Best 1911s in 10mm: When .45 Is Not Enough

Quick…what’s a caliber and firearm platform combo that has a cult-like following?

What about an American classic and a cartridge respectively known as the ‘centimeter?’

That’s right…I’m talking about the 10mm Automatic.

The 1911 and the 10mm Automatic are good bedfellows and have been for some time.

10mm side
10mm, best mm

Both the 1911 and the 10mm Auto cartridge has some rabid fans, and for a good reason.

The 1911 has been around forever, and most pistol calibers have found some kind of 1911 platform to chamber themselves.

Today we’ll be going over our favorite 10mm 1911s.

Table of Contents

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Introduction

The 10mm is one of the most potent modern defensive cartridges designed for use in an automatic pistol. It offers higher capacity than most high powered rounds, but does remain controllable and offers a versatile selection of loads.

Connecting the 1911 and the 10mm round isn’t hard to do. Jeff Cooper, a Marine Colonel, and legendary firearms instructor was a huge proponent of both. He loved the 1911 platform and had a hand in designing the 10mm round.

10mm 1911 and ammo

Jeff envisioned the round in a different platform, but I don’t think he’d frown at a 1911 in the 10mm Auto. The 10mm has been rising in popularity after spending some time as a very niche round.

The History

We see more and more companies accept the round and chamber their platforms in it, Glock has had the G20 for years, SIG chambered the P220 in 10mm, and Springfield has teased an XD in 10mm as well.

This is a welcome surprise for a round that up until a few years away was quite niche and for serious 10mm enthusiasts only. The 10mm was like your favorite rock star. It lived fast and hard and died young.

10mm auto
Lots and lots of 10mm

Well almost died. The 10mm became famous after the FBI adopted it. The FBI used the cartridge for a few years and then decided some agents who were more paper pusher than gunfighter couldn’t handle it.

First, they neutered the round by lightening the load. This became known as the 10mm FBI Load. Realizing the fact, there was a lot of case capacity left Smith and Wesson decided to trim the case to make the round smaller. This resulted in the 40 S&W, affectionately known as the 40 Short and Weak.

After the 40 S&W was born, the 10mm was on its last legs. Then, seemingly out of nowhere new life was breathed into the round.

But What About the 1911?

The 1911 is, of course, a creation of John Moses Browning. His original gun was chambered in the 45 ACP, but things have changed since then. The 1911 served as the United State’s sidearm of choice from 1911 until 1985.

After the Beretta M9 replaced the M1911 the gun itself continued to serve in Special Units throughout the military. Since then the 1911 has gone on to serve in a variety of police units and is a favorite of the civilian market.

The gun features a fantastic grip angle, a crisp trigger, with a beautiful reset. The weapon is quite thin, and its ergonomics are lovely. The love of the 1911 has driven the market to adopt the gun into a variety of calibers, sizes, and into a multitude of functions.

close up of 10mm

It’s no surprise the round has found its way into a variety of different 1911s across the industry. Today we are going to talk 10mms, and the array of 1911s you can choose in 10mm.

I wanted to limit this list to more or less factory guns. Nothing special edition, or from custom shops that often have massive backlogs. So these are my favorite 1911s in 10mm.

Best 10mm 1911s

1. Colt Delta Elite

The Colt Delta Elite was not only the first 10mm 1911 but the second gun ever chambered in the round behind the Bren Ten. The Colt Delta Elite was initially introduced in 1987 and is a series 80 configuration. The weapon was introduced again recently, followed by a Delta Elite with a rail.

Classic 10mm 1911
1100
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Colt Delta Elite had some teething issues when it was first introduced, and there were some issues with cracked slides due to the powerful 10mm Auto. The Colt Delta Elite is a single stack gun that holds eight rounds and features all the standard 1911 controls and features. An interesting note is that the original rocked a Commander style hammer.

