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STORY: Massad Ayoob daN WessoN sPeCiaList This timeless .45 ACP 1911 meets modern light rail capability. C Z’s Dan Wesson subsidiary has been manufacturing 1911 pistols for some time now, and have earned many friends in the “1911 fan club.” Their latest is the Specialist, with integral light rail on the dust cover portion of the frame. Intended to serve the new renaissance of the 1911 in law enforcement, the maker realizes it’s also particularly suitable for home defense. The M1913 rail configuration will make it unsuitable for most of your old 1911 carry rigs, but holsters for light-railed 1911s are out there. I use one from Elmer McEvoy at Leather Arsenal, which hides well under a concealment vest or un-tucked open front sport shirt. For bedside use, I attached the new Streamlight TLR-4 combined white light and laser unit. It worked fine, as these steel-frame guns don’t get picky about functioning with such attachments on, as some polymer models have been known to do. The TLR-4 went onto the Specialist’s Pic rail easily and came off the same way, staying secure in between, evidence Dan Wesson has the dimensions down pat. A lot of thought has gone into the subtleties of the Specialist’s design. For one thing, the stud of the slide stop on the right is flush with the frame, ostensibly to clear the way for the laser beam of a Crimson Trace LaserGrip. This feature also prevents pressure of a tense trigger finger on the frame from moving the slide stop leftward and setting the stage for an unintended lock-up at the worst possible time. The heavy-duty fixed sights are strikingly reminiscent of Hilton Yam’s 10-8 design, with a “tactical ledge” to allow a user with only one working hand to run the slide by Mas demonstrates controllability of Specialist: arrows show .45 hardball brass in air from fast double-top, but muzzle is still on target. hooking the rear sight against belt or holster. It contains Trijicon night sight ampoules in a figure “8” shape, the top dot in front bright green and the lower rear dot, a more subdued amber. In daylight, they present a big, blocky sight picture that’s easy to quickly pick up. On the hand interface side of things, we have VZ’s Operator II G10 grip panels with some fine frame checkering front and back, and a beveled magazine well is added to the butt. trigger time The trigger is long, solid, and came out of the box with a consistent pull averaging 4 pounds, 1 ounce, barely on the safe side of generally accepted industry spec for “serious” 1911s. Break was clean with no perceptible backlash. Running the slide by hand felt glassy smooth, always an indication of good fitting, and one of those things that just scream “quality!” to serious handgunners. On a Matrix rest set on concrete at 25 yards, I was able to get a 1.95" group with 230-grain Speer Gold Dots, with the best three exactly an inch tighter, .95" center to center. With “old school” Remington Express .45 ACP 185-grain jacketed hollow point, a single stray shot blew the group out to 2.15", but the other four were in 7/10", and the best three were exactly 1/2" apart. In other words, if the group had been centered on the head of a .45 ACP cartridge, three of The Dan Wesson 1911 Specialist features Ed Brown grip safety, ambi thumb safety, VZ Operator II G10 stocks, and tactical fixed night sights. Note the sight is designed so it can be used to rack the slide with one hand. The long, solid match-type trigger was beautifully adjusted out of the box. 24 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2