Dan Wesson Specialist

This timeless .45 ACP 1911 meets modern light rail capability.

CZ’s Dan Wesson subsidiary has been manufacturing 1911 pistols for some time now, and have earned many friends in the “1911 fan club.” Their latest is the Specialist, with integral light rail on the dust cover portion of the frame. Intended to serve the new renaissance of the 1911 in law enforcement, the maker realizes it’s also particularly suitable for home defense.

The M1913 rail configuration will make it unsuitable for most of your old 1911 carry rigs, but holsters for light-railed 1911s are out there. I use one from Elmer McEvoy at Leather Arsenal, which hides well under a concealment vest or un-tucked open front sport shirt. For bedside use, I attached the new Streamlight TLR-4 combined white light and laser unit. It worked fine, as these steel-frame guns don’t get picky about functioning with such attachments on, as some polymer models have been known to do. The TLR-4 went onto the Specialist’s Pic rail easily and came off the same way, staying secure in between, evidence Dan Wesson has the dimensions down pat.

A lot of thought has gone into the subtleties of the Specialist’s design. For one thing, the stud of the slide stop on the right is flush with the frame, ostensibly to clear the way for the laser beam of a Crimson Trace LaserGrip. This feature also prevents pressure of a tense trigger finger on the frame from moving the slide stop leftward and setting the stage for an unintended lock-up at the worst possible time.

The heavy-duty fixed sights are strikingly reminiscent of Hilton Yam’s 10-8 design, with a “tactical ledge” to allow a user with only one working hand to run the slide by hooking the rear sight against belt or holster. It contains Trijicon night sight ampoules in a figure “8” shape, the top dot in front bright green and the lower rear dot, a more subdued amber. In daylight, they present a big, blocky sight picture that’s easy to quickly pick up. On the hand interface side of things, we have VZ’s Operator II G10 grip panels with some fine frame checkering front and back, and a beveled magazine well is added to the butt.
Massad Ayoob

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