Gun Review: Dan Wesson Discretion

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Dan Wesson makes some of the finest 1911s on the market. I regard most of their products as highly as those from, say, Wilson Combat, Nighthawk, Les Baer, and others. The crazy thing is that MSRP on a Dan Wesson is often 33% to 50% less. In 2014, I got my hands on and reviewed a DW Valor and loved it. I didn’t purchase it, though, as I wanted just a bit more pizzazz. But with the release of their suppressor-ready Discretion — the better part of Valor? — I found my new 1911 . . .

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Looking back on that Valor review, I went into a lot of detail about how high-end 1911s are custom fit and how purchasers are generally looking for super tight tolerances, plus how you pay for that tight fit both in dollars and reliability. Also, I speculated at how Dan Wesson distinguishes itself here. I’d suggest reading the first section of that review for more information, but the short version is that a Dan Wesson leaves the factory fit to what I feel is the exact sweet spot. They’re flawlessly snug, yet they run smoothly. But more on the Discretion’s fit later.

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There she is, in the case, complete with two, 10-round magazines — my Discretion is chambered in 9mm! — bottle of lube, barrel bushing wrench, owner’s manual, warranty info, and Dan Wesson decal. The thread protector was installed from the factory, and I don’t know what shenanigans it was up to when this photo was taken.

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It’s intentionally missing from this one, though, to show the extended, threaded barrel. That’s half of what makes the Discretion “suppressor-ready,” whether you’re picking one up in .45 ACP or in 9×19 like my example here.

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The other trick to true suppressor-ready status is tall sights to see over the girth of the silencer. The Trijicon rear sight sports horizontal serrations to reduce glare, a tritium dot inserted below the notch (for Straight Eight-style alignment), and a vertical front so it can be used for slide manipulation.

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No surprise, the mountainesque Trijicon front sight is a perfect match.

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Between those tall sights the flat-topped slide is serrated. Like the serrations on the rear sight, this helps to reduce glare.

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Moving down from there we find an M1913 Picatinny-spec accessory rail on the front of the forged steel frame.

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On the other side, the only slide marking is the model name — “Discretion” engraved discreetly above the slide stop. Once again, I very much appreciate how clean Dan Wesson keeps “old slab sides.” They’ve avoided turning their slides into billboards like so many other manufacturers do.

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Of course, those giant slide cuts aren’t exactly subtle. It’s a pretty big aesthetic departure from the rest of the Dan Wesson line, and I can’t seem to decide if I like it or not. Among the folks I’ve asked, it’s running about 50/50.

Many will say it isn’t only aesthetic, though, and that lightening up the slide can reduce felt recoil while also offsetting some of the additional heft of bolting on a suppressor. For those who like front serrations for slide manipulation, rejoice. Those giant slots provide excellent purchase.

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Headed down the pistol again we get to the trigger. It’s a skeletonized job from EGW with the slightest curve to its serrated face. Those serrations look a bit aggressive, but feel great on my trigger finger. Although this trigger is not externally adjustable for overtravel, Dan Wesson has tuned it to perfection…but more on trigger pull quality later.

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Below that, frontstrap and backstrap are cleanly and finely checkered to 25 LPI. It’s sharp enough to provide incredible grip while fine enough to be all-day comfortable.

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A magazine well funnel adorns the bottom of the grip frame. It’s blended flawlessly to the frame bevel and is also almost exactly the same width as the grip panels, so overall it looks and feels very much like an integral piece of the gun.

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Getting into the details on parts fit now, the slide-to-frame fit on this Discretion is perfect. By perfect I do mean perfect. Each of the five sides of the slide rails flawlessly match each of the five sides of the frame rails and they’re all as flat as a laboratory-grade straight edge.

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Whether the slide is locked back or barely placed onto the rails during assembly, it does not wiggle. Grabbing slide with one hand and frame with the other, eyes closed, you could easily mistake them for one solid piece of steel. Unless, of course, you pull the slide to the rear, in which case it slides on those rails like oiled glass.

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Machining and extremely black, extremely durable duty finish are flawless everywhere.

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Bushing-barrel fit, bushing-slide fit, barrel lugs-slide lugs fit, grip safety- and beavertail-frame fit, etc. are all top notch. Again, I’d say they’re exactly at the sweet spot. They’re right where the over-tight, custom-made 1911 is after it’s broken in with 500 or 1,000 rounds and first begins to run reliably.

