WIL­SON COM­BAT’S X-FAC­TOR

The new EDC X9 packs 15 rounds of 9mm into a 1911 with a grip width the same as a sin­gle-stack 1911 … and it’s a shooter!

Gun World - - Contents - By Gar­rett Lucas

The sun was fast ap­proach­ing the west­ern hori­zon, and time was run­ning short. The de­tri­tus of spent shells lit­tered the ground like life­less husks await­ing their res­ur­rec­tion. It was the fifth of such days.

De­spite the con­fu­sion and am­bi­gu­ity of today’s world, he­roes still wear white hats, and a Wil­son Com­bat 1911 pis­tol is still ev­ery­thing a gun­slinger needs in a cold, cruel world.

When shoot­ers talk among them­selves, Wil­son Com­bat is syn­ony­mous with 1911s; and for most of us, a 1911 pis­tol equates to a pic­ture of a long and el­e­gant pis­tol dispensing jus­tice via .45 ACP rounds through its 5-inch bar­rel.

But the times are chang­ing, and just as there are no set­tlers left on the high plains and the last of the real cow­boys have moved to old Mex­ico, the ven­er­a­ble 1911 has had to adapt to a new world, as well. Hence, a new pis­tol—the EDC X9—is head­ing to mar­ket from Wil­son Com­bat. It might just re­de­fine the 1911 in th­ese mod­ern times.

Af­ter its slow shuffle out of the spot­light in the 1990s, the 9mm round is en­joy­ing some­what of a resur­gence this past year or two. When high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines were banned from pro­duc­tion in 1994, and mag­a­zines were then lim­ited to just 10 rounds, it made a lot of shoot­ers do some new cal­cu­lus: If I am lim­ited to just 10 rounds, then why not make them the big­gest rounds that can be rea­son­ably car­ried in a de­fen­sive pis­tol? This led folks back to the .45 ACP and other cal­ibers, such as .40 S&W and .357 SIG. But when the ban ex­pired in 2004, and “won­dernines” were avail­able again, high-ca­pac­ity 9mm pis­tols found new life.

More re­cently, the 9mm cal­iber has got­ten an ex­tra boost from reports that were dis­trib­uted show­ing that newly de­signed 9mm hol­low points were per­form­ing sub­stan­tially bet­ter than those made decades ago.

This con­clu­sion has seen many agencies, in­clud­ing the FBI, to re­think their po­si­tions once again. As a re­sult, they have started the tran­si­tion back to is­su­ing 9mm pis­tols for duty.

About the same time, Wil­son Com­bat started pro­duc­ing more and more 9mm 1911s. This was, in part, due to the re­ported per­for­mance of mod­ern 9mm loads. But it was also be­cause Bill Wil­son rec­og­nized the ben­e­fits of less re­coil and more con­trol for quicker de­fen­sive shoot­ing for those shoot­ers who were dis­in­clined to deal with the heav­ier

of the .45 ACP.

How­ever, in mak­ing stan­dard 9mm 1911s—and Wil­son pis­tols are any­thing but stan­dard—they had the same dis­ad­van­tage as their .45 ACP sib­lings: fire power. Sin­glestack 1911s could house be­tween eight and nine rounds with one in the cham­ber; this was sig­nif­i­cantly fewer than most mod­ern, dou­ble-stack 9mm pis­tols. Wil­son Com­bat de­cided to ad­dress this is­sue head on. The re­sult is its lat­est 9mm of­fer­ing—the fan­tas­tic EDC X9.

THE EDC X9 IS A RE­MARK­ABLE CON­CEALED-CARRY TOOL THAT, IN ITS SPLEN­DOR, LIVES UP TO THE PROM­ISE OF ITS DE­SIGN. IT IS ONE OF THE VERY BEST FIREARMS I’VE EVER HAN­DLED.

THE WIL­SON COM­BAT AP­PROACH

While there have been at­tempts in the past to come up with a top-tier, dou­ble-stack 1911, most have al­ways seemed to fall short of the mark. Whether there were is­sues with frames be­ing out­sourced to other man­u­fac­tures, width or prob­lems with ac­cu­racy or re­li­a­bil­ity, the high-ca­pac­ity 9mm 1911 has never re­ally reached its stride … un­til now.

Wil­son Com­bat cleared the ta­ble and set out to de­sign its own con­cept of a con­ceal­able, high-ca­pac­ity 9mm 1911. And to make sure it would per­form as de­sired, the com­pany kept all the plan­ning and pro­duc­tion in house. This in­cludes prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant com­po­nent that makes the sys­tem vi­able: The new X-Frame is ma­chined from T6-7075 alu­minum by Wil­son Com­bat pro­fes­sion­als them­selves.

