Gun Review: Dan Wesson ECO 9mm

DanWessonECO01

By Jim G.

Chicken & waffles. Sour cream & onion. Peanut butter and chocolate. Two separate and seemingly incompatible entities that inexplicably complement one another, yet don’t appeal to everyone. CZ-USA’s Dan Wesson Elite Carry Officer (ECO) is a concealed carry weapon with a match-grade barrel and a venerable .45 ACP platform chambered in 9mm parabellum. An intriguing combination, but will this seemingly delicious defensive dish leave you with indigestion? . . .

The ECO’s set of standard features reads like a shopping list for an IPSC world competitor or a Navy SEAL: Trijicon tritium night sights, match grade barrel, micarta grips, nitrate finish and super-fine frame checkering – to name a few. Just by reading the features you can hazard a guess that this is going to be one expensive little package.

DanWessonECO07

The aforementioned Trijicon sights are awesome; they’re sharp and bright even during twilight. The Micarta grips, however, aren’t necessarily for everyone. I found them stylish and extremely functional, but not terribly comfortable. Wait, what is Micarta, you ask?

DanWessonECO04

Micarta is basically a glue- or resin-impregnated linen that’s stupid strong and fairly expensive. Think of it as an ultra rigid but not fragile polymer. Using it for grips makes perfect sense since it won’t damage easily and will maintain its sharp edges, which aids in weapon retention.

The ECO has a smooth, light trigger and the pistol rests comfortably in the user’s hands. It has an extended beaver-tail and a relatively low bore axis when utilizing the thumb safety as a rest. The magazine release is easy to manipulate (so long as you’re right-handed) and the weapon points like a natural extension of your hand. It’s a 1911 for God’s sake…if nothing else it’s going to feel “right” in your hand.

DanWessonECO05

If you don’t believe in Murphy’s law, you will likely think that the match grade bull-barrel the ECO sports is a great idea – a carry gun with world-class accuracy; what could possibly go wrong?

As with all fields of engineering, there’s just no free lunch. In order to achieve fantastic accuracy, the ECO must be made to very exacting standards. Everything in the pistol must function in a perfect flawless symphony of lead, fire, and metal. That means the margin of error is very narrow, making the pistol easier to jam then most. For the cost and time you’ll spend cleaning, it can make you want to toss the whole band right into the orchestra pit.

DanWessonECO12

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened during my time with the beautiful ECO. After taking her out of the box, I cleaned, oiled, and took her on a trip to the range. It was an impeccable performer for the first 100 rounds using standard ammo. Then it began to fail, meaning rounds wouldn’t enter battery. I could jam it in there with a slap from my palm, but that got old fast, so I performed a field cleaning and for the next 100 rounds (still standard ammo) it ran fine again.

I decided to run an El Presidente drill without retention and dropped one of the magazines into the sand. I blew the sand out of the magazine and wiped it down with an oiled cloth before loading it up with ammo again and returning to the El Presidente. Sadly, the pistol failed on the second magazine.

DanWessonECO08

I thought maybe the ECO was meant to be used with higher-powered ammo such as +P. And I was right…for the first 150 rounds. Once I passed that threshold, the ECO’s reliability plummeted to 88% with +P and 65% with standard ammo.

Lest you think I simply grabbed crappy ammo off the local WallyWorld shelf and went to blasting, I used four varieties of ammo; Tula, Aguila, Winchester NATO +P and Hornady TAP +P. I put a total of 650 rounds though the pistol. (250 rounds of Aquila, 120 rounds of Tula 9mm, 200 rounds of Winchester NATO +P and 80 rounds of Hornady TAP +P). All targets were shot at 10 yards:

ECO_Tula

Tula

ECO_HornadyTAP

Hornady TAP

ECO_Aquila

Aquila

ECO_NATO

Winchester Nato

While some may argue that a thousand is a proper break-in period, a gun from the custom shop should already be broken in and run like greased lightning for all the cash involved.

Speaking of grease, you’ll apparently be doing a lot of cleaning to keep the ECO up and running. Thankfully it won’t be terribly difficult. The ECO is taken down like any other 1911 platform pistol with the exception of one small extra step performed to free the recoil assembly from the frame. Use either a trimmed paper-clip or the special tool DW includes with the gun to stick into a small hole in the guide rod when the slide is pulled fully rearward.

That takes the pressure off the gun and allows you to slide the now-compressed recoil spring assembly back through the frame. If you have fat fingers or poor eyesight, this can get tricky. But fear not; like all motor-functions, with time and practice it gets easier.

