Dan Wesson CCO—Concealed Carry Officers 1911 is based, obviously on the original 1911 design. There’s some really unique features about this pistol. One of those that is pretty noticeable is that it has a Commander size slide with an Officer size grip. There are some reasons for that we’re going to look at. This really makes an excellent concealed carry option.
One of the big things about the Commander link and the Government link slide system is that they are more reliable traditionally than the Officers model. The guns were designed around the 1911 5-inch barrel. The Commander size, like this, is a 4 1/4-inch barrel, compared to your 3-inch barrel that’s on your Officers or around that area.
I’ve owned a number of Officers years ago when Colt was just the only game in town really. They were kind of finicky sometimes. Because of the way the systems were, they just were kind of hard to handle compared to the Commander and, obviously, compared to the Government model. With this kind of slide, this is going to give you more reliability with your pistol. With a concealed carry pistol, that is primo. The most important thing is reliability with your pistol.
It also gives you a shorter frame. What that does is it helps you to conceal the pistol. The biggest part of a pistol that shows when you’re concealing is not the slide. It’s actually the grip. The grip is what usually prints. The grip usually sticks out some. The shorter you get your grip, the easier it is to conceal and really just to wear comfortably.
The 1911 is pretty thin already, so it makes itself very open to concealed carry. It is a very popular concealed carry option. We’re going to go ahead and check to make sure the gun is unloaded. We’re going to drop the magazine and look in the chamber. It is empty.
They start out with a steel slide. Then, we have an aluminum alloy frame. That really helps with the weight. In fact, it only weighs 27 ounces, which is really nice when you’re carrying this all day long. One of the things that’s really important is when you’re carrying, if something is heavy, cumbersome or even if you just really like it, after a while, it just wears on you. Having something that’s very comfortable to carry is very important with concealed carry.
Also, they’ve gone to the seven-round magazine, instead of the six-round, with the Officers. Traditionally, the 1911 only had seven rounds. Of course, then they upped it to eight rounds with a lot of the magazine companies. You’re getting two stainless steel Dan Wesson .45 ACP magazines—seven plus one. That gives you eight rounds and seven backed up. Of course, you can also use one of the regular magazines, even a ten rounder if you want, as a back-up magazine. It’s going to give you a lot of fire power considering this is a .45 ACP. Of course, that’s the traditional man stopper. It’s been proven over and over again. The 1911 is world renowned as a combat handgun and also a self-defense gun.
One of the most notable features right away are the grips. These are stippled shadow grips. It’s what they call it. It has some laser etched stippling right here with the Dan Wesson logo and then, of course, the beautiful polished wood right here. Here you can see the detail. It’s just excellent. This does give you a good firm texturing, even with the logo, but it’s not sharp. It really feels good in the hand.
I also really like this chain-linked stippling job they’ve done here. It has a really unique look to it. It really looks custom. Even on the aluminum mainspring housing, it has that same chain-link design to it. The mainspring housing also has been bobbed just a touch. Dan Wesson does make a model where they call it the Bob Cat, which has this back end actually cut back to give you a little more concealability with your pistol.
The mainspring housing itself right here under the trigger guard has been undercut to give you just a better low bore axis feel to it. It lets your hand get really up on the pistol. We have an extended safety and an extended slide release. It has a medium length trigger, which is aluminum. You can adjust it right here with an adjustment screw.
There are nice serrations on the slide with just the CCO on the slide itself. It’s a very clean slide. That’s both sides. That’s one of the things that I personally don’t like. I know a lot of other guys don’t like to have a lot of markings on the slide—a big bill board. Of course, you have serial number and then Dan Wesson Firearms, Norwich, New York. These are made in the USA.
The undercut of the slide right here, which is typically sharp with most of your production guns, has been rounded off. A lot of the edges have been just slightly rounded off just to give you a little bit more comfort with the pistol. It’s a nice Commander-style hammer and a really high-ride beaver tail with memory notch. This really allows you to get a really high grip on the pistol. This will help with controllability and with accuracy because you’re able to really get a low bore axis.
