Carrying an Expensive Handgun: Wilson Combat EDC X9

By Bob Campbell published on in Concealed Carry, Firearms

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.

Wilson Combat EDC X9 pistol atop several boxes of ammunition

This is a handsome handgun that delivers excellent accuracy.

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.

Wilson Combat EDC X9 in a brown leather holster

The pistol was carried in a Davis Leather Company Gunsite holster.

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.

Disassembled Wilson Combat EDC X9 pistol

The pistol disassembles easily with a minimum of parts.

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.

Muzzle crown on a pistol

The muzzle crown is very well cut.

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.

SLRule

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 Shooter’s 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.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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Comments (27)

  • Alan Butterworth

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    Hell no! There ain’t no way I’m gonna carry my Clark Custom .45 Meltdown with the Damascus slide everyday. I simply can’t afford to replace it. I wish I could because the green laser is kinda wasted on it since I’m not carrying it daily. These Performance Center M&P Shields are just too good and easy to conceal and I can buy 8 of them for what the Clark cost. O.K. they won’t shoot that tight group at 50 ft. but what bad guy is going to try to rob you from that far away? You never know the outcome of an armed encounter and I don’t want some LEO adding my Favorite Pistol to his collection because I was in the wrong County when I had to Draw it. I’d rather risk the Shield than the Custom 1911 any day.

    Reply

  • KN

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    With modern day CNC production equipment & processes, any assembly-line pistol costing over $800 is simply a ripoff…period.

    Reply

    • RKC

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      Wilson Combat, Ed Brown and Les Baer pistols are NOT assembly line guns. That is the difference. They are a breed apart.

      Reply

    • KN

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      LMAO! You keep on thinking that, buddy. Proof that their marketing campaigns are working well.

      While I’ll admit that (some) of those brands that you mentioned are a couple levels of quality above your typical firearm, they’re ALL still assembly line guns…they just have a better process and attention to detail than most.

      Unless a gun is hand-chambered, fitted, lapped, polished, engraved, signed or stamped with a makers mark, and one of 100 or less made, it’s not worth what companies like Wilson Combat charge.

      Reply

  • Leo Fuentes

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    I am a big 1911 fan and own 4 a colt a kimber a nighthawk grp and a rock island gi a2 hc. I dont carry none of them first of all they are big cumbersom and heavy. So no mater what some peoplea opinion is about carring an expensive wepon is there is many good guns out there that dont cost as mutch as some of my 1911s but are jist as good or better. For my dayli carry i use an s&w mp9 ots an awsome gun cost me 500 bucks and i have never had an issue with it or missfires even when dirty. I would rather carry my mp9 than my other guns and save the rest for the range where i can enjoy them.

    Reply

    • RKC

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      The great Fitz Fitzgerald wrote than many a man has lost his life for the sake of a few ounces of comfort. I am 60 years old and have carried the steel frame Government Model for 40 years. It isn’t about the weight but the holster and the proper choice. The Commander .45 is a reasonable choice.

      Reply

  • Jim Saunders

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    Okay, first, I am a Wilson fan. Own a Tactical Carry currently, but I never carry it. But I wouldn’t call her a “safe queen” since she goes to the range regularly. Why not carry it? Too big. Living in Florida, I don’t get to wear heavy cover garments often, so my “big” gun is a S&W Shield that I feel well protected with. But I don’t carry it because it’s cheap, nor would I shy away from a more expensive gun because of the price, but the EDC X9 is still a big gun compared to the Shield so I don’t have it on my list.

    That said, if I thought a Commander was an acceptable carry gun, I’d definitely have the EDC X9 on my very short list.

    Reply

    • RKC

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      Compared to my usual carry guns the EDC is quite light.
      The Commander is among the best all around defensive handguns ever made, in my opinion, in .45 caliber.

      Reply

  • Robert Moody

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    I’ve been shooting for 61 years and have tried a lot of guns. I prefer to carry a gun that is reliable and easily concealed. Unless you plan a gun battle in a distance of 25 yards or more, I like my S&W Shield or my Springfield. Both are easy to carry in a belt or ankle holster. For bullseye competitive shooting, I always shot a S&W 6” K-38 with custom fitted grips. How’s that for dating myself?

    Reply

    • Bob Campbell

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      When special teams were first formed the 6 inch K 38 was a standard for many. Cannot fault it on accuracy.

      Reply

  • Hide Behind

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    OF course this article is to sell this particular weapon, this is after all a for profit business site.
    As an informative venue it tells of a weapon of interest even tho I would never purchase new and only at a distress sale, advertising, like art in George Orwells writing. Is propaganda, and as when proaganda is read and heard. If you have a discerning mind, you take with a grain of salt.
    B’S tho on how easily ones weapon can be returned in most municipalities one either needs legal help or know the cops.
    A lawyer to prove legal ownership and your right of return will gladly take your $1000+ so you can say to his authority buddies”Please may have my gun back.”

    Reply

    • Dave Dolbee

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      If this article is to sell this particular weapon, why hasn’t CTD ever carried it? ~Dave Dolbee

      Reply

    • Greg

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      Great article on a classic firearm. The 1911 will continue evolve but remain a style I prefer. I carry a Sig C3 and I live in Florida. As to getting your sidearm back after a shooting. In my county and surrounding counties if you are in the right and not charged with a crime there is no need to hold your firearm as there is no need for evidence. The state or county has no rights to your firearms and must return them at no cost to you and without the need for an attorney. I’m a retired LEO and have taken and returned many firearms in the course of my official duties. If I take your firearm I must give you a property receipt and safeguard your property returning it in the same condition I took it or I’m liable and must compensate you for damages. My .02.

      Reply

    • Bob Campbell

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      Thanks for reading and thanks for your reasoned and intelligent reply. Like yourself I value my life and carry the Commander .45 often. the SIG C3 is in a class all its own.

      Best
      Bob Campbell

      Reply

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