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Thread: Wilson Combat SDS by Western Arms

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    29th May 2004
    Athens, Greece, Earth
    Posts liked by others
    Blog Entries

    Wilson Combat SDS by Western Arms


    From Wilson Combat's (WC) web site:

    Our purpose in creating the Stealth Defense System was to meet the needs of professionals whose lifestyle demanded the ultimate in protection, while providing an increase in concealability over our full-size Premium pistols. We turned to experts such as Bill Rogers and John Sayle for their input and combined it with our years of experience to develop the SDS.

    A 4-inch tactical tapered cone barrel is the heart of the SDS, improving recovery time over standard configurations, reliability and accuracy. (Some shooters feel the recoil is reduced to less than that of a standard 5-inch pistol.) This barrel is throated and polished to fit to a compact frame. The compact frame drops the magazine capacity to 7 but this sacrifice of one round adds immeasurably to the concealability of the SDS. The Stealth features near perfect balance and is our most controllable compact model.

    Standard features that include complete dehorning, a narrow thumb safety, a high-ride grip safety, beveled magazine well, checkered, high- cut frontstrap, checkered, flat mainspring housing, ultralight hammer and trigger, and our Tactical Combat sights with tritium inserts all combine to make the SDS reliable and controllable. The black Armor- Tuff® finish and black, checkered ebony wood grips give the SDS an effective concealment appearance. Intended for the most demanding use in the world—your protection—the SDS!

    Well, this is what the nice folks at Wilson Combat say about their SDS pistol.

    We, here, are presenting you the Western Arms replica of the WC SDS, a kind contribution of Airsoft Extreme, one of our Airsoft sponsors here.


    The WA WC SDS came in the usual grey, unimpressive box we have seen with all other WA products. Within the box were the usuals, the gun, the magazine, a bag of BBs, a bushing wrench, a couple of allen wrenches, and the typical Japanese documentation. When I first saw the SDS, I got puzzled. I was expecting an Officers size pistol, and this one was a "mixed breed". An Officers frame matted to a Commander length slide. Hmm, interesting combination, but I was hoping that this one would complete my WC collection (I already have a Governement, the FBI Trial, a Commander, the Professional, so an Officers size one would be perfect), but no, I still need to look for an Officers size gun! Darn!

    Anyway, the SDS is a lovely little gun. As it came to me, it had its front end painted orange (it came from US, where this is a legal requirement for all Airsoft guns), which is rather uninspiring. However, the rest of the little pistol, was quite impressive.

    The matching of a Commander's slide to an Officers frame, is an interesting combination, since it provides the longer barrel length of the Commander with improved concealability of the shorter frame.

    The SDS uses a wierd barrel arrangement. It uses a bull (or cone-shaped) barrel, which however has an unusual flange installed at the muzzle end. I have to assume that this flange adds some weight at the front of the barrel, reducing muzzle jump, because I can't find any other logical explanation for its existence. The flange is shapped almost like the slide profile, so if you look at the gun from a distance, you do not notice it. But from up close (and personal) it shows. It is the orange thing at the tip of the gun, at the picture above. Right above it, on the slide, there is a dovetailed front sight. On the sample pistol I got, the sight was loose and could be easily moved around with some pressure, so a little purple Loctite was used to secure it in place, after I made sure it is completely centered (a nice touch, the slide has a line at its center, just in front of the dovetail cut). However, this sight, as you can see, is not blended with the slide, so I have to do some work here. This time, I'll wait until I have a bottle of aluminum Cold Black though.

    Moving back on the right side of the pistol, the word "Stealth" is found on the slide and of course, the lowered and flared ejection port.

    Towards the rear, there is a WC Pyramid sight, which accoring to WC is an improvement of the original Novak Low-Mount, since it top is more narrow than the lower part of the sight, so it obstructs less your target, when you cover it with your sights. The sights of the pistol are of the three dot variety. The rear of the slide is nicely checkered (30 lpi if you please!).

    At the rear of the pistol, you also find the blue hammer, a very nicely fitted beavertail safety and a checkered mainspring housing.

    On the right side of the pistol, starting from the rear, there is a very authentic-looking thumb safety, which however is very poorly fitted. It provides no auditory or other feedback, just moves up and down. What a pity, the WC Professional I tried, had a lovely thumb safety. Then you notice the very nice wooden grips with the WC medallion. Wooden? Sorry, no, they are cast metal and painted to look wooden. They could fool even the most experienced 1911 user though! And further forward, you find the mandatory, ugly WC Bulletproof slide stop.

    A nice three-hole aluminum, adjustable trigger is the only bright part on this pistol. The magazine release button, is nicely checkered, just like the front strap of the frame, which is also relieved for higher gripping, below the trigger guard.

    Reaching the front of the slide, you find the flange we talked about, which on my pistol was painted orange. Time for some alcohol and some rubbing.

