1911 CCO Advantages
Earlier 1911 CCO models in the 1970s and early 1980s had reliability problems, mostly due to magazines, round feeding, and recoil spring concerns from the higher velocities of a shorter slide and reduced weight, compared to the full-size and heavier Government 1911 models.
Shorter Grip Helps with Concealment
Today’s CCOs have been greatly improved and recognize the advantages of a shorter grip frame with less height to help ease of concealment. Barrel and slide length contribute less to this. So, it is possible today to have a carry pistol with the many 1911-design benefits with a hand-fitted and assembled semi-custom 1911, with premium forged steel parts and with no Metal Injection Molded (MIM) parts. And for a decent price and specifically designed for concealed carry. A semi-custom 1911 with many extra features for a production-gun price. Not for $3,000 or more, but for less than half that price.
Premium Pistol Without the Premium Price?
I discovered a production 1911 CCO with all the above premium advantages at a modest price, given the extra semi-custom features you get. I had to learn for myself and my readers if this was just promotion hype or genuinely true. So I requested the Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 from Dan Wesson. I own several of their pistols and recognize that they have been known for quality, reliability, and attention to details in their outstanding fit-finish-function 1911 pistols.
Dan Wesson’s 1911 Build Quality
I know firsthand that they really do “hand-fit and polish every part,” to create an excellent production 1911. Their slides and frames are tightly fit together to get a solid, consistent, and reliable lockup without rattles. I like that the front and rear backstrap checkering help the Dan Wesson 1911s fit solidly in my hands for a solid foundation for shooting and control. This helps with aiming, minimizes some perceived recoil, contributes to reducing movement, and, thus, influences accuracy.
Of course, lighter weight and 1911 pistols with shorter barrels make carrying easier. See my recent 1911 sub-compact reviews and my comparison of my 8 Top 1911 sub-compacts on this website. However, recognize that a 4.25″ barrel, like with this compact Vigil CCO, is long enough to provide a decent sight radius to help with accuracy, while still being able to be comfortably carried and controlled.
I want to thank Dan Wesson and their parent company CZ-USA for sending me their Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 to review. I was anxious to test and evaluate the Vigil CCO to see if it was in my top 9mm compacts for concealed carry. Is the Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 ideal for concealed carry? Below is some information to help with this decision.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Specifications And Features
First, I want to present the specifications and features of the Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911. Next, I give you custom leather holster and leather belt options to consider for this CCO. Then, I will provide my ten criteria, my general impressions, range test results, and my opinions for each criterion to help you analyze the Vigil CCO to see for yourself if it is the concealed carry gun for you. You can add or subtract from my criteria to meet your needs and preferences. I will also give you my basic Concealed Carry Drill for close-up self-defense practice.
Recognize that I am not on the Dan Wesson or CZ payrolls, have not been paid or compensated by them in any form for this review, and not given any gratuities nor influenced to say certain things about the gun. I want to be as objective as possible, honest, and straight-forward with my opinions and ideas the way I see the pistol to help folks and myself sincerely. Also, please know that manufacturers do not buy advertising on my website. I have even turned down several guns to review, because of data indicating a firearm may be unreliable, had recalls, accuracy problems, safety concern, ammo feeding problems, extractor or ejector concerns, etc.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Specifications
|Model Number||Model #1837|
|Barrel Length / Type||4.25"; Match Grade; Stainless Steel; with Reversed Crown; Fully-Supported Feed ramp to enhance Feeding of Rounds|
|Sights||Fixed Tritium Front Night Sight with White Outline; All-Black, Serrated Tactical Rear Sight; Adjustable|
|Frame / Material||Forged Aluminum Alloy; Sub-Compact Officer's-Style; Black Hard-Anodized Finish|
|Slide / Finish||Forged Stainless Steel; Commander's-Length; Rear Slide Serrations; "Duty Finish" or Durable Black Nitride|
|Trigger / Type||Single Action Only; Medium-Length; "K" Trigger; Serrated Face; Aluminum|
|Trigger Press||3 lb. 14 oz.|
|Magazines / Capacity||8 Rounds; 2 Mags Included; Steel; Single Stack; Witness Holes|
|Weight||29.5 oz unloaded|
|Safeties||Manual Thumb Safety (Left-Side Only); Extended Beavertail Grip Safety; Series 70 Design with No Firing Pin Safety to Enhance Trigger Press|
|Grips||Custom Dan Wesson Cocobolo Shadow Polished Hardwood; Checkered|
