The 10mm auto cartridge was developed by the late Col. Jeff Cooper and introduced to the shooting world in 1983 as a self-defense, utility and hunting cartridge of significant power. The 10mm was sized to be capable of fitting in a 1911 pistol. But it was a pistol called the Bren 10 that first chambered it. That was soon followed by the double-action Smith & Wesson Model 1076 pistol.
Col. Cooper envisioned the 10mm pistol round as being capable of doing at 50 yards what the .45 ACP could do at 25 yards. And by the time 10mm hit the market, that vision was a reality. While the 10mm didn’t achieve popularity in Col. Cooper’s lifetime, today more manufacturers and shooters have developed an appreciation for this fine cartridge. And now it’s chambered in a standard-sized, light-weight high-capacity pistol format suitable for duty and off-duty use, concealed carry, home defense or as a trail gun.
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 10mm Details
The first thing I noticed was that the M&P 10mm is available in two different barrel lengths. The first is a full-sized model with a 4.6-inch barrel. But the 4-inch-barreled compact model is the one that drew my attention.
The M&P 10mm is built on the same frame as the M&P.45. This wasn’t necessarily for additional strength, but for the ability to accommodate the long 10mm cartridge. Despite using the somewhat larger frame, the 4-inch barrel M&P 10mm weighs in at only 28.5 ounces.
This newest M&P features the M2.0 S&W updates and then some. Most noticeable are the optics-ready slide and S&W’s tall white dot sights for better co-witnessing with a red dot sight in place. Molded-in Picatinny railing is located at the front of the frame. Four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts are included.
Most recently updated in the M2.0 lineup is the new, flat face trigger, which replaces the traditional heavily curved S&W articulating trigger. The new trigger features a built-in trigger safety lever. Normally, I don’t favor a flat face trigger over a traditional curved trigger. However, the new M&P flat trigger is gently curved rather than totally flat. It is a “best of both worlds” design that should keep everyone happy. Trigger pull averaged a crisp 4 pounds, 6 ounces.
I requested my sample with the optional ambidextrous manual thumb safeties that my M&P M2.0 9mm has. The addition of a thumb safety makes loading/unloading and charging/clearing much safer. Ambidextrous slide release controls and a reversible magazine release button are included on the 10mm M&P as it is on the 9mm. The stainless-steel magazines are left bright, and the follower is yellow. Capacity is 15 rounds. And two magazines are included.
The M&P M2.0 at the Range
The first thing I did before I took the 10mm M&P to the range was exchange the medium, factory-installed palmswell insert to the small one. This helped improve the overall feel and controllability of this larger pistol.
The 10mm round, when loaded properly, is the most powerful “conventional” semi-automatic pistol cartridge on the market. The SIG Sauer 180-grain FMJ Elite Performance Practice Ammo leaves the muzzle at 1,250 feet per second and delivers 624 foot-pounds of energy. It was the round I used for all my testing. If you want more power, the Buffalo Bore Heavy 10mm JHPA jacketed hollow-point (JHP) is a hollow-point bullet that is also jacketed. This is done to reduce fouling in the action and barrel of the firearm and to provide more consistent bullet expansion. Ammo leaps out of the muzzle at 1,350 feet per second and dumps 728 foot-pounds of energy on the target. I would save this load for an all-steel 10mm pistol. Though it wouldn’t damage the M&P, its recoil would be quite noticeable.
I did two separate range tests for the 10mm M&P. The first was on the steel target at Briar Rabbit Shooting Sports. As I expected, the much greater energy of the 10mm slammed the targets over, rather than causing them to fall over. Recoil and blast were noticeable but controllable. I ran through the steel targets a number of times. There were no malfunctions, and the white dot sights proved adequate.
I did paper accuracy testing a week later on a B27 silhouette at distances from 20 to 30 feet. I also wanted to try firing the M&P 10 with one hand only and was surprised to find I was able to quickly deliver six rounds at 20 feet. They landed in a well-centered 4-inch group. At 30 feet firing two-handed, the group was again well-centered and measured 4.5 inches in diameter. Intrinsic accuracy of the 10mm M&P was certainly up to any task one could ask of it.
I am really excited about the potential of this newest addition to the world of 10mm handguns. Its practical size and weight make it an excellent trail or hunting companion, and the 4.6-inch barreled version will deliver even more velocity. As a home defense, trail, concealed carry or police duty pistol, it would be hard to beat.
If you have been waiting for the ultimate 10mm do-it-all pistol as I have, look no further. It’s here. MSRP is $645.