Wilson Combat’s EDC9 and the evolution of the venerable 1911
Earlier this year, Wilson Combat unleashed a few new 1911 models in 9mm. As a dinosaur who still shoots and enjoys 1911s, I gave them a passing glance. After all, every disciple of John Moses Browning’s greatest invention knows that the only proper chambering for the 1911 pistol is .45 ACP.
Yet, even the dinosaurs had to evolve… or go extinct. As time goes by, firearms evolve. There are many manufacturers whose lines include various model numbers followed by a dash and another number denoting the generation, which means enhancements were made and/or flaws were fixed.
Consider that the Colt Single Action Army revolver at one time required the shooter to use a screwdriver to remove the cylinder pin. This was replaced by a push-pin and the only people who complain about it were not alive when this transition took place. Long story short: Most firearms designs will evolve over time, often for the better.
This has happened with the 1911 platform more than most people think. There was the original 1911, followed by the 1911-A1 then distinguished by the Series 70, Series 80 and even Series 90.
However, there has been a lot more than that in a pistol that was as customizable as a Chevy small block engine was to gearheads, and Wilson Combat’s EDC9 Compact is running with just about everything as modern as you can get in a 1911 plus chambering in a caliber that will seem like heresy to some: 9mm Parabellum. The EDC9 Professional is one of a series of four pistols put out by the company that incorporates its “Enhanced Reliability System” (ERS).
“wilson combat’s EDC9 professional is as modern as it gets in a 1911, plus chambering in a caliber that may seem like heresy to some.”
It all starts with a match-grade, 4-inch, stainless steel cone-type barrel, which means that there is no barrel bushing. This is a feature most shooters beyond the die-hard 1911 purists will like.
The barrel is fluted and has a flush-cut reverse crown. The chamber is externally fluted as well, which gives an extremely nice look to the pistol. More important is that it is a single-lug design, which enhances slide velocity, reduces cycling friction, and improves reliability with regard to feeding different
types of ammunition.
The extractor is a spring-loaded external type. Purists hate these, and admittedly when they first started appearing so did this author. But external extractors have come a long way since then and a true student of the 1911, or any firearm for that matter, should recognize that improvements such as these reflect the evolution of design.
Wilson went with a full-length guide rod on this one as well. This is yet another point that some 1911 connoisseurs loathe, but we like them and have them on most of our own 1911 pistols. In fact, the sole exception is a U.S. Property marked pistol built in 1917 for use in the first World War. Sometimes you have to change with the times.
A low mass, Tri-top slide profile allows for reduced muzzle flip and enhanced cycling. Additionally, the slide is checkered fore and aft with the X-TAC treatment. Typically we’re not fans of front cocking serrations, but found them attractive and highly useful on the EDC9. Wilson has applied this treatment to the pistol’s front strap too, as well as on the bobtail-style mainspring housing.
The front sight is rugged, user-replaceable and fiber optic. We have grown to find these superior to Tritium sights in that they are usable during the day and glow bright at night when used in conjunction with either a handheld or pistol-mounted high-intensity flashlight. The rear sights are adjustable and we can hear the purists cry out again in anguish, but the fact remains that adjustable sights on 1911 pistols are far more robust than they were in the 1940s and ’50s when the only
at the forefront of magazine improvement for the .45 ACP magazine used in 1911s and these are the only ones the author uses. However, when the single-stack 9mm 1911 magazine was shown to be a point of failure on 1911s chambered in this round, Bill Wilson and his team designed a new one from the ground up.
Improving the design of the magazine shell was the first step, followed by re-designing the follower to prevent tip-down misfeeds, and a new type of music wire springs to keep it all running—a feat that could only be accomplished by a shop with more than three decades dedicated to the 1911 platform.
Real Pretty, But Does She Shoot?
Shooting this pistol was like attaining Nirvana. We found the mid-length trigger to break consistently at 3 ½ pounds. The full-sized grip frame feels comfortable and rock solid when you present from the holster. Recoil was virtually non-existent and the only drawback to shooting 9mm out of a 1911 was 47-year-old eyes not seeing those big 0.455” diameter holes open up on our target at 25 yards. Wilson was kind enough to send several types of their house-brand ammunition:
• 115-grain remanufactured using Hornady’s HAP (Hornady Action Pistol) bullets • 115-grain +P Pinnacle using Barnes TAC bullets
• 147-grain Bill Wilson Signature Match ammunition
Every round fed flawlessly and maintained the accuracy we have come to expect from shooting a Wilson Combat pistol. The rounds are loaded to maximum overall length to aid in feeding with a custom 1911 in 9mm,
so performance with regard to feeding as well as safe pressure levels may not be the same for other types of 9mm pistols. This is especially the case with compact 9mm pistols that use an unsupported chamber.
