Reader Jason Bayne writes:
It’s funny, there is no way I could afford or justify buying a new $4000 pistol. But somehow, I was able to afford and justify buying three used $4000 pistols all in one month.
Right now I’m just going to tell you which ones I bought and show you some pics from shooting them at the range. After I get to spend some real quality time with them, which will include some time outdoors shooting steel and running some timed drills, I’ll write more in-depth about the individual guns.
I also plan on doing some comparisons to some of the other 1911 pistols I own, including my beloved Dan Wesson 9mm pistols. Before going any further, I should warn you all of my 1911 pistols are chambered in 9mm, and the WC pistols below are no exception.
I have been on a quest to find a 9mm carry pistol that mitigates recoil better than the double stack 9mm polymer wonder guns that have become the standard go-to guns for so many of us over the last few decades. After years of carrying a GLOCK 19, then a CZ P-10C, I grew tired of not being able to better my rapid-fire groups with these guns.
After all, what’s the point of a carry gun in the first place? To neutralize a threat. What’s the best way to do that with a handgun in a very stressful and possibly poorly lit situation? The goal is to be able to get as many accurate/well-placed shots on your target as quickly as possible.
The less felt recoil your pistol produces, the more you maximize your chances of placing both accurate and fast fire on your target(s). If I could carry a 22LR for personal defense I would. Alas, 22LR is just not a great defensive caliber for reasons we don’t need to get into here.
Suffice it to say that most agree if you are going to carry a gun, you want to carry a pistol chambered in one of the major handgun service rounds, 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP.
Given that terminal performance with modern bonded hollow points is essentially equal among the three major service calibers, and given that my goal is fast, accurate fire, I carry the caliber that has the least recoil of the three. That’s 9mm. With 9mm you also get the added benefit of being able to fit more rounds in a magazine than a similarly-sized .40 or .45 magazine.
I bring all this up because I want you to understand why I chose a pistol with a compensator as my first Wilson. I have spent the last two years buying and shooting as many 1911 pistols in 9mm as I possibly could in order to compare and contrast the amount of recoil they produce. This was my personal quest to find the ultimate daily carry 9mm pistol after I became dissatisfied with my double-stack 9mm polymer pistols rapid-fire performance.
Early on in my two-year odyssey, I found that the 1911 in 9mm in both steel and aluminum frame variants did a a much better job of mitigating recoil than my GLOCKs and polymer CZs in 9mm. I saw my rapid-fire groups at eight yards go from six inches with my polymer 9mm carry pistols to under three inches with every 9mm 1911 pistol I shot.
After a year of informal testing I found that the Dan Wesson aluminum framed 9mm 1911 pistols in Commander and CCO configuration exhibited less recoil than any other aluminum frame 1911 9mm pistol in the same configuration. Dan Wesson seems to understand the importance of mitigating recoil and seem to build their guns with that in mind.
The combination of recoil and mainspring weights and the radius of the riring pin stop that Dan Wesson uses are optimal for minimizing recoil. The difference in recoil between an aluminum framed Dan Wesson Valkyrie or Vigil commander in 9mm compared to say a Colt Lightweight Commander in 9mm is shocking.
The same is true with some of the aluminum framed high-end 1911 aluminum framed offerings from some of the higher-end 1911 manufacturers. I even found that aluminum frame Dan Wesson pistols in 9mm exhibited less recoil than many steel frame offerings from other manufacturers. Dan Wesson just has the right formula for building 9mm 1911 pistols that minimize recoil.
#1 Wilson Combat X-TAC Elite Carry Comp 9mm Compact
I had found my ultimate carry pistol, a Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander or CCO. I was now able to put my mind at ease. I had put in the time and did all my research and testing and achieved my goal. Or did I?
A couple of months ago I read a review of the Wilson Combat Carry Comp in 45 ACP. The author was very impressed with the amount of recoil reduction compared to non-comped pistols. It got me thinking that I need to shoot one of these in 9mm.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I don’t know anyone who owns a Wilson Combat Carry Comp 9mm. One would also have a very hard time finding one of these to rent at a local range.
So I was left with no choice…I had to buy one! With prices for these pistols starting at $3985 for the model I was interested in, I had to look on the used market.
My New-to-Me Wilson Combat X-TAC Elite Carry Comp 9mm Compact (WC CC):
I managed to find the one above, gently used, just over half of MSRP. I thought that was a smoking deal. The gun came to me in excellent condition. All I am going to say at this point is the WC CC eliminates anywhere from 50% to 70% of the recoil depending on load. Comped pistols love lighter faster loads. I find the most benefit with the lighter weight +P loads like Barnes 115 gr TAC-XPD +P.
