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Best 10mm 1911 Pistols: Maximize Your Firepower

TRUE POWER MIGHT COME FROM WITHIN, BUT I PREFER 10MM AUTO

In the world of firearms, some guns are classics. One of the most famous of those classic guns is the 1911.

This gun has a huge following, even in a world that increasingly favors compact polymer-frame pistols. 

While some members of that following are purists, who love 1911s as close to the original Colt design as possible, others like seeing variations on that design, with interesting new aesthetics and different calibers. 

And, of course, there are some who fall in between. 

In this guide to 10mm 1911s, we have guns for all but the strictest 1911 purists who can’t image a 1911 in anything but .45 ACP. But first, let's talk about why people love 1911s and why people love 10mm. 

WHY A 1911?

A large part of the appeal of the 1911 for many people is that it’s a classic. 

It has a history spanning more than a century, and it has beautiful good looks. If it was good enough for Gramps, it’s good enough for us. 

But there are also some more practical, less nostalgic reasons to go with the 1911.

For one, there’s the heavy-duty steel frame. This leads to a heavier gun compared to modern polymer frame pistols, but it also leads to a sturdier one. This is advantageous for durability in general, but especially so when it comes to more powerful rounds, like .45 ACP and 10mm. 

Don’t get me wrong: polymer is plenty durable and has proven itself even on the battlefield (although, not in two World Wars… yet). But no matter how well-proven polymer might be, steel still feels stronger, and that mental salve is comforting when you’re blasting huge calibers.

Then there’s the accuracy. Sure, it varies from pistol to pistol, even within the 1911 family, but the 1911 design is pretty damn accurate and easy to keep that way with proper maintenance. And if you go with a match-grade pistol, that elevates the accuracy even more. 

Building on accuracy, the 1911’s trigger design is another huge source of appeal. It pulls straight back, rather than back and up like most other pistols. This makes it easier to keep your sights aligned while shooting, further helping with accuracy. 

That’s not to say that there aren’t other guns with great triggers. But even a bargain bin 1911 will give you pretty top-notch trigger performance compared to other pistols at the same price point. 

WHY 10MM?

Traditionally, 1911s are chambered in .45 ACP, though there are, of course, a bunch of different calibers of 1911s to choose from these days, 10mm included.

So why go with 10mm? 

To start with, people like 10mm because it’s powerful. But that’s usually in comparison to 9mm. 10mm is more powerful than .45 ACP, but only a little bit, and it also comes with a little bit more recoil. 

The big advantage of 10mm over .45 in most pistols is capacity. You can simply fit more 10mm rounds than .45 rounds in the same space; 10 mm pistols tend to have higher capacity. 

That said, a lot of 1911s, even in 10mm, tend to cap out at eight rounds anyway. You will sometimes get an extra round or two. 

For 1911s specifically, the main draw of 10mm is its versatility. While it’s most popular for self-defense, it can also be used for competition, range days, home defense, and for hunting medium to large game, including bear. 

The round’s popularity also means that there’s a pretty diverse selection of rounds out there, though you won’t find a ton of options in most brick-and-mortar stores. It will also be more expensive than other rounds, though it’s not usually that much pricier per round than .45 ACP. 

BEST 10MM 1911S

Ruger SR1911 Target

1911s are obviously classicly styled guns, but you do see some models where the manufacturer clearly tried to switch things up to give the gun a more modern feel. Not the case with the Ruger SR1911. 

Unfortunately, the original SR1911 is not available for 10mm, so we have to go with the SR1911 Target.

SR1911 10mm
SR1911 10mm

It’s got a slightly more modern feel, thanks to the adjustable target sights and black wood grain grips. However, it’s compatible with most standard 1911 parts and accessories, so you could definitely swap out the grips for some more classic ones if you’re so inclined. 

Regardless, it’s an all-around great gun. 

It has a 5-inch barrel and an 8+1 capacity. It also features an extended beavertail thumb safety, plus an ambidextrous thumb safety to provide you with the extra security we’ve come to expect from Ruger. 

