I have a real love/hate relationship with one of the standard tests I do as part of our 1911 tests, and that’s the 100 round challenge. Shooting 100 rounds rapid fire in ~60 seconds isn’t actually that pleasant, but I keep doing it because it keeps revealing interesting data about the guns we test.
Jerry Miculek is a treasure. Don’t ever stop, Jerry.
What the… another 1911 review?
I say why not? We here at Gun Nuts are simply trying to appease the ghost of John Moses Browning. We feel such appeasement is necessary given that most people flock to polymer wonders and shun ole’ slab sides. Simply put, the 1911 can be an excellent projectile launcher and if well-built, it is an exquisite work of art. It can also be a source of endless frustration and malfunction drills if poorly built or improperly maintained.
So it was with your interest in mind – or maybe it was the fact I really liked this pistol and wanted to try it – that we open up the testing on the Dan Wesson ECO. This will be a kick-off review. As I write this, I have yet to actually shoot the gun. This is a quick bench top, initial impressions review. My goal is to track the rounds fired and give updates as the weapon either proves itself or infuriates me.
Now for you heathens that don’t know; Dan Wesson was founded in 1968 by Daniel Wesson, great-grandson of D.B Wesson who co-founded Smith and Wesson. In 2005 the company was bought out by CZ, who also makes quality firearms. But enough history, if you want to know more about Dan Wesson’s history you can look here, or here.
The ECO is an Officer sized 1911, thus it is sporting a 3.5” tapered bull barrel and the requisite shorter grip. Being chambered in 45 ACP the capacity is lacking, but frankly I don’t care. With 7+1 rounds of .455 diameter ballistic goodness I can take on seven parachuting ninja (or is it ninja’s?) and at least one pissed off gopher. Yeah, yeah, I know… no one has ever asked for less ammo in a gunfight. Ironically I own a double stack combat autoloader for those causal jaunts through gangland, or into Syrian held territory.
The ECO has an alloy frame which reduces weight. In the past I have owned some lightweight 1911’s in both Commander and Officer length; and while the recoil wasn’t life-ending it was definitely there. I suspect this will be similar; however, the ECO comes with a flat wire guide rod setup. Rumor mill says it is from Evolution Gun Works. If that is true it is great news as I have read good things about that setup’s duality of increasing reliability while reducing felt recoil. We shall see.
Here are the specs from Dan Wesson.
- Chambering: 45 ACP
- Magazine Capacity: 7
- Frame: Anodized Aluminum
- Grips: G-10
- Barrel Length: 3.5 in
- Weight: 1.56 lbs.
- Overall Length: 7.25 in
- Height: 5 in
- Width: It’s a 1911, it’s thin. Duh!
So what do I love about the weapon?
- It feels good in the hand.
- It is well-balanced.
- The sights are not bad – although I will likely put some orange around the front tritium insert to mimic a Trijicon HD.
- It is well de-horned and the fit and finish are very, very good.
- The safety clicks on and off with confidence.
And what I hate about the weapon so far?
- I guess I could complain that Dan Wesson didn’t add a magwell, but so what? It is not like I will be running this in Single Stack.
- I don’t care for the zebra grips. But that is subjective.
- So what do I really hate about it, at this time? NOTHING!
I really hope this short 1911 proves to be reliable. I should be able to report back in a week or so with some rounds down range. Dan Wesson recommends a break-in period, so I will not be performing the 10-8 test until I have put 400 rounds down range.
To say I want this to succeed is an understatement. Time will tell.
One of the things I really like about the Pro Carry II is how accurate it is, especially for a smaller gun. This long video is me shooting a 49/50 on Dot Torture with it, putting the pistol through its paces for accuracy.
I did some shooting yesterday with the Pro Carry II, and while it wasn’t a great practice session by any means, I was able to come away with some useful data about the gun itself. I’ve mentioned that the gun feels tremendously oversprung, and when reviewing slow motion video of some shooting I see that the slide is actually traveling forward and hitting cases at times causing them to fly forward of the gun. One of the other side effects of being oversprung is how easy it is to induce a failure.
Time to test a new gun, while the Dan Wesson is off at NRA getting its photo taken for Rifleman. We’re starting with the Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mm, and like all of test guns it starts with the 10-8 Performance test.
710 rounds in and no failures of any type. The most recent range session was a simple, 200 round USPSA warm-up session using the excellent Birchwood Casey reduced USPSA targets. I’ve been using these targets to train with because they’re almost exactly half the size of a regular USPSA target; plus when I’m training on a single lane indoor range I can hang two of them on the carrier and work on transitions. Like my friend Annette says, “splits are for show, transitions are for go.”
One of the items brought up during the test of the Rock Island Armory was how well the gun would hold up under a round count that, quite frankly, is unusually for owners of this brand to put their guns through. To find out, I field stripped the RIA and checked several critical areas for signs of frame battering, barrel rollover, or any other critical issues.
That’s the number of rounds I’ve shot through 1911 pattern pistols according to my logs since 2009. That averages out to 640 rounds per month over 52 months, or 7,682 rounds per year. Obviously some years have been heavier than that in 1911s and some have been lighter.
As you know, I’ve pivoted a lot of our coverage lately to high round count tests of 1911 pistols. So far on the new Gun Nuts 1911 Review system we’ve done a Taurus PT1911 Review, a Wilson Combat CQB Review, a Springfield Range Officer review, and most recently wrapped up a review of the Rock Island Armory Ultra FS. I’m also currently testing a Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander, and have two more 1911s on their way to me.