Being an actual Colt 1911 ratchets up the cool factor, but when you consider the fact the gun is in 10mm it only gets better. Colt Delta Elites are immediately identifiable by the grips. These polymer wraps around grips feature a unique red triangle inside a circle placed in the middle of the grips.

Colt Delta Elite with Wrap Around Grips
Colt Delta Elite with Wrap Around Grips

These grips are one of the unique and identifiable features of the Colt Delta Elite. As a Colt 1911, you can expect a flawless stainless steel finish or a rich blued finish. The new Colt Delta Elite feature Novak White Dot sights, skeletonized triggers, an extended thumb safety, and an upswept beavertail.

Modern finishes include stainless and two-tone. The two-tone is exceptionally good looking with those famous Delta Elite grips. You really can’t beat a classic, although many companies are indeed trying to.

2. Dan Wesson Elite Series Fury

If you can’t beat the classics why not go the complete opposite direction? Like for example, make the most modern 1911 possible and chamber it in 10mm. That’s what Dan Wesson has decided to do with the Elite Series Fury.

Dan Wesson Elite Fury
Dan Wesson Elite Fury

What’s the most modern 1911 look like? Well with the Elite Series Fury starts the process of modernization with the addition of a Trijicon RMR miniature red dot sight. With a little training, a shooter using a red dot sight can shoot faster, more accurately, and at longer ranges.

We reviewed the RMR Type 2 on its own and loved it, you can read about that in our 4 Best Pistol Red Dot Sights article. The short version though – it is awesome.

The Fury goes on to add suppressor height sights to co-witness with the iron sights and of course use with a suppressor. The barrel is threaded, so adding a can isn’t tricky. The gun also has a Picatinny rail so adding a light or laser is a natural choice.

Best Pistol Red Dot

The Fury also features an ambidextrous safety, an extended beavertail, and front and rear grip serrations. The gun rocks a flat K style trigger that uses the super short-reset Elite Series trigger job.

Now to sweeten the pot the Elite Series Fury is a double stack gun that gives the Fury 14 rounds of hard-hitting 10mm. This gun could be used for so many different tasks. It’s great for home defense, especially when it’s wearing a can.

For handguns with an open class the Fury checks all the marks for a high-end custom gun. Duty applications are a possibility, but we are unlikely to see many police forces adopt such an expensive and substantial pistol. Lastly, this could be an excellent hunting or bear country pistol.

The optic, the caliber, the trigger, and the ability to use a suppressor makes this a mighty powerful hunting and wilderness defense handgun.

3. Remington R1 10mm Hunter

Speaking of hunting handguns the 10mm is an excellent caliber for medium game hunting. Want to kill deer? Pigs? Coyotes?

Well, the 10mm can do it. The RI Hunter is a big gun, more significant than most in fact. The RI Hunter 10mm features a 6-inch barrel. The benefits of a longer barrel are numerous.

Best Hunting 10mm 1911
1200
at Cabelas

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

First, there is a slight velocity gain from that extra inch, but it’s typically isolated to about 50 FPS. One real advantage is sight radius. The longer slide gives you a longer sight radius that allows you to shoot further and with more precision.

The longer barrel also means more weight at the end of the barrel, which helps reduce muzzle rise. The R1 Hunter is all about accuracy and placement of precise shots, which is critical for a hunting pistol. A responsibility all hunters have is to be able to put down their animals quickly and painlessly.

This means an accurate shot and the R1 Hunter is capable of that. The gun is wearing outstanding LPA fully adjustable match sights that allow some severe adjustments to be made to ensure precise shot placement. The gun itself has a stainless Match-Grade barrel to help in the accuracy a little more.

The trigger is an adjustable design that allows you to tune the trigger to your liking. The finish is a robust PVD DLC that’s made to protect the gun in the harshest environments. The front and rear serrations make controlling the slide easy, especially in cold climates and when you are wearing gloves.

The R1 Hunter 10mm is a purpose built gun that’s perfect for hunting, in a caliber that’s a great game getter.

4. Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra FS HC 10MM

The Rock Ultra FS HC 10mm is a jumble of a name but is one helluva gun. It’s one of my favorite 10mm 1911s. Weapons like the Fury Series are great, but let’s face it 4k is a lot of money. Is the gun worth it?

Sure, it’s an excellent gun. Do I need all it offers? Probably not.

If I want a double stack 1911 that I can afford then the Rock Ultra FS HC 10MM is perfect. The MSRP is $798, but you can find them for around 650ish in gun stores and online. This model is capable of carrying 16 rounds of 10mm Automatic.

I’ve yet to encounter a problem where I need that much firepower, but man I like having it. Who knows when I may run across a group of ninja bears. The Rock Ultra FS HC has an LPA adjustable rear sight with a high visibility fiber optic front sight.

The gun is exceptionally accurate, and the lovely trigger combined with the adjustable and high viz sights make it easy to get on target and stay on target. The gun comes stock with an extended beavertail, an ambidextrous safety, and a flared magwell.

The gun is big, and you have to expect that from a 10mm doublestack, so small hands may not be big fans of this gun. Shooting it is a blast, and since it comes in at a hefty 2.9 pounds unloaded the recoil isn’t bad at all. At the price, it’s hard to beat.

What’s your thought on the RIA?

Readers' Ratings

4.96/5 (212)

Your Rating?

5. Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra MS 10mm

The 10mm was made to be a defensive round. It’s a powerful round, and it was designed from the ground up to be a gunfighter’s defensive cartridge. The firearms on this list have mostly been a bit big for concealed carry.

The Rock Ultra MS 10mm is a more compact, single stack platform that features a 4.25-inch barrel, and a single stack magazine with an 8 round capacity. Fully loaded it weighs 2.73 pounds, so it’s not superbly lightweight.

Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra MS
Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra MS

It is quite thin and svelte for IWB carry. The gun has also been smoothed out, meaning the sharp corners have been trimmed off it for more comfortable carry and a snag-free draw. As a concealed carry gun it’s much more likely to catch a snag.

The gun does feature an adjustable rear sight, and a high viz front sight. The safeties are ambidextrous, and the trigger has an adjustable over-travel stop on the trigger. The gun has a great trigger and is easy to handle.

10mm is a stout cartridge, especially with full power defensive loads. If you go with a 10mm for concealed carry be ready to train with it. It’s much less forgiving than any 9mm.

6. Dan Wesson Bruin

My editor won’t let me talk about pistols in 10mm without mentioning his favorite, the Dan Wesson Bruin – specifically in burnt bronze.

I have to admit, it is one good looking 1911. It is also manufactured to perfection, but that’s what you should expect from a Dan Wesson 1911.

Editor's Choice 10mm 1911
2100
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Sporting modern features like an adjustable tritium rear sight, fiber-optic front sight, skeletonized hammer, match grade trigger, and a 6″ barrel – this gun might look like a safe queen, but it’s built to work.

And – it comes in burnt bronze, a criminally underused color.

Honorable Mention

Glock 20

We know, it isn’t a 1911. But as much as we love the 1911 (and we do love it) it has some downsides that can’t be ignored, especially when it comes to magnum calibers. If you want 10mm but don’t want to risk those downsides, then the Glock 20 is for you.

Glock 20 and lots of ammo
My G20 has been eating every 10mm I feed it for years (pictured with the Trijicon RMR).

15+1 of 10mm makes for an outstanding woods gun, lightweight polymer makes it easier to carry, and it is dead-on accurate. To top it all off – you can mount red dot optics on it with ease.

605
at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Take a look at our Hands-on Review of the Glock 20!

Final Thoughts

The 10mm cartridge is severely underrated and one of the best compromises between power, size, and controllability. The 1911 is a timeless platform that has seemingly evolved year after year into something new.

Combining the two makes sense.

