Source Credit: Guns.com
By: Chase Welch
Click here to read the original article: https://www.guns.com/news/reviews/Wilson-combat-edc-x9-series
For years Wilson Combat has built a sexy but quality pistol. That’s why when I got asked to review the EDC X9L and the EDC X9 for personal protection and concealed carry, I was excited. They absolutely live up to the high expectations I had set in my mind about Wilson Combat pistols. If you have the money to spend, love guns that ooze quality, and have the looks to match, then the Wilson Combat X9 series is for you.
HOW THEY'RE DIFFERENT, THE SAME
Aesthetically speaking, both pistols are beautiful handguns with Wilson’s DLC coating as the finish. The X9L, is a full-size pistol with a 5-inch barrel. The X9L comes with both a 15-round and 18-round magazine, while its smaller brother comes with a 10-round flush-fitting magazine and a 15-round extended magazine. The smaller EDC X9 is a compact, Commander-style version with a 3.25-inch barrel, our version came with an accessory rail. It’s also offered without the rail too if that’s what you like.
The frame is where some differentiation is noticed. Primarily, the grip of the X9L is fitted with replaceable Wilson G10 VZ “starburst” grips with the Wilson Combat medallions, where the grips of the X9S are part of the frame. The treatment on the front strap and backstrap of the grip is the X-TAC diamond treatment on both pistols.
Of note, the frame and slide of the full-size X9L and the EDC X9S are the same as a 1911 and a Commander-sized 1911 respectively, so they will fit in most comparable 1911 holsters.
Wilson Combat has stated that the X9 platform is the redefining of the defensive handgun. It's a hybrid of traditional 1911 controls mated with the high-capacity X-Frame. This frame allows for higher capacity magazines while maintaining a grip circumference that is smaller. Bill Wilson himself has said that the EDC X9 is “the most extensive design and development project Wilson Combat has undertaken in our 40-year history.” Now, that should tell you all you need to know coming from a legendary company such as this, but let’s find out what else is good.
I have mentioned the barrel length already. The overall length of the X9L is approximately 8.5 inches, and the X9S is approximately 6.75 inches. Height on the X9L is approximately 5.75 inches, and the X9S is approximately 4.5 inches. The width of both pistols is approximately 1.5 inches. On the X9S, I measured from the outside of the ambidextrous safety to get a measurement.
Both are accurate out of the box and come standard with adjustable rear combat sights. Elevation is the primary adjustment since windage adjustments are affected by pushing the sight after releasing two lock screws. Both also came with very nice fiber-optic front sights, which were in green. Other options for front sights offered from Wilson include plain tritium, red fiber optic, and a gold bead.
I will mention that the rear sight is a U-notch sight rather than the square notch that I am more familiar with, but sight and target acquisition are very quick. The top of the slide is also grooved to mitigate glare, which is a nice touch.
The rear sight is dovetailed into the slide and has an aggressive shoulder that could be used to manipulate the slide one-handed in a worst-case situation. One control that 1911 aficionados may miss is the grip safety, though the backstrap has a nice beavertail treatment. Don’t get me wrong, I love 1911s, but I honestly didn’t miss the grip safety.
The controls on both pistols were easily accessible and manipulated. The X9L had left-side-only controls, whereas the safety on the EDC X9 is ambidextrous. The mag release is also left side only, and it's not easily manipulated without breaking your grip. The mag release on the X9L is slightly extended versus the release on the X9S, probably due to the fuller grip of the X9L.
The standard magazines are excellent and made by Mec-Gar, a premier magazine manufacturer. They're also very reasonably priced at around $40 to $45.
WHAT REALLY SETS THESE GUNS APART
First and foremost, both pistols are more 1911 than not. From the grip angle to the controls, slide, hammer, and trigger, they all read 1911. What puts them over the top from other 1911s I’ve fired is the added benefit of larger magazine capacities and a competition style, look, and feel. Even with the large-capacity magazines, the grip width is not that cumbersome. I found it even helps with obtaining a secure two-handed grip.
The stainless-steel slide itself is a “tri-top” with an external extractor. Slide manipulation is aided by the X-TAC cocking serrations. The full-size X9L also has the same treatment at the front, making press checks very simple. The slides on both have a beveled edge along most of the bottom of the slide, another nice custom touch.
The stainless-steel barrel is fluted. In yet another nice custom touch, the muzzle crown is coned for accuracy on both the X9L and EDC X9. The full-size X9L has a bushing, while the EDC X9 has a “reverse plug” to aid in lockup while in battery. The fluted barrel is a nice aesthetic touch that I assume also aids in some weight reduction.
Next is the trigger, and Wilson Combat continues to shine here as well. I love the triggers on these pistols primarily because of the rounded treatment with nicely textured grooves. This makes the trigger pull feel lighter to me than the 3.5 to 4.5 pounds Wilson Combat has rated it. The EDC X9 had an actual pull weight of closer to 3 pounds consistently, whereas the X9L was slightly over 3.5 pounds. I was using a Wheeler Digital Trigger Gauge.
The trigger on the X9L is a solid 1911-style trigger, whereas the trigger on the EDC X9 is a skeletonized-style trigger.
The magwell of the X9L is nicely beveled to assist in mag changes when compared to the EDC X9, which has only a slight bevel treatment of the magwell. Of note, on the EDC X9, the magazines have base plates that extend the grip to allow for seating of the pinky finger to aid in a secure grip.
ON THE RANGE
Both of these guns were a delight to shoot. We even took the X9L out to 100 yards and were able to get consistent hits on steel. Truth be told, the gun did a lot of the work. It’s a perfectly balanced handgun that's easily capable of even more with the right shooter.
At 25 yards, accuracy was much improved, and our groups were easily within the Wilson Combat guarantee. The company "guarantees" that you will get 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards. Accuracy out of the box should be anticipated to be this good with both pistols.
They both fill the hand very well and fit like gloves. Pair this with the way that all the controls work together in perfect harmony, and you have a soft recoil impulse in a gun that you won’t want to put down. The trigger is a thing of surprising beauty, like your first crush. It sort of comes out of nowhere and blows your mind just a little bit. Of course, I knew it would have a good trigger. But until I felt it, I really didn't know just how much it mattered.
The break is crisp, the travel and the reset are almost so short I didn’t actually think the sear reset. This is a gun that can absolutely outrun your finger. The X9L is also silly accurate. I was able to make hits at 100 yards on a 1/4-size silhouette without much effort, shooting 115gr Winchester ball ammunition. The barrel is made to the highest standards, and the tolerances are very tight. That really matters for 1911-pattern pistols. The gun will pretty much just flat outshoot 99 percent of people out there.
Even after the 700ish rounds that I put through it for this review, the gun still feels new and almost like it was not even broken in at all. Or, more to the point, like it never needed a break-in period because it came with all the tolerances perfectly stacked. Now, these guns were Certified Used guns from the Guns.com Vault, so there is no telling how many rounds have been put through them prior to me, but their perfect function and flawless shooting proved to me that Wilson Combat is worth the money even used.
Both the X9L and the EDC X9 are high quality with many custom treatments. They're accurate out of the box and a joy to shoot. The one downside? They aren’t cheap. Then again, they aren’t made to be either. They performed flawlessly, ate everything we could throw at them, and are just beautiful to look at. Both are true works of functional art.
I only have one question, why not buy both? One to replace your daily carry gun, and one to be your secondary weapon system in your tactical kit. It truly seems like the perfect fit, a yin to the yang, and those with the means should certainly consider it.