During my behind the scenes tour of the U.S. Glock factory, I saw a lot of things and many thoughts, dreams, and desires drifted through my mind. At that time, I was one of only 11 editors invited to the unveiling of the secret release of the Glock G43. At that predictable and yawn-able moment of the G43 introduction, when we all exclaimed, “Good Lord, finally!” my mind was also thinking about the G29.
While the G43 is a hot item in its own right, many want more punch from a compact. When only the max will do, you want the G29. The G29 is, in essence, a G19 in 10mm and Glock’s “compact 10mm” pistol. Though the G29 is actually about ¼-inch shorter than the G19, the reality of the G29 is a G19 9mm that has overindulged at the pasta bar one too many times.
The 10mm G29 is Glock’s most powerful compact pistol and capable of delivering 600-800 ft./lbs. of energy depending on the ammo you feed it. Not bad considering you have 10+1 rounds on tap—it’s a lot of power and firepower in a very small concealable package.
Brief History of the 10mm Auto
The development of the 10mm cartridge is actually an interesting story that dates back to the 1970s. The idea was for a high power, flat shooting, semi-auto cartridge that would run in a 1911-format pistol and basically deliver .357 to .44 Magnum (mid-weight loads) ballistics. In the end, Jeff Cooper, yes the scout rifle guy, was involved in the development at which point Norma began producing ammunition in the early 1980s. The FBI felt a little outgunned on the streets and briefly adopted the 10mm round—but with the full bore, kick ass loads that were first released.
The reality was, 90% of the agents felt uncomfortable shooting and handling the larger dimensioned and significantly more powerful 10mm powered guns. The ammo manufacturers responded with the 10mm Lite rounds that in essence dropped the power all the way down to about .40 S&W loads. However, the FBI and the public wanted a smaller format with less power than what the 10mm round delivered. Smith & Wesson thought this was a waste of un-used powder space on the longer 10mm brass and developed a 10mm Short, or what we now know as the .40 S&W. The round delivered everything the FBI specs wanted in a format that would fit in a smaller 9mm-sized pistol format.
The current crop of 10mm rounds from Hornady and others are not neutered to the degree the “LITE” rounds were, however they could certainly be loaded hotter as we see with the higher power Buffalo Bore, Federal, and Liberty Ammunition rounds. The current 10mm rounds are still much more powerful than the .40 S&W. .40 S&W rounds usually deliver around 450 ft./lbs. of energy and the 10mm typically delivers around 550 ft./lbs. that is around 20% more power.
Today, the 10mm cartridge has rabid fans as well as still having a following in Special Forces and Special Law Enforcement. It is also growing as a hunting cartridge due to the capacity of the firearm and power.
About the Glock G20, G20SF, & G29
Glock began producing the G20 in 1991 to answer the market demand in the midst of the 10mm Auto’s heyday. Even after demand tapered off, there was still a demand for the 10mm Auto pistol. However, the major complaint was the overall size of the grip. Later, in 2007, Glock introduced the G20SF, which is the “short frame” model. The G20SF model provides a felt grip circumference that is equal to a standard .40 S&W chambered Glock.
The net result for those with medium to small hands can establish a comfortable and secure grip. Glock has specifically marketed 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, having a 15-round pistol that can deliver power that rivals some .44 Magnum rounds, is an enormous benefit. In fact, the Greenland Sirius Sledge Patrol uses the G20 on the very aggressive Polar bear that far outweigh our typical brown bear. Many of the relatively rabid 10mm fanatics, myself included, requested/demanded a smaller concealable format …in case we are attacked by polar bears. 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 don’t get it. I will put it this way. Why would someone carry a .357 Magnum Ruger LCR snubby revolver when you could just carry the same gun and shoot it with less recoil in .38 Special. The simple answer is “POWER!”—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 own it. In fact, I have been lusting after the rather surprisingly mild recoiling G29 since I picked up my first 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 identical to 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 ¼” shorter as noted previously. Think of the G27 as the G26 of the .40 S&W lineup, but about 10% larger.
If you want night sights, I recommend having them included from Glock, as they are a bit less expensive than adding them later, plus they will come factory zeroed. On my G29, I added the Glock night sights because, you know, …big critters sometimes roam around at night.
Just like any other Glock, reliability was superb and flawless from the first to the last round. Thankfully, Hornady sent me a couple boxes of its lighter shooting 560 ft./lb. Custom 10mm Auto 180-grain XTP rounds and Federal supplied some of its full-power 650 ft./lb. 10mm 180-grain Trophy Bonded JSP rounds. What surprised me most was that the recoil was really quite pleasant, and easily tolerable and controllable with the harder hitting rounds. I will admit, the G20 is a treat to shoot with hot rounds, but cumulatively, it will take a toll. In fact, the G29 is a bit snappy. After every three magazines, I had to take a break. 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 magazines.
I found—like every other double-stack Glock I own—the G29 slipped into the same G19 Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe Holster.
My friend and I have made it a habit to routinely plink and hit the 12”x12” steel 100, 200, and 300-yard gongs with our Glocks. Oddly enough, once you figure out the 12 to 15 foot holdover at 300-yards, it is not that difficult. Just like the G20 testing I did, shooting flatter 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 long-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 while 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 reason to drop something with about 70%-90% 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 Desert Eagle. Actually, owning two Desert Eagles, I would argue the Glock 10mm is “the” most reliable high power semi-auto pistol and the G29 is the smallest format available.
|Length||177 mm / 6.96 in.|
|Width||32.50 mm / 1.27 in.|
|Length Between Sights||150 mm / 5.91 in.|
|Height||113 mm / 4.44 in.|
|Barrel Height||32 mm / 1.26 in.|
|Barrel Length||96 mm / 3.77 in.|
|Unloaded||770 g / 27.18 oz.|
|Loaded||935 g / 33.01 oz.|
|Trigger Pull||~2.5 kg / ~5.5 lbs.|
|Trigger Travel||~12.5 mm / ~0.49 in.|
|Barrel Rifling||right hand, hexagonal|
|Length of Twist||250 mm / 9.84 in.|
|Capacity||10 – Accepts G20 15-round magazines|
Are you a rabid 10mm fan? Which model and load do you prefer for things that roam in the night? Share your answers in the comment section.
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. www.MajorPandemic.com