Review: Dan Wesson DWX

posted on July 8, 2024
Dan Wesson DWX

Since it was announced in 2019, throngs of all-steel pistol fans have been salivating to get their hands on the Dan Wesson DWX, anticipation that was made all the stronger when the materials and labor shortages of a global pandemic then put its launch on ice for a few years. Today, however, the company is back online at full capacity and, as such, is now able to put these on dealers’ shelves in quantity, and our evaluators were quite keen to get a sample of this mash-up of two iconic pistol designs sent in so that we could run it through its paces.

Dan Wesson DWX features
The DWX’s slide-to-frame relationship mirrors that of the M1911, with slide grooves cut on its inner sides, and the pistol operates on basic Browning linkless design principles. Sights are a fully adjustable rear (r. inset) and a fiber-optic post front (l. inset).

To understand the DWX, one needs to look no further than its parents, Dan Wesson and CZ. As both have been under the same company umbrella since 2005, a collaboration just makes sense. The idea was simple: make an all-metal 9 mm Luger that would blend the features of two classics, the M1911 and the CZ 75. The end result is a locked-breech semi-automatic that should satisfy both camps, particularly if they are interested in competition. Operating in single-action mode only, when the trigger is pressed and a round is ignited, the stainless-steel slide and barrel recoil as one. After about an 1/8" of travel, the two separate, unlocking the breech and extracting the fired case from the chamber. As the slide continues its travel, it eventually ejects the brass before returning to battery, stripping a fresh round off the 19-round detachable box magazine and re-cocking the hammer during the process.

Red anodized stock
Red anodized stocks set off the classic CZ-style grip shape and match the flat-faced trigger. Note that the safeties are bilateral.

The influence from the M1911 can easily be spotted on the top half of the DWX. Most notably, the slide grooves are cut on its inner sides, in contrast to the opposite system employed by the CZ 75. As a result, the DWX’s bore axis is more reminiscent of the M1911 than the CZ 75, and it points well for anyone used to that platform. This configuration also allows for additional gripping surface, a quality capitalized upon through deeply cut slide serrations both fore and aft. Absent is the conventional barrel bushing and recoil spring plug, as the DWX utilizes a bushingless barrel system, helping it achieve consistent lockup from the contour of its linkless barrel. A CZ 75-style dovetail is used to affix the adjustable rear sight, while an M1911-style cut is used to hold the fiber-optic front sight in place.

The DWX’s grip contour is distinctly that of the CZ 75—a feature that has made that pistol comfortable to most hands for nearly 50 years. The gun comes with a set of stylish red aluminum stock panels, but those looking to customize are well-accommodated, as this pistol can readily accept the plethora of aftermarket CZ 75 options. Things dip back into M1911 territory when we turn our attention to the sliding, long-length trigger, which has been skeletonized and given mild serrations for tactile recognition and enhanced control.

Bilateral thumb safeties of the M1911 style are incorporated into the DWX, however, a grip safety is not. The extended push-button magazine release is reversible to accommodate both right- and left-handed shooters, but lefties will have to actuate the slide stop with their trigger finger, as it is the only control that isn’t ambidextrous. The frame also has an elongated, seven-slot Picatinny rail machined into the dustcover to allow the attachment of flashlights or match weights that reduce muzzle flip—a practice that is legal in the USPSA Limited Division that some of these guns will eventually find themselves being used to compete in.

bushingless barrel
A bushingless barrel, full-length guide rod, fiber-optic front sight, forward slide grooves and seven-slot accessory rail all signal that the DWX is a thoroughly modern pistol design, despite its deep roots in the M1911 and CZ 75 formats.

For our range test, we selected affordable CCI Blazer as a practice round, and Hornady’s Subsonic and NovX’s Engagement Extreme as defensive loads. Formal accuracy testing gave us an opportunity to get a feel for the trigger, which, at an average of 4 lbs., 9 ozs., broke extraordinarily cleanly and delivered a snappy reset. Groups were excellent, with the unorthodox NovX ammunition producing the day’s best results.

Walking the pistol over to our steel pit, each participant ran a stage that included five full-size IPSCs, a plate rack and a Texas star. Here, we all recognized and appreciated the all-steel construction of the DWX, as double-tapping the silhouettes with full-power loads was surprisingly easy. Swinging horizontally through the plate rack was as effortless as rotating our hips, and catching each rotating plate on the Texas star was as simple as letting the gun return to its point of aim and engaging as it rose. Our range day was complete after we exhausted 250 rounds in relatively short order. Throughout the process, there wasn’t a single hiccup in the gun’s operation, and even the lightest ammunition on hand reliably cycled the gun, even into slide lock.

Dan Wesson DWX shooting results

Overall, everybody was pleased with the DWX, and the only complaint we had was that it didn’t get to us sooner. Among our testers were fans of both the CZ 75 and M1911 patterns, and all came away from the experience of shooting this curious hybrid impressed. It would serve well in competitive or defensive roles—or in the collection of anyone interested in unique designs.

dan wesson dwx

Dan Wesson DWX specs



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