2023 is a year of strange gun changes for me. 2022 was strange too, with me returning to Glocks for EDC, and picking up revolver shooting. 2023 Is a year of 1911s, and K-Frame revolvers, and the Wilson Combat EDC X9 is helping to kick that off. I picked one up as part of a trade, and as of time of writing, I've got about 950 rounds through it. While far from a review, what are my initial impressions?
What Is the Wilson Combat EDC X9?
The EDC X9 is Wilson's double stack 1911-style gun. Released in 2017, this gun was made to be a carry oriented 1911, but with modern capacity and features. MSRP starts at $3145. Mine is the 4" barreled, non-accessory rail model, and was fitted with a magwell and optic mounting system before it left Berryville, AR.
As someone who is pretty familiar with the traditional 1911, the EDC X9 feels both similar, and quite different. The control layout is identical to the 1911. We've got a thumb safety, slide release, magazine catch, and trigger all in the same place as JMB's masterpiece. However, a grip safety is absent. The frame is a one piece, 7000 series aluminum frame, and the grip safety was (thankfully) left out. Unlike most 1911s, the EDC X9 uses a screwless design to keep the stocks on the pistol, which makes the design quite thin.
The slide is also a departure from the traditional 1911. We've got an external extractor design, and a bushingless Browning lockup, with a bull profile, cone barrel instead. With this design, the EDC X9 is much easier to field strip for cleaning than the standard 1911, as we can remove the slide from the frame, and take apart the recoil assembly from there.
The EDC X9 has a match grade trigger, with mine pulling around 3.5lbs. It is light, crisp, and fantastic. We've got excellent texturing on the front and back of the frame, and great slide serrations. This is a gun that is easy to grip and manipulate.
How does the gun shoot?
EDC X9 Shooting Characteristics & Reliability
Prior to shooting the EDC X9, I tossed an older RMR RM06 onto the gun. The optic has held zero, and is continuing to serve me well through testing.
Reliability has been flawless. Regardless of ammo, the gun feeds well, and has had no malfunctions. I've done shooting from retention, shooting one and two handed, and with weak and overpressure ammo, and no issues have come up.
The EDC X9 is is textured to perfection. The frame, grips, and slide all provide great traction. This is a gun that does not slide or slip in your hands, and is easy to manipulate. In addition to the texturing, all of the controls are very precise. The safety has an extremely positive detent, and no slop. The magazine release is not easy to accidentally depress, but when you want to hit it, mags shoot out of the gun.
It's a 1911, so we've gotta discuss the trigger. It is easily the best trigger I've felt on any semi-auto handgun. If you miss with this gun, it isn't the trigger's fault. While I haven't benchrested the pistol for groups, the gun shoots very accurately. My RDS zero was done at 25 yards with HSTs, and I can easily keep a 10 round group in the black of a B-8 offhand with the X9.
The X9 is a soft shooting pistol, however, the recoil impulse throws me off. It is more vertical, rather than inline. While not a bad thing, it is a performance effecting thing.
How has my shooting performance been with the EDC X9?
EDC X9 Shooting Performance
I'm generally a fairly good shooter. I've been shooting a range of guns over the years, from the high end, to the dirt below the bottom of the barrel. The EDC X9 is a gun that I generally shoot quite well, however, there is a learning curve for me with the pistol. I've been shooting Glocks and DA revolvers as of late, and this gun is a bit different than them. The X9 has a different grip angle and recoil impulse, which I've found to be the factors that effect my shooting performance the most.
The grip angle is not bad, it's just different. Different grip angle means different shooting characteristics, and different presentation from holsters. I can adapt to that. People bemoan the Glock grip angle, but I like it, as it posits the hand deeper under the slide, reducing perceived recoil. When I say that I like how Glocks recoil, it's not that they are necessarily soft, but rather, inline and consistent. I find them to shoot "flatter", so I can shoot them quickly while maintaining accuracy. On the EDC X9, the grip angle combines with the recoil impulse (which is effected by the grip angle) to be a slower gun for me to shoot. The EDC X9 has soft recoil, but it is more vertical, and shoots less "flat".
My performance with the X9 has been accurate, but slower than my Glock shooting. I'll chock it up to lacking familiarity with the gun, as I'm getting faster when running drills with it. I've got a playlist of my EDC X9 drills here.
While I don't shoot the gun as well as I'd like, I do really enjoy shooting it.
What I Like About the EDC X9
This is an extremely well made handgun. The EDC X9 is a custom 1911, made by extremely competent gunsmiths in Arkansas. I've owned many handguns in my life, but none have been made nearly as well as this one. All of the imperfections with the gun are ones that I did to it, rather than the factory getting sloppy. Fitment of parts is perfect, and the gun is very well designed.
I could gush about specific features, but nearly everything on this gun is done better than the other guns I own. This has the nicest slide serrations and frame texturing I've ever felt. The trigger is sublime, and the controls are rock solid, and haven't gotten sloppy. I like that this is a double stack 1911 that doesn't feel like holding a brick. On top of feeling great in the hand, and shooting well, this gun is attractive too. You may not personally like the look of the 1911, but damn, I do. This is a handsome gun.
The icing on the cake is that while this is a hand fitted gun, disassembly is easy as pie. I can yank the EDC X9 apart in about 15 seconds, and can have it back together in about the same. Compared to a standard 1911, this is a cakewalk.
While the "Pros" column is much bigger than the "Cons" column, there is an 800lb gorilla in the room.
Mo Money, Mo Problems
This is an expensive pistol. There is no getting around that. My gun is close to $4000, as configured with optic. That is a sh*tload of money. When you think about what 4 grand would buy you instead, it may be hard to rationalize an EDC X9. That's 3 fully kitted polymer striker guns. It's twice what I paid for my first car ('96 Jeep Cherokee).
Y'know how you hear older folks talking about things "not being made like they used to be"? Generally, it's a crock of crap. Things are generally much nicer made now, especially with advancements in metallurgy, and machining technology. However, the EDC X9 is an example of a new-age product being made with a combination of modern technology, and "how it used to be" gunsmithing. When you pony up the big bucks for a Wilson gun, you're getting something that was made by a handful of people. You'll get a few inspection and test papers with the gun, that tell you about who signed off and made certain parts. That's what you are paying for, and if you can appreciate it, you might want an X9.
That being said, this is not a gun that I can recommend to most people. It's just not a realistic purchase for most shooters. I don't think that the gun is overpriced in any sense, it's just a high dollar option. I've enjoyed shooting this more than other similarly priced handguns, but it is hard for many people to justify the cost. I also shoot my Glocks better, but uh, that's a "me" issue.
I really, really like the EDC X9. It's a very expensive gun, but it's one of the first pistols I've owned where I didn't immediately want to change anything on it. It's been a fun gun, and certainly been a joy to play with.
I traded into this specific EDC X9 with the intent to shoot the living Hell out of it. I intend to do so. I'll publish a longer, full review once I've crested 2500-3000 rounds through the gun. However, at the rate that I'm shooting it, that may be pretty soon.