Dan Wesson Valor 1911 Review

Dan Wesson Valor 1911 Review

Dan Wesson Valor 1911 Review

I’ve made no secret that I’m not a ‘1911 guy’. I know that many of you out there are die hard 1911 fans. So, since I am fair and equitable (balanced) I thought I’d do a review on a 1911 since I am a CZ guy. It just so happens that CZ also owns Dan Wesson Firearms. Under the Dan Wesson banner, they offer a full line of fashionable 1911’s to choose from. We decided to review the ‘Valor’ .45 ACP model. We chose the “duty” finish, which is black in color and tough as nails. They also offer this model in stainless.

I called CZ to help me out with a 5” barreled 1911 for an upcoming holster review (which we never did get the holster in question). They wasted no time in sending me this gun for the job. Since I’m not a 1911 guy, I really had no intention of featuring it here. After all, it’s just another 1911, right? Mayyybeeee not.

Normally, right now I’m telling you about the specs on this gun. I’ll get to that. First I wanted to share my experience with it right out of the box. The fit and finish on this gun is exceptional. All the parts are hand fitted, so it’s basically a custom, without the outrageous price tag. Of note is the trigger. It is the sliding/slab variety and it is, in a word, spectacular. There is no notchy feeling, no stacking and it is smooth and easy to pull. This thing makes me shoot better. Since I’m simply manipulating the trigger straight back, there is no tendency to slap the trigger or anticipate the break. The sliding mechanism can be summed up in two words, silky smooth. The action is so smooth that the gun doesn’t jump around in your hand like a conventional pivot trigger does while working its way to and fro. Felt recoil is very reduced as to be less than some compact 9MM’s. I’m actually having trouble working out the correct words to heap accolades on this gun with my meager vocabulary.

At the Range

I brought it down the Blucore Shooting Center in Lakewood, Colorado for some firing line tests. We loaded it up with some PMC .45 ACP Bronze FMJ 230 grain ammo and took aim. At 7 yards I was hitting slightly left but putting together really good shot groups. I handed it to my wife, who one-handed the thing and was hitting dollar bill sized groups from 7 yards. She never once complained about the recoil. In fact, it had less felt recoil than her personal weapon (Sig-Sauer P938 9MM). She was also hitting about an inch left of center. Nothing notable, but we both had to make a slight adjustment for precision hits. If you’re shooting at a bad guy, this thing is deadly accurate. If you’re shooting competition, you’ll probably put your own sights on and set it up for you anyway. The left shooting could also be caused by trigger control, so I’m not sure the gun is entirely to blame, if at all. The sights are very good, but the rear sight is pretty wide between the posts. You can move the muzzle from side to side when looking down the sights a fair amount and still get a dot-over-dot sight picture. My preference would be to tighten that up some, or put the same sights CZ uses on the P-07 model. They are the “dot-over-the-bucket” variety that even Glock uses frequently. Even so, the installed sights are windage-adjustable Trijicon, so they don’t exactly suck.

Dan Wesson Valor 1911 Rear Sights

Dan Wesson Valor 1911 Rear Sights

 

I put over 500 rounds through the gun over two trips to the range. The gun ran perfectly. It did not have a single FTE or FTF. In fact, I did not clean it between trips to the range just to abuse it a little bit. It didn’t care. It was accurate and defect free regardless.

The Basics

This gun is an all steel work of art. Made from stainless steel and coated with their Duty Coating that is bonded to the metal surfaces, this gun is both tough and durable. The coating is flawless. The grips are custom made by VZ Grips from G10, nicely contoured and for my hands, they have just about the perfect amount of checkering. My vocabulary fails me yet again when trying to describe just how well balanced and well made this gun feels in the hand. I will admit that after shooting it for a while, the grips can seem aggressive, but not overly so. Nothing a good pair of shooting gloves won’t address. The rear of the grip is equipped with a nice dovetail and a grip safety. There is also a manual thumb safety up top.

