10mm or .45 ACP? The Springfield Armory TRP

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45 1911 muzzle

Recently I got my hot little hands on a new Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Elite 10mm pistol. Years earlier, I’d bought a similar pistol, a Springfield Armory 1911 TRP pistol chambered in .45 ACP. I’ve always loved that production version of the FBI contract gun, so I was anxious to compare it to this new 10mm. While there are subtle feature differences between the two pistols, the big stuff is the same or similar enough for government work.

Both pistols are steel with G10 grips – made for hard use. The weight is almost identical with the 10mm Range Officer tipping the scales at 41 ounces empty and the TRP at 42. There are some subtle differences in features. For example, the sights are fiber optic on the Range Officer and Tritium on the TRP. Given the slimmer profile of the 10mm case versus the fat .45, you’ll get an extra round in the 10mm pistol. The two included factory magazines hold eight rounds compared to the standard seven in the .45 ACP.

One notable difference between 10mm and 45 ACP is that for these two pistol, you get one fewer rounds in the magazine with the 45.

One notable difference between 10mm and 45 ACP is that for these two pistol, you get one fewer rounds in the magazine with the 45.

But what about ballistics? The high-level summary is that the 10mm sways to the lighter and faster projectile while the .45 ACP takes and fat and slow road. Let’s take a closer look using the standard “power” measurements of kinetic energy and momentum. Think of kinetic energy as destructive power, kind of like a drill bit. Think of momentum as a measurement of the ability to move an object.

The 10mm 1911 Range Officer packs 8 rounds in the magazine. The 200-grain hard cast loads on the right provide an interesting outdoors option.

The 10mm 1911 Range Officer packs 8 rounds in the magazine. The 200-grain hard cast loads on the right provide an interesting outdoors option.

The standard 10mm round uses a 180-grain, .40 caliber bullet although you can find options ranging between 135 and 200 grains. From the Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite 100, I measured most 180-grain loads at velocities around 1,180 feet per second. That combination yields kinetic energy of 562 foot-pounds and momentum of 30.5 pounds-feet per second.

The “classic” .45 ACP load fires a 230-grain .451-inch diameter bullet in the 850 feet per second range. I clocked the Federal 230-grain HST load at 903 feet per second from the Springfield Armory TRP pistol. That delivers 417 foot-pounds of kinetic energy and 29.7 pounds-feet per second of momentum.

To put those numbers in perspective, a 9mm 124-grain load like the Federal Premium HST leaves the muzzle at 1,100 feet per second and delivers 332 foot-pounds of energy and 20 pounds-feet per second of momentum.

To me, and this is a subjective measurement, felt recoil is about the same between 10mm and .45 ACP in similar guns. The 10mm recoil is a hair “sharper” likely because of the higher muzzle velocity, but the overall effect isn’t much different from the .45 version of the 1911. If you do the math on recoil energy, the 10mm cranks out more with 6.27 foot-pounds compared to 5.47 foot-pounds for the .45 ACP 1911.

I have to say the 10mm is kind of growing on me. Getting an extra round of magazine capacity in the classic 1911 platform is an interesting proposition. Whether for self-defense or carrying in the woods, it’s got plenty of juice to get the job done.

Tom McHale is a committed learning junkie always seeking a new subject victim. As a lifelong student of whatever grabs his attention on any particular day, he thrives on beating rabbit trails into submission. In between his time as a high-tech marketing executive, restaurant owner, and hamster cosmetology practitioner, he’s published seven books and nearly 1,500 articles about guns, shooting, and the American way.

  • Proud US vet/American

    The two components NOT discussed here were “range and accuracy”. The 10mm out ranges the .45 ACP by many yards in all scenarios I personally used. Accuracy was about even out to 50 yards, but the 10mm had tighter groups. Then when extending the range to 75 yards, the .45 was falling behind fast! The 10mm was still able to hit a 10″ circle out to 115 yards, but consistency was beginning to expand outwards. My conclusion, the .45 ACP is a #1 CQB pistol and home defense weapon, but is not a good longer range piece. The 10mm is a great CQB-home defense weapon, and when needed, it will reach out and touch something at 100 yards. I used the same 180 gr 10mm ammo, and the same 230 gr ammo as the author did. The only felt difference was a small increase in recoil and noise from the 10mm. For my money, the 10mm is and would be the way to go if you are looking for a “new” Home security piece, or just another toy for your armory.