DanWessonECO02

Conclusion: The Dan Wesson ECO is an excellent pistol in terms of accuracy, ergonomics, fit and finish. But a carry pistol needs to be 100% flawless or it’s just a very expensive hammer.

Specifications:

Weight:                 1.56 lbs.
Overall Length:  7.25 in.
Barrel Length:    3.5 in.
Height:                   5.0 in.
Width:                    1.45 in.
Sights:                     Fixed night sights
MSRP:                     $1,662

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * * *
The Dan Wesson ECO’s accuracy is legendary and not just for a carry gun. The ECO’s Match Grade barrel lets the user squeeze every last inch out of the it’s diminutive 3.5 inch barrel

Ergonomics * * * * *
As is the case with most of JMB’s creations, the 1911 — even in officer’s size — feels like a natural extension of the shooter’s hand.

Reliability * *
The ECO ran nearly 100% when properly lubed and cleaned…for a while. After a hundred or so rounds the ECO would fail to enter battery approx 75% of the time. Maybe acceptable in a match grade competition semi-auto, but definitely not in a carry weapon.

Customize this * * * *
With custom grips, sights, magazines, and lasers available for officer-sized 1911’s the only limit you’ll run into is your imagination.

Overall * * *
If the ECO ran without issue it would be my current carry piece and it would have earned a solid 5-star rating. As it stands, the ECO is an expensive way to learn that cost is not necessarily the same as value.

74 Responses to Gun Review: Dan Wesson ECO 9mm

  1. avatar2Wheels says:

    Looks pretty, but my EMP was $400 cheaper and it worked out of the box, with pretty much any ammo I put through it (including steel cased crap).

    Plus it’s plenty accurate without a “match grade” barrel and I don’t need a tool to field strip it.

    Bottom line, if you’ve got that much cash to blow on a 9mm subcompact 1911, take a long and hard look at the Springfield EMP. Spend the money you save on ammo!

    • avatarmp504 says:

      My CZ 75 D PCR has NEVER had an FTF, likewise my Sig P239 has NEVER had an FTF, my Glock 27 same-same. My Colt’s have had FTF issues. NONE of my revolvers have ever had an FTF problem. For me I personally regularly care a revolver. NO feeding issues, NO FTF issues, NO safeties to fumble. Just load and go. My S&W Mod. 60 at 10 yds will blow a bad guys sinus condition to hell and gone. Same with my Colt Dec. Spec., and Agent. My Taurus is not quite so accurate. Advantage in accuracy goes to the revolver, load capacity goes to the S.A. Reliability, revolver hands down.

    • avatarOODAloop says:

      Second the EMP in 9mm. Carry it daily and use it for all my training classes. Runs like a greased pig and has about 9000 rounds thru it without a hitch…

    • avatarjkp says:

      My EMP was….decidedly not flawless out of the box. A trip back to Springfield Armory and it worked. For six months. Then it started back on the jamomatic path.

      I traded it in for a used Glock 17 and 19.

      Love those 1911s, beautiful guns and all that, but I think that when I get another one, it’ll be a full sized mil-spec ‘government’ 1911, the way God and John M. Browning intended, and not a chop-shop version.

  2. avatarI_Like_Pie says:

    I don’t understand the “tolerances have to be tight or it will not be accurate” analagies that are always used for 1911s.

    The standard GI ones were as lose as a fat man’s porch chair and the accuracy was 4″ at 25 yards or so on average. For the type of work they were designed – that is more than enough.

  3. avatarAlex says:

    If the gun consistently shoots up to 100 rounds without failure it’s a fine carry gun. How many mags do you have with you when you’re carrying anyway…you aren’t going to be in a sustained firefight…and if you are, you have bigger problems….But yes you’re right, spending that much money on a gun and having jamming issues is a pain in the butt. But it’s a ferrari, not a ford. You don’t cross country with a ferrari because every 1200 miles you need to do a pit-stop and have the engine checked. Much ado about nothing here…

    • avatarJake L. says:

      What if you forgot to/couldn’t clean it for a while, or it got sand and a bit of water in it without you realizing it? Guns don’t magically stay clean in the holster, unfortunately :(

    • avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      My thoughts exactly. Sounds like more of a pain at the range than a serious carry flaw. My Taurus PT709 holds 8 rounds and I don’t even bother carrying extra mags, what happens after 100 rounds is beyond moot. It could be a bad choice if you plan on getting it dirty, but if I had enough money to run Tuff Mudder with a $1662 handgun strapped to my side I wouldn’t be carrying a Taurus.

