The world is awash with striker-fired and polymer pistols, but not everyone wants a soulless sidearm for everyday carry (EDC). Bill Wilson, the namesake of Wilson Combat, is one of those discriminating shooters. So he built a compact, large-capacity, 1911-ish pistol called the EDC X9. It’s chambered in 9mm and is almost the same size as many popular Wonder Nines.
The EDC X9 begins life as a billet of pre-hardened 7075-T6 aluminum. Wilson Combat machines a receiver that soon contains its 15-round, double-stack magazine that was developed jointly with Mec-Gar. This receiver is sleek and all business, with any semblance of extra bulk eliminated. The receiver has diagonal nonslip grooves machined into the frontstrap that Wilson calls its “X-TAC” pattern. It stops before the grips, where the panels come flush to the frame, just behind the frontstrap. The grips themselves are composed of thin G10 and are given Wilson’s Starburst pattern to aid the nonslip feature of the receiver. The angle where the triggerguard joins the frontstrap is lifted, so we can gain a higher firing-hand hold on the pistol.
The backstrap also features the X-TAC pattern, and it differs from other 1911 backstraps in that it doesn’t contain the hammer spring. Instead, the hammer spring wedges the grips into the frame and holds the backstrap in place, which leaves no screws to loosen.
At the base of the receiver, the magazine well is machined to clear the oversized baseplate of the magazines but retains a lip at the rear. This lip acts as a magazine well funnel that, in conjunction with its beveled magazine well, provides effortless speed reloading. How many reloads you might need on any given occasion is a good question since the EDC X9 has a magazine capacity of 15 rounds, which equals that of the Glock 19 and many other compact double-stack 9mms that are similar in size.
The EDC X9 is a 9mm-only pistol, as there is not a way to fit a .40 S&W chambering into it. Giving up on the .40 as a future option is part of what enabled Wilson and his crew to engineer the X9 to be so sleek and compact.
The EDC X9 can be ordered with or without a front accessory rail, so if you prefer to mount a white light or aiming laser, check that box.
What magazine goes into this frame? It’s actually a Walther PPQ M2 mag with its magazine catch modified and repositioned to work with Wilson’s new frame. The first magazines were stock PPQ M2 magazines altered by Wilson Combat. Once the prototype pistols had been thoroughly tested and the dimensions were confirmed, Walther took over producing the pistol’s magazines.
The trigger, hammer and grip safety are clearly 1911-inspired (yet not 1911-identical) and are Wilson Combat crafted. The comparison many will make is to the Browning Hi Power. There, the trigger linkage goes up, back, down and pivots twice along the way. The X9 trigger slides directly rearward in its track, just like the 1911, and the result is a very clean, crisp trigger pull measuring right at 3 pounds, 8 ounces on our test gun.
The slide stop is a flat ledge and does not extended beyond the forward edge of the G10 grip. It serves to hold the slide open when the last round has been fired. The grip safety pivots on the thumb safety shaft — just like the 1911. And you can have an EDC X9 with either a standard or
ambidextrous thumb safety.
On top of the receiver, Wilson Combat placed a slide and barrel that combine all the tricks the company has learned over the decades. The 4-inch barrel is constructed of stainless steel and utilizes a cone lockup out front instead of a bushing and has the crown reverse-cut as a cone inward toward the bore. At the chamber end, the barrel features an integral feed ramp for increased case support, reliably feeding ammunition rated for up to +P+ pressures. As a hat-tip to the pistol’s intended use, the barrel has shallow flutes machined into its exterior along its length to provide clearance for any crud that might try to work its way into the mechanism. The recoil spring system uses a guide, but it is not full-length, which means that there are no three-handed steps to disassemble or reassemble.
The slide has an angled relief cut on the nose (in keeping with the Hi Power), and this accomplishes two things. First, it eases holstering. The wedge-shaped slide allows the pistol to center itself as it slides smoothly into a holster. It also provides a gripping surface for checking the chamber’s status. To make sure you have all the grip you need for press checks, the X9 also has the X-TAC pattern machined into the slide, directly behind the slide recess.
Behind the chamber is an external extractor, which pivots on a pin through the slide and is powered by a coil spring in the rear. The extractor is huge, and the only way it will fail to extract is if the rim of the case breaks off. Just rearward of the ejection port, the slide has another X-TAC-pattern panel for those who grasp the slide at the rear for manipulations.
The slide top has been contoured with three flats machined into its length, which Wilson Combat calls its “Tri-Top” design. The two outside flats have a radius added at the rear to provide a space on the slide for the Wilson Combat windage-adjustable Tactical Battlesight. The front sight is fiber optic, and the area in-between the sights is a finely serrated 30 lines per inch (lpi) to reduce glare and add to the pistol’s visual appeal. The rear of the slide is serrated 40 lpi for a nonglare surface.
As a final detail, the bottom edge of the slide has been given a heavy chamfer to eliminate any potential sharp edges. In fact, the whole pistol is free of sharp edges, corners and other potential abrasion points, promising to be easy on hands and clothing during EDC.
At 29 ounces (empty) and chambered in 9mm, one would not expect the EDC X9 to have much felt recoil. Given the contours of the grip (which are no wider than a single-stack 1911 in .45), Guns & Ammo is happy to confirm those expectations. Even with the hottest ammunition, the EDC X9 was neither snappy nor pushy. It was also brilliantly accurate. That should not come as a surprise, as Wilson Combat guarantees 11/2-inch groups at 25 yards.
The EDC X9 comes with two magazines and several options, including a choice of four grip colors, three trigger lengths, two backstrap sizes, two fiber optic tube colors and with or without an accessory rail. All this can be done in any standard Armor-Tuff finish color Wilson Combat offers and at the regular price.
The price point might be an obstacle for some and is indeed equal to a shoebox full of polymer-framed pistols. An appropriate question is this: How many of those would you be proud to pass on to your heirs? Another point relative to the here and now is that when you begin adding accessories or customizing a polymer pistol, you may find yourself close to or exceeding that gap in cost. The Wilson Combat EDC X9 is a ready-to-carry solution.