Is 10mm a good choice for you? Check out Travis' advice and decide for yourself.
In 1983, the 10mm Auto was invented, and we reached peak perfection for automatic pistol calibers. That's what the cult of 10mm will say anyway. It's true the 10mm offers a lot of power for an automatic cartridge and reaches 357 Magnum power with ease. Plus, in an automatic, you can carry a whole lot more than the six a wheel gun limits you to. However, the world wasn't ready for 10mm, but Gaston Glock was with his Glock 20 pistol.
The Glock 20 is one of the few double-stack 10mm pistols that offers users 15 rounds of 10mm. Most early 10mms were single stack, and to this day, the 10mm finds its way into more 1911s than any other gun. The Glock 20 is a service-sized handgun that keeps true to the classic Glock design. As a duty handgun, it's seen limited success with police forces, and its most notable adoption was by the Sirius Sirius Sledge Patrols of Denmark. They are issued the Glock 20 to deal with polar bears.
While it's designed for duty, you might be asking, does the Glock 20 work for concealed carry? Is it too much for the average citizen defender?
The Glock 20 is a big gun, obviously, as a duty-sized gun, it's far from small, but even as far as duty-sized guns go, it's a big boy. The gun weighs 30.69 ounces empty, is 8.07 inches long, 1.34 inches wide, and 5.51 inches tall. It's a fair bit bigger than the Glock 17, which is a duty-sized 9mm. The 10mm itself is a large and long cartridge that forces the gun to be a bit beefier to cycle it.
Big guns do make concealed carry more challenging. Does that make the Glock 20 impossible to conceal? Of course not. Even a pistol as large as the Glock 20 can be concealed and carried comfortably. The trick is choosing the right holster and the right belt. Both work together to support the weapon for comfortable carry. Having one without the other makes things a fair bit more difficult.
Also, be prepared to buy pants a size up for IWB carry. You're adding 1.34 inches to your waistline, so if your pants are tight now, just wait. OWB might be an option, but that introduces its own fair amount of challenges to your daily life. IWB and AIWB are the way to go to conceal big guns.
Is 10mm too much power for a carry gun? That's a fair argument, and we do know certain calibers can be a bit much for concealed carry—no one's packing a 44 Magnum because 9mm isn't enough. The Glock 20 and the 10mm were both designed to be the next big thing in gunfighting.
It's not in the same realm as a magnum caliber, but it's not for everyone. As we mentioned, the Glock 20 is a big gun because it fires a large caliber. As a big gun, it might not be the best fit for a shooter with small hands. The wide, girthy grip does not offer the most comfortable gun to all. When you are firing a powerful round like the 10mm, you want to maximize your control over the gun, and that will be difficult for some.
The Glock 20 can have stout recoil and noticeable muzzle rise when loaded with certain 10mm loads. To be completely honest, 10mm ammunition is a spectrum. There are loads specifically designed for hunting large game and are much too hot and heavy for concealed carry. Hard cast lead loads from Buffalo Bore will surely over-penetrate two-legged vermin.
At the same time, a lot of 10mm is loaded to 40 S&W specs to be low recoiling. At that point, you might as well carry a 40 S&W and have a lighter and smaller gun. A good 10mm load should move 1 80 grain projectile at about 1200 feet per second. That provides that famous 10mm power without making your Glock 20 tough to shoot or underpowered.
Like all Glock pistols, the Glock 20 is painfully reliable. It will cycle hot, standard, and light 10mm loads with little complaint. It offers a lot of capacity for a 10mm and provides a reliable and well-built platform for the hot and heavy round. I wouldn't hesitate to rely on the Glock 20 for concealed carry by any means.
That being said, the compact Glock 29 might be a better choice. It's lighter, smaller, and offers the same 10mm power. Albeit, it's a bit tougher to control than the full-sized Glock 20. Ultimately I wish Glock would make a Glock 19ish sized 10mm, but until then, you do have two options that are often considered best in class when you consider their price point and proven track record.
Just remember, a good belt and holster combo will do wonders to make carrying your Glock 20 a fair bit easier.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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