Wilson Combat’s CQB Lightrail Lightweight offers a multitude of options.

When I visited Wilson Combat a few months ago, I really had no plans to order a pistol. But when I was there surrounded by all those great pistols and, then, later, at the range shooting all those great pistols my feeling that I had enough .45 autos began to erode. I’ll explain.

I’ve owned a lot of handguns in the almost 50 years since I began shooting, but very few have been custom models. I did purchase a pair of Springfield Operators built by the Custom Shop some years ago and have been very happy with them. I also purchased a pair of Gunsite Service pistols from a friend when he was getting divorced, and I carried and used them for a few years.


Wilson Combat CQB Lightrail Lightweight

The Wilson Combat CQB Lightrail Lightweight, shown with a Lawman Leather S.T.U. holster, offers a customizable, light 1911 for everyday carry.

Some years ago, a group of friends and I ordered specially built 4566 pistols from the S&W Performance Center. I carried mine for a few years and found it, by far, the most accurate double-action pistol I’ve ever used. And I have had three custom Browning Hi-Power pistols built over the years. Since I carried a Hi-Power for 20 years or so when I did overseas work, I had discovered a few aspects of the basic design that could be improved by a custom gunsmith. One from Jim Garthwaite was the last custom pistol I had built prior to the Wilson I’ll be discussing here.

I know some of you reading this are saying, You can never have enough .45 autos!” I did manage to drag myself away from Berryville without ordering a pistol, but a few weeks later, I was talking with /Gun World/ Editor Steve Quinlan about a possible Wilson Combat article. That gave me an excuse to order a pistol.


My preferences for a carry pistol differ from most people who carry. Because I write about tactical topics and have trained many tactical units, when I carry a belt gun, it is normally one configured to take a light or a laser. Although I have holsters from Rusty Sherrick and Don Hume that are designed to allow the pistol to be carried with a light mounted, I don’t normally do so. However, I carry a SureFire or other weapon light in my truck in case I want it. Also, if I am carrying a pistol with a rail, if I am somewhere that I can run through a shooting house or do other tactical drills with a light, I can use my own gun, with which I am familiar.

Most of my 1911 .45s with rails are steel guns, but I prefer something lighter for carry purposes. I had been using a Springfield Operator Lightweight or an S&W 4563 ever since I got my custom Operators and 4566. Both of those are out-of-the-box guns, however, and I decided it might be nice to have a custom lightweight 1911 pistol with rail. That brings us to what I chose to order from Wilson Combat.



Wilson Combat

(870) 545-3618

Black Hills Ammunition

(605) 348-5150

Crossbreed Holsters

(888) 732-5011

Lawman Leather

(877) 44LAWMAN

C. Rusty Sherrick

(717) 361-7699



Action–  SA semi-auto

Caliber– .45 ACP (tested), .38 Super, 9mm

Mag. Capacity–  8 rounds (.45 ACP)

Barrel Length– 5 inches

Overall Length-  8.7 inches

Weight (empty)–  36.6 ounces

Sights-  Battlesight w/fiber-optic front

Grips –  Starburst

Frame-  Aluminum

Slide– Carbon steel

MSRP (base)–  $3,145


Story and photos by Leroy Thompson


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