Pic of the Day: Dawson Rail

The Dawson Light Speed Rail adapter was the heat back in 2004-2006 or so, prior to the real proliferation of Picatinny rail framed 1911s, and with many owners still owning legacy format Government Models that needed to catch up with the developing weapon mounted light trend.  The rail required a proprietary adapter to be attached to the light (Nitrolon, Military Light, and X200/X300).  The modified frame without an attached light would fit into certain 1911 holsters with minimal alterations.  It seemed like the ideal setup, and our 10-8 signature 1911 with Nighthawk featured this rail.

Fast forward to present day, and every vendor sells a rail frame 1911, and Dawson has discontinued the Light Speed Rail.  With the current state of the market, the lack of continuing holster support (the growth of tightly molded pancake style Kydex holsters meant that fewer and fewer holsters would “also fit” the Dawson Rail), and the need to semi-permanently alter the light (only one light is left compatible with existing adapters – the Surefire X300) have pretty much left the Dawson Rail as an interesting relic of a bygone era.

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About Hilton Yam

Hilton Yam is the founder of 10-8 Performance, LLC. He is a full time law enforcement officer in Florida with extensive experience working robbery and violent fugitives. He is currently assigned to firearms training and SWAT. He is a team leader as well as the lead instructor for his team, responsible for providing training in firearms, CQB, rappelling, defensive tactics, and team tactics. Hilton is also responsible for RDT&E of equipment. He has carried a 1911 extensively on duty, and has spent a great deal of time examining what makes the guns succeed and fail.

4 thoughts on “Pic of the Day: Dawson Rail

  1. Carried my 1911 Dawson Railed Colt 1911 down range for years and still carry it near daily CONUS.

    I believe Comp-Tac will still mold a Dawson railed 1911 holster. Some smart Bubba figured out you could take any 1911 Safariland holster with the retention screw below the trigger guard area, replace the nylon spacer with a longer piece of fuel line from the NAPA store (widens the gap allowing the Dawson rail to slide in the holster) and a longer screw from ACE. Now your standard Safariland 1911 holster works with a 1911 equipped with the Dawson rail. No issues with adequate retention and a snug overall fit for the weapon.

    Good post Hilton…I still like the Dawson rail’s low profile compared to the beefier integral design of today’s railed 1911s. But, no doubt the integral rail is more robust.

    • I think I was that “smart Bubba,” as we were some of the earliest adopters and experimenters with the rail, and I published it on the 10-8Forums site back in the day.

  2. The Dawson Railed guns are also a heck of a lot lighter than many of the full-railed guns, especially those built on Caspian frames.

    • True. However, Caspian frames bear a lot of weight under the grip panels as the magazine well cutouts are not as big as on a Colt.

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