Barra 1911 vs. Sig Sauer WTP and Swiss Arms TRS

May the best gun win

By Dennis Adler

Let’s go with an assumption that the Barra 1911 is the second best blowback action 1911 on the market. First,authentic stylinghas to make it better than the Swiss Arms TRS and the Umarex Colt Commander. As for the Sig Sauer 1911 We The People, it is exactly the same in appearance as its .45 ACP Sig Sauer 1911 WTP counterpart, and whether you like the patriotic heavy-handedness of the gun’s design or not, 1:1 is 1:1 no matter what the centerfire gun looks like. I happen to think the Sig is one of the best looking 1911 designs that is not a Colt, not particularly for the “1776” and “We The People” embossing on the right and left sides of the slide, which is fairly subtle against the finish, but rather for the rugged, distressed finish itself, the 13 stars on top of the slide, and the 25 stars on each grip panel, the flat mainspring housing, fine grip checkering, and polished black grip safety, ambidextrous thumb safeties, hammer, and slide release. It is one of the most well thought out and finely-executed blowback action air pistols that has been built. Being second to that is no mean feat.

A trio of top 1911 CO2 designs, the new Barra 1911 (rear) is a more authentically designed version of the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS (front). The odd gun in the group, meaning not a Rail Gun, is unique in its own design, the Sig Sauer We The People. While the TRS is “based” on a 1911 design (since Swiss Arms does not technically build a centerfire 1911), the Barra and Sig are copied from actual current 1911 centerfire models. What do I mean by technically? San Swiss Arms is part of the L&O conglomerate of companies headquartered in Switzerland that includes Sig Sauer GmbH and Sig Sauer Inc.
The strongest feature of the Swiss Arms TRS is the fact that it is the cleanest looking of all 1911 CO2 models in that it does not have white letter warnings on the slide or frame, like the Umarex Colt licensed Commander Model shown. You can also see that two guns share a lot of the same parts.

As for velocity (again with a more powerful magazine than comes with the gun), the Barra 1911 it is equal to the Colt Commander and, like all the rest, falls well short of the Sig Sauer. The Umarex, though nicely done, has always been a tossup for authenticity being misnamed a Commander and have the SF arrow on the thumb safety as well as white letter markings, etc. It does bear the Colt name and that’s still worth a lot in sales appeal. The Swiss Arms TRS does not exactly duplicate a Colt model but is the cleanest looking between the Umarex and Barra, but only the Barra 1911 is truly an authentic copy of a Colt 1911 production model. I know, it’s a lot of nit picking for an air pistol, but why make one gun more authentic than another if its not going be part of the decision making when considering a purchase? 

The Sig Sauer 1911 field strips just like a centerfire 1911; a big plus for the airgun’s incomparable authenticity.

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Head to Head

How do you compare two different approaches to the 1911 design like the Sig, Swiss Arms and the Barra, one a contemporary combat model with white dot sights, target hammer, and target trigger on a conventional 1911 flat mainspring housing frame, the others a more updated tactical design with integrated accessory rail, white dot sights, flat mainspring housing, target trigger and standard 1911 trigger, respectively, Delta-style hammer, and extended ambidextrous thumb safeties? They have as much in common as they don’t, the Rail Gun frame being the most important. Why? Because it won’t fit in any conventional 1911 holsters you may have. Of course, they make 1911 Rail Gun holsters, so it’s just another expense to add. Clearly, the new Barra is the equal of the Swiss Arms TRS, but can it stand up in a head to head with the top 1911 for overall handling and accuracy? Time to find out and put the Barra into its proper ranking among 1911 blowback action CO2 models with self-contained CO2 BB magazines.

The new Barra has similar parts internally and filed strips as well. The large coil spring, also used on the Sig is a secondary recoil spring that goes around the barrel (shown on the barrel in the Sig disassembly photo) which helps operate the gun much like a simple blowback action semi-auto that does not use a guide rod and separate recoil spring. The design of CO2 1911s has utilized both systems in their operation since the first Umarex Colt Commander.

