Dornaus & Dixon

Dornaus & Dixon page last updated: 04/08/07


Dornaus & Dixon

Model Description Status Rating
Standard Model 5" barrel with blued slide & stainless frame. Discontinued
Military/Police 5" barrel with blued slide & blackened stainless frame. Discontinued
Marksman Special Match .45 caliber, 5" barrel with blued slide & stainless frame. Discontinued
Special Forces Light 4" barrel with hard chromed slide & stainless frame. Discontinued
Special Forces Dark 4" barrel with blued slide & blackened stainless frame. Discontinued
Dualmaster 5" barrel with blued slide & stainless frame. Comes with both 10mm and .45 uppers. Some engraving and wood presentation case. Discontinued
Jeff Cooper Initial Issue Commemorative (JCC) 5" barrel with blued slide & stainless frame. Gold filled engraving and wood presentation case. Discontinued
Additional Notes: The Bren Ten was the 10mm that started it all, and though it is an excellent design and has fantastic shooting characteristics I can only give it a rating of 4 bullets. This is due to possible metallurgical issues and the rarity of parts.


As the Bren Ten is discussed extensively in other parts of this website I won't go into a lot of detail here. Briefly stated, the Bren Ten was "the" pistol that launched the 10mm Auto cartridge. Production began in 1983 and ended in 1986 with less than 1,500 guns built (and possibly fewer than 900). It is a superb design and has excellent handling and shooting characteristics, but unfortunately production guns suffered from inconsistent quality control. Inadequate funding and poor business decisions lead to the company's demise, but the Bren Ten remains the quintessential 10mm. For more in-depth information on these fine firearms and the company that produced them be sure to check out the links at the top of the menu to the left.



Essentially, all Bren Tens are identical in design and fuction. Differences between models are limited to finish, barrel length, and caliber. Originally both 10mm and .45 caliber guns were supposed to utilize the same "dual caliber" magazine, but feeding problems with the smaller diameter 10mm cartridge led to the development of a "dedicated" 10mm magazine. Cartridge capacity for the 10mm is ten rounds while the .45 version holds eight. Dornaus & Dixon's 10mm and .45 caliber Bren offerings include the following models:

Standard Model - The most commonly encountered Bren is the Standard Model. This gun sports a 5" blued slide mated to a stainless steel frame. The television show Miami Vice gave many people their first introduction to the Bren Ten, but what most don't realize is that there were no full-size Brens with a hard chrome/stainless finish. The Miami Vice Brens received this finish combination to increase their visibility on camera.

Military/Police - This "black on black" Bren Ten was designed with law enforcement/military sales in mind. Mechanically it is identical to the Standard Model, but unfortunately the treatment used to blacken the stainless steel frame was not very durable.

Marksman Special Match - These guns were built for a gunshop in the Chicago area (no longer in business). There were supposed to be 250 MSMs built, but it is unknown if all were actually made and delivered. Unlike the rest of the Bren line these guns were chambered for the .45 ACP and do not have the "BREN TEN" or Gunsite raven markings. Marksmans came with a special softcase which are highly sought by collectors.

Special Forces Light - The Special Forces models had 4" barrels, but were otherwise almost identical to the full-size 5" models. The SFL was came with a hard chromed slide (like the Miami Vice guns) and was marked "SPECIAL FORCES" along the left side of the slide.

Special Forces Dark - The SFD was identical to the SFL, but wore a blued slide and blackened stainless frame (similar to the Military/Police finish).

Dualmaster - The Dualmaster included two slides; one in 10mm Auto and the other in .45 ACP. The slides on these guns had some limited engraving, but otherwise look identical to the Standard Models. These guns were shipped in special wood presentation cases.

Jeff Cooper Initial Issue Commemorative - These guns were the top of the line. Shipped in a special wood presentation case, the JCCs included gold filled engraving, gold plated controls, and a letter of authenticity signed by Jeff Cooper himself. These guns had an original list price of $2,000 and very few were ever made.


While this may not sound like an "objective" observation, the Bren Ten is more than just a gun. It is a piece of art, an important, though ill-fated, part of firearm history, and also a slice of nostalgia. You really have to hold a Bren in your hand to fully appreciate what an outstanding gun it is. It was a gun that was ahead of its time and never got the credit it was due.

Shooting Characteristics

The Bren Ten is an excellent shooter. It's a big gun, but the grip frame feels perfect in your hand and points very naturally. As it only holds ten rounds it can't truly be considered a "high capacity" firearm. The grip fills your hand more than a 1911, but does not feel "too big" like a Glock 20 or Megastar. The weight of all-steel construction and the excellent grip design do a good job of keeping recoil under control. It's an easy gun to shoot well and accuracy is good with the right loads.


In the literature section I've tried to include all the early Bren Ten "cover stories." For the serious Bren collector these are great pieces of nostalgia. Most of the information contained in these articles is already well known at this point, but it's way in which these articles are written that makes them such good reading. Back when these magazines were on the racks at your local store the Bren Ten was to be the "wave of the future."

February 1981 Combat Handguns

This is one of the earliest articles on the Bren Ten, and was penned by Jeff Cooper himself. At this point the only Bren in existence is the hand-built prototype, so it can't be called a true gun review. It does, however, discuss the basic concept of the gun, as well as the features that were to be included.

June 1981 Shooter's Journal & Survival Guide

This is a magazine that I wasn't familiar with and came across it by accident. The article is written by J.B. Wood, and like the 1981 Combat Handguns issue, covers the Bren Ten prototype. What makes this magazine particularly interesting is that on the cover is none other than Mike Dixon himself posing with the Bren, and the pictures contained in the article were supplied by Dornaus & Dixon.

August 1984 Guns & Ammo

The August '84 Guns & Ammo is probably the most well known of the Bren Ten reviews. In this issue of G&A author Howard E. French does a thorough report on the Bren, including numerous photographs of the gun and components.

September 1984 Gun World

Dean A. Grennell writes a great article on the Bren in this issue of Gun World. Unlike most other articles though, Mr. Grennell spends a lot of time focusing on the 10mm Auto cartridge. Even though the only ammo available at the time was the Norma 200gn FMJ he created his own JHPs by drilling out a cavity in the nose of the 200gn bullets!

December 1984 Survival Weapons & Tactics (SWAT)

Yet another "must have" item for the Bren collector. This article was written by Chuck Taylor, and it is Mr. Taylor himself that makes this article so interesting.

As I understand it, Chuck Taylor and Jeff Cooper were business partners at one point, but had a "falling out." This not-so-complimentary article was supposedly a jab at Col. Cooper and caused some problems between the magazine and Dornaus & Dixon.

January 1986 New Breed

Another rather obscure magazine, this article was written by Norm Bailey. Mr. Bailey briefly discusses the Bren's relation to the CZ75 and the growing 10mm/.45 debate. It's apparent that Mr. Bailey likes the overall concept of the Bren Ten, but is rather unsure about the gun's future.


Bren Ten Shooting Sequence

Rob has sent in these great pics of his Bren being fired. With that big fireball you can almost imagine yourself taking out some South American druglord's helicopter!