I’ve been excited about the Dan Wesson DWX for a long time! First teased in 2019, the DWX didn't hit the market until late last year.

Now that I’ve finally got my hands on it, I can report that it is flat-shooting, controllable, accurate, and reliable. This steel-framed, 5-inch, competition-style single-action 9mm pistol can go really fast. It’s probably one of the flattest-shooting non-compensated pistols on the market.
 

Table of Contents

Video Review
Breakdown
Magazines
Manufacturing Costs
Takedown
Extraction
Grip Safety
Ergonomics
Everything Else
Pros & Cons
Another Note...
Conclusion

video review 

 

 

Breakdown


Let’s dive into the specifics. The quick pitch is that it’s a cross between a CZ and a 2011. Yes, it uses CZ mags, and yes, it is single-action with a 1911-type trigger. But I don’t think that really tells the whole story. It is actually a completely new 9mm pistol designed to improve the double-stack 1911 platform.

I see six areas where Dan Wesson tried to address common 1911 criticisms.
 

Related: Dan Wesson Firearms Now Shipping DWX Compact Pistol
 

1) Magazines

 

Dan Wesson DWX magazine
The DWX feeds from CZ's P10 F magazine, which can hold 19 rounds of 9mm. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Traditionally, the most common cause of both 1911 and 2011 malfunctions are the magazines. Modern 2011 magazines have mostly solved this problem, but the magazines must be maintained. It is relatively easy to damage and bend the feed lips out of spec. The springs also wear out faster than, say, a Glock magazine. 

Dan Wesson solved this by using its parent company CZ’s P10 F magazines. These are the magazines used in CZ’s flagship polymer-framed pistols, the P10 line. The 19-round P10 F magazine is for the larger-framed guns. 
 

2) Manufacturing costs

 

Dan Wesson DWX 9mm pistol
Dan Wesson's DWX features several design changes from the traditional 1911, including a more modern locking system and removable frame rails and fire control system. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The 1911 is expensive to produce because, to function properly, it needs a lot of hand-fitting and complicated machining. The 1911 was designed over 100 years ago. Today, modern pistols take advantage of more efficient designs to build reliable guns that can be mass produced. 
 

Dan Wesson DWX
The locking lugs on a traditional 1911, shown at left, are expensive to machine. The lockup on the DWX, at right, uses the square edge of the barrel to lock against the square edge of the slide.(Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Instead of 1911 locking lugs, the DWX uses the square edge of the ejection port to index against the square ledge on the barrel and lock the action closed. Almost all modern handguns use this design.  
 

Dan Wesson DWX
The internal rails and fire control unit are modular and removable. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


In addition, the DWX frame rails and fire control system are not integral, but removable, similar to the SIG P320 chassis system. I’m sure this makes it easier to build and service.
 

3) Takedown


The takedown of a standard 1911 is much more complicated than most modern handguns. Dan Wesson addresses this by making the barrel a bushing-less design that also has no complicated guide rod disassembly. Takedown is simple, tool-less, and very similar to the CZ75 or P10

All you have to do is line up the slide with the takedown notch and then pop out the slide stop pin, which I might add has been significantly beefed up to fix the common CZ75 pin breakage problem.

The bushing on traditional 1911s was partly there to aid in accuracy. The Dan Wesson replaces it with a bull barrel that thickens as you move toward the muzzle to tightly fit the slide. All the slop is taken out in the reverse taper, so, lockup is tight and accuracy is maintained, but you don’t have the problem of a complex takedown.

 

4) Extraction

 

Dan Wesson DWX
The DWX's external extractor is thicker and longer than standard external extractors. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Another common 1911 failure point is the internal extractor. It’s small and often needs to be tuned just right for reliable functioning. Many modern 1911s have gone to an external extractor for reliability. DWX has done the same and made it larger for more longevity.
 

Dan Wesson DWX
External extractors are more reliable than traditional 1911 internal extractors. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


5) Grip Safety


Many shooters do not like the 1911’s grip safety. This was originally added to make the gun more drop-safe. But the grip safety always needed hand-fitting to make it function properly. Over the years, many 1911 owners ended up pinning and deactivating the grip safety because it did not function properly. The DWX abandons the grip safety.
 

6) Ergonomics

 

Dan Wesson DWX 9mm pistol
Those grips are simply stunning. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


This final one is more of a difference than a change. The 1911 has always been known as a great-fitting handgun. Many people love the feel, which is why the design as has lasted so long.
 
The DWX simply changes the grip style to that of a CZ75, which itself has a reputation of feeling good in many different hands. The CZ75 has a 1911 grip angle but adds a hump on the mainspring housing that really fills the hand and makes indexing and controlling recoil better.

In addition, the bore axis is low on this gun, as on the CZ75. This is accomplished by eliminating the 1911’s barrel link. The low bore axis makes the muzzle rise easier to control.
 

