Let me start out by saying this...
Now I know why the 1911 design has not only survived, but thrived for nearly one-hundred years.
Last thursday I took my Steyr S40, S9, and the Dan Wesson with 100 rds of 9mm, 100 rds of .40cal, and 200 rds of .45cal WWB to the range. I started off with the .45cal and the first shot brought a smile to my face. Not only was the .45 a lot softer shooting than I thought it would be, but the first shot went right were I wanted it to go.
I preceded to run about another 80 rds through which was enough to get me somewhat acclimated to the big (dot the i) sites. I'll probably still change out the sights as I mentioned in my "first impressions"
review, but I don't think the sights are unusable. In fact once a person gets used to not letting the dot dip too far into the bar or letting it float too high above it, the sights could sever very well as combat sights, but a persons not going to do much in the way of precision shooting.
After I ran the 80 rds of 45 through the DW I picked up my Steyr S40
and ran a precession of about 35 rds through it and realized that I had already been spoiled by the 1911 SA trigger and heavier frame. Don't get me wrong, I still think the Steyr's trigger is the best in polymer DAO guns, but I would say the DW has a trigger pull weight of about 35% of the Steyr's.
After I emptied the box of 100 rds of 40cal and ran about another 50 rds through the 45 I started loading up the S9. Here is were the comparison comes in, the Panther 45 has the same recoil as the Steyr S9. It was at this point I started questioning whether I wanted the Keep the 40cal in that platform, maybe trade it for a Sig 229 or a CZ of some sort, or just get rid of the 40cal altogether and trade it for the STI Ranger 1 I have been looking at for so long.
Alright back to the DW. I couldn't judge how tight of a group I was able to make with it at 15 yards because of the sites, but when I moved into 7 yards and done some how-fast-can-I-unload-the-mag and keep it on target drills I was able to make one ragged 3 inch hole in under 5 seconds that was about 3 inches below the 10 circle I was trying to knock out. For me that was pretty impressive.
With all the slow firing, controlled quick firing I also done some pull-the-trigger-as-fast-as-you-can firing and out of 200 rds had not one FTFeed, FTFire, or FTE. I also did some strong hand shooting at some cans that were laying around range from about 10-12 yards out and was able to hit most of them on the first shot, and the ones I missed with the first shot I quickly picked up with the second. I was also surprised at how easy the DW shot with one hand, just like pointing my finger and say "bang".
I did notice 2 things by the end of the 200 rounds. One, the grip screws were coming a little loose. I wasn't too surprised at this because I didn't tighten them down real tight because I didn't want to risk breaking the thin grips or stripping out the screws. So I got out the allen wrench and tightened the grips up pretty tight, but when I did this, it was next to impossible to get the mags in and out. The amount that I had to back the screws off to make the mags go in will probable result in having to tighten them back up after another 200 rds. The other thing I noticed is that the trigger seemed to have gotten lighter. I would venture to say somewhere between 3-4lbs. I would like to have the trigger measured, but don't really have the means to do so.
So, needless to say I'm real happy with the DW Panther in everything from fit and craftsmanship to the way it shoots. And I'm sure there will be more 1911 added to the stable despite the resistance from my wife. After all, it's easier to ask forgiveness than it is permission, right.