Dan Wesson Firearms makes excellent 1911 handguns. Some of the best 1911 pistols in the world, in fact.
The grandson of the Wesson side of Smith & Wesson started his own firm in 1968 with the sole ambition of making a better revolver.
He used modular designs, interchangeable barrels that were stressed at both ends and a number of other innovations like Chrome Moly Vanadium steel barrels. Dan Wesson made good on his promise.
Esteemed designer Karl Lewis worked with Wesson to produce the lowest recoil 44 Magnum with an early integral suppressor, a mechanical stop to limit trigger travel and aid fast reset and other innovations.
Now Dan Wesson has moved on to the 1911 handgun. It produces some of the best battle pistols, hunting handguns and defensive handguns on the market.
It is also part of the CZ empire, now. That only seems to be helping this boutique manufacturer branch out into some new and sexy handguns. Keep reading to find out more about new Dan Wesson 1911s etc…
So what are the best Dan Wesson Firearms in 2023?
1. Dan Wesson Valor
- Price: $2,294.99
- Caliber: 45 ACP
- Barrel length: 5 inch
- Total: 8.75 inch
- Capacity: 8+1
It’s a testament to an understated sense of style that the clean and simple Dan Wesson Valor is the company flagship.
There’s no rail. You do get a tight group of GI style rear serrations, a competition flat faced trigger and a Stan Chen Si Magwell. That trigger basically eliminates slapping or overthinking. It’s a butter smooth, no stack, one plane motion that loads up to a super crisp break.
Play your part and the trigger takes a lot of those bad shooting habits away for you.
A tactical hammer, bobbed and skeletonized, all just works on this Government model.
The Novak style Trijicon adustable sights, hammer and what looks like a slightly blingy trigger are surprisingly functional items on a battle pistol. We really like the clean and simple lines on the new Valor. Even the thumb safety is understated.
The forged stainless steel frame gets match grade everything hung off it. A good deal of the pistol is machined in house from high grade barstock.
Inevitably tolerances and the slide to frame fit are just right on a new Valor. Unlike some custom guns they’re not overly tight and don’t need 1000 rounds to break them in. They’re tightly fitted, but slide effortlessly and creamily from the off.
Insiders say this is because the parts are manufactured almost perfectly in the first place, so require minimal handfitting at the end. That’s a good sign when it comes to longevity and durability.
A relatively small and unobtrusive thumb safety joins forces with that upswept beavertail grip safety. That 5 inch match barrel is hand fitted to the frame with a bushing. Aall the other parts are hand polished and finished.
The full size Dan Wesson Valor really is a custom handgun, without the wait time or outrageous price tag.
There’s an optional black Duty Finish coating with black and white grips, but the bead blasted steel pistol with black diagonal cut grips looks the best to us.
Is There a Concealed Carry Valor? Yes…
The Dan Wesson V-Bob is the semi-auto concealed carry handgun you are looking for.
With a rounded heel and a variety of finishes, you get a 4.25 inch barrel and a Commander Classic Bobtail 1911 pistol. You also receive the same level of slide to frame fit and finish as the big Dan Wessons.
The same deburred everything, polished feed ramp and internals and slavish dedication to producing the very best gun you could possibly trust with your life.
2. Dan Wesson DWX
- Price: $2,353.99
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel length: 4.95 inch
- Total: 8.75 inch
- Weight: 2.6lb
- Capacity: 19+1
A Dan Wesson 1911 built on the frame of a high capacity CZ 75 sounds like an intriguing recipe for a 9mm handgun. It was anyway, for four years while we waited after some long forgotten Shot Show appearance.
Thankfully, it was more or less worth the wait.
Is this a true full size 1911? Not really no. It’s a mash up of a 1911 slide and Fire Control Unit, CZ 75 frame and there are elements of Sig P220, shooting sports specials and Charles Petter’s M1935A too.
The slide runs outside the slide rails, but also uses an external extractor. The straight front edge of the ejection port interacts with a ledge on the barrel to create a simple locked breech barrel system. So complex lugs are a thing of the past.
Barrel bushing has been eliminated. And you get a match grade barrel that sits flush with the slide with an 11 degree target crown. It’s seriously high quality.
Recoil Squashing Guide Rod Spring
This gun also gets a full length guide rod with integral spring system that makes the old recoil spring plug totally redundant. There’s a lot going on….
A fiber optic front sight work with the glare reducing slide serrations to give you a very different king of combat pistol, as well as a range shooting toy.
The full length dust cover gets a serious CZ SP01 Picatinny rail slung underneath this 9mm pistol and that helps squash recoil, as well as provide space for a weapons light.
A CZ 75 grip angle, combined with high quality 1911 checkering on the backstrap and front cocking serrations give a totally different look and feel to this 1911-ish pistol. We think it works.
No optics plate could be a dealbreaker for some shooting sports and recreational shooters. Apparently it’s coming down the line. For now you get the fiber optic front and the adjustable rear sight that are great for range day, but probably aren’t the nth degree of competitive.
It will take time to get used to the Dan Wesson DWX, but we already want one for range day, and maybe for when something goes bump in the night.
