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This is the second Wilson Combat pistol I’ve fired. While I could shoot the eye of a newt with the “entry level” X-TAC (frustrating any witches in the vicinity), the pistol’s G10 Starburst grips left a deep and lasting impression. Literally. Thirty seconds after firing the gun my hand look like my fingertips after an hour-long bath. My paw felt like I’d just been introduced to Andre the Giant (when he was alive). For me, the X-TAC is only slightly more ergonomic than a moray eel. [Click here for Patrick Carrube’s review]. I know. Get a grip Farago. Who cares about your widdle biddy hand? Whatchew gonna do, whatchew gonna when they come for you? Before last night, I would have used my Glock 30 SF to defend my life, liberty and the pursuit of old age. Older age. Today, I’m packing the Bill Wilson Carry Pistol . . .

My first impressions are highly favorable—and not just because I paid more for this hand-crafted 1911 than I shell-out to the City of Providence for their Caribbean beach-house-enabling police pensions. I mean, my SUV’s annual four-figure car tax. I’m the kind of guy who can buy an expensive gun, realize it’s not for me, trade it in the next day, take the financial hit and move on. Have done. Will do. But not in this case.

Which is a case of “I’m nowhere near experienced enough to choose from the armory of options available for a Wilson Combat 1911, so let’s avoid Stendhal Syndrome and go with the firearm the old man carries minus the Wilson Combat markings.” In other words . . .

Take a Wilson Combat CQB Compact, add the new “Round Butt” treatment, shorten the slide stop pin and counter sink the frame (giving you the option to use the Crimson Trace laser grips),  slide top serrations, our new “Carry Cuts”, and finally this wonderful pistol is fitted with Bill’s favorite thumb-safety.

This “Carry pistol” is outfitted exactly as Bill would want it, wearing a set of Wilson Combat Starburst G10 grips with a black slide over a gray frame custom built to exacting standard by some of the best pistolsmiths in the world today.

If you are looking for the perfect carry pistol and you were never sure how exactly it should be, here it is with all the features handpicked to match the gun that Bill carries daily.

No doubt Mr. Wilson values accuracy highly. An experienced marksman shooting a copy of Bill’s carry piece at combat distances can stack bullets on top of each other like a hyper-active grocery store clerk restocking Campbell’s soup. Only WAY faster. Of course, there aren’t a lot of cans in the Bill Wilson Carry Pistol (BWCP). I’ll delve into that whole “eight is enough” question in the full review. For now, a caveat for newbies: the BWCP is not the self-defense pistol you’re looking for.

Sam’s a dab hand with a Smith & Wesson 686. She’s got more determination than Henri ‘Papillon’ Charriere. If she wants to master the Bill Wilson Carry Pistol, she’ll need all her mad trigger skillz and as much patience as she can muster. Controlling the compact 1911’s 3.5 lbs. trigger pull and the carry gun’s stout recoil (out of a four-inch barrel) requires complete commitment. Not to mention perfect trigger discipline and “don’t forget to flick the safety off” gun handling awareness.

Spending the time and money to make the Bill Wilson Carry Pistol your bitch—er, primary defensive weapon may be worth it. That depends on a number of factors, both personal and tactical. Again, the review will tell the tale. Meanwhile, after firing 100 rounds of Blazer ammo through the BWCP (I promise I’ll feed it the good stuff from now on), I found myself quoting Bo Peep in Toy Story: “I found MY moving buddy.” Whether it’s initial euphoria or a life-long commitment remains to be seen. Watch this space.

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  1. I love the 1911 style, but I’ve failed to snap down the safety on the range one too many times. I have a compact Smith M&P .40 “point and shoot” – idiot-resistant like a wheelgun and the need to reload half as often.

  2. The Wilson Combat CQB Compact was my first carry gun and my first IDPA gun. You do need to practice trigger control. I carry a GLOCK 26 now.

  3. I’m fascinated by the evolution – Springfield XDm to Glock to…1911. Okay, a really fine-tuned, balls-to-the-wall, take no prisoners, smack by beeyatch up 1911, but still.

    I feel like saying something like “resistance is futile…assimilate.” But then it’s too late. You’re already here. Or there.

    Welcome to the 1911 family! Your new name in the Collective will be…let’s see…”8 of .45.”

    Say ‘hi’ to Jeri Ryan for me.