|Other||5-Year Warranty on Parts; 1-Year on Wooden Treatments/Parts|
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Features
- All Hand-Fitted and Assembled Internal Steel Parts; All Forged Parts, No MIM or Cast Parts
- Quality, Precisely-Crafted with Very Tight Slide-to-Frame Fit & Barrel Bushing to Barrel Fit
- Slightly-Rounded Mainspring Housing Butt to Help Concealment
- Front Strap and Mainspring Housing Checkering- Both with Fine 25 Lines Per Inch
- Undercut Trigger Guard to Allow High Backstrap Grasp, Less Muzzle Rise, and for Comfort
- Match-Grade Barrel with Recessed Crown to Better Match the Exit Plane with the Bore Axis
- Tactical K-Style Hammer to Reduce Weight and for Appearance
- Slight Magwell Beveling to help with Quick Mag Insertion
- Reduced Radius Firing Pin to Help with Extractor & Ejection Reliability and to Reduce Felt Recoil
- High-Ride Extended Beavertail Grip Safety and Steel Manual Safety that Very Positively Engages
- Ejection Port is Lowered and Flared for Reliability & Positive Case Ejection
- Classic Internal Extractor and No Accessory Rail
Holster for the Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911
Kramer Handgun Leather (KHL) OWB Belt Scabbard Horsehide Leather Holster & Horsehide Belt
Kramer Handgun Leather makes a beautiful, high-quality, custom OWB Belt Scabbard horsehide leather holster constructed with top-quality horsehide leather, which is very rigid and very durable. They also offer a matching horsehide sturdy double-thick gun belt with nickel-plated brass buckle. The custom classic “pancake” design of the holster has attention to details with its hand molding and has superior workmanship. The Dan Wesson Vigil CCO smoothly slides into this excellent holster like it was meant for only this holster. It rides just right on the quality horsehide belt. This holster is very comfortable, extremely durable, has fine retention, covers the trigger, and conceals well.
The KHL Leather OWB holster has a high-riding FBI forward cant or tilt for an easy draw and for wearing on the strong-side hip. The butt of the gun is tucked snugly into the body, and this holster really does help with concealment. The holster and belt are an outstanding, premium-quality horsehide leather combination with a fine appearance. And they work well for concealment, for the range, for home use, and to showcase the excellent pistol. The Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 is shown below in the high-quality KHL OWB Pancake, Horsehide black leather belt scabbard holster and horsehide belt. A quality handgun in a quality leather holster and belt.
Kramer Handgun Leather wants to offer my readers at USACarry.com a 20% discount on their holsters and belts which expires on June 30, 2019. Just use the discount code COLBENUSAC-DW when ordering.
Criteria And Considerations for this Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Review
Here are just 10 of my criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun, so I will use them for the Vigil CCO 1911. In addition to my criteria, other subjective features may be appealing for some.
- smooth rounded corners
- a certain style
- mag release location
- number of mags included
- type of sights/modifications
- bore axis
- grip angle
- on-porting or porting
- included extras like a holster and pouch
- customer service
So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that ALL gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want a pistol to meet ALL of my criteria. I assigned a total possible point score of ten points for each of my ten criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add additional criteria, preferences or subtract any of mine.
Recognize that there are several features, characteristics, pros and cons, and personal criteria to include and consider and you make tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, defined needs, and use.
My General Impressions: Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911
The match-grade barrel is flush-cut, has a fully-supported ramp, and has a traditional bushing-type barrel with a target crown. It is compact and easy to disassemble. The barrel crowning helps protect the internal lands and grooves rifling, gets the exit plane of the bore precisely perpendicular to the bore axis, and some say adds to accuracy. The extended ramp at the end of the barrel helps feed hollow point and other ammo. And the lower and flared ejection port prevents cases from getting stuck.
The fixed tritium front night sight of the Vigil CCO has a white outline to help with daytime shooting. The rear sight is all black and serrated and is an adjustable tactical sight. Both sights are steel and very sturdy.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Build Quality
Not only pleasing to the eyes, but this pistol also performs well and is solidly built with all hand-fitted parts. No MIM parts at all. The pistol frame and slide have a high-quality finish. All edges are rounded and are sandblasted for smoothness, which helps with concealment and comfort. The rear-only slide serrations are large enough to grasp easily and are not too rough on the hands.
