Gun Of The Week: Dan Wesson DWX Compact

posted on November 3, 2023

Watch our Gun Of The Week video above to get a close look at the DWX Compact from Dan Wesson Firearms, the long-awaited carry version of the long-awaited DWX. This design, the result of a collaboration between Dan Wesson Firearms and CZ-USA, blends the best elements of the M1911 with those of the CZ 75, resulting in a unique blend that’s now carry-ready.

GOTW Gun Of The Week title screen with text and box overlay Dan Wesson DWX Compact pistol right side 9 mm

For most firearm enthusiasts, the M1911 is a design that needs no introduction, and while the CZ 75 is quite a bit newer than the M1911, it’s also one of the most recognized handgun designs around the world. Both guns have contributed much in the way of handgun development, and despite the proliferation of polymer-frame pistols today, both are still incredibly popular guns, even with their all-metal construction and hammer-fired operation. Why not combine the best of both into one? Now, the DWX Compact combines ergonomic and handling elements of each into an ideal carry-ready platform.

Notably, the Dan Wesson DWX does away with the barrel link of the M1911 and the locking lugs of the CZ 75, swapping them out for the barrel-hood locking system largely pioneered by SIG Sauer. Despite that, the DWX still uses the traditional takedown system using a transverse pin connected to the slide-stop lever, which is pushed out through the frame to field-strip the gun. The DWX also does away with the traditional Browning-style barrel bushing.

Dan Wesson Firearms DWX Compact pistol black 9 mm gun left-side view red trigger

On the frame, fans of the CZ 75 will recognize the familiar ergonomic elements carried over from the Czech pistol platform. In terms of controls, the DWX Compact uses a single-sided thumb safety, as well as a traditionally styled slide-stop lever and push-button magazine release familiar to fans of the M1911. The CZ-style grip ergonomics terminate at the top of the frame with an M1911-style beavertail grip safety, protecting a shooter’s high grip from being bitten by the skeletonized hammer. At the front of the frame, doing away with the abbreviated dust cover found on both the CZ 75 and M1911, there’s a full-length dustcover that provides a sleek, clean look that terminates at the muzzle.

At the top end of the gun, you’ll find more M1911 than CZ 75. The CZ design pioneered with its innovative internal frame rails, but some shooters found the reduced real estate on the slide to be harder to manipulate. The DWX Compact uses frame rails on the outside of the frame, and the slide wraps over the rails, providing plenty of space to manipulate the gun into action.

GOTW American Rifleman text center tile 9 images arrangement gun detail closeup men shooting pistol

The attention to detail paid to the DWX Compact was clear during our range experience. The gun anchored well in our hands, thanks to the frag-pattern texturing, and the added weight of the full-length dustcover softened recoil and muzzle rise. We appreciated the crisp, flat trigger, and the tritium-illuminated front sight was easy to pick up. Any daytime glare was dealt with by the serrated top rib. We also appreciated the durable metal magazines, which are the same 15-round options used in the CZ 75 Compact, though these have a welcome aluminum base pad for added durability.

Dan Wesson Firearms DWX Compact Specifications
Manufacturer: Dan Wesson Firearms
Action Type: recoil-operated, Semi-automatic, centerfire pistol
Chambering: 9 mm Luger
Barrel: 4"
Slide: steel; matte Duty Finish
Frame: forged aluminum, anodized finish
Magazine: 15-round detachable box
Sights: tactical U-notch rear, tritium post front
Stocks: Henning aluminum 
Trigger: 4-lb., 7-oz. pull
Overall Length: 7.47"
Height: 5.21"
Width: 1.24"
Weight: 28.5 ozs.
MSRP: $1,909


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