The difference between the WC CC and just buying a screw-on comp for your GLOCK 19 with a threaded barrel is significant. The Wilson comped-carrel is a one-piece affair machined from a single piece of steel. That’s a far superior design over a screw-on or bushing comp.
About a year ago I bought a screw-on comp for my GLOCK 19. Lots of folks were trying them out and reporting positive results. The “Roland Special”, a GLOCK 19 with a Comp and several other key accessories, seemed to really kick off the comp trend in the GLOCK world.
I never had a great deal of success getting my GLOCK to run perfectly with the comps I’ve tried. Adding a comp changes the dynamics of how the slide moves when firing, therefore you are going to have to mess with different recoil spring weights to get it right.
I also didn’t notice a huge difference with the comps I tried. The gun was perfectly accurate, as you can see in my slow-fire group below. But it just didn’t do it for me.
It is not possible to make a one-piece barrel for a GLOCK or most modern semi-auto pistols because of the way the barrel has to be removed for disassembly. On a 1911, the barrel is removed from the front of the slide. On a modern semi-auto, the barrel is pulled out from the chamber side and you can’t pull a comp through the hole in the front of the slide.
In the last four weeks that I have owned this pistol I have put almost 1300 rounds through it using a dozen different types of 9mm factory ammo and several brands of magazines. I have had ZERO failures of any kind. This gun is so amazing to shoot because of the lack of recoil, it is hard to put it down. With the WC CC 200 – 300 rounds go by in a flash. It’s like shooting a 22LR pistol with some loads.
If you’re looking for a carry gun with the least amount of recoil, this is the gun. If you have to go without a comp, an aluminum-framed Dan Wesson in 9mm is what you want. Their new Vigil is an excellent choice.
In the weeks to come, I will write up a more in-depth review of the WC CC, but for now here is how its been shooting for me…
The WC CC shoots slow-fire, rapid-rire, and at distance
And yes, I’m carrying it.
#2 Wilson Combat Ultralight Carry (ULC) 9mm Compact
I saw this Wilson Ultralight Carry for sale on Gunbroker. It looked brand new in the pictures, but it was listed as used. It also came with a second barrel in .38 Super that was fitted to it.
That got me thinking, if I buy this gun, I can send it to Wilson and have a comp barrel fitted. And that is exactly what I did. I made the seller an offer of three pistols and $800, and we made a deal.
The Wilson arrived just over two weeks ago. When I took it apart, it was clear this gun had NEVER been fired more than a magazine full and that was probably at the factory. I ended that immediately.
I shot a few hundred flawless rounds through it, and off it went to Wilson to have a 9mm comp barrel fitted. This way I will be able to compare a WC Carry Comp with a steel frame with a WC Carry Comp with an aluminum frame.
Here is a picture of the spare .38 Super barrel that was fitted to the gun:
There’s no question this gun is super accurate, beautifully built and fitted, and feels amazing in the hand. But even though it weighs the same as a comparable Dan Wesson 9mm with aluminum frame, it has more recoil than the Dan Wesson 9mm 1911 pistols I own with aluminum frames. Still, it’s a joy to shoot. And once it comes back with a comped barrel, I’m thinking it will have less recoil than my Dan Wesson 9mm pistols.
Pictured below is how it shot for me before I sent it off to have the Comped-Barrel fitted. I will do a more detailed review of this particular WC ULC when I it comes back from Wilson and I get to spend some time with it.
Here is how it was shooting for me before I sent it off to Wilson a to have the comp barrel fitted:
#3 Wilson Combat CQB 9mm Compact
The Wilson Combat CQB is pretty much Wilson’s entry level 1911 pistol. In this case, entry level means a $2800 base-price. Last week my friend who owns the local tactical superstore texted me a picture of a Black and Gray WC CQB. One of his wealthy customers brought it in to swap towards a new Wilson. All I know is he never shot this one, because it was clear after breaking it down it was brand new. My buddy made me a deal I could not refuse. So I didn’t.
I picked it up, ran a few hundred flawless rounds through it and thought to myself that these steel frame Wilsons are excellent even without the comp Yesterday I boxed it up and sent it back to Wilson to have the barrel cut flush with the frame and cut a reverse crown on the muzzle. I also had a brand new Wilson Bullet Proof one-piece magwell sitting here in the shop. I’m having them install that as well. Finally, I am having the controls/small parts done in black to match the slide.
Once I get this baby back from Wilson, I will also do some more detailed writing about it.
My Wilson Combat CQB 9mm Compact
That’s all for now. Much more to come about these pistols over the next few months when I get them back from Wilson.