Previous Post
Next Post

Dan Wesson’s DWX was one of the most highly-anticipated firearms of 2019. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it to us until earlier this very year, which I have it on good authority is considered to be 2023. A hybrid design effectively combining a CZ competition frame with a Dan Wesson 1911 slide, resources and materials from both the Czech Republic and New York were required to complete this fast, refined, sexy new pistol. That made it highly susceptible to COVID restrictions, delaying the release of the DWX and the DWX Compact seen here.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

Dan Wesson has built a well-deserved reputation for making top-of-the-line 1911s that blur the line between production and custom. In effect, guns with the incredibly precise fit and smoothness of a custom handgun, complete with hand tuning in the critical areas, but with the reliability, the lack of a “break-in” period, and the price tag of a production gun.

Ammunition for this and all TTAG reviews is sponsored by Ammo To Go. You can support TTAG by shopping at Ammo To Go for ammunition and more.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

The DWX pistols continue this, but with a more modern flair. Instead of single-stack 1911s like the rest of the Dan Wesson lineup, the DWX Compact frame is effectively that of a tuned-up CZ 75 and it accepts a double-stack, 15-round magazine.

This may not come as a surprise, but the DWX Compact is a smaller version of the DWX, which I sorta reviewed here. The big brother holds 19 rounds and is hands-down one of the best shooting pistols on the market.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

Inside either DWX, the trigger group will be familiar to any 1911 shooter (the sear, hammer assembly, disconnector, firing pin, and springs are all 1911) and the slide is much more 1911 in style than CZ 75, though it does use a CZ 75-type barrel locking lug system.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

Naturally, one of the best features of a good 1911 is its trigger, and in that regard, the DWX pistols do not disappoint. The DWX Compact’s trigger moves in a straight line forward and backward. Check. It has a very distinct wall with a crisp, clean, glass rod-like break. Check. Its reset is mind bogglingly short. Check. No trigger shoe safety dingus. Check.

Break weight on the DWX triggers comes in between 3.5 and 4 pounds, but you’d never guess it. It’s so free of creep and so dang crisp and short that most people will guess it’s under 2 pounds.

The DWX trigger is indistinguishable from a hand-tuned 1911 trigger, because that’s exactly what it is. If you feel the need to tune it up, tune it up with 1911 parts. But you won’t. It’s just about flawless right out of the box.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

In a definite deviation from a 1911-style pistol, the DWX lacks a grip safety.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

The DWX Compact’s manual thumb safety, however, is right where you’d expect it. It snicks up and down smoothly with a clean, decisive click. It’s a left side-only affair, but as it’s a standard 1911 component the end-user can swap out for an ambi safety if desired.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

Target crown bushingless bull barrel and a full-length dust cover.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

The fit between the slide and frame rails is very precise. There’s no room for wiggle or rattling, yet the slide cycles like greased glass.

I’d say that it isn’t as tight and precise as Dan Wesson’s 1911s, but at the same time, it’s much more refined and with tighter tolerances than other production semi-autos.

Also seen in the photo above, I love that sight picture.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

Sight layout on the DWX Compact matches my personal preference. The rear sight is all black with a serrated face. It’s drift adjustable for windage.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

Up front is a bright dot with a tritium insert. Eye-catching front night sight and all-black rear? Yep. Perfect.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol grouping

Good sights, a great trigger, and tight tolerances should make for an accurate firearm and the DWX Compact delivers.

On the range it fed, fired, and ejected all of the random ammo I threw at it and it printed nice, tight groups when I slowed down and shot as well as I could from standing offhand.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol
Dan Wesson DWX (top) and DWX Compact (bottom)

With black, aluminum grip panels and black aluminum magazine baseplates, the DWX Compact isn’t as flashy as its big brother. Its aluminum frame and 30-ounce weight are more geared toward carry and duty use, whereas the larger, heavier (45 oz), steel-framed DWX is perhaps better suited to competition and target shooting.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol
The Dan Wesson DWX Compact holds 15+1 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

A potential downside for carry/duty, though, the dust cover is smooth and featureless, without a Picatinny rail or any other feature for attaching a light or other accessories. Then again, this is a plus for carry if you prefer a smoother, more snag-free firearm.

Likewise, neither version of the DWX is cut for an optic, which has become de rigeuer.

Really there’s no winning with that. Consumers complain about optics cuts and they complain about the lack of them. The DWX itself is somewhat of a marriage between traditional and modern and I suppose some picking and choosing must be done.

