Dornaus & Dixon Bren Ten Standard Model 10mm Semi-Auto Pistol, MFD 1983 C&R

SOLD FOR: $8922.97

LSB#: 230509WE102

Make: Dornaus & Dixon

Model: Bren Ten, Standard Model

Serial Number: 83SM01156

Year of Manufacture: 1983, ATF Classified C&R

Caliber: 10mm, a slide/barrel assembly and magazine are included for conversion to .45 ACP.

Action Type: Traditional Double Action Semi-Automatic (DA/SA) with Removable Magazine

Markings: The left side of each slide is marked “BREN TEN”. The top of each slide is marked “CAUTION-READ MANUAL” between the ejection port and the rear sight. The right side of one slide is marked “Cal. 10mm AUTO” and “BREN TEN”, the other is marked “Cal. 45 ACP” and “BREN TEN”. The sides of each firing pin block safety are marked “S” and “F” for Safe and Fire, respectively. The underside of the 10mm slide is marked “946” towards the rear, the .45 slide is marked “1156”. The 10mm barrel is marked “Cal. 10mm AUTO” over the chamber area, the .45 barrel is marked “Cal. 45 ACP”. The left side of the frame is marked “83SM01156” on the dust cover and with the Gunsite Raven in front of the slide stop. The frame’s right side is marked “MADE IN U.S.A.”, “PAT. PEND.” and “MANUAL AVAILABLE FROM: / DORNAUS & DIXON ENT., INC. / HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA.”

Barrel Length: 5”

Sights / Optics: The front sights are ramped blades, each with a white dot. The front sights are vertically pinned to the slide and the barrel bushing. The rear sights are square notches, each with two white dots. The rear sights are screw-adjustable for windage and elevation.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are Hogue combat grips made of fiberglass reinforced nylon. They have a pebbled texture and a Bren Ten “X” medallion. The grips have no notable wear or damage, only light handling marks. There are no chips or cracks. The grips rate in about Excellent overall condition.

Type of Finish: Blue Slides, Brushed & Matte Stainless Steel Frame

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The 10mm bore is mostly bright and the rifling is intact. There appears to be minor erosion in the bore, but this should prove to be stubborn fouling after a patient cleaning. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 8 out of 10.

The .45 ACP Bore is bright and the rifling is intact. There is no erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 10 out of 10.

“The Bren Ten employs “power seal” rifling as developed by Barret Boots Oberineyer. Unlike conventional rifling which is cut at a ninety degree angle to the bore, the Power Seal rifling is cut at a shallower angle. This sloped surface increases the area available to guide the bullet and is reported to have a number of beneficial effects. First the bullet is less deformed so accuracy is improved. As the bullet seals the bore more completely very little gas escapes hence higher velocity.” (Paraphrased from the article “Peregrine Falcon” by Nigel Milner in the Jan/Feb 1991 issue of “Guns & Weapons” magazine.)

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 96% of its metal finish. Most of the balance is in light operational wear including on the left of the frame at the safety and slide stop. There are some minor scuffs and scratches, most notable in the frontstrap. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun is in Fine-plus condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The firing pin block and the safety lever work smoothly. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes in a padded black nylon zipper case. One 10-round magazine is included for 10mm, marked on the right with “10mm”, “3” through “10” at the witness holes and “FULL” below the bottom witness hole. The 10mm floorplate has two indexing studs on the top at the front to prevent over-insertion. One 8-round magazine is included for .45 ACP, the magazine is not marked and does not have the indexing studs. A series of documents are included in an AMT folder including an owner’s manual with two addendums, a Bren Ten brochure, Dornaus & Dixon letters from the initial ordering of the pistol and from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the company, a copy of a letter from Michael Dixon to Barry Fain, Editor for the California Rifle & Pistol Association refuting some claims made by a Mr. Joe Hildreth regarding his ordering experience, marketing material from Peregrine Industries (an attempt to resurrect the Bren Ten design), a printout of the Bren Ten Buyer’s Guide and a series of AMT (Irwindale) product advertisements.

Our Assessment: There is a lot of mystique surrounding the Bren Ten semi-automatic 10mm pistol. Col. Jeff Cooper is listed as “the conceptual designer and technical adviser on the Bren Ten Program” (per the 1983 catalog.) Based on the CZ-75, it can be double action on the first shot with second strike capability as well. It is also capable of being carried “cocked and locked” as a single action pistol in the manner of a 1911. Although it shares features in common with the 9mm CZ-75 and the .45 ACP 1911, the Bren Ten was chambered in the more powerful 10mm cartridge. “The Bren Ten was conceived by Jeff Cooper as the ultimate combat pistol and engineered and developed by Dornaus & Dixon Enterprises” (again, per the 1983 catalog.) Its arrival was eagerly anticipated, but was never the commercial success it designer and manufacturer had hoped. The Bren Ten was used by Don Johnson’s character Sonny Crockett during the first two seasons of the TV show “Miami Vice” which helped increase its visibility and desirability, however the business would eventually file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The example in this auction has “83SM01156” serial number, which is consistent with its features. This pistol was made after the introduction if the various design changes to the model, with a trigger stop, additional frame safety marking, and screw-adjustable rear sight, but still has flat-top slides. Yes, slides, as this pistol comes with a matching .45 ACP conversion unit, allowing for the use of the more common cartridge. The pistol doesn’t appear to have seen much use, in Fine-plus condition. From 1983 to 1986 a total of only about 1,500 Bren Ten pistols were manufactured in various models, making them a limited production, collectable and highly sought after pistol.

For the serious Bren Ten enthusiasts, there is also some very interesting literature included with the pistol. Letters are included directly from Dornaus & Dixon including both order acknowledgement and letters from the bankruptcy of the company. There is a copy of a bit of a snarky letter from Mr. Dixon to the Editor of California Rifle & Pistol Association refuting some unflattering claims which were published in the March 15, 1985 edition of “Firing Line”. There’s even some marketing literature from the firm’s successor, Peregrine Industries. Don’t miss this chance! Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Dornaus & Dixon Bren Ten Standard Model 10mm Semi-Auto Pistol, MFD 1983 C&R
Dornaus & Dixon Bren Ten Standard Model 10mm Semi-Auto Pistol, MFD 1983 C&R