Review: SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion 10mm

Chrome revolver top and SIG Sauer Emperor Scorpion bottom

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.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (35)

  1. Ballistics by the inch ( fired a selection of 10mm ammo from various barrel lengths and posted the results. It seems most 10mm loads are more or less optimized for about a 12-14″ barrel. Likely that’s due to using a faster pistol powder. Some finagling with handloads and a slower powder could change that.

    I have a .41 Magnum Marlin lever gun that will push a 210 grain Speer Gold Dot over 1700 fps. And it’s not unpleasant to shoot at all. That’s why I’d like to see a light 10mm carbine that could take a 15-30 round magazine. As long as it worked and was accurate it’d be a handy ranch rifle for most larger predators and a great little camp rifle. Hello, Ruger? Are you listening?

  2. I’d still like to see a good, lightweight 10mm carbine with a 16.25″ barrel. Something along the lines of the .30 M1 Carbine, on steroids. You should be able to push a 180 grain pill over 1500 fps easily.

    1. Now THAT would be something special! Probably would get closer to 1800 fps out of a 16.25″ barrel. The original 10mm Norma 170 grain JHP load got 1400 fps out of a 5″ tube – I know, I’ve shot a lot of it – while the original 10mm Norma 200 grain JTC load hit 1200 fps. An awesome round that would be even more awesome out of 16.25 barrel carbine. Gun manufacturers are you listening?

  3. The 10mm and the .40 S&W have their uses. I look at the .40 as a 10mm special, sort of like .44Mag and .44 Special. The 10mm had a few problems in the beginning due to not having strong enough actions in one or two designs, but Glock proved that it could be made in polymer frames and work well. That Scorpion model you tested looks good, and I would probably consider it if I didn’t already have my Glock. I am not truly a fan of Glock and I think it feels funny in my hand, but every model of Glock that I have tried gives good accuracy and excellent reliability. Should there be an opportunity for another 10mm to sneak into the gun safe without the descendant of Swiss bankers who I am married to finding out, I think this article has shown me which one it should be.

  4. Bravo Pete in Alaska! Like you, I started with the Browning Hi-Power many moons ago (eventually carrying it as my off-duty piece). On duty I carried a Colt 1911 in .45 ACP, which saw some use. I have a few 10mm’s (Colt Delta Elite, a Ruger revolver, and others), and have fired several, but when I was lucky enough to get a Bren Ten 10mm Auto there was no looking back – by far the best pistol ever, in every regard (and I have owned and/or fired many). The Special Forces is my favorite Bren Ten. Heard they may be made again. If so, and if the same as the original, all other 10mm’s will pale by comparison.

  5. In the years I’ve spent knocking around the world I’ve carried a number of platforms. I settled early on a Browning Hi-Power early on, which I still have and use as a backup today. My primaries have come down to the full frame Baby Desert Eagle in .45 APC an the Bren 10 in 10mm. If the Baby Desert Eagle was produced in 10mm I’d be carrying that. I can only imagine the increase in accuracy of the 10mm in the DE rifleing.
    I was able to get a Bren 10 in 1984 and never looked back. I also have a Delta Elite also but the Bren is my EDC. I never understood why it wasn’t considered a favorable caliber. I have always found it to be quite like the .41 Magnum another caliber in performance that I also enjoy. If handled properly and firmly it’s quite comfortable. The 10mm Short or what has become known as the .40 SW is the evolution from the 10mm to tame it down and yet keep the best of its specifications and performance, a makeover that was highly successful. Have several platforms in .40 but of them all my Baby Desert Eagle Compact is head and shoulders above the others.

  6. And owner’s manuals aren’t printed until the manufacturer’s lawyer reviews their contents either. Every. Single. Line. So certainly they don’t recommend carrying with a round in the chamber. Now, go talk to instructors who have years of police or military experience and ask them how you should carry your pistol.

  7. @fair, You’re entitled to your opinion, but I think it’s a bit myopic to claim those who carry with a round in the chamber are fools. I carried that way for years (and still do) with nary an incident. Do you apply this same philosophy to revolvers too? Should we all be carrying them with an empty chamber under the hammer?

    If you carry in condition 3 (empty chamber) I wonder how you’ll be able to engage an assailant if your off-hand is occupied by holding a child or holding you from falling over.

    1. By Fairs illogic you shouldn’t carry a gun at all; after all, it’s a mechanical object that might fail. I like my guns without cylinders, slides, external safeties, extractors, ejectors, recoil springs, slide stops, triggers, trigger return springs, magazines, disconnectors, and firing pins. All those things could fail, then where would you be? Better off with a rock in your hip pocket I say! 😉

      Everyone has an opinion, but I like to rely on real world experience, and I’d like to see _any_ reports of decockers “failing” and causing an accidental discharge.