On The Range

The day my Discretion arrived I took it straight to the indoor range. I loaded up both 10-round magazines with cheap reloads, sent the target out to 25 feet (8.33 yards), and chewed through those rounds rapid-fire. Really, I was looking only for basic function, curious if it would run right out of the box.

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Run it did, and I couldn’t believe how small the group was considering how fast I was firing. Match grade barrel and incredibly precise fit make the Discretion mechanically accurate to the extreme, but there are three main things that make the Discretion so dang shootable in practice…

  • The sights are crisp, clean, highly visible, and were dead-on.
  • 9mm 1911s are smooth. Oh so smooth. And the Discretion is the best example I’ve shot. The recoil spring is so soft I can easily rack the slide by pulling on the rear sight with my pinky finger. Recoil while firing is about as light as it gets in 9mm, and man does this thing shoot flat. Muzzle rise is so minimal that the front sight seems to just stay still.
  • The trigger is fantastic. It breaks at 4 lbs but feels more like 3. It has no creep, no overtravel, and a short reset. Heck, it’s a lot like clicking the button on a computer mouse. How short can a 1911 trigger actually be from on-the-sear to fully rearwards to reset again? Check this out:

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A trigger that short and crisp makes it easy to run the gun faster than my skill level should allow. Of course, a gun that shoots so very soft and flat makes it easier to keep up and keep the rapidly-appearing holes on target.

For a more data-driven view of the trigger pull, we’ll turn to the Dvorak TriggerScan unit that was used to great effect in the recent AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Roundup:

Dan Wesson Discretion Trigger Scan

As you can see — the blue line and the highlighted data — there’s 0.052″ of take-up to the trigger shoe. I wish it didn’t have to be there but it’s inherent to the 1911 design and most shooters praise it as a first stage that prepares the shooter for proper fundamentals on the break. As seen in the graph, the Discretion’s take-up is very smooth and is quite consistent at about 1.5 lbs. After that you’re up against the sear until it breaks at 4 lbs. The TriggerScan detects ~0.028″ of creep, but I’m not able to feel it here. The break is absolutely crisp and the weight drops precipitously back down to the take-up weight before immediately hitting the overtravel wall.

The TriggerScan graph also shows — the red line — a short reset distance, meaning most of the take-up does not have to be repeated between shots. Were the Discretion’s trigger the 14th contestant in the AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Roundup, it would have tied for 1st on short reset, placed 2nd for short overtravel (and much closer to 1st than to 3rd), and placed 4th for least creep. It’s a hell of a trigger.

Accuracy

Resting the Discretion on a sandbag and shooting 5-shot groups at 15 yards — my right eye isn’t good enough for group size shooting at much longer distances with pistol sights — I was surprised at how accurate the pistol is with a huge range of ammunition types and bullet weights. Federal HST in 147 grain flavor turned in great groups:

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But then again, so did everything else:

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I wasn’t happy with that Blazer group at top left, so I shot it again:

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Yep, it was my fault. The Discretion also grouped 92.5 grain solid copper +P rounds right in line with the rest of the 115, 124, and 147 grain fodder I put through it. I wish I had a Ransom Rest, as I’m fairly confident the mechanical accuracy of this pistol would be stunning to behold.

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It was just as accurate for me with my Liberty Mystic X on the end. It was quiet, too. Discreet, even. 1911s tend to make pretty good suppressor hosts, and considering subsonic 9mm generally suppresses better than .45 ACP, the Discretion makes a superb one.

Reliability

Surprising even me, the Discretion ran flawlessly right out of the box. And I’m someone who holds Dan Wesson in relative esteem precisely for making tightly-fitted 1911s that function reliably out of the box. Still, I was surprised because the fit is just as tight and great as it is on the .45 guns but the recoil spring is so soft in comparison. I figured it would eject just fine, but might have trouble going into battery until some sort of “break-in” period was complete.

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That wasn’t the case. Through 500 rounds the Discretion ran with complete reliability whether suppressed or not, whether shooting round nose, flat nose, or hollow points. Well…except for three fairly severe stoppages, the blame for which can be shared between gun and ammo.