      • avatarLandbarger says:

        Have you had problems with your PT709? I was disassembling the gf’s (purse carry gun) and broke some small metal part off. While the trigger magically went from “horrendous” to “this really isn’t so bad now”, we sent it back to Taurus for a fix anyway. Got it back and it’s just as sh**ty as it was before. Is the trigger pull SUPPOSED to feel like breaking a wooden pencil every time??

    • avatarAlex says:

      I spent 13 years between the Marine Corps and the Army. If your weapon is your tool (and in this case a 1700 dollar tool), and your life depends on that tool, you don’t just leave it unclean….that goes for any gun. Are there a lot of other guns out there that fire just fine and dont jam? Absolutely…but lets compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. The tolerance’s here are much different than that of your Taurus and much different than the original 1911…thats what made them so reliable in tough conditions. Again…you want a ford…buy a ford…you want a Ferrari and you’re going to have to deal with the service stops every 1200 miles.

      • avatarRalph says:

        @Alex, the gun doesn’t have a special counting device built into it that will tell it when to fail. If it fails after 100 rounds, it might just as easily fail on the first.

        This beautiful pistol may be a nice range toy, but it just isn’t an EDC.

        • avatarRoscoe says:

          One should be in the practice of counting the number of rounds as they are being fired, and aware of how many mags remain as they are deployed. That should be SOP.

          Agreed, I don’t think this weapon was ever meant to be anything but a handsome target pistol.

        • avatarnatermer says:

          > This beautiful pistol may be a nice range toy, but it just isn’t an EDC.

          > Agreed, I don’t think this weapon was ever meant to be anything but a handsome target pistol.

          This gun is marketed and sold by it’s manufacturers as a self defense weapon.

          It should be rated with that consideration. If the manufacturers claimed ‘Do not use this gun for any purpose other than showing it off at the range’ then I wouldn’t care and I would be happy to give it a huge pass. If somebody likes pretty baubles and is happy to spend 1700 dollars on a paper weight then that’s fine.

          But it’s not. It’s marketed as a life saving device and should not be given a pass because it’s neat looking.

      • avatarBear says:

        Not buying it. I’m already inclined against the 1911 platform for the wont of reliability among them (not all, but a lot…enough to make you raise an eyebrow).

        A gun that will fail inside 100 rounds could well fail within 50. Or less.

        What if some lint for the clothing you will inevitably have covering it gets in? Or leather shreds, for those of you that have a leather holster?

        There is no excuse for a carry gun to not run flawlessly. End of story. The last thing you want to worry about when your mind is on staying alive and staying legal in a gunfight, is that your weapon could concievably fail.

        Sure, my M&P could fail, but not as concievably as the ECO could.

      • avatarRoscoe says:

        Absolutely, Alex; your point is well put and on the mark.

        One should be completely familiar with the capabilities and limitations of his/her equipment be it weapons or otherwise. Deploy with those capabilities in mind and don’t expect them to be better than what experience has shown; in fact take a pessimistic outlook.

        Use a proven defensive carry weapon if that is your purpose, save the precise target handgun for the range and competition.

        I wouldn’t use a reliable rattle trap gov’t issue .45 for precision, and based on the results presented; this Dan Wesson would not be my first choice for defensive carry.

      • avatarnatermer says:

        > I spent 13 years between the Marine Corps and the Army.

        Too bad it seems that you didn’t learn much about pistols in that time period.

        > and your life depends on that tool, you don’t just leave it unclean….

        If you can’t rely on a gun to operate under ideal conditions then why the hell you do think it would work under real world conditions?

        A gun with a 100 rounds through it is not ‘unclean’. Hell, it’s barely dirty. 100 shots is nothing. It will pick up more dirt from sitting in a holster in a week then it will get from a 100 shots.

        This gun is a range toy and a crappy one at that. It’s dangerously irresponsible and shows a distinct lack of respect and consideration for their customers for ‘Dan Wesson’ or CZ-USA (or whoever) to market this POS as a gun that is appropriate for conceal carry.

        There are lots of guns that easily outclass this one at literally fraction of the price.

    • avatarnatermer says:

      > If the gun consistently shoots up to 100 rounds without failure it’s a fine carry gun.

      Uhhh… no it’s not.

      It should go 500 shots without any problems with cheap ammo. Every 9mm I’ve ever owned, or shot, is capable of doing that effortlessly.

