For over 30 years, Bill Wilson and his wife, Joyce, have had a significant influence on the shooting sports and the firearms industry. However, their greatest contribution may be their efforts that led to the founding of the International Defensive Pistol Association, or IDPA. The IDPA was founded in 1996 by Bill Wilson, John Sayle, Ken Hackathorn, Dick Thomas, Walt Rauch and Larry Vickers. The founders sought to introduce a new style of pistol competition that concentrated on skills—not equipment—and stressed stages that simulated real self-defense scenarios, not simply running and gunning.
To quote the organization, “IDPA is the use of practical equipment, including full-charge service ammunition, to solve simulated ‘real world’ self-defense scenarios using practical handguns and holsters that are suitable for self-defense. The main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual.” The IDPA is based in Berryville, Arkansas, which also happens to be the home of Wilson Combat.
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Wilson Combat is one of the premier producers of custom 1911 pistols and, according to the company’s website, offers more than 25 different models in various configurations. In addition, Wilson Combat will build a completely custom gun to meet the exact request of the customer. One of the trends the company has been following over the past several years is the rise in popularity of the 9mm 1911.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to take a class from Ken Hackathorn. He readily confessed that years of shooting 1911s chambered in .45 ACP had taken its toll on his hands and elbows. As a result, he tends to use a 5-inch-barreled 1911 in 9mm for teaching and practice, and he reserves his .45 ACP for defensive carry.
Recently, Wilson Combat introduced a new 9mm 1911 called the Compact Carry. While the Wilson Combat Compact Carry is an all-purpose 1911, it was designed by Bill Wilson to meet the exact height and weight requirements of the IDPA’s new Compact Carry Pistol division. The Compact Carry is built on a full-sized frame with a 4-inch slide. The full-sized frame allows the Wilson Combat Compact Carry to use Wilson’s 10-round Elite Tactical magazines. And I was fortunate to get one of the first pistols out the door for this evaluation.
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Wilson builds the Compact Carry on a steel frame and slide for extended service life and enhanced recoil control. The frame features Wilson’s high-cut frontstrap and 30-lpi checkering as well as a Bullet Proof magazine release and Tactical Bullet Proof single-sided thumb safety. The low-profile slide release is countersunk on the right side of the frame. One of the nicest features of the Compact Carry is its Bullet Proof Round Butt magazine well, which is part of the 30-lpi-checkered mainspring housing. The aluminum magazine well is precisely fitted to the frame, and the mouth is opened up in a functional rounded contour. The solid, medium-length trigger is tuned for a clean break with minimum overtravel. The trigger on our test pistol averaged 4.3 pounds.