The 21st Century Colt 1911 Rail Gun Part 1

The 21st Century Colt 1911 Rail Gun Part 1 Part 2

Keeping one of the oldest continuously carried military handguns up to date

By Dennis Adler

The Swiss Arms SA 1911 series are the most realistic looking and handling of all 1911 CO2 blowback action airguns. They have the fit, finish and handling (up until you pull the trigger) of several top line 9mm and .45 ACP 1911 Rail Guns. Pictured are the SA 1911 Tactical Rail System (TRS) model (bottom) and SA 1911 Military Rail Pistol (MRP).

The Colt Model 1911 is 106 years old, and for an old gun (the oldest military pistol still in use) the M1911 proved it still has the chops by being selected back in 2012 as the Marine Corps new CQBP (Close Quarter Battle Pistol). The USMC version, or M45, is a specialized 1911 Rail Gun based on the Colt XSE Series Rail Gun. As manufactured for the U.S. Marine Corps the M45 costs around $1,875. The civilian version costs even more selling for $1,999. Colt 1911 Rail Guns have become extremely popular, not only for their elite USMC status, but for the fact that they can be easily equipped with tactical lights and laser sighting devices, making them ideal for law enforcement SRTs (SWAT) and personal defense use.

The SA 1911 MRP (bottom) is based on the 2012 Colt M1911 CQBP (Close Quarter Battle Pistol) Rail Gun developed for the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Desert Tan Colt CQBP (shown in Colt sales literature) was adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012 and roughly 12,000 are in service with USMC units the world over.

The success of the Colt Rail Gun, which is a 21st century tactical version of the most successful semi-auto pistol in history, prompted other manufactures to produce similar designs, and now Government Model and Compact 1911 Rail Guns are available from a variety of U.S. and foreign makers. In keeping with the trend, there are .177 caliber blowback action Rail Guns available using correctly sized self-contained CO2 BB magazines, including the pair shown from Swiss Arms. The SA 1911 Tactical Rail Pistol (TRS) with a full length accessory rail and Desert Tan SA 1911 Military Rail Pistol (MRP).

Swiss Arms models look exactly like .45 ACP Rail Guns and the MRP model, with an extended capacity magazine (holstered), looks identical to the Colt service model. The TRS version (above) is also a nearly perfect match for any number of modern 1911-type Rail Guns produced in the U.S. and abroad.

The Swiss Arms Models

The first of the two Swiss Arms versions, the SA 1911 MRP (Military Rail Pistol) is based on the 2012 Colt CQBP and is finished in a Cerakote-style Desert Tan. The SA 1911 TRS (Tactical Rail System) model has a distinctive matte grey alloy frame and brushed alloy slide that has the appearance of brushed stainless steel. The MRP has black polymer grips that simulate the G10 style used on many 1911 tactical models, while the brushed stainless-look TRS has checkered Colt Diamond pattern grips (also polymer but a very nice imitation of hardwood).

The Swiss Arms models can be accessorized just like the CQBP. The SA 1911 MRP is shown equipped with a Fox Fury AWL-P amphibious weapon light and extended 27-round Swiss Arms/Tanfoglio CO2 BB magazine.

Both are updated 1911 CQBP designs with extended ambidextrous thumb safeties, a raised palm swell, and a flat finely-checkered mainspring housing with a military lanyard loop. Both models have Delta style hammers, skeletonized match alloy trigger designs, and Novak-style fixed dovetailed white dot combat sights. The guns run with a Swiss Arms/Tanfoglio design self-contained CO2 BB magazine with an 18-round capacity. An extra bonus is the availability of the Swiss Arms/Tanfoglio 27-round extended capacity 1911 magazine, which gives either gun, especially the Desert Tan version of the Colt CQBP, a very serious military bearing.

The CO2 version shares the same monochromatic Desert Tan finish as the Colt CQBP and uses Novak-style white dot combat sights. The SA 1911 MRP also has the same slide design with front and rear serrations. The airguns have a 5-inch chrome plated smoothbore barrel recessed ¼-inch back from the .45 ACP muzzle.

These are both exceptional 1911 models with all of the correct features that 1911 airgun enthusiasts have been looking for, and none of the verbiage that breaks up the look of almost every other CO2-powered 1911 blowback action model. The Swiss Arms 1911s are clean looking airguns with no more embellishment on their slides than most custom 9mm and .45 ACP 1911 models from manufacturers like Kimber, Springfield Armory, STI, and the Taylor’s & Co. imported M1911 A1 FS Tactical models.