      When I can go out and buy a 300 dollar SD9ve and have that run flawlessly with no oil for 100 shots, out of the box, and then 350 shots with nothing more then a couple smears of $4.99 Walmart ‘Hi Temp’ red grease (lithium soap, general purpose automotive) then there is absolutely no excuse to have a $1700 dollar gun run like shit.

      I’d trust my life to my .380 Makarov in a fight before I’d choose to go with this hunk of shit, no matter how supposedly accurate it is.

      Saying that ‘oh for the first 100 shots it ran fine’ is lunacy. This is a brand new gun in a clean controlled environment. The idea that you’d trust it to run after it’s been hiding under your shirt in your pants for 24 months is just idiotic.

      I can’t believe that somebody would say such a thing. It’s idiotic and dangerous.

      • avatarJASON says:

        No shit. People that would defend this gun, are as stupid as the bastards that buy it. The fact that you can buy a Hi-Point and run that for 100 rounds without hang-ups doesn’t mean it’s gonna compete in the same beauty pageant…but I’d rather have the Hi-Point in a gunfight over this ECO-LIE. The dumbasses that say this gun is worth anything are ridiculously undermined.

  4. avatarThomas Paine says:

    Nooooooooo! It’s like finding out Santa Claus is not real!

  5. avatarTony says:

    I have this firearm in the .45, and have been extremely pleased with it. I do baby it a little more than normal but I do carry it daily.
    I am not a fan of the 9mm round in a 1911 design and would go the polymer route instead.

  6. avatarTRUTHY says:

    another expensive paperweight……glock, m&p FTW

  7. avatartdiinva says:

    I don’t want a “match grade” 1911 as a carry gun. You have demonstrated why. Guns with high tolerances get dirty quickly and are prone to failure. Once again a reminder:

    Q: Why is the POS AK-47 a great rifle?
    A: Tolerances? we ain’t got no stinkin’ tolerances.

    I will take my Springfield Milspec anyday over a high priced Kimber, Wilson Combat or Dan Wesson. It is put together well enough to be give consistant combat accurate while at the same time can still function while dirty.

    The other reason for not getting this gun is if you want a compact 9mm, go get a Glock and you know what I think of Glocks.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      You nailed it on all counts.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      Word. Glock 26 with cash left over.

      Still, a damn sexy range gun. Perhaps a longer break in cycle would improve reliability.

      • avatarRoscoe says:

        If you’re gonna try to cycle anything approaching 1c rounds, plan ahead, allow extra time, and bring a snake and some m pro 7 along.

      • avatarWilliam says:

        But see…. some of us think Glocks look better suited as shop tools.

    • avatarTR says:

      My thoughts exactly, except I carry a RIA GI1911. $400 and found and nary a worry. Never even had a stovepipe in hundreds of rounds of the cheapest crap I can find, including a bunch of Tulammo. If you want to carry a 1911, buy a cheap 1911 with expensive mags. My buddy carries a Springfield Armory 1911, and even with the decrease in tolerances presumably involved in a $200 price increase, he sees FTFeed and stovepipe issues in every 4 or 5 mags.

      So if you want a 1911, find one that works for you. Reliable, accurate ones exist. If you want a 9mm polymer, those are excellent options as well. But, in my experience, more money doesn’t necessarily mean better.

  8. avatarJWC says:

    2 Wheels beat me to the punch “EMP” all the way! Love mine.

  9. avatarJohn E> says:

    Love my $400 RIA in 3.5 in barrel. For me the perfect carry gun, will chew through any ammo and has never stove-piped or jammed. Of all things had an issue with a kimber replacement mag!

    • avatarTR says:

      Glad to see another happy RIA owner on here. Never had a single issue in my RIA GI model. I swapped out the plain-jane factory grips for some pachmeyr rubber/wood combo stuff, and it’s a dream to shoot. Or would be if I could afford to feed it all it wants to eat.

  10. avatarNoah Yetter says:

    Roughly matches my experience with my DW Guardian. They simply cut the chambers too tight for a gun with this intended purpose.

  11. avatarSaul Feldstein says:

    Yet more undeniable proof of the basically flawed platform the 1911 is. Thankfully Gaston Glock fixed all that in his genius.

    Whats the point of a 1911 in 9mm anyway, now that 9mm costs as much and is harder to get than 45?

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      No, the 1911 isn’t a flawed platform.