The extended magazine release and oversized ejection port further enhance smooth and easy operation. 

Colt Delta Elite

The Delta Elite is another fairly traditionally 1911. 

It has a 5-inch barrel, an 8-round capacity, and a beavertail grip safety. It comes with white dot sights, which are a step up from the sights you’ll find on a lot of other 1911s, but not as nice as the fiber optic sights you’ll see on some others.  

Colt Delta Elite Rail
Colt Delta Elite Rail

The matte stainless steel finish looks great, but I’m not a huge fan of the grips. They’re not bad performance-wise. The ergonomics are solid and the aggressive texture helps you keep a secure hold despite 10mm’s recoil. 

I just think they’re ugly as hell. Fortunately, they’re super easy to swap out for a prettier option that better suits the rest of the gun. 

Like most 1911s, the Colt Delta Elite doesn’t have a rail by default, but there is a version with an under-barrel rail for those of you who want to be able to mount a weapon light or laser sight. 

Rock Island Rock Ultra FS 

If you’re on a more limited budget, the Rock Island Rock Ultra FS is a great choice. 

It’s a good pistol, but it’s still more than $400 cheaper than the next cheapest option on this list. It’s also gorgeous, as long as you’re not too much of a traditionalist. 

Another big advantage is the fiber optic sights, which are so much more visible than standard 1911 iron sights, allowing for faster, easier sight acquisition. 

Rock Island Rock Ultra FS
Rock Island Rock Ultra FS

The large magwell opening makes reloading a breeze and the smooth frame prevents snagging on your clothes or holster. The pistol’s G10 grips are slim and ergonomic with an aggressive texture, while the gun’s beavertail helps you keep a nice, high grip.

One disadvantage: the Rock Ultra FS has a 7+1 capacity, so you get one less round than you do with most other 10mm 1911s, including all the other options on this list. 

Kimber Eclipse Custom II

Kimber is known for their high-end firearms and especially their 1911s, so obviously, I had to include at least one Kimber on this list.

The Kimber Eclipse Custom II is a great 1911 with a very distinctive appearance. It has two-tone black and gray laminated grips with a diamond texture coupled with a brushed polish stainless steel frame and slide. 

Kimber Eclipse Custom II
Kimber Eclipse Custom II

The match-grade aluminum trigger comes with a factory setting between 4 and 5 pounds. The carbon fiber barrel is also match-grade with a left-hand 1:16 twist.

For safeties, you get both an extended thumb safety and a beavertail grip safety. 

All of this does come at a pretty high price point, but that’s generally to be expected when it comes to Kimber. 

Something to note, Kimber has long had issues with their coating and rust prevention. Make sure to take a close inspection of your Kimber before accepting the transfer at your LGS and keep an eye on it long-term. Rust can go from zero to big problem faster than you expect.

Dan Wesson Razorback RZ-10

We’re finishing up with a high-end 10mm 1911 option, the Dan Wesson Razorback RZ-10. This competition-grade pistol certainly doesn’t come cheap, but you get a lot for your money. 

The fixed sights are built for defense, but you’ll probably want an upgraded optic for competition if permitted. This versatile 1911 is also great for hunting. 

Dan Wesson Razorback RZ-10
Dan Wesson Razorback RZ-10

It’s also just a downright gorgeous, classic feeling 1911. The RZ-10 features a bright steel frame and slide, along with beautiful double-diamond cocobolo grips. It has a beavertail grip safety, as well as an extended manual safety. The square butt profile is very traditional. 

The trigger is not skeletonized, which is a little unusual for a modern 1911 but is more reminiscent of original 1911s. It’s also nicely serrated on the front, which helps keep your finger in lace.

The hammer, on the other hand, is skeletonized to help eliminate a bit of weight and for aesthetic reasons. 

LOOSE ROUNDS

If you’re looking to get even more oomph from a 1911, 10mm is a great way to do that, and all of the above recommendations are great choices for 10mm 1911s. 

I can’t say which one is best for you since everyone’s needs and wants are different, but by now, you should have the info you need to figure out which option is best for you. 

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