When you compare the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS with the Barra 1911 you can see that they are almost the same gun, but the Barra is more authentic in actual design, but only in a few ways. I am a little biased toward the TRS for one reason; Swiss Arms has put an impressive looking air pistol together, (more along the lines of the finish you might get from a Kimber, for example), and produced a 1911 CO2 model that eschews the obligatory white letter warnings. You won’t find them on the TRS. Even Sig Sauer did not achieve that. The only features that distinguish the TRS from the Barra is the finish and target trigger, the Barra has the advantage of the correct accessory rail design and an undercut triggerguard, after that the guns have the exact same features, slide serrations, white dot sights, and ambidextrous thumb safeties and palmswell grip safety an beavertail. For me, it is the fact that the Barra is so much closer to the actual Colt that makes the difference and the lack of markings (as in Colt markings) versus the Swiss Arms name on the TRS. Like I said, it gets really nit picky.

All three guns have the same advantages in sighting, white dot rear and white dot front. Interestingly, the Swiss Arms TRS and Barra both hold center with a 6 o’clock hold, while the Sig tends to shoot a little to the right and needs a POA correction. None of the sights are adjustable for windage.

Let’s start off by shooting the Barra against the TRS. Basically both the same gun with different finishes and a few minor details, you expect the same results. I’m even going to use the same magazine for both guns. Sending rounds downrange at around 314 fps, the Barra put 10 consecutive shots into the 10 and bullseye at 1.625 inches with a best five rounds at 0.875 inches. Bear in mind, POA is still 6 o’clock at the bottom of the 9 ring. I’ve done better with the Barra, but that’s today’s best. With the same magazine in the TRS and same POA I put 10 rounds into an identical spread of 1.625 inches but a best five at 0.625 inches with four overlapping on the edge of the bullseye and one in the bullseye. Overall, it’s a little better than the Barra. Why? Because the TRS has a better, lighter target trigger with a smooth 0.187 inch take up and a trigger pull of 4 pounds, 12.3 ounces. Just enough difference with everything else the same to give the TRS a little edge. But we are essentially confirming that the two guns are almost identical and aesthetics plays the bigger part in deciding which to own.

Scoring third out of three for overall accuracy, the Barra can still keep 10 rounds in the 10 and bullseye.
Shooting a group that is no better overall than the Barra; the TRS has a better trigger and was capable of punching a nice group of four overlapping hits from 21 feet.

Now, the wild card is the Sig Sauer, which is somewhat better built with a traditional 1911 frame, flat mainspring housing, palmswell grip safety and beavertail that is almost identical in shape (though not construction or color) to both the TRS and Barra 1911 models. But there is something in the total internal construction of the Sig that allows it to have a much higher average velocity that is at least 21 fps better than the Barra and almost 30 fps faster than the TRS.

Despite having to slightly correct POA, the Sig is still the most accurate of current 1911 CO2 models. The cluster at 2 o’clock in the bullseye and 10-ring contains seven out of 10 shots inside 0.5 inches. The higher velocity, target trigger, and balance of the gun in the hand all contribute to consistent accuracy. It feels the most like a real 1911 of the three, but if you want an accessory rail for a laser sight, this is not your gun.

At 21 feet using the same Swiss Arms/Tanfoglio magazine I put 10 rounds into a spread of 1.125 inches with a best five (actually seven) in one ragged hole measuring 0.50 inches, the best group I have ever had with Sig. What makes the difference is that this is a heftier, more solid feeling gun in the hand (even when you rack the slide) with a light target trigger and a pull of 4 pounds, 9.5 ounces. The Sig has been and remains the gun to beat, but the Barra is certainly in the running against the TRS, and for a smoothbore BB gun, well worth the price of ownership with a suggested retail of $109.99.

