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Semi Auto

An Economical 10mm Carbine

by David Fortier   |  December 19th, 2017 0


I have a number of colleagues who are dyed-in-the-wool “gun snobs.” They only like, and wish to write about, the most expensive and finest rifles, optics and match ammunition. I remember when one such writer was visiting and wanted to look at my collection. We were chatting, and I handed him a nice Mod 91/41 Carcano in 6.5x52mm. He reacted like I had handed him a dirty diaper. I still laugh about that. I guess I have somewhat diverse tastes. I can appreciate most things that go bang, including the Hi-Point Firearms carbine seen here.

Hi-Point Firearms is perhaps best-known for its inexpensive, and somewhat clunky, line of handguns. They are what they are, and are designed to be very inexpensive. Hi-Point’s line of pistol-caliber carbines, though, garners much more respect. While nothing to impress your friends with, they have earned a reputation for being both reliable and accurate. More importantly, they are very affordable. So the teenager, poor college kid or blue-collar worker with a family can afford one.

An-Economical-10mm-Carbine-specsThis past August, I had the opportunity to handle and fire a new model from Hi-Point Firearms, a carbine chambered in 10mm Automatic. During a demo at the Outdoor Sportsman Group Editorial Roundtable, I had the chance to speak with the folks from Hi-Point before spending some time shooting a preproduction model on steel at various distances. The preproduction model functioned without issue and slapped the steel with authority. Being a long-time fan of the 10mm Auto cartridge, I put in a request for a review sample. Hi-Point responded by giving Firearms News first crack at a production model.

My interest in the 10mm Auto cartridge was sparked many moons ago, reading Jeff Cooper’s thoughts in our sister title, Guns&Ammo. Designed when FMJ projectiles were still de rigueur for personal protection, it was intended to be the “perfect” defensive handgun cartridge. A 200-grain FMJ launched at 1,200 fps would provide an edge in terminal performance, while the .40-caliber design would provide increased capacity over the fat .45 ACP. It set the shooting community on fire when it was introduced in 1983.

While Dornaus & Dixon’s Bren Ten pistol was a business disaster, the cartridge was too good to die. Norma of Sweden had stepped up to the plate and produced ammunition, and both Colt and Smith & Wesson introduced handguns. None other than the FBI adopted the cartridge in 1989, and fielded it along with Smith & Wesson 1076 pistols. The FBI’s adoption led a number of police departments around the country to follow suit. This included a small department where I had gone to high school in rural Maine. This proved a boon to me, as I policed up all their brass one day when they left it scattered on the range, after their initial qualifications.

My childhood friend and now colleague, Don Grover, and I both jumped on the bandwagon as well. He bought an early Colt Delta Elite, and I purchased a Smith & Wesson 1076.  The two of us spent countless hours behind our reloading presses and testing various bullet weights and configurations. I shot a pile of lead 200-grainers and developed a heavy 135-grain load using Nosler JHPs. His Delta Elite didn’t last long though, and he went back to .45 ACP. I sold the Smith and built a very pretty custom Delta Elite with a carry comp. I never could get it totally reliable though. The FBI eventually dropped the 10mm Auto in favor of .40 S&W, and I did the same.

Even though I’ve carried the same boring Glock 23 in .40 S&W for a couple decades now, I never lost that spark for 10mm Auto. It has many wonderful qualities. It can drive fairly heavy bullets fast enough for hunting medium game. It penetrates well with the proper projectile and offers reliable expansion with modern designs. With lightweight bullets in the 135- and 155-grain range, it will provide Tokarev-like velocities, and it really sizzles. Accuracy is usually quite acceptable. Recoil of full-house loads tends to be a bit stiff for many interested in using it for concealed carry. One option is the 10mm Auto FBI pressure loads, which are similar in velocity to the .40 S&W. These mellow it out noticeably, but do take the magic away.

If you enjoy time spent at your press, it’s an easy cartridge to hand load. Today, unlike in 1991, when I was playing with it, there is a host of modern projectiles from which to choose. A number of powders work well with it, and dies and data are all readily aIntroduced in 1983, the 10mm Auto has had its up and downs, but is today seeing a growing resurgence of interest. It is seen here compared to a 9x19mm, on the left.vailable. You can load it very mild to make it pleasant to shoot on the range. Plus, you always have the option of loading it heavy for hunting, personal protection or recreational shooting.