Additionally, of course, these are guns that were designed in 2019 (and some amount of manufacturing was completed during COVID craziness), when optics-ready slides were just becoming increasingly popular, but were far from “expected” as they’re becoming now. In 2023, it’s fair to say the vast majority of newly-released pistols and new models of existing pistols are coming optics-ready from the factory.

I have no insight or knowledge of this particular matter, but my guess is that upcoming DWX models will feature an optics cut. The market increasingly demands it, but don’t let that hold you back. If you’re determined to mount a red dot, multiple machine shops out there have been cutting DWX slides for months now and do a great job.

Dan Wesson DWX Compact 9mm pistol

Strictly as a matter of enjoyment on the range, I slightly prefer the full size DWX. As you’d expect. With more weight overall and especially out over the nose, it shoots softer and flatter. In fact, it’s one of the fastest, flattest shooting factory guns that isn’t all ported and compensated and race gunnedd out that I’ve shot.

The DWX Compact isn’t far behind. It shows a little more muzzle flip than the big boy, but it shoots like a 9mm 1911 and a 9mm 1911 is one of my very favorite genres of pistols to shoot. But the DWX Compact holds six more rounds than your typical 9mm 1911.

And it’s just dead sexy.

This is a finely-tuned, beautifully fit and finished, reliable, accurate, very good looking pistol that will serve any owner well in any capacity. And it’s nice enough to pass along to your children and beyond. The Dan Wesson DWX and DWX Compact are fantastic pistols that fully justify the asking price.

Specifications: Dan Wesson DWX Compact

GRIPS: Aluminum
OVERALL LENGTH: 7.5 inches
BARREL LENGTH: 4.0 inches
HEIGHT: 5.2 inches
WIDTH: 1.3 inches
WEIGHT: 30.8 ounces
TRIGGER MECH: Single Action
REAR SIGHT: Fixed Battlehook
SAFETY: Manual Thumb Safety
MSRP: $1,999 (find it for less via Dan Wesson DWX Compact)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Overall  * * * *
This is a flawless gun. Everything on the DWX Compact is perfectly made, perfectly finished, and perfectly tuned. It strikes an absolutely ideal balance between precise fit and full reliability. However, if I were designing it around my preferences, I’d cut Picatinny slots into the dust cover and an an optic cut in the slide. That would make this five-star gun all day long.


Previous Post
Next Post


  1. To be honest, in the era of the Alien, Hudson and Brno, among other new ideas, a highly tuned CZ75 is kind of underwhelming. How does this really compare to a tuned CZ75, or Tanfoglio? At $2,000, I could find more interesting or equally (if not better) pieces for competition. Frankly DW should have spent more time and money coming up with more efficient ways to produce their revolvers, the market is clearly there.

    • The trigger is better than a tuned 75 or clone, even when those are single action only (my old competition gun is a totally tuned-up SAO CZ 75 SP-01 with a flat trigger and full rail). It’s also nice to have the extra surface area on the sides of the slide since the slide isn’t inside of the frame.

      The Alien shoots a little faster and flatter. It has been a little while since I shot one but I’m fairly confident the DWX trigger is better. The Alien is like a $7,000+ gun.

      I own a Hudson and love it. It’s a fantastic shooter. It isn’t as good of a shooter, nor does it feel as good in the hand, as the DWX and its trigger isn’t anywhere close to the DWX’s.

      BRNO is just a whole different thing. I own the polymer one and shot the $7,000 steel/aluminum one quite a bit. They’re big ol’ beasts not suited for much of anything other than hunting and being very loud. The trigger is nowhere up to the DWX’s and they’re huge in the hand.

      The DWX shoots closer to the Alien than to the Hudson but it’s 1/3 the price of the Alien. It’s arguably not as cool as the Alien. But any wild looking, really uniquely designed gun that’s rare and costs what the Alien costs is going to be next level cool by default.

      • You’ve missed the point entirely. Why would I choose the DWX over a nicely kept CZ75 or its descendants?

        • Because it’s better. I didn’t miss the point; I directly answered your question at the top of my last comment. The DWX shoots faster and flatter than a CZ75 outside of the dedicated race gun variants, and it has a better trigger with a slide that’s more easily manipulated. That said, a CZ Tactical Sport version (e.g. TS 2 or Tactical Sport Orange) or Shadow 2 is a hell of a lot of gun and they’re less expensive than a DWX. I just like the trigger, looks, and feel (both in terms of operating the gun and of shooting it) of the DWX better.

  2. Internally looks exactly like a Glock but with an external hammer. Then the added mag capacity? This is finally a “1911” I could get behind!

