Dan Wesson Valor 1911 CO2 pellet pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dan Wesson Valor
Dan Wesson Valor 1911 CO2 pellet pistol.

This report covers:

  • History
  • New cartridge
  • Service use
  • Features that were changed
  • The Valor
  • Repeater
  • No blowback
  • Sights
  • Licensed replica
  • Barrel
  • Summary

Today we start looking at a new pellet pistol — the Dan Wesson Valor 1911. They call it a 1911, but this pellet pistol is a replica of a 1911A1 if ever I saw one. Let’s begin the report by learning the difference between the two firearm models.

History

The Colt 1911 pistol was designed by John Moses Browning in — that’s right — 1911. Earlier versions of the gun competed in rigorous Army trials, along with many other pistols from around the world — including the gun we call the German Luger! The 1911 was far superior to all other pistols being tested  in terms of ruggedness and resistance to hostile climates. It was the best of its time with the result that it served the American military from acceptance in 1911 until it was phased out in 1985. I say it was phased out, but that is only for general military use. The pistol continues to be used by special operations forces with the U.S. Marine Corps placing an order for twelve thousand M45A1 pistols (an upgraded M1911A1) in 2014. It turns out that the .45 caliber round is just too good at what it does to pass up for those who really need a sidearm.

New cartridge

The pistol was designed around a new cartridge — the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) that the U.S. Army specified because of bad experiences in the Philippines against Moro warriors. Just prior to going into the Philippines the Army had retired its Colt Single Action revolver that fired the .45 Colt cartridge, and substituted the .38 Long Colt cartridge in a double action revolver. That cartridge proved ineffective against the Moros and the Army quickly reissued .45 SAA revolvers to take its place. That experience lead to the requirement for a new .45 caliber cartridge that would work in a semiautomatic pistol — the .45 ACP.

I find it interesting that when lives depend on it, the .45 ACP and the 1911 seem to prevail. Without question modern semiautomatic pistols like the polymer-framed Glock and the ones Sig make are more rugged and reliable over a longer period of time than the all-steel 1911/A1. There have been many tests that proved it. But the 1911 is a design that refuses to go away!

Service use

After World War 1 the Army felt some small but important changes needed to be made to 1911. These changes were adopted in 1924 and the new model was designated the M1911A1. Let’s now look at a few of the changes.

Features that were changed

1911
A few of the 1911 features that were changed.

1911A1
These are the same features on the 1911A1.

Besides what you see in the pictures, the ejection port was enlarged slightly on the A1 and the sights were made bolder — front and rear. That means a wider notch in the rear and a wider and higher post up front. I note that the 1911A1 that I show has a lanyard ring. Some had them and others didn’t. Maybe when they fell off they weren’t deemed critical because most soldiers besides paratroopers stopped using them. Only half of the pistols in my arms room in the 1970s had them. I’m not saying they shouldn’t all have them — just that some of the ones I saw didn’t.

I had both 1911s and A1s in my arms room. The 1911s in my care had been updated with A1 parts like the longer grip safety, shorter trigger, trigger relief cuts, better sights and the ejection port that was more open. But their serial numbers put them back in the 1911 era.

The Valor

Enough history, what about this pellet pistol that we are looking at? It’s a 1911A1 in most respects, but it does have the wider beavertail hammer of the earlier 1911. And, because it is a double-action-only air pistol, it has what appears to be the older long trigger. That length is needed to push the hammer back far enough to fire the pistol.

Repeater

The Valor is a 12-shot pellet repeater. The magazine is unique in that it has a section at the top with two 6-round rotary clips — one on either end. What you do is shoot 6 shots, then drop the mag and rotate the top to the other 6 pellets. So the Valor is a 12-shot repeater with a difference.

Valor mag
The Valor magazine that holds the CO2 cartridge also has a short section at the top that rotates to present six chambers on either end.

