In this review, the author takes a closer look at the Tisas D10, a 10mm Auto 1911 pistol imported out of Turkey.
The 10mm automatic (auto) pistol cartridge has always had a special allure to those looking to deliver as much power on target as possible … from a concealable pistol. It’s also considered one of the best handgun hunting cartridges suitable for a conventionally sized auto-pistol. And the cartridge is indeed powerful: It can generate muzzle velocities exceeding 1,700 fps, with muzzle energies as high as 800 foot-pounds.
Of course, as Newton told us, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When put into language the average hillbilly can understand, it means 10mm handguns have a lot of recoil. In fact, with the hottest loads, they’ll recoil with more than twice the force of a 9mm and as much as 30 percent harder than a .45 auto with +P ammunition.
The cartridge was originally designed for the Bren Ten pistol, and both the cartridge and pistol were influenced by gun writer Jeff Cooper. But the Bren Ten and the birth of the 10mm are old news—40 years old, to be exact.
Since then, the popularity of the 10mm has seen ups and downs. For a time, it was even chambered in an issue service pistol by the FBI. However, with the introduction of the 10mm Lite—.40 S&W—interest in the 10mm auto waned. While it remained popular with hunters, it did not get a lot of attention for concealed carry.
Interestingly, when the FBI decided to ditch their .40s and return to the 9mm, the 10mm started to once again garner interest. All this means that, today, there’s a wider selection of 10mm auto handguns and 10mm auto ammunition than ever before. In defiance of its excessive recoil, it’s safe to say the 10mm auto cartridge is now more popular than ever.
One Special 10mm
Tisas firearms are imported from Turkey into the United States by a company in Knoxville, Tennessee. For the past several years, Tisas has been shipping a lot of 1911s to America, and they’re selling very well and have become popular because they’re accurate, reliable and affordable. I have several Tisas 1911s chambered for the 9mm and the .45 Auto, and for the past couple months, I’ve been testing a new Tisas 1911 called the D10.
This Tisas D10 is a 5-inch 1911 built on a forged stainless-steel frame with a matte stainless finish. The frame’s front strap and mainspring housing are checkered at 25 lines per inch, but this isn’t sharp checkering that’ll chew skin; it’s just aggressive enough to help you hold onto the pistol.
At the frame’s junction to the lower part of the trigger guard it has been relieved for the middle finger to help provide a more comfortable grip. However, the attractive gray/black G10 grip panels have a flat bottom like you’d want if you were installing a magazine well. Depending on hand size, the bottom edge of these grips can dig into your palm a bit. I’m not sure why Tisas didn’t use standard beveled-edge 1911 grips.
The slide is also forged, but it has a black Cerakote finish, and its most notable feature is its fully adjustable target sight. I think an adjustable sight makes sense if you’re hunting, but for concealed carry it’s not that important. Additionally, it also has a sharp front edge that could have been radiused to prevent discomfort when manually cycling the slide. The front sight is a serrated black post—but very surprisingly, the dovetail base of this sight has been contoured to match the radius of the slide. This is a treatment usually only seen on high-end 1911s.
The slide, which houses the 5-inch ramped barrel, also has wide grasping grooves—11 on the rear and eight on the front—to aid with manual operation. Though I think front grasping grooves look cool, I have no use for them and prefer a slide with a slick front. Aesthetically, the pistol is attractive, and on its right side there are no markings.
On the left side, however, there’s a large Roman numeral X denoting the model of the pistol. Also, at the rear of the slide, behind the rear grasping groves, there’s an etched Tisas Eagle. It’s also important to note that this is a series 70-style 1911; there’s no firing pin block in the slide.
