The Dan Wesson Specialist is another addition to the company’s 1911 line of pistols that I expect to be on display at the 2012 SHOT Show. Â According to the Dan Wesson company, the Specialist is a full sized, single-action pistol that was designed for police departments and “special units” that carry a 1911-style pistol.
The pistol will be familiar to most any 1911 enthusiast, but it has a number of nice features that should appeal to anyone wanting a full sized handgun for self defense or duty carry.
The Specialist is chambered for the ubiquitous .45 ACP cartridge. Â We can argue whether this round or that round is “better,” but no one will say the .45 won’t get the job done. Â The magazines will hold eight rounds, and two mags come standard with the gun.
The sights are tritium night sights in a “Straight Eight” style made popular by Heine. Â The front and rear tritium vials are contrasting colors to allow the shooter to more easily discriminate which sight is which in low light. Â The front sight vial is green, while the rear sight vial is amber.
The rear sight has a 90Ëš angle on the front side. Â This allows a person to cycle the slide one-handed should you need to reload or clear a malfunction using only one hand. Â (And yes, when fighting for your life, you may need to perform such an act.)
There is a Picatinny rail for mounting lights and lasers. Â Since this is a full sized 1911 with a 5″ barrel, it appears that most mounted lights will terminate prior to the plane of the muzzle. Â While this isn’t likely to make a huge difference, I have seen the battered look a flashlight takes on after extending beyond the end of a barrel on an MP5. Â At some point even an LED flashlight will say “enough!” and refuse to shine any more. Â This doesn’t appear to be a problem with the Specialist.
The grips are made of G10, which is a very tough material that provides excellent service life and a very positive grip. Â I have a Michael Janich designed Be-Wharned knife with a G10 handle. Â It has proven to be exceptionally durable and inspires a great deal of confidence when gripped. Â I thought G10 was another over-hyped marketing product when I first heard about it, but I have since been convinced of its usefulness and durability from carrying it in the real world.
The grips are the VZ Operator II grips. Â They have a brown and black color pattern that I find very attractive.
The thumb safety is ambidextrous and the Specialist is equipped with an extended magazine release. Â The mainspring housing is flat.
Two versions of the Specialist are expected: Â a matte stainless finish and a matte black finish. Â Dan Wesson calls the black finish the “Duty” finish. Â MSRP on the stainless model is $1558, while the black version is $1870.
Dan Wesson Specialist Specs:
â€¢ model: Â Specialist Black, Specialist Stainless
â€¢ caliber: Â .45 ACP
â€¢ capacity: Â 8+1
â€¢ barrel length: Â 5″
â€¢ overall length: Â 8.75″
â€¢ height: Â 5.5″
â€¢ width: Â 1.45″
â€¢ weight: Â 2.31 pounds
â€¢ safeties: Â ambidextrous thumb, grip
â€¢ MSRP: Â $1870 (black), $1558 (stainless)