Wilson Combat WCP320 Carry

Combat, Competition Or Both
6

The folks at Wilson Combat have a refreshing business model. Most handgun manufacturers produce their own designs and are loath to admit anyone else can come up with a good idea. Wilson has historically taken a fresh approach — one that benefits the end customer.

The company offers its own designs, including the time-tested 1911 platform in dozens of caliber and style variants. However, Wilson has also made a profitable business taking stock pistols from other makers like Beretta, GLOCK, and SIG SAUER, and building their own custom models and enhancement kits. This brings us to the WCP320 Carry.

Wilson Combat starts with raw, unmachined slides, choice barrels and fire control units from SIG SAUER’s P320 platform. The company then machines the raw slide blanks into functional and precise works of art, nearly unrecognizable from the factory default P320 versions. When complete, slide and barrel are treated with a touch and durable black DLC (Diamond-Like-Carbon) physical vapor deposition finish. All of this is assembled into the Wilson Combat P320 Carry grip module. Custom sights round out the package.

Wilson’s Grip Module

While there’s a metric boatload of “custom” in this pistol as compared to the standard SIG SAUER P320, a significant departure from the stock handgun is the frame itself. The P320’s modular (and serialized) internal fire control unit contains the entire action including trigger, sear, springs, safety components and operating controls — everything except the magazine release button and striker assembly. This allows one to treat the frame, what most consider “the gun” itself, as an accessory. No federal regulations required if you want to swap it out.

The Wilson Combat frame offers a handling-friendly full-height grip with a carry-friendly 3.9" barrel. Benefits of this approach include improved handling without sacrificing full capacity. The two included X-Series magazines hold 17 rounds each.

One less visible frame improvement is internal compartments in the rear of the magazine well for weights. If you field strip the WCP320, you’ll notice three vertical channels (empty by default) where you can insert optional Tungsten bars. The set of three (two narrow bars and one larger) adds 42 grams to the back end, helping recoil control and providing some balance against the heavier fiery end of the pistol. If you go this route, consider using some grease or perhaps silicone for a more permanent, rattle-free installation.

If I were a serious competitor, concerned with shaving milliseconds from rapid-fire shot strings, I’d give the weights a try. For carry or recreational applications, I had no trouble with the WCP320’s tame recoil and muzzle flip impulses.

Combat Or Competition?

You can purchase a WCP320 Carry in two functional varieties. If your intended use is concealed carry or home defense, choose one of the standard models. These, available with black or tan frames, included standard straight trigger systems from SIG SAUER. If your primary goal is competition, the company offers models with pre-installed Action Tune trigger kits from Grayguns. Don’t decide lightly as the Action Tune kits, with either straight or curved trigger options, will give you a very light trigger appropriate only for competition and recreational use.

Competition Legal

As configured, the WCP320 Action Tune Straight Trigger model is built for the competition bays. Its optimized trigger is fantastic, but somewhat too sensitive for safe carry, as the WCP320 Carry is a striker-fired pistol without a manual safety. As I write this, it’s become legal for IDPA Stock Service Pistol Class and USPSA Production/Carry Optics classifications. The company has sold over 2,000 units (more by now) so the WCP320 Carry isn’t considered a custom race gun — it’s a legitimate production model.

Trigger Options

The model shown here is the competition-optimized version built around the Grayguns Adjustable Straight Trigger System. This kit includes a new competition sear and associated springs. The good news is Wilson Combat gunsmiths install all this for you, so the pistol is ready to go out of the box. You’ll get a bag including the original SIG XFULL flat-faced trigger, sear, sear springs, trigger bar spring and safety-lever pin. You’ll also get the Grayguns Intermediate sear spring kit if you want to make your own fine adjustments.

The upgraded competition trigger system will spoil you rotten. You’ll get about 1/8" of take-up followed by 1/4" of constant pressure before a crisp break. The reset offers a satisfying “click” all its own after 1/4" of forward travel at the base. You can’t miss it. Using a spring trigger gauge, I measured 3.5 lbs. when pulled from the center of the flat trigger face. When pulling from the bottom of the trigger face, the measured weight went as low as 2.5 lbs. Do note Wilson Combat and Grayguns insist this competition kit is for range use only; it’s not intended for carry. If you want to carry your WCP320, reinstall the factory sear and springs. You can also order the WCP320 with a standard trigger, so if you intend to carry exclusively, this one’s your huckleberry.

Carry-izing

While I enjoy the occasional competition, I’m not a gun gamer. When I do compete in something, I always use my regular carry gun and gear considering the inherent disadvantage to those with souped-up race guns and rigs. My interest lies solely in becoming more proficient with the stuff I carry every day, extra milliseconds on a competition clock be damned. With this in mind, I decided to re-install the factory sear, springs and flat trigger system.

Digging into the guts of the fire control unit (FCU) is not a project for the faint of heart. If you venture into this realm, do be careful as a bent spring here or there can make your pistol non-functional. Similarly, loss of a tiny part, even a fictional one as it turns out, can cause some serious frustration and delay.

When I ever-so-carefully removed and disassembled the FCU to replace the sear, sear springs, trigger bar spring and safety lever pin, I noticed at one point the safety lever lifter spring was missing. I searched for hours using a high-powered light, to no avail. Clearly this was proof of the incomprehensible mysteries of quantum mechanics. Matter had indeed converted itself to anti-matter before my very eyes.