With a very tight fit and tight tolerances, the Vigil CCO 9mm is a high-quality 1911 gun. Its fine near-custom craftsmanship, excellent ergonomics, and nice extra features make it a very desirable pistol. It radiates quality, and there is not a rattle to be heard. The beautiful and custom Dan Wesson hardwood Cocobolo Shadow Grips look beautiful and are very durable and comfortable.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Grip
The mainspring housing has a slightly rounded butt to help with concealed carry. I wish it had a fully-rounded Bobtail butt. Dan Wesson finely checkers the front and back straps with 25 lines per inch which allow the shooter an enhanced non-slip grip. The frame has a nice extended beavertail grip safety to help maintain a quick Vigil CCO high grip. There is no memory bump on the grip safety.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Takedown, Manipulation and Safeties
It was easy to takedown this Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 even though there was a barrel bushing. It has a nice medium-length, single-action “K” trigger with a serrated face. And there is a skeletonized hammer. The slide was easy for me to rack and the felt recoil and muzzle rise were very manageable, partially due to its excellent ergonomics and grips. This pistol is a Series 70 1911 with no firing pin safety and no extra parts to malfunction or maintain. But it uses a heavier spring and very strong firing pin to prevent firing if dropped. Remember, that mechanical safeties are not foolproof and all can and do fail sometimes.
Below I will get into more specifics and my opinions for each of my criteria, after my range testing.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Range Test & Results
To evaluate and assess this Vigil CCO 1911, I fired about 275 rounds total for my review, using mostly full metal jacket/ball and some hollow point rounds. The Dan Wesson Instruction Manual suggests you break-in the pistol with up to about 500 rounds with FMJ/Ball rounds. I did not shoot reloads, steel case, or low-quality ammo. Before you bet your life on your defensive pistol I also recommend shooting at least 500 rounds, including FMJ and JHP rounds, to break-in a pistol.
I do want to see how the gun handles both the hollow point and full metal jacket ball rounds before I bet my life on any handgun and carry it. So I shot both. I usually notice at about 250 rounds a change in the trigger press and action of most pistols I review. For this pistol, the trigger press was consistent from the very start.
Below are my evaluations for each of my ten criteria for my concealed carry purpose for the Vigil CCO 1911. I put the gun through its paces with my Concealed Carry Drill at 7 yards with a mag change and checked it thoroughly for malfunctions, stoppages, and performance with premium, quality JHP and FMJ rounds.
I want to thank SIG SAUER for providing 150 rounds of their Elite Performance FMJ ammo in 115, 124, and 147 grain weights to test and evaluate the Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911. Thanks to them for also providing a few 115 and 124 grain V-Crown JHP rounds for testing. I also shot other high-quality ammo to determine how well the gun cycled and handled different loads. This included 115 grain and 124 grain FMJ rounds of American Eagle and Blazer Brass. I also shot some JHP rounds from Hornady Critical Defense and Federal Premium HST.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Ammo Results
All ammo brands performed great in the Vigil without any problems. The Dan Wesson Vigil CCO seemed to like the American Eagle, and Sig Sauer FMJ rounds best, as well as the Hornady Critical Defense and Sig Sauer V-Crown best in JHP. But, regardless of brand, the Vigil liked the 124 grain and 115 grain FMJ rounds best overall.
I used my standard “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” to test and evaluate the Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 after I initially thoroughly cleaned it. You can use my Concealed Carry Drill to test and evaluate your handguns. I like the realistic 5, 7, and 10-yard distances best to simulate deadly-force close encounters, with a draw and within 20 seconds.
DOWNLOAD, PRINT, AND SHARE MY FREE CONCEALED CARRY DRILL & TARGET
You can have my Concealed Carry Drill for free for your practice. Permission to Download, Print, and share “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” is granted when my website address and copyright are included and kept on it.
You can Download and Print “COL BEN’S CONCEALED CARRY DRILL” and targets by clicking on the Link at my website’s Articles Page at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com
Also, you can Click HERE on this website for a free download.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Range Results
With a mag change, all Sig Sauer FMJ 15 rounds hit in my drill’s five various-sized circles at 7 yards and in 18 seconds, meeting the par goal of 20 seconds. I shot Sig Elite Performance ball-full metal jacket rounds (in 115, 124, and 147 grain) per the instruction manual for break-in with FMJ ammo. I also shot American Eagle 124 grain and Blazer Brass 115 grain FMJ. Then, I shot a few rounds of the Sig V-Crown JHP rounds in 115 and 124 grain, with no malfunctions or stoppages. See above photos. I also shot Hornady Critical Defense and Federal Premium HST rounds with no problems.
I found the SIG Elite Performance FMJ and American Eagle FMJ rounds to be very accurate. The Sig V-Crown and Hornady Critical Defense JHP rounds were also very accurate and not too overpowering nor underpowered, but just right. All my groups were 3 inches or less at varying distances with the Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911. This outstanding pistol did most of the work!
