10mm is the Best Millimeter: the Colt Delta Elite

Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another video on Forgotten weapons comm I’m Ian McCollum And I’m here today at the Rock Island auction company taking a look at a Colt Delta elite a ten millimeter service Semi-automatic pistol, which means it must be totally awesome This was in fact only the second production ten millimeter pistol ever produced I mean not the second example done the second design It was introduced in 1987 and it followed closely on the heels of the infamous brand 10 The Bren 10 was a an idea largely backed by Colonel Jeff Cooper around a new firearms cartridge It was an evolution of what had been some various Wildcat experimental cartridges and the original concept here was to have a 200 grain bullet fired at about 1,200 feet per second ten millimeter, which is equivalent to 40 caliber the idea was this would be higher velocity than a 1911 and it would be overall a better service pistol day in the 1911 and Cooper got support for this Concept from Norma for ammunition and they and Dorn Ellis and Dixon company was set up to produce This conceptually ideal automatic pistol now. I have an entire video on the brand 10 So if you’re not familiar with it, you should definitely go check it out. The upshot is the Bren 10 was an ignomious failure however There was a lot of PR surrounding it and a lot of hype and this new cartridge was really the hot thing and a lot of people are very excited about it and Colt made a pretty slick decision at that time that When the Bren 10 was looking like maybe it wasn’t gonna do so well or perhaps even before that Colt decided to introduce a version of its model 18 1911 in ten millimeter automatic and that was the Colt Delta elite this basically follows the exact pattern of the 1911 service government model pistol has these distinctive grips that Red triangle was specifically the icon for the Delta elite pattern When these were initially introduced they were available in a couple different patterns The two common ones were the blued model like you see here, which had a de? Serial number prefix there also a stainless model which has a DES Prefix that allows you to distinguish them from blued guns that have been Nickel-plated for example, and then they also did a Gold Cup and a match version Those are much scarcer and we’re not gonna get into those today The frame is the same basic size as the 1911. They didn’t have to change that The magazine, however Does definitely look distinctive because it’s a 40 caliber Cartridge instead of a 45 caliber cartridge. The magazine width is set for 45. The cartridge is narrower So it has these rails or indents pressed into both sides To help control the the 10 millimeter cartridges keep them right in the center. So Magazine capacity is 9 rounds instead of 8 in 45 or possibly 7 depending on your mags But the magazines are pretty easily distinctive and of course they’re marked 10 millimeter We then also have a nice distinctive roll marking on the slide Delta Li 10 millimeter. They don’t want you to mistake that The controls are all very standard 1911 thumb safety slide release basic 3 dot sights Grip safety single action only button magazine release you don’t really need me to go over that This comes apart just like a standard Hank 11. The design is the same They’ve just changed the cartridge and that’s where the problem lies or the potential problem so they did have to make a couple of modifications to Well to accommodate this new hotter cartridge because 10 millimeter is no question about it more powerful than 45 ACP first off the recoil spring they replaced at the single recoil spring with a Double nested recoil spring so you can see the second one starts right there Goes to the end. There’s a little bit of a polymer buffer pad on the back of this and the idea there is This helps you control slide velocity This is gonna slow down the slide at the end of its cycling and slide velocity is the big issue For a conversion like this, you have to keep the slide slow enough that it’s not slamming into the frame at the end of travel Now 1911’s with high round counts, especially with full power ammunition do have a tendency to crack the frames This doesn’t happen a lot but it is one of those known things, you know You get a guy who comes in with tens of thousands of rounds through his gun And it’s not uncommon to find a crack having developed in the slide rail Right here and that happened on the Delta