What about you folks? What’s your pick for a 1911 in 10mm? Better yet what’s the 10mm of your dreams? Let us know in the comments!  Want our favorite picks of other caliber firearms?  Check out Editor’s Picks.

14 Leave a Reply

  • Rob Jones

    Springfield TRP Operator 10MM didn't make the list?

    3 months ago
  • John Johnson

    Just came home from the gun show with a Rock Ultra MS. Looking forward to my next range trip with it.

    4 months ago
  • Tom Simms

    Sig. P220 Elite Hunter. My 95# daughter handles it like a man does- or better.

    4 months ago
  • Jerry Seward

    What about the Sig 1911 10mm Tacops with an external extractor and supported chamber? Outstanding value and operates flawless with various 10mm rounds.

    6 months ago
  • Westley

    I've had the 10 mm since 1989 when I bought my Colt Delta Elite, Love the round and the 1911. Ammo was hard to get back then so I reloaded using a 175 gr cast bullet originally for the 38-40.

    9 months ago
  • Foley Hund

    Purchased the RIA 1911 Ultra FS TAC 5", loaded with real loads. It talks back, but one shot, one kill.

    10 months ago
  • Edwin

    Sig p220 but I don't see a lot of sig here ever.

    1 year ago
  • Brad S.

    Remington R1.....really?

    1 year ago
  • Derek Visslailli

    I am surprised to not see the Springfield TRP 10 mm in this list- i have heard all i have heard on the TRP is good reviews...........

    1 year ago
    • For Reals?

      Agreed. I literally just got home from the range with mine and put 300 rounds of 170 gr FPJ through the 10-ring at 25 yards (and shook up some plates). Not puttin’ the TRP on the list is straight triflin’, yo!

      1 year ago
  • Michael

    The new Ruger SR1911 #6739 deserves serious consideration for anyone looking for a 1911 in 10mm. The list of standard features reads like custom pistol from a high-end gunsmith: Bomar type adjustable rear sight, Novak dovetail type front sight, Blackened stainless steel 5” bull barrel, Full length guide rod & keyed reverse plug, Lightweight, aluminum, skeletonized trigger, Skeletonized Commander style hammer, Titanium firing pin, Oversized beavertail grip safety, Beveled magazine well, Extended thumb safety and slide stop, Integral plunger tube, Oversized ejection port, Extended magazine release. Although the MSRP is $1,019, it can be purchased for ~$800 (when you can find it in-stock due to the demand) That’s a steal for a made-in-the-USA 10mm 1911 with all these features!

    1 year ago
    • MacClancy

      I’ve never thought I’d like to lug around an 1911 as a service weapon. Big heavy and on a short leash. That is in til a buddy handed me his Ruger 1911! Guns are like cars, boats, airplanes, and women. They all have their allure but until you actually hold one in your hand you’re never going to know if there’s any chemistry. Without knowing what was under the hood the first clip felt good. The second gave me a group like I knew her. Love at first sight? Yup. At this point I was looking at 1911’s. After some extensive pawing the field. I came back to the Ruger 1911 10mm. I think the main difference between the Ruger and the others in this price range is the finish. Almost every other gun I looked at had machining marks or what seemed like standard parts leaving an unfinished feel. My brother has a beautiful Ed Brown Commander and outside of the fact that I could buy four of these with the money he spent. I’m not sure I’d trade. Don’t get me wrong I haven’t spent much time with many 1911’s, at the range but when she’s flawlessly beautiful well built and a shooter. What’s not to love.

      9 months ago
    • Ken Gutkowski

      I was surprised not to see the Ruger SR1911 included in this list. It would be my choice especially in the People's Republic of Massachusetts where many guns are restricted!!!

      1 year ago
      • GaShooter

        Ditto this - except for the Mass part. While I peruse gun stores fairly often, I’m always poised to grab a Ruger SR1911 in 10mm if one is in stock.

        9 months ago
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