Remarkable Barrel/Bushing Tolerances

Remarkable Barrel/Bushing Tolerances

 

The slide is buttery smooth as I mentioned above. One of the most impressive parts is the clearance between the barrel and the bushing. The distance between the two is nearly imperceptible to the human eye. Other quality tip offs are numerous. For one, no rattles. You can shake this thing in a paint can mixer and it won’t rattle at all. I’ve picked up some other brand new 1911’s from some very reputable manufacturers and they tend to rattle a little. There is no rail for attachments on this gun. Not a major factor, but I like to hang a light on the nose of my home defense gun. As I mentioned previously, the sights are a little wide and I would replace them if I were keeping this gun. I guess I’d better go find some new sights.

Match Grade Barrel

Match Grade Barrel

I think what strikes me most about this gun is that nothing on it or in it appears to be an afterthought. Since the 1911 design has been with us for more than a century, that would seem to be a given, however, I’ve seen many a 1911 that looks and feels thrown together. This model is the complete opposite of that. Everything appears to be thoughtfully added and fitted to the gun. The controls are smooth, they click when they supposed to click and they smoothly operate to the stop. It’s sort of like what BMW does for cars. The battery is in the back on purpose, they didn’t build a car, then stuff a tray in the remaining space under the hood to shove the battery in. This gun is like that, too. Nothing installed or attached to it was missing during the design phase. It was all there to begin with. Couple that with the hand fitted assembly and you’ve got a winner.

At this point I’ll give you the specs on the gun, though it’s probably just an exercise at this point. Nevertheless, here we go:

Chambering: .45 ACP
Magazine Capacity: 8 rounds
Barrel Length: 5 inches
Overall Length: 8.75 inches
Height: 5.5 inches
Width: 1.45 Inches
Weight: (official) 2.38 lbs. (38.08 ounces) My scale: 2.52 lbs. (40.32 ounces)
Trigger Pull: 4.15 lbs.

Aside from all that good stuff, the Valor is sold in a nice plastic case with two magazines. The mags are the single-stack variety. The case also contains a barrel bushing wrench, owner’s manual, cable lock and a fired casing.

Conclusions

I’m hard pressed to find a way to criticize this gun. At this stage, I’m really just nitpicking. The sights could be better; they are still good, just not great. When compared to the rest of the gun, they fall short of the mark. Other than that, I really can’t find any fault in this gun. I suppose I could complain about the weight, but then, it’s not made for concealed carry (though I know many of you do carry a 1911 concealed). It wasn’t designed with concealed carry in mind for it. So there you have it. The first review I’ve done on a handgun where I can’t really find a fault. I just made some room in my gun safe and now have a new gun to benchmark 1911’s against. Dan Wesson only makes a limited amount of these each year. I recommend you get in your car right now and go get one. You’re still here? Get going!

, , ,

  • Vanns40

    At a little over $1,700.00, ah, er, you’re kidding right? Why on earth…..okay, we shoot what we like but at this price I’ll buy a couple of Glocks and some ammo. Have at it if you’re so inclined.

    • bjensen

      They can be had for less then the MSRP you’re looking at.

      Having said that, plenty of Glock fans spend money on things like a Lone Wolf barrel and/or slide, a custom stippling job or grip reduction etc etc….ultimately spending as much (or near as much) as some would on an awesome 1911 such as those made by Dan Wesson….which by the way, were at one time available for way less then they are now.

      • Vanns40

        I suppose. When I hit around 220,000 rounds on my Glock 23 Storm Lake just happened to have a sale on their barrels – $99.00. I snatched it up along with a set of Wolf springs and assorted other parts and rebuilt it to new condition and started all over again. 🙂 Then, when I hit about 230,000 on the Glock 19 I did the same except the barrel was still fine so I kept it. Great guns. I have a 1911 but I don’t expect that it’ll go anywhere near that far, after all it is 1911 technology. 🙂

        • bobfairlane

          40,000+ USD in ammo, and you’re picky about $1500 for a gun? hahahha

          • Vanns40

            Yes, because the same two guns ran through all that ammo. You wouldn’t seriously try to suggest that any 1911 would or could do that? At least I hope you’re not.

