Dan Wesson Heritage & ECO 1911 45 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistols

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 13th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.








CrossBreed Snap Slide holster.

Dan Wesson has been building quality 1911 style pistols for several years now. Part of the CZ-USA company, Dan Wesson builds custom-grade pistols, and sells them for much less than a true custom pistol would cost. They fit into a slot somewhere between high-production assembly line guns (which can also be very good) and true one-at-a-time custom pistols. Dan Wesson pistols have always impressed me with the quality of fit and finish, as do these two pistols shown here.

The full-size stainless steel gun is Dan Wesson's entry-level pistol, called the Heritage. I was surprised to find that the Heritage was their entry-level pistol, as it is fitted and finished pretty much to perfection. There is no discernable play between the slide and frame nor the slide and barrel. The Heritage wears an excellent set of sights; the rear being a Novak-style dovetailed into the frame, with thankfully, no white dots on the rear of the sight. The front is a Trijicon tritium night sight. The Heritage has a checkered mainspring housing, and wears a set of thin Hogue synthetic rubber grip panels. The hammer is a lightweight skeletonized unit, and the solid trigger is adjustable for overtravel. The trigger pull is perfect on this weapon for a full-sized fighting pistol, releasing crisply at four pounds of resistance. The magazine release is slightly extended, and the single-side thumb safety is extended for a positive engagement. The grip safety is of the upswept beavertail style, and disengages perfectly every time I grasp the weapon. There is no firing pin safety, and none is needed. The Heritage ships with two eight-round Checkmate magazines, which work perfectly, and have extended base pads for positive engagement in the magazine well, which is slightly beveled for easier insertion of the magazine.

The smaller of the two pistols shown here is the ECO. This is Dan Wesson's smallest pistol, and is available chambered for the 9x19mm cartridge, as well as for the 45 ACP shown here. The ECO is built on a lightweight aluminum frame, and is of the size commonly referred to as "Officer's size". It has a nominal three inch barrel and an abbreviated grip for easier concealment. It also weighs a full three-quarters of a pound less than the Heritage and other full-sized steel 1911 pistols, making it much easier to carry comfortably all day. The ECO has a good-looking set of well-textured G10 grip panels, a coned match barrel, and a black satin finish. The sights are Trijicon tritium night sights, front and rear, with both adjustable in their dovetails for windage correction. The lightweight solid trigger is adjustable for overtravel, and the pistol wears an upswept beavertail grip safety. The single-side thumb safety is extended for length, but is not quite as prominent as the safety on the Heritage pistol, for easier concealment. Again, there is no firing pin safety, as these Dan Wesson pistols have original-style 1911 firing systems. Both pistols have polished feed ramps and throated barrels for flawless feeding of cartridges from the magazine. The ECO ships with two seven-round magazines, which fit flush with the bottom of the grip. The mainspring housing and the front of the frame are checkered for a positive hold. The ECO has a full-length stainless guide rod with a flat spring, which cycles the pistol very well. Both pistols feature slides with Clark-style top ribs.

Critical specifications for these two Dan Wesson pistols are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements are listed in inches. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest points. The maximum width is across the grip panels, including the thumb safety. The height includes the sights and magazine base. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance. The weight includes the empty magazine. Length is measured from the muzzle to the tip of the beavertail grip safety.




Weight 27.1 ounces 39.2 ounces
Height 5.03 inches 5.98 inches
Length 7.25 inches 8.75 inches
Slide Width 0.907 inch 0.907 inch
Maximum Grip Width 1.15 inches 1.22 inches
Frame Width 0.75 inches 0.75 inches
Maximum Width 1.27 inches 1.3 inches
Trigger Pull 3.9 pounds 4 pounds
Trigger Reach 2.68 inches 2.73 inches
Barrel Length 3.62 inches 5.03 inches
Magazine Capacity 7 8
Magazines Supplied 2 2
MSRP (as of December 2014) $1662 USD $1298 USD

I tested for velocity from these pistols with my chronograph set at ten feet from the muzzle, and an air temperature of thirty-six degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of sixty-five percent. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level.  Velocities are listed in the chart below, and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. DPX is an homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. Glaser is a specialty pre-fragmented core inside a copper alloy jacket. PB is Pow’RBall. LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. UHD is Remington Ultimate Home Defense hollowpoint ammunition. NPA is National Police Ammunition frangible bullet ammo. HCL is a hard-cast lead bullet. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity ECO Velocity Heritage
Buffalo Bore HCL 255 968 1009
Buffalo Bore JHP 230 987 1036
Buffalo Bore FMJ 230 956 1046
Buffalo Bore JHP 185 1101 1187
Cor-Bon JHP 200 1026 1098
Cor-Bon JHP 165 1077 1134
Cor-Bon JHP 230 978 1002
Cor-Bon DPX 185 1131 1156
Cor-Bon PB 165 1176 1209
Cor-Bon Glaser 145 1200 1288
Stryker FMJ 230 789 824
Atomic HP 230 933 989
Remington FMJ 230 799 846
Remington UHD 230 798 856
NPA Frangible 140 1130 1188
Handload LSWC 200 988 1022
WCC 1911 Ball FMJ 230 778 835

Reliability was perfect with each of the types of ammunition listed above. Every round fed, fired, and ejected flawlessly. I was a bit concerned that these pistols, built as tightly as they are, might require a break-in period to function one hundred percent, but my concern proved to be unfounded, as both ran without a problem right out of the box. Both pistols always locked the slide back on an empty magazine, again with every type of ammunition tested.

For accuracy testing, I placed the Dan Wesson pistols into my Ransom Master Series machine rest, and tried a variety of ammunition on paper at twenty-five yards through each pistol. Accuracy varied from very good to excellent, depending upon the load tested, with the most accurate loads pictured. The Remington Ultimate Home Defense ammunition proved to be the most accurate ammunition tested in each of these pistols, and its 230 grain jacketed hollowpoint bullet leaves the muzzle of the Heritage at a bit over 850 feet-per-second (fps), and right under 800 fps from the shorter barrel of the ECO. I could discern no accuracy differences between these two pistols, when fired from the Ransom machine rest.

These two Dan Wesson pistols are a couple of the best-fitting, best-shooting, expertly-crafted 1911 style pistols that I have ever fired. The Heritage is a fine example of what a full-sized 1911 should be, and the ECO is a pistol that I would be proud to carry every day, and I would trust either to protect my life and the lives of those whom depend upon me for protection. If you are looking for the lowest-priced 1911 pistols on the market, look elsewhere, but if you want custom quality pistols at a much lower price, check out these two from Dan Wesson.

Check out these and other Dan Wesson pistols online at www.cz-usa.com.

For the location of a Dan Wesson dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the Dan Wesson pistols online, click on the GUN GENIE at  www.galleryofguns.com.

To order the quality holsters for Dan Wesson pistols, go to www.simplyrugged.com, www.crossbreedholsters.com,  and http://www.galcogunleather.com.

To order quality 45 ACP ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.doubletapammo.com, www.midsouthshooters.com, www.lehighdefense.com, and www.luckygunner.com.

Jeff Quinn

Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.

Click pictures for a larger version.



Each pistol comes with hard case, two magazines, instructions, lock, oil, and bushing wrench.






Accuracy at 25 yards.