      People tinkering with JMB’s original design have put flaws into it. The first among those is this idea that you can run a 1911 with tight fit-ups and tolerances and it will function as reliably as a gun with the original GI tolerances. It won’t. Sorry, but it simply will not, just the same way a benchrest rifle with ultra-tight tolerances (like .003 clearance around the bolt nose where it goes into the rear recess on the barrel, and reduced neck diameters in the chamber) won’t go into battery, or will be hard to extract when it gets some grit in there.

      Does that mean bolt action rifles are unreliable? Hardly. The Mauser 98K and Springfield 1903 are very well proven designed in battlefield conditions – and they have much looser tolerances.

      As mentioned above, one of the reasons for the reliability of the AK platforms is their sloppy loose tolerances. Pick them up, shake them like a dead cat you’re holding by the tail, and they rattle like a bucket of bolts. This tends to offend the American gun owner, who wants tighter tolerances and bank-vault lock-ups than even the Germans, and we all know how the Germans are obsessed with tight fits and tolerances.

      Americans have this obsession on tight lock-ups, with promises of resulting accuracy.

      Well, there’s a price for that, no matter the action, no matter the type of firearm, no matter caliber.

      Go ahead and compare a Colt vs. a S&W revolver. There are wheelgun guys who scoff and dismiss S&W revolvers because of “how sloppy” the from-the-factory tolerances and fit-up are on S&W’s. Which revolver would I have on me in a DGU? A S&W, that’s what. If I get into collecting wheelguns, I’ll collect Colts because there’s a class of people who will pay a premium for the prancing pony rollmark.

      When I need a gun to absolutely, positively go “bang!” when my booger hook pulls on the bang switch? Yea, that’ll be a S&W. And it will be because of the tolerances. Oh, and the fact that S&W added a rebound spring, but that’s another tolerance issue against the Colts when you get down to it.

      • avatarSaul Feldstein says:

        Yes, it is. Many accounts of WW2 vets throwing away their 1911s when Lugers and Walthers were available. Even with “loose” tolerances they tended to jam up and the magazines were always an issue.

        1911s are nice throwbacks to enjoy plinking with, if you want 100% reliability you go to the Glock.

        • avatar2Wheels says:

          More silly arguments from a Glock worshiper…

          Lugers, and to a lesser degree Walthers, were prized as trophies.

          But American soldiers were not dumping their 1911s in exchange for German handguns because they were unreliable.

          If anything, the Luger in particular is far less reliable than the 1911 as well as more difficult to maintain.

          There’s a reason they aren’t copying the Luger action 100 years later…

        • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          If you’re throwing away a 1911 to pick up a Luger, you’re just obviously lacking both experience with a Luger and knowledge of the US Army trials where the 1911 was selected.

          The Luger (chambered in .45 ACP[*]) was evaluated by the US Army as a contender in the tests where the 1911 was selected. The Luger lost – convincingly – due to failures to chamber, failures to extract, etc. The Luger is a wonderful weapon to collect, but there again, the German obsession with fine, fiddly machining gets in the way of reliability, and they were actually not used much by the Germans for actual combat shooting.

          There’s a reason why the Germans dropped the Luger and went with the P-38 – and it wasn’t just the absurdly high machining costs on the Luger.

          [*] .45 ACP Lugers are incredibly valuable today.

        • avatarjwm says:

          Saul, that’s soldier thinking. They always think the other guys have better equipment. Americans loved to discard their m1′s and pick up mp40′s. The Germans loved to discard their rifles and pick up Russian sub guns. The Germans and the Japanese went for the m1 rifles and carbines.

          American marines on the canal equipped with o3 springfields ditched them for the Arisaka carbines some Japanese soldiers carried because they were shorter and handier in the thick stuff.

          And all soldiers will pick up pistols if they don’t already have one.

      • avatarRoscoe says:

        @ Dyspeptic Gunsmith;

        AAA+++

        And if you really want foolproof, carry a .357mag or .44mag revolver with back up speed loaders. I carried a Model 66 duty weapon for years.

        • avatarPulatso says:

          Agreed, if absolutely foolproof is the sole deciding factor, revolver all the way.

    • avatar2Wheels says:

      There’s always a Glock guy making silly arguments…

      1911s in 9mm are awesome btw, same great feel of the 1911 but with much less recoil.

      • avatarBear says:

        The design is old. Newer and more reliable things have come along. That is all.

        There’s nothing wrong with carrying an old style if you feel it fits your shooting better, and will function well enough to get the job done. Me personally? For the size I’d prefer to have the most ammo I can, but there’s nothing wrong with carrying a 1911 platform weapon.

