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)

  • MReder

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    This article is a sales pitch for an overly priced firearm. I carry a Glock 36 daily. IMO it’s the smallest, lightest, thinnest option Glock offers in .45acp. To me, it was the brainchild of the later Glock 42 and 43 single stacks but in large bore. Many have overlooked this offering scoffing at the 6+1 payload which surmounts to a revolver BUT fast delivering and quick reloading.

    My other option, mostly for walking in the bush or that off occasion I’m open carrying I opt for my Colt Gold Cup 1911 which is the smoothest most accurate handgun I’ve ever owned.

    Reply

  • Clifffalling

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    I went through several carry sidearms over the years. Got rid of them for various reasons, weight, size, unreliability. I settled on a G19. It’s little bigger than I was used to, but reliability is the only consideration. As for accuracy, I am more than happy. Will it shoot a tight group? You bet…but I tend to practice like I would be shooting. It still puts them in there. I feel like lots of fancy features and hours of hand finishing are good for revolvers and showing off at the range. I need something thay goes bang every time, and that’s about it.

    Reply

  • dprato

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    I am certain many folks have successfully protected themselves with any number of differently priced, types, models, and calibers of handguns. Unless there are real time statistics to show that more people survive using more expensive guns than less expensive ones, I am questioning the purpose of the article except to highlight this particular firearm.

    Reply

  • Robert H

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    I’m sure this is a top notch gun but for retired individuals, This is cost prohibitive. I carry a Walther PPS which fits my lifestyle and wallet well. I wish we could all afford this but…

    Reply

  • Adam

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    If you can afford a $3000 carry gun and want to spend the money, feel free. However, beyond a certain price you reach a point of sharp diminishing returns in terms of actual performance.

    For example, with $3000 you could buy two good-condition H&K P7s with money left over for practice ammo. I can tell you from experience that a P7 will make clover-leaf groups with cheap target ammo shooting off-hand at typical self-defense distances.

    Does this pistol perform twice as well as a P7, or five times as well as a Glock 19?

    Reply

    • Hide Behind

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      Excellent Questions.

      Reply

    • RKC

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      Adam,
      The P7 is an odd ball compared to this modern 9mm. First, the P7- and I own one- heats up in front of the trigger guard in less than 100 rounds during practice sessions. Second, it is a low capacity firearm which means much much less to me but it is what it is. the P7 isn’t in production and spare parts are problematical. The P7 is not rated for +P loads. The EDC will digest +P+ loads with great accuracy. If you make the case for two custom grade Browning High Power handguns over the EDC— I am with you!

      Reply

  • Bob Nagy

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    I had a Wilson Combat .45, beautiful gun black frame with a satin finished stainless slide, bright parts, ambi safeties, the works. Just under $4,000.00. Wouldn’t shoot Winchester T-Series 230gr or Federal HSTs 230gr reliably. Called their support and was told they were not on the preferred ammo list. Told them for the price that gun should shoot any commercially available SD ammo from a reputable manufacturer, and I want mine to shoot those two. Sent the gun back to them and they put a weaker spring in it which then caused continuous slide slam on the frame. Then I noticed that they had ground down the feed ramp some, but didn’t tell me about it. So I bought a stock spring from them, installed it, and my ammo ran fine. Logically they must have put the weaker spring in on purpose to eventually damage the gun because they don’t like people using ammo they don’t approve (i.e. sell), and since there’s no warranty, I would’ve been screwed. I’ve heard of people with other problems with their guns on the forums, too.

    Bottom line-beautiful guns, but I wouldn’t trust my life with one. A nice cheap PC Shield, with an aftermarket Apex trigger kit and an aftermarket guide rod/springs kit and I’ve got a PORTED accurate, VERY RELIABLE WITH THE AMMO I USE gun. And saved thousands.

    Oh and about the police giving your gun right back after a “good” shooting? Never gonna happen, the gun is evidence and will be held for years until all criminal and civil issues have been settled.

    Reply

    • Mike D

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      There is no good reason for the police/prosecutors to keep the gun for long periods because they don’t do it to themselves. In an officer involved shooting, the officer’s gun is taken into evidence. It is then taken to the lab where it is shot and the bullet and cartridge case is then placed into evidence and kept. The gun then goes to the department armorer to inspect to make sure it is within factory spec, no broken or modified parts which might make it “dangerous”. It is then returned to the officer for duty. This occurs whether it’s a department issue OR a personally owned gun that the officer is carrying. And, this usually all happens within 3 days to a week.

      Reply

  • Carl Bradley

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    I carry my most reliable, concealable pistol—in my case that is a Taurus revolver in 357 magnum. I am almost 70 years old, and I don’t “collect” anything I don’t use. I bought a Ruger American pistol for carry, but I found that I could not trust it, and went back to my 357 revolver.

    Reply

  • colcam

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    Hate to say this, but a good gun stays a good gun. A bit over 45 years ago i paid too much for a pistol, but even with the scratches and wear of serious use for that long it still looks good and always works. Yes, it is a member of the 1911 family and came from Colt– brand new– but to call this EDC X9 a member of the 1911 family is like calling a Ballester Molina a 1911 when it is actually something kind of like a 1911 but not quite up to that standard.

    It may be a great little gun, but it is NOT a 1911 family gun.

    Reply

  • Knitebane

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    I carry a Rock Island instead of a high-end gun as my personal defensive weapon.

    If I ever have to use it for its primary purpose it will be seized and kept in a police evidence locker until the investigation is completed. There are many stories of firearms returned to owners in very poor condition.

    Why would I risk that with a $2K gun? Instead I have a Rock Island on my hip and another just like it at home as a backup. Together they both cost less than the Wilson Combat EDC.

    Reply

  • Steven King

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    I carry a Glock 29 10MM, not the most expensive but certainly not the cheapest handgun on the market. It is heavier than most people would prefer, but as a Marine Vietnam vet I can appreciate the value in making sure any aggressor is rapidly and efficiently nullified in case they have help. I also purchased a Taurus Millennium 9MM for my wife, it is lightweight holds 12 rounds is very accurate at 25 yards and after several hundred rounds has proven to be as reliable as any gun costing two or three times as much. I own a SCCY 9MM which I carry as a backup in an ankle carry position and again it is not an expensive gun but has proven very reliable. The closest thing to a “Safe Queen” that I own is a Ruger P90 in 45 Caliber that stays in a table top safe next to my bed and only sees action occasionally at the range to keep it loosened up should it be necessary to break it out when things go bump in the night. It is possible to buy a gun that is extremely reliable and dependable for not a lot of money and for those who feel that you must break the bank on that gun or you will most certainly die I can only respond by saying the cost of a gun doesn’t necessarily equate to the value of the gun and anything built with quality parts by skilled people will when properly maintained prove just as reliable whether it costs $200.00 or $2000.00… Many times you are only paying for a name and a name won’t save your life.

    Reply

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