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You see, the Discretion’s stainless steel, match-grade barrel has a match-grade chamber. It’s tight. It’s flawlessly machined and nicely polished, but it’s snug. While I ran six brands of factory ammo through the gun without a hitch, I managed to get three of Freedom Munition’s 115 grain reloads jammed about halfway into the chamber so hard that it was physically impossible to unlock the slide by hand (ramming the front sight into the edge of a steel bench worked great, though, as did a rubber mallet to the rear sight). In all cases it was the slide’s normal, forwards motion that stripped the round out of the magazine and crammed it into the chamber, sticking it fast.

Now, the ammo does share some of the blame. Measuring with my calipers, the rounds that seized up the gun were at the extreme fat end of the SAAMI case diameter spec range. Every factory new round I checked — fully 10 different brands — was meaningfully narrower and fell freely into the Discretion’s chamber. However, according to my caliper these trouble-causing reloads were not actually out of spec. Additionally, they all plunked right into a GLOCK’s chamber (yes, so does a hot dog), Ruger American Pistol’s chamber, Beretta Nano’s chamber, and REX Zero 1 S’ chamber (the pistols I had handy at that moment).

While I couldn’t find a factory-loaded round that didn’t gravity feed into the Discretion’s chamber, it’s definitely fair to say that it’s cut tight. If I were to use this gun for defensive purposes, I’d fill it with a quality, new ammo brand that I trust. Heck, I’d plunk each round into the chamber before loading it into the magazine just to be 100% sure.

Conclusion

If you haven’t shot a 9mm 1911, you should put it on your to-do list. If you haven’t held and shot a Dan Wesson, add that to the list, too. With the Discretion, Dan Wesson has taken a notoriously smooth-shooting category of gun to the next level. I’m addicted to racking the slide with the Matterhorn-shaped (no, for real) rear sight, using only my index finger or the edge of my hand. The gun is just So. Dang. Smooth.

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Our Fearless Leader™ suggests nothing is perfect and that we’re always able to point out a flaw, a nitpick, or an “I’d change” in a product. The Discretion leaves me grasping at straws here. I suppose the match chamber is a double-edged sword, taking some credit for accuracy that exceeds my shooting ability but also meaning it won’t chamber muddy, out-of-spec rounds like a GLOCK might. As I sit here at my desk, slowly cycling the slide and enjoying the feel and sound of it, I don’t much care. I know it’ll chew clean through 500 rounds of factory ammo right out of the box without a hitch — even if most of those are shot suppressed — and be an absolute joy to shoot that entire time, while putting up groups as tight as the shooter’s skill level is capable of.

Specifications (Dan Wesson Discretion):

Caliber:  9x19mm (also available in .45 ACP)
Action:  Single Action Only, hammer-fired, semi-automatic
Trigger Pull Weight:  4 lbs
Barrel Length:  5.75″
Overall Length:  9.5″
Height:  6″
Width:  1.5″ at widest point (at thumb safety)
Weight:  41.25 oz (2 lbs, 9.25 oz)
Capacity:  10+1
MSRP:  $2,142

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *
Few shooters could ever exceed the mechanical accuracy of this pistol, but with great sights, soft recoil, and a stellar trigger, the Discretion will help most shooters shoot their best.

Ergonomics: * * * * 
Compared to other 1911s, it’s as good as it gets without entering the territory of seriously oversized controls.

Reliability: * * * * 
Minus a star for a tight, match chamber. If I were taking this thing into battle I’d open it up a couple thousandths. But I’m not, so I won’t. I’ll stick with the exceptional accuracy.

Customize This: * * * * *
The sky high sights, threaded barrel, and accessory rail do reduce the number of holster options a bit, but being a 1911 there are still plenty to choose from. Other than that, it’s nearly impossible to beat the size of the aftermarket available for a 1911 with a threaded barrel and Pic rail. Then again, the Discretion already has a magwell, tritium-illuminated suppressor sights, threaded barrel, railed frame, slide cuts, cool hammer, great controls, fantastic trigger, and nice grips. What more could you want?

Concealed Carry: * * *
Average as full-size 1911s go. Aluminum or titanium frame and a bob tail would bump it up in the rating, but it wouldn’t be the same gun. A double-stack frame would knock it down. So…about average.

Overall: * * * * *
It’ll put a dent in your “Discretionary” income for sure, but it’ll actually be a lot smaller than a comparable gun from most of Dan Wesson’s peers. The Discretion is suppressor-ready, cool looking, accurate, beautifully made, and oh-so-dang-smooth.

comments

  1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    Nice comprehensive review.

