semi auto handguns

5 10mm Handguns to Bring the Thunder

Some people like a bit more firepower, which is why some people swear by 10mm handguns as a good all-around caliber. The 10mm actually has a lot to offer, as softer loadings are fairly easy to shoot and the full-house loads are every bit the equal of the .357 Magnum.


You can use it for daily carry and as a backup in the woods alike. However, not everyone makes one - it's a much rarer chambering than 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP. That said, if you wanted to put one in a holster and strap it up with a gun belt...these would be the ones to get.


10mm Colt Delta Elite - For When A Normal 1911 Just Isn't Enough


colt 1911

The Colt Delta Elite was the first handgun developed for the cartridge from a major manufacturer. (The Bren Ten came first, sure, but Colt was the first of the major players.) Others came later, but Colt beat them to the punch by unleashing the Delta Elite in 1987.


The Delta Elite is a Series 80 1911, modified for the 10mm cartridge. Early models were known for cracking frames due to some metal being added to the frame for stiffening, though Colt changed the design to allow the metal to flex, making the pistol that much more durable.


The Delta Elite is nearly a do-it-all gun as it's good for defense and even handgun hunting, though the Government frame makes it a bit much to carry concealed for some folks. Then again, one of the most popular concealed carry .45 pistols, even in the full-size configuration.


The Delta Elite set a trend, as a number of 1911 makers now have a 10mm variant available, including such companies as Dan Wesson, Kimber, Nighthawk and STI. Remington has a long-slide 1911 coming to market soon as well.


The Glock 20


glock 10mm

Besides the Delta Elite, one of the first 10mm pistols to hit the market was the Glock 20, which debuted in the early 1990s just after the Smith and Wesson 1006 series. (A variant thereof, the 1076, was briefly the FBI's preferred duty pistol.) Unlike the DE and the 1006, it had Glock's striker-fired action and accepted a double-stack magazine, increasing capacity to 15 rounds.


Glock still makes the 20, and it has found it's way into a number of police departments and military units worldwide. However, it also - because Glock - has compact and long-slide variants. The Glock 29 is roughly equivalent to the Glock 26, and a number of semi-auto handgun hunters have taken to the longslide version: the Glock 40, the biggest handgun they make.


If you prefer a poly-striker to DA or SA pistols, this is the one to get.


Rock Island Armory 10mm 1911


rock island 1911

If you like the idea of the Delta Elite, but you don't want to pay the premium of a high-end 1911 maker, Armscor's Rock Island Armory 10mm 1911 pistols have just the medicine. RIA 1911 pistols have a reputation for being seriously good shooters for reasonable prices, and there are multiple 10mm models.


Their TAC tactical series, Rock standard series and Pro Series lines all have 10mm 1911 pistols in the lineup, including Government and Commander frames. These still aren't exactly cheap (MSRP approaches $900 in the TAC and Rock series) but for the features that you get - such as Novak-style night sights, beavertail grip safeties, G10 grips and so on - it's a steal. Colt's Delta Elite, on the other hand, costs the same but is modestly adorned.


Sig Sauer P220 Hunter


sig hunter

Sig Sauer recently entered the 10mm arena with the Sig Sauer P220 Hunter, which can now be had in 10mm. The P220 was the gun that really started it all for Sig Sauer, as that pistol broke them wide open as one of the premier providers of service pistols and it has been a mainstay among police and select military personnel ever since.


This isn't a poly-striker affair; it's an enormous hunk of steel, though the P220 Hunter uses a single-action system rather than Sig's classic SA/DA trigger system. It will also set you back a fair bit to acquire as MSRP is more than $1,600. That said, it's a Sig - and you will get your money's worth. So will your grandchildren, because that's how long a Sig will last with even moderate care.


EAA Witness


10mm eaa witness

Last but not least is the EAA Witness, which is kind of a sleeper among the 10mm guns. It's too bad, too, because it shouldn't be overlooked. Tanfoglio, the Italian company that makes the pistol (EAA just imports them for sale) based the Witness line on the CZ-75 pistol, which has yielded a reputation for easy, accurate shooting and superb ergonomics. It also is available in a wide range of calibers; the Witness also can be had in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .38 Super.


It's the lone SA/DA pistol on this list, but it comes with a manual safety rather than a decocker. Cocked and locked carry is possible, though it can also be carried in double action mode.


There are several grades of this pistol available, from polymer-framed carry models, steel-frame models all the way up to match-grade target and hunting pistols. It's really up to the buyer.


Oh, and top tip: Bren Ten pistols, the first 10mm guns, were likewise based on the CZ-75. They likewise had a manual safety rather than a decocker. They likewise were all stainless steel. They are also very rare and expensive on the used market. However, a Witness with all the same specs can be had very easily and cheaply - the all-steel models (in stainless) go for about $500.




Sam Hoober 

About The Author


Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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