My first exposure to the Dan Wesson Bruin was the 2016 SHOT show. I am a huge fan of the 10mm Auto and have grown to really appreciate the Dan Wesson 1911 since I reviewed the Dan Wesson ECO. You can read that review by following this link.


Let’s talk a little about Dan Wesson the company. Dan Wesson was founded in 1968 by Daniel B Wesson II, being the great grandson of  Daniel Baird Wesson,  co- founder of Smith and Wesson. Dan Wesson II worked at S&W from 1938 until 1963. Dan Wesson II earned a degree in Material Science and Metallurgy. Shortly after Smith and Wesson was purchased in 1965 by Bangor Punta Alegre Sugar Corporation,  based in Bangor, Maine, Dan Wesson II left the company to begin designing his own high end revolvers. Dan Wesson was originally based in Monson, Massachusetts. Dan Wesson passed away in 1978 and without his leadership, despite a loyal following, shortly filed for bankruptcy.  The company was then moved to Palmer Massachusetts, and changed  Danthe name to Wesson Firearms. but still sales were poor and yet another bankruptcy was filed. The company was bought by Bob Serva, who moved the company to Norwich NY, where it is currently located. In 2005 Wesson Firearms was acquired by CZ-USA. CZ-USA also builds a fine line of firearms and has the working capital to allow Dan Wesson Firearms to continue to build high end revolvers and 1911s.

First Impressions.  


Here you see the aluminum trigger, adjustable for overtravel, breaking clean at four pounds with just a bit of takeup and almost no overtravel. The slide stop and extended thumb safety are serrated for traction. while the magazine catch is checkered.


The slide to receiver fit was snug with no deflection. The upswept beavertail grip safety incorporates a generous palm swell to ensure reliable disengagement.  You can see the rear of the adjustable rear night sight is serrated to prevent glare. The top of the slide between the sights is also serrated for the same reason. The rear night sight glowed yellow in the dark, contrasting against the front, green sight.


The front sight is dovetailed in the slide, it is also a green fiber optic night sight. So the front sight glows green during the day and night.


The rear skelontized speed hammer, angled rear cocking serrations, and match grade 6.3″ 10mm Auto barrel. Note the lowered and flared ejection port


The front cocking serrations and angled cut on the recoil spring plug. Front cocking serrations are not my favorite and can be tough on a leather holster but with the added length of the slide, they do help break up the silhouette. The angled cut on the recoil spring did help with reholstering the pistol but made it difficult to field strip without the supplied bushing wrench. The barrel bushing was well fit to the slide. The factory recoil spring is 22 pounds.


The G10 stocks were nicely checkered, as well as the mainspring housing and front strap at twenty five lines per inch, for a solid purchase, even with the Double Tap ammo.


Other than the recoil spring plug being angled, the Bruin field strips as any other 1911 style pistol. It does not incorporate any firing pin safety. After some 400 rounds, much of which was Double Tap real 10mm ammo,  the insides looked to be without wear. I am paying close attention to the sear, disconnect, hammer, and radial locking lugs on the match grade barrel and their mating area inside the slide. Dan Wesson uses an all steel GI length guide rod and reduced radiused firing pin stop. The plunger spring is not kinked, so be advised when removing the thumb safety to not lose the plunger. The pistol ships with two eight round magazines and a polymer bushing wrench.  I also ran the gun with Colt Delta Elite magazines and the Bruin was flawless with those as well as the supplied magazines.

The Dan Wesson Bruin, named after the European Brown Bear, came up by Razor Dobbs who regularly hunts with the Dan Wesson Razorback 10mm. Going to the 6.3″ barrel and longslide has many benefits for a handgun if you are not concerned about easy concealability. Adding distance between the sights, increasing the sight radius, gives you a more precise sight alignment/sight picture. There is a velocity gain with the longer barrel, and with more mass to the slide it does not have to be sprung quite so heavy.


Taking the new Bruin out of the box and to the twenty yard line, the sights were low and to the left. After some adjustment I verified zero before going to the twenty five yard line for the accuracy test. This was the fourth group I shot from twenty yards when getting the sights zeroed, not bad at all in my opinion. So after a few magazines to get used to the gun and a magazine to get the sights zeroed, it was time for the accuracy test.


3 shot groups shot at 25 yards from a rest

At the Range 


Dan Wesson builds nice pistols but they are, indeed, expensive. Dan Wesson pistols are not your rack grade but are hand fitted guns built with forged materials and no MIM steel. When that sort of time and cost of materials is involved you have to expect the price to reflect it in the end product. This particular model does not disappoint. The Bruin is a pistol that fills the handgun hunting niche very well while easily spilling over in many other categories, such as defense and range duty. Now this pistol is available in .45 Automatic and 10mm Auto, my choice being the 10mm all day long. The 10mm surpasses the .357 Magnum in energy with a larger and heavier bullet. Add in the increased capacity and speed of reload and to me it is a clear option.  Many states regulate handgun barrels must be six inches or better to be legal for hunting, and the Bruin satisfies that with room to spare. Though the 10mm Auto is a powerful round, it is not punishing in this pistol. When the dust cleared and all the brass was policed I was satisfied that the Bruin preformed as Dan Wesson claims. The Bruin can also be had in .45 Automatic with a black finish while the 10mm gives you the option of black of the bronze/black bi tone.

dan-wesson-bruin_-10 dan-wesson-bruin_-2


Product Name DW Bruin Bronze – 10mm Auto
SKU  01881
Firearm Type Handgun
MSRP $2,194.00
Chambering 10mm Auto/.45 Auto
Magazine Capacity 8
Magazine Type Single Stack
Frame Black Duty/Bi tone Bronze receiver black slide. 
Trigger single action breaking at 4 pounds
Sights Adjustable Tritium with Tritium/Fiber Optic Front
Barrel Length 6.3″
Weight 43.9 oz
Overall Length 9.7 in
Height 5.8 in
Width 1.5 in
Safety Manual Thumb Safety/ Grip Safety



Double Tap Ammunition 




By Hunter Elliott

I spent much of my youth involved with firearms and felt the call early on to the United States Marine Corps, following in my father's and his brother's footsteps. Just after high school I enlisted and felt most at home on the rifle range, where I qualified expert with several firearms and spent some time as a rifle coach to my fellow Marines. After being honorably discharged I continued teaching firearm safety, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and began teaching metallic cartridge reloading. In the late 1990s I became a life member to the National Rifle Association and worked with the Friends of the NRA. Around that time my father and I became involved with IDPA and competed together up until he passed away. I began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 2000s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. Continuing to improve my firearms skills and knowledge is a never ending journey in which we should all be committed. I am also credited as weapons master on a few independent films.

4 thoughts on “Dan Wesson Bruin, civilized brute”
  1. I truly enjoyed shooting this gun and would love to own one. In my opinion the gun is worth the cost.

    Also Hunter, good article, one can tell a lot of time and work went into this. Keep up the good work.

    Barbara Elliott

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