Thureon Defense’s 10mm Carbine is NOT An AR15!

 

Author, with the Thureon Defense 10mm

It has been an excellent year for us 10mm Cultists, our cartridge of choice has grown by leaps and bounds. New guns, a gaggle of new factory loads, and an upswing in popularity have made 10mm more available than ever. With so many options, I felt compelled to write a post on alchemy write a review of available factory ammo and how it performed in the real world. A test like that requires, obviously, a gaggle of available pistol barrel lengths. But in my opinion, it should also be done from a carbine, as the 10mm gains so much from a rifle length barrel. So I went looking for one. And to the lasting shame of the firearms manufacturing world, I found very slim options.

Construction materials were harmed in this gun review

If you were reading Guns America around SHOT Show 2018, you know this isn’t the first time I have called this out. As of January last year, after the big industry “ This is our new hotness” show, your options were two. A Kriss Vector, and of all things a Hi-Point. Not counting the 80’s era MP-5 models chamber in 10mm, which I would say are difficult at best for a civilian to purchase. Unless maybe they sold them off as part of Fast and Furious, which I wouldn’t put past them. Anyway, the options in 10mm are few.

Thureon flash hider

Which is something I don’t understand? 10mm is a near perfect round for a sub gun or PCC (Pistol Caliber Carbine), as the kids call them these days. You have a serious velocity gain due to barrel length, as the longer barrel gives you more complete powder burn. While 10mm can be sporty in a pistol, at least at full power, the rifle tames it very nicely. 10mm is considered snappy in a hand cannon, but no one would compare it to rifle loads or 12 gauge high brass. Not only can you turn the velocity up with all the metal of a rifle, but you can also turn it down for specialized applications. 10mm at a subsonic speed not only shoots a projectile as heavy as a 300 AAC, but it also makes a bigger hole.

Thureon magazine release

So as I was hunting around for a 10mm Carbine, I was very happy to stumble across Thureon Defense. I had never heard of them, but I was intrigued. It turns out Thureon is a smaller company out of Wisconsin, specializing in PCC weapons. Veteran owned, they set out to do one thing, and do it very well. In a world of 9mm only carbines, Thureon offers options.

Thureon models are side chargers

Currently, everything Thureon makes is available in 9mm, 40 Smith and Wesson, 45 ACP, and 10mm. I said in the 10mm ammo video that they used a variety of magazines according to your sidearm, but that has changed. For 2019, Thureon has settled on Glock Magazines. This is a solid move, as Glock is rapidly becoming the PCC industry standard. Glock brand, as well as aftermarket brands, are both plentiful and available in a variety of capacities.

Bolt lock, a novel concept in PCC guns

The Carbine itself shares a lot of design features with the AR platform, which is good. It yields familiar controls, plentiful buttstock, pistol grip, trigger options, and familiar shape. One of the things I have grown to like, however, is that it isn’t just an AR forced to take pistol bullets.

upper and lower side view

I like AR-15’s and I’m sure you do too. But it is not the end all be all of design. Over the years, I have seen both good and bad AR to pistol adaptations. Thureon obviously has too, because they set out to fix the problems inherent in that equation.

Upper side view. Note, the stock is part of the upper. 

“Looks the same” isn’t the same as “is the same.” Sans the parts mentioned above, the Thureon is its own weapon at the core. Instead of a standard upper/lower set, Thureon designed a unique setup. The upper houses the buffer tube attachment, bolt, and barrel. The lower comes off with something similar to AR takedown pins, but smaller. The lower comes free like a 240G with just the trigger group and mag well. It looks weird if you are accustomed to AR’s only, but part of making the system work.

Thureon Lower with mag inserted

The lower has another unique feature. The feed ramp is bolted into the lower. Rather than being part of the barrel, the Thureon feed ramp is a stand-alone part. It fits in the lower with two screws. The ejector is also in the lower and looks more like a pistol ejector than anything else.

feed ramp built into lower

Instead of an AR style charging handle, the Thureon again steps outside the box. Their model is a side charger. Like many PCC models, you don’t get bolt lock from the magazine. But the Thureon does have a simple solution. To lock the bolt open, all you have to do is press toward the receiver on the bolt handle, with the bolt pulled to the rear. An excellent set up both for utility, and competition. It eliminates the awkward bolt hold back for the RO to clear your gun if you are playing PCC games.

