Dan Wesson Firearms currently part of CZ USA was founded in 1968 by the great grandson of Daniel B. Wesson of Smith and Wesson. At that time the company known as Dan Wesson Arms first produced an innovative revolver known as the model 12. The model 12 incorporated an interchangeable barrel system. The revolvers could be ordered as pistol packs containing several barrels, lengths ranged from 2.5″ to 15″. Caliber options included .357 magnum, .41 and .44 magnum, .32 H&R and .45 LC. Over the years they improved the barrel and shroud attachment and the model designations changed to 15 and 15-2. The revolvers were popular with hunters and competitive shooters of the time. Despite producing quality firearms over the years the company endured financial issues and changed names and ownership several times. Around 1996 Bob Serva purchased the corporation and it’s assets and began to focus on building high quality 1911’s. More financial hardships caused another ownership change and in 2005 the CZ-group purchased the company. As a side note, CZ does not specialize in revolvers however they will continue to support previous models including parts and repair.
Many of you may have never seen a Dan Wesson 1911 before so in the words of Cletus “snowman” Snow, “we just gonna introduce ‘em to the boy”.
RZ-45 HERITAGE MODEL
Dan Wesson firearms bills this gun as entry level and let me be clear that this is “their” entry level 1911. Most of us think of a Rock Island 1911 as entry level, the Heritage is leaps and bounds above what most would consider entry level. The fit and finish on this gun is closer to that or better than what most would consider a high end 1911. It’s frame is forged stainless and the slide fit to frame is exceptional. The barrel bushing fit to the frame and barrel is excellent as well as the locking lug engagement in the slide. This along with the match grade barrel makes this gun extremely accurate. Remember this is a production gun, not a custom. Measured trigger pull is at 4lbs and breaks crisp. The trigger is solid and an over travel adjustment screw in the trigger is provided to fine tune for your preference. The top of the slide has a machined rib and is matte stainless with polished sides. If you are into the minimalist look this gun is for you. The sides of slide are clean and only has cocking serrations at the rear. The gun comes with a snag free combat style rear sight and a trijicon night sight on the front. The heritage does not come with an ambidextrious safety. The safety lever is crisp and positive feeling. The grip panels/ stocks were originally black rubber, these were changed out to suit the owners preference. There is no checkering or serrations on the front strap portion of the frame, depending on your preference this could be good or bad. There is also a slight under cut under the trigger guard. This gun incorporates a short guide rod and a 70 series style safety system instead of a 80 series. With the absence of the firing pin block plunger, lever and ambi safety this gun is slightly easier to detail strip for cleaning and maintenance. (I am not going to debate which is better here). Perhaps with fewer parts and less machining operations it has allowed them to focus on attention to detail and fitting higher quality parts to the gun to meet their price point. The internals appear to be tool steel. The machining on the frame and slide are top notch, any machining marks left are almost invisible making the guns operation very smooth. No gritty feeling anywhere. This is one of the finest production 1911’s produced.
I, like most people agree that there is just something special about shooting a 1911, whether it be the rich history of this timeless firearm to it’s inherent accuracy or just the feeling of shooting .45acp. I have had the opportunity to shoot this particular gun on several occasions and can attest to how accurate this gun is. Since new this gun has functioned flawlessly never requiring a so called “break in period”. I think that speaks volumes about the quality. This gun has several thousand rounds through it now, everything from hand loaded ball ammo to self defense jacketed hollow points and has never had an issue. If you were looking for a 1911 for concealed carry or personal protection this would be a good one as it is extremely dependable. The sights are good but could be better as there is not much light side to side in the sight picture. This could make acquiring targets quickly a little difficult. The trigger is good and reset is crisp and very positive making for quick follow up shots. All in all I would have to say that I am very impressed with the quality of the Dan Wesson Heritage model 1911 and would highly recommend that anyone looking for a 1911 to give the RZ-45 Heritage or other Dan Wesson models a good look when shopping. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
8 ROUND CAPACITY/ COMES WITH 2 MAGAZINES
Jessie James Dolan
CZ-USA Dan Wesson Firearms
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