10mm is the all-around Outdoorsman’s Caliber of Choice

The 10mm is gaining popularity, especially for those who are avid outdoorsmen.

A brief history

Dating back to the 1986 FBI Miami shootout which resulted in the creation of this cartridge. The 10mm never gain popularity and accepted by law enforcement agencies around the country. This was due to the excessive recoil which many to-be, and in the field LEO who scored poorly. Thus the stripped down 10mm, anemic 10mm or weak 10mm also known as the 40 S&W was born. Full power 10mm sits between between the .357 magnum and .44 magnum.

Current era

Modern 9mm such as the Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot has taken the FBI and many law enforcement agencies across the country by storm. With wounding ballistics equating to the 40S&W. Subsequently, in the past couple of years the FBI decided to switch to the 9mm .

For your urban EDC concealed carry, the common chambered 9mm handguns are perfectly suitable and preferred for stopping the two legged beast. The 9mm is my EDC choice of caliber for urban carry.

Top view. Shot through watermelon and a wet newspaper pack. By no means this test was to simulate bullets through any human or animal tissue/bone.

Side view

Defensive use

While out in the woods, National Forest and wilderness. A gun chambered to support full power 10mm is an all-around, versatile choice for stopping your two legged and four legged threats. Most states that have National Forest and parks allow open carry. This preferred carry method is due to the size of the gun, ease of access, and your hiking backpack equipped with straps all around for greater support and comfort.
A Glock 20 gen 4 is what I carry in such environments and terrain. The Glock is “ugly 😆 “, durable, less metal parts that reduces the chances of corrosion in a long rainy day hikes. When referring to 10mm down the lines of this article, I will only be referencing full power 10mm defensive/hunting loads. Which is what the round was originally design, and the whole point of carrying a 10mm for protection verses the 40, or watered down 10mm. In this section, emphasis will be on outdoor carry for protection against wild animals that you may encounter in the United States.

Carrying full hiking gear with Glock 20 in Safariland ALS retention holster

1) It’s not too heavy. For years big-bore revolvers have been the overwhelming choice for backup or primary carry in bear country, and with good reason. Calibers like the .44 Remington Magnum, .454 Casull, .500 Smith & Wesson are all capable of generating energy levels above 1,000 foot-pounds. One would tell you that, you need to carry shotgun with slugs on your two to three day hike. Theoretically, a larger and faster hitting projectile striking the intended target has a greater chance in rapid incapacitatin. You could use a 50AE or a bazooka on a moose and grizzly dropping it DRT. But that’s only if you can easily carry such weapon along with all your other gear and the ability to accurately guarantee a hit with the first shot while the animal is on the move. But this not la-la land, so let’s get back to reality.

2) Moderate recoil. Most people can train to control full power 10mm. Even girls can! Being the fact that most 10mm pistols are heavier than the popular three calibers (9mm, 40 and 45ACP) pistols which helps in dampening the recoil. On the other hand, its recoil is a lot less than a 44 magnum or 50AE which allows for faster followup shots and less flinching (can be mitigated by constant training), thus increasing your chances of landing your shots on a fast moving 4 legged target that’s approaching you while you’re under stress.

3) Has enough power to stop all two and four legged threats in the lower 48. To stop that angry grizzly the poo, you can use hard cast 200 or 220 grain ammo from respectable manufactures such as, Underwood, Buffalo Bore and DoubleTap. If you have a Glock with a stock barrel, it’s recommended to change it out with a traditional rifling style barrel in order to accurately and safely shoot hard cast.
Underwood loaded with 180 or 200 grain XTP bullets will take care of smaller black bear, some moose, deer and mountain lions.
If you want to shoot jacketed bullets with similar penetration and wounding ballistics to hard cast, Underwood got you covered with their 200 grain FMJ thick jacket bullets. I sent Underwood an email inquiring about this particular round. Here is their response. Click on the image below for a bigger picture.

The all copper lighter (150 grain) penetrators will do fine as well.

Some 10mm ballistic videos.

Underwood loaded with 150 grain Xtreme Hunter. Decent choice for hunting and protection

A real life example where an Alaskan hiker stops a charging brown bear with a 10mm Handgun at 6 ft!
The brown bears are usually bigger in Alaska and especially in Kodiak Island. Chances that you get attack by bear are a lot lower than getting in to a car accident or mug in a city. But those chances can rise when you spend more time in bear country.


Besides defensive uses, the 10mm round is superb for hunting and in particular, white tail deer with a proven track record.

One shot kill using the Glock 40

Hunter with his Dan Wesson Silverback 10mm using DoubleTap 155 grain TAC-XP ammo.

Hunter takes down a deer with his 10mm handgun

A FB post where a hunter successfully dropped a deer with his Glock 40 MOS.

Just to list a few of the many success hunting stories with the 10mm.


Being a holster safety fanatic, I recommend to use a level 2 retention holster such as the Safariland ALS. You never know what can go wrong in the woods. A good quality holster is more important than carry in the city. You might fall for whatever reason, the grip of the handgun could get caught by a small tree branch. The worse thing can happen is your gun falls out of the holster when you needed it the most. Unlike the infamous Black Hawk Serpa, the Safariland GLS or ALS is durable and won’t break apart, no need to worry about dirt or mud getting underneath the release mechanism.
Chest carry is the second option. I got the Kenai chest holster and wrote a review about it a while back. But today I prefer a good secure holster that won’t come off in an unfortunate event that I fall or roll.

There is no perfect caliber, based on personal experience and data collected from many others over the past years, the 10mm is the optimal choice for the outdoorsman defensive use and some hunting.



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