elites much more quickly than it would have on 45s because of the different cartridge So Colt solution pretty early in production was simply to cut out this section of the slide rail so normally on an early gun you would have this hole is kind of D shaped at the top and the slide rail is continuous there and This was simply a stress accumulation point so by cutting it out It’s actually a really effective way to avoid the problem. It kind of sounds like It sounds like the the cheap way to just like hide something and throw a band-aid on it Well, okay, it cracked there so well will this cut out that section and then it can’t crack there but in reality by removing that that stress accumulation point That’s a very practical way to do it and in fact going forward Delta or the rest of Colts 1911’s would also have this modification So this isn’t uncommon to see in general today in addition to its application on the Delta leads So what we have here is a gun that was fundamentally reliable and safe But it had a smaller margin of error than a 45 caliber 1911 and On top of that you have people who decided to really try and push the envelope in ways that most people didn’t with a 45 the the 10 millimeter auto has this absolute cult following and people who shoot it there’s a substantial subset of those people who want Who kind of like insist on having absolute atomic loaded 10 millimeter Auto? and so they’re pushing the envelope on bullet weight and velocity and they’re doing it in conjunction with a gun that has Less potential less margin of error for this sort of thing And then there are a couple other modifications that can also cause further problems For example, the hammer spring remember this is a single-action pistol So the first thing that has to happen when you fire is the slide has to move back and actually recaulk the hammer There’s a spring in there. There’s not a lot of leverage on this for the slide This takes a non-trivial amount of effort So if you are trying to make yourself a better target gun a more precise gun and You lighten the hammer spring to get a better trigger pole Well, you’re also going to be increasing slide velocity because you’re reducing the delay in the slide opening It’s gonna get going faster as a result by the time it cycles open and you’re gonna increase the wear on your gun and that’s going to result in things like cracked frame perhaps or simply broken parts a lot earlier in their lifespan than one would normally expect either for a stock Delta elite or for a 1911 in its original 45 So they’re in I think lies the problem. This is partly the gun but the gun in its stock form is fine with stock ammunition and Most of the ammunition on the market today is loaded a little bit lighter than that 200 at 1200 initial Specification for the round you’re much more likely to get things like 180 grain at 1100 Cartridges that are a little closer to 40 Smith & Wesson So if you want a gun more powerful than a 40 this is a decent option. This is a good option actually It’s a class ii gun It looks like a 1911 but it’s got an extra round of capacity and it is legitimately a 10 millimeter automatic pistol however If you want to go out and practice hand canyoneering and you know developing loads as hot as you can possibly handle in a pistol perhaps ten millimeter auto isn’t even the best solution for you and definitely a gun like this isn’t you can go get yourself something like in lar grizzly or a wildy or an Automag and use those To play around with loads that are really too hot for a gun that was designed more than a hundred years ago Well more than a hundred years ago now Colt decided to reintroduce the Delta elite in 2008 and the bait put them back into production in 2009 and they are still available today with a number of upgrades from this nothing really huge But things like a better beaver tail better sights. There’s some basic 1911 upgrades and so if you’re interested in a delta elite there’s that new pattern available and then there’s also Guns like this one that are good examples of the original production Series of the Delta Ely now if you’d like more information on this particular one You can take a look at rock island’s catalog page that has their pictures and their description their price estimates and so on You can find that yourself Or you can go to the link in the description text below Which will take you to Forgotten weapons comm from whence you can continue on to rock island’s. Hello. Thanks for watching You

