CMMG Mk10: 10mm Perfection?

CMMG Mk10 with the steel target it killed.

It has been an absolute year of renaissance for 10mm, which has me smiling from ear to ear. While last year gained us a great many pistols, we still had not seen a wide selection in, uh, bigger pistols. The kind that looks like SBR’s, but has a pistol brace which we always use in ATF approved configuration while shooting. Anyway…. A lot of submachine gun sized options did not exist for the centimeter, which I think is an absolute shame. But we laid hands on one this week that should be on your radar.

Hornady Custom 10mm used in testing.

The CMMG Mk10, from the Banshee series, is everything you want in a “pistol”. I am relatively new to the CMMG offerings, but I have been very impressed so far. The Mk47 might be the gun that put them on the map, but the Pistol Caliber offerings are absolutely a close second. And while they offer a wide variety of barrel lengths and calibers in the PCC class, the Mk10 stands alone in my eyes.

AR familiar controls

Starting the party is all the goodness we expect from the 300 series as CMMG standard. It is an AR-style of pistol, with familiar controls. It features an upgraded mil-spec trigger, which while it isn’t an AR Gold, is a vast improvement over standard AR triggers. It has CMMG’s own oversized charging handle, which is fantastic. It has the buttonless RipBrace, which means the stock brace deploys like greased lightning. Which is a lot of excellent stuff, but as I said, expected from the 300’s at this point. So what makes the 10mm so far ahead of the pack?

Magazine release with a big stick SGM 30 round mag.

Well, then we get to some not so standard features. While still part of the Banshee package, it is what really both sets CMMG apart and enhances the 10mm experience. First, we have a patented bolt hold open linkage, so the Mk10 gets bolt lock like a real AR. And then we have the radial delayed blowback system.

Oversized charging handle

The bane of a blowback PCC, as any of you that have picked one up know, is the heavy for caliber recoil. Even the anemic 9mm AR’s, if straight blowback, recoil harder than a 5.56 equivalent sized gun. Which kind of defeats the purpose. We have seen very few companies step up to address this. H&K and Ruger have handled it, albeit in different ways. But mostly it goes unspoken. And if it would be noticeable in 9mm, it would be much worse in 10mm.

The lower receiver

CMMG, never one to follow, saw this problem and decided to overcome it in a unique way. The patented radial delayed blow back system. Basically, the AR looking bolt has radiuses cut into the locking lugs. Through the magic of engineering, this absorbs some of the blowback energy into unlocking the bolt, as well as slowing down the returning inertia. Not only is it in theory soft, but it is also cleaner shooting since more of the gasses go down the barrel and out.

Bolt; heart of the radial delayed blowback system.

I was initially skeptical of this design because it sounds like snake oil. But I did notice in my 9mm review, it works. And in 10mm? Holy smokes. It works even better. The Mk10 is the softest shooting 10mm I have ever seen, as you can see by the hammering of targets in the review video. Recoil is basically unnoticeable, even with full power 10.

Unique carrier key

And that puts us in entirely new territory. Given the option of a PCC or an AR pistol in say, 300 AAC, I would have always chosen the 300 AAC prior to this. With a real AR buffer system, it would be faster shot to shot. But against the Mk10? I think not. And one could very easily argue that 10mm, short barrel against short barrel, is the best option. It makes a bigger hole, it is close in velocity, and the finished ammunition is lighter. And cheaper. And interchangeable with my pistol. And has bullets designed to expand at this velocity threshold. And makes for a shorter action, and therefore overall gun length. As the High Priest of the Cult of 10mm, there is nothing not to like about this new Gospel.

Mk10 muzzle brake

And then we have the finishers from CMMG. At a time when many prefer a tiny 4 or 5-inch barrel on a PCC, the Mk10 comes with an 8 inch. I personally don’t like guns in this class to go any shorter than 8, or else you really risk getting a finger out in front of the barrel. It is a trade-off of modern shooting techniques and design. If I am going to bother using a “pistol” size AR instead of a pistol, I want to shoot it like an AR. One must be very careful with a super short barrel. 8 inches is enough for most of us to just grab it and start blasting, which matters to me.

Arguably the best 10mm on the market.

You wanted more? Good. How about an M-lok handguard, perfect for flashlights and lasers. Standard. A muzzle brake built for 10mm? Included, and further reducing the recoil. High capacity? It ships with a 30 round SGM magazine. I thought this also a bold move, rather than using a Glock factory magazine. But I experienced zero issues. The Mk10 ran without a hiccup.

And oh my, was range time a winner. Using Hornady Custom XTP, I ran the Mk10 hard. Not only is it incredibly soft shooting, but it just goes and goes and goes. Topped off with a Trijicon MRO, this gun is incredible. I have shot a lot of 10mm guns in my life, so I say this with some weight behind it. The Mk10 is the best 10mm on the market, hands down. At any price. And I can offer no higher praise than that.

MSRP $1649.00

For more information visit CMMG Inc website.

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Erick Ogg October 16, 2020, 9:11 am

    Not a fan of pistol caliber Ar’s, biggest reason I can see for them is long with their handgun suppressors they already have or if mission specific a need to get smaller than a 10.5″ 5.56. Personally, with MP5K & UMP clones, all things B&T I will never own one. However, when you get well into a gun collection soon all additional firearms becomes for the enjoyment of owning. It doesnt have to be the best of what it is or even able to get to hell and back. I NEED every firearm I own, but I do not expect my 50th gun to be as good as my 1st, 2nd or third back up shtf rifle. Maybe one day it will be.