in house built rail system

With all those in house designs, how does it work? Glad you asked. First of all, Thureon sent me a demo gun, not a new one. I prefer that in a gun review because it tells me a few things. One, the gun will hold up to more rounds than the few hundred I test it with. Especially with high power rounds, you learn a lot more from a banged up loaner gun than a new one. Two, a lot of things will work well for a while then stop working well. I know this gun wasn’t custom tuned to make a sale, hand built by the master tinkerer.

bolt on the ejection side

And run the Thureon did. Already dirty, I didn’t clean it because that is for suckers. With a fresh coat of lube, the Thureon took everything I threw at it, in a wide variety of weather conditions. It was down to 16 degrees during the ammo test, an average of 30 for the Thureon full review. I was also able to feed this carbine way more than a normal amount of test ammo. 17 Brands in fact. 230 grain down to 180 light loads, it fed them all.

 

A joy to shoot

Recoil wise, the Thureon unique recoil system handles 10mm very well. Yes, 10mm isn’t 308. But it also says a lot that they can balance the gun to eat heavy to light 10mm and still eject and cycle reliably. Even in a carbine, the 10mm is a little punchier than 9mm. Thureon’s rifle stayed on target, allowing strings of fire easily comparable to 9 in terms of split seconds.

 

blazer 200 grain

It does all this and does it at a very reasonable price. We tested the Standard model, with an MSRP of $1099 for 10mm and 45 ACP. The price drops to $949 for 9mm and 40S&W. If you have been looking for a PCC, this is an excellent choice. If you have been looking for a PCC in something besides 9mm, it is among your only choices. The Thureon Defense models are worth taking a look at, currently available from Brownells and Zanders.

Double Tap 230 hard cast

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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

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Phil January 15, 2021, 7:36 am

    10mm just had a Ruger old style Vaquero polished steel with a birds head grip and a 4 3/4 inch barrel at the range. Shot 10mm WIN 180 grain FMJ. Handled well! The cylinder matched the gun’s serial number. The Vaquero originally was a 40 & 38-40 Win.

  • DN December 3, 2020, 6:43 pm

    Can’t say much for Thureon Defense’s customer service. I wrote them through their website twice, months apart, and received consistent responses – Crickets. No response at all. I bought a TD PCC in .40 S&W and added a red/green dot sight on the Picatinny rail. However, when I tried to mount a sling QD mount to the front, nothing seems to fit (not Magpul M-Lok, Key Lock, Rails, nothing). I wrote asking what standard they use so I could buy the right one to mount the front sling QD mount as well as a flashlight. No response. Would not recommend the company service but do like the PCC.

  • Maury L Fisher August 25, 2019, 6:34 am

    Anyone tried the Alex Pro 10mm?

  • jsomm July 24, 2019, 12:34 pm

    I have the 10mm thureon. Swapped out stock to a minimalist fde and grip to magpul in fde. Topped with burris pepr mount and vortex strike eagle 1-8x illuminated scope. Insane velocity with underwood 155gr ammo – near 1900fps with 5.56 energy. Super accurate to 200 yds if you use the tic marks on the reticle. Absolutely my favorite gun in the armory. Perfect complement to the g40 glock.

  • Atcgolfer April 29, 2019, 9:48 pm

    What ar15 would you suggest for asomeones first

  • KBSacto April 25, 2019, 3:49 pm

    I recommend taking a look at a MechTech conversion upper for the Glock: https://mechtechsys.com/

    MechTech makes an upper that attaches to the pistol handle of the Glock, XD, and 1911 families.

  • Rane April 23, 2019, 5:04 am

    I looked into several 10mm carbines before deciding to assemble my own using a RMW xtreme upper and QC10 Glock lower. I ended up using a 6.8 spc bolt and light weight carrier. The end result was a DI 10mm AR15 with an 8” barrel. It locks open on the last round and I’m able to load hotter loads than what a typical pistol can handle. I put push 135 gr pills to almost 1900 fps. Not to shabby. And the recoil is very soft.

