10mm Vs 9mm - What Is The Difference?

9mm vs 10mm Caliber Comparison - How Does 1mm Difference Matters?

The debate about 10mm Vs 9mm is exciting to know how much difference 1mm can make.

As there is only a 1 mm bullet diameter difference, bullet specifications, weight, stopping power, magazine capacity, and muzzle velocity is considerably different when comparing 9mm vs. 10mm.

10mm Vs 9mm Ammo

Hey, I am Lisa, the content editor at Bulk Cheap Ammo.

In the previous topic, we compared the two most demanding handgun calibers: 9mm Vs 45 ACP & found that 9mm ammo was the winner as per various comparison points.

Let's continue this journey by comparing the 9mm ammo with another popular caliber, 10mm.

In the next few sections below, we will break down the differences between the 10mm Vs. 9mm. It will be helpful to choose the best handgun caliber for your needs.

10mm Vs 9mm - A Quick Look

Give a quick look on the difference between both calibers.

Specifications 9mm Ammo 10mm Ammo
Bullet Weight 108gr to 147gr* 60 to 205 grain*
Bullet Diameter 9.01 mm (0.355 in) 10.17 mm (0.400 in
Case Length 19.15 mm (0.754 in) 25.20 mm (0.992 in
Max Overall Length 29.69 mm (1.169 in) 32.00 mm (1.260 in)
Case Capacity 0.862 cm3 1.56 cm3 (24.1 gr H2O)
Max Pressure 235.00 MPa 230 MPa (33,000 psi)
Muzzle Energy 304 lb/ft 624 ft lbs
Used by NATO and others; Militaries, police, and self defense. FBI Hostage Rescue Team. FBI Special Weapons and Tactics Teams.

9mm Ammo

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10mm Ammo

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10mm Vs 9mm Overview

10mm Vs 9mm Overview

Regarding self-defense, 9mm & 10mm both are the best caliber options. Before knowing the differences, it's essential to see the overview of both calibers, especially for new gun owners.

9mm Overview

9mm ammo is known as the king of handgun calibers in the world. It's a widely used caliber by many handguns and some submachine guns.

Popularly known as 9mm Luger & 9mm NATO. As these are popular names of 9mm, still there are slight difference between Luger vs NATO 9mm calibers.

It was first developed by German arms manufacturer Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) in 1902. It is 9mm in diameter and 19mm in length, a rimless, bottlenecked cartridge.

The higher magazine capacity, less recoil, affordability & ease of finding options make it a good choice for self-defense, law enforcement, and military applications.

The 9mm cartridge is relatively small and compact, making it easy to carry, and it typically has low recoil and good accuracy.

Several types of 9mm ammunition are available, including a full metal jacket (FMJ), jacketed hollow point (JHP), and frangible. Each type of ammunition has specific characteristics and is used for different purposes, such as target shooting, self-defense, and training.

Some common 9mm firearms include the Glock 19, Sig Sauer P229, and Beretta 92.

10mm Overview

The 10mm is a semi-automatic pistol cartridge introduced in the 1980s. The caliber is known for its high velocity and stopping power. That makes it a popular choice for hunting and self-defense.

The cartridge case capacity of 1.56 milliliters (24.1 grains H2O) can be a good option for competition, recreational shooting, home defense, and hunting medium to large games.

The 10mm is slightly larger, which makes it difficult to control over the 9mm luger. The higher muzzle energy and velocity of the 10mm Auto make it more powerful than the 9mm Luger. Because of its effective stopping power, it's a good option for hunting and wilderness protection.

10mm Auto is available in various bullet types like FMJ, Hollow Points, Soft Point & more. Available to buy from 60 to 205-grain bullet weights.

Some common 10mm firearms include the Glock 20, Smith & Wesson 1006, and the Colt Delta Elite.

Before moving to the comparison section, it's essential to understand that choosing a caliber will depend on a person's requirements or preferences. People have different choices on caliber weight, size, power, recoil & use.

10mm Vs 9mm - Know The Difference

10mm Vs 9mm - Know The Difference

After the overview, let's compare the 9mm & 10mm calibers by their development, applications, accuracy, stopping power, recoil, magazine capacity, price & availability.

