A common discussion among experienced handgunners with a safe full of handguns is the carry of an expensive handgun versus a more affordable, but utilitarian, pistol. As an example one shooter may have a Gold Cup in the safe but carries a Glock 19.
We all have safe queens we do not carry on a regular basis. Then there is the BBQ gun that we may carry when surrounded by friends. Many a blue steel stag-gripped Colt lies in the gun safe, while a Glock or SIG rides with us on our daily rounds. As long as the carry gun is reliable that seems OK, but I like to carry the most capable handgun I am able to master. There are many reasons folks carry an inexpensive handgun, and it isn’t all related to economy.
I hope you are not simply cheap. Most of the cheap firearms that malfunctioned during my training classes were purchased by shooters who could have afforded a better gun; they were just penny pinchers. I have seen a tired old Llama fire its last round in class and more than a few bargain basement revolvers lock up. When your life is on the line, I believe the investment should not be taken lightly.
One fear is that the police may take the handgun during the course of an investigation. In my experience, if the case is clear, the handgun is returned quickly—if it is taken at all. If you have a bad shooting on your hands, the loss of a handgun is the least of your concerns. Just the same, I do not think I would carry the Colt 1911 that grandfather carried up Hamburger Hill. When all things are considered I do not think that the difference between a $500 gun and a $1,000 is worth a thought.
As for myself, my carry guns include a SIG P220R .45, Colt Series 70 with stag grips, and custom 1911 .45 with original Bomar sights. When boon docking or hiking, I carry a Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum or Ruger SR1911 10mm. The 1911 with Bomar sights was built by a good friend and mentor now passed. I doubt he would want me to file it away for the children, although one will get it some day.
Reliability is the baseline, and these handguns have served well without a single malfunction during their service life. The Colt 1911 is practically an extension of my arm, and a very good handgun overall. This brings us to the subject of this report, and a handgun that gives one pause as to spending upwards of $3,000 or more on a handgun.
I recall my friend Trevor telling me he spent a months pay for a Colt 1911A1 in South Africa, and Lawrence of Arabia and his brother did much the same over 100 years ago. As a young man, that first Colt represented a considerable part of my life savings. But the Wilson Combat pistol represents a lot of work and sacrifice.
The Wilson Combat EDC X9 is a new handgun that has much to recommend. The pistol is an extraordinary offering and well worth its price. It would be different if there were anything to fault but there isn’t. The pistol is well turned out. The fit, finish and detail work, and lockup are excellent.
The EDC X9 is a 1911, but it is quite different from many other 1911 handguns. There is no grip safety or barrel bushing. The pistol is a 9mm handgun with a 14-round magazine. The fit of the barrel to the slide, and the slide to the frame, is excellent. The ramped barrel also gives the shooter a margin of safety.
The pistol features Wilson Combat battle sights, among the most advanced available. The front sight features a fiber optic insert. The controls, slide lock, magazine catch, and slide lock safety are crisp in operation. There is absolutely no slop in the operation of the safety.
The pistol is aggressively textured in the new X pattern. Since fewer shooters use a jackhammer than a computer these days, the grip treatment is ideal and offers excellent abrasion and adhesion when firing. The grip is more comfortable than most 1911 handguns and fits the hand better than any high-capacity handgun I am aware of.
The slide is forged steel and the frame aluminum. The pistol is chambered for America’s most popular caliber the 9mm Luger. The 9mm is a true high power cartridge with enough velocity to ensure bullet penetration and expansion. The 9mm doesn’t have the wound potential of the .45 ACP, but it is accurate and controllable. The 9mm is an affordable cartridge to purchase and even more economical to handload.
The pistol has a lower bore axis than most 1911 handguns, making it a joy to fire. There is simply little leverage for the muzzle to flip. Forward cocking serrations and an external extractor are modern touches. The pistol’s short take up trigger breaks at a very clean 3.0 pounds. I have never experienced a cleaner trigger.
Among the two-dozen or so loadings I have tested in this remarkable pistol, the combination of a Hornady 124-grain XTP over enough Titegroup for 1,100 fps has proven useful and accurate. The pistol is accurate enough to confirm or deny certain assumptions concerning the 9mm Luger cartridge.
The heavy and slow 147-grain bullet may be accurate at long range, but at 25 yards, the 124-grain XTP is more than accurate enough for any chore and noticeably more accurate than the 115-grain bullet. With the most accurate loads, the pistol has printed several 1.5-inch, 25-yard groups, and a few 5-shot groups even smaller.
With quality ammunition, few loads have edged over the 2-inch mark. The Fiocchi 124-grain Extrema posted a 1.3-inch group at the last range session. Even the affordable CCI Blazer loads are quite accurate, at about 2.1 inches for a 25-yard group. That is exceptional.
The Hornady American Gunner 124-grain XTP +P has given excellent results and would be the carry load at present. The Wilson Combat sights, barrel, and trigger make for a great combination. This pistol is as highly developed a 1911 as we are likely to find. In combat drills, the grip frame and light weight make for a handgun that is fast from leather—I can recall no livelier handgun. Bill Wilson has been perfecting the 1911 for 40 years, and I have been testing many handguns over the same period. The pistol is at least as accurate as the SIG P210 but handles faster, is more compact, and makes for a viable defensive handgun.
If I owned the EDC X9 would I carry it? That is what the piece is for, and there is really nothing else quite like it. For those lucky enough to own such a handgun, carry it—and most of all, fire it often.
Do you carry an expensive gun or own a safe queen? Which model? Share your answers in the comment section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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