M1911.ORG Visits Wilson Combat

By Stan (Traxxis) Peters

Last week, my Wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Wilson Combat in Berryville, Arkansas, on behalf of M1911.ORG. It was a relatively short drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and, might I add, a very pretty one as you pass through the Ozark Mountains. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the receptionist, Tressa. As she left to notify our contact at the company, Kara and I looked around at the various items on display in the entry hall. From various awards to parts and merchandise, I knew very quickly we were in for something special. As Trescha returned, she introduced us to the Sales Manager, John May.

John has been with Wilson Combat for seven years and has been in the firearms industry for nearly 30 years. John took us to his office, where we spent a little bit of time getting to know each other. One thing that really stood out to us above John’s love for firearms was his love for his family. All that to say, should you get the chance to visit Wilson Combat, shake his hand and tell him hello.

The first stop on our tour was shipping and receiving. Wilson Combat ships between thirty and one hundred packages per day so, needless to say, the shipping companies like them. At first, I was a bit skeptical of this statement but, as we continued on our tour, we saw all the various parts and merchandise available at Wilson and, sure enough, the pile of boxes next to the shipping door grew at an alarming rate. We were then introduced to the ladies who package the boxes, and let me tell you, they have this operation down to a science.

From shipping and receiving, we went to the sales floor where John formally introduced us to Trescha. He informed us that she is a woman of many trades and that she keeps the salesmen in line during the day. John then introduced us to several of the sales staff, including Nick Moraitis and Matt Riker, both of whom are avid shooters. In fact, Nick is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School. John explained that having salesmen who are shooters and gunsmiths themselves allows them to better answer questions asked by potential customers and, therefore, deliver a higher quality of customer service. John was very clear that Wilson Combat is a company that is “For Shooters, by Shooters.”

From a box of parts to a completed pistol

So, where does your Wilson Combat pistol start? After you have spoken to a Wilson Combat salesman, your order is recorded, then your pistol is assigned a tray, complete with name tag and description. This tray makes its way to the parts department, where it is filled with all 45 pieces (minus the slide and frame) of the pistol we love so much.

From the parts department the tray makes a trip to the back side of the Wilson Combat facility, to the gunsmith building where it will meet its frame and slide.

Our dream room.

Your box of goodies is then delivered to the first gunsmith in line, who begins the build by polishing and shaping the feed ramp.

Then the magwell is deburred and beveled...

Your gun is then sent to the next station, where a majority of the work is accomplished, including mating the slide to the frame for that famous custom fit we all drool over. The barrel is then fitted, the slide stop hole beveled, and the slide stop shortened. Next, the mainspring housing, trigger, magazine catch, hammer and grip safety are installed. Your box of parts is now starting to resemble a pistol, as seen here.

Officer carbon-frame, round butt in the works.

Next, your pistol is finely polished and deburred once more.

But what if you want something unique engraved on the side of it? Well, Wilson Combat has you covered with their in-house laser engraver. If you have never seen one of these machine operate, you are missing out … they are truly fascinating. When I asked about how long it takes to engrave a part … John wasted no time in showing us.

After all of the parts are fitted together and working properly, your pistol is polished and sent back to the front of the facility, to the finishing building. We were unable to visit this building due to time restrictions, but John explained that this is where their patented Armor Tough finish is applied for that unique Wilson Combat look.

Test Function and Fire

Your pistol (as well as every pistol that leaves the shop) has a minimum of 82 rounds of ammunition of different sizes and shapes shot through it to ensure that the quality and functionality of the pistol are to the Wilson standard:

And in case you were wondering (as I was before this tour) what kind of vise is used to aid in shooting the test targets with those little bitty groups … well, there is no vise involved. To my amazement, this gentleman shoots several one-hole groups from 15 yards using only a bag rest. John assured me that no gun leaves the test range until he could cover a five shot grouping with a quarter … and he wasn’t kidding.


One of the greatest strong points of Wilson Combat is that they run as a well oiled machine. They set the benchmark for an efficient business model and it shows in the quality of their product and the small number of pistols that are returned. According to John, most standard models go from the order process to the customer in five to seven weeks, consistently. The ability of Wilson Combat to deliver their product in this manner speaks very highly of their adherence to their business model, and their reputation.

We ended the tour back in the front shop where John showed us several finished pistols that were ready to ship.

This was Kara’s and my first opportunity to handle some Wilson Combat 1911’s and we were very pleased. Their Armor-Tuff finish is very smooth, and the attention to detail is evident in the details, such as the muzzle to bushing fit seen here:

Finally, I would like to highly encourage anybody looking for a high-end 1911 pistol to seriously consider Wilson Combat. One day, I just may end up with one myself.

For more information on Wilson Combat pistols and parts, visit www.wilsoncombat.com for a full list of firearms, parts and services provided by Wilson Combat.

I would also like to thank John Caradimas and the entire M1911.org community for providing this opportunity for Kara and me.

You may use this thread in our Forums Site to discuss this article.


Wilson Combat® & Scattergun Technologies™
2234 CR 719
Berryville, AR 72616

Order Toll Free: 1-800-955-4856
Technical Questions: 1-870-545-3635
Fax: 1-870-545-3310

Email: info@wilsoncombat.com
Web site: http://www.wilsoncombat.com