It was no real surprise to anyone involved in the F&S 2022 Handgun Test that the new SFX9 from Wilson Combat received the Editor’s Pick award. But $ 2,995 is a lot of money to spend on a gun. Of course, shooters seem to think of nothing to throw that kind of money at a precision long-range or semi-personalized rifle. The main difference is that the basic purpose of those rifles is fun. The reason to buy an SFX9 or any self-defense pistol would be to save your life.
It’s a difficult thing to appreciate. The question is, what to expect from a self-defense pistol that costs nearly three grenades? Well, for starters, you would expect reliability. You will also expect accuracy and that the gun fires at the target point, just outside the box. But the interface of the shooters is just as important. And finally, consistency and service also matter. So to help you understand why the SFX9 was the highest scoring pistol in our test, this is how we will look at it.
Wilson Combat SFX9 Specifications
- MSRP: $ 2,995.00 (base price)
- Room: Luger 9 mm
- Action: Semi-auto, with one action
- Images: Battlesight concealment with red fiber optic front view
- Barrels: 4-inch stainless steel cone barrel with closure that increases reliability and crown with reverse cut.
- Length: 7.4 inches
- Hight: 5.25 inches
- Width: 1.4 inches
- Weight: 29.3 ounces
- Frame: Aluminum frame X with rigid body
- Sliding: Three-pointed stainless steel slide with external extractor and DLC finish
- Security: Manual thumb safety
- Capacity: 15 + 1 (Boat with 2 magazines with 15 rounds)
- Accessories: Hold case with soft sides
The SFX9 is an extremely reliable pistol
Testing firearms torture – firing them without cleaning or lubrication – is an online trend. In reality, it is not practical. Would you test a new pickup truck without periodic maintenance and lubrication? Only if you are stupid. However, somewhat carelessly, this is what we did with the SFX9. I had conducted an extensive sample pistol review before our formal test, to see if I liked it more than the Wilson Combat EDC X9.
The SFX9 had 400 cartridges and was not cleaned or lubricated before our test began. We experienced two failures in about 450 rounds of the test. This means that the weapon was without failure for 800 bullets. We lightly oiled the pistol and inserted another 200 bullets without fail. Like all 1911 style pistols, the SFX9 should get some lubrication and / or cleaning at around 300 to 400 points.
How we tested the SFX9 for accuracy
From a break backed by sandbags at 10 yards, we tested two loads on the SFX9. The first was a 115-grain FMJ load and the second was the 124-grain Federal HST load. We shot three sets of five strokes with each load, and the average for all six groups was 1.27 inches. This is quite accurate for a defensive pistol. The weapon was equipped with a fiber optic front view and a rear view that is adjustable only for wind movements. The target point / impact point was perfect right out of the box.
The SFX9 connected very well with the various fighters in our test. There are no sharp edges. The slide works with incomparable ease and softness. Manual thumb security and magazine release are in optimal proportions and easy to manipulate — but not so light as to be accidentally involved. And the trigger is extremely comfortable, extremely cool, and has an extremely short reset. There is a perfect amount of light on each side of the front view, and this seemed to make the viewing range intuitive and extremely fast. And at about 30 ounces, the pistol was extremely soft; hitting targets was easy.
A good personal defensive pistol should be held comfortably and the SFX9 does this well, especially for a 4-inch pistol with 15 shots. It could be easily hidden with an IWB case and a naked shirt. The grip is not large enough to cause printing and while the X-Tac style texture provides a firm grip in the hand, there is no sharp control to hang on the garment while the gun is held in place. Also, the SFX9 has an extra rail under the barrels.
What sets the SFX9 apart
Yes, the SFX9 looks like one from 1911, but it’s different. Like its predecessor – the EDC X9 – the SFX9 has no handle safety. Instead, the back strap – which in 1911 is commonly referred to as a main pillar shelter – is a part from the base to and through the thong. As with Browning HiPower, this greatly enhances the feel of the pistol in your hand. Also, the SFX9 has no moving scales. SF in model definition stands for “rigid frame”. Unlike the EDC X9 and 1911 pistols, the SFX9 grip is strong, through the plate, and feels a lot like the Glock.
Is it worth the money?
Performance is what you want to pay for. Can a smaller weapon save your life? Sure. Can even a smaller weapon do it? Maybe no. We tested 13 self-defense pistols and exposed them all to repeated runs in the same exercises. None performed as well as the SFX9 period. And the SFX9 was one of the first pistols we tested. (We got faster and shot better in training as we progressed during testing.)
But performance extends beyond the target. With a gun that is comfortable to shoot, you will shoot more. The more you shoot, the more capable you will become. In the same way, a weapon that holds well is what you will carry most, and a self-defense weapon that you do not have with you is just as useful as the painted toenails of a bird dog.
Read more: The best weapons of 2022
When you get this pistol you will think it is wonderful. When you shoot it, you will realize that your first impression was correct. This weapon will last you the rest of your life and can even save you. How much is this worth?