Most jaded American military, police and Spec Ops warriors look upon the 9x19mm caliber round with some disdain. However, in other parts of the globe, 9x19mm is classified as a powerful handgun caliber and truthfully, is about all most members of foreign military and police can handle skillfully.
The first semiautomatic pistol acquired by the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team was the Novak modified FN Hi-Power chambered for 9mm Parabellum, and all hands were quite happy with it until a potentially lethal 115-gr. JHP round failed to stop one of the Miami massacre shooters like it should have.
Nevertheless, with ongoing research and development, more contemporary nines have achieved new parameters of terminal performance. In controlled expansion and fragmenting forms, contemporary 9x19mm will satisfy most multiple mission and personal defense requirements.
SO9, Wilson sharkskin holster and Bond Arms folder. Watch is Jordanian military.
WILSON COMBAT SPECIAL OPERATIONS 9
Most likely aware of this ballistic evolution and other real-world factors (and possibly inspired by Wilson Combat’s proven KZ/Israeli BUL polymer .45 ACP pistol design), Bill Wilson and his boys have fielded a new polymer framed, high-capacity single-action pistol in compact 1911 profile. The resemblance of the Spec Ops 9 (publicly named by a Wilson Combat fan) to the Government Model, and to a degree the Browning High Power, is purely superficial. This gun is not just a copy of Wilson’s revered 1911 line in plastic sheathing.
SO9 in Wilson sharkskin holster and gun bag.
GOODIES GALORE AND ACCURACY GUARANTEES
The Spec Ops 9’s lightweight Commander-sized polymer frame houses a stainless steel chassis, rails, action insert and 16-round magazine. The carry cut, flat-top serrated, Armor Tuff finished, carbon steel slide contains a 4.5-inch recessed and crowned 416 stainless steel, rotating-link match barrel that has been redesigned and optimized for the characteristics specific to the high-velocity-dependent .355 caliber round.
Although it has bushingless front muzzle support partially augmented by a unique closed and removable reverse plug, primary lock-up now resides at the ejection port via a large single upper lug and rotating link. Its chamber is also cut to match specs with integral ramp, it’s fully supported and will handle those hot +P+ rounds we love to launch downrange.
In the past, 9x19mm was never touted as a tack driver, but the Army’s Marksmanship Unit and its Beretta match service pistols changed that. Wilson guarantees 1.5 inches at 25 yards from the Spec Ops 9 (SO9) with commercial 115-gr. ammunition.
Pyramid rear and steel front sights are standard or luminous, low profile fixed reference points with a dovetailed front blade to facilitate the swapping of higher or lower posts. At 0.12 inch, the Tritium front sight is one of the thinnest on the market.
The SO9’s beavertail grip safety exhibits a lower profile, and its unique speed hammer has been modified for improved concealed carry. With concealment primarily in mind, Wilson reduced the slide’s dimensions and gave it a flat sighting plane. Besides diminishing its mass, the slide has been “optimized for 9×19 recoil dynamics” and its re-engineered recoil system reduces muzzle rise. Its 1911-type recoil system with solid recoil plug is further augmented by a Wilson shock buff.
Linear dorsal surface serrations not only look neat, but are designed to draw your eyes to the Tritium inserted front post and also reduce surface glare. Most noticeable, however, is the attractive and functional G10 Starburst pattern that is molded into the grip along with deep fore and aft checkering.
The SO9’s angled, semi-square trigger guard is unique in the Wilson inventory. Other than for possible enhanced pistol striking, it is not checkered and is merely cosmetic. Although its angular guard design prevents it from fully seating into a 1911 holster, the SO9 settled in nicely in a Safariland scabbard designed for the Springfield Armory XD .45 ACP. However, should its profile bother you, rounding the guard with a Dremel tool should be no problem.
Polymer is usually selected for its considerable weight savings, and one of Wilson’s goals was to produce a reliable, high capacity, match-grade pistol under 30 ounces. Polymer also costs less than steel and, pound for pound, is stronger than traditional firearm alloys.
In keeping with the SO9’s concealed carry intent, its port-side thumb safety is enlarged, but not exaggerated to “gas pedal” dimensions.
Wilson departs from many manufacturers and instead of a plastic case provides the client with a medium configured padded carrying case with multiple magazine and equipment pouches. Two well-made 16-round magazines and a security system come with each SO9.
Wilson Combat Spec Ops 9 sights and dorsal slide serrations.
FIELD STRIPPING AND MISSING FEATURES
Disassembly is typically 1911. However, reassembly can be a challenge when attempting to stuff the slinky 16-pound recoil spring into the closed reverse plug and the space between it and the rotating link. Of course, the more you do it, the easier it becomes, but it takes some hand strength to contain everything and get the slide back on the receiver.
About the only things missing are ambidextrous safeties and the seemingly obligatory white light/laser under barrel rails. While practical for some warriors, a light/laser fixture would add drag to a very slick profile.
ONE-STOP WARRIOR SHOP
Wilson’s Sales Director John May kindly included for T&E one of the company’s finely executed sharkskin leather Lo-Profile concealed carry holsters. It’s a pancake style, body-hugging scabbard with shirt shield.
With edged weapons/tools and ammunition in stock as well, Wilson Combat has become the discerning shooter’s one-stop shopping center for high-grade firearms and accessories. John also advised that each gun is test fired with almost 100 rounds of at least three different types of ammunition with the gun’s actual magazines before leaving the shop.
Top conventional round for velocity was CorBon Pow’RBall.