    After about 10 minutes of rubbing and cursing, the orange paint was gone, and the little pistol looked much nicer.

    Here you can see the high-cut of the frame's front strap a little better.

    And here the checkering on the back of the slide is more apparent.

    In the picture above, you can see that the pistol's mainspring housing is slotted to allow you to fit a magwell. No magwell comes with the pistol, but there is one on the FBI Trial pistol I have.

    So I took it off from the full-size pistol and installed it on this little one. I think the pistol looks very nice with the magwell, and fortunatelly the magazine that comes with the pistol has a thick enough base pad to make it useable with it. Speaking about magazines, the pistol uses a shorter magazine, than all my other WA pistols, so I think I need to get at least one more spare. Oh yes, this magazine has the same problem with the recessed filling valve, with all other WA WC magazines. So a filling extension will be required with most gas canisters.

    Overall, the SDS is a very nice pistol, very authentic-looking and very concealable. The only thing I didn't like (and maybe I'll work on it later on) is the thumb safety which is totally deprived of any feed-back.

    Here is my complete Wilson Combat family.

    In the next page, you can read how to disassemble the pistol and our shooting tests results.



    Taking the SDS apart, is initially the same, as taking apart another 1911 Airsoft pistol. Push the slide stop out, while the disassembly notch is aligned with the top of the slide stop. Then remove the slide from the front of the pistol.

    The next step is to grab the recoil spring plug and pull it back towards the rear of the guide rod against the spring tension, then then push the assembly towards the front a bit and lift the whole FLGR from the pistol.

    Then you can push the barrel to the front of the slide and remove it. Be careful, there is a small pin which holds the lower part of the barrel (the lug area) attached to the upper, if that little pin is not perfecly centered, the barrel will not fit through the opening at the front of the slide.

    While you have the barrel out, you may check the small opening at the top of the feed ramp, right below the barrel's chamber, where the hop-up adjustment is located. This can be reached from the ejection port, when the slide is locked back, so there is no need to disassemble the pistol to set the hop-up to your preferences.

    The top of the barrel's chamber is inscribed with the words "Wilson 45 ACP", just to remind you the cartridge for which this pistol was made.

    Reassembly is the reverse process. Remember that this pistol uses a reverse recoil spring plug, so you have to insert the recoil spring on the guide rod, then insert the plug, compress the spring, and insert the whole assembly, as a unit in the slide.


    Since the SDS is using a barrel almost equal to that of the Professional, I was expecting it to show the same accuracy potential as that pistol. And indeed it has.

    Five-shots groups in the order of 1.6 to 2" are easily obtained at 10 meters, if the shooter does his job. Like with all the WA pistols tested, the sweet, light trigger is a great assistance in accurate shooting. And again, like most others WA pistols, this one is adjusted for 6 o'clock aiming, rather than POI=POA.

    Poor Man's Chrono Test

    This pistol showed the same speed as the other two WC tried here, the FBI Trial and the Professional. The BB went in the one side of the can and out of the other. It failed however to penetrate the bottom of the can, so the speed of the BB is around 350-370 fps.


    Another very authentic pistol from WA. Very nicely made, and very accurate out to 10 m (the maximum distance I try these pistols). What will make the enthusiast happy, is the very nice imitation of the real pistol. What will leave him unsatisfied, is the thumb safety which does not convey any feeling when operated. Initially, I thought that the difference between this safety and the one on the Professional, was because in the second pistol, the safety hits a metallic slide when lifted. However, I then checked again the safety of the FBI pistol, which also has a plastic slide, just like this one, and there is absolutely no comparison. So the feeling-less safety is due to wrong fitting or wrong production tolerances.


    Accuracy: 3
    Upgradeability: 4
    Training Capability: 5
    Realism: 5
    Quality: 5
    Power: 3

    Overall: 25

    Note on Gas

    With all Western Arms pistols, you are supposed to use the HFC 134A gas. Using Green gas in them, will cause problems, premature wear etc. HFC 134A is giving slightly less performance (lower BB speed), when compared to Green Gas. Green Gas should not be used in unaltered pistols made in Japan, like the WA ones.

    With the above warning noted, I have to admit that I am testing all pistols using ... propane. Green Gas is in reality propane, with a little silicone oil added, to lubricate the pistols. So instead of paying for Green Gas, I bought a canister of propane, like the ones sold in US for the camping stoves, or flame torches, and a special valve adaptor, which allows me to use the much cheaper propane instead of Green Gas. In this site, you can read more on this issue:


    The reason I am ignoring the manufacturer's recommendation, as far as gas is concerned, is two-fold. First, I want to have consistent environment for all the tests (some of the pistols we'll test here use HFC 134A, some use Green Gas), and second it's plain difficult to find HFC 134A in Greece. Also, I plan to upgrade all the standard pistols (like this one) so that it is safe to use Green Gas (and thus propane) with them.
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    Last edited by John; 13th September 2008 at 09:26.

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