  2. avatar RocketScientist says:

    So slightly off-topic… but I’m in the market for a Dan Wesson 715 (.357 mag revolver), new production. But I’m having one HELL of a time finding anyone that has one in stock. Short of dropping 1300+ on gunbroker for an auctioned one, anyone have any suggestions on where to track one down? can find the DW 1911s everywhere, the revolvers not so much.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Yeah, my FFL (one of the two I frequent in the area and have a good relationship with) has two, I do believe. Ask for Jeremy Ball or Nick Brown at Sharp Shooting Indoor Range: 509.535.4444 …I think if you tell them I sent you they’ll either give you a better price or hang up immediately 😛

    2. avatar Pascal says:

      Join the club, the 715 is as rare as unicorns unless you are willing to pay up. I have found Dan Wesson Revolvers used at various gun stores in my travels, but often they are selling them almost at “new” prices.

      Buds and Kentucky Gun Co. have them from time to time and you can sign-up for email alerts for when they are available but if you do get an email, you will need to be quick because they go fast.

    3. avatar Andrew says:

      If you are patient and willing to search…I don’t want to plug another site but I found mine on a site that rhymes with “Farmswrist”…they’re out there. Mine was a “Blem” model (small nick un the underside of the trigger guard) that I found new for $890.

  3. avatar tdiinva (now in Wisconsin} says:

    If I didn’t already have a Hi Power i would buy a 1911-9mm. Shooting a 9 out of a 2lb+ pistol is like shooting a 22WMR. I am not suppressor ready until they get removed from the Class III list. I am not letting the ATF into my life.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      If you’re talking about random inspections and warrantless ability to enter your home, those rumors are completely false. No such thing exists simply because you own NFA items.

      1. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

        No, I am talking about giving them more information than I have to. They may have records of me buying a particular firearm but I can always tell them I sold it since I don’t live in a universal background check state. If I buy a suppressor. I have to produce suppressor if they were to become illegal.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          NFA items get destroyed, lost, and stolen all the time. There’s no law saying that you have to notify the ATF if that happens, but the ATF says they require it. That said, if guns become illegal and there’s a door-to-door confiscation or a mandatory “turn them in” and you’re already planning and willing to lie about owning guns in that circumstance, than what’s preventing you from doing that in this circumstance? Tell them it was destroyed/lost/stolen.

          And the whole thing is predicated on 1) suppressors becoming illegal 2) that law being retroactive so all suppressors already owned are now illegal 3) forced turn-in of those suppressors or even door-to-door confiscation (ATF has just 2,400 special agents, too) and 4) not being willing to comply and getting into trouble because of it. Even if that happened and you chose to turn them in, are you sure it wouldn’t have been worth “renting” those suppressors for however many years you got to before that day came? IF that day comes (big “if”).

        2. avatar I1ULUZ says:

          How many government list are you staying off of? You have a SSN, you most likely have a credit card, you have applied for a loan, you have a bank account, you file your taxes, you have a passport, you own a car, you drive an auto. You have a carry permit, etc…. We’re ALL on a list. You’re credit reports are accessed from offshore call centers, NSA monitors net traffic crossing from US to offshore data farms. Then they decide if it’s a US citizen or not.

          You were stationed in VA, I do not believe VA is required to flush their system like FBI is of PII.

          Here’s something I just noticed the other day while tearing up a credit card offer, wait, Patriot Act disclosure?

          https://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/pdf/finalciprule.pdf

          What’s the percentage of compliance in NY after the SAFEAct?

          You can receive your PUBLIC info from here, forgot an old address, they have not.

          http://www.lexisnexis.com/en-us/products/public-records.page

          .

  4. avatar Elliot S says:

    I actually got one of the first models in .45 ACP and was initially disappointed as it was my first Dan Wesson. Within 100 rounds, my front sight post flew off. It took me 2 weeks to get ahold of customer service. The extractor is also not flush with the rear of the slide and the safety lever (which should be ambi in a tactical gun), is stiffer than a 2×4. Seriously, it was almost impossible to get it to disengage.

    The gun is great overall, but for $2000 I expected it to surpass any of my Kimbers.

  5. avatar James in AZ says:

    Excellent review, but one thing i might wanna point out.

    We need to stop propagating the idea that no pre-travel or over-travel is always a good thing.

    A proper amount of both is necessary for proper function.