21 thoughts on “Barra 1911 vs. Sig Sauer WTP and Swiss Arms TRS”

  1. Denis
    Your remark in paragraph 3 about the TRS not fitting any standard 1911 holsters is mistaken. Please see the attached photo of a Cytac Taurus 24/7 polymer holster which seems to fit ’em all

    • Red,

      Yes, there are holsters that fit them both but I am referring to the majority of 1911 holsters out there made to fit the the traditional frame, including most shoulder holsters. There is no shortage of holsters to fit the Rail Guns, but if you have pre-rail gun holsters for a 1911, they won’t fit. That was what I was saying. Does the Level 1 locking feature on the 24/7 work with the Swiss Arms TRS? Cytac makes some nice injection molded rigs. That’s a good choice.


      • Denis
        Just noticed my first answer didn’t post! Sorry about that.
        The Level 1 locking feature works with all the Swiss Arms 1911’s as well as the Tanfoglio witness and its Swiss Arms copy from many years ago, the Commander and the Sig WTP are perfect fits as well.

  2. A few things. One Barra has moved from blister pack to serious, but the 1912 deserves a better mag. Two Umarex is falling behind. The Commander, which as stated it is not, deserves an upgrade, as does the Colt 1911 lineup. The Sig is king but in today’s political environment the demand for a patriotic pistol is in the lowest point ever. They should offer a plain blue version

    • Even if you like the artwork, which I agree is too much like what certain violent groups sort of took over, it’s very busy and doesn’t seem comfortable.

      The first one to put adjustable sights, and a normal finish is going to sell a lot of units.

    • Umarex seems to be going in other directions and some very good ones for 2021 further down the road, but yes a 1911 upgrade would be nice from Umarex. It is very unfortunate that current political events have hijacked the patriotic themes of the Sig Sauer, not to mention the Constitution, but even so, I agree it is time for Sig to offer the same quality 1911 with a traditional finish. The WTP has had a good run; a new model would be nice for 2021.


  3. Patriotic themed firearms are a dead duck. Another way to demonize firearms and those who own them, unless of course you are burning stores and setting up your own autonomous zone and patrol it with an AK . But I digress. Rather than the WTP, SIG will do better with a plain finish . Umarex looks like it will be offering a new classic revolver with the best blue finish to ever show up on an airgun, but I will leave that to Dennis.

    • You really can’t compare looting a target to trying to overthrow an election.
      One is criminal the other is treason at worst and sedition at best.

      Americans who believe in democracy and the rule of law need to take those symbols back.

      I agree a plain model from Sig would sell like mad.

    • I just saw an Umarex blog announcing a licensed Smith & Wesson M29 revolver for 2021. Is that the one you are referring to?

      The same blog also announced that Umarex is introducing a Legends M3 Grease Gun with full auto capabilities this year.

      • Yes the S&W model 29 in 177 bb. It has a bright blue electroplated finish. It has S&W Diamond pattern checkered target stocks . The barrel is 8. 3/8, hopefully they will offer a 6 1/2 barrel and rifled barrel versions as well . I see no reason they couldn’t offer the high polish finish on the Peacemakers. Have been pushing for the grease gun, glad to see it is coming. Could an STG 43/44 be coming ? Finally some more classics

        • I’m still waiting for my copy of the new Airgun Hobbyist. I think it may be lost in the mail system. I’ve also had some December issues of Chemical and Engineering News arrive late in the last week.

          • I am hoping this will pave the way for more classic S&W revolvers. On the N frame a 1917. On the K frame 2 1/2 and 4 inch model 19, model 10 and parkerized Victory. Lot of potential.

  4. That M29; B.B firing at 425 fps out of an 8+ inches barrel. Is it certain that S&W approved production? Dirty Harry wouldn’t.
    Umarex should try better than this. Rifled barrel, pellets, 5 fpe, .22 cal.
    And optional real wood grips.

    • Agree the revolver deserves a rifled pellet barrel and maybe a 22 option. It is time for more serious power even at the expense of 10-20 less shots per co2. Remember the Peacemakers were rolled out as smoothbores. Looks like they are doing the same here.

  5. I may add that we are talking about a power benchmark in handgun history…
    If it’s an exact copy They could get away with 4.5 cal, even with the faux wood grips, since we could swap them, but NOT the power.
    5 fpe SHOULD be.

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