Our initial shots were hitting low and to the left, and once we realized this we corrected quickly and the ragged 9-shot strings let us know we were working it properly every time we dropped a magazine.
Every Pistol Needs a Light
After attending several courses dedicated to low-light shooting with LMS Defense over the years, we learned something. Night sights are almost useless at night and they can only be used during limited hours if you need to identify your target.
Instead of opting for “night sights on every defensive pistol” we opted for a flashlight on every pistol, and the Wilson Combat
EDC9 Professional sports that ever-important rail on which to mount one.
We selected Streamlight’s TLR-1S because it is rugged as well as affordable and after plunking down more than $3,000 for the EDC9 Professional, your wallet will appreciate it. Virtually indestructible, the Streamlight TLR-1S Tactical Light is lithium-powered and boasts 300 lumens in a compact package. It comes with a set of keys to adapt to almost any rail system and it quickly and securely mounts to your handgun. Controls are ambidextrous and the switch allows single-handed operation.
This light has a strobe feature which may be fun to annoy your pets, but we never thought much of this feature, personally.
Adding a flashlight to your handgun changes the holster options quite a bit and often means going the custom or semi-custom route, as well as mostly going OWB. Well, the point of this pistol is supposed to be for everyday carry, and one of our tenets is to have a light mounted on every pistol we use for defensive work because bad things mostly happen at night.
The last time we checked, it was not 1873 and we were not fighting banditos with a pistol on each hip. Concealed means concealed in our neck of the woods, so we had to find a comfortable Iwb-type holster that
could work with a mounted light. We found the answer to that problem with Blackpoint Tactical’s Mini Wing.
This holster was developed in collaboration with law enforcement officers working plainclothes or undercover. As mentioned, there aren’t a whole lot of Iwb-type holsters on the market that can accommodate a pistol with a mounted light in a comfortable manner.
The Mini WING solves this by using as little material as possible to safely secure the pistol while maintaining comfort. We carried the pistol with light attached in the Mini WING for a couple of weeks with one notable exception. Rather than using the holster’s belt mounting clips, we tried an aftermarket accessory called the Ulticlip.
Ulticlips are aftermarket accessories that make you go, “Why haven’t I found these sooner?” The minimalist profile completely makes the appearance of holster loops vanish, but it’s the retention that impresses. You could use these on
“the Wilson combat edc9 shoots well, carries well, and runs like the finely tuned machine that it is.”
your pants without a belt in many cases, especially with a lightweight pistol. Simply replace your screw-on holster loops or clips with a set of these and the bear-trap level of strength in the Ulticlip secures the clips to your belt like a steel clamp.
The Wilson Combat EDC9 Professional is probably the greatest 1911 chambered in 9mm. It shoots well, carries well, and runs like the well-tuned machine that it is. We found no further room for improvement. Times change and opinions change. Advances in ammunition manufacturing have proven the 9mm every bit the equal of a .40 S&W or a .45 ACP in almost every shooting situation. Some of the top competitive shooters are running 1911s in 9mm and their numbers increase every month. The
FBI is moving back to the 9mm round after 30 years because of these changes as well.
If the mantra is evolve or go extinct, we’ll go that route, too. It’s obviously working out for the 1911.
“the wilson combat EDC9 Professional is probably the greatest 1911 chambered in 9mm.”
Wilson Combat’s EDC9 Professional is one of a series of four pistols put out by the company that incorporates the “Enhanced Reliability System” (ERS).
The EDC9’S slide is checkered fore and aft with the X-TAC treatment.
When the single-stack 9mm 1911 magazine was shown to be a point of failure, Bill Wilson and his team designed a new one.
We opt for a flashlight on every pistol and the Wilson Combat EDC9 Professional sports that ever-important rail on which to mount one.
The Mini WING uses as little material as possible to safely secure the pistol while maintaining comfort.