  • T April 22, 2019, 10:43 pm

    Myself and a buddy both bought 9mm’s with glock mag’s from Andy at Thureon about 4years ago and follow up service is excellent. I had an issue that required a new firing pin, a three min install….. and instead, and he did a complete refurb of my gun and my buddy’s at no charge and an hour of his time. The quality is excellent and the gun is deadnuts at 90 yards with my Eotech 512. I’ve held but not fired a JRC and it doesn’t compare to my Thureon. Fit and finish is excellent.

    • T April 23, 2019, 4:54 pm

      I just read my post, and if that line doesn’t state it clearly… my point was that the Thureon’s fit and finish is better.

  • jesse lutton April 22, 2019, 5:17 pm

    I have a glock 20 gen 4. it is a very nice firearm.. my question is why do 10 mm ball ammo projectiles have a flat nose… thank you

    • John F Wolter April 22, 2019, 11:10 pm

      10mm ball ammo all have a flat nose bullet type just for maximum overall length fitment in magazines. That’s all.

  • Marcelino April 22, 2019, 4:54 pm

    Thureon 10mm or Foxtrot Mike 9m. I built my FM-9 for competition. Recoil from 9mm is no big thing, but is there. The 10mm recoil is no big deal, but it’s there. PCC competition is about speed. Maybe down the road a manufacture will design a PCC for the .380.

  • Bennie Pell April 22, 2019, 4:52 pm

    I have had a 45 model of this for a few years now, using Kriss / Glock extension mags, so much fun to shoot my hand loads with. Very good customer support, recommend to all

  • trenace2 April 22, 2019, 1:22 pm

    Thank you for the picture of the receiver being chewed up by the bolt handle.

    Opinions will vary, but to me it makes me feel like the receiver is made out of cheese metal or the engineering is not what it should be. It absolutely disgusts me when I see anything like this on any of my guns. Makes me feel like it’s a GSG 1911-22 with a zinc slide. Maybe that’s just me.

    Good idea, glad to see more 10mm carbines, but I’ll pass for that reason alone.

  • Ron Robinson April 22, 2019, 12:22 pm

    I have a TNW Firearms Aero Survival Rifle 9mm carbine (that I love), and TNW supposedly offers conversion kits in 10mm, .40 and .45 (and maybe .357 Sig). Not sure if they’re actually available, but will find out as soon as I can budget for a 10mm kit.

    The Thureon Defense PCC design looks suspiciously similar to the TNW ASR. However where they differ, I like my ASR better (bolt hold-open L-slot, looks, olive green anodized lower).

    I was a bit disappointed in this review not presenting 10mm PCC ballistic details beyond mention(s) the cartridge gains substantial velocity in carbine length barrels. I’d like to know just how powerful those 230 grain WFN loads are through a carbine-length barrel, but have no doubt they’d be excellent hog HAMMERS in an excellent hog-hammer platform (a good PCC).

  • ringo338 April 22, 2019, 9:19 am

    The JRC (Just Right Carbine) has a breakdown 10mm AR style blow back rifle for about $650.00 and uses Glock magazines.

  • George April 22, 2019, 9:02 am

    Love my Kriss Vector rifle in 10mm with Hook type folding stock. An awesome rifle and worth the additional coin it cost. Using Glock magazines with adapters (from Kriss) for 33round capacity.

  • Frank April 22, 2019, 8:30 am

    If you go to Thureon website you will NOT find any 10mm mentioned and 10mm does NOT return anything in its site search. Maybe the author has a special permission website he can use.

  • Lonny Burris April 22, 2019, 8:04 am

    Why not use a side folder instead of the big, bulky AR stock? I get the whole “plenty of AR stock options” but there are also plenty of side folder options. It wouldn’t be too difficult, since they’re already starting with a clean slate, to make their own “tube” that would take an AR stock and adapt it to a side folder base. Nice little SBR with a tiny little side folder? Mmmmmm

    • Mark a armstrong April 22, 2019, 8:41 am

      Agree with side folder…
      Price is a little steep

  • Frank S. April 22, 2019, 7:24 am

    Hi-Point isn’t what most people want, though the carbine I’d have, just not a pistol… $300-350. The TNW Aero and JRC Gen3 are higher quality (what isn’t higher quality than a Hi-Point?) — $500-600. The $950-1100 price of the Thureon is what turns me off. I get it — they area small manufacturer and don’t make big runs, and sell to more of a niche market. I like a lot of the features, but price is a bit high for what it is. Things like the bolt-in feed ramp just make it easier for them to build the same receiver in many calibers. Great idea from a manufacturing standpoint.