        Some of the guys that knock 1911 carriers forget that there are people out there that still carry revolvers…from a time standpoint those are one step back.

        You could make the same argument to a wheelgun carrier that you could to a 1911 carrier. Just buy a glock or other poly framed semi.

        The bottom line is if they don’t want to, they don’t want to. I personally tote an M&P9 in the cooler months and an LCP in the warm ones. Considering a SHIELD in 9mm as well. But that’s a personal thing. Carry what you want, no sense in knocking that.

        • avatarBear says:

          Oh and btw, you really do pray a little harder when you have to leave the house with a total of 13 .380 rounds :)

        • avatar2Wheels says:

          Old design, no doubt.

          But definitely not flawed, though some modern interpretations of the design are (possibly this one?). And I’d argue just as functional as any modern handgun.

          And I’m one of those crazies still packing a wheelgun :)

        • avatarOODAloop says:

          “The design is old. Newer and more reliable things have come along. That is all.”

          Oooohh, so right. I’m going with one of those new square-wheeled cars because round-wheel cars are so last millennia.

          The 1911 is a good design by an excellent designer. Glocks are no different when you start putting 3lb connectors in them, tweaking firing pins or lightening the slide. They’re designed as a system and when people f*ck with the system it can lead to unpredictable results. Dan Wesson makes good 1911s, however some tweaks that look good on paper don’t look so good IRL…

  12. avatartdiinva says:

    One more thing. My wife and I went to the range to celebrate Memorial Day. She was shooting her M-9 and I gave her a mag of 45 to shoot from my 1911. Her group was tighter than anything you show in the pictures. It’s the shooter and not the gun. Getting a match grade 1911 won’t improve my accuaracy. I am cross eyed dominate. I will still kill you but the groups won’t be very tight.

    • avatarjwm says:

      A lot of people have been killed by people that barely new how to use their guns and had little or no range time. The gun doesn’t kill, the person does. If you don’t have the mindset to take a life the fancy high dollar gun isn’t going to give you that mindset.

  13. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I have no idea why someone would field a 1911 in 9×19. It’s a solution to a non-extant problem.

    OK, so you want a higher round capacity than the .45 ACP 1911′s? That problem has already been solved since a long time ago: The .38 Super. You get all the performance of a .357 Sig in a 1911. In a double-stack IPSC-style 1911, you get, oh, 17+1 rounds into it. The .38 Super has been loaded to “major” IPSC power factors for a long, long time safely.

    I really fail to see any attraction to bringing out a a 9×19 in a 1911.

    • avatarjwm says:

      If I’m not mistaken Colt offered their 1911 in .45, .38 Super and 9×19. The 9 in the 1911 platform did not do well. Why would it? The browning hi-power was on the market with a larger mag and it was an upgrade to the 1911 design.

    • avatar2Wheels says:

      Because why not?

      Why shouldn’t one of the most popular handgun designs on the market be chambered in one of the most popular calibers on the market? .38 Super on the other hand, is rarely seen outside of range/competition guns.

      And in a subcompact platform (which is what we’re discussing, not IPSC guns), it means less recoil (as well as an extra round or two). My Springfield EMP is a joy for practically anyone to shoot, I can’t say the same for my Colt New Agent in .45ACP which is similar in size and weight.

      • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        .38 Super is now not seen much outside range and IPSC (or other running-jumping-shooting-squeeking) game guns.

        The .38 Super 1911 used to be quite popular aways back in the US gun market in the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s, and is popular in South America due to their restrictions on owning guns chambered in ‘military’ calibers.

        This is what I’d like TTAG readers to know more than anything: most of the recent ballistic development done on “new” cartridges is a very marginal improvement over some of the old cartridges.

        The .38 Super is everything the .357 Sig is, and more than the 9×19 is, under standard SAAMI/CIP loadings. You can put just as many rounds in the magazine as 9×19.

        Today’s obsession with the 9×19 has been brought on by the number of pistols brought out in 9×19 due to our adoption of the 9×19 as our standard military sidearm round. It’s hardly the best of the 9/.357/.38 rounds out there, and there were many before it.

        • avatarGyufygy says:

          I read somewhere (probably Wikipedia derp) that .38 Super preferred being shot with a comp due to muzzle rise. Is that just being picky due to being a race gun?

