Dan Wesson Valor

Dan Wesson Valor

A 1911-style pellet slinger Part 1

By Dennis Adler

One expects several things from a CO2 powered 1911, first is a self contained CO2 BB magazine, the other is fully operational controls, and last, but not least, blowback action. That’s just the basic requirements. This does not apply to the Dan Wesson Valor, because it is not a BB pistol, it is a pellet pistol. This is a non-blowback action air pistol, and unfortunately, has an inert grip safety and a dead hammer. By that I mean it does not cock because the Valor is a DAO, yes, a double action only design with a long-pull trigger blade. Don’t throw up your hands just yet…there’s more.

The Dan Wesson Valor 1911 is a mixed bag; it looks like it is going to be another fairly accurate-looking M1911 CO2 pistol, but doesn’t quite deliver what you’re expecting. The front and rear sights are early 1911-A1 style, as is the hammer, but the trigger is the DAO design used on other 1911 copies like the Crosman 1911 GI Model, and Crosman 1911 Black (or Silver) tactical models, the latter two using the same style self-contained CO2 pellet magazine. You can consider this a review of those models as well.
The finish looks like matte black Cerakote. It is an acceptable finish these days on centerfire models, so it gets a pass on the DW Valor. The gun also fits traditional 1911 holsters and the self-contained CO2 pellet magazine, despite its Off-Broadway design, fits standard 1911 mag pouches. It is an odd but appealing pellet gun for well under $100.
This is the .45 ACP Dan Wesson A2 model with Parkerized finish. The .45 Auto has the deluxe diamond checkered walnut grips, full-size thumb safety, more modern hammer, and white dot combat sights, but the familial traits of the centerfire Dan Wesson can be found in the CO2 Valor from ASG. There is also a centerfire Valor model but it is quite different from the airgun version. The A2 is much closer.

The general exterior design, less the aforementioned trigger, is of the early 20th century 1911-A1 configuration with original-style sights, small hammer, small thumb safety, which works to block the trigger and thus eschews any other type of external manual safety. The Valor design has also incorporated the 1911-A1 checkered, raised mainspring housing and brown checkered military-style grips. Overall, it looks like a WWII era pistol with an unusual trigger.

The DAO trigger confuses things but is at the heart of the firing mechanism. The gun feels more like a DA revolver when you pull the trigger, and internally, that is closer to how it works.

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In stark contrast to the majority of its retro 1911-A1 features, the Valor has an in interesting self-contained CO2 pellet magazine and a rifled steel barrel. Now that I have your undivided attention, here’s the rest of the Dan Wesson 1911 Valor story.

Everything except the trigger says early 1911-A1, including the original 1911 small thumb safety. Even through it is a non-blowback action pistol; it uses a separate slide release lever with a pin that passes through the barrel bushing to the other side of the frame. It is not a molded-in part; a lot of work for nothing that works. The checkered mainspring housing is also not a molded-in part of the grip frame, nor is the non-functioning grip safety. The thumb safety, when pressed up into the slide notch, serves to lock the action (DAO trigger) so no other manual safety is needed. The most disconcerting aspect of the Valor’s design is that you can’t cock the hammer; it only operates when the trigger is pulled. It is a very clean and puzzling piece of work!

As mentioned earlier, it is not a blowback action and thus the slide is fixed but not a molded in component, it is a slide sitting on the frame rails. The barrel bushing is fixed, and the slide release is fixed, but it too, is not a molded in part, it is an actual 1911-style slide release. There is more than a hint of attention to detail that we saw a couple of years ago with the Umarex Glock 19, which had everything going for it but moving parts (although it was a BB model not a pellet pistol).

The best working feature of the ASG Dan Wesson Valor is the self-contained CO2 pellet magazine. That is still a fairly rare design combination.
The 6-shot rotary pellet clips are loaded from the back, as shown, by inserting a pellet into each chamber, rotating to the next, etc., on both ends. Then the clip is rotated vertically with the magazine and ready to insert in to the gun.

The Valor’s magazine release is designed just like an original 1911-A1 and lets the drop free magazine fall from the grip frame. The raised mainspring housing is also a separate component. It is an appealing gun despite its shortcomings compared to a handful of blowback action pellet models like the old Umarex Beretta PX4 Storm with its reversible rotary stick magazine and separate CO2 loaded in the grip frame. The PX4 gave you blowback action, but not realistic reloading. The Valor’s use of self-contained, dual rotary pellet magazines in-unit with the CO2 magazine crosses over between older pellet firing guns, like the Beretta, and newer designs like the Sig Sauer M17. It is almost puzzling, because it is so close to being a 1911 counter point to the Sig, but then falls short with the non-blowback action and inert features. This gun needs a better version of itself.

As for accuracy of external dimensions the Valor fits perfectly into this custom Mernickle GV5 1911 belt holster, and the magazine in the matching single mag pouch. Training gun…maybe? It out does the 1911 pellet-loading Umarex Colt 1911 with a more modern design, but does it have the capability to out shoot it?

The Valor is an attractive looking pellet model that has the promise of high velocity and military 1911-A1 level accuracy at ranges out to 10 meters. How good is the Valor? We’ll find out in Part 2.

A Word about Safety when Training

With realistic CO2 models, you must observe the same common sense rules as with an actual cartridge-loading firearm since they are indistinguishable from the air pistol. Do all CCW carry and drawing practice away from others and always with an unloaded gun, until you have become proficient and are ready to advance to drawing and shooting practice on a shooting range or your own private property. And never practice CCW carry in public without a carry permit, even with an air pistol. These are just good, common sense rules to follow for training with airguns.

2 thoughts on “Dan Wesson Valor”

  1. :Seems like the Hatsan equivalent. I can accept a non blowback 4.5 pellet pistol as long as it sends pellets down the barrel traveling over 500 fps, single action possibility and adjustable sights.
    It might be interesting to compare this one to the most expensive Umarex Colt, if you could find one, or just their specs.

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