No blowback

Although the Valor runs on CO2 the slide does not blow back when it fires. Before you go on the warpath, the description says this gives you more shots. According to the specs the pellets are going out at around 330 f.p.s., so if the pistol did blow back we might see 60-75 good shots. This airgun should give even more than that. That will be something I test for you.

Sights

The sights are not adjustable and as far as I can remember they are very good copies of 1911A1 sights.  I don’t own a 1911A1 firearm to compare them to. Let’s just hope the pistol shoots close to where those sights look!

Licensed replica

This is a licensed Dan Wesson replica. I find it very similar to my 1911 firearm in all respects. The weight is about perfect!

Barrel

The barrel is rifled, as you would hope. I hope this pistol turns out to be accurate because we can always use another accurate replica pellet gun.

Summary

The Valor is out of stock at the present time. The website says they should be in around the 19th of this month. There will be at least three parts to this report, so perhaps it will arrive while I’m still testing it?

At any rate, the Valor looks like another fine replica airgun. We shall see.

46 thoughts on “Dan Wesson Valor 1911 CO2 pellet pistol: Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    Did you purchase a Dan Wesson Valor just to compare to this pistol? The sights seem very basic from the picture. I hope they can be readily seen when in use. The lanyard if I recall correctly was a specification made by the cavalry (horse) units.

    Siraniko

    PS: Section New cartridge 2nd paragraph 1st sentence: “I find it interesting that when lives depend on it, the .45 ACO (ACP) and the 1911 seem to prevail.


  2. I actually prefer the flat mainspring housing, and put one on every 1911 based pistol I have ever owned.

    I have used this as my tag line on forums for as long as I have been online.

    I make 2 predictions;

    ON THE DATE WHEN US TROOPS ARE ISSUED AN Energy Pulse Weapon,

    1. The US Soldier will have on his person a version of the Colt 1911.

    2. He will be aiming the NEW Weapon at someone carrying an AK47

    Ian


  3. A quick check of Dan Wesson’s website shows this pellet gun is very different from the Valor model firearm and any of their other 1911 based guns. Maybe closer to a Springfield Armory Mil-Spec or a Rock Island?

    No slide blowback for greater shot count is more gooder, I suppose. I have been using a couple Winchester (Daisy) blowback BB guns to introduce new shooters to pistol shooting. Low noise and recoil, but the blowback slide gives them a bit of the ‘feel’ and enforces proper grip position without serious slide bite.


  4. BB,

    Nice little history lesson. Hopefully this does well.

    The magazine is unique. 2 questions:

    1) Do the two 6 round clips remove for loading?

    2) Must the 12 round clip be removed (separated) from the magazine to rotate to the other drum,.. or,.. does it rotate in place (like, spin on a shaft)?

    Chris


  5. B.B.

    Nice history lesson about the 1911. When people say “Colt 45”, I think about all the malt liquor adds that I heard as a youth.

    My understand is that the 1911 shoots a very large bullet very slowly, sub sonic? I have even heard stories of the bullet failing to to penetrate a thick leather motorcycle jacket. One of your best anecdotes, is about one of your CO’s in Germany who did not visit the range often, but when he did he amazed all the other shooters with his accuracy.
    I believe that he even shared some tricks on hold to hold the pistol.

    -Y


    • Yogi,

      That is one tough thick leather motorcycle jacket.

      Back in 1985 I personally tested the 9mm versus the .45 ACP. I made a stack of hay bales and hung an under shirt body armor panel on a bale at chest height. I shot the panel with a 9mm pistol. The bullet penetrated the first 2 or 3 layers of kevlar and made a slight dent in the bale. I then shot the panel with a .45 ACP pistol. The bullet did not penetrate any of the kevlar layers, but it shoved the panel into a hole in the bale about two inches deep.

      Do not get me wrong. I do not wish to be shot with any firearm, but I would prefer the 9mm over the .45 ACP. The military and law enforcement did not start teaching the double tap until the adoption of the 9mm. It is not a man stopper. Why did the U.S. military go away from the .38 in the first place?


