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  • Post last modified:April 9, 2023

In this 10 mm vs .357 Magnum comparison, we will delve into the key aspects of these two well-regarded calibers that have proven themselves over time in terms of ballistics, penetration potential, recoil control, and overall suitability for a variety of purposes.

357 magnum vs 10mm auto

History of the 10 mm Auto and 357 Magnum

10 mm

The 10mm Auto cartridge was created in the early 1980s by Jeff Cooper, a famous firearms expert. He wanted a powerful and adaptable round for semi-automatic pistols that would outperform the .45 ACP, which was the standard at the time.

10 mm auto ppu

In 1983, the first 10mm Auto pistol, called the Bren Ten, was released. The gun and its cartridge quickly gained attention for their self-defense potential. The FBI even adopted the 10mm Auto in the late 1980s, but later switched to the less powerful .40 S&W because the 10mm Auto's recoil and gun size were too much for some agents.

glock 20 10mm pistol

Even though it's not as popular with law enforcement anymore, the 10mm Auto is still liked by many civilian shooters for its power, accuracy, and flexibility. It's great for self-defense, hunting, and target shooting. Various bullet types and weights are available for different uses, making the 10mm Auto a top choice for those who want a high-performing cartridge.

PARENT CASE.30 Remington
CASE TYPERimless, Straight

357 Magnum

sig 357 mangum ammo

The .357 Magnum cartridge was created in 1934 by Smith & Wesson and Winchester, with help from firearms expert Elmer Keith. It was designed to be more powerful than the .38 Special, which it's based on, for better performance in law enforcement situations.

During the 1930s, police needed a stronger cartridge to deal with better-armed criminals. The .357 Magnum provided more stopping power and deeper penetration by using a longer case with more gunpowder, leading to higher speed and energy.

colt python 357 magnum

Once released, the .357 Magnum became popular with police and regular people alike. It's great for self-defense, hunting, and target shooting because of its power, accuracy, and flexibility. Various bullet types and weights have been made for different uses, keeping the .357 Magnum popular even today.


357 Magnum VS 10mm Auto - Ballistic Characteristics

When comparing the ballistics of the 357 Magnum and the 10mm auto, it's important to consider their respective advantages and applications.

357 magnum bullet expansion

Here is a brief comparison chart for all popular 357 Magnum:

357 Magnum LoadBullet Grain WeightBullet StyleMuzzle Velocity (fps)Energy (ft-lbs)
Hornady Critical Defense125 grainFTX1,500624
Speer Gold Dot135 grainGDHP1,295487
Federal Premium Hydra-Shok130 grainJHP1,310431
Winchester PDX1 Defender125 grainJHP1,450584
Remington HTP125 grainSJHP1,450584
Magtech FMJ158 grainFMJ1,235535

The .357 Magnum Is A Low-Velocity Cartridge That Relies On Mechanical Wounding To Achieve Fast Kills. It Performs Best With Fast-Expanding Hollow Point Bullets That Shed Some Weight To Maximize Energy Transfer. Most Factory Loads Are Designed For Anti-Personal Use Rather Than Hunting, So It's Crucial To Match Bullet Weight And Construction To The Intended Purpose.

At Impact Velocities Of 2000fps And Faster, The .357 Magnum Can Produce Impressive Kills With Hollow Point Projectiles. However, As Impact Velocities Decrease, Wounding Becomes Narrower And May Require Bullets With Deep Skives And Broad Hollow Points For Optimal Effectiveness.

For Hunting, Three Bullet Weights Are Commonly Used:

  1. 125-Grain Bullets: Suitable For Light-Bodied Game Up To 60kg (132lb) When Traveling At Or Over 2000fps (Rifles).
  2. 158-Grain Bullets: A Versatile Option For Handgun Hunting, Effective On Lighter Deer Species At Handgun Velocities (1400-1500fps) And Broader Wounding At Rifle Velocities (Around 1900fps). Bullet Construction Must Be Matched To The Target Animal.
  3. 180-Grain Bullets: Effective Across Various Game Body Weights When Used In Rifles At Around 1700fps. However, Handgun Performance May Be Limited Due To Lower Muzzle Velocities (Around 1100fps). Optimal Performance Is Achieved With Impact Velocities Of 1300fps Or Higher.

Popular 10mm auto personal defense rounds and FMJ:

10mm auto bullet expansion
10mm loadsBullet WeightBullet StyleMuzzle Velocity (FPS)Energy (FT-LBS)
Hornady Critical Duty175 grFlexLock JHP1160 523 
Federal Premium Hydra-Shok180 grHydra-Shok JHP1030 424 
Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown180 grV-Crown JHP1250 625 
Speer Gold Dot200 grGold Dot JHP1200 639 
Winchester Silvertip175 grSilvertip JHP1290 649 
Federal American Eagle180 grFull Metal Jacket (FMJ)1030 424

The 10mm Auto is a powerful and versatile cartridge known for its high-energy and flat trajectory. Its ballistic performance offers a balance between power and manageable recoil, making it suitable for various purposes, including self-defense, hunting, and target shooting.

Key characteristics of the 10mm Auto's ballistic performance include:

  1. High-energy levels: The 10mm Auto offers impressive energy levels, ranging from 400 to 800 foot-pounds, depending on bullet weight and load. This makes it effective for stopping threats and hunting medium-sized game.

