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.
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.
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.
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.
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.