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Opinions And Evaluations
1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10
The Vigil CCO 9mm’s accuracy was excellent for me at close distances of 3, 5, 7, and 10 yards. As always, I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot various 115 grain and 124 grain FMJ and JHP rounds. I did not shoot reloads. I had NO problems shooting the hollow points, and the gun functioned flawlessly with them. The press was soft, short, and crisp, and the recoil was very minimal for this average shooter. I was certainly impressed with its reliability. Accuracy and reliability were both excellent with the premium Sig Sauer 115 grain and 124 grain FMJ and JHP ammo used for this Series 70 1911 with a bushing. No stoppages or malfunctions at all. Both hollow point and full metal jacket ammo fed and fired fine.
2. Trigger Press – Score: 10
The trigger press for this new Vigil CCO 1911 9mm right “Out-of-the-Box” was outstanding, averaging just less than 4 pounds, at 3 pounds 14 ounces, with 12 readings with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. All of the readings were less than my desired maximum press range of 5 pounds for a single-action trigger pistol which is not “broken in” yet. At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes when looking at the readings. So, I did a few extra measurements to ensure they were correct. They were! I had my class students shoot it, as well as another instructor, and they all were amazed by the light trigger press and its accuracy. This pistol was broken in right out of the box. Fantastic! A great trigger press with a nice definite, light, and short press.
3. Trigger – Score: 10
Without any doubt, this Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911’s single-action trigger was crisp, smooth and excellent, with no creep and very minimal takeup. It had a nice, short travel distance and a short reset for quick follow-up shots. This was one of the nicest triggers I have shot. The reset was very identifiable. I really like its crisp, short, and soft trigger.
4. Barrel Length: Score: 10
The Vigil has a match-grade barrel, a bushing, and a 4.25″ barrel. It has a fully-supported ramped and crowned barrel which is precisely hand fitted to the slide with very tight tolerances. Given its tight tolerances, I recommend you oil it frequently at first and then regularly. Keep it well-oiled and ensure a sufficient break-in period for optimal performance. The felt recoil was very manageable for both my wife and me. The hand-fitted match-grade barrel with its tight tolerances improves the fit of the barrel to the slide for consistent shot-to-shot performance and does help accuracy.
5. Sights – Score: 10
The front fixed tritium night sight with a white outline was easy to pickup in the daylight, as well as at nighttime. I prefer an all-black, serrated, adjustable, and tactical rear night sight and this pistol had all of these features. The rear sight did not have a tritium night sight but was all-black, and that worked for me. No problem with quickly seeing both sights, focusing on the front sight, and getting follow-up shots. Although I like a fiber optic front sight with an all-black rear sight, given my color-blind eyes and diminishing eyesight, these sights were excellent. The two folks at the gun store where I picked up the pistol said they loved the sights.
6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 9
The less than 30-ounce unloaded weight was just right for concealed carry. I had no concealability concerns at all, and the weight was not a problem for the four days I carried it. The forged aluminum frame was lightweight. Concealability is important, but I was most impressed with the gun’s fine accuracy and reliability. This Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 with its short officer frame grip and commander slide and barrel combination worked for me for easy concealability and carry. I like the CCO design, weight, and practicality. The felt recoil was manageable.
7. Caliber – Score: 10
The Dan Wesson Vigil COO in 9MM caliber was easy and fun to shoot, and I managed the recoil well. I know most recognize that shooting 9mm ammo is much less expensive than most other calibers and modern 9mm ammo with improved ballistics gets the job done. I prefer the 9mm for concealed carry.
8. Capacity – Score: 9
Nine total rounds in the gun are adequate for me. I liked the 8+1 capacity of the Vigil CCO 9mm 1911. There were two steel, high-quality magazines included with witness holes for rounds as standard. I prefer three mags to be included as standard, but this adds cost for everyone to the package. And I also wish the capacity was 9+1.
9. Ergonomics – Score: 10
My wife with her small and short (but lovely) fingers and I with my medium mitts could comfortably operate the controls of the Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911. It has excellent ergonomics, and we were easily and comfortably able to reach all controls like the left-side-only thumb safety, slide stop lever, and extended magazine release. Its undercut trigger guard helped get a higher grasp of the gun for better control. The Vigil’s tight fit, function, high-quality craftsmanship, and performance were exceptional for a semi-custom pistol at this price level. Two students and another instructor strongly echoed and supported this statement. In my opinion, a few things make this an outstanding pistol:
- Excellent very crisp trigger
- Slightly rounded mainspring housing bottom
- Precise semi-custom extra features
- No MIM or cast parts
- All forged steel parts
- All rounded edges that are sandblasted to prevent glare
- Quality front and back strap
- 25 LPI fine checkering
- Classy custom hardwood grips
It felt so very nice to not only hold this thin-profile 1911 commander-officer combination pistol but to shoot it and get accurate hits — several ergonomic custom features for a production-gun price.
