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Why would Wilson market a sub-compact handgun as an “XL”? That’s like calling a Fiat 500 a “car.” That said, want. While I love my Wilson Combat X-TAC COMPACT 1911 for its low-recoil and general bad-assery, carrying the .45 is like attaching a small boat anchor to my hip. So the new Wilson Combat Sentinel XL appeals.

The $3910 Wilson Combat Sentinel XL weighs “just” 31.87 ounces loaded with eight rounds of 9mm, as compared to 41 oz. for an X-TAC packing seven rounds of .45. Notice I chose the 9mm Sentinel XL for the comparo. Heavy gun, low recoil. So 9mm for the smaller Wilson Sentinel XL to keep the snout down and accuracy up. Which is more than a thousand dollars more than the X-TAC COMPACT.

Worth it? I’ll wait ’til the Texas Firearms Festival on October 14 – 16 at Best of the West Shooting Sports in Liberty Hill to find out, when the company will be demo’ing their entire range of handguns. Before making a decision, I might just let Dan hold my wallet hostage while I wander over to the SIG SAUER bay and check out the P938 again. (Press release via below.)

Wilson Combat Sentinel XL Sub-compact 1911 Pistol Introduced

Wilson Combat Introduces the Sentinel XL Sub-compact 1911
Wilson Combat Berryville, AR -( Wilson Combat Introduces the Sentinel XL, available in 45, 9mm, and 38 Super. All seasoned concealed carriers know one simple fact-the grip of any handgun is always the most difficult part to conceal.

Wilson Combat has combined our 4” Compact top end with our exclusive Sentinel sub-compact frame to create a unique everyday carry custom handgun– the Sentinel XL. The Sentinel XL has the smallest 1911 grip available, with the enhanced practical accuracy and reliability a Compact slide offers.

The reduced-height Sentinel frame is ½” shorter than our standard Compact, and when mated with the ultra slim G-10 grips is well suited to shooters who prefer a smaller handgun. The concealment grip safety/hammer and round butt mainspring housing selected for the Sentinel XL gives you a real advantage when it comes to daily carry and shooting comfort.

Even though the Sentinel XL is designed for concealment, the precisely-fitted slide, frame and 4” match grade barrel will give you the downrange performance you expect from a Wilson Combat custom pistol. A host of practical and cosmetic touches will make this one of your favorite carry guns.

The 4” Compact slide allows the Sentinel XL to be offered in 9mm, .38 Super and .45 ACP calibers for a ballistic advantage over many subcompact handguns.

About Wilson Combat:

Since 1977 Wilson Combat has been the leading innovator in high-performance, custom 1911 handguns, tactical long guns and accessories. A Wilson Combat product’s unmatched level of exceptional reliability and peerless craftsmanship is only equaled by our legendary customer service. Learn more about us at

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  1. Sheesh. A gun created in 1911 married to a round created in 1902, and all for over three large. Just what the world was waiting for!

    Now if Wilson could only make it in a flintlock, life would be complete.

  2. Worth it ? NO! That cute little 4 house payments can’t do anything that my stock Colt Officer’s 1991A1 can’t do.
    Picked it up at a gun show, barely used, for $350.00, in ’92. Think of the opportunity cost in the difference: many other guns, practice ammo, shooting schools and other training.
    This is a gun for people with more money than brains.

    • My Kimber Pro Carry II cost twice what your Colt cost (and less than 1/5th the cost of the Wilson) when I bought it some time this century (still sells for about that price), and with its 4″ barrel, it does everything that this Wilson does, but with an aluminum frame it weighs all of 27 oz. AND it is a .45. With a McCormick magazine, it holds 8+1. The Wilson sho’ is purty, but I am NOT paying an extra $3000 just for purty.

  3. Well shucks, I am gonna have to throw out my regular Sentinel since its sooo last year, and there are a half dozen super betterer Sentinel models now. Good lord, when is Wilson coming out with an XXL compact already?? The regular XL isn’t XXXL enough! More XXXs = quality right? Or maybe that’s Stetsons…..

  4. I should point out that the lighter P938 (sort of an enlarged Colt Mustang) comes with ambi safety and tritium sights and can be had with G10 grips, though I find mine easy to shoot with fat Hogue rubber grips. (and it’s hard to spend more than $800 on one, mine was $600 with two mags and a laser sight)

  5. Starting at the low, low price of $3800!

    1911 fetishists have really created one hell of a market.

  6. A perfect example of why I seconded anonymous’s opinion that Wilson Combat is the most overrated gun on the market. What is the need for a $3k+ subcompact 9mm carry gun? Yeah, I know wants not needs.

  7. This falls in the category of nice to know but not essential so it goes to File 13. Worth considering if it goes at the same price of a Beretta 92 F or less. Having said that, it looks pretty.

  8. Wilson Comat is Harley.

    There is no other reason for that price other than dentist and accountants will pay it – there, I said it.

