Here’s a “real” 10mm Auto for the real world. If you’re looking for a very compact and very powerful semi-auto, the author thinks you can’t do better than this one… Keep reading.
By Major Pandemic
During my behind-the-scenes tour of the U.S. Glock factory, many things drifted through my mind. At that time I was one of eleven editors invited to the unveiling of the secret release of the Glock G43. That predictable and yawn-able moment of the G43 introduction where we all exclaimed, “Good Lord, finally…” my mind was thinking about a G29. The G29 is in essence a G19 in 10mm and is Glock’s “compact 10mm” pistol. Though the G29 is actually about 1/4-inch shorter than the G19, the reality is that the G29 is like a G19 9mm that has overindulged a bit at the pasta bar.
The 10mm G29 is also Glock’s most powerful compact pistol, capable of delivering 550+ ft/lbs of energy depending on the chosen ammo. Not bad considering there’s 10+1 rounds on tap… It’s a lot of power in a small and concealable package.
Brief History of the 10mm Auto
The development of the 10mm round is a story that dates back to the 1970s. The idea was a high-power flat-shooting semi-auto cartridge that would run in a 1911-platform pistol, and that would approximate .357 to .44 Magnum (mid-weight loads) ballistics. In the end, Col. Jeff Cooper was involved in its development at the point Norma began producing ammunition in the early 1980s. The FBI felt a little outgunned on the streets and briefly adopted the 10mm with the full-bore loads that were first released. The reality turned out to be that the vast majority of the agents were uncomfortable shooting and handling the larger-dimensioned and significantly more powerful 10mm guns. The ammo manufacturers responded with the 10mm “Lite” rounds which essentially dropped the power all the way down to about .40 S&W levels; however, the FBI and the public then wanted a smaller cartridge format with less power than what the original 10mm round delivered. Smith & Wesson thought there was a waste of unused powder space in the longer 10mm brass and developed a “10mm Short,” or what we now know as the .40 S&W. That round delivered everything the FBI specs wanted in a format that would fit in a smaller 9mm-sized pistol platform.
The current crop of 10mm rounds from Hornady and others are not powered-down to the degree the earlier “Lite” rounds were, and some are certainly loaded hotter as we see with the higher-power Buffalo Bore, Federal, and Liberty Ammunition rounds. The current 10mm rounds are much more powerful than .40 S&W. .40 S&W usually delivers around 450 ft/lbs of energy and the 10mm typically delivers around 550, about 20-percent more power.
Today the 10mm cartridge has devoted fans and still has a following in Special Forces, Special Law Enforcement, and is growing as a hunting cartridge.
Glock’s 10s: G20, G20SF, G29
Glock began producing the G20 in 1991 to answer market demand in the 10mm Auto’s heyday. Even after demand tapered off there was still a desire for the 10mm Auto pistol, but the major complaint was the overall large size of the grip. Later in 2007, Glock introduced the G20SF which is the “Short Frame” model. The G20SF model provides a grip feel circumference equal to a standard .40 S&W-chambered Glock.
The net result is that those with medium to small hands can establish a comfortable and secure grip. Glock has been specifically marketing the G20 and G20SF as hunting companion firearms to be used for the hunt or to provide a humane finishing shot on very large game. For those hunting in bear country, a 15-round pistol that can deliver power that rivals some magnum rounds is an asset to personal security, to say the least. Many of the relatively rabid 10mm fanatics, myself included, requested/demanded a smaller concealable gun… The small format G29 10mm was born.
Why I Had To Have One
I would argue why wouldn’t you want one, however I can see there may be some folks who just do not understand. I’ll put it this way: Why would someone carry a .357 Magnum Ruger LCR snubby revolver when they could just carry the same gun and shoot it with less recoil in .38 Special? The simple answer is POWER and the same reason muscle cars were created. Do I need the power in a handgun to down small aircraft? Well not recently, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have it. In fact, I have been lusting after the rather surprisingly mild-recoiling G29 since I picked up my G20. Who doesn’t need .41 Rem. Magnum power in a concealable 11-round pistol? Well I did.
Fit, Finish, Feel, Features, Function
The G29 has the fit, finish, and features the same as any other Gen-3 Glock you may have handled, however the slide and barrel is even wider and beefier than Glock’s .40 S&W pistols to handle the power of the 10mm Auto round. The side profile of the G29 is just a bit fatter than a G19 but about a 1/4-inch shorter as noted previously.
If you want night sights, I recommend getting them as an option directly from Glock as they are a bit less expensive than adding them later plus they will come factory zero’ed.
Just like any other Glock, reliability was flawless from the first to the last round. Thankfully Hornady sent me a couple boxes of their lighter-shooting 560 ft/lb Custom 10mm Auto 180gr XTP rounds and Federal supplied some of their full power 650 ft/lb 10mm 180gr Trophy Bonded JSP rounds. What surprised me most was that the recoil was really quite pleasant and even easily tolerable and controllable with the harder-hitting rounds. I will admit, the full-size G20 is a treat to shoot with hot rounds, the G29 is a bit snappy and I had to take a break after every three mags. Not painful, but the lighter G29 is snappy enough with the harder-hitting rounds that the snap feels more like bite after more than three or four mag-fulls.
My friend and I have made it a habit to routinely plink and hit the 12×12-inch steel 100-, 200-, and 300-yard gongs with our Glocks. Oddly enough, once you figure out the 12-15 foot holdover at 300-yards, it is not that difficult. Just like the G20 testing I did, shooting flatter shooting 10mm at distance was a whole new game. 100-yard torso shots were simply and downright easy. The original intent of the cartridge was clear: this is a longer-range handgun round and if zeroed at 50 yards, the 10mm Auto only drops about 4.5 inches at 100 yards and is only 36 inches low at 200 yards and still delivering around 400 ft/lbs of energy (about the same energy a 9mm has at the muzzle). This is a very impressive round that is more than adequate for hunting deer-sized game at a little distance.
Otherwise at normal combat distances, the G29 was marginally less accurate than your average G26 or G27 due to the increased recoil the shooter is managing.
I love this little 10mm. If you have a need to drop something with about 70 to 90 percent more power than your average 9mm then the G29 is your pistol. What I love about the G29 is that it delivers the most powerful semi-auto pistol round in a reliable gun outside of a Desert Eagle. I own two Desert Eagles, and would argue the Glock 10mm is the most reliable high-power semi-auto pistol, and the G29 is the smallest format available.
Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. MajorPandemic.com