Ballistics Showdown: Comparing the Power of 10MM vs 45 ACP

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If you set a 45 ACP and a 10mm ammo round right next to each other, odds are you’ll have to do a double take. Both bullets have very similar heights and widths. And even though they look pretty similar, their performance is what makes a huge difference. The next time you’re checking your ammo boxes or cleaning out your gun locker, be sure you know what you’ll get out of each cartridge. Whether you’re hunting or self-defending, knowing the ballistics and characteristics of a round is going to help you with your shot.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the 10mm and 45.


If we look at the history of both rounds, we’ll see some huge differences. The 10mm ammo was created in the 1980s, relatively recent in the world of shooting. It was adopted by the FBI in the mid 80s due to its impressive stopping power. But after the 10mm ammo’s high recoil was determined as uncontrollable by novice agents, it was quickly replaced with a different round. Over the years, its popularity has waned, but as of recent, the 10mm is having a sort-of renascence within dedicated shooting circles.

Compared to the .45ACP, the 10mm ammo’s history is brief. The .45ACP has been in shooters’ lineups since the early 1900s. Its big bore build has impressed anyone from civilian shooters to military men for over 100 years. Created by the famous John Moses Browning, the .45ACP saw action in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War, just to name a few. Its reliability and individuality have made it acclaimed.


Stopping Power

The stopping power of both rounds are impressive, yet they go about it in different ways. The low velocity and heavy weight of the .45 and the high velocity, low weight of the 10mm both make for powerful shots. If you’re looking for speed, 10mm will have you covered. The 10mm has a faster velocity and energy than the .45ACP. But the 45 gives great diameter and has stood the test of time. Maximum damage becomes very handy when you’re in dangerous situations and the 45 is going to give you the largest bullet expansion.



  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,008 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 406 ft/lbs
  • Velocity at 100 yards: 917 fps


  • Muzzle Velocity: 840 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 368 ft/lbs
  • Velocity at 100yds: 792 fps

Shooting Target at the range

Optimal Usage/ Performance

Both the 10mm ammo and .45ACP are considered prime rounds for self and home defense as well as for hunting dangerous game. But both have advantages over the other.


.45 ACP is a very controllable defense round. The .45 ACP is regarded as a top self-defense round in terms of stopping power and recoil. Despite being heavy rounds, .4ACP recoil doesn’t get in its way.  The low velocity and heavy weight of the .45 is great for striking large areas and creating large wounds. It also isn’t going to be dangerous to shoot in tight, closed quarters. The 10mm can be considered dangerous while in a home defense environment. Because of its deep penetration, exit velocity can still be dangerous. Check out the RIA firearm models that chamber .45 ACP.


The 10mm ammo excels most is out in the field on hunting situations. Whether you’re hunting for game or need protection from large predators, the 10mm will have you covered. It also has the advantage of generally holding more rounds than .45ACP chambered pistols. Get concise, deadly penetration whenever you’re shooting with 10mm ammo.  

The 10mm Auto is the most powerful of the mainstream, semi-auto rounds, with power levels on par with or exceeding the .357 Magnum, though the 10mm ammo uses heavier projectiles that range from about 135 grains to 230 grains (165 to 200 are most common) though lighter loadings are available. Lower-recoil, lower-power loadings - often called "FBI loads" - are quite popular.

The 10mm ammo is arguably the great all-around handgun round. You can use a light loading for target shooting or carry, as a low-recoil 10mm load is literally a .40 S&W in a longer case. Check out the various
firearms that use 10mm.

Both rounds offer distinct capabilities that other pistol cartridges just can’t compete with. Fill up your stock with quality, Armscor ammunition. Learn more about all our pistol ammunition here.The Definitive Gun Care Guide