Perfect Combo

Combine the Perfect Grip of the CZ 75 and the Trigger of the 1911 to get the Ultimate Pistol – The Dan Wesson DWX

Some things just go together. We all know from childhood experience that peanut butter and jelly are divine dining staples as a combo. Say “Ferrari,” and the first color that comes to mind is red, and BBQ over natural charcoal is a gift from the gods. If you have never held a CZ 75, you really should treat yourself. Even if you have never heard the word “ergonomic,” it will spring into your head once you have nestled the CZ 75 frame into your mitts.

It was, and still is, so ergonomic that Jeff Cooper, patron saint of the 1911, gushed over it, and it was used as the basis for the Bren Ten. The one thing we could fault was the heavier trigger, which is more suited for defensive situations. Not everyone warms up to a traditional double-action (DA) trigger system. As the DA goes, the CZ is the best of them all. But it still is a DA with an appreciable amount of trigger overtravel once the hammer is released. Well, no more.

The new Dan Wesson DWX is a combination of perfection. It’s the perfect grip feel of the CZ 75 with the trigger of the 1911.


Starting from the top down, the DWX uses a full-length, full-width slide with cocking serrations fore and aft. The front sight is a fiber-optic installation. The rear is adjustable, and the slide has been thoroughly, and I mean thoroughly, dehorned. There’s not a sharp edge to be found, no matter how much I rubbed my hands over the slide. The extractor is more than robust, being a steel lever more than an inch and a half in length and driven by a coil spring underneath it.

The 5-inch barrel locks up in the ejection port, and is enjoyable to shoot in 9mm. The CZ 75 design does not use a barrel bushing, and the barrel is deeply coned as a crown at the muzzle to protect the rifling. Inside, the recoil spring is a flat coil, and it is wrapped around a full-length aluminum guide rod.

The frame is steel, and the dust cover extends to the end of the slide. Underneath, there is an accessory rail with seven slots to attach a light, laser, combo unit or whatever you want. The triggerguard is not exactly square, but the front face of it is vertical with a tight curve at the bottom. Unlike the curved triggerguard of the CZ 75, the DWX has a 1911-appearing triggerguard. Those of you who favor getting the index finger of your support hand up on the triggerguard will find it useful, especially since it is checkered.

Speaking of checkering, the frontstrap and backstrap of the frame both utilize 25LPI checkering. The frontstrap is checkered in the middle section with smooth, curved surfaces above and below it, places where your hand might need to slide a smidge to ensure a secure grip. In the middle, the sharp checkering will keep your hand in place. On the backstrap, the checkering begins below the tight curve of what would be the grip safety on a 1911 frame. There is no such thing on a CZ 75, but checkering on a compound curved surface is not just not easy, it’s almost impossible. And, your hand needs to slide there, so Dan Wesson left it smooth. Then, at the bottom, a location where you might have a coat or other garment catch on checkering, Dan Wesson left the corner of the butt smooth so cloth would slide off and keep your DWX concealed.

The grips on the full-sized DWX are checkered and anodized aluminum from  the Henning Group. They are anodized red to match the anodizing of the trigger bow and Henning aluminum base pads. Above the grips, Dan Wesson has installed an ambidextrous thumb safety.


The trigger shape is what Dan Wesson calls a flat K-style trigger. The face of the trigger is flat, perpendicular to the axis of the bore. That means regardless of where your trigger finger rests on the trigger, it will be pulling the trigger directly to the rear. The short, angled sections on the top and bottom push your trigger finger back towards the center of the trigger face.

The DWX uses CZ P-10 F/P-09 magazines. In 9mm, that means the full-sized pistol, complete with red-anodized base plates, holds 19 rounds. If you choose to carry the DWX, that means a loaded magazine plus a reload has you equipped with 39 rounds of 9mm ammo. Yowza!

The Henning base plates also come machined for marking. You’ll always want to be able to keep your magazines straight in case one of them starts to give you problems. While it is highly unlikely with a Dan Wesson product, you can’t be too careful. There are two rows of four dots machined into the baseplate. You can use paint or a marker to mark them in any pattern you wish.

Now to the trigger. The wizards at Dan Wesson started with a CZ SP-01/Shadow frame, and they modified the design to make it not be a DA pistol. Disassembling the slide is a snap, because it comes apart like every other Browning-based pistol. Ease the slide back enough to take the tension off of the slide stop pin, then line the slide clearance notch up with the slide stop tab and push the slide stop out of the frame from right to left. Then ease the slide assembly off of the frame.

Once I had the slide off, you might expect to see a modified CZ trigger system with some adaptation to use a 1911-ish trigger. What you’ll find is a 1911 trigger system adjusted to both fit around a high-capacity magazine and to fit into the envelope of a CZ frame.

With a skeletonized hammer, adjustable rear sight, ample control surfaces and all-metal magazines, the full-size DWX is primed for competition.

Other shooters will soon learn the red-accent trigger, grip panels and magazine base plate are not for show. The full-size DWX is competition-ready right out of the box.

The second eye-opening detail was how they did it. The trigger mechanism, hammer and the rails for the slide are part of a chassis that drops into the CZ frame. 

The end result is a beefy pistol that, in 9mm, is going to soak up recoil. And the trigger? Entirely 1911 in feel. Once you take up the slack in the trigger, you simply have to press 3.25 pounds of effort to drop the hammer. It falls with no perceptible overtravel, and the reset (for those who care about such things) is short and crisp.

This is the 21st century, and we expect advances. Combining the perfection of the 1911 trigger with the ergonomics of the CZ 75 is an advance — a big one, too.

DWX Full-Size

Hammer-fired semiautomatic
Capacity19 + 1 rds.
Barrel Length4.95in
Overall Length8.5in
Weight43 oz
GripsHenning Aluminum
SightsFiber optic (front), Adjustable HAJO (rear)
Trigger MechSingle Action
SafetyManual thumb safety