For a time, it seemed like the 10mm Auto was headed for the history books. Companies discontinued models in this caliber due to poor sales, and the world moved on. It seemed as if its demise was near, but it was just too damn good to lie down and die. It retained a faithful following that loved its accuracy, exterior and terminal ballistics. Hunters, in particular, appreciated the cartridge and the level of performance it offered in an auto-loading handgun. Eventually, the 10mm Auto found a niche it could call its own, and both sales and interest in it have steadily increased over the years. Today, a new generation of shooters not old enough to remember its Genesis or fall from grace are embracing it.Introduced in 1983, the 10mm Auto has had its up and downs, but is today seeing a growing resurgence of interest. It is seen here compared to a 9x19mm, on the left.

This resurgence of interest in the 10mm Auto didn’t go unnoticed by Hi-Point Firearms. It currently offers pistol-caliber carbines chambered for .380 ACP, 9x19mm Parabellum, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Offering a model in 10mm Auto simply made sense. It could be utilized for not only recreational shooting and personal protection, but also hunting. So, using its 4595TS .45 ACP model as the foundation, Hi-Point set out to build a reliable 10mm Auto.

The result of its labor is Hi-Point Firearms’ new model 1095TS carbine chambered in 10mm Automatic. Like all of Hi-Point’s carbines, the 1095TS resembles something you would envision an Imperial Stormtrooper to be issued. Encased in black polymer with ribs, rails, a skeletonized stock and shrouded sights, it looks like nothing else. Featuring a 17.5-inch barrel and an overall length of just 32 inches, the 1095TS is compact and handy. Weight comes in at 7 pounds, so it’s not ultra-light, but it’s not a porker either.

An-Economical-10mm-Carbine-5Operation is ultra-simple blow-back from a closed bolt. The 1095TS utilizes a large and heavy “telescoping” or “overhung” bolt, similar in concept to that made famous in the Israeli UZI submachine gun. What are the benefits of this type of bolt design? A telescoping bolt has much of its mass and weight forward of the breach, wrapping around the barrel. As blow-back designs have no locking system, and utilize the mass of the bolt to delay and slow the opening of the bolt, a certain amount of weight is required. In the case of the 10mm, a rather heavy bolt is needed. If all this mass were behind the breach, like a traditional first or second generation submachine gun, it would require a fairly long action and increase the length of the firearm. By using a bolt with much of its mass forward of the breach, the overall length of the firearm can be noticeably shortened.

The use of a telescoping bolt also has another positive benefit in the case of the 1095TS. It places most of the mass of the heavy reciprocating bolt between the hands of the shooter. Rather than the weight being to the rear, it is over the centerline of the carbine. This makes for a much more balanced design, and I noted the 1095TS balances right in front of the triggerguard. This aids handling. Plus, it places the axis of recoil lower, aiding shot-to-shot recovery.

Along with the telescoping bolt, the 1095TS also incorporates a magazine well in the pistol grip like an UZI. While I mention the UZI, because it is so well-known, this layout of a telescoping bolt and magazine in the pistol grip was actually introduced on the Czech samopal vzor 48 series of submachine guns in 1948. The virtue of this design is it aids reloading, especially in the dark. It is natural for one hand to quickly be able to find the other. So instead of hunting for a magazine well, reloading is very natural, as with a pistol. The 1095TS feeds from 10-round single-stack steel magazines. These feature witness holes on the right side of the magazine body anAn-Economical-10mm-Carbine-buttd a large polymer baseplate.

The barreled receiver drops into a polymer stock housing with the recoil spring located beneath the action. A skeletonized butt reduces weight and features a soft recoil-dampening cheek-piece. The butt also features a spring-loaded textured-polymer buttpad. This has
approximately half an inch of travel and reduces felt recoil. The fore-end is ribbed to provide a secure grip, and sports a polymer 1913 rail at 6 o’clock for mounting accessories. There is another polymer 1913 rail mounted beneath the barrel.

A stamped sheet-metal cover encases the top and sides of the action and features a large ejection port on the right side of the receiver. A charging handle rides in a slot on the left side of the action cover. This simply screws directly into the bolt. A polymer 1913 rail runs the length of the action cover, allowing easy mounting of a red-dot sight. A rear-sight assembly is mounted to the rear section of the rail. This features an aperture rear sight adjustable for both windage and elevation. The front sight is a metal tapered post with a circular shroud and is adjustable for elevation. The front-sight assembly is secured to the barrel using two set screws. The sight height allows a red-dot sight to be low mounted to co-witness with the iron sights.