      • RR,

        The military didn’t teach their soldiers how to shoot the 1911. Instead they listened to the soldiers complain about the greater recoil of the .45. If they had been taught how to shoot it they would have loved it! That’s LTC Bonsall talking through me.!

        BB



    • Yogi, yes subsonic, the military ball load is a 230 grain full metal jacket bullet traveling about 830fps.

      Not fast, but a lot of energy, and a big frontal area to transfer the energy to the target.

      Sometimes slow and fat is better than skinny and fast…

      Ian


  6. BB,

    The 1911A1 was always my favorite pistol and the .45 ACP is my favorite pistol round. It is truly a shame that the bean counters finally won out on the pistol.



  7. Yogi-

    Colt 45, or 45 Colt, referred to the revolver cartridge used in the single action revolver. It is sometimes referred to as the 45 Long Colt. That name came about, unofficially, to differentiate between the revolver round and the later 45 ACP, also known as 45 Auto. The beer and the advertising made strong use of imagery associated with the earlier cartridge.

    And yes, a 45 ACP will go through a leather jacket.


  8. All I know is when I raise a 1911 up to eye level, the sights are always, always pointing at what I want to hit. For me it doesn’t happen with a Glock, Taurus, Luger, or any other semi-auto pistol I have tried. I have a 22 Kart conversion on an old Crown City frame that uses Colt Ace mags. Very accurate. I haven’t figured who will get it when I’m gone.




    • fish, it depends on what you want to do.

      The 2240 is An infinitely modifiable platform, in both power and levels of accuracy.
      From pistol to rifle.
      The list of aftermarket parts availability is huge.

      The 1911 airguns is not a easily modded platform, they are designed with a specific purpose, and for most users not to tinker with it.


    • Fish,

      The 2240 provides about 5.59 foot-pounds, the Valor about 1.69 foot-pounds.

      The 2240 is .22; the Valor .177.

      The 2240 costs $63, the Valor $100.

      The 2240 is single-shot; the Valor is multi-shot.

      The 2240 looks like the air pistol that it is; the valor looks like an iconic firearm.

      Michael



  9. BB
    Missed you on Monday, glad it’s straightened out.

    I, too, enjoy the history of both airguns AND powder burners. I guess I was never taught how to shoot the 1911 in .45, because I never enjoyed the “snap” , but for whatever reason, I never had that problem with similar guns in .40. Maybe I just didn’t give it enough time.
    Ed


    • Ed,

      I will “teach” you right now. The secret is to rest your thumb on the safety lever on the left side of the pistol. When the gun fires your thumb resists the rise automatically with no thought required. Recoil problem solved!

      BB



        • With the extended grip safety added to the A1, it stopped a lot of the hammer bite complaints.

          As to the slide being close to your hand, for over 99.9% of shooters, it is not an issue, unless you have gorilla hands, and grip the gun super tight, burying it in the hand.

          There are many other guns with the reputation of slide bite.

          It can be shot with just the thumb and trigger finger gripping the gun, while not the most accurate grip, it does show the controllability of the gun with practice.

          Once you shoot one, you will be saying “what was I worried about?”

          Ian


          • I’ve put a few thousand rounds through my 5″ government model. Never got bit. But the suggestion to rest my thumb -on top- of the safety in order to get better leverage against the recoil flip is new to me. That’s where I’m worried against getting bit. And, I shoot Weaver, modified Weaver, and bullseye, strong and weak side, so I’m willing to learn how to get better, and apply the suggestion. I’m looking forward to some range time to see how it works for me!


      • B.B.,

        B I N G O!

        And, that is why every one of my 1911 has been fitted/refitted with a LONG ambidextrous Safety.

        Until the Gunny taught me how to shoot left handed i really didn’t GRASP how to hold the 1911 to good effect.

