Review: SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion 10mm

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Reviews

The 10mm cartridge seems to be enjoying a revival. This powerful and accurate cartridge has enjoyed a small but loyal following since its introduction, and there are many reasons this handgun and cartridge combination are enjoying a new appreciation. As the late Jeff Cooper remarked, the 10mm will do things at 50 yards the .45 ACP cannot.

Chrome revolver top and SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion bottom

The SIG Scorpion offers Magnum power in a self-loader. It is flatter and holds more cartridges than the revolver.

The 10mm offers excellent penetration and is suitable for taking deer and boar-sized game to 50 yards. The 10mm handgun comes as close to a go-anywhere do-anything handgun as we are likely to find. A wider than ever selection of loads and handguns makes for a versatile choice.

For most of the 10mm’s lifetime, the majority of handguns chambered in 10mm have been 1911 handguns. These include the Colt Delta Elite, Ruger SR1911, and the Rock Island 10mm. The double-action first-shot Smith and Wesson 1076 pistol was once the standard issue of the FBI. The Glock Model 20 is the most popular 10mm of all time.

I have regarded the 10mm as a handgun for field use and for protection against the big cats and feral dogs. The 10mm, based on its recoil and power, is more of a field gun than a carry gun—although I often carry a steel frame .45. A new 10mm handgun now rides with me and it is arguably the most accurate handgun in this caliber I have yet tested. Superior features make it a useful home defense handgun as well.

SIG Emperor Scorpion

The SIG Scorpion treatment has been given to several handguns in the SIG lineup. The Emperor Scorpion features the special finish normally associated with the Scorpion and special high tech G10 grips as well. The pistol features the steel slide of the SIG P220 but features a steel frame rather than the standard aluminum frame of the P series handguns. This results in excellent balance and good control.

Several boxes of 10mm ammunition

These are just a few of the loads fired in the SIG 10mm pistol. It was reliable and accurate with all loads.

There has been considerable modification of the grip frame to accommodate the 10mm cartridge. The result is, in my opinion, one of the most comfortable SIG P series grip frames. The G10 grip provides excellent adhesion and abrasion when firing. The pistol is a double-action first-shot handgun with a well-placed decocker for safely lowering the hammer from full cock.

The double-action trigger is the SERT or short reset trigger. This trigger allows a shorter stroke and faster reset than the original P220 trigger. The magazine latch, slide release, and easy take down of the P220 are retained in this handgun. The slide is longer than the .45 ACP P220 handgun in order to accommodate the 5-inch barrel. The heavy-duty recoil spring keept the 10mm cartridge under control.

Lockup was tight, and the fit and finish were excellent. While we usually think of SIG handguns as personal defense and service handguns, the Emperor Scorpion is well suited to outdoors duty from hunting thin-skinned game to protecting the user against dangerous animals.

The SIG 10mm is also intended for personal defense as it features well designed self-luminous iron sights. The steady green glow of tritium night sights is comforting on the belt, beside the bed, or around the campfire. The SIG 10mm also features an integral light rail for mounting combat lights.

I am a believer in using enough gun for game and defense use. The SIG 10mm pistol will make a particularly effective home defender. The weight doesn’t matter in home defense, and the balance and recoil control make for an easy handling 10mm handgun. As an example, the first loads I fired in the Emperor Scorpion were the SIG Elite 180-grain FMJ.

Breaking at almost 1,200 fps, felt recoil was no more of a problem than the standard .45 ACP. Recoil was straight back and the trigger reset was excellent. The extra weight of the steel frame and long slide really made a difference.

Light rail on the frame of the SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion pistol

The Emperor Scorpion 10mm is supplied with a modern light rail.

I also fired the SIG Sauer Elite 10mm 180-grain JHP. At just over 1,200 fps, this is a full-power load with plenty of power and good expansion. It is the single most accurate loading I have yet fired in the SIG 10mm handgun. This combination of an affordable practice load and a premium V Crown hollow point load would be all you need for practice and personal defense.