Be­cause of the space re­quired for the 15-round mag­a­zines, spe­cial care had to be taken to en­sure ex­act tol­er­ances were met to make it all work. For in­stance, the grips are not the stan­dard screw-on va­ri­ety. Ex­tremely tight rails are ma­chined into the grip to al­low the ultra-thin, fric­tion-fit grip pan­els to slide into place.

An­other ex­am­ple of Wil­son Com­bat go­ing the ex­tra mile is the col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mec-Gar to de­sign a mag­a­zine that was op­ti­mized for the EDC X9. Mec-Gar builds a large num­ber of “fac­tory” mag­a­zines for some of the best-name gun com­pa­nies in the busi­ness, so it was more than up to the task of build­ing a mag­a­zine to the ex­act spec­i­fi­ca­tion of Wil­son Com­bat de­sign­ers.

FEA­TURE SET

Sim­i­lar to other high-ca­pac­ity 9mm pis­tols with a cockedand-locked safety (CZ 75B and Brown­ing Hi-Power), there is no grip safety worked into this de­sign. There is a ro­bust thumb safety that is eas­ily en­gaged and pro­vides ex­cep­tional feed­back dur­ing ma­nip­u­la­tion. Other than that, the rest is up to the shooter.

… THE NEW X-FRAME IS MA­CHINED

FROM T6-7075 ALU­MINUM BY WIL­SON COM­BAT PRO­FES­SION­ALS THEM­SELVES.

The spec­i­fi­ca­tions and all the ex­tras built into the EDC X9 are le­gion and far too numer­ous to cover here, but some truly sig­nif­i­cant as­pects are worth men­tion­ing. More-com­pre­hen­sive in­for­ma­tion about oth­ers is de­tailed on Wil­son Com­bat’s web­site.

The first fea­ture I found most im­pact­ful on my review was the En­hanced Re­li­a­bil­ity Sys­tem. Bor­row­ing from the sin­glestack EDC 9, this sys­tem was in­cor­po­rated into the EDC X9 to en­sure ab­so­lute re­li­a­bil­ity with am­mu­ni­tion of vary­ing weight and power. (More about this later.)

The EDC X9 has all the pro­fes­sional fea­tures you could want in a fight­ing 1911—and then some. From the X-Tac treat­ment done at the front and rear of the slide for great grip trac­tion, the user-ad­justable Tac­ti­cal Bat­tle­sights with a fiber-op­tic front in­sert, ex­cel­lent tex­tur­ing with the X-TAC front strap, the G-10 Star­burst Grips to the numer­ous Wil­son Com­bat Bul­let­proof parts, this pis­tol was de­signed to be the ul­ti­mate fight­ing tool for con­cealed-carry op­er­a­tors.

Small, but sig­nif­i­cant, touches that im­pact the EDC X9’s per­for­mance and dura­bil­ity in­clude the re­versed-crown bar­rel to guard against dings that could af­fect ac­cu­racy. Wil­son’s own piv­ot­ing ex­ter­nal ex­trac­tor is made of im­pactre­sis­tant S7 steel. S7 is made for se­vere im­pacts and is used by some of the world’s top sword mak­ers, as well as for heavy-im­pact punches. Be­cause of the piv­ot­ing sys­tem and the ex­cel­lent steel used for the ex­trac­tor, it is much more re­li­able and does not re­quire as much main­te­nance.

An­other thing I no­ticed was the high cham­fer­ing con­ducted on both sides of the slide. While main­tain­ing a close fit at the ends of the slide, ma­te­rial was re­moved from the bot­tom to help re­duce over­all fric­tion and to fur­ther enhance the re­li­a­bil­ity men­tioned ear­lier.

FORM AND FUNC­TION

But rather than re­cite every fac­toid about the EDC X9, the most im­por­tant thing I’d like to con­vey about the pis­tol is the ex­pe­ri­ence I had while test­ing and us­ing it. The beauty and ap­peal of a 1911 are its char­ac­ter, its nat­u­ral pointabil­ity and its high-speed, low-drag mode of op­er­a­tion when it is em­ployed. It is dif­fi­cult to de­scribe the EDC X9’s out­stand­ing er­gonomics and com­fort. The grip has more of an oval shape to it, rather than rec­tan­gu­lar. With the edges and cor­ners seem­ingly melted off, the pis­tol just set­tles nat­u­rally into the hand, while the taste­ful tex­tur­ing en­sures it stays there dur­ing use.

