Loaded for Bear: Dan Wesson Bruin 10mm Long Slide – Full Review

The Dan Wesson Bruin is a brute of a long slide 10mm that delivers shooters a great hunting handgun.

CZ-USA’s Dan Wesson takes building 1911s seriously, and the long slide Bruin is one serious 1911. Serious in the fact that Dan Wesson chambers the Bruin in the bear-busting 10mm round. Love it or hate it, the 10mm round deserves respect. Both the chambering and the 6.3-inch barrel that Dan Wesson equips the Bruin with make it a great choice for hunting—especially with 10mm cartridges loaded to their full potential. Pigs, deer, and bear within close range will fall prey to the Bruin.

The $2,194 Bruin is a long slide version of Dan Wesson’s 1911 platform pistols. That slightly longer barrel not only ekes out extra velocity, it offers a longer sight radius than traditional Government-style 1911s, and it gives the pistol a little added heft. That extra weight helps make the recoil of the Bruin more tolerable. This Bruin came with a bronze-finished receiver and matte black slide and controls (it is also available in an all-black finish variant). The muzzle is chiseled back at an angle so the pistol is easier to holster and gives the pistol a rakish look. The mainspring housing’s base is also rounded and the back strap finely checkered. The front strap has the same fine checkering and the pistol’s G10 grips have plenty of texture without feeling like you are gripping a wood rasp.

Although also offered in an all-black version, the author had the chance to try out the bronze-color-frame variant of the 10mm pistol. Image courtesy of the manufacturer.

The Bruin has all the high-end features you would expect on a pistol like this, such as an extended beavertail grip safety.

SPECS

CHAMBERING: 10mm
BARREL: 6.3 inches
OA LENGTH: 9.7 inches
WEIGHT: 43.9 ounces (empty)
GRIP: Textured G10
SIGHTS: Adjustable 3-dot
ACTION: Single-action
FINISH: Bronze/matte black
CAPACITY: 8+1
MSRP: $2,194

Dan Wesson 1911s are well built and far from the maddening crowd of most other 1911 manufacturers. There is no wiggle between the slide and receiver and from working the action you would think the slide is rolling on ball bearings due to its smoothness.

The trigger itself is light—just shy of a four-pound pull—and crisp. Too light, I would debate, for a defensive handgun, but spot on for a hunting pistol. The trigger is long and slides to the rear smoothly and is mated up to a super lightweight hammer—a Dan Wesson light hammer. The thumb safety is also crisp and solid when flicked on or off. I hate mushy controls on a 1911 and the Bruin is the exact opposite. It exudes confidence.

The Bruin sports checkered G10 grip panels that offer enough grip for proper control without being too “rasplike.”

Talk to anyone who has worked on 10mm chambered pistols and they will tell you the 10mm does all it can to literally beat the pistol apart. Lots of pressure and recoil. In fact, 37,500 pounds per inch (psi) pressure for the 10mm compared to around 20,000 psi for the .45 ACP. Even the .38 Super is more of a pussy cat at 36,500 psi compared to the big 10. What I like about the Bruin is that Dan Wesson clearly thought about the cartridge, the pistol and the end user when designing the firearm. The texture on the G10 grips offers a good grasping point for the shooter. Touching off 10mm rounds means there is going to be some notable recoil, yet these G10 grips do not tear at your palms. The mainspring housing is rounded with no sharp edges, another potential pitfall from a strongly recoiling round. The controls also did not have any sharp edges that might otherwise ruin the shooting experience by inflicting cuts and bruises.

The top half of the Bruin also helps manage this beast. The long slide adds weight. Shoot a long slide alongside a full-size government model in the same chambering and you will feel the difference in perceived recoil between the two pistols. The recoil with the Bruin felt more like the recoil from a .45 ACP rather than a 10mm. I liked shooting the Bruin not only because it was accurate but because the recoil was very tolerable.

The rear sight is adjustable and features dual tritium vials.

The front sight is a combination tritium and fiber optic unit.

The long, solid trigger offered the shooter clean breaks at around 4 pounds.

The sights on the Bruin consist of a tritium and fiber optic front sight that is easy to pick out against a dark background. The fiber optic absorbs light and transfers it to the dot. The fully adjustable rear sight has two additional tritium dots, so connecting the dots—so to speak—is effortless. The rear lower face of the rear sight is serrated to reduce glare. The top of the slide is nicely machined with serrations along the length and it is finished in a matte black. The controls, save for the trigger, are also matte black and contrast nicely with the bronze receiver. The trigger is a matte silver. The Bruin is a stylish brute.

What I like about chiseled muzzle is that it not only looks cool but there is no need for special tools to disassemble the Bruin. I kind of like my 1911s old school when it comes to disassembly. I never have a paper clip like some 1911s require to field strip. Pulling the Bruin apart revealed a 20-pound recoil spring. Serrations on the slide are located fore and aft and are angled. Pinch-and-pull or hand-over-slide cocking methods make operating the Bruin easily.