Another load I deploy often, and one with an excellent reputation, is the Winchester Silvertip. This 175-grain hollow point offers good power and excellent expansion. It feeds flawlessly in every 10mm handgun I have used. The Silvertip looks right and it is accurate enough for any chore. Federal Cartridge Company offers two loads that underline the versatility of the 10mm cartridge. The 180-grain Hydra-Shok is a mid-range load.

At 1,060 fps, it is stronger than the .40 Smith and Wesson but loaded down from the 10mm standard for good control. This would be an ideal carry load as expansion is excellent and control good—yet it meets FBI criteria for barrier penetration. Federal also offers a bonded-core loading at a strong 1,280 fps. This would be a great load for boar and deer-sized game. Penetration is on the long end and accuracy excellent.

As you might imagine, I have enjoyed testing loads for this handgun. Recoil isn’t discouraging, and accuracy is always interesting. I have tested several full-power loads from Double Tap Ammunition. A maximum effort loading is the 135-grain JHP at a strong 1,555 fps. That is real power and rapid fragmentation. If you can control this load, it is an excellent choice for home defense.

controls on the SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion

The SIG’s decocker and slide lock are well placed for rapid manipulation.

The 200-grain hard cast bullet load at over 1,200 fps would be a good load for game animals but also well suited to defense against those with teeth and claws. A defense load I find controllable, and very interesting, is the 230-grain 10mm Equalizer. This is a 135-grain hollow point over a 95-grain lead ball. Loaded to 1,000 fps, the two bullets strike side by side at 10 yards. This load would be my first choice among the Double Tap loads for home defense. Two projectiles landing simultaneously offer a lot of shock, and that is a lot of weight. Penetration was good and function flawless.

I like the SIG Emperor Scorpion a great deal. I have carried a 1911 for decades and prefer the steel frame .45 for personal defense and home defense. However, I am not blind to other—or even superior options. I was able to fire the SIG 10mm more accurately than any 10mm 1911 I have owned. The long DA first shot is smooth, and I am able to make adequate combat groups; the single-action 1911 10mm is faster to a first shot hit. But for control after the first shot and absolute accuracy, the SIG 10mm beats the other 10mm handguns I have fired, including the EAA Witness and Glock 20 to the Colt Delta Elite.

In firing from a solid benchrest, I have fired a number of 5-shot groups at 25 yards of 1 to 1.5 inches—as well as I am able to fire any handgun. The SIG Emperor Scorpion is arguably among the two or three finest heavy-duty self-loading handguns on the planet. Based on power, accuracy, and reliability, this is a handgun that will not let you down.

Those who are a fan of the 10mm are normally more than just a bit passionate, so let’s hear from the 10mm and SIG fans to get your review of the Emperor Scorpion. Sound off in the comment section.

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Comments (31)

  • Michael Murphy

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    No mention of capacity either… Sig has been offering a 10mm in Kryptek Hylander for several years. No mention of how that pistol differs from the Scorpion. Sig also offers the P220 Legion in 10mm with a measly 8 round capacity.

    As an owner of a Colt Delta Elite and an STI Nitro 10 Tactical (14 round capacity). I’ve been considering the EAA Limited Custom 10mm with an 18 round capacity.

    I’ve never understood why people favor the skinny single stacks when you can double your capacity with a wide body .45 ACP or 10mm? It’s not as if a few extra ounces and a 1/4″ more thickness prints and carries with much more difficulty.

    Reply

    • Nathan

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      That would depend on your hand size. I can shoot double stacks ok, but my hand is too small to handle them well.

      Reply

    • Pete in Alaska

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      Micheal, I agree with your primes as it impacts capacity. The double stack is by far a better choice when extended capacity is needed. Just saying that there are some folks who’s hands just can’t comfortably handle the extra weight and 1/4” of thickness.

