Dan Wesson has been building quality 1911
style pistols for several years now. Part of the CZ-USA company,
Dan Wesson builds custom-grade pistols, and sells them for much
less than a true custom pistol would cost. They fit into a slot
somewhere between high-production assembly line guns (which can
also be very good) and true one-at-a-time custom pistols. Dan
Wesson pistols have always impressed me with the quality of fit
and finish, as do these two pistols shown here.
The full-size stainless steel gun is Dan
Wesson's entry-level pistol, called the Heritage. I was
surprised to find that the Heritage was their entry-level
pistol, as it is fitted and finished pretty much to perfection.
There is no discernable play between the slide and frame nor the
slide and barrel. The Heritage wears an excellent set of sights;
the rear being a Novak-style dovetailed into the frame, with
thankfully, no white dots on the rear of the sight. The front is
a Trijicon tritium night sight. The Heritage has a checkered
mainspring housing, and wears a set of thin Hogue synthetic
rubber grip panels. The hammer is a lightweight skeletonized
unit, and the solid trigger is adjustable for overtravel. The
trigger pull is perfect on this weapon for a full-sized fighting
pistol, releasing crisply at four pounds of resistance. The
magazine release is slightly extended, and the single-side thumb
safety is extended for a positive engagement. The grip safety is
of the upswept beavertail style, and disengages perfectly every
time I grasp the weapon. There is no firing pin safety, and none
is needed. The Heritage ships with two eight-round Checkmate
magazines, which work perfectly, and have extended base pads for
positive engagement in the magazine well, which is slightly
beveled for easier insertion of the magazine.
The smaller of the two pistols shown here is
the ECO. This is Dan Wesson's smallest pistol, and is available
chambered for the 9x19mm cartridge, as well as for the 45 ACP
shown here. The ECO is built on a lightweight aluminum frame,
and is of the size commonly referred to as "Officer's
size". It has a nominal three inch barrel and an
abbreviated grip for easier concealment. It also weighs a full
three-quarters of a pound less than the Heritage and other
full-sized steel 1911 pistols, making it much easier to carry
comfortably all day. The ECO has a good-looking set of
well-textured G10 grip panels, a coned match barrel, and a black
satin finish. The sights are Trijicon tritium night sights,
front and rear, with both adjustable in their dovetails for
windage correction. The lightweight solid trigger is adjustable
for overtravel, and the pistol wears an upswept beavertail grip
safety. The single-side thumb safety is extended for length, but
is not quite as prominent as the safety on the Heritage pistol,
for easier concealment. Again, there is no firing pin safety, as
these Dan Wesson pistols have original-style 1911 firing
systems. Both pistols have polished feed ramps and throated
barrels for flawless feeding of cartridges from the magazine.
The ECO ships with two seven-round magazines, which fit flush
with the bottom of the grip. The mainspring housing and the
front of the frame are checkered for a positive hold. The ECO
has a full-length stainless guide rod with a flat spring, which
cycles the pistol very well. Both pistols feature slides with
Clark-style top ribs.
specifications for these two Dan Wesson pistols are listed in
the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear
measurements are listed in inches. The grip and frame widths
were measured at their widest points. The maximum width is
across the grip panels, including the thumb safety. The height
includes the sights and magazine base. The trigger pull is
listed as pounds of resistance. The weight includes the empty
magazine. Length is measured from the muzzle to the tip of the
beavertail grip safety.
|Maximum Grip Width
|MSRP (as of December 2014)
tested for velocity from these pistols with my chronograph set
at ten feet from the muzzle, and an air temperature of
thirty-six degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of
sixty-five percent. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation
of approximately 541 feet above sea level.
Velocities are listed in the chart below, and are listed
in feet-per-second (fps). FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP
is a jacketed hollowpoint. DPX is an homogenous copper
hollowpoint bullet. Glaser is a specialty pre-fragmented core
inside a copper alloy jacket. PB is Pow’RBall.
LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. UHD is Remington
Ultimate Home Defense hollowpoint ammunition. NPA is National
Police Ammunition frangible bullet ammo. HCL is a hard-cast lead
bullet. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet
weights are listed in grains.
|Buffalo Bore HCL
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|Buffalo Bore FMJ
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|WCC 1911 Ball FMJ
Reliability was perfect with each of the
types of ammunition listed above. Every round fed, fired, and
ejected flawlessly. I was a bit concerned that these pistols,
built as tightly as they are, might require a break-in period to
function one hundred percent, but my concern proved to be
unfounded, as both ran without a problem right out of the box.
Both pistols always locked the slide back on an empty magazine,
again with every type of ammunition tested.
For accuracy testing, I placed the Dan Wesson
pistols into my Ransom Master Series
machine rest, and tried a variety of ammunition on paper at
twenty-five yards through each pistol. Accuracy varied from very
good to excellent, depending upon the load tested, with the most
accurate loads pictured. The Remington Ultimate Home Defense
ammunition proved to be the most accurate ammunition tested in
each of these pistols, and its 230 grain jacketed hollowpoint
bullet leaves the muzzle of the Heritage at a bit over 850
feet-per-second (fps), and right under 800 fps from the shorter
barrel of the ECO. I could discern no accuracy differences
between these two pistols, when fired from the Ransom machine
These two Dan Wesson pistols are a couple of
the best-fitting, best-shooting, expertly-crafted 1911 style
pistols that I have ever fired. The Heritage is a fine example
of what a full-sized 1911 should be, and the ECO is a pistol
that I would be proud to carry every day, and I would trust
either to protect my life and the lives of those whom depend
upon me for protection. If you are looking for the lowest-priced
1911 pistols on the market, look elsewhere, but if you want
custom quality pistols at a much lower price, check out these
two from Dan Wesson.
Check out these and other Dan Wesson pistols
online at www.cz-usa.com.
For the location of a Dan Wesson dealer near
you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Dan Wesson pistols online, click
on the GUN GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.
To order the quality holsters for Dan Wesson
pistols, go to www.simplyrugged.com,
order quality 45 ACP ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com,
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