1911Forum - View Single Post - The Vigil ~ Range Report ~ The Entry-Level 1911 from Dan Wesson
View Single Post
Old 08-21-2018, 01:17 PM
Harrish Harrish is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,256
The Vigil ~ Range Report ~ The Entry-Level 1911 from Dan Wesson

This is a shortened version of my full review. To see the full review in the Dan Wesson section of this forum, click here:

I was given the opportunity to spend some time with a brand new Vigil Commander in 9mm; Dan Wessonís new entry level 1911 pistol. The Vigil is currently available in both 9mm and 45acp in four configurations; full-size Government with a 5Ē barrel, a full-size Government with a 5Ē Threaded Barrel, a Commander with a 4.25Ē barrel, and a CCO (the Commander 4.25Ē barrel on a shorter Officers Frame). All Vigil pistols have an aluminum frame with a hard black anodized finish, and a stainless steel slide finished with Dan Wessonís incredibly tough and durable Duty Finish (Black Nitride).

The new Vigil Commander in 9mm Before Heading to the Firing Line

Below is a picture of the 350 rounds of 9mm ammo I brought with me to run through the Vigil. A reasonable selection of different manufacturers, bullet types and weights. I Included in my selection one of my favorite 9mm carry loads, 147gr Federal HST. I also brought along my favorite 1911 range magazine for the test; a Wilson Combat 10 round ETS magazine. I have fired thousands of rounds through this particular magazine without a hitch and wanted to use it for this test.

The 350 rounds of 9mm for this review

A quick note about the groups below. While it may appear the groups below are consistently lower than the bullseye, that was entirely the result of the targets hanging higher than normal. My favorite local indoor range in South Florida, and possibly the best gun store ever, Delray Shooting Center, just renovated their range and the cables the targets ride on were tighter than they were before the renovation. As a result, the targets hung a bit higher than usual. For me to aim at the now higher bullseyes on my small homemade targets felt unnatural for me. So I simply let the bullseye sit above the front sight higher than usual so I could aim more naturally, and not at a consistent upward angle for 350 rounds! Going forward I am going to have to use targets that hang lower on the cable. Until, of course, the cables start sagging again

As I stood on the firing line and loaded up the first magazine for the Vigil, I was wondering to myself if it was going to feel like I was shooting my Valkyrie. As I slowly shot my way through the first magazine of American Eagle 124gr FMJ, I was nodding my head smiling; I could swear I had my Valkyrie in my hand. Shooting the Vigil felt exactly the same as my mind-blowingly soft shooting and considerably more expensive Valkyrie.

Here is the first mag I put through the Vigil, and the first 9 rounds I shot in a week

I ran 100 rounds of the American Eagle 124 gr ammo through the Vigil without incident. It functioned flawlessly. When I finished the first 100 rounds, I put a cloth patch on the tip of my pinky and stuck it inside the ejection port, wiped down the feed ramp and whatever else I could reach. I then closed the slide, put a drop of FP10 oil on the hood of the barrel, worked the slide a half dozen times and moved onto the brown box Remington UMC 115gr ammo.

Here is the first magazine I fired of the 100 rounds of Remington UMC 115 gr

As I worked my way through the 100 rounds of Remington UMC 115gr, I decided to see if the Vigil handled as well as my Valkyrie when shooting Rapid-Fire Drills. Which means I fire a round, let the front sight drop back down on the target and quickly pull the trigger again, then repeat until empty. It usually takes me just under 4 seconds to do this with a fully loaded 9 round mag in my Valkyrie, and the result is always about a 3" group. The Vigil performed identical to my Valkyrie during Rapid-Fire drills. The Vigil is such a soft shooting gun that the sights donít come off target very much at all after firing a round. Which is exactly what you want in a defensive firearm; the ability to put as many rounds on your target as quickly and as accurately as possible. I find my polymer double and single stack 9mm carry guns like my Glock 19, tend to bounce around quite a bit after each shot because of the recoil. I couldnít possibly put 9 rounds in a 3Ē group in under 4 seconds with any of them. Though my Glock 19 is only a few ounces lighter than the Vigil, it exhibits a lot more recoil and the trigger takes forever to reset. Both factors have a huge impact on the size of my rapid-fire groups. The lack of recoil exhibited by the Vigil and its quick resetting trigger makes it much easier for the shooter to put fast and accurate fire on a target. Any gun with characteristics that enable shooters to perform better, says a lot about the gun. The soft shooting Vigil, with its excellent trigger is such a gun.