History 9mm vs 10mm

History 9mm vs 10mm

9mm History

In 1902, the 9mm ammo or 9mm luger was developed by Georg Luger. The cartridge was designed initially with military handguns but has since become famous for self-defense and target shooting.

This new caliber improved on the previous handgun ammunition, which was large and heavy. Still today, the compact cartridge has less recoil and allows for easy handling.

10mm History

The 10mm Auto cartridge was developed by Jeff Cooper in 1983 and was first introduced by the Bren Ten pistol. It was designed to provide a high-power, high-velocity round for law enforcement and personal defense applications. The cartridge initially gained popularity but fell out of favor in the 1990s due to issues with firearms designed to handle the cartridge's high recoil.

However, the 10mm has since regained popularity and is now widely used for hunting, self-defense, and competitive shooting. It is a versatile cartridge that performs well in various shooting scenarios.

10mm Vs 9mm size & weight comparison

10mm Vs 9mm size & weight comparison

Bullet size is significant for the best shooting experience. A larger & heavier bullet will deliver more damage to the target.

9mm comes with an approximate bullet weight of 108gr to 147gr & overall length of 29.69 mm (1.169 in). A 9mm cartridge uses a bullet usually between 9mm and 10mm in diameter.

Other hands 10mm have 60 to 205-grain bullet weights & overall length of 1.26. The 10mm cartridge uses a bullet, usually between 10mm and 11mm in diameter.

When we compare the 9mm and 10mm in size or weight, the 9mm is smaller, more compact, and has less power. 10mm is comparably larger, heavier, and more expansive. Therefore, it can hold more gunpowder and stopping power.

9mm vs 10mm Stopping Power

9mm vs 10mm Stopping Power

Stopping power is the most significant decision point when comparing 10mm vs. 9mm.

While we compare the 9mm & 10mm, the 10mm is considered to have a higher stopping power than the 9mm. It comes with 55 percent greater average muzzle energy than the 9mm.

10mm will offer you a higher upper limit in energy and velocity.

In ballistics gel tests, a 9mm would typically travel about 13 inches after impact, while the 10mm was sometimes over 17 inches. This means that a 10mm could travel through two people at center mass and keep going. That is a vast amount of power.

10mm Vs 9mm Recoil

Recoil is one of the more significant reasons why people prefer 9mm or 40 S&W over 10mm.

9mm less recoil is helpful to improve accuracy and is easier to handle, allowing for better shot placement. An average 9mm will have about 4.5 ft-lbs of recoil energy in a standard loading, while a 10mm will have almost triple that at 12.85 ft-lbs of energy.

Essentially, the 9mm is much easier to shoot rapidly, which is a key factor for self-defense and competition.

Caliber Recoil Energy(ft ibs)
PMC 9mm 115gr JHP 5.12
Sellier & Bellot 9mm 124gr FMJ 6
Speer Gold Dot 9mm 147gr JHP 5.93
PMC 10mm 170gr JHP 11.09
Sellier & Bellot 10mm 180gr FMJ 11.59
Speer Gold Dot 10mm 200gr JHP 12.5

10mm Vs 9mm Magazine Capacity

10mm Vs 9mm Magazine Capacity

As per the magazine capacity comparison, 9mm has a higher capacity than 10mm. Most 9mm handguns have a magazine capacity of 12 to 15 rounds*. It's not final; it depends on the various gun types you are using.

On the other hand, 10mm has a smaller magazine capacity than 9mm because of its size. This will be different for different 10mm handguns.

Let's take an example. A standard Glock 17 magazine can carry 17+1 rounds of 9mm. On the other hand, the Glock 20 magazine can hold 15+1 rounds of 10mm Auto.

So, the 9mm is the winner in terms of magazine capacity.

Velocity of 10mm Vs 9mm

Velocity of 10mm Vs 9mm

Muzzle velocity refers to the speed at which the bullet travels once exiting the muzzle. The heavier the bullet, the higher its velocity and energy.