The D10’s good looks are enhanced by the contrasting black Cerakoted controls. The skeletonized trigger, slide lock, grip safety, hammer, magazine release and manual safety are all black. My only other complaint with the D10 is with two of these controls and the bottom edge of the slide. Tisas took the pains to inset the frame pin for the takedown lever on the right side of the frame—another treatment generally reserved for high-end 1911s—but they didn’t radius the edges on the slide, slide stop or ambidextrous safety. Understandably, the intent was to make this gun affordable, and it is. However, I believe many would happily pay a bit extra for that little extra attention.
On the Range
In total, I fired 350 rounds out of this pistol, which consisted of a least one box of every load listed in the accompanying chart. This wasn’t a torture test, which I think is a silly undertaking when you only have one sample to work with. If one part breaks or something doesn’t work on the gun you’re testing, that doesn’t mean that all similar guns are poorly made. To establish the true durability of a firearm design, you’d need to test multiple samples and then compare results. This was a test to evaluate the reliability, shootability and precision potential of the pistol … and those three factors make a good focus for this report.
I experienced zero malfunctions or stoppages with this pistol; there were no failures to feed, failures to fire or failures to eject, with any of the loads tested. That’s quite impressive considering bullet weights with the test ammo ranged from 115 to 220 grains. Similarly, these loads exhibited a wide range in velocity, from a low of 1,121 fps to a high of 1,780 fps. All the loads were tested from both of the 8-round magazines that come with the pistol.
With most loads, the recoil was stout, and I’ve already mentioned there are a few sharp edges on the handgun. But out of the box, the pistol shot to point-of-aim. I liked the thick, 0.126-inch-wide front sight and the large and serrated rear sight blade. However, I would’ve liked a bit wider notch in the rear sight to provide some more light on the sides of the front sight. This would help with sight acquisition during speed engagements or when hunting in low-light conditions.
As with every defensive-style handgun I test, I ran the D10 through the Forty-Five Drill—five shots at 5 yards at a 5-inch target from the holster—using the Federal 200-grain HST load. My average time for five runs was 3.98 seconds, which is about a half-second slower than my times with similar-sized .45 auto running +P ammo.
In terms of feel, the trigger was exceptional. Even though my trigger scale listed it at 5 pounds, when pulling it I would have sworn it was closer to three. The hammer release felt as good or better than that on any of the non-custom 1911s I’ve recently tested.
This pistol also impressed me with the level of precision it delivered on target. I tested all 10 loads from a sandbag rest at 10 yards, and not a single group measured larger than 2 inches—most came in under 1.5 inches, and a few broke the 1-inch mark. Just for fun, I also took some 100-yard shots from the offhand standing position at a steel torso target at 100 yards, hitting the target way more than I missed it. In short, this pistol has all the precision you’ll need for self-defense or hunting.
My nitpicking might mean very little to you; admittedly, I’m a bit of a 1911 snob. But my job is to nit-pick. Even with the things I didn’t like about the D10, at its suggested price of $799.99, this is unquestionably a fantastic pistol. A competent gunsmith can radius the sharp edges that offended me … and even slightly open the notch in the rear sight for just a couple hundred bucks. And of course, you could replace the grips with some that have a tapered bottom for a lot less than that. Alternatively, if you add a magwell, that stock grips will fit perfectly.
Going forward, Tisas would be wise to offer this pistol with a set of fixed, high-profile combat sights, along with a slide cut to accept a miniature reflex sight. I’m not convinced a reflex sight is the best option for personal protection, but for a hunting handgun it’s far superior to open sights of any type.
Regardless, it’s clear Tisas has a winner with their D10. Any way you look at it, it’s a lot of gun for the money. And, in today’s world, that means a hell of a lot.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
More 10mm Pistols:
- A Perfect 10: Top 10mm Pistol Options
- The Top Affordable 10mm 1911 Options
- The S&W 10mm M&P 2.0
- The Sig P220 Legion SAO In 10mm Auto
- Glock 10mm: The Caliber's Stalwart Option
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look at the iver johnson 10mm it has 6″ bbl. i still like this one;5 ” bbl if fine.
I want a 6″ barrel, please…!