammo available to give you the greatest possible advantage. This is why so many shooters handload for competitions.

Plenty of factory ammo is match grade. It’s never as good as an experienced handloader’s best work, but its out-of-the-box accuracy can still win a contest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, the team at Ammo.com has gathered and answered several commonly asked questions regarding the best 10mm ammo.

What is the effective range of a 10mm bullet?

The effective range of a 10mm bullet is about 100 yards. In the hands of a highly trained shooter, it can be extended to 200 yards.

Is 10mm stronger than 45 ACP?

The 10mm is stronger than the 45 ACP because it tends to achieve higher velocity, greater striking energy, and deeper penetration.

Is 10mm overkill for self-defense?

No, 10mm is not overkill for self-defense.

Is 10mm ammo worth it?

10mm ammo is most certainly worth it, depending on your goals. If you’re looking for a fun gun to take to the range, I’d recommend something smaller and cheaper. If you’re looking for a sidearm for bear or self-defense, the 10mm is well worth it.

Parting Shots

Now that you’ve read our best 10mm ammo review, you can confidently purchase the ammo that works best for your situation.

I strongly encourage you to test several different brands to determine which works best with your specific gun.

Stay safe, and always watch your six.

Wes Littlefield
Written by
Wes Littlefield

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