  3. Finally – a carry gun without the light rail. I have to say I am very interested. Now if they make a black trigger shoe (and maybe a short trigger version), I’d be in all the way.

  4. I have a friend that owned a Dan Wesson revolver back in the day. It was one of their kits with interchangeable barrels. It was extremely accurate, but uncomfortable to my hand. Fast forward. I have another friend with a Dan Wesson 1911. I offered to buy it as soon as he handed it to me. Besides being very well made, it has a gold bead front sight. That thing pops. Prefer it to the fiber optic sights on the Wilson Combat I spent over $4000 on. I’ve not broken a fiber optic sight. Yet. But I know it will happen. Changing them out on every pistol that came with them. Mark in AZ. $2000 for something you’re betting your life on is too expensive? I never understood that mentality.

    • If you can afford to hand a 2000 dollar gun over after a DGU then more poeer to you. Even if you dont go to jail your gun does and for a long time.

      this is a connoisseur gun and a very fine one at that. but a Glock, M&P or a Sig is a good gun to carry.

    • “$2000 for something you’re betting your life on is too expensive? ”

      It’s simple enough to understand.

      Gold-plated shovels are used for show, not to dig.

    • It’s a better gun than a CZ P-07, but at $2k is it a better gun than FOUR CZ P-07? Sure 80/20 principle and all, but that’s a lot of scratch.

  5. A rail doesn’t matter on a gun like this, but they said they would offer it as an option. I’d prefer it without one. You’ll probably be able to pick one up for much less than $2k soon. Compare that to a Staccato or Wilson Combat. Speaking of which…come on Jeremy & Company, let’s see a comparison between them like you did with the micro 9s. (I ended up getting a Shield Plus.) Bonus points to add a few more 2011 style pistols like Bul Armory.

    Didn’t they also say the full size would be available in .40 caliber? I guess there isn’t much demand for that.

  6. “Really there’s no winning with that. Consumers complain about optics cuts and they complain about the lack of them.”

    Simple solution, offer one with, and one without. Allows the customer to decide…

    • I’d say offer a single SKU and it’s cut for an optic but it has a blanking plate there that makes the cut effectively invisible when the plate is in place. Everyone should be happy with that, including the person who doesn’t want an optic when he/she buys the gun but then changes his/her mind later.

  7. The Brownells link isn’t working for me.

    It just took me to Shannon Watts face, which was disappointing.

  8. I love my Dan Wesson 1911s as well as my CZs and was really eager to get the new DWX when it was announced in 2019. Unfortunately, when it was delayed and seemingly abandoned, I spent the money I had set aside for something else. I got to fondle the the DWX at the NRA show and now I’m in a quandary as to what I need to sell to get the DWX. As usual, timing is everything, and as usual, my timing sucks.

  9. Very, very exceptional writing from the second sentence by Mr. Jeremy S. here, everybody.

    TTAG has lacked this level of writing in the last few years, and I’d actually just stopped reading it for that and other bad reasons. Jeremy S. may possibly have reeled me back in. Well done, Mr. S.!

  10. M­y­ l­a­s­t­ p­a­y­ c­h­e­c­k­ w­a­s­ $12000 w­o­r­k­i­n­g­ 12 h­o­u­r­s­ a­ w­e­e­k­ o­n­l­i­n­e­. m­y­ s­i­s­t­e­r­s­ f­r­i­e­n­d­ h­a­s­ b­e­e­n­ a­v­e­r­a­g­i­n­g­ 15k­ f­o­r­ m­o­n­t­h­s­ n­o­w­ a­n­d­ s­h­e­ w­o­r­k­s­ a­b­o­u­t­ 20 h­o­u­r­s­ a­ w­e­e­k­. i­ c­a­n­’t­ b­e­l­i­e­v­e­ h­o­w­ e­a­s­y­ i­t­ w­a­s­ o­n­c­e­ i­ t­r­i­e­d­ i­t­ o­u­t­. t­h­i­s­ i­s­ w­h­a­t­ i­ d­o­.

  11. A CZ grip profile with a 1911 trigger and guts that is very well made and accurate. Sign me up and can I borrow some money? Nice thing is that you don’t have to buy it. A lot of things are too much these days. Just the way it is. But any Dan Wesson will set you back more than others but it’s cheaper than. Wilson SFX9 which I’m eying. Tired of carrying a Glock. Getting older and I have no restrictions based on job and my wife left me so i don’t have to explain why it’s $2000.

Comments are closed.