    When there’s no pre-travel, as the slide smashes into battery causing the trigger to move relatively rearward due to its own inertia, you are only 0.018″ – 0.024″ away from a hammer-follow. This is not a problem on “milspec” weapons but on guns like this one it could pose a serious safety threat if the trigger mass is too heavy, the trigger pull is too light, the mainspring is too light, and the sear engagement length is on the short end of the tolerance. And when the gun is dirty, some pre-travel is necessary for the disconnector to reset.

    When there’s insufficient over-travel, the action of “hitting the over-travel stop” might shake the barrel when the bullet hasnt left yet, especially when your trigger pull for that shot is less than perfect.

    1. avatar PPGMD says:

      So much this.

      The glass triggers just mask trigger control issues. You master trigger control, and you will be able to shoot any gun.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        That isn’t really the question. It’s more like eating frozen pizza I cook at home vs. going to a really awesome pizza place. They both do the exact same thing and I get full and get the same calories, etc, (and you’d better believe I’m equally skilled at stuffing them in my pie hole! haha) but one is way more enjoyable. I shoot perfectly fine with a 12-lb battle rifle trigger, but I shoot mainly for recreation and enjoyment and I enjoy shooting a crisp, amazing trigger a whole lot more. Over the past few years while shooting ever-increasing numbers of different guns every month, sights and trigger quality have become increasingly important to me and, in terms of the behind-the-gun shooting experience, are two major things that make one gun stand out to me vs. another. The trigger is a hugely important interface and connection with the gun.

        And again, the Discretion’s trigger is AMAZING! I realize pre-travel is necessary to the disconnector function and durability in a 1911. I realize some overtravel is necessary to ensure the hammer actually drops reliably. I think the Discretion is literally tuned as perfectly and precisely as it possibly can be. Do I prefer a trigger that doesn’t have slack/pre-travel in it though? Yeah, yeah I do.

        …and RE James’ comments on pre-travel, I’m pretty sure I’m physically incapable of releasing rearwards pressure on the trigger before the slide is back in battery. That trigger’s going to be pinned firmly against the overtravel stop until well after the gun is done cycling. Even Miculek firing as fast as possible isn’t able to reset until well after the slide is home (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh2mm3EJ-9o). Even in the scenario where the trigger is reset before the slide hits back into battery, I’m not seeing the extra margin of safety you’re describing in this case — the pre-travel is just so light, so short, and only a teeny fraction of it has to be repeated after reset anyway. And on the inertia front, this aluminum trigger doesn’t have the mass to overcome a 4-lb pull weight even if the gun were dropped on its tail from a 10-ft ladder. But even if it did, would you say the 1.25 mm of 1.5-lb pre-travel would prevent that? I’m 100% with you that it’s mandatory on a 1911 for function and durability, but I’m not there on the safety argument. I’ve owned and shot dozens of semi-auto firearms with triggers that are rock-freaking-hard right up on the sear at rest, with pull weights a low as 1.x lbs, and haven’t seen any of that sort of issue. And again, the Discretion resets to near-as-dammit right on the sear anyway. Safety isn’t built into the 1911 trigger, it’s there via a manual thumb safety and a grip safety. If you want safety via trigger pull, you get a double action revolver or a semi-auto with an equivalent pull to that.

        1. avatar James in AZ says:

          Man… I was talking about dropping the slide after a slidelock reload, which is a common cause of hammer-follows on raceguns. Some gunsmiths even advise the shooter to hold the trigger back when doing so. When done right, even a 2lb trigger, which is what i’ve always been running on my Open guns, will NOT hammer-follow. But we all know 1911s are famous for being done wrong.

          But i get your point.

        2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          Ah sorry, I had slide cycling (during fire) on the mind. I think if your finger is out of the trigger guard when the slide is released from lock, you aren’t going to see the gun fire. I’d bet most of those are NDs due to trigger finger impacting the trigger when the gun dives forwards as the slide hits home. But obviously if it does fire and nothing has touched the trigger then yes, something is horribly wrong with the gun mechanically. I recently played with a Remington 700 with a 3/8th ounce (yes, less than one half of one ounce) trigger pull, and no matter what you did with the gun including slamming the buttstock into the ground or smacking the gun with a rubber mallet in any direction, it would NOT fire unless you physically touched the trigger shoe with something. Crazy stuff. Of course, that isn’t a 1911.

