Armscor 10mm Longslide

By Oleg Volk

"A handgun is merely a weapon used to fight your way back to your rifle—which you shouldn't have left behind." - Jeff Cooper

While witty, Jeff Cooper’s maxim applies more to wartime than to daily life of the majority of Americans. Carrying rifles isn’t often practical, isn’t always legal, and so handguns end up being used for the vast majority of defensive actions outside of home. The style of gun differs from person to person; some consider any subcompact to be adequate for scaring off opportunistic criminals, others prefer larger caliber, capacity and controllability to win gunfights physically.

Along with plastic fantastic, the old M1911 updated with a double-stack magazine is one such platform. Available in calibers from 22TCM to 45ACP, 2011 and similar models attempt to provide maximum capacity along with decent sights and triggers. Of the several popular defensive calibers, the 10-mm Automatic holds the most mystique. Science-fiction writers hold it up as the one chambering to join humanity in space, either in dueling pistols of David Weber’s “Honor Harrington” universe or in hunting guns of L. Neil Smith’s “Pallas.” 10 mm is an odd round, more popular in the theory than in actual weapons, despite obvious performance merits.

Designed in 1983 and selected by the FBI in 1986, 10 mm promised to be the perfect fighting cartridge. It provided enough energy and mass to penetrate deeply and enough velocity to expand reliably. Unfortunately, the blast and the recoil proved hard on both guns and shooters, and it lagged behind its “child,” 40S&W, in popularity. Today, 10 mm is mainly a hunter’s cartridge, meant to stop a predator charge up close. While known for high penetration, 10-mm Auto actually comes in a wide variety of loads, from jacketed and monolithic ball to heavy, controlled expansion hollow points to lightweight expanding rounds meant for no more than 8 inches of penetration. Bullets from 135 gr to 230 gr are available, made with anything from jacketed lead to zinc alloy to machined copper.

Likewise with pistols, you can get a short, fat Glock, a medium-size rotary breech Grand Power or...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N2 (March 2017)
and was posted online on January 27, 2017


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