Some items can become a victim of their own success. Take for instance the 10mm pistol cartridge. The 10mm took off like a rocket in the mid- to late-eighties. Colt could not keep up with the demand for the Delta Elite and numerous pistol makers ramped up to produce handguns in that chambering. On April 11, 1986 Special Agents from the FBI encountered some serious bad actors and decided they needed a bigger, more powerful handgun cartridge. Their answer was the 10mm.
In 1987 the sun was shining brightly in 10mm land, until the troops started carrying and shooting them. Handguns chambered in 10mm are naturally large and heavy, two items mutually exclusive to comfortable, plainclothes carry. Also, the 10mm pistol cartridge is for the experienced. Driving 180-grain bullets at 1,100 plus fps (feet per second), the felt recoil and report are definitely noticeable. Those assigned to carry the guns were not necessarily “gun people” or dedicated shooters. Within months of its adoption, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were looking for a milder alternative for their fragile recruits and officers.
Another aspect that cannot be denied is the fact that many gun makers simply took .45 ACP pistols and re-fitted them to shoot the 10mm cartridge. The pressures of these two rounds are vastly different. Shooters began to complain about breakdowns in their guns.
So, where are we today? Essentially, we are back where we were two decades ago. Pistols chambered in 10mm are being used by adults who are truly dedicated shooters. The 10mm is a “kick-ass” flat-shooting pistol cartridge that seems perfectly suited for the field.