3. Dan Wesson Specialist
- Price: $1,900.00+
- Caliber: 9mm/45 ACP
- Barrel: 5 inch
- Total: 8.75 inch
- Capacity: 8+1
Originally designed for an unnamed law enforcement unit, the Dan Wesson Specialist is the ultimate battle pistol with all the bells and whistles.
You can order a 9mm version with 10 round magazines, or a 10mm, but this 45 ACP ammo Dan Wesson Specialist is true to the spirit of a service pistol.
Of course this is a custom gun company, so you can have what you want. We like the matte Duty Black finish Dan Wesson Specialist, enhanced slide stop, mag release, the accessory rail for a light and notches in the slide to clear debris.
If you want a safe bet for a defensive handgun with no odd quirks, well this stainless steel slide and frame combo would be one to go for.
The Dan Wesson Specialist has no concessions to shooting sports. It’s a Government model law enforcement tactical pistol, and sometimes that’s the best kind.
You can order a Dan Wesson Specialist Commander, too, which turns this into a more convincing everyday carry pistol.
4. Dan Wesson ECP
- Price: $1,756.99
- Caliber: 9mm/45 ACP
- Barrel: 4 inch
- Total: 7.64 inches
- Weight: 1.8lb
- Capacity: 9+1
The Enhanced Compact Pistol is aimed at everyday carry and you get a choice between 45 ACP and good old stopping power and a 9mm pistol with an extra round in the magazine.
It’s tempting to go for the 230 grain with that trade off, and the alloy frame can take it.
Performance features include a lightweight alloy frame and a 4 inch flush cut bull barrel with a 30 degree crown machined in. The fit and finish, inevitably, is perfect on these slimline Dan Wesson 1911 handguns.
Gun owners reviews all say the same thing. Online gun reviews too. This is hand fit work at close to a factory line production gun price point.
Lightweight Alloy Frame 1911
The alloy frame is forged aluminum and you get the naval brass bead front sight and U notch rear that is a great alternative to a fiber optic front.
And yet, you might find yourself switching out that little nostalgia trip at some point for true night sights.
Aside from that the V-Bob tail, positive rear serrations, beavertail grip safety and extended thumb safety are all tailored to concealed carry. The 25 LPi checkering on the mainspring housing should help too.
This gun doesn’t weigh that much more than a Glock 19 for a tailor-made single stack 1911 from one of the best 1911 manufacturers on the planet.
For a lot of folks, this is the everyday carry pistol you’ve been waiting for.
5. Dan Wesson Kodiak
- Price: $2,588.99
- Barrel: 6 inch
- Total: 9.7 inches
- Weight: 2.94lb
- Caliber: 45 ACP
- Capacity: 8+1
This long slide 1911 is great for target shooting, handgun hunting and personal defense.
You can unleash the full power of 10mm hollow points. At close enough range, that’s more than enough for medium game hunting with even the basics of shot placement.
It’s a stylish option for bear defense, too, or even home defense. Although you can pack more rounds in a Glock 40 or even the Rock Island Armory FS.
So this really is a hand fitted hunting pistol, or a recreational shooter if you just want the best of the best.
Fiber optic night sights up front and a notch-style adjustable rear sight with a serrated face reduce glare and just bring that long sight picture into perfect focus without any fancy tricks.
The steel slide and frame help with the recoil and the grip safety and 25 LPI checkering on the mainspring housing and back strap ensures a positive grip.
Of course it is match grade and optics ready. You can put a red dot up top, remove the adjustable sights and turn the Dan Wesson Kodiak into a precision sniper at 50 yards. That has a lot of potential uses and it’s great for target shooting, handgun hunting and personal defense.
Can You Still Buy a Dan Wesson Revolver?
Yes and no. The company now focuses all of its efforts on Dan Wesson 1911 handguns. But the originals were so well made you can find plenty of Dan Wesson’s older wares on the used market.
Dan Wesson revolvers often come with clever caliber conversion kits and interchangeable barrels that were way ahead of their time. Read the old gun reviews, they will tell you a Dan Wesson revolver is still a fun kit to own and to shoot.
Dan Wesson revolvers like the Model 12, Model 14, Model 15 and 715 are in high demand for hunting and personal defense, and plain old nostalgia. But you can find your exact spec Dan Wesson revolver here and you can change sizes and styles that are great for having fun.
There were mass produced CZ DW 715 revolvers, too, but they were discontinued in 2018 and again you’re left searching the used market for Dan Wesson’s mass market effort.
You’re really only looking at the likes of Wilson Combat, Les Baer and other top tier custom builders at this price point.
Springfield Armory TRP and other custom handguns are worth a look too. Springfield Armory custom are a world away from the entry level production line fare, by the way, with a lot of hand fitting and stuff.
Just like Swiss watch manufacturers, there’s room for a collection as long as each has its own unique identity.
Wilson Combat has forged ahead with double stack 9mm handguns and now the DWX could be Dan Wesson 1911’s ultimate comeback. Les Baer always feels like a slightly older dude’s handgun.
Check Gun Laws Carefully
Local gun laws can sure spoil your fun. Certain things like high capacity mags on your Dan Wesson 1911 handguns are a non starter in some States.
So either move somewhere better or simply accept your gun laws as they are and bear them in mind when you buy a gun online.