Military Wiki
Delta Elite
Colt Delta Elite pistol.jpg
Colt Delta Elite
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service Various Sheriffs and Law Enforcement on the United States border
Production history
Designer Colt's Manufacturing Company based on a John Browning design
Designed 1987
Number built Unknown
Variants Blued, Stainless, Enhanced, 10/40, Bright Stainless
Weight 2.437 lb (1,105 g) empty, w/ magazine
Length 8.25 in (210 mm)
Barrel length 5.03 in (127 mm)

Cartridge 10mm Auto
Action Single action, Short recoil operated
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Muzzle velocity Approximately 405 m/s (1330 ft/s)
Effective range 40 m (sight set), 70 m (max. effective)
Feed system 8+1 detachable-box magazine
Sights Fixed iron

The Colt Delta Elite is a modified M1911 pistol, Series 80 configuration, chambered for the 10mm Auto. It is similar to the M1911 in design and operation. Colt manufactured both stainless steel and blued versions with eight-round magazines. A Delta Gold Cup model was also offered for target competition. The stainless steel Government Model version has recently been reintroduced.

It is also credited as being the first weapon since the ill-fated Bren Ten that sparked a genuine interest in the 10mm round. The 10mm round has had a resurgence with outdoorsmen and as a defense round. Colt has announced the re-introduction of the Delta Elite at the 2008 SHOT Show. This new generation is generally similar to the previous version. The "new" Delta Elites will be manufactured with the traditional barrel/bushing arrangement. Colt Customer Service stated they had a lack of acceptable accuracy problem with the "bull" bushingless barrel setup. That was the cause of the delay in the Delta Elite's production schedule. The new Delta Elite pistol was released March 31, 2009.


The Delta Elite is a standard M1911 design, with a few minor differences from the latest Series 80 derivative of that pistol. It carries the rowel "Commander" type hammer of that pistol and the same overall features of the 1911 that have made it so popular with users. However, the Delta Elite carries a stiffer double recoil spring to handle the increased recoil of the 10mm round. Unlike the .400 Corbon, the 10mm can easily exceed the pressure levels of the .357 Magnum, thus stressing the original design's limitations, unless care is given. Many gunsmiths have their own modifications which they feel adjust the level of felt recoil of the Delta Elite. Some of the very first Delta Elites had a tendency to suffer flex-induced slide rail stress cracks. This was quickly addressed by removing the section of the rail above the slide-stop cutout.

Original design before improvement to allow flexing.

Metal removed to allow the frame to flex.

A Delta Elite on display at the National Firearms Museum. Police issue from Hartford, CT.


  • Variant 1 Blued — a standard blued Delta Elite
  • Variant 1 Stainless — a standard stainless Delta Elite, featuring pebbled texture wrap-around grips and a solid silver aluminum trigger
  • Variant 2 — Colt Gold Cup Ten Delta Elite
  • Variant 3 — Colt Match 10. The Gold Cup versions were not available at the time, so this was the most advanced 'Gold Cup' type available. The adjustable Millet style sight allows it to be centered for decent groups at 25 yards. According to Colt, approximately 400 were manufactured in 1988.
  • Variant 4 — spur hammer with black grips
  • Special variant — Colt Elite Ten Forty — the Colt Elite Ten/Forty was a special edition for Lew Horton Co. in the early 1990s. This edition is a special dual caliber offering of the Combat Elite semi-automatic pistol. The pistol is furnished in .40 S&W and includes a 10mm Auto conversion kit consisting of a barrel slide stop, two recoil springs and guide, and a stainless steel 10mm magazine. In addition, each pistol is specially roll-marked "ELITE TEN/FORTY" on the left side of the slide and features a flat mainspring housing. This edition consists of approximately 411 units and utilizes a special serial number prefix 1040E.
  • New variation — reintroduced in 2009 with diamond texture wrap-around grips. Updated recoil spring and guide rod.

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See also

  • Bren Ten, the first pistol chambered for 10mm Auto
  • Glock 20, another relatively successful pistol chambered for 10mm Auto
  • M1911 pistol, the design from which the Delta Elite was created
  • Kimber Eclipse, another 1911-style handgun chambered in 10mm Auto
  • Dan Wesson Pointman, another 1911-style handgun chambered in 10mm Auto
  • Tanfoglio Force, a popular Italian-made clone of the CZ-75 chambered in 10mm Auto

External links

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