Wilson Combat Close Quarters Battle

Some folks in this business enjoy an excellent reputation. Bill Wilson is among them. Integrity, quality products, and a commitment to the customer have put Wilson Combat firearms at the top of the heap. They are worth every penny of the money.

Interestingly enough these guns show up from time to time at a friends shop. I know someone told you that high end guns are a good investment. Let me start off by saying yes and no. If you are looking at investment value, forget it. Purchase old Smith & Wesson revolvers in unfired condition and keep them for ten years if that is your goal. Don’t shoot them! There is a dealer markup on guns so your pistol has to appreciate a bit just to be worth what the dealer can buy a new one for, and then why should he buy your used gun at new price?

On the other hand if the investment is considered to be a lifetime gun that will not malfunction, break, jam, and which is made of the best machined parts with excellent precision guaranteed, the quality will remain after the price is forgotten. A firearm that uses first grade steel rather than MIM parts is more expensive but lasts longer- perhaps indefinitely with the occasional refresh. Serious competitors and those on select budget teams expend a lot of ammunition. The more tightly fitted the firearm the less wear because there is less slop. There is even wear, no eccentric wear. 

The 1911 handgun was already a great handgun. The good points include a low bore axis that limits muzzle flip, a straight to the rear trigger compression, a combination of a slide lock safety and grip safety, and excellent human engineering. The 1911 is faster to an accurate first shot hit than any other big bore self loading pistol.

Bill Wilson – and his excellent well trained gunsmith who build the pistol- took the 1911 and improved the pistol using superior steel and manufacturing processes. Clearance and tolerance is superb. The polished feed ramps have the correct gap between them and the hammer hooks have plenty of steel to prevent slippage. The pistol is still a 1911 but in many ways the tolerances and modifications make the Close Quarters Battle a new pistol.

The CQB is a government model 1911. This is a five inch barrel pistol with conventional barrel bushing, a steel frame and slide, and Armor Tuff finish. The parts are not farmed out. They are manufactured in house in Berryville, Arkansas as far as the barrel, slide, and critical internal parts. The barrels are as good as it gets in the 1911 custom barrel world. The locking lugs slide into their mortises smoothly and tightly. The barrel link is properly set. The grip safety properly releases its grip on the trigger half way into the beavertail safety’s compression. The slide lock safety is well designed and locks in place with a positive snap. This is a personal defense pistol not a match gun so the slide lock and magazine release are not extended types. The pistol features a slight undercut beneath the trigger guard. Some say this helps the desirable high hold, others feel it lowers the bore axis. I think it does both. 

The front strap checkering is custom grain. Every diamond is sharp and perfect, the border is well defined and exact. The sunburst grips offer a good match of abrasion and adhesion. The rear sight offers a U notch that makes for real speed. The ‘old man’s sight’ as it is sometimes called is an excellent battle sight. The fiber optic front sight is well designed and offers a good aiming point. The magazines are Wilson Combat of course, an aluminum magazine with a plastic base pad. These magazines have set the standard for 1911 magazines. They feed the cartridge nose more directly into the chamber. This prevents as much bumping across the feed ramp and helps accuracy potential. 

I have fired the pistol with a wide range of ammunition. For this report it was a pleasure to break out the pistol and head to the range. The magazines were loaded with Winchester USA 230 grain FMJ. This is a clean burning, accurate, reliable and affordable loading. Winchester won a US Army contract in 1916 for military ammunition that specified a primer failure rate of 1 in 100,000 unheard of in the day. The standard is much better today.

The CQB clears leather quickly and gets on target. Line the sights up, press the trigger, and you get a hit. Regain the sights after recoil and repeat. The pistol is controllable, accurate, and in the hands of those that practice among the most formidable of 1911 handguns. The pistol comes with a one inch group at 25 yards guarantee. I am certain it will achieve this standard in a machine rest. The fiber optic is ideal for combat use to 50 yards but subtends some of the red aiming point on the targets I use to test absolute accuracy. Firing at 25 yards for accuracy from the MTM K zone firing rest I registered the following results. 

Winchester USA 230 grain FMJ           5 shot group         1.8 in. 

Winchester Silvertip 185 grain JHP      5 shot group         1.7 in.

Handload 200 gr. SWC/890 fps            5 shot group         1.5 in. 

Handload 185 gr. SWC/1050 fps          5 shot group         1.25 in. 

Browning 230 gr. JHP                          5 shot group          1.5 in. 

This is a pistol well worth its price. It is a lifetime gun that will compliment a trained shooter. It isn’t something to leave in the safe but a pistol to be used and carried. During the evaluation I used the Wilson Combat Range-Tac holster. This is an excellent range holster with some application in concealed carry, given a garment with a long drape. The balance of speed and retention with the Range-Tac is excellent. 

Wilson  Combat

BARREL: 5 in.
Overall Length  8.7 in. 

Height   5.6 in. 

Width   1.2 in.
WEIGHT: 40 oz.
GRIPS: Wilson Starburst
SIGHTS:     U Notch Rear Optic Front
Sight Radius        6.6 in. 

TRIGGER: 3.65 lbs
PRICE: $2,965