    • By that progression of firearms it looks like RF’s round count is going down… does this indicate an enhanced firearm proficiency?
      He might be packing a Bond Arms snakecharmer pretty soon at this rate…

  4. How does anyone feel about carrying a really expensive gun? Not owning and enjoying the gun (I get that), but carrying it for defensive purposes? What makes me nervous is if I have to use it defensively there’s the chance that I’d have to surrender it as evidence for god knows how long. And that’s on top of the legal battle I’d face. This is all assuming that the, say, $500 gun is equally reliable and accurate enough for the purpose.

    • Don’t think about cost. If it fits your hand and it is reliable and you can get off several rounds quickly and get combat accurate hits, it does not matter that the gun cost $300 or $3000.

      • Right, if I could escape such a situation with my life, limbs and freedom in tact, I’d gladly plunk down for
        a replacement. What’s a couple g’s compared to the aforementioned priceless things. Not that a less expensive
        gun wouldn’t do the job, but whether it cost 500 or 5000 wouldn’t be a game changer for me. Even if you lost the
        expensive one and couldn’t afford to replace it, you could say c’est la vie and replace with a cheaper gun plus
        a helluva story.

  5. Funny how we all go thru a progression with our purchases ( some might say regression). I started with a S&W 645 then an AMT hardballer then Colt lightweight commander, headed to poly with an XD and now all my carry arms are …. Glock. 20,21 or 29. My reasoning was simple and born of frustration. The gun must go bang everytime my booger hook hits the bang switch, period. The glocks are the only ones I have owned that have (to date) not needed a slap,rack, pull. My criteria is reliability, regardless of load. be it target handloads or double tap 230gr hardcast.

    The wilson is a sweet pistol. I’m sure what you paid for it bought you a gun with 100% reliability.
    My 1911’s are range guns, my Glocks are my EDC’s.

  6. I have carried a Wilson Sentinel in .45 for a number of years. The holsters change, but the gun remains. A friend called it my “Gucci gun.” My reply? “Gucci gun always goes bang.” And you hit what you aim at. Welcome to the Dark Side 8 of .45.

  7. I EDC a 1911. I had some reliability issues until I replaced the magazines.

    Anyway, I regularly go to the range with 4 magazines distributed about my person, pull my 1911 out of the CC holster and bang away.

    No cleaning before hitting the range, nothing. Just go for it.

    Hasn’t failed in a long time. (Last failure was due to improperly seated primers in hand loads. A friend made them for me.)

    Obviously, I clean my 1911 thoroughly after shooting. Then, back in the holster until next time.

    My thinking being that you should be able to pull the EDC weapon out and start blasting without any preparation beyond picking up a couple extra magazines.

  8. I’ll keep the Para GI Exspert I’ve got. I could buy 6 of these for Wilson’s one.
    Hell I used to shoot a Rock Island 1911 that shoots just as well, and that’s about 8-10 to one of Wilsons.
    Seems like it’s more about “bragging rights” than lethality/accuracy-Just saying…..

  9. The local range has two Wilson Combat guns to rent. The full size and the compact like the one shown in this clip. Both are a dream to shoot. That day I shot four different guns; SWMP45, Glock 21, Kimber compact and the Wilson compact.

    I fired 50 rounds in each split between 21′ and 42′. The Wilson had the best groupings at either distance. I am no where near as steady as when I was in my 20s. I placed all rounds in 6″ circle and 12″ circle at the two distances. The kimber was second with most rounds in 6″ and 12″. The SM was also pretty good, I wasn’t as consistent with it as with the Wilson or Kimber. I hated the Glock, I was all over the place with it. I do not like the trigger pull of the glock or the way it felt in my hand.

    The Wilson just felt deadly in my hand, because of the weight, I was able to bring back on target faster than any of the others. The only thing that kept me from buying one is the price. I just can’t afford $3K gun right now. I guarantee I am saving my pennies to get one as soon as I can.

  10. always carry a S&W 66, 2.5 inch, great gun, never fails, just got my 1st wilson and it’s out of this world, took awhile to save up for it, but worth every cent….

  11. I have owned many 1911s of various origin. i purchased a Bill Wiilson carry . Simply the most accurate,highest quality 1911 I hace owned. Easy to fire, no big deal recoil, back on target guickly, never jams, ammo feeds flawlessly. i have fired as many as 300 rounds at one range visit It is a superb piece.

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