  • Mike G October 15, 2020, 3:35 pm

    When you work for a basic minimum income. does that mean you should save money for a year or more to buy a front line battle ready weapon? To protect your home or life? HECK NO!!! POOR PEOPLE have a 2nd amendment right also. Do we want to make all weapons cost $2000.00 to meet some battle ready level? The makers of price point do a great service by making them. Now will they last 10,000 rounds? Or will they survive a military review panel? Most likely not. BUT they will make it a few thousand rounds, and be minute of CHEST at 5 yards, where most real civilian shooting happens at. And someone with limited income can AFFORD. thousands have been sold and used daily. if the makers made junk they would have gone out of business. Most problems accrue due to operator error in ammo type and bad shooting skills. I for one thank the manufactures for making these types of guns. I have seen $3,000.00 guns come in new and have to go right back to a top named custom maker.
    MY 2 cents
    Mike G

  • dave October 12, 2020, 3:29 pm

    I’m curious whether the author has fired the B & T 10mm?

  • Connie October 12, 2020, 2:47 pm

    Have a couple of HiPoint carbines (9 & 10mm). Usually, when I head for the range, I reach for one of my ARs and end up grabbing a HiPoint. Don’t have a definite reason. Just fun as hell to shoot. Totally reliable. Thinking about a 45 carbine now. None to be found. Only complaint, the 10mm only has 10 round mag, where Red Ball is making 20 rounders for 9mm and 45acp. MK10, NICE!!!! But for 5 times the price of my 10mm HP??? Too rich for my budget. Now for the gun snobs.

    • Slim October 12, 2020, 6:27 pm

      If you are trying to compare a POS Hi Point to this your truly as dumb as you sound and most likely are! High points are the junk of the junk pistols… Just facts and not an opinion! How about save up and buy a real gun which is manufactured by GLOCK in 10mm and you’ll see what a real quality 10mm is all about! And the benefit of owning a GLOCK is it’s basically compatible with almost everything now a days, like this gun that except the same exact mags from cali’s lame 10 round 10mm GLOCK mags all the way up to the newer 30 round SGM 10mm stick magazine that is pictured above and will fit in both this pistol and my G20TSF(GLOCK model 20 in tactical length with an SF frame since generation three’s are hands down the best generation glock ever made). I myself built a bad ass New Frontier 10mm GLOCK compatible lower with their matching side charging upper and actually yesterday myself and older mom went to test a bunch of our ground up built guns and my 10mm AR based pistol with an 8″ barrel and 10″ MLOK hand guard with a Kaw Valley precision linear compensator hit exactly where I aimed with almost zero felt recoil and no muzzle rise using regular old iron sights at 30 yards out and was a true pleasure to shoot. I probably spent around $800 total on the entire build and it’s for sure better than the reviewed AR10mm since I got upgraded springs and buffers, trigger, barrel, and the fact it’s left side charging the best for super fast manipulations(and right handed shooters)while keeping the gun up and staying locked on the sight picture which can’t be done with the reviewed one since the charging handle will slam the shooter in the face and mine isn’t a reciprocating side charger so no worry of hurting the shooter while firing. I also bought New Frontier Armory’s extended mag release which is super easy to reach no matter the hand size and makes mag dumps flawless and super fast especially with its bolt hold open feature they have built into the lower so not sure how you even compare a cheap junk Hi Point to a precision built AR based 10mm platforrm! No way you can shoot a Hi Point as well and as fast as I could a small rifle(pistol technically)basically since i can grip the AR based platform so much better than you can a single grip! Also built a 9mm AR based platform that again except GLOCK mags which also has LRBHO and has a 16″ barrel and was just like the 10mm ran like a champ and shot even better. And FYI… the father apart the sights are the more accurate you can shoot which is again a fact and not an opinion. You should try and build your own guns and simply buy a part of few at a time as you can since you said it’s out of your budget like I did all my guns except down the few I bought complete like my AMD65 AK inherently bought complete and by buying each part one at a time you can look for other If for sales and get way better parts as well as parts that you like or need for your specific likes\requirements and I’m the end you’ll have a gun that’s meant for you and costs a whole lot less than buying one reviewed here. I don’t get people’s logic which is saying a junk Hi Point is the gun to buy and then talk shit about actual quality built with quality parts in a gun like Clay reviewed since logically there is no merit to what your and others are saying from beginning to end! Good luck with your Hi Point, you’ll need it especially if it’s your EDC gun!

      • Nic Toos October 16, 2020, 1:34 pm

        I totally agree. I have G20, shoot skeet clay at 100 yards with my hand loads
        Or Underwood ammo.
        Feel very safe when packing it

  • Zupglick October 12, 2020, 11:01 am

    If your gonna shoot pistol rounds, buy a pistol.
    If you want to shoot rifle rounds, buy a rifle or carbine.
    These un-holy abortions that are AR pistols are just plain dumb.

    • Bryan October 12, 2020, 1:17 pm

      Then why you reading this article about one of the “un-holy abortions” then?? Don’t like them…might I suggest that you don’t buy one or read about them…seems simple enough…

  • John Dana October 12, 2020, 8:31 am

    2 questions- 1. What is the effective range for 30mm pistol. Hi-Point won’t go 100 yards. And 2. Will it take 40 ammo? They are within .002 of being the same size. Hi-Point won’t. I can buy one for $400 or the other for $1659. Sound like larceny.

  • Stan Karamol October 12, 2020, 7:45 am

    I have one and have ran just south of 1500 rds through it not a single issues. Runs like a sewing machine.

    • dave October 12, 2020, 12:38 pm

      I’m curious whether the author has fired the B & T 10mm?

  • Elliot P. October 12, 2020, 5:47 am

    I always look forward to Clay’s reviews. He is always knowledgeable about the subject and presents them in a fun but to the point manner. Should I assume that the MK 10 will take Glock mags, like the ones for my G20 which I love? That would be a definite plus for me as I carry that handgun as a back up when hunting and when having to go into bad guy country like a big city.

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