      On the other hand, there have been hundreds of examples of AD’s by people trying to lower the hammer with their thumb on a loaded pistol or revolver. The frame mounted decocker was designed to solve that problem.

      The only way Fairs “opinion” works is if you never load the pistol.

  8. “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.”

    I don’t care for decockers either, but I happen to think it’s living dangerously to NOT carry a round in the chamber.

  9. Star Megastar in 10mm
    Two machined slabs of steel (upper and lower) that tamed the 10mm to a 9mm recoil.
    Trigger wasn’t anything to brag about. Once you got used to it, the Megastar was sweet.

    1. I have to agree with you Mark! Once you had a couple of thousand rounds down range the trigger gets pretty nice in single action and smooths out in double with about a 9.8 oz pull in double and 4.2 in single in the 10 mm the .45 is also close to the same. I have 2 Megastars. The .45 ACP (12+1) and the 10mm (14+1). These have always been two of my favorite pistols I own. They are heavy (49oz’s I think unloaded) and built like tanks. I bought them in 1992 and have loved them both. They are almost as big as the Desert Eagle but are easy to handle and seem to fall right back on target.
      I personally think the Megastar or as it was officially designated by Star as the model 50 was the best 10 mm ever built period. I have shot at least 15,000 rounds through both with nothing more than spring replacement which is now a custom order as parts are no longer available.
      If you want a 10mm to hunt with or what ever try to find one. They run around $500 on the used market but I think this is going to rise soon.
      This was the gun that started the 10 mm craze for me that has never ended and no other pistol has ever exceeded. I will have to try the Sig as I have a 220 a couple of 226’s and a 228 and am a Sig fan boy.
      Can’t wait. I just hope it lives up to its companies reputation. Just wish is was offered in the standard black. I don’t need tacticool just function.

  10. I’ve loved the 10mm cartridge ever since I got my S&W 1006 many years ago. I always enjoy reading about new guns in 10mm and this one looks like a really good one.

    Thanks for reminding me that the 10mm is not dead yet.

  11. There is a reason why the 10mm is, (not ”seems to be”), enjoying a resurgence. It is accurate, hits hard, and is no more difficult to shoot than a .45ACP. My wife shoots a Kimber Eclipse in 10 mm, and has no trouble with it. My personal favorite is a Glock 20, with a KKM extended barrel and a reflex red dot sight. With a full load of Blue Dot under a 200 grain Nosler HP, it will shoot ragged hole groups at 7 yards from rest. The last time out, it produced a 10-shot group that could be covered by a quarter. This pistol comes in at just over $1000, including the red dot, most likely much cheaper than anything else in its’ class, and it does not have that awful double/single trigger found in some other pistols. Every trigger pull is the same. When I hunt brown bear in Alaska, the gun will be in a holster on my chest. Best regards.

    1. Boggman,
      I have never been a fan of the Glock as they are very uncomfortable in my hand. Perhaps by Gen 18 or 19 model 107 they will correct this ergonomic imperfection for me!
      Your choice of bullet for the 10mm is what I once reloaded for mine.
      How many grains of powder and what kind do you use?

  12. I could not find this model on the Sig website. The only full-size 10mm are the1911 clone or the P220 Hunter which is a SA trigger. The Scorpion models listed are 9mm or .40S&W. Searching Emperor Scorpion 10mm on Sig’s website comes up empty.

    1. It’s not on their website. It’s distributed thru Lipsey’s so is shown there. Just Google “Sig Sauer 10 mm Emperor Scorpion” and you’ll get a bunch of hits. Any gun shop can order it for you, but check online prices first. Even with the local FFL add-ons online will probably be cheaper.

      I really like the look of the EAA Witness Elite Match for quite a bit less that the Sig, and they got great reviews, but I guess that was a couple years back. I can’t find new ones for sale, and EAA hadn’t responded to my emails.

      I’m not a big fan of the Cerakote, but think I will be getting this pistol next month.

      FYI, you can get this same gun on the used gun sites in Stainless with Sig Rosewood grips as the P220 Elite, which is a far prettier gun IMO without the tacticool look, and most do come with the siglite night sights but not the short reset trigger.

      With the sights and SRT and G10 grips, this is a nice pistol.

    2. I am having an EAA Tanfoglio Witness Gold Team being built. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  13. I’ve always contended that the 10mm Auto is quite manageable in the properly designed handgun – and it appears that this is. The best I’ve ever fired is the 4″ Special Forces Bren Ten 10mm Auto – flawless function, highly accurate, and no more felt recoil than my long-in-service Colt 1911 in .45 ACP. The Sig Emperor Scorpion in 10mm would make a dandy addition to my collection – too bad I can’t get one in CA.

  14. 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.

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

    2. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    When is this scheduled for public release?

  18. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

  22. 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”.

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