Comparing both calibers per muzzle velocity, 10mm have a higher muzzle velocity than the 9mm rounds. The 9mm has a muzzle velocity of around 1,200*fps (360 m/s), while the 10mm caliber comes with a higher muzzle velocity of up to 1,400* fps (430 m/s).

So 10mm is a faster caliber capable of delivering more energy to targets.


It is important for the bullet to have deep penetration upon entering the target, for the best and most devastating results.

The 9mm has a significant advantage over the 10mm when it comes to penetration. The 9mm bullet is designed to penetrate deep into the target and does so quite effectively.

On the other side, the 10mm bullet is designed to expand faster and doesn't penetrate as deeply as the 9mm.


  • Home Defense: 9mm is the better option for home defense than 10mm ammo. The greater capacity and ease of shooting make the 9mm better against a human attacker.
  • Hunting: For hunting, 10mm is the way to go. If you are looking for a handgun cartridge that will be effective for hunting or defense from large predators, you should look at larger calibers, such as the 10mm. It shoots further, flatter, and penetrates deeper when it gets where it's going. Recoil and capacity aren't a factor when hunting, so the two most significant downsides of 10mm are mitigated here. If you're planning to shoot an animal, 10mm is better.
  • Sport/Target Shooting : 9mm is the king here. Recoil is lower, capacity is higher, and ammunition is much cheaper, so there's no reason to choose 10mm over 9mm unless you're shooting in a sport that considers the power factor. 10mm is fun to shoot steel at longer ranges and can also be an excellent training tool. Overall, 9mm will be the more effective and economical option for 99% of people.
  • Concealed Carry: For concealed carry, there's no denying that 9mm handguns will be lighter than the 10mm variety. For concealed carry, a 9mm allows you to carry more ammo with a lighter handgun, which means you'll be more likely to accept it consistently.

Weapon Selection

Weapon Selection

When choosing handguns for 9mm & 10mm, there are many options available in every gun store.

There are many more options for handguns chambered in 9mm than in 10mm.

As per the power comparison, a 10mm handgun is more powerful than a 9mm handgun.

On average, a 9mm handgun can create 350 ft/lbs.* of energy. On the other hand, 10mm firearms can generate an average of 530 ft/lbs.* of power.

Many good 9mm handguns are available in the market, including Glock 19, Glock 17, and Glock 43.

The best 10mm handguns are 1911 10mm, Glock 20, Glock 40 & more.

10mm vs 9mm - Price & Availability

10mm vs 9mm - Price & Availability

When we compare 9mm & 10mm by price & availability, 9mm will be the winner.

As per the availability, both calibers are readily available to buy at every ammo store in the USA. Every seller lists these two handgun calibers at the top of the list.

For the price comparison, 9mm ammo is affordable because of its high demand compared to 10mm.

On the other hand, the bigger size of 10mm Auto requires more material to produce, so it's more expensive.

9mm ammo approximate Per Round Cost: 0.17 To $2.10(at the time of writing this post)

10mm approximate per round cost: $ 0.35 To $3.30 ((at the time of writing this post)

So, 9mm will be the winner for availability & price.


The discussion about 10mm vs 9mm will be ended with a clear conclusion that both calibers are popular based on their specification.

The 9mm caliber is small and lightweight, which makes it easy to carry & handle. As per the price & availability, 9mm ammo is widely available and affordable, that's why it is a popular choice for target shooting and self-defense.

On the other hand, the 10mm cartridge is slightly larger and heavier than the 9mm. Because of its good stopping powers, it's a good option for hunting.

Compared to 9mm, its higher recoil makes it more challenging to shoot accurately.

As per availability & price, 10mm is less available & more priced over 9mm.

In the end, both 9mm vs 10mm calibers have their pros & cons. It will depend on the person's preference and what caliber they want to use.

Lisa Earnest

Lisa Earnest

Apr, 24, 2024

Lisa Earnest has been a part of the Bulk Cheap Ammo team since 2018 and serves as the editor of Bulk Cheap Ammo content.

With a flair for language and an unwavering dedication to shooting sports, Lisa's diverse expertise combines to create an unforgettable experience for our audience.

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