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Dan Wesson DWX review

When the fine folks at Dan Wesson set out to design the DWX, it was clear they had the dedicated 1911 aficionado in mind. This handgun is packed with features that offer enhanced performance and aesthetics, though some border on gimmicky. As a firearm instructor with over 30 years of experience, I’ve developed a nuanced take on the DWX.

At first glance, the DWX oozes quality craftsmanship. The matte black finish is smooth and consistent across the frame and slide. While some may find the monochrome look boring, I appreciate the understated elegance. The checkered walnut grips pair nicely with the matte metal and offer ample grip without being too aggressive. So far, so good.

Looking closer, you’ll notice the slide has been aggressively ported and serrated. While this machining does reduce weight, I question its practicality. The cuts are quite shallow, so their effect on recoil management is likely negligible. And the serrations are more at home on a competition handgun where grasping the slide is paramount. For a duty or self-defense pistol, they seem extraneous.

The fluted match grade barrel admittedly provides eye-catching aesthetics. And the increased surface area does aid in cooling and heat dissipation. However, given this pistol’s intended use, ultra-precise accuracy is not critical. A simpler barrel would likely offer adequate performance at a lower cost.

Ergonomics and controls are where Dan Wesson got most creative, for better and worse. The extended beavertail grip safety and exaggerated trigger guard facilitate a high hold that helps tame muzzle rise. Ambidextrous controls, including the safety and slide stop, are always a welcome addition. And the magwell, while not crucial, does provide smooth reloads.

However, some choices gave me pause. The skeletonized hammer looks darling but serves no real purpose. And the slide’s lightening cuts, while visually appealing, reduce structural integrity. For a daily carry or holstered duty gun, I prefer a more robust slide.

When it comes to shooting, the DWX performs admirably. The single action trigger breaks crisply at 4.5 pounds with minimal creep. Point of impact holds steady across multiple targets. The Cerakote finish also seems durable and corrosion resistant.

For recreational plinking, the DWX delivers. The sexy styling and garish cuts do attract attention at the range. But when lives are on the line, I gravitate toward more subdued pistols without superfluous embellishments.

Overall, Dan Wesson has crafted a highly refined 1911 with the DWX. The build quality and reliability satisfy, while the divisive aesthetics come down to personal taste. While I admire the precision workmanship, some design choices give me pause for duty or self-defense use. For those seeking an heirloom-grade 1911 as a status symbol, the DWX undoubtedly delivers. As a pragmatic instructor, however, my evaluation is more nuanced. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so for shooters seeking flair, the DWX warrants consideration.

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