April 23, 2020
By James Tarr
Bill Wilson gained fame as a .45 ACP 1911 gunsmith, and a few years ago he sat down and decided to design what he felt would be the ultimate everyday carry pistol based generally on the 1911 design, chambered in 9mm. He wanted it to be big enough to shoot like a full-size gun but small and light enough to conceal, hold a lot of rounds and have a great trigger pull. He came up with the EDC X9, and it has been Wilson Combat’s most successful pistol ever.
This year, Wilson Combat announced a second EDC model, the X9L, which stretches the original’s barrel from four inches to five. While it sports the same length frame as the original EDC X9, you can order the X9L with a removable aluminum magazine well. If you order the pistol with the mag well, it ships with two 18-round magazines. Without, and it ships with two 15-round magazines.
However, the neat thing is you can still seat 15-round magazines in a gun wearing the magazine well; you’ll just have to use your thumb instead of your palm. The mag well is user-removable, if you want to change things up. (Note that if you order a plain frame and later want to add the mag well, you’ll have to send it back to Wilson for some machining.)
I had the opportunity to travel down to Wilson Combat recently and saw them machining the EDC frames in the raw. Wilson Combat builds these guns from the ground up, in house. The aluminum frame features Wilson Combat’s X-Tac patterning instead of checkering on the front and rear of the frame.
This pattern is also used on the slide instead of serrations. X-Tac is very functional and gives the pistol a unique appearance—especially when combined with the matching G-10 grips, which feature a starburst pattern along with pewter medallions incorporating the Wilson logo. Between the X-Tac patterning front and rear on the frame and the aggressive grips the pistol will not move in your hand.
The five-inch barrel is stainless steel, has a flush-cut reverse crown and is ramped with a fully supported, fluted chamber. A tactical rail is available as an option, and you’ll see one on my sample. Between the longer slide and barrel and the addition of the tac rail the X9L is 3.4 ounces heavier than the original X9 but several ounces lighter than a standard five-inch steel 1911.
The top of the Tri-Top stainless steel slide has been serrated 30 lpi, and the rear of the slide has been serrated 40 lpi. The bottom of the slide has been chamfered to eliminate slide bite, and the slide has been given Wilson’s Armor-Tuff finish.
The 1911 has the trigger pull against which all other pistols are judged, and the factory spec for the EDC is a trigger pull between 3.5 and 4.5 pounds. My sample came in at four pounds even.
Unlike a traditional 1911 the EDC does not have a grip safety, and the entire backstrap, including the beavertail, comes off in one piece—although you won’t have to take it off for normal cleaning.
The pistol has a slightly arched backstrap, and combined with the shorter proportionately wider frame it doesn’t quite feel like a 1911 in the hand, although it shoots like one. But don’t get the impression this is a fat-framed gun. Even being a double-stack, the circumference of the grip is less than that of a standard single-stack 1911. There are actually two different backstrap sizes and two different trigger lengths available when ordering, so you can better fit the gun to your hand.
The hammer, magazine release and extended thumb safety are Wilson Combat Bullet Proof models, which means they’ve been machined from billet steel for the utmost in strength. The rear sight is a fully adjustable steel Wilson Battlesight, and the serrated front post has a green fiber-optic insert.
At the range the EDC X9L was very accurate, and completely reliable, although it did not like the profile of the SIG 124-grain V-Crown hollowpoints, which from time to time hiccupped against the feed ramp before going in.
I mentioned the options you can order, such as different trigger lengths, different backstraps and accessory rail. You can also get the EDC X9L with different sights and different finishes. As I said earlier, the EDC X9 has become Wilson’s most successful pistol, and time will tell whether the X9L will prove as popular.
Wilson Combat EDC X9L Specs
- Type: 1911
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 18+1 (as tested), 15+1
- Barrel: 5.0 in.
- OAL/Height/Width: 8.7/5.25/1.4 in.
- Weight: 32.4 oz.
- Construction: black Armor-Tuff-finished stainless steel slide, aluminum frame
- Grips: G10
- Sights: fully adjustable rear notch, post front w/fiber optic insert
- Trigger: 4.0 lb. pull (measured)
- Safety: thumb
- Price: $2,995
- Manufacturer: Wilson Combat, WilsonCombat.com