Choosing the 10mm vs. 45 ACP: Which do I want?

Most of you who want to start hunting may have already taken rifles through an elimination process but upon narrowing down to a point, you are now not able to choose the 10mm vs. 45.

This guide may probably give you some information that will enable you to make some informed decisions before you settle on one. It is important to note that the more you spend time with your gun, the more you will love or dislike it. Whereas a given cartridge and its corresponding handguns may find favor among the majority, there are instances when what ends up pleasing you isn’t that which is loved by the majority. In other words, the decision as to which of the two is better will solely lie with you.

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Comparison Chart



.45 ACP

Place of origin

​Sweden, United States

United States






Pistol / Revolver / Carbine /
SMG / Derringer


.40 S&W

.45 ACP +P, .45 Auto Rim, .45 Super

Bullet diameter

10.16 mm (0.400 in)

.452 in (11.5 mm)

Overall length

32.00 mm (1.260 in)

1.275 in (32.4 mm)

Case length

25.20 mm (0.992 in)

.898 in (22.8 mm)

Case type

Rimless, Straight

Rimless, straight

Case capacity

1.56 cm³ (24 gr H2O)

25 gr H2O (1.625 cm³)

Primer type

Large Pistol

primarily large pistol (but also
small pistol in some brass)

Maximum pressure

258.55 MPa (37,500 psi)

21,000 psi (140 MPa)

Rim thickness

1.40 mm (0.055 in)

.049 in (1.2 mm)

Rifling twist

381 mm (1 in 15 inches)

1 in 16 in (406 mm)

1. The 10mm Cartridge

The 10mm Auto ammo is a pistol size cartridge commonly used by the Special Weapon & Tactics Teams of the FBI and the FBI Hostage Rescue Team. The cartridge comes in four main variants namely, the .357 SIG, the .40 S&W, the 9×25mm Super Auto G and the 9×25mm Dillon, with the .40 S&W being the most common variant.

10mm JHP ammo in loaded magazines with a handgun

  • Cartridge Anatomy

The cartridge features .30 Remington rimless parent case types. The bullet diameter is 10.17mm, neck diameter is 10.74mm; base diameter is 10.80 mm, a rim diameter of 10.80mm and a rim thickness of 1.40mm. Its case length is 25.20mm, the overall length 32.00mm and the case capacity of 1.56 cm3

  • Ballistic Performance: 

The 10mm cartridge features bullets with a mass between 135gr and 230gr. The muzzle velocity lies between 16000 ft/s for the light 135-grain bullet and 1,150 Ft/s for the heavy 230-grain bullet. Similarly, they feature muzzle energy between 768 ft-lbs and 676 ft-lbs from the lightest to the heaviest. The most common bullet is the 175-grain STHP Winchester that features a velocity of 1290 ft/s and produces 649 ft-lbs energy.

The maximum C.I.P. pressure is 33,000 PSI with the maximum for SAAMI being 37,500 PSI.

  • Performance

The cartridge at its full potential is considered a high-velocity type that produces a less-curved flight path when fired as compared to other handgun cartridges.

  • Usage

It is mostly used with the Glock 29 and Glock 20. The cartridge has been marketed for tactical, defensive and hunting use, and is among the very few rimless semi-automatic cartridges that have been legalized for hunting the white-tailed deer within most of the USA states

2. .45 ACP Cartridges

.45 ACP Ammo

.45 ACP Ammo

Designed by John Browning for the world war I, the .45 ACP comes in a number of variants such as the .45 Super, the 45 ACP +P, and the .45 Auto Rim.

  • The Anatomy

The bullet features a rimless, straight case type, just as is the 10mm cartridge. It comes with an 11.5mm bullet diameter, 12.00mm neck diameter, 12.1 mm base diameter and a 12.2mm rim diameter. The rim thickness is 1.2mm, case length 22.8mm and overall length of 32.4mm. The cartridge comes with a 1.6cm3 case capacity.

It is characterized by a maximum C.I.P. pressure of 19,000 PSI and 21,000 SAAMI PSI. From this, it is clear that when it comes to pressure, the 10mm vs. 45 ACP has an edge, almost twice as much.

