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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!