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10mm vs 9mm: Ballistics & Stopping Power

Posted by Team Armscor on Apr 3, 2020

Shooters know that talking about calibers is an age-old question. What’s faster? What’s more powerful? What’s cheaper? 10mm or 9mm? These debates have been long questioned in shooting circles. Today, we’re throwing down some facts on both the 9mm and 10mm and letting you decide what works best for you. Don’t waste your time debating this or that…


Here’s what you need to know about 10mm and 9mm ballistics and stopping power.



Anyone that’s shot both a 10mm and a 9mm round certainly understands that these two cartridges are different. Yet, when it comes to sports shooting or personal defense, both 10mm and 9mm have their advantages. Generally speaking, the 9mm is going to be more favored as a self-defense round. It’s not a coincidence that the FBI has chosen 9mm as their service caliber. The 9mm is going to be easier to shoot – plain and simple. While both are going to give off recoil, the 10mm is going to be more noticeable.


The recoil comes from the 10mms muzzle energy, and because the 10mm is a larger caliber, there’s going to be a bigger exit hole on targets. If you’re looking to do major damage and have larger expansion on a target, opt for the 10mm.


A benefit that both rounds share is that they allow for excellent ammo capacity. This can be advantageous in many types of shooting scenarios, including self-defense, hunting, target shooting, plinking etc. If you’re a shooter that wants high capacity, 9 and 10mm will do the job.



Next we’ll compare and go over the ballistics of each round.


10mm Ballistics

Grain Weight: 180

Bullet Type: FMJ

Muzzle Velocity: 1,008 fps

Muzzle Energy: 406 ft/lbs

Velocity at 100yds: 917 fps



9mm Ballistics

Grain Weight: 124

Bullet Type: FMJ

Muzzle Velocity: 1,090 fps

Muzzle Energy: 348 ft/lbs

Velocity at 100yds: 946 fps




Optimal 10mm Uses

After looking at the ballistics of both calibers, we see that the 10mm has more kick. They have faster muzzle velocity, muzzle energy and a faster velocity. Because of the faster velocity, 10mm is going to give you better long-distance shooting. Taking all that into consideration, here are optimal 10mm uses:

  • Handgun Hunting: Its long distance and powerful shot comes in handy when hunting game with thick hides.
  • Hunting Backup: Semi-automatic firing makes for a good backup.
  • Range Shooting: 10mm is just plain fun to shoot down range.


Optimal 9mm Uses

Let’s be honest, no one likes recoil. Especially if you’re in a high-stress situation. The last thing on your mind should be your weapon’s recoil, but it can affect your shot in dire situations. When you shoot with 9mm, you’ll learn how to wield it faster without wasting time trying to get used to its recoil. The 10mm is going to give a lot deeper penetration than the 9mm… and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Home defense situations are often in inopportune settings. This can include lighting and position. When you’re going through these situations having a round that can do a lot of damage can be too dangerous. You don’t want to over penetrate, blow through a wall and possibly hurt your family. This means that self-defense situations are better fitted with the 9mm. Here are the optimal uses for 9mm:


  • Target Shooting: 9mm is cheap and a readily available round.
  • Self Defense: It’s a powerful, yet manageable round.
  • Hobbyists: It’s a tried and true caliber with a rich history.


Whether you choose to shoot 9mm, 10mm or both… Armscor has high-quality ammunition for any scenario. Learn more about Armscor ammunition here.


Beginner or advanced, you can always improve your shooting technique.

Topics: Ammo, General, 1911