  2. Flat trajectory: The 10mm Auto has a relatively flat trajectory, allowing for accurate shooting at extended ranges. This is beneficial for hunting and target shooting, as it minimizes bullet drop over distance.

  3. Versatility: The 10mm Auto can be loaded with various bullet weights and types, from 135 to 220 grains, enabling it to be tailored to specific shooting scenarios or target animals.

  4. Penetration: The 10mm Auto offers deep penetration due to its high-energy levels and bullet construction options. This is essential for self-defense and hunting larger or dangerous game.

  5. Manageable recoil: While the 10mm Auto is a powerful cartridge, its recoil is considered manageable for most shooters, especially when compared to other magnum calibers. This allows for faster follow-up shots and better overall control.

Bullet Weight 

federal 45 acp 230 grain

Here are some popular bullet grain weights for the 10mm Auto and .357 Magnum cartridges:

10mm Auto:

  • 155 grain
  • 165 grain
  • 180 grain
  • 200 grain

.357 Magnum:

  • 110 grain
  • 125 grain
  • 140 grain
  • 158 grain
  • 180 grain

These bullet grain weights are commonly available for both cartridges and cater to different applications such as self-defense, hunting, and target shooting. The performance characteristics of each bullet weight can vary depending on the specific load and manufacturer.

Muzzle Velocity 

Both the 10mm Auto and .357 Magnum have similar muzzle velocities, with the 10mm Auto offering a slightly flatter trajectory over longer distances due to its higher average velocity. This can be advantageous for hunting and long-range target shooting against wild animals.

Muzzle Energy

The muzzle energies of 10mm Auto and .357 Magnum are generally comparable, with both calibers providing significant stopping power.

However, the 10mm Auto can have a slight edge over the .357 Magnum in terms of energy, especially when loaded with heavier bullets 


The 10mm Auto typically has a sharper recoil than the .357 Magnum, which can make it more challenging to shoot accurately for some individuals. However, the 10mm Auto's recoil can be managed with practice and proper technique.

10mm feels like a slightly more kick than the 40 SW.

In general, the .357 Magnum produces more recoil than the .40 S&W but can be less than or similar to the 10mm Auto, depending on the circumstances.

When fired from a revolver, the .357 Magnum's recoil can be more pronounced than when shot from a semiautomatic pistol, as revolvers typically have a more direct transfer of energy to the shooter's hand.


The 10mm Auto is known for its deep penetration, making it well-suited for hunting medium-sized game or in situations where barrier penetration is a concern. The .357 Magnum also offers good penetration but may not be as effective as the 10mm Auto in these specific scenarios

holosun 507c red dot pov

The 10mm Auto can be used for personal defense indoors; however, over-penetration is a concern with this powerful round. The risk of over-penetration could lead to unintended damage or injury to others in the vicinity, especially in densely populated or confined spaces.

To minimize the risk of over-penetration with the 10mm Auto, it is recommended to use proper self-defense ammunition, such as jacketed hollow point (JHP) or frangible bullets. These types of bullets are designed to expand upon impact, reducing the likelihood of over-penetration.

Bullet Variety

Both the 10mm Auto and .357 Magnum offer a wide variety of bullet weights and types, making them versatile calibers for different applications. Shooters can choose from full metal jacket (FMJ), jacketed hollow point (JHP), and other bullet designs depending on their intended use 


Based on average ammo cost at the local shops and online stores, here are the costs:

ammo prices

10mm Auto:

  1. Personal Defense (JHP): The average price for 10mm Auto jacketed hollow point (JHP) rounds ranges from $0.70 to $1.50 per round (Lucky Gunner, Bulk Cheap Ammo).
  2. Full Metal Jacket (FMJ): The average price for 10mm Auto FMJ rounds ranges from $0.50 to $1.00 per round (Lucky Gunner, Bulk Cheap Ammo).

.357 Magnum:

  1. Personal Defense (JHP): The average price for .357 Magnum JHP rounds ranges from $0.80 to $1.60 per round (Lucky Gunner, MidwayUSA).
  2. Full Metal Jacket (FMJ): The average price for .357 Magnum FMJ rounds ranges from $0.60 to $1.20 per round (Lucky Gunner, MidwayUSA).

10 mm VS 357 Magnum - Firearm Selections 

When researching 10mm vs 357 Magnum, many people are often looking to decide which type of firearm platform they want to go with.

Typically, 357 Magnum is run in a revolver, while 10mm is used in a semi-automatic handgun. This can be an important consideration for those who have a preference for a particular type of firearm.

With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose. However, by exploring some of the available options, visitors can start to consider which type of firearm would be the best fit for their individual needs. Here are a few options to consider:

10 mm Auto

  • Glock 20
  • SIG Sauer P22
  • Colt Delta Elite
  • Springfield Armory XD-M
  • FN 510
  • Ruger SR1911
  • Rock Island Rock Ultra FS 

Check out some deals below:

357 Magnum - Mostly revolvers

  • Smith & Wesson Model 686
  • Colt Python
  • Ruger SP101
  • Ruger GP100
  • Kimber K6s
  • Dan Wesson 715
  • Taurus 357 Magnum

Read related article: 38 special vs 45 ACP