Wilson Combat 9mm American Combat Pistol (ACP)

A pistol test and review by Richard McCleery (Rick McC.) for M1911.org





The Pistol

The Wilson Combat American Combat Pistol (ACP) is a full size 1911 style pistol with a 5Ē slide and barrel. The ACP Model can be had in either .45ACP, or 9mm Parabellum.


The test pistol included two of Wilsonís ETM magazines capable of holding 10 rounds of 9mm. Also included were a Wilson soft pistol case, a Wilson cleaning cloth, a second recoil spring with ďheavy loadĒ noted on its plastic bag, a red fiber optic rod replacement, Wilson bushing wrench, and two different sized hex wrenches. The pistol also came with a shok-buff installed, which was removed when cleaning and lubing the pistol prior to firing. The pistol case contained no manual or other documentation.


The Wilson ACP is an all steel pistol, with a black Armor-Tuff finish on both the slide and frame. The roll marked Wilson Combat logo is small, and located on the right rear side of the slide, behind the cocking serrations.


The slide is round-topped, with both front and rear sights set into machined dovetails. The rear sight has two hex screws, and is adjustable for windage by drifting the sight in the dovetail. The rear sight is all black, with a serrated rear face and a u-notch. The front sight has a red fiber optic insert. Overall, the sights present a clear sight picture thatís quick to find.


With the exception of the roll marked ďACPĒ and the logo noted above, the right side of the slide is unmarked.


The slide to frame fit is quite good. Even after cleaning, with no lube on the slide and frame rails, side to side movement between the slide and frame was non-existent.


The takedown and slide stop notches are properly shaped, and the slide stop and grip safety are all nicely fitted to the frame. All told, the fitting and machine work of the pistol was first rate. The slideís left side sports a Wilson Combat roll mark. There are no sharp edges to be found anywhere on the Wilson ACP, and all of the edges on the slide are machined to a nice uniform bevel.


The trigger is nicely fitted, and includes a screw for over-travel adjustment. The trigger has a small amount of take-up, breaking cleanly at an average of 3 pounds, 5 ounces over five pulls using a Lyman digital trigger pull gauge.


The Wilson ACP takes down like any 1911. I personally appreciate a 1911 that takes down as JMB intended; no clips, bent paper clips, hex wrenches or other accoutrements necessary!


The ACP models also include Wilsonís flush cut beveled muzzle.


Time to Shoot!

Wilson Combat provided me with 400 rounds of their 135 grain HBFN (Hollow Based Flat Nose) jacketed Remanufactured 9mm ammo, 40 rounds of their 124 grain XTP HP +P ammo, and 40 rounds of their 115 grain Tac-XP +P ammo to use in the testing and evaluation of the full sized 9mm Wilson Combat ACP. This load uses a Barnes solid copper 115 grain HP.

My testing and evaluation took place over several weeks.

I was provided a great deal of assistance with this part of the review by Mr. Andy Maluke. Andy provided access to the 200 meter range at the Hernando Sportsmanís Club, as well as his chronograph, sandbags, and miscellaneous equipment used in shooting the Wilson ACP at 25 yards.

Andy was a real trooper that day, as heíd had surgery on his hand a few months prior, and this was the first time in several months heíd shot using his left hand. (Andy is left handed.) It still hurt a good bit, but he powered through it. (Much appreciation and awe at your toughness, Andy!)

Andy is a board member at the club, is an IDPA expert class shooter, and Safety Officer Instructor. He was also the IDPA Match Director at the club for many years. Since my old eyes arenít what they used to be, Andy shot the groups reported here at 25 yards. I shot a few offhand rapid fire targets at 10 yards that day. Keeping all shots ďzero downĒ in both the head and center of mass of an IDPA silhouette target was easily done with the ACP. I also used the Wilson ACP to shoot two weekly IDPA practices, and an IDPA monthly match, over the following few weeks.

Iím pleased to report that the pistol functioned flawlessly, with no malfunctions either during the testing the first day, or over the following weeks when I shot it weekly. I field stripped, cleaned and lubed the ACP when I received it. It was fairly wet when I removed it from its plastic bag but, not knowing if the material was a preservative or a lubricant, I erred on the side of caution, using a CLP thatís readily available nationwide. That was the only time that the Wilson ACP was cleaned and/or lubed during the entire time I was shooting it.


To start the accuracy testing, Andy shot five rounds each of the three different types of Wilson ammunition through his chronograph.

  • The 135 grain HBFN 9mm ammo had an average velocity of 970 feet per second, with an extreme spread of 57, and a standard deviation of 24, for five rounds through the chronograph.
  • The 124 grain XTP HP +P averaged a velocity of 1161 feet per second, with an extreme spread of 40, and a standard deviation of 12, for five rounds through the chronograph.
  • The 115 grain TAC-XP +P had a five round average velocity of 1083 feet per second, with an extreme spread of 29, and a standard deviation of 12.


Throughout the testing, I didnít make any adjustments to the sights. At 25 yards, all loads shot pretty much to the same place.