        • avatarGyufygy says:

          Translated from babble: I’ve read the .38 Super has excessive jump when used without a comp. In your experience, does it jump excessively in non-competition use?

        • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          No, I’ve not noticed that. Then again, I’m not as put off by handgun recoil as some shooters are.

          But then, my shooting with a .38 Super was with factory loads. The IPSC people hot-rod it up from there, both to make “major” power factor and to light up the compensator.

          To me, some of the most objectionable handgun recoil comes from ultra-light “carry” snubby revolvers in .357. If I fire 50 rounds thought through one of those things, I literally cannot feel my hand for the rest of the day.

  14. avatarRightYouAreKen says:

    I probably wouldn’t carry a 1911 in 9mm, but as a range toy or competition gun, a 9mm 1911 is a heck of a lot of fun! Love my STI Trojan 9mm.

    Also love my Dan Wesson Guardian .45ACP, which has been flawless and has been used in a few IDPA matches. Not one malfunction, ever.

  15. avatarJAS says:

    I own the exact same handgun in .45ACP and with around 600 rounds fired it has never had a failure of any kind.

    These guns are not polymer and like wise not built with the polymer guns’ loose tolerances. They must be run WET. Not only that but not just with light oil. I have other Dan Wessons and I run all of them with liberal applications of Mil-Comm TW25B grease on all contact points – zero failures of any kind. This is the same grease the Air Force uses on the Gatling guns on their fighter jets by the by.

    If you are getting failures after 100 rounds the guns is a) heating up and expanding, while b) running dry. It’s that simple.

  16. avatarTRUTHY says:

    For $1662 I bought a G17 Gen4 ($560), a S&W M&P Shield ($399), a S&W M&P 45 full size ($499) and had a couple hundred left over for accessories. And by the way, ALL the handguns above cycle 100% from the first round on.

  17. avatarsteve stahler says:

    Poor dependability. $1600? For that price give me a Ruger, Glock, and a Saiga 7.62×39. Almost the same price.

  18. avatarSilver says:

    Now that’s sweet.

  19. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    A lot of comments about the importance of reliability, and normally I’m a stickler about it, but really it all comes down to the odds. What are the odds you will be unable to keep the weapon clean or you’ll be compelled to fire 100 rounds (or even 50) verses the odds that you’ll be compelled to take out a hostage taker with a head shot at 20 yards or that the mere display of any weapon at all will quickly reveal your would be attacker to be a certified beta male who’ll turn tail and run? It’s up to each of us to determine what the odds of our potential needs are and carry accordingly. If you want to carry a really, really nice 9mm and can afford the DW you probably already have a carry weapon and can afford a thousand rounds to break it in and will probably be a fanatic about cleaning such a nice gun. As long as it didn’t jam on the first couple of magazines after cleaning I personally wouldn’t hesitate to carry it. Your mileage may vary.

  20. avatarMark Horning says:

    You don’t say what weight ammo you were using. Many subcompacts only run well with full weight (147 grain for 9mm) ammo. That being said, this just reinforces my thought that 9mm in a 1911 platform is a bad idea.

  21. avatarWLCE says:

    *sighs

    why do these companies continue marketing these guns as self-defense platforms?

    they ought to have their asses kicked.

  22. avatartom says:

    I wonder if the results of the range report would have been different if these instructions from the manual that came with the gun were followed?

    Break-in
    1. Your Dan Wesson Handgun is built to tight
    tolerances. Lubrication and cleaning is key in the
    break-in process.
    2. Only use generous amounts of the recommend
    lubricants on the rails of your Dan Wesson.
    3. We recommend that you felid strip, clean and
    re-oil every 50 rounds during break in.
    4. We recommend a break-in period of 300-500
    rounds before the gun is competition/combat
    ready.
    5. Only use quality factory ball ammunition for the
    break-in process.
    6. Generally what you will see during this breakin
    process is failure to go into battery and or
    sluggish slide operation. This is normal for tightly
    fitted 1911’s and will begin to work itself out during the break-in process.
    7. If for some reason the handgun continues to
    have issues after this break-in process please
    contact Dan Wesson.
    8. Once your Dan Wesson pistol is properly
    broken in only then is it recommended to use hollow
    points.
    9. We do not recommend the use of +P ammunition
    to speed up the break-in process. This will
    usually cause more problems.

    • avatarTom says:

      Thanks for the manual excerpt.

