Wilson Combat Tactical Supergrade Compact - Western Arms
Some will moan about WA's frequent revisitation of the 1911 model, but it seems the Japanese market cannot get enough 1911s and the Wilson Compacts, at least, offered me a first look at a compact 1911 model.
On closer look, they offered a lot more than a simple repackaging of the familiar 1911.
In the Box
As an SCW model (and a proper limited edition at that!), the Wilson Combat Tactical Supergrade Compact came in the familiar dark grey box with white SCW logos and a sticker down the side to let me know which particular model was inside.
As well as the gun, the box contained the usual hopper, tube and rod loader, a bag of BBs, a couple of Allen keys (one for hop, the other for the trigger) and the usual collection of paperwork, including the standard SCW 1911 manual which seems to come with all 'single stacker' 1911s.
I received two Compacts at the same time from Elite Airsoft, this and a Wilson Combat Professional.
I chose to review this one first, primarily, because I liked the dark 'wood' grips. They are plastic (and possibly a little too shiny to look like wood, unlike some WA grips), but replicate, quite nicely, a silver striped, black wood (Hogue list a 'Dymond' wood, which I suspect this is supposed to be). Very attractive, as is the rest of the snubby little 1911.
Being small, the 850g weight makes the whole thing feel very solid and well made and there are no visible flaws in the finish, or seams, anywhere on the gun at first sight.
Interestingly, up front the standard 1911 style bushing is absent, with a cone barrel, full length recoil spring rod and bushing-less assembly in its place, much like an SV Infinity.
Metal parts are pretty much as one has come to expect of a WA 1911, with trigger, slide lock, safeties (grip and thumb), front and rear safeties, outer barrel and recoil spring rod all being made in metal.
Whilst, basically a cut-down 1911, the Wilson Combat Supergrade Tactical Compact has a surprising number of features I had not seen a WA 1911 before.
As you would expect the Wilson is very well made and finished in the familiar heavyweight (ABS/metal mix) material, lending it an impressive heft despite overall dimensions around an inch less in length than a standard-size 1911.
Markings are nicely rendered, although not plentiful, true to the original. On the left side, the slide is marked "WILSON COMBAT" in a cut-out font, rather than the elegant script seen on some Wilsons. On the right side there is "SUPERGRADE" (again in the cutout, block font) on the slide, with "WILSON COMBAT BERRYVILLE AR. U.S.A." on the frame (partially covered by the ambidextrous thumb safety) and WA ASGK just ahead of it on the frame.
The frame has generous chequering to the front of the grip area and on the flat mainspring cover, which is made of metal.
There are Wilson medallions on both grips and "Wilson Combat" marked on the Novak style rear sight. The chamber is marked "WILSON .45 ACP".
The sights are fixed Novak style (But Wilson Combat marked) at the back with a dovetailed in blade at the front. In use, I found them, with white dots as standard, very easy to use and (as you will see later) effective.
The trigger is a broad silver blade, with three ridges for a secure purchase and three large holes to reduce its weight. It also has the travel adjustment (via a allen bolt in its face) as found on SVIs.
The barrel and chamber are silver in colour and the metal barrel has that slightly milled look which I have seen (and like) on a number of WA's most recent offerings (including the Expert 4.3" and Wilson Combat Profesional).
The magazine proved a pleasure and a pain. Sadly WA insisted, once again, on fitting the Wilson Combat bumper but failed to extend the valve beyond the base of the magazine. This means the valve is too deeply recessed to be reached by most gas can nozzles, which is only partly addressed by using a gas nozzle extension.
WA's choice not to simply extend the valve down close to the bottom of the bumper can only be on cost grounds (although I suspect they would point to the fact that a broken bumper will not also mean a broken fill valve, to be fair) and is, in my opinion, flawed.
On the positive side, it features a plastic claw at the top, which is replaceable (something it seems WA's customers have asked for), but, more significantly, the engineers at WA have managed to accommodate a double stack of 6mm BBs in the single stack dimension magazines, extending this little guns capacity to 19 rounds, par for the course for most standard GBB magazines. Glock level capacity in the slim single stack frame will be an appealing combination to many. In this respect WA are to be applauded.
The magazine is interesting for another reason, too. Although, overall, it is the same length as a standard 1911 magazine (and the grip is too), that includes the half inch or so of buffer. These magazines do not fit a standard 1911 (or the outwardly similar Wilson Combat Professional) as the bottom of the grip is cut away to provide a built in magwell which, mainly, covers the buffer.
Accuracy for the Compact was good for the style of gun and the SCW system performed well, too.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, I was able to place all 6 rounds in the central area of the target, with the best 5 falling in a 5.7CM (2.25 Inch) diameter. The bald 2.25 inches is fair, but for such a short barrelled gun, the ability to place all 6 rounds on target was more impressive than they suggest.
Over 10 shots, the Wilson Combat Compact averaged 246 fps (using Abbey Ultra gas) indoors (at 12C).
Trigger pull is 25 Oz (700g), which is an impressively light pull for a GBB.
As I have found with a number of recent WA guns, the slide lock on this example was very tightly secured in the frame from the box.
Experience with my own guns has shown this is overcome once the slide lock is removed the first time, but the Wilson's was particularly tight and, as it was a loan gun, I decided not to force the issue.
The disassembly process, however, is very much like any bushing less 1911 (for example WA's own SVIs).
With the magazine removed, the slide should be slide back until the slide lock can be pushed out of the frame. At this point, the slide, barrel and recoil rod/spring can be pushed forward off of the frame.
To remove the barrel from the slide, you must separate the two halves of the recoil rod and pull the front through the front of the slide bushing.
This done, however, the barrel front needs removing, too, at which point the rear half, barrel and chamber can be pushed back and down out of the slide.
Overall, I found my first encounter with a compact 1911 a very rewarding experience.
Build quality is good, at the high end of even WA's high standards, and the accuracy was much better than I expected of a gun of such diminutive barrel dimensions.
The double stacking magazine makes WA's 'single stacker' 1991s a practical skirmish or Practical Shooting option, although I again, personally, found the deeply recessed fill valve an utter pain, once again.
For anyone looking for a classier compact alternative to a KSC/KWA Glock 19, this will prove and excellent option.
Weight : 850g
Realism : ****
Quality : *****
Power : ****
Accuracy : ****
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