This five round 9mm group shot by Andy at 25 yards measured 1.6 inches. This was the 124 grain XTP +P ammunition.


The top five-round group shot at 25 yards with the 115 grain TAC XP +P ammunition measured 2.3 inches. The second group shot at the target bottom (with one just below the paper on the backing) measured 2.1 inches.


This target, shot at 25 yards, contains the groups shot with the Wilson 135 grain HBFN Remanufactured ammunition. The top five round group (the hole at 2:00 is actually two shots) measured 1.5 inches. These were the first rounds fired that morning, from a clean bore in a cold pistol. The second five round group, shot at the bottom of the target, measured 3.0 inches.

All groups were measured from center to center of the farthest bullet holes, using a digital caliper. The temperature that morning was in the low 50ís F, with wind gusts over 20 MPH. It was NOT a fun day to shoot.

We both agreed that this pistol, shot from a Ransom Rest, is easily a "one inch group at 25 yards" gun.


Evaluation

As mentioned above, after the less than fun morning with Andy conducting the accuracy testing, it was time for some fun!

Accordingly, I shot the 9mm Wilson ACP at IDPA practice over the next two weeks (one Tuesday morning each week), and had a ball. The pistol shot wherever I pointed it (usually a good thing). Being a 9mm, all steel, full sized 1911, recoil was pretty negligible even when running the gun fast on multiple targets. It tracked and transitioned very well, and double and triple taps were easily accomplished.


Another feature of the ACP model that I havenít touched on yet is the ďEagle ClawĒ machining on the front strap of the grip frame and main spring housing. The design is also carried over onto the stocks, as seen in the picture above. The pistol is easy to grip firmly in the hand, without experiencing any roughness to the skin, as there often is with some coarse finished grip frames, main spring housings, and stocks.

When the time came for my local rangeís monthly IDPA match, I put the Wilson ACP into action again. It was actually the first match that Iíd shot in a year, and itíd been several years since Iíd shot a 1911 in one. The pistol functioned just as flawlessly as it had during the previous outings, and the inherent accuracy of the pistol made making hits easy.


Overall

After living with the Wilson ACP for a bit over a month, it certainly made an impression. First, itís reliable, as in 500+ rounds of flawless functioning reliable. No cleaning, four different loads shot through six different magazines reliable. I used the two new Wilson 10 round magazines that came with the pistol, plus four more old Wilson 10 round ETMs that Iíve had for about 10 years. Iíd have no problem with depending on this pistol for my EDC gun, and thatís high praise in my world. As noted above, itís also a very accurate pistol.

As for looks; it drew quite a bit of attention from the other shooters on my squad when I shot the match with it. Wilson Combat 1911ís are rarely ever seen there, and this was the first ACP model that anyone had seen. Everyone that saw the pistol commented on its good looks, fine fit and finish, and the obvious shoot-ability and accuracy inherent in the pistol.

The Wilson ACP is actually their fairly new, more ďaffordableĒ line of 1911s. Theyíre available in 45ACP and 9mm, with few other options available. Thatís one of the ways they keep the costs down. MSRPs are $2495.00 and $2595.00 respectively. Thatís a good bit less than most Wilson Combat models start at and, though not cheap, itís a lot of gun for the money.

Iím going to hate to have to send this one back.


Specifications

Wilson CombatAmerican Combat Pistol 9mm
Caliber.45 ACP / 9mm (tested)
Height5.6 inches / 142 mm
Width1.3 inches / 33 mm
Length8.7 inches / 221 mm
Barrel Length5 inches / 127 mm
Weight41.6 Ounces / 1.179 kg
SightsWindage adjustable rear / FO front post
Sight Radius6.6 inches / 168 mm
FinishArmor-Tuff black
Capacity8 rounds (45 ACP), 10 rounds (9mm)
Grip MaterialG-10
Accuracy Guarantee1 inch at 25 yards / 25.4 mm at 22.9 M
MSRP$2495.00 / $2595.00


Acknowledgements

First, the staff at Wilson Combat and Wilsonís Gun Shop, Inc. should be recognized for both providing the pistol and ammunition used for the testing and evaluation in this article.

American Gun and Pawn, my local FFL, was instrumental in making this review possible. They were most gracious in handling the firearm transfer for me at a very reasonable cost. Itís getting harder and harder to find a gun shop that will still handle firearm transfers for a reasonable price. They also have quite a diverse selection of firearms and other products.

I also must extend sincere appreciation to the Hernando Sportsmanís Club and Mr. Andy Maluke for use of the range facilities, equipment provided, and Andyís expertise in conducting the accuracy testing.

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Sources

Pistol and Wilson Combat Ammunition



Wilson Combat
2452 CR 719
Berryville, AR 72616
USA
Phone: (870) 545-3618
Fax: (870) 545-3310
www.wilsoncombat.com

Hernando Sportsmanís Club
16121 Commercial Way
Weeki Wachee, Fl 34614
(352) 597-9931
http://www.hernandosportsmansclub.com

American Gun and Pawn Inc.
1118 E. Jefferson St.
Brooksville, FL 34601
(352) 593-7296
www.americangunandpawn.com