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About Us


Hilton Yam, owner of 10-8 Performance, is a full time law enforcement officer in Florida with extensive experience working robbery and violent fugitives. He is currently assigned to firearms training and SWAT, duties in which he oversees the expenditure of almost half a million rounds per year. He is a team leader as well as the lead instructor for his team, responsible for providing training in firearms, CQB, rappelling, defensive tactics, and team tactics. Hilton is also responsible for RDT&E of equipment. He carries a 1911 every day on duty, and has spent a great deal of time examining what makes the guns succeed and fail. 

Hilton started out by building 1911s in his off duty time, but his busy and unpredictable schedule certainly inhibited a steady outflow of custom gun work. He has been around 1911s since the early 1980's, and was an active IPSC competitor well before the formation of USPSA. He had always been drawn to the latest developments in 1911s, and was among the first in his club to use a Devel 8 round magazine (a very revolutionary development at the time), as well as being on the forefront of his region's development of high capacity optic mounted raceguns. Hilton represented Behlert's, Bruce Gray, and CP Bullets in local USPSA competition, where he had numerous top placing finishes. His first gunsmithing mentor, Bruce Gray, used to work with Charlie Kelsey during the Devel days. He learned much from shooting countless IPSC matches with him and sitting by his workbench for hours on end. During his initial gunsmithing pursuits, John Yanek and Steve Nastoff provided guidance. Hilton later met legendary Army Marksmanship Unit armorer John Miller, who generously shared his experience with him. Small arms guru and IPSC/IDPA founder Ken Hackathorn provided much mentoring along his path, and helped him greatly in the industry. Under the tutelage of Larry Vickers, who shared with Hilton his keen eye for detail and depth of understanding of the function of the 1911, he was able to achieve his full potential as a gunsmith and understand the role of the 1911 as a service pistol. As he developed, George Smith, Chuck Rogers, and Pete Single also provided countless insights and machine work as he stumbled along. Hilton owes much to these generous individuals who have shared so selflessly of their hard earned experience.

In addition to on the job experience and off duty 1911 pistolsmithing work, Hilton has also spent a substantial amount of time behind the trigger.  He has been fortunate to have trained with some of our generation’s very finest instructors, to include Larry Vickers, Ken Hackathorn, Bruce Gray, Scott Reitz, Jerry Barnhart (where he was top shooter in multiple classes), Kyle Lamb, and Bill Rogers/Rogers Shooting School (where he finished with an Advanced rating and was the top shooter in his class).  This extensive and well rounded experience goes into every 10-8 Performance design.

We often get emails asking about the meaning of "10-8" or the symbol that is seen on our signature grips and embedded in our company logo.  "10-8" is a common law enforcement radio code meaning "on duty" or "in service."  It is also a police slang term used to describe something that is good or ready for duty.

The Chinese symbol is the family name, Yam.  Hilton originally used this symbol to mark the custom 1911s that he built under the Signature Grade business name.  When he started 10-8 Performance to move away from hand building 1911s, he wanted to preserve the use of the family name and incorporated the symbol into the new company logo.

10-8 Performance is a family owned and family run small business. All 10-8 sights and components are proudly made in the USA.

Thanks for your support! Good hunting.


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