  • Performance

The .45 ACP cartridges generally operate at relatively low maximum chamber pressures as compared to the 10mm. The cartridge is large in size, heavier than most of the handgun cartridges and is expensive due to the increased material used in the manufacture. It has a relatively low muzzle flash and blast but the recoil produce is quite heavy with handguns and worse with the compact models. Its trajectory isn’t also as flat, thus making it a little more difficult for target acquisition. As far as terminal ballistics is concerned, the 10mm vs. 45 ACP carries the day.

Comparison and Contrasts

  • Power

The 10mm can be able to produce over 700 ft-lbs, with up to 1300 FPS speed realized with a 200-grain caliber. Yes, when it comes to gun power, the 10mm vs. 45 ACP has a cutting edge. The 10mm cartridge comes with high-pressure capabilities, something that the 45ACP doesn’t.

  • Velocity

As mentioned above, the 10mm is capable of producing up to 1300 FPS velocity. On the other side, the 45 ACP is only capable of producing about 900 FPS. The heavy bullet in the latter makes the projectile to drop like a rock when used at extended ranges.

  • Penetration

The 10mm vs. 45 ACP has better penetration ability. The 45ACP is very large in diameter, an aspect that limits its penetration capability. On the other hand, the 10mm isn’t that large, something that works to its advantage whenever it hits a target.

  • Range Performance

The 10mm cartridge has a flatter trajectory as compared with the heavy .45 ACP. The .45 ACP loses its power very fast hence isn’t a good cartridge for hunting. Its power is only good within short distances that aren’t practical for hunting. The 45 ACP is thus a very good gun for use in home defense as when compared with the 10mm gun. If you will thus be hunting the meth heads, medium deer, the big hogs, the mountain lion or the black bear, you need the 10mm guns. The .45 ACP is only practically effective when shooting targets at less than 40 yards.

  • Availability

There are more .45 ACP options for you to choose from as compared to the limited 10mm choices. You can get the modern SD loads in abundance in most your nearest gun stores. You are thus sure that your chance of getting ammo whenever you want them is almost guaranteed.

  • Carry & Concealment

The .45 ACP cartridges are generally used with weapons that are easy to carry and to conceal. This is not the case with the 10mm as even though smaller, most of the handguns designed for it are always a bit bigger and heavier.

  • Recoil and Muzzle Flash

If you won’t be irritated, those next to you will hate you when you use the 10mm. The muzzle flash and noise produced by the 10mm is almost unbearable, which is in contrast to the noise produced by the .45 ACP. It is almost impossible for you to do a series of shots with your 10mm handguns without having some ear protection on. The .45 ACP can, however, be used even by those having the most sensitive ears, without having to wear ear protection gears.

In a Nutshell

All that a hunter needs is penetration and power. Additionally, a hunter needs something that can travel fast and a gun that can allow them numerous shots within the shortest time possible. This may not be exactly what you need for self-defense. Normally, for home defense, one accurate shot is always enough to stop an aggressor. As a result, the .45ACP may come handy. It is, however, worth noting that the 10mm also performs pretty well in stopping two-legged targets.

When it comes to hunting, the 10mm cartridge travels faster than the .45 ACP. It also travels for longer distances and stores more kinetic energy. Theoretically, the 10mm cartridge has a higher penetration power. However, when it comes to practicality, there is almost no difference at all. The reduced recoil that comes with the 10mm allows the hunter to make a series of shots as they try to bring down that aggressive animal that is charging towards them.

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The 10mm cartridge is characterized with a lot of power; it is very versatile, produces flat shooting performance and is perfect choice for hunting even though it can also be used for self defense.

The .45 ACP on the other hand has weight and penetration limitations. This increase in weight and diameter of the cartridge results into a reduction of the sectional density. Sectional density is an aspect that is greatly needed when you are trying to bring down a charged bear or any of the other tough big games.

It is not an overstatement to say that in general, the 10mm cartridges and their corresponding handguns have more benefits than the .45 ACP counterparts.

As a result, in the 10mm vs. 45 discussions, 10mm is an outright winner.

Choosing the 10mm vs. 45 ACP: Which do I want?
4.8 (95%) 4 votes

2 thoughts on “Choosing the 10mm vs. 45 ACP: Which do I want?

  1. The choice is clear, you need one of each. The 10mm for hunting and the .45 for carry and home defense. Set your priorities!

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