The next morning, I called the folks at Wilson Combat, and after some discussion to zero in on the specific part in question, I learned at some point in the production process SIG has discontinued use of said spring. Someone figured out it was no longer necessary for reliable function. Since I hadn’t actually seen the spring launch, this new theory held water. I reassembled the pistol, and it works like a champ. The more you know.

With the new closer-to-default trigger configuration, performance changed to a more carry-appropriate mode. Trigger travel was close to identical as determined by my not-very-precise wooden ruler. However, the pull weight is now about 5.5 lbs. measured from the center of the trigger face. From the foot, the weight reads 4.25 lbs. The reset is the same, and the audible and tactile reset “click” is unchanged. This pistol is now deemed carry safe in my book and that’s exactly how I intend to use this WCP320 Carry.

Handling

The WCP320 is built for speed — literally. I’m a 1911 grip angle kind of guy, so pistols like Browning’s original, M&Ps, Springfield Armory XD-family pistols, and most SIG SAUER platforms point naturally for me. If I raise any of those (unloaded) to target with my eyes closed, I’ll be lined up pretty darn well right off the bat, with no vertical sight movement required. If I try the same thing with a GLOCK or similar pistol, I almost always have to lower the front sight into position as the pistol naturally points a bit high for me. No hate mail please; I’m perfectly happy with a GLOCK, I’m just sharing a personal observation about the convenience of built-in natural point of aim. Of course, plenty of other shooters have the exact opposite experience and raked grip pistols point naturally for them. To each his or her own.

The WCP 320 with its custom Wilson Combat frame maintains the more vertical grip angle, so it’s a natural fit for me. Raising the gun to target from a holstered or low-ready position is an exercise in efficiency. Thanks to its natural pointing (for me) there isn’t a millimeter of wasted motion or nanosecond of extra sight alignment time required.

The sights are also built for speed. The front sight houses a red fiber optic tube. Given the nature of fiber optic sight construction, it’s simple to pick your color of choice and insert a new tube, so don’t feel limited by red if green or orange are more your thing. The rear sight is flat black on the back (no dots) and features a “U-shaped” notch. Combined with the narrow front sight post, the picture is fast to acquire. If you’re a bullseye shooter, you might struggle a bit with the extra daylight on either side of the front sight post as it takes an extra picosecond or so to ensure you’re precisely centered. For me, however, this design is a benefit, and it’s done entirely on purpose. The narrow front blade translates to speed. For competition or carry, you’ll love it. As a side note, the rear body uses a combination of front flat edge for emergency slide racking with beveled top surfaces for cut-free slide racking and snag-free reholstering.

The distinctive Wilson Combat X-TAC pattern on the frame and slide are outstanding. The pattern is subtle if you consider the raw “depth” of pattern grooves but is remarkably effective in preventing movement of the gun while firing. I’ve been shooting the WCP320 in 95-plus temperatures with 100-plus heat indexes, so sweaty hands have been the norm. No worries — once you take a grip on this pistol, it stays put. The subtlety of the pattern cuts offer another benefit for concealed carry. The grip pattern won’t tear up holsters, clothing, or your midsection nearly as much as other pistols using aggressive sandpaper-like surfaces. I’m happy to report the WCP320 supports my favorite cause: Save the love handles!

As for recoil, the 9mm chambering makes it gentle right off the bat, but the frame shape, contours and texture provide additional help in softening what you feel in the hand while shooting. Even +P defensive ammo was perfectly controllable. I had no trouble keeping this handgun under control, even with a more relaxed grip.

Accuracy Games

I’ve had this pistol out to the range on numerous occasions for testing, but given how 2020 is going so far, I shouldn’t be surprised the best laid plans went awry on accuracy day. I like to shoot lots of groups from a solid, lead-shot-bagged pistol rest to get an idea of what a gun will do when most of the shooter error variables are removed. Normally I do this with five-shot groups at 25 yards. Since it’s 2020, I shouldn’t have been surprised my regular outdoor range was limited to just 12 on the day I chose for the Group Olympics.

No worries. Because I excelled at 2nd grade math, I quickly figured out doubling my measured 12-yard group size would give be a decent indication of 25-yard performance. Yeah, I know. Advanced math!

I shot 10 different varieties of ammo for accuracy, including four manufactured by … Wilson Combat. Yes, they make ammo too. In my sample kit I had two match loads (125-grain HAP and 135-grain HBFP) and two defensive loads (Wilson’s Gold Dot 124-grain +P and Wilson’s Barnes TAC-XP +P 115-grain). Other ammo in my bag that day included Black Hills HoneyBadger 100-grain, SIG SAUER V-Crown 124-grain, Norma MHP 108-grain, Norma Hexagon 124-grain, SIG SAUER FMJ 124-grain, and Black Hills FMJ 115-grain.

After the smoke cleared, I figured out this pistol will shoot. Three different loads produced single ragged hole groups. The Wilson Combat TAC-XP +P won the day with a 0.71″ five-shot group. The Norma MHP and Wilson Combat HAP 125-grain were close contenders for the smallest group title with 0.75″ and 0.87″ center-to-center measurements.

The WCP320 carries an MSRP of $1,195 or $1,350 if you choose the Grayguns trigger set. It’s not inexpensive, but you’ll get top-notch performance in return.

For more info: WilsonCombat.com

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