  • Stan Karamol April 22, 2019, 6:35 am

    I have a Glock 20 will definitely be looking for one of those PCC. Thanks for the info.

  • El Mac April 22, 2019, 5:31 am

    It is stupid and unbelievable to me that there are not more manufacturers of 10mm carbines out there. Just. Freaking. Unreal.

  • Tim April 22, 2019, 4:31 am

    Although I really like Thureon and the fact that it’s offering some variety in cartridges and agree the 10mm probably great PCC cartridge
    When you put “HAND CANNON” In to describe a 10mm pistol I started laughing so hard I fell out of my chair, no I’ve not been drinking, come on 10mm is not nor never will be anything even in the same solar system as a hand Cannon I’m sure JD Jones who coined.the term is laughing so hard he’s about to pee
    454casull probably at the bottom rung of the ladder of HAND CANNONS
    Come on quit trying to make it into something it’s not

    • Ron Robinson April 22, 2019, 12:42 pm

      Though I agree with Tim that the term “hand cannon” might be a stretch when describing the 10mm cartridge, understand hand-cannon is a relative term. Also understand that Razor Dobbs (host of Razor Dobbs Alive TV show) has taken at least 2 BIG, MATURE, TROPHY Cape Buffalo with a 10mm pistol. One succumbed about 75 yards from being hit through the heart just as FAST, and just as DEAD as if he’d been shot through the heart with a .470 rifle! As I recall, Razor put a second round into the other buffalo as he ran away; but both died faster than I’m used to seeing them die when hit with any dangerous-game rifle.

      I often say, “The 10mm pistol cartridge gains SUBSTANTIALLY from an extra inch or two of barrel-length”; so I imagine it very deserving of the term “hog-hammer” in a PCC. That said, it may be a stretch to call it a “hand-cannon” in a pistol… notwithstanding Razor Dobbs’ proving otherwise.

  • Michael Larsen April 22, 2019, 3:32 am

    The Aero Survival Rifle comes in 10mm too, and also uses Glock mags. I’ve had good luck with mine, but had to swap out the pistol grip – the one that came on it was too small. I also added a Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus. Fun little rifle, and potent.

    • JD Clayton April 22, 2019, 10:24 am

      Copy the Aero Survival Rifle. Breaks down, multi caliber and can eject right or left. I got the kit with 3 barrels plus 2 receivers and bolts assemblies and an additional barrel. Ended up with a 9mm and .40 cal for the smaller Glock mags and the addition receiver with .45 and 10mm barrels for the larger mags. Also replaced the pistol grip and replace the stock with a lighter Mission First Minimalist that has a QD sling socket. So it’s really my only PCC but it’s like a stinking Barbie doll. There’s just no end to the accessorizing. The ASR doesn’t come with any sights but has picatinny all around. I borrowed a Mepro -21 and magnifier off one of my rifles and and a lazer/light combo off one of my pistols . . . and yes I sleep with it or very close to it. Home defense to hogs.

      • DP Price April 23, 2019, 10:45 pm

        I know a guy who has several variations of the ASR and loves them all! He wanted to shoot the 10mm in it, but back then TNW didn’t offer that. He just bought a .40 barrel and reamed it to the 10mm spec. I’ve got to admit, that is one of the most fun bang-makers I’ve ever shot!!! And in all of the calibers, too. He was using the .45 ACP with 200gr. LSWC and was putting holes through an upper A-frame from a Chevy at about 80 yards! He called them ‘flying ashtrays’. Hey, Clay, why don’t you do a review of the 10mm ASR???

        Stay safe, folks!

  • OldRed April 22, 2019, 3:09 am

    Why not just take some Starline unformed 223 basic brass and make rimless 357 Magnums or 357 Maximum and be able to find a lot more bullets and not run the risk of blowing pistol to Hell if you load hot rounds for the carbine.

    All you would need is barrel, gas block and make a feed ramp work to use a AR-15 upper. You might have to bend the lips on the magazines.

    • J smith April 22, 2019, 8:55 am

      Winchester already did just that, it is called the 350 Legend.