Slow-Aimed Fire vs Rapid-Fire with the Vigil

I have said this before in my reviews of the Valkyrie Commander and CCO, I donít know what Dan Wesson does to these lightweight aluminum framed guns, but all my aluminum framed Dan Wesson 1911 pistols shoot softer than my ALL STEEL 9mm Government sized 1911 Colts, Kimbers, and Springfields. Not just a little softer either, I mean considerably softer shooting. It defies logic, physics, and I canít explain it. I have tried to swap out parts on my Colts and Kimbers to get them to shoot as soft as my aluminum framed Dan Wesson Commanders, all to no avail. While the recoil has softened up a little bit by installing different recoil springs and mainsprings, and switching to a non-radiused Firing Pin Stop, they still donít shoot as soft as the aluminum framed Vigil. After many months of trying to figure this out, I just consider this phenomena one of the mysteries of the universe. I donít fight it anymore, I just accept it.

In the end all of the good attributes exhibited by the Vigil are meaningless if it isnít reliable with modern Hollow Point ammo. Depending on length of the barrel of my carry gun I either carry Federal HST 124gr or 147gr. Though I usually carry 124gr HST in 4.25Ē barrels or shorter, I opted to run the 147 gr HST for this test because I wanted to include a 147gr bullet in my selection. So I ran 50 rounds of Federal HST 147gr through the Vigil. The HST also ran flawlessly and without a hiccup.

One of the things I love about the Vigil, even when you are running ammo that you know is on the hotter side, like the Federal HST and the Winchester NATO 124gr, you canít tell it is hotter when shooting it through the Vigil. The Vigil exhibits the same soft recoil as it does with the milder loads. I know when I switch from shooting the mild Remington UMC 115gr to the hotter Federal HST 147gr in my Glock 19, it is VERY clear a switch in ammo has just taken place. Make the same switch with the Vigil, and it is just not noticeable.

Here are the first 9 rounds of Federal HST 147gr ammo I fired

After shooting 345 rounds through the Vigil without a single incident, I closed my range session the way I always do. I loaded my last 5 rounds and moved the target as far down range as possible at my local indoor range; which is just over 18 yards. The group I fired is pictured below. I was more than happy with the results; I will take a 2Ē five shot group at 18 yards all day long and on Sundays. As you can see I ran out of my usual paper targets by this point of the extensive range session and was using whatever I could find laying around to shoot at.

The Vigil at Distance

If you have read any of my past reviews of Dan Wesson 1911 pistols, you already know I am impressed with them. Iím even more impressed with the Vigil given its considerably lower price point. If I didn't already own three Valkyries, I would immediately buy a 9mm Vigil Commander and a 9mm Vigil CCO and not think twice about the Valkyrie. It is basically the same exact gun with a few minor differences which are mostly cosmetic.

In my mind if you take any shooter and let them try any of the $800 to $900 entry-level Colts, Kimbers, Springfields, and then let them try a comparable sized Vigil, which is only $100 to $200 more expensive, Iím certain 100% would choose the Vigil. The Vigil is just that much better in every respect and represents the greatest bargain in the 1911 world period. It actually belongs rubbing shoulders with the more expensive semi-custom brands then the assembly line production guns from Colt, Kimber and Springfield. Once word gets out, and more people understand the incredible value the Vigil represents, the likes of Colt, Kimber and Springfield should be concerned.

The Vigil Commander 9mm after 350 Flawless Rounds Fired

Reply With Quote