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Colt Delta Elite

Colt Delta Elite


The Delta Elite is a 1911A1 pistol re-designed to fire the 10mm Auto cartridge. It has a slightly different frame than the standard "Series 80" pistols and a different recoil system. Unfortunately, they are no longer produced by Colt, having been made from 1987 through the mid 1990s. However they are still widely available, with prices ranging from $550 for a basic blued model to over $1,000 for the Gold Cup target version. I paid $725 for this stainless steel model with night sights. I tried various magazines and added a full-length steel guide rod from Wilson Combat and a Wolff 24lb recoil spring, but otherwise the pistol remained stock.

At first, the Delta Elite was not completely reliable, having occasional failures to feed with the old Colt 8-round magazine, Chip McCormick 9-round magazines and Metalform 9-round magazines. This was rather troublesome, so as a last resort I ordered 2 new Colt 8-round magazines from Brownells and replaced the springs with Wolff extra-power units. Presto! With that small change the Delta Elite fired 200 rounds straight without a single malfuction of any kind. You could practically hear a happy "slurping" noise whenever it fed cartridges from then on. This is definitely the magazine setup I`d recommend for anyone considering a Colt Delta Elite. With proper magazines the Delta Elite was 100% reliable with Speer Blazer 200gr TMJ, 155gr cast lead handloads and Winchester Silvertip 175gr JHP. Accuracy with all loads was excellent.

The overall ergonomics of the pistol are also excellent; even stock it has the best "feel" of any handgun I`ve used. Not quite perfect, though; the grip safety felt a bit odd and the thumb safety lever is too short, making it awkward to operate. The only downside to the trigger was that it was made of smooth plastic and didn`t feel as good as a serrated aluminum match trigger, otherwise it was quite good.

Other observations: recoil was very manageable. I have heard people say that Glocks recoil less than Delta Elites, but I`m not so sure. On one hand, the steel frame has no "give" to it; on the other hand, it is heavier (and more heavily sprung) than a stock Glock 20. The feel is different, but overall I think it`s a wash. Recoil with the Speer Blazers was on par with a normal .45 ACP, and is quite manageable even with the Silvertips.


Colt Defense LLC, P.O. Box 118, Hartford, CT, 06141 U.S.A. Tel: 1-800-241-2485, (860) 232-4489 Fax: (860) 244-1442

10 mm Auto

1077 g

216 mm

127 mm

6 grooves, lh

Magazine Capacity:
8 rounds

In Production:


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