Colt’s Delta Elite 10mm, a longtime favorite amongst combat pistol…

Colt’s Delta Elite 10mm, a longtime favorite amongst combat pistol shooters, offers the power to hunt medium sized game with near .41 Mag ballistics in a legendary 1911 style pistol.

It was with a good bit of nostalgia that I put this pistol through its paces. Both the 10mm cartridge in general and 1911 pistols, particularly in this chambering, have been some of my favorites for years. There has been a 1911 pistol in 10mm in my collection for well over 10 years. Having grown very fond of the terminal ballistics of the cartridge, it was my favorite duty round for much of the latter years of my active law enforcement service.

After testing several pistols, the Colt Delta in one form or another always ended up in my holster. It was familiar, and despite their age the Delta Elites were always reliable, accurate, and comfortable to shoot—even with this round.

Colt maintains the characteristic markings on the slide, duplicating the design of the original.

Early on the 10mm was not all that popular in the mainstream, and many myths were floating around out there about the Delta Elite handguns. The idea that after a few rounds were fired the frames would crack was the most prevalent. Having put several thousand rounds of 10mm through several of these guns, I can confidently say that just never happened with me. Early on the choice in return springs was limited, but as new double springs, and even some of the one piece systems with graduated tension came out, that became a completely moot point. In most cases it was often someone putting a great deal of ammunition through the gun and never changing the springs out. Through several guns and tons of ammunition, that was never an issue for me.

Anyone familiar with this pistol will recognize the iconic Delta symbol in the rubber grips.

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  • Talonhead

    Great article, I bought my first 10mm in the mid 80’s.I love this caliber/cartridge! I have fed my pistols about every type and weight .40/10mm bullet that can be loaded, lots of fun to shoot.

  • I have been shooting the 10mm but one year less than The Shadow. This pistol, when properly sprung, has all of the versatility of the .357 S&W Magnum with greater bullet weight and power than the revolver cartridge. You can load the 10mm to the ballistic equivalent of the .40 S&W and the fired cases will fall neatly beside the shooter.

    The 10mm is THE best “woodswalking” auto pistol cartridge that fits in a “service sized” handgun, BAR NONE! A “full-steam” 200-grain JHP smoking out of a 5″ pistol barrel leaves @ 1200 fps and generates 638 fpe. If you can’t hunt dear with this cartridge at 75 yards, you should take up knitting!

    I LOVE my 10mm Auto handguns! (I should know, I currently own 4 autoloaders and one revolver chambered for the cartridge!

  • The_Shadow

    I have read the nice write up about the Colt Delta Elite, and am glad to see articles about the 10mm and the guns of that handle that cartridge. I have been a shooter, fan and handloader of the 10mm since early 1990, with the S&W1006 as my first 10mm handgun. The 10mm is one cartridge that has refused to fade away even with the birth of the 40S&W. Those who understand ballistic potential of this perfect 10mm cartridge hold a great respect for its ability from mild loadings to the full head of steam that can be had with the various bullet weights and construction. Thanks for sharing your information, informing people of your experiences with the Delta Elite and this overlooked cartridge of opertunity!
    The Shadow knows!

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  • General Jim M

    For top powered loads you should check out Doubletapammo and Buffalo Bore online.CorBon has good ammo but slightly less powerful than the other two.For hunting? Doubletap 200gr hardcast@ almost 1300FPS muzzle velocity.For shooting against bad guys in a vehicle try the 200 gr FMJ.