100 thoughts on “10mm is the Best Millimeter: the Colt Delta Elite

  1. I run my 10mm with a load from Underwood that spits out 100 grain bullets at an advertised 1825 fps. This thing is nearing carbine levels of velocity out of a gun I carry on my hip. I love 10mm Auto lol.

  2. I hate to say this but this Colt 'me-too' model really wasn't great. The cartridge was designed for a very robust pistol like the Bren ten. People didn't want to Pay for that but wanted the cartridge. That's why it is now short loaded to .40 SW specs and even the 40 has been found to be junk! The FBI learned a few years ago, what I had realized a few before that. The 40 or 10 has too sharp of a flip to the weapon.
    It is better to shoot a 9 with modern ammo and stay on target constantly than to recover from the sharp flip of a 40 on every shot. Even a 45 has more of a push back than a sharp jump.
    It was a cool and great idea and basically needs to finish going away! Take Care, John

  3. I bought one of these when they first came out…stainless. worst galling problems I've EVER had with any firearm. used nothing but factory fodder and switched to the fancy stainless lube for the galling problems. still had problems. quietly sold it at a gun show .

  4. I like how Colt had to make a conversion before they bothered addressing an issue with 1911's that had been known for how long at that point, 70 years?

  5. My 11.43x23mm 1911 is the best millimeter. Bonus if you can guess what that caliber is and what kind of 1911s you'll find it on.

  6. The early Colt 10 MMS self destructed . A friend of mine shot factory loads and did properly clean and lubricate it but still had excessive slide and frame rail wear . Finally he only shot reduced reloads and it seemed to stop any more excessive wear .. He died . The gun was a cannon and shot real well … I want one but I have to wonder if the newest Colts are really built any better . ???‍♂️? ?.. Maybe a RIA 1911 would be a stronger frame ? Support the NRA & Vote TRUMP 2020

  7. You hit the nail on the head Ian almost every problem ive seen with 10mm auto was some dip shit shooting hot loads or light hammer spring I tell them all buy a dessert eagle

  8. 45acp guys disliked this video lol
    10mm is the master race and everybody knows it, but these guys are happy to feel the recoil of their 45s without the added performance.

  9. Funny how the FBI shootout transformed the firearms industry.

    Had that never happened we may have never seen the .40 S&W, 10mm, 357Sig and such.

    Police would probably still be carrying around wheelguns and 9mm Berettas had that never occurred.

  10. I love my DE. I have an original version built in 1989. The full power 10mm Auto cartridges are a handful even out of a full frame 1911.

  11. The newer 10mm 1911’s are better made, and mostly used for hunting as they are more commonly long slides or longer barreled. Like I’ve commonly heard here, most people don’t like these types of handguns because they don’t have the hands to shoot them. This is precisely why the .40 S&W was developed. The .40 is a shortened 10mm with a small pistol primer instead of a large pistol primer. Most people don’t have the hands or strength to effectively operate high power handguns. This is true of semi automatics and revolvers.

  12. I have one of the Rock Island / Armscor 10mm M1911s and I've put some full power loads through it. 216 gr bullet at 1246 fps (744 ft-lbs). Pretty stout pistol, I like it.

  13. Why not call it the Colt Delta Elite one centimeter?? I guess it's the same reason the cable companies talk in megabits, and not megabites.

  14. No thanks…give me a Beretta 92 or Taurus 92 copy anyday. They are flawless and reliable. For all the drama that comes with this 10mm, you can keep it.

  15. I had a double eagle, its sister gun. Only carry gun I ever had that failed. Thankfully it failed on the range.

    I traded it for a sw 66-1. Thing was overweight, clunky… and it failed to fire.

  16. The 45acp now, today has loads available of 185gr JHP AT 1200FPS I KNOW BECAUSE I CARRY IT OFTEN IN MY GLOCK 30s SLIM SLIDE. IT DEVELOPS 600ft lbs of energy.

  17. I’ve owned a “Combat Delta Elite” since around 1990. This version has a duo-tone finish. Unfortunately I installed a solid guide rod, flared mage well, ambi-safety, aftermarket mainspring housing, beaver tail grip safety, Pachmayer slide stop and aftermarket grip panels. I wish I had saved the take-off parts. Live and learn. I’ve probably sent in excess of 2,000 rounds down the tube over the years without issue.

  18. A friend of mine once blew a hole thru the bottom of a van when he racked the slide on his Delta Elite with his finger on the trigger. Oops.

  19. Drooled over these when they were initially released. I have to show serious restraint now not to go out and buy one. I still get that giddy feeling whenever I see one in the LGS.