  6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Very nice. That’s a great looking pistola.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      +1. I’m not a “1911 guy”, but damn…

  7. avatar Moe Sizlak says:

    Ok hold up HK Mk23’s are now going below $1,800. Why should I bother paying for a $2,100 1911 when there are modern platforms around?

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Mk23 is 25 years old 😛

      But seriously, they’re different guns. You may as well tell me I shouldn’t buy a sports car when I can get a pickup instead.

      And you’re going to compare street price on one gun to full MSRP on another? And pay $1,800 for a plastic gun? When a $525 GLOCK does the same thing? The price thing can be argued until the end of the universe, but there are reasons people pay $525 for a GLOCK instead of $325 for a Taurus and pay $1,800 for an HK instead of $525 for a GLOCK and $2,000 for a top-of-the-line Dan Wesson instead of $395 for a Rock Island. But 1911 vs polymer double stack is just…it’s very hard to think of them as substitutes.

      1. avatar Moe Sizlak says:

        Jeremy, I think you’ve hit a false equivalency here. A Glock and a Tauraus are not the same thing, for sure, both in terms of quality and reputation. In this case we’re talking about two weapons that are both chambered in 45, both have limited carry options (outside of open carry), both are obscenely expensive and are most likely spend their days as range toys. The Dan Wesson and the Mk23 are very comparable, as they both share a sterling reputation and are in a similar price bracket. This leads me to question why one would settle for an older, more temperamental platform, where there are options that could surpass it. I’m only using the Mk23 as an example of a high priced, vaunted .45.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          I simply don’t see them as substitutes. A double stack polymer frame DA/SA doesn’t fit in the same box for me as a single stack steel frame SA gun. They’re just too different. And why would somebody “settle” for “an older, more temperamental platform?” Well, you gave a great reason yourself when you said they’d “…most likely spend their days as range toys.” They feel different, they look different, and they shoot differently. They’re different. It really is like pickup or sports car to me, and you’re making the argument that a pickup is more utilitarian and therefore nobody should get a sports car, but maybe I have something else that’s utilitarian and I just want my damn sports car 😉

          And the market for $3,000 to $5,000 1911s is huge. Most of those custom shops are backordered 8+ months. People are buying those .45s, at twice the cost of the Mk23, because they ain’t substitutes. A $2,000 1911 that’s as good as many of the $3,000+ ones is an even easier decision.

          BTW my Discretion is a 9mm and that’s part of what makes it sooooo smooth and nice to shoot. That isn’t a Mk23 option.

        2. avatar Moe Sizlak says:

          See? Once again you’re missing my point, why bother dropping so much for a 1911?

        3. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          People spend tens of thousands of dollars on art. Golf. Movies. Alcohol. Cigars. If you want a 1911 you spend money on it. If you want an HK instead you buy that instead. If you want both because they’re totally f’ing different then you get both haha. I dislike iOS stuff and have always gone Android since there was a choice between the two, but I don’t think iOS folks are “wrong.” There’s no right answer. It’s entirely subjective. Get what you want.

    2. avatar CarlosT says:

      My question would be is it more than 2.5 times as awesome as an $800 Springfield Armory Range Officer or something like that? I’m sure it’s snazzier, but really that much better?

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        If you’re looking for something that reliably sends bullets downrange, no. You can get that with a $450 1911. But could I set this DW down on a table next to an $800 1911 and ask my almost-4-y/o daughter or somebody who’s never seen a pistol in real life before to point to the higher quality one and get the right answer instantly? Yeah. From 10 feet away. The difference in finish and sharpness of machining that’s visible from a distance is only a small part of the story, though, because you can really feel the quality when holding and shooting it, too. The fit makes it smooth and tight and every moving part moves without a hint of wiggle room whatsoever yet also without a fuss. Every part is specifically chosen and is machined, finished, and fit flawlessly. At the core of it, the gun doesn’t feel like an assemblage of parts but like a singular unit.

        BTW on the Springfield side I’ve owned an EMP 9mm, a Champion Operator Lightweight (great gun), an MC Operator, and a legit Professional model (PC1911 custom shop gun made for the FBI HRT, and mine was the original version with the Nowlin barrel and nicer “slick” finish that was so dang black I couldn’t figure out how to photograph it haha). I’ve had others from other companies, too, from inexpensive to hand fit. The only 1911 I have now is the Discretion. I think I’m going to OC it at the NRA Annual Meetings show next week.