Even bet­ter: De­spite the in­creased ca­pac­ity of the grip, the width of the EDC X9 is just 1.4 inches, the same as a sin­gle-stack Colt Com­man­der. So, the ex­tra rounds add ab­so­lutely no con­cern with re­gard to con­cealed carry— or, for that mat­ter, han­dling. To pro­mote a high hold on the EDC X9, the frame also has an un­der­cut relief cut just be­hind the trig­ger guard, al­low­ing the user to get deeper into the grip with­out sac­ri­fic­ing com­fort.

One as­pect that helps bring ev­ery­thing to­gether is the trig­ger pull. The sam­ple I re­ceived broke like a glass rod at just a 3.90-pound av­er­age. It is cer­tainly not for the faint­hearted, but it brings the EDC X9 that much closer to be­ing the ul­ti­mate con­cealed fight­ing weapon.

THE EDC X9 GOES TO WORK

In the case of a 1911, beauty fol­lows func­tion in my opinion. I say this be­cause very few get the 1911 just right, and when it comes to a de­fen­sive pis­tol on which lives might de­pend, the pis­tol does have to be just right. And while I had no reser­va­tions about the Wil­son EDC X9 up front, there is a cer­tain sense of sat­is­fac­tion de­rived from know­ing how good a weapon is by hav­ing tested it your­self.

While I ap­pre­ci­ate the style and con­cept of a 1911, I am not so ex­pe­ri­enced with the plat­form that I have the req­ui­site eti­quette and light touch for what some might con­sider “rea­son­able” test­ing. I do un­der­stand that stan­dard 1911 pis­tols need reg­u­lar clean­ing and main­te­nance to en­sure proper per­for­mance ... but this is not a stan­dard 1911. It is a

WIL­SON COM­BAT CLEARED THE TA­BLE AND SET OUT TO DE­SIGN ITS OWN

CON­CEPT OF A CON­CEAL­ABLE, HIGHCAPACITY 9MM 1911 …

$2,895 Wil­son Com­bat 1911 built from the ground up, and I ex­pected more than just proper per­for­mance com­men­su­rate with the amount of up­keep.

So, once the pis­tol was ex­am­ined and lu­bri­cated out of the box, over the course of five range ses­sions, I shot more than 950 rounds of 14 dif­fer­ent brands and loads of am­mu­ni­tion through it while check­ing for re­li­a­bil­ity. Nine of those were mea­sured for ve­loc­ity and ac­cu­racy be­cause they were pre­mium loads (see the ac­com­pa­ny­ing ta­ble on page 48). Call it a ham-handed ap­proach, but I wanted to see the EDC X9 at work … and boy, did it work! Start­ing off us­ing ball am­mu­ni­tion from SIG Sauer, Blazer and Fed­eral Pre­mium, the EDC X9 hit the ground run­ning with­out even a hitch in its step. Be­sides be­ing ac­cu­rate for run­ning drills with the 300 rounds of 115-grain ball am­mu­ni­tion, all the loads fed with­out fail, with no break-in pe­riod needed. Ev­ery­thing was go­ing just as ex­pected.

Dur­ing the next few ses­sions at the range, the ac­cu­racy numbers were ac­quired, and some gen­eral shoot­ing took place to test the EDC X9’s han­dling dur­ing fire. Groups were shot at 15 yards from a bag rest; again, the re­sults were more than im­pres­sive.

Sev­eral man­u­fac­tur­ers, in­clud­ing Wil­son Com­bat, sup­ported the ef­fort and are listed on the ac­com­pa­ny­ing ta­ble. This provided a great foun­da­tion for some of the most ex­ten­sive ac­cu­racy test­ing I have done on a sin­gle review pis­tol.

On the whole, the EDC X9 seemed to con­sis­tently prefer 124-grain am­mu­ni­tion from the var­i­ous mak­ers, although the sin­gle best five-shot group was ob­tained with Wil­son Com­bat’s 115-grain TAC-XP +P loads. Some­how, the plan­ets aligned per­fectly for one group, and the re­sult was a spread of just .77 inch.

This num­ber weighed heav­ily in the cal­cu­la­tion, also mak­ing its av­er­age group size the best of the batch: 1.19 inches. Be­cause this group was the ex­cep­tion, rather than the

rule, for this shooter, it’s worth not­ing that there was a tie for the sec­ond-small­est av­er­age group size of 1.38 inches. Those were shot with Wil­son Com­bat’s 124-grain XTP +P load and Speer’s 124-grain +P Gold Dot of­fer­ing. Sec­ond place for the sin­gle best group size was shot with Dou­ble­tap Am­mu­ni­tion’s 124-grain +P JHP load (1 inch). No­tice a trend?