      Reply

  • Billca

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    Much of the current crop of 10mm ammo seems to be only marginally more powerful than .40 S&W. As I recall, the original spec was a 200 grain bullet with 1200 fps at the muzzle. But much of the 10mm fodder I’ve checked keeps the 180 grain slug around 1100 fps. Choose your ammo carefully.

    As for me, I’ve been shooting a 210-220 grain bullet at 1300 fps or faster since around 1977. That’s when I bought my first .41 Magnum. It’s stout enough to take most game at handgun distances. Loaded down to 900-1000 fps for defense it’s easy to handle.

    Reply

  • Lonnie Miller

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    I’ve got a S&W 10mm model 1066 and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’ve been offered a lot of money for it and I don’t think there’s enough money to make me sale it. It’s accurate and fits my hands just right. It’s also has the same recoil as my S&W 45 and about the same size. I love this gun.

    Reply

  • Michael

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    The Sig website shows no product listing for the 1911 Emperor Scorpion in 10mm.

    When is this scheduled for public release?

    Reply

  • Jack D.

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    I have the Glock 20 and it is a fantastic gun. There is hardly any recoil, smooth and fun. The price is reasonable too. The gen 4 comes with 3 magazines so that is plenty of ammo to carry with you. While I love the Sig Sauer brand, for daily utility carry Glock it is.

    Reply

  • fair

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    I stopped reading after the word “decocker.”

    Reply

    • Rennie

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      Why?

      Reply

    • fair

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      Guns are mechanical devices. Mechanical devices fail on occasion. Humans fail often. I don’t like decockers. They are for fools and the irresponsible who live dangerously and foolishly, by carrying a round in the chamber. Can anyone say “unintentional discharge?” Besides too many moving parts.

      Reply

    • Norm Morris

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      LOL! You mean like the “fools” who correctly carry a 1911 cocked and locked? I’ve carried Sigs and Walthers for 30 years, and never had a decocker “fail.” Beats the heck out of pulling the trigger with your thumb on the hammer to lower it.

      Reply

    • fair

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      Most owner’s manual I’ve seen say emphatically, NEVER carry with a round in the chamber. Disregard that safety instruction, and have an unintentional discharge with injuries. The injured will have your bacon, and everything else you own. The liability is NOT worth the risk for me. Better to train for situational awareness, and be aware of the dangers around you.

      Reply

  • Big Al

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    Now that I have read about this SIG Scorpion, looks like I will be adding a 10mm to my pistol collection. The best of both worlds, the powerful 10mm and the built like a tank SIG, what could be better?

    Reply

  • Colin M

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    I own this gun and agree with basically everything you have said. I shoot better with this pistol than every other I own including my Ruger 1911.

    I’m curious though, as Sig now offers the Legion model in 10mm, how you would rank the two? Would you carry the legion instead?

    Reply

  • Norm Morris

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    I’ve always enjoyed your articles, they are well written and informative. I’m in the market for a 10mm, don’t want another 1911 style pistol, and want a steel grip frame. I was going to go with the EAA Witness, but this article piqued my interest. But no mention of MSRP, street price, accessories that come with the pistol? Please! How can you leave that out?

    I’m guessing then it’s probably twice what the Witness costs? EAA makes a Witness and Witness Elite Match in 10, and in a May 2017 article, the standard EAA matched Dan Wesson and Kimber 1911’s in accuracy overall, beating the Kimber in some loads, was softer shooting, had higher capacity, and cost just over 30% of the Wesson and about 60% of the Kimber.

    You are the first reviewer I’ve read to compare the EAA to the Sig Scorpion, and favor the latter, and that’s valuable info. I think having the price comparison info should be part of any review. Thanks.

    Reply

  • Ringolevio

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    Any mention of Col. Cooper (one of my personal heroes and role models) gets my attention, as does your use of the phrase “Use enough gun”. Robert Ruark, a columnist, novelist (“Something of Value”, about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya) and big-game hunter (some say he patterned himself after Hemingway, but he wasn’t an imitator), wrote several books about hunting; one was titled “Use Enough Gun”.

    Reply

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