Dan Wesson Guardian - Photo Review.


September 5, 2010, 03:45 PM
Happy Sunday everyone.

(photo's taken with a Nikon D300, 90mm Macro lens and ring-flash)

I managed to have to some time this morning to detail strip my DW Guardian #51. I bought the Guardian because I like to have similar guns to the .45ACP 1911's that i have. I was thinking of a few options to do this, such as building one from a Fusion frame kit, buying a STI Ranger II then bob-tailing it, or having the Springfield Custom Shop build one for me. Before I made up my mind, the Guardian was announced and that sealed the deal.

The Guardian is a bob-tailed Commander length 1911 with a forged alloy frame. The frame finish is hardcoat anodize, which is similar to the finish of AR-15's. The slide is forged stainless steel with Dan Wesson's new "Duty" coat finish. The Duty finish is supposed to be a ceramic type coating, but Dan Wesson remains secret about their Duty Treatment. In person, the color of the Duty coat and Hardcoat are pretty close, but in pictures show a variance due to the Hardcoat being a little more porous.


The front strap had 25lpi checkering, which provides a secure grip. While i prefer 20lpi, the 25lpi is better than the 30lpi that i had on my Kimber.
In this photo, you can also see that DW uses Check-Mate mags, which 2 are included with the Guardian.


The fit is on the top end of "Production" guns, though some place the Dan Wesson's in "Semi-Custom" territory, wherever you want to place it DW did a great job.

The sight's are Novak cut sights that I believe are made by Champion/Kensight, which is the same company that Brown and Baer use. The rear dot's are yellow instead of the typical green. While i will replace the rear sight with a 10-8, the yellow appear's slightly dimmer than the green front dot. This effect is due to the color spectrum, with the human eye picking up green easier.


The slide stop has a nice shelf on it for those that use it as a slide release. It can be easily manipulated by a right-handed shooter's thumb.


I'm not sure if they make their grip safety or have it made for them. It is similar to the Ed Brown grip safety, but the beavertail itself is slightly thicker than the one on my Kobra Carry. You can see in this photo that the rear sight has a gap between the frame. It doesn't bother me since i'll replace the rear sight anyway.


On thing that i noticed is that DW marked the MSH to the gun it was fit to. Unlike other manufacturer's that scribe the number's onto the parts, DW etches them. This shows the attention to detail when they build a gun.


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September 5, 2010, 03:46 PM
The barrel uses a ramped barrel, which seems like standard practice on alloy framed 1911's and is fit to the slide nicely. There is no sign of "springing", locks up tight and the barrel/bushing/slide fit is tight, but not overly tight.



I noticed that the ejection port is slightly lower than the one on my Kobra Carry.



The bushing is an EGW Thick bushing, and can be removed without a bushing wrench. The barrel O.D. and the bushing I.D. are both .580", which should produce accurate groups.



September 5, 2010, 03:47 PM
The machining was nicely done, and the slide operates smoothly.


You can see the etching on the slide showing which frame it was fit to.
The firing pin stop is squared off with a slight bevel, as opposed to the radius type.




The ejector is extended and pinned.

September 5, 2010, 03:48 PM
Removing the grip panels, i found Hogue manufacture's of the grips for Dan Wesson


small parts are nicely done, which minimal machine marks.



Trigger pull out of the box was 3Lbs. 12oz. on a 10 pull average.
The hammer, sear and disconnector are are tool steel.
The hammer hooks were .020", which is what I like to bring long hammer hooks down to.


Some internal pics.



I forgot to take pics of the slide internals, but not much to report on that.

September 5, 2010, 03:55 PM
Nice. I heard that actually is an Ed Brown sourced safety.

September 5, 2010, 04:00 PM
i know that the previous year's were, but not 100% sure about the 2010.

edit: did some more searching and it is still a Brown

September 5, 2010, 04:06 PM
I want one

September 5, 2010, 07:42 PM
Very, very, nice looking machine work. Quite a bit better than the last 1911 I bought... AC

September 5, 2010, 07:48 PM
That's a beauty! I bet it shoots as nice as it looks.

September 5, 2010, 08:53 PM
Nice looking 1911.
I am guessing it is an alloy frame?
I checked the CZ-USA site and I cannot find this model...although a lot of 1911 models read "discontinued--2010".

Do they make this one in .45acp?

September 5, 2010, 09:01 PM
Very nice looking 1911. Congrats!

September 5, 2010, 09:04 PM

Alloy frame in 9mm.

September 5, 2010, 10:00 PM
< Drool >

September 5, 2010, 10:58 PM
Is there a secondary cut on that sear?

September 6, 2010, 01:40 AM
now ditch the ramp barrel make it 45 again and I might look at another Dan Wesson
my BOB is great. But the price jump and dropping of models discouraged any more in my house.

September 11, 2010, 10:51 PM
Thanks for the pics and detail, almost bought one today but couldn't bring myself to do it...

IMHO, by raising the price-tag roughly 1/3 over what the old CBOB cost they took this from shooters-gun territory into safe-queen territory.
Most of the added features are only cosmetic enhancements and after seeing any kind of real use (say 500-1000rds a month) these will just lose a substantial amount of their value. I didn't want a semi-custom, I wanted a "9mm CBOB" to shoot the snot out of and upgrade as I saw fit. While around $500 more or so difference isn't a lot, $500 will get a guy a brand-new Glock too, and I regularly smoke guys shooting 3k+ 1911's with one of those and just can't justify going much over $1000 on a working gun that's going to really get shot. Bummer... Hopefully someone will idiot-scratch one and I can pick one up used because the commander-sized 9mm 1911 is a winning platform IMO and I still kind of want one. Have fun with it and please post a range report when you put it through it's paces.

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