  20. The delta elite was my first ever gun of my own …it was an airsoft one tho but i loved it big time i think it was made by marui it definitely stung when you got shot with it

  21. Oh Ian, if only you had left out the whole apologetic diatribe against real 10mm ammunition in defense of the blessed 1911 not being able to handle SAAMI spec ammunition, I would have had a lot more respect for this video. If it can't handle real 10mm of the 200 at 1200 original spec, then is it really a 10mm? No, it is not. It's also not the users fault for trying to use actual 10mm ammunition that meets SAAMI spec in a pistol labeled as 10mm. I can't believe you actually tried to fault users in that respect. Completely intellectually dishonest. If your pistol can't handle the ammunition that is stamped on the side of the gun, that is a whole separate set of ethical and legal issues, that are not in any way the fault of the user. You cannot change the cartridge design and specs to meet the deficiencies of the pistol design. There are SAAMI specs. That is the standard.

  22. The FBI after the Miami shootout asked Smith and Wesson the develop a 10mm handgun, the 1006. Which the FBI like but wanted a lighter load than the full power 10mm. Someone at Smith and Wesson realized that with less powder you could shorten the case to fit in a 9mm frame and have the same caliber at the same power in a 9mm size. The .40 caliber Smith and Wesson was born. I think this is the caliber Jeff Cooper was always looking for.

  23. Basically the 10mm is fatter casing smaller head but it's faster still say 45 but I only say that as welp 45 is not broke so why fix it

  24. Yes because 10mm makes sense such as 1cm which 1/8 of an inch or one quarter of an eight of an inch or inches overall doesn't…

  25. There's something so special to me about taking a standard gun and basically just increasing the caliber… And then calling it Elite? It's so COOL

  26. The 10mm is NOT equivalent to the 40 caliber more close to a 41 magnum ballisticly, the 40 is a cut down 10mm case

  27. I picked one up as soon as they hit the shelf. Plus one box of ammo they only had one type available Hot! I fired 10 rounds the nylon buffer split. Contacted the factory they didnt have any available. I was told 3 to 4 months out! I sold that big piece of scrap metal and never looked back! I stuck with my 1911. It will handle anything I feed it!

  28. The bottom line: this gun was an attempt to substitute a 35k psi cartridge for a 16k psi. Not a good plan, it’s the same as loading .357 loads in .38 cases. Yes, it’s certainly possible to load down, but why not just get a Glock 20?

  29. Can someone explain what makes 10mm so different from 45 acp and 40 S&W? Because to my non-pistol-owning eyes, they all look rather similar. Is it just the amount of powder you can get in it?

  30. Bought the pistol when they first came out and only ammo available at the time was Norma brand ammo and it was a hot load. Not uncommon to shoot a box of Norma ammo and all the primers were flattened. At the range shooting in your stall and when you lit off a few rounds it got everybody's attention. Regret selling it.

  31. That "better beavertail" thing is kind of subjective… People usually think a larger beavertail is a better one, but I had a fall one day and the beavertail was just in the right place where it broke a rib. I suspect that I would have preferred a much smaller beavertail on that day.

  32. I don't get it…. If you want to hand cannon but also want to do so in a 1911 platform, why not just go out and buy yourself a Coonan 357. Auto mag ?

  33. Be serious! Artillery accounts for more enemy casualties than any other offensive weapon. Consider you can’t have a artillery battery at you disposal, what ever you can utilize properly and effectively is the way to go what caliber is moot. The poachers of white tail deer choice for firearm is a 22 Mag.

  34. They don’t even have a ramped up barrel their still made same shitty problem having way as they did before, not even considering the piss poor quality they have now days, last fuckin gun I’d buy is the delta, you want a bad ass reliable, feeds any ammo sweet ass investment shooting 10mm???
    SIG SAUER P220 ELITE STAINLESS/ ROSEWOOD GRIPS 10MM! HANDS DOWN! Whether you like it or not do your research, P220 platform been around for longtime and is PROVEN!

  35. My first gun bought in April 1991 was this model DE. I upgraded to better sights, a beaver tail and S&A magwell/mainspring housing. 10's of thousands of 85% loads (think warm 40's) and I retired it. It has been a faithful and reliable companion for almost 30 years.

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