Gun Review: The Customized Wilson Combat Glock 19 Gen4
For over 40 years, Wilson Combat has been the leader in custom 1911 pistols and parts. Over the years, the company has also branched out to other areas that Bill Wilson had an interest in, such as AR-platform rifles in 14 different calibers, including Wilson’s proprietary 7.62×40 WT. A few years ago, Bill’s interest in the Berretta 92 led to Wilson Combat offering a line of enhanced and customized 92s like the Brigadier and Centurion. However, Bill had very little interest in doing any work on Glock pistols. In fact, he actively resisted working on Glocks—until now, that is. Bill recognized that a large percentage of shooters own Glocks. There are also those Glock shooters who want to enhance their pistols in a tasteful manner.
As with other projects, Wilson did not enter this one half-hearted. A lot of research went into what modifications were popular and would fit with the Wilson Combat philosophy. There would be not be any holes cut in the slide or compensators. The Wilson Combat Glocks had to be tastefully functional and practical. The next challenge was making the work affordable while ensuring the quality was up to Bill’s standards. The decision was to automate as much of the work as possible. This required building fixtures, writing code and programing lasers. Only when everything was in place, and met Bill’s approval, did Wilson Combat open its shop for Glocks. The end result is an a la carte build sheet that gives customers some 88 options.
Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Bill at his ranch in Texas. He was kind enough to give me a guided tour of his vault. One of the things he showed me was a prototype of a Glock 19. I decided, then and there, that I would get one of my own Glocks to Wilson’s Berryville, Arkansas, plant as soon as I could. In recent years, my daily-carry pistol has been a Glock 19 Gen4. With the exception of 10-8 Performance sights, the pistol was kept exceptionally stock. I also had a second G19 Gen4 set up as a spare. I decided to send this backup G19 to Wilson to work its magic.
The Work Begins
I knew I wanted the pistol to reflect Wilson Combat’s quality, aesthetics and performance. My build sheet was not all inclusive but included the most popular options for a personal-defense/carry pistol. I also added a few cosmetic options.
The slide received the most extensive work. Wilson added seven forward cocking serrations that were exact replications of the factory rear cocking serrations. The serrations on the left side of the slide are cut around the original Glock markings. The end of the slide was radiused in a manner similar to the new Gen5 models. The top of the slide was machined with 28-lpi serrations from the front sight to just in front of the rear sight. The Wilson eagle logo was also etched on the top of the slide here.
While reliable ejection has never been an issue with any Glock pistol that I’ve owned, I went ahead and had Wilson Combat lower and flare the ejection port. The sights were replaced with a tritium front sight and one of Wilson’s U-notch rear Battlesights.
The company also wanted me to evaluate one of its fitted match barrels, so that was added to the build sheet. I opted to have the muzzle finished with a deep reverse crown and flutes machined along the exterior. I also requested a second barrel that was threaded for a suppressor. Finally, the slide was finished in gray Armor-Tuff.
Wilson’s signature 1911 grip panels have featured a Starburst pattern for several years, and the company reproduced the same pattern on the grip of the Glock. The work is done with a laser and is very clean and consistent. I selected to omit having the thumb pad stippled but did have the base of the triggerguard cut high. Wilson also upgraded the fire controls with Apex’s excellent Glock Action Enhancement Kit, which included a new trigger bar and machined aluminum trigger. The new trigger broke cleanly and weighed 5.25 pounds on average.
On the range, the flat face of the Apex trigger allowed me to position my trigger finger more consistently and immediately solved my problem of pushing shots to the left. The Starbust grip stippling provided more traction than the factory texturing. This was especially noticeable when running “Bill Drills” and other rapid-fire strings.
Formal testing consisted of shooting the custom G19 with three of Wilson’s premium personal-defense loads. I started with the 95-grain copper TAC-XP load that is optimized for compact pistols. Despite averaging 1,273 fps, this load was soft shooting and is ideal when over-penetration is a concern. The next load, 115-grain +P TAC-XPs, is my favorite, and I normally load it in my daily-carry guns. Here it averaged 1,092 fps. Finally, the 124-grain +P XTP HPs averaged 1,163 fps. All three loads produced five-shot groups well under 2 inches. I had several three-shot groups that were well under an inch before I ruined things with a flyer. Needless to say, the Wilson Custom G19 is more accurate than I am.
