As stated above, I play Ernie Ball Super Slinkys, 9 - 42. With that being said, I play every day but rarely break strings anymore - maybe a single string (G) every few years. I honestly don't know why this is the case. BTW, I bend strings 1+ steps while playing most riffs.I’ve been bending steel with my bare hands and using 10’s for many years, for the tone ... and durability (they don’t break as often) *shrug*. However, I ordered some 9s and will give them a try.
Stevie was coked up (and drunk) and feelin’ no pain during a lot of his heavy string wailing years. And I may be mistaken, but I think I remember he started having some hand issues in his last couple years and went down a gauge or two himself. He also tuned down to E flat.9's on the Strat.
10's on the Paul.
I never bought into the SRV high-tension-wire stuff. As
Eddie said: "Why make it hard?"