In Part 2 we will explore the common features between the Swiss Arms SA 1911 TRS and a .45 ACP Rail Gun.

A Word About Safety

Blowback action models provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts. All arguns, in general, look like guns, but those based on real cartridge-firing models even more so. It is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.

 

11 thoughts on “The 21st Century Colt 1911 Rail Gun Part 1

  1. They have done a nice job on these. Hid the obnoxious warnings, ambi safety, good sights. All that is missing is the Colt Logo. How many rail guns give you a lanyard ring? They have a fixed sight non rail version as well that if it has an ambi safety is about perfect. Hopefully they will prove to be good shooters as well


  2. I really like the Colt 1911 and Beretta 92 style pistols. The Swiss Arms P92 Stainless and the Swiss Arms SA 1911 TRS pistols with the standard black metallic accessory magazines are in transit to me now.

    When I was looking on Pyramyd Air for accessory magazines, I did not find one for the SA1911 TRS with the same stainless metallic finish as the pistol or the extra capacity magazine shown in your pictures. Does Pyramyd Air not have those in stock yet, or did I just not look in the right place?



      • Thanks for the links.

        I’ve been thinking about that larger capacity magazine, and I’m not sure it’s such a good idea for the 1911 CO2 BB pistol. Unless you shoot really slow, the CO2 cooling effect from rapid fire will significantly negate the benefit of the extra BB capacity.


        • I hear that from a lot of folks. But to be honest, you don’t have to rapid fire just because you have greater capacity. Think of it as both a visual improvement and a longer shooting session before reloading. I used the 27-round magazine for the gun test (Saturday’s Airgun Experience) and it is just an added benefit, not an inducement to see how fast you can empty the magazine. It is tempting, and sometimes just great fun, accuracy and velocity out the window but who cares? That’s the flaw with full auto, too, but look how well the MP40 shot on full auto, so go ahead and indulge, you’ll like it.


  3. 30 shot pellet mags, 27 shot BB mags, gonna be going thru a lot of targets. I’ve been making my own spatter targets with spray adhesive, black spray paint,construction paper and the plastic bags our news paper comes in. Works great,easy and fast to make. On a nine by eleven I can get 5 aiming points. I’m still counting the amount of targets I can get from a can of adhesive. But feel like I will get thirty to forty sheets per can at 3.50 per.


  4. While polymer pistols like the Sig 320 are the rage, If I found myself in a Mid East Sandbox ,and was only armed with a pistol, the Colt Marine pistol with as many mags as I could jackass, would be my first and pretty much only choice. Another variant in air pistols for those who still like the 1911 platform ,and there are more than a few, Colt Defender with blowback action and ambi safety would be a logical step. So would a true 4 1/4 barreled Commander along the lines of the XE Series


  5. I just received my Swiss Arms SA 1911 TRS pistol. The surface finish of the stainless steel is excellent. The lettering is very well engraved in the steel. Although I don’t get disturbed by the traditional safety warnings on airguns, I admit to liking this pistol even more because the safety warnings are not there.

    I do have a couple of questions for you Dennis that are not answered in the user manual that came with the SA 1911 TRS.

    1. The safety does not engage unless the hammer is in the cocked position. Why? Wouldn’t it be safer for the safety to engage when the hammer is not cocked?

    2. There is a threaded “union” in the bag with the allen wrench. The small end of the “union” screws into the muzzle. I suppose the larger threaded end is for the attachment of a suppressor. Is there a faux suppressor accessory for this pistol?

    I also bought the Swiss Arms SA 92 Stainless pistol in the same order. It looks every bit as good as the SA 1911 TRS. My two questions also apply to this SA 92 Stainless pistol.


    • The 1911 was designed to be carried “cocked and locked” and that means with the hammer cocked and the safety engaged. The way the 1911 is designed the safety can only be engaged when the hammer is cocked. If the hammer is down, the safety notch into which the safety lever must go when pushed upward is blocked. Carrying the 1911 hammer down and safety off is another method but not the recommended one. Often 1911s will be carried in this fashion with an empty chamber. When the gun is drawn the slide has to be racked to chamber the first round and cock the hammer. This was military protocol for the 1911 when it was originally issued to U.S. soldiers.

      You are correct about the threaded adaptor with both Swiss Arms SA 1911 models, but at present there is no faux suppressor available. The airgun is, however, ready when one is introduced.


    • One other point worth mentioning, the Umarex Colt Commander single thumb safety will engage and lock the hammer in the de-cocked position, whereas the Swiss Arms models will not, and only function with the hammer cocked like cartridge-firing Colt 1911 models.


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