Bill Wilson started out in the family business as a jeweler, spending his time working on precision timepieces and doing competitive shooting on the side. In 1977 he started Wilson Combat in Berryville, Arkansas, manufacturing almost by hand top-of-the-line, custom 1911 pistols.
The smallest 1911 pistols Wilson Combat makes are its Sentinel series subcompacts, with frames half an inch shorter than a standard compact 1911 and 3.6-inch barrels. The most interesting version here is the Super Sentinel, chambered in the high-velocity .38 Super cartridge. The smaller diameter of the cartridge allows the loading of eight rounds in a single-stack magazine despite the pistol’s compact dimensions. And, the .38 Super performs like a .357 Magnum while generating substantially less recoil.
The Super Sentinel weighs just a tad over 25 ounces (un-loaded) thanks to its aluminum frame, and has an overall length of 7.2 inches, or 1.5 inches shorter than a full-sized 1911. It is also only 4.8 inches tall, or almost a full inch shorter that a standard 1911. The frontstrap features high-cut checkering that provides an excellent grip surface, especially when combined with the G10 slim grips, which feature fan-shaped cuts and the distinctive Wilson Combat medallion/logo.
Wilson has also added its own machined high-ride Bullet Proof beavertail grip safety and Bullet Proof thumb safety designed specifically for comfort and speed in competition or concealed carry. The 3.6-inch, stainless steel, heavy match-grade barrel features a tapered cone shape that dispenses with the usual bushing. This adds some weight to the front of the pistol, helping to reduce recoil and muzzle flip. The barrel is individually hand fitted on each pistol and has flutes along its length and on the outside of the chamber. This not only gives the pistol a very distinctive look but also helps trap dirt and fouling, keeping it out of
the action and improving functioning in all conditions. The full-length steel guide rod with a reverse plug also adds weight to the front of the pistol, improving control when firing.
Wilson Combat has also added combat sights to the pistol, which include a fiber-optic front sight for maximum visibility and fast target acquisition even in low-light situations. The contoured magazine well also aids in faster reloads. The single-stage trigger has been fine-tuned to provide a consistent 3.5 to 3.75 pounds of resistance and an extremely crisp break. Taken all together, it is not surprising that the Wilson Combat Super Sentinel comes with an ironclad accuracy guarantee of 1.5 inches at 25 yards.
Wilson Combat designed the Ms. Sentinel in response to requests for specific features from female shooters, especially in regards to improving comfort and concealability. In addition to the many features of the Sentinel line, the Ms. Sentinel is chambered in 9mm to provide a good defensive load with minimal recoil. It features a lightweight subcompact aluminum frame with a round butt that helps prevent printing against clothing. The beavertail grip safety and Commander-style hammer have been modified for improved concealment. The magazine release has been shortened and rounded for more reliable operation, especially with off-body carry options such as in a purse or day planner.
Carry cuts at the front of the short slide make reholstering easier and allow for greater manipulation of the slide without the need for front slide serrations. The short trigger design is specifically intended for use by those with smaller hands. The countersunk slide stop ensures that the pistol stays in action with no unintentional pressure pushing the slide stop out.
A compact and reliable 1911 is admirable, but making it lightweight for concealed-carry comfort is even better. This was the thinking behind the Ultralight Carry Sentinels, to make the smallest and lightest combat 1911 possible chambered in the proven 9mm cartridge with 8+1 capacity. This pistol features a super-short, aluminum, round-butt frame and an aluminum mainspring housing. The heavy machine chamfering on the bottom of the slide increases user comfort, especially with a high thumb grip. The slide stop has been shortened and countersunk with a chamfered frame hole for ease of disassembly while protecting the gun from unintentional slide stop. The top of the slide has been serrated with a 30-lines-per-inch (LPI) pattern and the rear of the slide has 40-LPI serrations. Together, these effectively cut glare in bright light and aid in faster target acquisition.
The Wilson Combat Compact line adds a bit in length, with a 4-inch, stainless steel, match-grade barrel, but a lot in features for concealed-carry handguns. The Compact line’s most distinct feature is the bi-directional X-TAC checkering on the slide and frontstrap, as well as on the mainspring housing. This design, combined with the G10 starburst grips, offers improved grip and durability, especially in inclement conditions, while protecting the shooter’s hand from the overly sharp checkering found on some other pistols. The Wilson Battlesights are standard and include a wide U-shaped notch at the rear and a fiber-optic front sight for fast target acquisition. The X-TAC also features a rounded butt frame for less printing and more comfort against the body, as well as a contoured magazine well for faster reloads. It is available in .45 ACP with a 7+1 capacity or 9mm with an 8+1 capacity.
For many gun owners there is a great deal of advantage in having a pistol that can serve double duty as both an ideal concealed-carry gun and a home defense handgun. The Wilson Combat CQB Lightweight Light Rail Compact is one pistol that does both extremely well. Using an aluminum frame, the gun stays lightweight for comfortable all-day carry. The frame also includes an integrated accessory rail at the dustcover for the use of lights and lasers, making it handy for low-light conditions and home defense. The pistol is available in .45 ACP with a seven-round magazine or 9mm/.38 Super with an eight-round mag, and includes the same standard features as other Wilson Combat guns such as a rounded butt, contoured mag well, beavertail grip safety, G10 grips and fiber-optic front sight.
For some of the most well-built, reliable and aesthetically pleasing concealed-carry handguns made today, visit http://www.wilsoncombat.com or call 800-955-4856.