    • http://silverdoctors.com BonesJones Gunny

      Nice addendum, I heartily agree. I have 1911’s in 45 ACP and I have a Glock 10mm and a yet-unfired Tanfoglio Witness Hunter 6″ in 10mm. I have no “apples to apples” comparison (yet) but all 3 of these platforms are available in both calibers, and actually the Glock is a G21 with an LWD long slide which will accept the 10mm and 45 ACP barrels. But your info rings true, 10mm is not bad on recoil with a properly set up weapon, I have also owned a G20C which is the standard glunk with porting. I was able on the first time out to put all 15 rounds in a pie plate sized target at 10 yards. This was not “heavy 40” it was Full Power 10mm Buffalo Bore 220 gr 1250 PFS dinosaur killers. Most expensive mag dump in my life (so far!) 😎 But it proved a point, that I can handle the 10mm and do it accurately.

      Thanks for your service, Proud American VET!

      Here’s the TAN:
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      • GT

        I have an opinion to offer. I own a Taurus model 608 8 shot .357 revolver. I am a revolver fan. I also own TRP in .45. With the proper loadings in .45 now days, it’s a good range gun, but poor carry gun, due to it’s weight. accuracy is quite good. I would buy a 10mm 6 inch TRP, just to own one. But, the 608 .357 has more power for sure and the range of bullets is terrific. A 4 inch .357 revolver with 8 rounds is a formidable handgun. It’s heavy to carry and hard to find speed loaders, so use speed strips. But, the .357 magnum has more power than the 10mm, maybe not by much, but more, and more is better, especially using 125gr. cast bullets, and depending on what your hunting. Yes, I know the Taurus stories, I own three and have modified each to suit my own style, as I would with any gun, regardless of the maker. But, a 608 is near 500. – 600. new, a 10mm TRP is over a 1000. and the ammo is expensive. Your choice of course, but there is an alternative and a decent alternative at that. The accuracy of my Taurus’s are all very acceptable, better than some of the credits they receive. If you want accuracy, build a race gun, with it’s quirks and constant maintenance. If you want a reliable defensive handgun, buy whatever fits you and modify it yourself or take it to a smith. Be Well and Be Safe.

        • http://silverdoctors.com BonesJones Gunny

          Perhaps you can shed some light here, the 10mm and 357 Mag get compared a lot and as far as factory loadings go, I know a few things:
          1. 10mm has a lot more available on the “heavy side”, at least in factory ammo. (180gr, 200gr and 220gr)
          2. 357 Magnum has much more variety in the 125gr range plus 158gr,
          3. 180gr seems to be the main crossover point.

          Kinda answered my own question, I see the Underwood Ammo site has the 180gr 357 at 1400 FPS and the 180gr 10mm at 1300 FPS. I believe it was 1350 for the 10mm a couple of years ago but that is still slower. I’m not envious at all, because I also have a Ruger GP100 6″ in the 357 Mag and I eventually will inherit a Pristine S&W 686 “NO DASH” 8-3/8″ barrel nickel plated. I’m on no hurry for that one, Dad will let me shoot it at any time 😎 He’s 81 and going strong! I would not feel under-armed with either setup, in fact. Thanks for the reply and the info, I need to get out and shoot more and explore both calibers!

          The 220gr Buffalo Bore I listed above may have been just 1200 FPS, I said 1250. Nowadays I think both Buff Bore and Underwood have downloaded them just a little for liability and weapon longevity 😉 I heard that some folks had “issues” lol

        • http://silverdoctors.com BonesJones Gunny

          Besides, the question was 45 ACP or 10mm? I think the 10mm wins hands down LOL!!! Now we could also include the +P, still the 10mm prevails. 45 Super? It gets mighty close, and if you throw carbines into the mix, then the 45 Super really shines. I’ve not seen a lot of 10mm carbine load development. Almost none.

          I did not even mention the mighty 460 Rowland 😎