  8. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Solid review and great write up. Do any 25 yard testing?

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      I shot my rubber dummies torso target offhand from 50 yards with excellent results. I did not do rested accuracy groups at 25 yards, though. My right eye can’t focus well enough to align the sights precisely on the gun and the target for that sort of group size testing. 15 yards is much better and I remove way more of my personal fudge factor from it. Every now and then I’ll slap a laser on the rail of a pistol and do 25 yard, rested groups that way. Maybe I’ll still do that w/ the Discretion here.

  9. avatar Ing says:

    Very nice. If I had $2k to spend on a single pistol, this would be it.

  10. avatar Spartacus Khan says:

    I like everything about it except the single-stack. If it was a 2011 frame, I would buy one. My next pistol will be a CZ Shadow 2 from pretty much the same place. I want a TS-Orange (same price range as this, also SA-only) as well, but cannot really justify it yet. If the FK Brno 7.5 ever gets here, I will do whatever I must to get one. Great review, BTW. I love Dan Wessons, and would like one of their revolvers – the changeable barrel .44, but I already have a Redhawk, so again I can’t really justify it. Yet.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      DW does do some 2011s but they’re in the baller custom shop line and they’re like $4k. They’re also fat, since they’re steel frames, whereas something like an STI 2011 on the polymer grip frame has a more normal grip width.

  11. avatar joe3 says:

    “Many will say it isn’t only aesthetic, though, and that lightening up the slide can reduce felt recoil”

    I though more weight would reduce felt recoil.

    1. avatar joe3 says:

      /thought…

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      The slide cycles backwards and forwards, so the heavier it is the more it throws the gun around. If the frame is heavier, it’ll definitely cut down on felt recoil. Most folks assert that a lighter slide will reduce felt recoil and/or muzzle flip, but it has to be paired with an appropriate recoil spring and that’s where it can get tricky. In an ideal world, lightest possible slide and lightest (in terms of spring power) recoil spring would be softest shooting, but only if you don’t then have the slide battering the frame too hard and slamming into its full rearward travel point like a hammer, plus you also need enough spring power to send the slide forwards, strip the next round out of the mag, and chamber it and go into battery strongly enough. It’s a balance that I think DW nailed spot-on with this gun in 9mm.

      1. avatar joe3 says:

        Thank you very much for that great explanation!

  12. avatar Walt says:

    Think the sights are heine straight eights with trijicon inserts

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      You may be right. The companies work closely together. The rear sight here lacks the Heinie logo that all of theirs have and the serrations are finer, but that doesn’t mean Heinie didn’t make it just for this gun. Or maybe Dan Wesson did. The front has a trijicon logo on it but most of Heinie’s tritium insert front sights do have the trijicon logo so that’s nothing weird. No idea which company actually manufacturers the sight in those cases. Maybe every pistol iron sight trijicon sells is actually manufactured by Heinie… no clue. There’s plenty of white labeling and production sharing, licensing, etc that goes on. At any rate, they’re super good sights 🙂

      1. avatar Walt says:

        Looking at my valor there is no heine logo, only a trijicon logo. But I know they are definitely heine. Either way you are right, they are fantastic sights. Wish I could get them on every pistol. Super fast aquisition.

  13. avatar Kittenfists says:

    Nice to see another great write up on the Dan Wesson pistols. The review on the Valor sold me on these, my addiction has only gotten worse since then.

  14. avatar icepick314 says:

    I’m saving up to get this particular 1911 myself…hopefully by end of next month, I will be new owner of DW Discretion…

    I’ve always wanted 1911 and this on caught my eyes when I was looking at CZ website…

    thanks for the review and I can’t wait to shoot the hell out of this!

    saving for a suppressor will take long too…probably around winter time that I can get one…

  15. avatar Accur81 says:

    Great review, and looks like a great gun.

  16. avatar Jesse R says:

    Watched your video when it came out on YouTube and it sold me. Took you a minute to get the written up! (saying this after reading it 10 times in the last month) Mine will arrive next wednesday. If only there was a way to sedate myself fully until then…

    I’m torn between the octane 9mm and the mystic x you used. Any advice?

    1. avatar James says:

      I recommend going with a .45 cal can for the versatility. The db difference shooting 9mm is inconsequential.