        Most people who wear motorcycle jackets open them up as soon as they are off their bike…so NO leather to get in the way of a properly placed group; even if leather could stop the .45ACP round. Lol!

        shootski


  10. B.B.,
    I really hope she shoots as good as she looks, and thanks for the history lesson on the 1911 and 1911A1; I love it when you provide that kind of historical background. =>
    Take care & God bless,
    dave


  11. That looks like a gun that is sold on the UK market as the Milbro Classic 1911 – the magazine arrangement is most distinctive. Sportsmarketing, who I think may be the main importer/distributor, describe it as having a “German engineered barrel”.

    (They also, for what it’s worth, describe the Beeman P17 as German engineered.)

    They list as accessories for it a complete CO2 magazine (the size of a full-size magazine, valve housing at the top) and pellet magazines – not the loose 6-shot cylinder, but the assembly of two of those in the short section that is rotated to present each in turn.

    Milbro – Millard Brothers – was once an importer (pre WW2) and then a manufacturer in their own right of Diana airguns before closing in the early 1980s.

    Iain


  12. I’ll be 67 in a few weeks. When we moved to the big island in 2011, I sold off most of my firearms, Hawaii not being a very gun friendly state. So, I had to cull the beard to just the bare essentials. Being one who prefers a heavier bullet at moderate velocities, I kept my Colt Model 1911A1 45acp. I’ll never sell it. I also kept my Charter Arms Bulldog Pug in .44 Special with two speed loaders. It’s a five shot revolver. I also kept my Marlin Model 1895 lever action rifle in .357 magnum, an ancient Savage takedown pump action .22 LR with an octagon barrel, and my old Stevens Model 311 12 gauge side by side shotgun. That Stevens has been mine since I was 14 years old, and the Savage was handed down to me from my dad. The Marlin has a “see through” scope mount I got for it, and the open sights are useable with this mount.

    I tried a couple of 9mm handguns, one a Colt Officers Model, but didn’t keep them. I can hit with bolt my 1911A, and my Charter Arms, and I wouldn’t want to be hit by the heavy bullets these guns shoot, even if just thrown by someone, as they would hurt like hell even at that slow speeds. And, I read somewhere that a 12 gauge shooting OO buckshot would approximate being hit by eight 9mm projectiles. While I’m not that impressed with the caliber, being hit by nine in one shot……..


    • Birdmove,

      If I remember right 8 00 buck was in 2 3/4 inch shells. Go to the 3 1/2 inch in a new gun chambered for it and I am not sure I want to be on either end of that one. My home gun with 3 inch shells is hard to hang onto.

      Don


  13. Very much enjoyed the history in the article. Have always been a 1911 fan. I also have a Colt Ace that I built up on a Crown City frame that I will never sell. I did have a 70’s series Gold Cup that I regretfully sold some years back.


  14. BB

    Your work is airguns; your play is firearms. How lucky can a guy be? Makes good sense to educate us on firearms because so many readers are in that camp too. My dad’s 1913 Colt 1911 civilian “C” serial number now abides with his grandson. It was mine for around 40 years and I admit I did not know all the differences vs the A1.

    Thanks for another education,
    Deck



  15. AoB,

    Many writers and shooters of all stripes agree with you and me. I sometimes think his perception of what people need in a firearm was equal to his mechanical visualization. How does a guy anticipate all the many firearms applications where his creations reward so many markets? Incredibly broad customer segments, top-shelf designs, even a brand/distribution success. JMB matches Jobs and Bezos IMHO.

    jumpin


  16. B.B.,

    I know you are reluctant to do blog entries that compare and contrast two air guns, but as I read this and the following installments, I will constantly mentally hold this up against my Umarex-made Colt 1911A1 pellet pistol that I’ve had for probably nine or so years. It’s non-blowback and has a hidden, revolving 8 shot clip, so it’s a natural comaprison, although the Colt is twice the price of the Valor.

    I will say that my Colt 1911A1 chronies roughly 100 fps. faster than the advertised velocity of the Valor, squeezes 75 or so shots from a 12 ounce CO2 cartridge, has a light/creepy DA and light/crisp SA trigger, and is VERY accurate.

    Michael


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