And, the best part of this en­tire ex­er­cise was the ab­so­lute re­li­a­bil­ity of the EDC X9. With more than 950 rounds of all the var­i­ous loads men­tioned in this ar­ti­cle, there was not a sin­gle mal­func­tion—de­spite the fact that I did not clean the pis­tol from the very first shot. To me, that’s ex­cel­lent crafts­man­ship and pre­ci­sion ex­e­cu­tion in a newly de­signed firearm built from scratch.

END OF A DAY AND A NEW BE­GIN­NING

As the last rays of the sun skimmed over the moun­tain tops, I stared at the burnt um­ber and au­re­ate hues as they or­na­mented the sky, while I was left with ob­ser­va­tions, as well as con­sid­er­a­tions. It’s one thing to test and re­mark about ex­cel­lent crafts­man­ship and per­for­mance in a firearm. It’s an­other thing al­to­gether to sac­ri­fice money earned dur­ing our fi­nite time on Earth to get the very best.

The EDC X9 is a re­mark­able con­cealed-carry tool that, in its splen­dor, lives up to the prom­ise of its de­sign. It is one of the very best firearms I’ve ever han­dled. The avail­abil­ity of 15

rounds in a stan­dard-sized 1911 and the flaw­less ex­e­cu­tion to make it work ac­cu­rately, re­li­ably and with a style all its own make it a true mas­ter­piece. It is well worth the in­vest­ment and en­ergy to have this pis­tol on your side to safe­guard your life.

And, if you’re won­der­ing whether th­ese ob­ser­va­tions are faith­ful and true to their core, ask any­one who has ever fired or owned one.

Or, you can just take my word for it—be­cause I just bought a Wil­son Com­bat EDC X9 of my very own. GW

Photo: Steve Woods

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Photo: Steve Woods

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The fiber-op­tic front sight makes tar­get ac­qui­si­tion fast and sim­ple, even un­der low­light con­di­tions. (Photo: Steve Woods)

The rear Bat­tle­sight is ad­justable for both windage and el­e­va­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, the top of the slide is also ser­rated to min­i­mize pos­si­ble glare.

(Photo: Steve Woods) The op­er­at­ing con­trols, such as the safety and the slide re­lease, are eas­ily ma­nip­u­lated and very ro­bust, be­cause they are part of Wil­son Com­bat’s “Bul­let­proof” line of parts. (Photo: Steve Woods)

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The sam­ple EDC X9 came with an ac­ces­sory rail, mak­ing the ad­di­tion of a light/laser mo­d­ule an easy af­fair when some­thing a lit­tle more tac­ti­cal is re­quired. With a loaded mag­a­zine, a laser/light combo such as the Stream­light TLR-3 bal­ances quite nicely on the EDC X9. (Photo: Steve Woods) The Wil­son Com­bat EDC

X9 pis­tol is built on Wil­son’s new X-Frame de­sign, which al­lows a 15-round-ca­pac­ity

mag­a­zine to re­side within a 4-inch 1911 with the same width as a stan­dard frame. (Photo:

Steve Woods)

The rear Bat­tle­sight is ser­rated, along with the rear of the slide, not only to or­na­ment the EDC X9, but to also re­duce any pos­si­ble glare. (Photo:

Steve Woods)

The EDC X9 is fit­ted with a bar­rel that is fluted for quicker heat dis­si­pa­tion and has a re­verse-crown muz­zle to pro­tect against any dings that might af­fect ac­cu­racy. The flared muz­zle also negates the need for a bush­ing to keep the bar­rel cen­tered in the slide. (Photo: Steve Woods)

The slide-on grips are held in place by the back

strap of the EDC X9, which can be opened via a sim­ple punch tool.

(Photo: Steve Woods) The Wil­son Com­bat EDC X9 is eas­ily bro­ken down to its core com­po­nents for thor­ough clean­ing and main­te­nance.

(Photo: Steve Woods)

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The EDC X9 is a com­fort­able 1911 pis­tol to both carry and shoot; and, de­spite its smaller size, it re­mains a for­mi­da­ble fight­ing weapon with the in­clu­sion of the 15-round mag­a­zine.

Wil­son Com­bat teamed up with Mec-Gar to specif­i­cally de­sign a new, 15-round mag­a­zine for the ground-break­ing EDC X9. (Photo: Steve Woods)

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