The author tried out the Bruin with a range of 10mm loads, including the hot Sig Sauer 180 grain offering.

A lot of 10mm ammo available does not really live up to the 10mm’s true potential. Velocity is typically watered down to enable most shooters to handle the round. That started with an FBI requirement that requested their ammo supplier reduced the velocity of the 10mm cartridge so agents could manage the recoil and better hit their targets. That is why the .40 S&W was created, but that is another story.

The stainless steel magazines are well built and easy on the thumbs when loading. They feature witness holes and are equipped with a removable rubber bumper on the floor plate.

Ammo I had on hand consisted of Federal American Eagle 180-grain FMJs with a factory muzzle velocity of 1,000 fps, Armscor 180-grain FMJs at 1,008 fps, and the hotter SIG V-Crown loaded with a 180-grain JHP at 1,250 fps. If you have not already guessed, 180-grain ammo is the 10mm’s sweet spot. The SIG ammo is loaded hotter, more to the 10mm Auto’s potential than the Federal and Armscor and I could feel the difference in recoil. It was noticeable. Average accuracy across all ammo tested ranged from 1.7 to 2.8 inch for five shots at 25 yards. More than lethal for a hunting firearm. In fact, it was a pleasure to shoot the Bruin. Smooth recoil, crisp trigger, nice accuracy. This is a 10mm pistol that really performs.

The front strap has comfortable checkering designed to enhance your grasp without being uncomfortable.

The base of the mainspring housing is rounded at the bottom for enhanced handling and comfort.

The Dan Wesson Bruin is a bear of a pistol chambered in a bear-stopping caliber. If you are looking for a hard-hitting 1911 that can take down some serious game in the field (or just want a cool looking pistol to add to your collection), the Bruin from Dan Wesson certainly deserves a very close look.

For more information visit, http://cz-usa.com/product/dw-bruin/.

To purchase a Bruin on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=bruin.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • BOhio May 29, 2017, 12:40 pm

    “…far from the maddening crowd…” (sic) Correctly cited, it’s “madding crowd”.

    As to suggesting the 10mm is suitable for hunting, you’d be doing the sport better by suggesting a .44 Mag. As to accuracy, 2″ at 25y would translate to 4″+ at 100y, which would be totally unacceptable in the realm of hunting rifles, and you’re characterizing this DW pistol as a “hunting firearm”.

    • Dan May 29, 2017, 3:15 pm

      Being a bit harsh. Anyone using a handgun for hunting would not take a 100 yard shot without a scope and a rest and loooots of practice. Generall, most of us are looking to sneak up to 25 yards or so. In such a situation, things would be fine with a handgun having a 2″ range of uncertainty.

    • Blasted Cap May 29, 2017, 7:24 pm

      Let’s see, the vitals on a whitetail are about 8-10 inches soooooo that would be just about right. Besides my funniest hunt was watching a guy use a rifle he said shot 1/4″ groups at 100 completely miss a deer at 45.
      And since you want to be a Grammer Nazi, 2″ at 25 works out closer to 8″ at 100, not 4. Pick your panties out before you get them all in knot next time

  • William May 29, 2017, 12:18 pm

    Kimbers are over priced, but you can have two Kimber 1911 10mm, for $2200.00! Put 500 rounds through a Kimber, carefully cleaning after each 100 rounds and it will shoot as good, if not better than the Dan Wesson!

  • Dennis May 29, 2017, 11:59 am

    To much money. although it’s a nice looking wepon.

  • Jack D May 29, 2017, 11:02 am

    $2194?? That is a little pricey for my taste. I am sure it is a really really good gun but still. I got a Glock (yes a polymer) G20 for under $600 and I love it. There is hardly any recoil and it eats just about any 10mm round. For me this would be a safe queen.

    • Dan May 29, 2017, 3:09 pm

      I agree. I also have a glock 20 and I love it. My sons bought me a 6 inch barrel and it improves speed and accuracy. I have been interested in the dan wesson 10 mm after watching a bowhunter on TV that backs himself up with the DW 10mm (razor dobbs). He shot an elk with a dan wesson 10mm with the 6+” barrell, using a 220 grain slug I believe, and it went down rapidly. I originally got the gun so I could take it with me bowhunting for a bear backup, when it is legal. My glock is pretty doggone accurate for a fairly standard gun with the 180 grain loads.

  • Joe May 29, 2017, 7:29 am

    I’m impressed…But… A bear round ? Maybe your average two fifty pound black bear but not for a real coastal brown or interior grizz…

  • Bill Bronaugh May 29, 2017, 7:12 am

    I own a Valor in .45acp and a Silverback in 10mm. The 10mm is no more punishing than a 45. Granted you will feel a little more recoil with the King but it is only slight. I wish everybody would quit perpetuating the 10mm recoil myth. Its a superb round that deserves more use. Underwood ammo is some of the best to be had for the 10mm too so if you have one and are looking for premium ammo for it, check them out.
    Dan Wesson makes the best, THE BEST, production 1911 on the market today, bar none.

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