This came as quite a shock to me yesterday. Harris Publications, the publisher of gun magazines like Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, Guns of the Old West, and a considerable volume of annual publications. In the interest of full disclosure, I have written for Harris a considerable amount in the past, and count many of their staff on the firearms publication among my friends.
Earlier this week I started a long-term review of a Dan Wesson ECO, which is a 3.5 inch Officer’s sized 1911. Lest anyone think its reliability will be a gimme, I offer the following video from Rob Pincus. I don’t know Rob, and I don’t agree with everything he writes, but based off my personal experience he is correct.
Yes, the gun in the video is a Kimber, but that is irrelevant. Small 1911’s are generally finicky. In fact, I fully expect the ECO will fail at some point. And if it does, I have a couple of things in my bag of tricks that might help reliability.
Did you see the challenge at the end of the video? I don’t know if Rob is still offering this, but if the ECO kicks ass, maybe I could take him up on the offer – not likely.
In the end, I hope the ECO stuns me with utter reliability, but if it fails, I will not be shocked in any way. It is the nature of the beast.
So… do you have a small 1911 that has been flawless? Let us know. Please include the total cumulative round count, as well as the maximum round count you shot in one session.
And for those that care, I finally got around to buying some ammo so testing will start tomorrow!
Is this video pretty pointless? It sure is. But it’s also fun, and it was actually pretty awesome to get out to the range with my oldest, best friend and do some shooting. I’ve had that rifle for 20 years now, and it is literally the only gun I’d never, ever sell. Your first gun, a gift from your father? It should be special.
Jerry Miculek is a treasure. Don’t ever stop, Jerry.
An article I faith I’ve accepted since I was a little kid was that when you’re teaching someone to shoot, it’s irons first, then optics. The old school logic behind that was that if you can master shooting with iron sights, moving up to a scope is going to be easy mode for you. While I appreciate the John Wayne sentiment that drives such a thought process, we’re also in a golden age of affordable optics. Is it time for that thought process to change?
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.
Sometimes I like to go through the incoming search terms that have brought people to the blog and wonder “how in the hell did that get them there?” Other times, I like to find questions and answer them. This is the latter, so I’m going to cherry pick a few search terms and hopefully answer them. If you’re the person who searched the blog for “plus size women’s concealed carry clothes that won’t print” you’re probably going to be disappointed, but for the other people? This should be fun.
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’ve been carrying in a Shaggy from Custom Carry Concepts for a couple of months now. Recently, the guys at CCC were kind enough to send me some upgrades for my holster out of the blue. These are pretty simple, but extremely functional upgrades that really enhanced the concealability of the holster.
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.