10. Miscellaneous – Score: 9
The hard plastic case included two magazines, a lock, bushing wrench, and Instruction Manual. The Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 looks beautiful, and it is a high-quality, accurate, and reliable 1911 compact pistol. The slide to frame fit is very tight, which means you need to keep it well lubricated. The rounded edges and extra ergonomic features make the gun comfortable to hold and shoot. The 25 LPI checkering on the front and back straps helped with a firm grip. After continuously shooting about 275 rounds, the Vigil CCO still felt good in my hands, and I still marvel at the great light and short trigger press and its accuracy. The lightweight, forged aluminum frame helped. The shorter frame and grip helped concealability. The long Commander slide and sight radius contributed to accuracy.
The attractive cocobolo hardwood grips are durable and fit my medium-sized hands very well. The short and soft, single-action trigger press was very crisp, and the felt recoil was very controllable for both my wife and me. I like the lowered and flared ejection port, the beveled mag well, and the target crown barrel. The included bushing wrench is useful for disassembly. I have found the Dan Wesson folks to be very friendly and pleasant to deal with.
Total Points = 97 out of 100 Possible.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 Review Conclusions
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this excellent-quality Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 pistol for concealed carry, home defense, competition, range use, and fun plinking. It has a top-level build quality, a very tight fit and excellent finish, a thin lightweight single-stack frame, outstanding accuracy and reliability, and well worth the price you pay for the features you receive. This finely-crafted, tightly-fitted 1911 9mm compact is definitely one of my Top 1911 Compact 9mms for concealed carry. I am hurrying to get my money out of my wallet to buy this exceptionally-fine tool. I need all the help I can get.
Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 for Concealed Carry?
Consider the Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 for concealed carry since it is one of the best 1911 compact 9mm pistols I have reviewed. I was very impressed with the Vigil’s accuracy, reliability, and its very controllable recoil. It has a stainless steel match-grade barrel, stainless steel barrel bushing, guide rod, recoil spring plug, and other forged steel parts. The quality Kramer custom, horsehide leather OWB belt holster and sturdy horsehide belt were perfect for it. A quality holster and belt for a quality pistol.
The outstanding trigger with its light but controllable 3.14-pound trigger press was great. Its short, soft, and crisp press was a joy to shoot, and my follow-up shots were quick and on target. The match-grade barrel with its target crown (to help the bullet’s exit plane from the bore be more perpendicular to the bore axis for accuracy) and fine ergonomics were very impressive. Its accuracy and reliability are there. The front tritium night sight with the white outline worked well, as did the adjustable and serrated all-black rear sight. I like this sight combination.
Semi-Custom Pistol at a Non-Custom Price
The extra touches like slightly-beveled mag well to speed loading, lowered and flared ejection port for better round feeding, slightly-rounded mainspring housing bottom to help carry, undercut trigger guard for better grasp, extended slide and mag releases, extended beavertail grip safety, and several other features really help. You get a near semi-custom 1911 pistol at a non-custom, production price. With the many features found only on custom handguns, this Vigil CCO is well worth the street price of about $1,000. Dan Wesson has a winner in the Vigil CCO for carry purposes.
After more rounds down range for a total of 500 rounds for reliability confirmation, I would bet my life on this fine pistol and carry it every day. Since I do sincerely believe that you do get what you pay for, I will definitely buy it. This compact, commander-sized slide and barrel, combined with its officer-size grip, 1911 pistol represents quality craftsmanship and has excellent accuracy and reliability.
I hope this Dan Wesson Vigil CCO 9mm 1911 review has helped you gain some information for your concealed carry decision. Consider that this is just my point of view with limited live-range fire and shooting only 275 rounds of a variety of branded premium full metal jacket/ball and JHP ammo. I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you buy it and have at least 500 rounds break-in range time through it for yourself. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what’s important to you ahead of your range live-fire time. Then critically evaluate the gun yourself per your criteria and purpose, with various ammo types and brands, different magazines, over an extended break-in period.
Continued Success and Be Safe!
Dan Wesson Firearms
Norwich, NY 13815
Kramer Handgun Leather
Tacoma, WA 98411
Sig Sauer for Elite V-Crown 9mm JHP-FMJ ammo
Newington, NH 03801
Photos by Author and Dan Wesson Firearms.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2019 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.