Firearm: Wilson Combat EDC X9s (MSRP: $2,695)
From the distinct, signature starburst pattern on the grip to the X-Tac checkering on the frontstrap, backstrap and slide, the lineage of the EDC X9s is on clear display. This is all Wilson Combat, no question. I mean, one look at the pistol, with its numerous thoughtful, useful upgraded components tells you this is a Bill Wilson creation, built to be utilitarian and yet beautiful at the same time. Honestly, I was reluctant to run this pistol for “I Carry” not because I had any problem with it - quite the opposite, in fact - but because I didn’t want to fall in love with it.
Oh, I know. It’s spendy, there’s no getting around that. Anyone can do the math and see there are less expensive options out there - but not everyone is looking for an econobox when they go car shopping, either. One common lament is that Wilson Combat firearms are more expensive than, say, your run-of-the-mill polymer-frame handgun. Well, no kidding. However, make it a fair comparison. How’s the EDC X9s stack up against other compact 1911s? You just narrowed the field significantly, didn’t you? Add in upgraded components to bring the same utility as the EDC X9s and all of a sudden, the price difference isn’t as steep, is it?
In any case, the EDC X9s brings 1911-style operation and an excellent trigger to a concealable, easy-to-carry handgun with 10+1 round capacity and a 15-round, extended baseplate spare magazine. Twenty-six rounds ought to be plenty, especially in a pistol with the same rough dimensions as the Glock G43. Interestingly, the EDC X9s falls somewhere between the G43 and the G26 - it’s a tiny bit wider than the G43 and taller than the G26. When it comes to ease of shooting, though, there’s no question—the EDC X9s wins hands down.
Here are some basic specs for the EDC X9s. It has a 3 ¼-inch barrel, 6 ¾-inch overall length, weighs 25.2 ounces empty and has a trigger pull somewhere between 3 ½ and 4 ½ pounds. It’s 1 ¼ inches wide and has a 5-inch sight radius. It sports Wilson Combat’s Battlesight rear sight, complete with ledge for one-hand racking and a fiber-optic front sight. Yes, it’s slightly larger than the SIG Sauer P365 or Springfield Armory Hellcat, but not by a wide margin. If your main concern is how the EDC X9s compares to other pistols of similar capacity, have no fear.
Why should you consider the Wilson Combat EDC X9s, then? Well, first off, how about because it’s a great-shooting pistol, as noted by Richard Mann in his review in the February 2020 issue of Shooting Illustrated. Reliable, accurate and sized for carry are great reasons in and of themselves. If you’re a 1911 enthusiast but want something smaller for carry, it’s a great choice. Or, maybe you’re just looking for a really nice pistol to both carry and shoot.
Holster: Palmetto Leather Works Lo-Profile Elite (MSRP: $300 and up, depending on custom choices)
Designed in collaboration with Bill Wilson, and using exotic hides in its construction, the Lo-Profile Elite holster has flair to match the EDC X9s. Also, like the X9s, while the Lo-Profile Elite is an attractive holster, but is also functional, with touches like an extended sweatguard to keep moisture off the X9s and pass-through belt attachment to keep the rig tight against your body. Standard Lo-Profile Elite holsters are available through the Wilson Combat website, or as custom options through Palmetto Leather Works.
Generally, outside-the-waistband holsters are cooler-weather choices, as they require longer cover garments to conceal the barrel that is visible below the belt line. This is an area where the EDC X9s works quite well, as the shorter barrel, combined with the forward cant of the Lo-Profile holster, really don’t leave much to conceal below the belt line. Then again, with the EDC X9s and a custom holster, you can be forgiven for wanting to show it off…
Knife: Zero Tolerance 0470 (MSRP: $260)
Let’s face it. With an eye-catching, high-end pistol and holster, you’re going to want a pocketknife to match. That’s where the Zero Tolerance 0470 comes in. With titanium scales featuring a carbon-fiber insert, this flipper-activated knife offers a ball-bearing action that pushes out a 3.4 inch, CPM 20CV-steel blade with a satin finish. It’s incredibly light at only 3.2 ounces and really slim, so it rides nicely clipped to a pocket. It’s tip-up only for carry, although the pocket clip is reversible for left- or right-handed use.
When we first got the 0470 in, it was nearly impossible to open it like a standard flipper. This had to do with the frame lock, and how the lightest amount of pressure on that lock would keep the blade closed tightly. Over time, this has broken in really nicely, so that it will open with no problem whatsoever, yet once open is rock-solid. Zero Tolerance knives are also made in the U.S. and warrantied for life.