          • Vanns40

            As a PS I’m also very picky about guns that will run long enough to see $40,000 in ammo. In the vernacular, 1911’s ain’t them. 🙂

  • Jrayy

    The Dan Wesson 1911’s are some of the best “production” 1911’s money can buy. You get a $3,000 near “custom” 1911 for half the price!

  • 1911 Guy

    Cannot compare a KIA with a Mercedes. A Glock with Dan Wesson ???. I guess people drive Kia’s. Both take you where you want to go.

    • G50AE

      When did Dan Wesson move their production to South Korea? I can see the comparison between Mercedes and Glock because one is German and the other Austrian, but comparing a Dan Wesson to a Kia is certainly a stretch.

    • G50AE

      When did Dan Wesson move their production to South Korea? I can see the comparison between Mercedes and Glock because one is German and the other Austrian, but comparing a Dan Wesson to a Kia is certainly a stretch.

  • silentfor56years

    I have to say that I had a similar epiphany as Rob. I noticed a Dan Wesson 1911 sitting in a display case along with several Colts and Kimber’s. I picked it up and ran it through, I was impresses. it was silky smooth and tight as a drum. I said to myself, I can see why Wesson had a parting of the way with Smith, The workmanship was obvious. I have a Dan Wesson o 1911 on my bucket list.

    • Lindsay754

      If you could use extra payment of about $50 to $300 each day for freelancing from your house for few hours daily then check this out…

  • coyote-hunter

    Just can’t get my mind or hand around a “glock”…sounds to much like “clock”…1911’s are like old girlfriends, they still feel good in the hand, and are easy to deal with…

    • cherylk.williams

      If you search for extra payment in the range of 50 bucks to 300 bucks daily for doing work over internet from your couch at home for 3-4 h a day then try this…

  • Nate Zelk

    I absolutely love the DW Valor. They are what I would term “semi-custom 1911’s,” but they’ve been compared to Dan Brown, Nighthawk Custom, and other custom 1911 makers, and are very nearly as, or just as, precise as the customs (depending on who did the range testing), at half the cost or less. No MIM parts, extremely tight tolerances, and quality workmanship. I showed one to my father, who is a Vietnam Veteran, at my LGS and he loved it too, so I bought him one in SS for his birthday a year ago. We’ve both shot it numerous times and it is an absolute tack driver. It’s not a cheap gun (price-wise) compared to some brands like S&W, Sig, Kimber, Glock, etc., but it is by far the best bang for the buck I’ve ever spent.

    • maria.munn
  • Travis Santelmann

    The DW valor is nice, I would not fault the U notch rear sight, that is customer preference. The wide rear sight is a .156 notch width. While this is great for older eyes, or someone who doesn’t have a 25 year olds vision. If you want a more precise, tighter sight picture, then simply opt for the .140 rear U Notch. The .140 will provide a tight sight picture, with no wiggle room. Dan Wesson strives to make a 1911 as close to a Ed Brown as possible. And they are doing a great job too. The only way to get something slightly better , is to get the real McCoy and that is a Ed Brown.

    Cost is not to much different, you can pick up a Ed Brown Alpha Elite in stainless for about $1900 brand new!

    So, this does make it tough to buy a DW 1911.

    Ed brown is more expensive, although they strive for quality. There quality is so tight, it is against there religion to even sell a blemished model. The only models for sell are perfect!

    That being said, for about $1,400-$1,500 a Valor would get my vote. Although, only a few more pieces of paper, and you can own a brand new Ed Brown. I’ve seen some as low as $1,800 in stainless or Gen IV coating.

Quantcast