      The size/weight difference is the only reason to go with 9mm. I regret getting my 9mm Osprey when I could have had the .45 version but I was a newb and was chasing db.

  17. avatar Machineking says:

    Just finished the 500 Rd break-in on my 9mm Discretion. Not one single hiccup. I Ran winchester white box 115 grn through it and it ate it up! I’m impressed with everything about this pistol and I have shot many different 1911 variants. The single dot on dot night sights are freaking pimp, (front glows green rear glows white)so easy to pick up with my old eyes. The trigger is amazing and allows for some serious accuracy. Fit and finish is superd. I dropped a clip on the slide and it left zero marks so the duty finish is tough. If I had one complaint it would be that it did not come in a fitted case. It comes in a case for there standard 5 inch barrel guns so the Discretion doesn’t lay flat. For the money (2k) it’s definitely better than any Kimber, Sig, and shoots just as nice if not better than the Wilson combats that I’ve shot. It’s all in the eye of the beholder!

  18. avatar Sean says:

    This was an excellent article, and I get it. I fully understand the appeal. My hat is off to Jeremy S.
    As one who appreciates a comprehensively constructive review, I had to handle these 1911s myself.
    My wife went along with me, due to the 9mm option. VRA in Ohio has both, in 9mm and 45 ACP. This DW
    reminded me of my S&W 1911 Performance Center (SKU: 170343) until it was placed in my hands.
    Game over. I started to list other very nice 1911s for comparison, but why? This gun had me the first time I racked the slide. Smooth, easy, fun. You can rack it with a pinky. The trigger. That’s the exact moment when we decided this gun needs us. It needs a good home. Then, VRA put a couple of different cans in front of us. Octane 9 was awesome, clear sight picture. I’ll be back to check out the Omega 9K for sight clearance.

  19. avatar Bryce says:

    Please stop saying “how it” this and “how I” that. It’s not a fine point of grammar. It’s illiterate.
    You’re really saying this: “Duhhhhhhhhhhh….Me no know word. Words too hard. Me just say “how it…”
    It’s disgusting. It’s disgusting because it’s the act of the quitter
    People of normal intelligence don’t care if other dopey people do it. It’s still illiterate, it’s still disgusting, and it’s still stupid.
    I’ve un-screwed a small bit of your laziness in the section shown below.
    “…how high-end 1911s are custom fit and how purchasers are generally looking for” is easily changed to, ” …custom-fitting of high-end 1911s and buyer preference…”, and 13 words become 7 words.
    “how you pay for that” should have been, “the cost”, and 5 words become 2 words.
    “Also, I speculated at how Dan Wesson distinguishes itself here.”………Actually, there is no fixing that abortion.
    ” appreciate how clean Dan Wesson keeps” Are you trying to say “cleanliness”, or maybe, “clean design” ?
    ” how small the group was considering how fast” Did you actually gave up on saying, “size” and “speed” because those baby words are too hard for you? What are you, stupid?

    I didn’t weigh in here because this one writer was so dopey. I weighed in because more and more of us are more and more dopey.
    The world is not kind to stupid people and the world is not kind to stupid countries. I care about America, and so do the rest of you. When we care about our country, we must sometimes criticize it when it’s doing itself harm. Enough with the “how it” crap!

    1. avatar Ed says:

      Good thing even us simple country folk that don’t speak right know a jerk!

      Great write up. Bought my Discretion in .45–love all guns but 1911’s have always been a favorite.

  20. avatar Machineking says:

    What would you know of the world your obviously sitting in your moms basement looking for attention so here you go…. Lay off the dope! It is a good review and we are here to talk about it, an guns, not how much time you spent in English class. Go back to writing bogus reviews on Amazon.

  21. avatar Don Parkhurst says:

    I just got the .45,and yes the trigger is what ultimately made up my mind-not to mention the pull,travel and smooth as glass action-there was ZERO side to side travel on it.This gun is tight and right in all aspects.
    As for finding a good holster,that is another issue,my gun shop didn’t have anything close to fitting it,nor did they have a clue what would fit it,I am having a custom made rig made for it,it’s about a 6 weekish wait for it-but for a completely custom all leather hand made holster I can accept that,I don’t know if links are allowed,but will provide if asked.
    As i just got it last night i have not had the pleasure of shooting it yet,but that will be very soon,i will update after I do so you know how the .45 acts as well as the 9 milly

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