Next, I ran my standard drills with the G19. The Hackathorn “10-10-10” drill is deceptively difficult. It calls for starting at a ready position and engaging an NRA 25-yard bullseye target from 10 yards with 10 shots in 10 seconds. The challenge is to remember the fundamentals and not let the clock beat you. My best run was a 96 with four shots in the X-ring. The shot I pulled into the 8-ring really aggravated me!
Hitting a reduced-size IPSC steel silhouette from 50 yards proved to be rather boring. So I moved up to 25 yards and concentrated on headshots. While that proved more challenging, if wasn’t difficult when I stayed on the front sight and focused on trigger control. I’m not sure if my increased accuracy is due to the trigger or the match barrel. In any case, my performance with the pistol was significantly better than with a stock G19.
I also ran the G19 with Sig Sauer’s excellent SRD9 suppressor using Super Vel’s 147-grain Hush Puppy ammunition. This ammo averaged just over 900 fps and, even with the SRD9 suppressor, proved 100-percent reliable. This proved to be a lot of fun, especially when ringing steel. While the Wilson Battlesight did not clear the suppressor, I was able to make solid hits by shooting with both eyes open and superimposing the sight on the target.
After an initial range trip, I shelved my stock G19 and the Wilson custom became my everyday-carry pistol. Recently, the rig that gets the most use is Raven Concealment’s Hackathorn Signature Series holster. The rig is only available for Ken Hackathorn’s “go-to” handguns: the G17, G19, 1911 and HK VP9. The holster’s shape is similar to a leather holster and lacks the square profile of many Kydex rigs. At Ken’s request, the standard OWB belt loops have been replaced with 1.5-inch drop loops. A double magazine pouch with the same belt loop configuration rounds out the set. The set is in limited production and will set you back around $150.
Raven recently announced that it was transitioning to an injection-molded line of holsters called the Perun. The Perun is now the company’s flagship OWB holster and is designed for maximum concealment. This is accomplished by the modular belt loops adding to the curvature of the holster. In addition, the holster is fully ambidextrous and can be set up with a 0- or 10-degree cant. It is also compatible with slide-mounted reflex sights. With a retail price of $40, I plan on ordering several.
So, after 60 or so days of carrying the Wilson Combat G19, and close to 500 rounds downrange, I have come to a few conclusions. First, the Starburst stippling works well without being overly aggressive for concealed carry. I have also come to like the contour of the Wilson rear sight and its U-notch. This is the first Glock I have owned with forward cocking serrations. I now find myself wanting them on my other carry Glocks. They really do make a difference. As previously noted, the Apex trigger has improved the consistency of my trigger placement, thus improving my accuracy. Also, after several hundred presentations from the Raven holster, there are no significant wear marks on the slide. Finally, the gray slide over the black frame is very attractive.
A Cut Above
Some of the popular Glock shops still do stippling and other work by hand. This can result in inconsistent quality and be expensive. I found that Wilson’s modifications are extremely reasonable. For example, the Starburst frame treatment is $139 while the cocking serrations and slide serrations are only $75 each. The gray Armor-Tuff finish for the slide was $100, but for those who would like to have the entire pistol refinished, the cost is $350. This is considerably less than some other shops.
And there is more good news, Wilson Combat is now accepting work on the 9mm Glock 43. Mine went out yesterday. No one has ever accused Bill Wilson of half-stepping anything, and he certainly has a winner with his Glock customization packages, even if he doesn’t personally like the gun! If you’re interested, visit the Wilson Combat website, click on “Custom Work & Finishes” and then select “Glock Customization.” Then a PDF build sheet will load, showing all the options that are available. You’ll be glad you did!
Wilson Combat Glock 19 Gen4 Specs
|Barrel: 4.01 inches|
|OA Length: 7.28 inches|
|Weight: 23.65 ounces (empty)|
|Sights:Tritium front, Battlesight rear|
|Action: Safe Action|
Wilson Combat Glock 19 Gen4 Performance
|Wilson Combat 95 TAC-XP||1,273||1.25|
|Wilson Combat 115 TAC-XP +P||1,092||1.50|
|Wilson Combat 124 XTP HP +P||1,163||1.75|
*Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 15 yards.
For More Information
Raven Concealment Systems
This article was originally published in “Concealed Carry Handguns” 2018 #211. To order a copy and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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