The trigger is a bit mushy but not overly heavy, and has a fairly clean break. The controls are all located on the left side of the carbine. Below the reciprocating bolt handle is a bent sheet-metal thumb-safety, which protrudes through a slot in the action cover. A right-handed shooter can manipulate this with his thumb. A push-button magazine release is located on the left side of the pistol grip and is easy to reach. The bolt does lock back on the last shot, but there is no external bolt release. A pair of sling swivels and a carrying strap are included with the carbine.

Disassembly for cleaning is not difficult, but it does require tools. It is also not straightforward. I looked it over, scratched my head a bit, and then consulted the included operator’s manual. Using a punch and hammer, I quickly had it stripped down, but I had to consult the parts diagram to figure out where some of the pieces were located to get it completely apart. Once apart, it is easy to clean and lubricate. Reassembly is straightforward and simple enough. Just consult the operator’s manual the first time you do it, and you will not have any issues.

An-Economical-10mm-Carbine-2After a thorough examination, it was time for some fun. I purchased three 10mm Auto loads for testing and was able to include a fourth, which was supplied by Fort Scott Munition, which is located here in Kansas. Test loads consisted of Fort Scott Munition’s 124-grain Solid Copper Spun load from its Fort Defense line. This is a solid copper flat-point projectile with a listed velocity of 1,600 fps. Next is PPU’s 170-grain Flat Point Jacketed load, followed by Hornady’s 180-grain XTP and Ram Precision Ammunition’s 180-grain Gold Dot JHP. I was not only interested in the 1095TS’s accuracy and reliability, but I was also very interested to see what kind of velocity boost the 17.5-inch barrel would provide.

An-Economical-10mm-Carbine-4Initial accuracy testing was conducted at 50 yards, using the factory iron sights. I wasn’t sure what the Hi-Point was capable of, so felt this prudent. Three 5-shot groups were fired to check accuracy with velocity readings recorded using a LabRadar Doppler chronograph. Groups were fired from a rest with a rear bag. Accuracy, with one exception, proved to be quite good. My best 5-shot group was fired using Hornady’s 180-grain XTP load and measured 1.5 inches. This load averaged 1.8 inches at 1,325 fps. PPU’s 170-grain FPJ load averaged 2.6 inches at 1,146 fps. Fort Scott’s 124-grain SCS load averaged 3.1 inches at a blistering 1,902 fps! Wowza, it’s a real screamer. Expect to see more on this company and its line-up in future issues.

The only issue encountered during testing was with the Ram 180-grain Gold Dot load. I could not get it to group. I fired one 5-shot group and scratched my head and walked back and fired a 10-shot group on a full-size B-27 target at 50 yards. Impacts were erratically spaced here and there, with only eight hits on paper. About this time, my friend Neal Shera showed up. He looked at the target and grinned at me. His smile said, “Not having a good day, huh, Old Man?”

So, I stuck him behind the gun. He fired a 5-shot group from off bags and smirked at me. We walked down and only found three hits. His smirk faded. Switching back to PPU produced a nice, tight group, so I blamed the ammunition and not the carbine and dropped the Ram load from further testing. As an aside it chrono’d at 1,177 fps.

Next, I fired a five-shot group with the three remaining loads at 100 yards. The Hornady load measured
3.9 inches, the PPU came in at 5.5 inches, and the Fort Scott measured 6 inches. So, for a pistol-caliber carbine and iron sights, accuracy is quite acceptable. All four loads functioned without issue. Recoil was mild, but I did get a small whack to the cheek. The trigger gave me
no problems.

I finished up testing, having some fun shooting on steel plates and silhouettes from 50 to 100 yards. During this portion of testing, the 1095TS proved quite fun. It handled well and was quick on target. Recoil is mild, but it rang steel nicely. While I found the controls easy to operate, Neal, a South Paw, did not find them nearly as friendly, so keep that in mind if you are a lefty. My only complaint is the fun ends far too quickly. With only 10 rounds on tap, the bolt locks back just as things are getting interesting.

All in all, shooting Hi-Point Firearms’ new 10mm Auto proved quite enjoyable. Better still, the MSRP on this new model is only $389.99. Is it for everyone? No. Will some turn their noses up at it, simply due to the name on the side? Absolutely. Is it fun, accurate and reliable? Yes, indeed, it is. If you have an interest in an economical carbine chambered in 10mm Automatic, you just may want to consider Hi-Point Firearms’ new 1095TS. While it may not impress your friends, it might just put a smile on your face.


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