      The .350 Legend is based on a .223 Remington case (.348 inch rim diameter, small rifle primer) blown out straight (no shoulder) to accept .35 caliber bullets. The new .350 case has an expanded base (.390 inch) and measures .378 at the case mouth, to give it a bit of body taper to aid extraction from the chamber. On the other hand, this makes the case a rebated rim design, which degrades reliable extraction by making the extractor’s bite on the case rim smaller. Note that due to the changes in base diameter and case shape, reloaders cannot use .223 cases to form .350 cases. Nor can .223 magazines be used in .350 rifles, as the feed lips and magazine followers for the two cartridges are markedly different.

      These include a Winchester Deer Season XP load (150 grain bullet at 2325 fps MV), Power Max Bonded line load (160 grain at 2225 fps) and a Super-X Power Point 180 grain bullet at a MV of 2100 fps. The ammo should be in stores by April, 2019, priced competitively with .223 premium hunting loads.

      Winchester specifies .357 inch diameter bullets, which seems odd, as all rifle bullets intended to be fired in a rifle with a .350 inch bore are designed for a groove/bullet diameter of .358 inch. Fortunately, a difference of only .001 inch in bullet diameter typically makes no significant difference to the rifle or the bullet, at least in other cartridges with which I have worked.

      Reloaders using .358 diameter bullets in their .350 Legend rifles should begin with starting powder charges and work their way up carefully, chronographing as they go. Stop when factory load velocities are approached.

      The .350 Legend is a small cartridge with the same 2.25 inches cartridge overall length (COL) as the .223 and it operates at the same (high) 55,000 psi maximum average pressure (MAP) as its parent cartridge. Winchester reps let slip that the case is loaded with around 21 grains of powder, but did not mention what powder, or which factory load / bullet weight to which they were referring.

      With light for caliber bullets (150-180 grain) loaded at 55,000 psi, the .350 Legend approaches the performance of the .35 Remington with the same bullet weights. Although the .35 Rem. is a larger cartridge in all dimensions except bullet diameter (up to 2.525 inches COL), it operates at a much lower pressure (33,500 psi MAP).

    • J smith April 22, 2019, 8:56 am

      Winchester already did just that, it is called the 350 Legend.The .350 Legend is based on a .223 Remington case (.348 inch rim diameter, small rifle primer) blown out straight (no shoulder) to accept .35 caliber bullets. The new .350 case has an expanded base (.390 inch) and measures .378 at the case mouth, to give it a bit of body taper to aid extraction from the chamber. On the other hand, this makes the case a rebated rim design, which degrades reliable extraction by making the extractor\’s bite on the case rim smaller. Note that due to the changes in base diameter and case shape, reloaders cannot use .223 cases to form .350 cases. Nor can .223 magazines be used in .350 rifles, as the feed lips and magazine followers for the two cartridges are markedly different.These include a Winchester Deer Season XP load (150 grain bullet at 2325 fps MV), Power Max Bonded line load (160 grain at 2225 fps) and a Super-X Power Point 180 grain bullet at a MV of 2100 fps. The ammo should be in stores by April, 2019, priced competitively with .223 premium hunting loads.Winchester specifies .357 inch diameter bullets, which seems odd, as all rifle bullets intended to be fired in a rifle with a .350 inch bore are designed for a groove/bullet diameter of .358 inch. Fortunately, a difference of only .001 inch in bullet diameter typically makes no significant difference to the rifle or the bullet, at least in other cartridges with which I have worked.Reloaders using .358 diameter bullets in their .350 Legend rifles should begin with starting powder charges and work their way up carefully, chronographing as they go. Stop when factory load velocities are approached.The .350 Legend is a small cartridge with the same 2.25 inches cartridge overall length (COL) as the .223 and it operates at the same (high) 55,000 psi maximum average pressure (MAP) as its parent cartridge. Winchester reps let slip that the case is loaded with around 21 grains of powder, but did not mention what powder, or which factory load / bullet weight to which they were referring.With light for caliber bullets (150-180 grain) loaded at 55,000 psi, the .350 Legend approaches the performance of the .35 Remington with the same bullet weights. Although the .35 Rem. is a larger cartridge in all dimensions except bullet diameter (up to 2.525 inches COL), it operates at a much lower pressure (33,500 psi MAP).

  • piper April 21, 2019, 5:32 am

    Great video. Love learning what the 10mm can really do and seeing a fine rifle for it.

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