Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical

Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical Part 3

Taking a Second Look

By Dennis Adler

The CO2-powered Sig Sauer has a skeletonized aluminum alloy target trigger with vertically serrated shoe and over travel adjustment. The diamond checkered rubber Tac Master grips give the pistol a secure, tactile hold with the wraparound frontstrap panel. It is shown with a Galco Combat Master belt holster for the Sig Sauer P226. The 1911 rail gun also fits this rig as well as several other offered by Galco.

The CO2-powered Sig Sauer has a skeletonized aluminum alloy trigger with over travel adjustment. The diamond checkered rubber Tac Master grips give the pistol a secure, tactile hold with the wraparound frontstrap panel. It is shown with a Galco Combat Master holster for the Sig Sauer P226. The Sig 1911 rail gun also fits this rig with the muzzle extenting about an inch out of the bottom. Galco also has Government Model-sized rail gun holsters.

Back in the October 14th Airgun Experience, the Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical was put to the test against the Umarex Colt Model 1911 Commander. The Sig’s modern rail gun design and ambidextrous extended thumb safeties gave the .177 caliber airgun a tactical handling advantage over the standard 1911A1 design used on the Umarex Colt Commander. But where the Sig came up short was in reliability. And that was strictly a function; or rather malfunction, of the self contained CO2 and BB magazines for the Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical.

Note the Sig Sauer’s accurate frame design with flat mainspring housing, palmswell grip safety, upswept beavertail, Delta-style skeletonized hammer and extended ambidextrous thumb safeties.

The .177 caliber Sig Sauer has an accurate frame design with flat mainspring housing, palmswell grip safety, upswept beavertail, Delta-style skeletonized hammer, and extended ambidextrous thumb safeties. The top of the slide is also marked .45 ACP for authenticity.

While both the Colt and Sig use self contained CO2 BB magazines, their design is different, and they are not interchangeable. At first glance, they look the same internally but the O-rings used in the Colt magazine are larger and of a different design, as is the metal retaining ring surrounding it, and the CO2 cartridge piercing pin/CO2 nozzle is also slightly different in design; two different manufacturers, with two different approaches to the internal components of their self contained CO2 BB magazines. Over the past several years conducting numerous tests of the Umarex Colt Commander, I have never had a magazine failure or a failed O-ring.

Using a 4.25 inch smoothbore barrel, (0.75 inches shorter than the .45 ACP models) the .177 caliber version of the Sig Sauer 1911 TacOps uses 18-shot, drop free self contained CO2 and BB magazines.

The airgun has a 4.25 inch smoothbore barrel, (0.75 inches shorter than the .45 ACP models) and uses an 18-shot, drop free self contained CO2 BB magazine. The airgun comes with one, but you’ll need to order several more. 

The Sig comes with one 18-round magazine, and back in October I tested the gun with that magazine plus an additional one ordered separately. Both had the same problem resulting in the slide seeming to drag on the blowback action and the air running out prematurely. The Sig also came up a little less accurate than the Colt Commander with a best 10 shots at 2.24 inches from a distance of 21 feet. The Commander’s best 10 measured 1.875 inches and clearly outperformed the Sig. Handling the Colt and Sig 1911 models was essentially the same, with the only functional advantage of the Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical being its ambidextrous safeties. The greater appeal is in the dustcover accessory rail, but only if you are going to mount a tactical light/laser combo for improved accuracy. The latter is difficult to achieve if the CO2 is dropping like molten lead in a shot tower.

The Magazine advantage

When the O-rings in a CO2 pistol wear out and need to be replaced, it is a fair amount of work, and some airguns have O-rings that cannot be replaced. The one big advantage of the latest blowback action CO2 pistols is that most use self contained CO2 BB magazines. The good news here is that a bad O-ring is just a bad magazine, not necessarily a bad gun. This proved to be the case with the Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical. The two original magazines were a total fail even after reseating the O-rings. Both leaked CO2 and the gun began to fail after the first magazine was empty (18 shots) with the slide dragging, and finally not able to re-cock the hammer.

the O-rings used in the Colt magazine are larger and of a different design, as is the metal retaining ring surrounding it, and the CO2 cartridge piercing pin/CO2 nozzle is also slightly different in design

The O-rings used in the Umarex Colt 1911 magazine (right) are larger and a different design, as is the metal retaining ring surrounding it. The CO2 cartridge piercing pin/CO2 nozzle is also slightly different in design.

The smaller design O-ring on the Sig Sauer magazine and different retaining ring contour may be the culprit in the problem with poor CO2 to magazine seals and failue to opperate the gun at top efficiency.

The smaller design O-ring on the Sig magazine (left) and different retaining ring contour may be the culprit in the poor CO2-to-magazine seals and failure to operate the gun at top efficiency. The O-ring does not seat as completely around the CO2 cartridge’s nozzle and there is a tendency for CO2 to leak from the magazine. Reseating the O-ring failed to improve magazine function. 

The new replacement magazine looked exactly the same. Inside around the O-ring (as compared to the original magazines after reseating the O-rings) there was no difference in appearance, only the new magazine performed perfectly through three complete reloads.

The Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical performed flawlessly with the new magazine.

