With the popularity of legal concealed carry growing exponentially , which is great by the way, finding the right sidearm to carry is about as important as training. By training, I do not mean just your concealed carry class, that is another article all together.
With concealed carry being so popular manufacturers have put a lot of research and development into that market, and that is great for the consumer. There is no arguing the Government Model, or “1911” is one of the most popular pistols on the market today. The 1911 does carry well and is concealable but it is not necessarily ideal for all day concealed carry. That is not to say it cannot be.
The Dan Wesson ECO, Elite Carry Officer, is a prime example of a 1911 style pistol that has been tailored for easy concealed carry without compromising reliability or accuracy. With a three and a half inch match grade barrel and a five inch aluminum receiver it is considerably smaller and lighter than a Government Model.
Incorporated into the platform are two-dot, Tritium night sights with the rear sight having a sharp ledge for one handed racking the slide. Slim-line G10 stocks included. Slide and small parts are treated with Dan Wesson’s black Duty finish. The skeletonized hammer has a true half cock notch.
Fully supported ramped bull barrel. Here you can see the take down hole on the full length guide rod, one piece guide rod and a flat recoil spring that is rated for 15,000 rounds of .45 Auto. The top of the slide is serrated to reduce glare.
Anodized aluminum receiver with an undercut trigger guard. The trigger, adjustable for overtravel, broke on average between 4 – 41/4 pounds.
Twenty-five lines per inch checkering on the front strap and mainspring housing. High ride grip safety with palm swell.
The mainspring housing is slightly bobtailed to aid in concealability, and the magazine well is slightly beveled.
The thumb safety is extended and serrated to aid in a solid purchase. It engaged/disengaged with some effort and audible click. I liked the fact you had to use a little force to sweep the thumb safety, no chance of it flopping around during carry.
Target crown on the muzzle
Initial Range Trip
I took the test sample in .45 Auto to the range, straight out of the box. I started with standard 230gr full metal jacket and began to break it in. For the first fifty rounds I experienced a handful of failure to return to battery. Consulting the manual, as one should always do, it appears Dan Wesson recommends a break in period of 500 rounds and specifically points out to watch for the FTRTB. I field stripped it, cleaned off the grease it ships with, and added some CLP. I took it back out and within the next fifty rounds the FTRTB was gone. So, it took less than a 100 rounds to break the pistol in. Whether you agree with a break in period or not on a tightly fitted pistol, this one needs it before it is pressed into service.
After the short break in, I had no issues with the little pistol.
25 Yard groups from a rest
Second Range Trip
The ECO field/detail strips a little different than the standard Officers pistol.
A take down tool (bent paperclip or staple) must be inserted into a hole in the full length guide rod, allowing removal of the slide stop and slide. There is no barrel bushing due to the fact the slide is so short with such a bushing it would not have enough throw for reliable feeding and extracting.
After that, everything else is pretty standard.
Is there such a thing as an ideal carry gun for everyone? Absolutely not, but that is why we have so many options. The Dan Wesson ECO is, in my opinion, worth looking into if you are looking for an easily concealable package and you favor the “1911” style pistols. It is more than accurate for what it needs to be and with the factory sights and trigger it could also be pressed into service for some of your local handgun matches. I have been carrying the ECO as my carry pistol for a few months now and it does carry nicely. At the time of publish I have better than 400 rounds through the pistol, many of which were dedicated defensive rounds. After the break in period I have had no trouble. One thing to bear in mind, if you choose any “1911” style pistol as your carry gun, training is a must. You have to be comfortable with the thumb safety. It is an expensive pistol, to be sure, but when it comes to something you may have to trust your life to, that is not the time to skimp. So, with carrying it for a few months and putting about 400 rounds through the little Dan Wesson, I am satisfied it is reliable and plenty accurate. To sum it up, it really is a damn nice little Rosco.
I struggled back and forth on buying this little pistol for myself but Lord knows I have way a plenty small carry guns. In the end, it was Barbara, my mother who talked me into buying it, as a matter of fact she insisted. Now she wants to go back to the range. I think I may of got took by mom.
.45 Automatic/9mm Luger
Tactical Ledge Tritium
Manual Thumb Safety