    • And why did you put accountants on your short list? Yeah, they have the money to pay for one sure, but they have that money because they understand its value!

      • Accountants know tax code and P&L’s…

        And they’ll run a company into the ground faster than the lawyers.

      • It’s value? If I shoot you twice in the chest with a $3800 Wilson Combat or twice in the chest with a $550 Baby Eagle I’m pretty sure you won’t know or care about the difference, which, other than the price, is virtually nil.

        This is straight paying for the name because it’s “high end” and your a “high end” person.

  9. Goes to show ya what I know. Apparently, making guns and charging 3-4 times what they’re worth is a good business to be in. They only charge about twice what their shotguns are worth. Those are a real bargain.

  10. Sweet baby Ray’s BBQ sauce! There is only one reason why I’d blow over $3k on a gun that might be confiscated by the police if I ever had to use it for its intended purpose: if I pee’d straight money instead of urine. After a week of drinking coffee I could afford this guy no problem!

    • BBQ sauce?

      What self-respecting southern man ruins good BBQ with…


      Smoke. The ‘purple smoke ring’ is the only seasoning BBQ requires…

  11. I was actually thinking about buying along slide XD/s but now that I can spend 6x the price I guess that is the way to go.

  12. Will definitely consider this Wilson after I hit the Lotto Jackpot. One thing about the Sentinel XL, it’s a true 1911, which by the way, the Sig Sauer P938 or Kimber Micro 9 are not, because no grip safety means it’s not a 1911 which also means it’s much less safe and desirable to carry in condition 1 cocked and locked. It’s a shame that neither Sig or Kimber opted to produce a 1911 subcompact 9mm.

    Also, just because a subcompact 9mm is heavier doesn’t necessarily mean the pistol will have less felt recoil, it’s all about firearm design and weight distribution, which will be evident if you ever shoot and compare a 27oz Springfield EMP 9mm and then the 15.9oz Kahr CM9 9mm. The CM9 has noticeably less felt recoil and muzzle flip than the EMP and the $350 CM9 is a true Micro 9 pocket pistol with a surprisingly good trigger, great reliability, and decent accuracy.

    For the same reasons this new Wilson seems like a pistol I’d like to own, I really wanted a Springfield EMP 9mm, but fortunately I shot one that belonged to a friend first before shelling out $1K for a pistol that had uncomfortably excessive muzzle flip while coming no where near to delivering the tack driving 1911 accuracy the pistol should have.

    I assume that at 4 grand, this Wilson 1911 subcompact 9mm surely must be capable of “shoot a snake in the head” accuracy, better have for that price.

  13. I just picked up a very slightly used RIA Tac II CS in 9mm. Tight as a drum, no rattles, great shooting little 1911. And it cost me about 1/10 of that Wilson. Think of the ammo I can get for the difference.

    • If you managed to get a RIA with good magazines that feeds everything, functions reliably, and shoots tight groups that’s great, count yourself lucky, you’re the exception, not the rule. In case you don’t know or don’t want to know, there’s a reason you can buy Filipino made 1911’s for less than $400.

      Even someone moderately familiar with basic firearm quality and decently finished interior surfaces and parts should be able to see the difference between quality yet reasonably inexpensive firearms like Kahr or Ruger, and any Rock Island pistol or revolver just by taking a look at the interior surfaces and parts, which will vary from moderate to crudely finished from gun to gun.

      As slick as they are, I don’t believe any Wilson 1911 is $3K+ better than a quality but affordable 1911 like a Ruger or Sig. Niche market buyers are paying a prestigious pricing premium for the Wilson name.

      At some point of cheap you’re getting what you pay for, and that’s certainly the case with RIA firearms which are inferior in quality compared to affordable quality firearms such Glock, Kahr, Ruger, Sig, and many others.

      There’s not a thing wrong with owning and carrying a RIA 1911 if that’s the only pistol that will fit your budget. As long as you know for sure the RIA you bought is reliable, make due with what you have, but don’t fool yourself into believing a RIA is in the same category quality wise as many others you can buy new and used for an extra $100 to $300 that are proven for quality and reliability.

      • Ted, thank you for your reply. I get it. I don’t know much about firearms and can probably recognize a 1911 2 out of 5 times if someone points it out to me. Just FYI, I cut my IPSC teeth on custom 1911’s in the late 70’s. I saw, handled, and fired Wilson and Baer products before they were the name they are today, along with a few others. I was also a fairly prolific gunwriter from the late 70’s to the mid-80’s. I’ve put a LOT of rounds downrange, from buzzguns and assault rifles to wheelguns and semi-autos. The 1911 remains my favorite handgun. I can easily recognize the difference between a finely finished/polished handgun and something that’s rough. Yes, the RIA seems to fall into that latter category, but both of mine go bang when they’re supposed to and have done it thus far without a single malfunction. They seem to work just fine, and at a price that fit my budget. If one of them begins to get cranky, I believe my aging mind can still cure the ailment.

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