I have owned Dan Wesson 1911 handguns for many years. I have found the pistols to be high-end in every sense, save for the price.
The pistols have the fit and finish we call hand-fitted. All 1911 handguns demand some degree of hand fitting.
Inexpensive examples are often built with loose tolerances to expedite manufacture.
A quality 1911 will last longer with hand fitting, as good fit means that eccentric wear is less.
The pistol returns to battery in the same manner each time it is fired. This means the tight lockup results in less unnecessary wear.
A pistol that is hand-fitted with forged parts is well worth its price. Hand fit and hand polish are important components of the 1911 handgun.
The slide and frame of each Dan Wesson pistol slide together with a tight accuracy-promoting standard.
I have tested several of the all-steel five-inch barrel variants.
Known as the Government Model type, the five-inch barrel steel-frame pistol weighs about 40 ounces.
The balance and handling of this size handgun make for good control when firing the .45 ACP cartridge.
Recoil is manageable and parts wear is less with the Government Model.
Dan Wesson Heritage
Among my favorite Dan Wesson types is the Heritage. The Heritage was introduced as an entry-level Dan Wesson.
That doesn’t mean it is a cheap gun, it is simply more affordable than some of the other Dan Wesson handguns — retail is still over $1000.
For most of us, the Heritage is more than enough 1911. Lockup is tight and it doesn’t rattle when shook like the original GI pistol.
The Heritage features good quality sights that are well-suited for personal defense and combat.
It is fine to collect GI guns, but if you are going to bet your life on a handgun, you need good sights. Shot placement is vital.
The Heritage reflects Dan Wesson’s commitment to quality, but it won’t break the bank.
You may want more features later, but if you want to get your feet wet with high-end 1911s, this is a good start.
Reliability will be as good as any other Dan Wesson, but the features are different.
Dan Wesson Pointman
Keep in mind that the general relationship of entry-level and high-end remains, even when the name of the pistol may change.
A step-up from the Heritage is the Pointman. The simple rubber grips of the Heritage are replaced with high-quality checkered wooden grips.
The Pointman has been the flagship of the Dan Wesson line for some time. The Pointman features fully-adjustable rear sights.
They are rugged sights that leave behind any concern with the rigidity of the adjustable sight.
When you work with loadings from 160 to 250 grains in the .45 ACP pistol, the ability to sight the pistol in is important.
An all-around handgunner using a handgun for competition, hunting and general recreation will wish to have the pistol sighted in for the chosen load.
Even the same bullet weight will strike to a different point of impact at different velocity.
On the other hand, a service and defense pistol with fixed sights will probably we used with one load.
Most come sighted for the six o’clock hold and 230-grain loads. I really like the Pointman’s fully-adjustable sights.
I have test fired this handgun with a number of handloads and defense loads as well. Accuracy has been excellent.
Some of the loads will put five shots into two inches at 25 yards. A standout is the Hornady 185-grain XTP over Titegroup powder at 890 fps.
This is a super accurate loading in every pistol I have tried.
Dan Wesson Specialist
A quite different pistol from Dan Wesson is the Specialist. The Specialist features a checkered front strap. This is a big step up in handling.
This checkering helps when the hand is sweaty or cold. Coupled with the pistol’s heavily checkered grips, this makes for excellent handling.
The pistol features ledge-type rear sights with a tritium insert. This is the ideal setup for all-around service protection and home defense.
This pistol also features a light rail for mounting combat lights. Each of the Dan Wesson handguns features a crisp, consistent trigger action.
The slide-lock safety indents properly. The grip safety releases its hold on the trigger about halfway into compression.
The feed ramp is properly polished with the requisite 1/32nd-inch grp between the two parts of the feed ramp.
Conclusion: Dan Wesson 1911 Handguns
These are credible handguns with excellent performance and more than a little pride of ownership.
What do you think of Dan Wesson 1911s? Let us know in the comments below!