      The original Brownings were amazingly good guns and so were the Lugers. I regularly shoot a pre war Colt 1911 and a 1905 and a Husqvarna Browning from 1919. Compared to a modern 1911 they cycle smoother, more consistently and 20 yard performance is about on par with what you get with todays next new amazing 1911 and that is with the small iron sights. I also shoot old swiss Lugers, Hämmerli and P210. None of them ever failed. Now I love my old guns but I have yet to see a new 1911 beating reliability, materialsquality, proper fitting of the guns of the first half of 20th century.

      Just makes me sometimes wonder what this whole 1911 thing is all about. Mythexploiting importers passing cheap philipine and turkish cast guns as the real “own heritage, history, whatever” thing while in reality it just became a mediocre and unreliable gun with a usually flashy look to it and many corners cut with careful fitting and substandard materials used and a pricetag that has usually a 1-200% markup from a comparable shortlive pistol.

      This manual exerpt is a wonderful example of offloading manufacturers responsibilities to the customer. By no means is it a sign of quality.

  23. avatartom says:

    “By no means is it a sign of quality”
    The manufacturer has specific instructions which you did not follow. You did not clean and lube as the manual directed and then used hot loads on top of it. Then blame the manufacturer! Funny and sad at the same time. I have a Specialist and a Guardian with only 500 rounds through each. Not one FTF or FTE. I do have one bad mag that the slide will not lock open when empty. If you had followed the instructions and had problems your review might hold some weight. I
    Always remember RTFM!

  24. avatarTony says:

    Another ECO .45 owner here. I followed the break-in directions to the letter and, guess what – had FLAWLESS performance. 1,000 rounds in and my ECO is to ammo what Rosie O’Donnell is to a doughnut shop!

    It’s amazing how much easier life is when you RTFM. Then again, they say common sense isn’t so common.

    But, a 1911 in 9mm??? Outside of competitions (and seldom even then) I’ve never understood the need.

    When I want a platform like that, I reach for my Hi Power.

  25. avatarJosh says:

    Can’t say I read the manual, but I did as I do with my other firearms. Used ball ammo of varying manufacturers at the range, kept it lubed up and cleaned at 100 round intervals. The ECO has given me nothing but a smile on my face. About 750 rounds through it so far. Early on, only one failure to return to full battery. Since then, making one ragged hole from 12 yards and raising eyebrows of interested, drooling spectators. At this point, I wouldn’t hesitate to trust my life with it, but usually turn to my J-frame .357 as an every day measure of security. It is the most beautiful 1911 I own, and I shake my head why anyone would spend twice as much on a Wilson…By the way, modern 9mm ammunition is plenty capable of effective self-defense when the shooter does his job (and aims.)

  26. avatar9isfine says:

    A reliable 9mm variant is exactly what the 1911 platform needs to remain competitive with modern designs. JMB only developed the 1911 around a .451 calibre because the Ordnance specification prescribed it. This was borne out of experience with black powder and round ball. This can be discarded when fast burning propellents and conical bullets are used.

    In truth the .45acp is outperformed by the 9mm in almost every respect. The .45acp cartridge is too bulky and too heavy to justify its marginally superior terminal performance over the 9mm. The weight isn’t just felt via heavier magazines, but in the weight (and shape) of the slide. The weight of a full length 1911 slide is just about adequate for full power .45 loads, but insufficient in shorter lengths. That’s why Glocks have square slides. If you want to keep the svelte contours of the 1911, it’s time to ditch the antiquated .45 acp and accept that the “light and fast” orthodoxy is superior to the “slow and heavy”. There’s a reason that big bore autpistols aren’t popular ouytside the US.

  27. avatarhal copple says:

    ran another few mags today thru my .45 ECO. Haven’t disassembled it since i bought it a few months ago, probably not shot a lot by the previous owner. But i do pull a bore snake thru it from time to time; accurate, but i don’t shoot it as well as my bigger 1911 guns. i just need more range time with the gun for that to get better. No malfunctions with my 230 grain handloads; I have maybe 300 rounds thru it so far, but i drop some lube here and there on all my 1911 guns before i take them to the range. It is my carry now, in a King Tuk, When i get done with my familiarization with the gun, I will thoroughly clean it, and then put some light grease where appropriate, and keep it loaded, and then shoot it from time to time to keep current with the gun. As for the reliability concerns expressed above, for “tight” guns like my ECO, I feel it is my responsibility to keep them lubricated.

    My 1911 guns will run dirty and “wet” but not dry.

  28. avatarMerc says:

    My Wesson in 9MM had the same issues and went back 2x. I finally gave up and sold it.

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