Dan Wesson DWX 9mm pistol
The fiber-optic front sight really pops, and it looks great with the red accents, too. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


It also has excellent front and rear grip checkering, and outstanding texturing on the aluminum grip panels, all of which gives the shooter a rock-solid grip.

Lastly on ergonomics, it also improves the CZ75 design by giving more height to the front and rear cocking serrations on the slide. The slide height is more like a 1911’s. This makes slide manipulations better on the DWX than on a CZ75 or CZ Shadow.
 

Everything Else

 

Dan Wesson DWX 9mm pistol
The trigger is a definite bonus, with its 4-pound, 9-ounce single-action pull. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Rounding out the specs of the DWX, it has a great 4-pound, 9-ounce single-action trigger. Compared to striker-fired triggers, it’s heads-and-shoulders better. It’s a flat, straight pullback trigger and not a hinge trigger. 

It is more appropriate to compare it to 1911 triggers. In that class, I would say it’s a good 1911 trigger, maybe on the heavy side for a competition gun. Dan Wesson specs state that the trigger should be between 3.5 and 4.5 pounds. I must have gotten one on the higher side. 

The take-up is short but a bit spongy until you hit a solid wall. Then there is no creep and a solid snap. The reset is short at around 2 millimeters and audible. No one really complains about this trigger.
 

Dan Wesson DWX 9mm pistol
The blacked-out rear sight bears its own "DW" signature. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


It also has a great fiber-optic front sight, an adjustable blacked out rear sight, flush-cut crowned barrel, serrated flat top, accessory Picatinny rail, and comes with two 19-round magazines.

All reports seem to indicate that the pistol is very reliable and very accurate. I had no stoppages and excellent accuracy during my testing. 

Finally, I noticed that it works with most 2011 holsters, so no need to buy a specific DWX holster. There are plenty of 2011 holsters on the market.
 

Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 19 rounds 
  • Barrel length: 5 inches
  • Weight:
  • Trigger: 4 pounds, 9 ounces; single action
  • Frame: Steel
  • Magazine: CZ P10 F
     

Pros & Cons

I’m really nit-picking here, but if I were going to criticize, my biggest complaint is the lack of an optic-cut option. In this day and age, there is no excuse to not have this feature.

Next is the ambidextrous safety. For a single-action pistol, I found the detent on the manual safety not as crisp and positive as I would like. I want a good snap when I engage or dis-engage it. This one was good but felt a little weak.
 

Dan Wesson DWX
The weight of the DWX helps tame recoil for a very flat-shooting experience, but balance is a touch front-heavy, slowing my transitions a bit. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Then there is the balance. The DWX is a bit front-heavy due to the full-length dust cover and bull barrel. The weight helps mitigate recoil, but the balance makes transitions a touch slower.
 

Pros: 

  • Flat-shooting
  • Controllable
  • Accurate
  • Reliable
  • Unique competition pistol

Cons:

  • No optic cut
  • Safety not as crisp as I like
  • Balance – a bit front-heavy
  • Pricey
     

Another Note

 

The DWX is probably the flattest-shooting pistol without a compensator that I've shot. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


During my testing, I dropped the gun on concrete. A grip screw broke, and the front iron sight failed. The fiber optic popped out, and the sight itself was knocked loose. 

Now, everything can break. But in the argument between iron sights verses red dots, iron sights are seen as more reliable. However, this iron sight failed on one drop, while I’ve never had a reputable red dot fail from a drop – just something to consider.

When the DWX was first announced in 2019, there was nothing else like it, especially for $1,999. But in the four years it took Dan Wesson to get the gun to market, many other companies offered solutions to the 1911’s problems. The DWX does it in a unique way, but it’s no longer the only game in town, especially at its price point.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a great gun, but I don’t know if it does anything others in its class can’t. When comparing the shooting experience to a 2011, I would say it is very similar to an iron-sighted, 5-inch 2011. I shot the DWX head-to-head against a 5-inch Springfield Prodigy. The DWX shot flatter and faster.
 

Conclusion


In conclusion, the Dan Wesson DWX is an excellent addition to the steel-framed, high-capacity, single-action 9mm pistol market. I also like the fact that magazines are very affordable. 

If you are a competitive shooter, a CZ fan or if you like innovative design, I think the DWX is worth a look. I’m really considering buying this gun for myself. I love innovative design, and I’m thinking I can easily get someone to put an optic cut on it and make it the perfect USPSA Limited Optics or IDPA Carry Optics competition gun. It’s probably one of my top picks for a gun in this category. In my humble opinion, it’s better than any striker-fired gun in the full-size competition realm.

Dan Wesson has just released a compact version of this gun that uses CZ75 Compact magazines, and I hear the optics ready version will be out shortly.

revolver barrel loading graphic

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