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.
BARREL: 6.3 inches
OA LENGTH: 9.7 inches
WEIGHT: 43.9 ounces (empty)
GRIP: Textured G10
SIGHTS: Adjustable 3-dot
FINISH: Bronze/matte black
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.
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 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.
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 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.