They do have a stainless steel match barrel. This is only in .45 ACP. One of the things about this barrel and the pistol in general is it’s very well fitted. In fact, these are hand fitted, so everything has high tolerances. You’re going to see that when we break this down.
It has a stainless steel barrel bushing, stainless steel guide rod spring plug and Trijicon night sights in the Novak style. You have two Tridium inserts here with the white dots and a Tridium insert at the front with a white outline. This really shows up well during the day.
The sights are fixed, but they are adjustable for windage. In fact, this is dove tailed into the front of the slide. The match barrel is 4 1/4 inches in length. Again, that’s about 3/4 of an inch shorter than your standard Government model. That’s going to give you a decent amount of sight radius over your Officers model. That’s really important for aiming. The shorter your sight radius, the harder it is to aim. Of course, the longer the sight radius, the easier it is to obtain accuracy. One of the things about this pistol, that has a lot to do with the fitted-barrel bushing with the match barrel and the way this gun is just assembled together, is the accuracy is phenomenal.
The first shot a group about 15 yards pretty rapidly. I still kept it within about 2 1/2 inches. Seven yards, that’s pretty nice. Dan Wesson is definitely doing something right. With the extended safety, it does dig in your hand and the same thing with ECO. Right in here, it would just dig in a little bit if I held it under the safety, which, typically, that’s really the way I like to shoot it.
With this shorter grip, it doesn’t seem like you have as much of a hold on it. I shot those groups for accuracy. I don’t know what else you need really. I think a lot of times, it’s just what you think. I still have all my fingers on the gun. It is a .45. It’s thin. It’s easy to hold onto. One of the things about the 1911 that’s always been a big plus for me is that it is thin. It’s just very ergonomic for my hand type. Of course, the beavery tail, that really lets you get your hand really high up to ride up close to the bore axis, which makes this really nice.
Those sights are just fantastic. From the end of the barrel to the beaver tail is 8 inches. From the top to bottom right here is 5.1 inches high. It does weigh 27 ounces. The stainless steel barrel, which is, again, a match barrel, it 4 1/14 inches in length.
Again, we’re going to double check to make sure the gun isn’t loaded. It is, and now we’re going to disassemble the pistol. One of the great things is there is a barrel bushing wrench because you’re going to need it. We’re going to take our barrel bushing wrench. You push down on this plug and fit it into the wrench. Then turn it clockwise.
Once you get it perpendicular, be careful to release it slowly because you’ve got this plug right here. I have a stainless steel recoil spring plug. We’re going to go ahead and just pull the recoil spring out. If you’ll notice, I’m having a really hard time turning this to the right position. You bring it into this position. There’s a notch, and you can line it up. You’re going to need to pull this out. Because of the way this is fit, it’s pretty tight.
The barrel bushing holds the barrel into place with your slide. It really helps to keep that stable. It gives you shot consistency. It’s really just an exceptional way. This is one of the expensive parts of hand fitting and doing all these kinds of things. It’s what separates a custom gun from a production gun.
Next, we’re going to bring the slide back, and we’re going to hit this little notch right here. Sometimes the barrel lockup with bind it just a touch. Once you get it into place, just push your slide stop from the other side right here. Then you can just pull that right out.
Now your slide assembly should just go forward. Watch your guide rod. It does have a pretty short guide rod. That really has a lot to do with the weight. The longer the guide rod, of course, the more weight. We’re going to take our barrel link, push it forward and just pull the barrel right out.
One of things you’re going to notice right away is this ramp. The original 1911s didn’t have this ramp. It was just a recess into the barrel right here. It’s one of the reasons why they wouldn’t feed jacketed hollow points that well. With this ramp, it really gives you sure connection. It is a supported barrel, so that’s going to help as well. It’s just a beautiful left-hand twist 1911 .45 barrel.
One great thing is this is a 70 Series design, instead of 80 Series. You’re not going to have more complications interfering with your trigger. You’re going to have a really smooth, sweet trigger pull. Here, the ejection port has been lowered and flared. This really helps for spent shells to come out. One of the problems with the old 1911s was the case getting stuck during ejection. The fit and finish of the CCO is just fantastic.