The Sig Sauer 1911 performed flawlessly with the new magazine. A second was loaded and ready in a custom magazine pouch worn on the left side.

The Sig Sauer is a quick reload and each of the new magazines perfromed without fail through three reloads.

The Sig Sauer is a quick reload and each of the new magazines performed without fail through three reload tests.

The Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical also saw immediate improvement in performance, a more robust recoil, 319 fps average velocity (with an ambient temperature of 56 degrees, a high of 325 fps and a low of 310 fps), and much better accuracy at 21 feet with a best 10 rounds in the 10 and X-bull measuring 1.50 inches. The previous best 10 had measured 2.24 inches.

at 21 feet with a best 10 rounds in the X-bull measuring 1.50 inches. The previous best 10 had measured 2.24 inches.

At 21 feet the Sig delivers a best 10 rounds in the 10 and X-bull measuring 1.50 inches with the new magazine. The previous best 10 had measured 2.24 inches powered by the slowly leaking CO2 BB magazines that originally come with the gun.  

Conclusions

The Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical airgun is a remarkably accurate design, and if I were using a blowback action CO2 air pistol for training or to learn the basics of using a 1911 Rail Gun, the .177 caliber blowback action Sig Sauer is ideal. Even for advanced airgun shooting with a 1911 design, the Sig has it hands down over a stock 1911A1 (unless that is your personal preference). With a good, well functioning magazine this is a better pistol to shoot, offers more features, and has a nearly equal quality of fit and finish. That is a major win for the Sig Sauer 1911 vs. the Colt Commander. As for the magazines, not so much; it is a luck-of-the-draw situation. The Sig Sauer is an excellent airgun with a CO2 BB magazine that is simply not as well designed as those used in the Umarex Colt Commander. On the plus side, this kind of feedback usually results in a better product down the road, and all this gun needs is a better internal O-ring design for the magazines.

On Friday we are back to the plan with the first of a three-part series on two of the most famous WWII handguns, the German P.08 Luger and Russian Makarov.

A word about safety

Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and 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 “Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical

  1. Nice pistol although the magazine appears clunkier and less reliable than the Colt .For a newbie it would be a good starter pistol or for someone who wants the tactical rail pistol as an understudy .For somone like yours truly with 3 Colts and a Remington that share magazines ,it is less appealing


    • I can see that, if you have the Colt and the Remington, which are the same manufacturer and use the same magazines. The Sig Sauer 1911 is a really nice airgun but with a questionable magazine. Even with that corrected, though, it will not be compatible with the Umarex Colt and Remington models, so once you are down that road and have multiple magazines, it’s a lot like being a Nikon or Canon camera owner. Once you have a lot of Nikon lenses, even if Canon makes a better camera, you’re probably not going to get it because none of your Nikon lenses will fit! Been down that road, too!


  2. I think that as the number of airgun buyers increases,and the guns become more realistic and expensive , there needs to be some standardization on magazines and cartridges in the airgun world. If every 1911 45 maker used different magazines, few would buy from different manufacturers. The same with revolvers, could you imagine every Single Action clone of the Colt, or 357/38 revolver using different ammunition ? That is what killed the Schofield. There are now many cartridge using airgun revolvers ,and only a few share compatibility. This should change


    • You are absolutely right and in time it very well may come to some standardization between makers of airguns to use the same magazines. The cartridges are of two different styles, those that load the BB or pellet from the rear, where the primer would usually go, and those that load the BBs from the nose of the cartridge and have more complicated threaded bullet heads that must be unscrewed to load a pellet. I would favor the Umarex approach loading from the rear, which is much faster on single actions. For modern revolvers with speed loaders, it is still easier to group load all six shells from the front.


      • Would standardize on the Umarex bb and pellet shells for single actions ,and for da action the asg type pellet and bb. The new 715 Dan Wesson has shells close to the Umarex ,but when I tried the Umarex pellet shells in the DW they had rims that were too thick and stopped the cylinder from turning. When the Umarex Peacemakers first came out, the instruction manual showed a Dan Wesson/Crosman type shell loading from the front. I still believe they changed to the current rear loading shells to make way for use in a lever gun, that would not reliably cycle the rubber tip rounds.



    • Thanks Harvey. Ended up with two out of four that worked. Pretty sure the manufacturer will address this in short order because tthey have a really well made gun and it shouldn’t suffer from failing magazines. In the world of cartridge firing semi-autos, poorly constructed magazines have and do cause similar failures to function, so this is not unique to airguns.


  3. When I bought my first and so far my only blow back gun, it did not work. I purposely bought a refurb hoping any bugs had been cured. After reading this report,going by the symptoms, the magazine may have been the problem. It’s too bad that happened. I’ve seen a couple of others that I would like. However at my age ( 70 in next month) and income level. I hate to wind up dealing with a dud.


    • The odds of dealing with a dud are pretty good, doesn’t happen too often. If you still have your first blowback action pistol (is it a 1911?) you can purchase another magazine from Pyramyd Air and try it. If the gun is not good (always a possibility but not as likely) and you can spring for another blowback action model, I’d recommend the Umarex S&W M&P. It is the best of the best so far in my opinion. As for almost being 70, I’m right in line behind you. The S&W M&P is pretty affordable.



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