One thing that I did fail to mention is there is a bevel right here on the magazine well. Of course, that’s going to help while you re-enter your magazines. For re-assembly, take your barrel. Bring your barrel link down because it’ll catch on the hood right here as it comes in. Push it into place. Now I’ll go ahead and bring my barrel link up. Here, I go ahead and put my recoil spring on the guide rod. I know we did it a little bit different, but we’re going to do it this way.
Now, take the slide and frame. There it goes right there. Sometimes the barrel will lock up and just cause a little bit of binding. Here we go. Again, line up this little notch. Now, take your slide stop. You want to go right through the barrel link. You want to make sure that’s in place. You can look through and see it.
Then, there’s a small detent right here. You want to be careful not to scratch the frame, especially with a really nice high-quality pistol. There we go. Snap it into place. I’m going to go ahead and pull out my recoil spring because of the right fit of the barrel bushing. You can do it either way, but just in case, you need to use your wrench.
If you’ll notice right here, there’s a raised area on your barrel bushing. It needs to go right in this little area. If you look, it will almost be like it’s pointed at 5:00. Bring it down. There’s a grove inside, so you’re going to have to bring the barrel bushing around to about the 9:00 position. It starts to get really tight. You can use your barrel bushing wrench.
Now we can go ahead and replace our recoil spring. Take the recoil spring plug. You’re going to want to depress it. Now you can take your barrel bushing wrench, and it will hold down the plug, and adjust the bushing. It’s just that tight of a fit. I’ve done this a thousand times on 1911s. This is one of the tightest fits that I’ve seen other than a match pistol.
Then you check to make sure it’s functioning. It is. You’re back in business. I’ll tell you something. Behind the camera, trying to battle it and getting good camera angles, makes it a lot more difficult. It’s really not that difficult to do, but you’re definitely going to need your barrel bushing wrench.
Fitting for a pistol of this quality, it comes with a really nice case with nice little hinges and a lockable feature. Then, we have this soft blue inner lining. Of course, you get your pistol and, of course, an extra stainless steel seven-round magazine and a barrel bushing tool because you’re going to need it. The fittings on this pistol are incredibly tight. You get a small bottle of gun oil, color owner’s manual, a Dan Wesson sticker and, of course, the gun lock.
Dan Wesson was bought by CZ-USA a few years ago, but they retained their manufacturing facilities right here in the US and, in fact, again, in Norwich, New York. They have been building really high-quality pistols right there. Really, what CZ did was give them the backing to be able to do what they were really wanting to do in the first place.
Of course, Dan Wesson got their start with revolvers. They have really perfected the 1911, in my opinion, for the money. These are not, though, inexpensive. In fact, the retail price on this model in particular is $1,558. The street price is usually around $1,295-$1,300 mark. I know some of you guys are about to pass out, but there are 1911s all over that are custom built that run $3,000, $4,000 and $5,000. When you start getting into the hand work and you start getting into really super high-quality parts, it’s like anything. It just costs. Really, for the amount of money that you’re going to spend—$1,000 for another pistol—this is well worth the extra money you’re going to spend.
The Dan Wesson CCO is a beautiful 1911. The internals are really what makes this gun what it’s worth. The way this thing is put together is just phenomenal. I think, really, this is the total package if you really want to conceal carry a 1911 to have reliability, to have a shorter grip and still carry seven rounds of .45 ACP. That’s pretty powerful.
If you’re looking for a really good 1911, one that you can really get some accuracy out of and, yet, have a really fine finished pistol, you’re not going to go wrong with the Dan Wesson line. They are incredible and all made right here in the USA carrying on that American tradition. Dan Wesson, thumbs way up. Be strong. Be of good courage. God bless America. Long live the republic.
One of the things you’re going to do first with this pistol is you’re going to look and make sure the gun isn’t loaded and the magazine. A revolver company that makes a legacy building 1911s, that’s just unheard of. Wait a minute. How about Colt? Oh, well.