“We The People” and “The Right of the People”
By Dennis Adler
Sig’s 1911 CO2 model is not a quiet air pistol, probably a little louder than most blowback action models and it delivers a decent kick when the slide comes back. Not as much as a .22 pistol, but enough to get a feel for shooting a handgun. Like the Sig Sauer 45 ACP Sig 1911 model the air pistol uses the John M. Browning-designed platform of frame, slide, barrel, and recoil system using a recoil spring guide, single recoil spring, recoil spring plug and barrel bushing. The CO2 model follows the same design with internal modifications to accommodate the CO2 firing system which includes an additional lightly wound recoil spring around the barrel, like a blowback action semi-auto. Externally you are experiencing the .45 ACP model when you pick up Sig’s CO2 version of the WE THE PEOPLE. The flat mainspring housing is finely checkered as is the frontstrap, something you will not find on other 1911 CO2 models. Both Sig 1911 models use ambidextrous thumb safeties, the raised palmswell grip safety with extended beavertail and skeletonized hammer also make the CO2 model identical in handling, such as when manually de-cocking or cocking the hammer if a situation dictates that action.
As part of training, setting and releasing the thumb safety on a 1911 is essential. The Sig’s work identically on both guns, and as I have noted before, some CO2 models will still allow the slide to move back even with the safety set. This is incorrect (unless we’re talking about a Colt Mustang based design). The slide on a 1911 should be locked in place with the safety set to SAFE. The safeties on the Sig Sauer click on and off with the same feel and resistance on both guns. This is a training must. The same for the slide release.
WE THE PEOPLE performance
In the original test of the airgun’s trigger, it averaged at 5.7 pounds with 0.187 inches of take up, moderate stacking and a crisp break. Trigger reset takes 0.175 inches, so a full release of the trigger is not necessary to fire again; another plus for the Sig CO2 model. Average trigger pull on the .45 ACP WE THE PEOPLE is 6 pounds 4.5 ounces as set by the factory on this test gun. I made no adjustments to the trigger. Take up is a shorter 0.125 inches with light stacking and a crisp break. Trigger reset takes 0.125 inches, so again a full release of the trigger is not necessary to fire. This shared feature between the .45 ACP and CO2 model is another training plus.
Where they differ is in resistance; manually cocking the hammer on the centerfire model requires more effort than the air pistol, same with racking the slide, but these are both to be expected since the hammer for the airgun is going to be lighter than a centerfire pistol’s, as is the recoil spring resistance, since the CO2 has to generate the recoil effect, while the centerfire model needs a heavy recoil spring to slow the reward motion of the slide after firing. Lastly, the weight differential between the fully loaded .45 ACP WE THE PEOPLE and the CO2 model, 2.9 pounds for the centerfire gun and 2.28 pounds for the air pistol. While not great the difference is something you feel in your hands when shooting. This is accounted for by the airguns alloy frame and slide compared to the centerfire model’s steel frame and slide, and the much greater weight of .45 ACP cartridges to 4.5mm (.177 caliber) steel BBs. It is not a difference, however, that will take anything away from training with the CO2 model.
Sights are the same, technically, white dot combat-style rear and white dot dovetailed front blade. The .45 ACP model is built as a tactical pistol and uses tritium inserts in the sights to allow low light to pitch black sighting capability, essential when moving from outdoors to an indoor environment to maintain or get a sight picture in low light conditions. Tritium, used in night sights, is a radioactive isotope which constantly emits a glow, so they are always on no matter when you need to aim the gun. In a low light situation they’re illuminated. This is like the glowing hour dots on a tactical watch which are also always glowing, you just don’t see them in bright light. Low light training then would not be as easy with the air pistol’s white dot sights, which are the same design but do not have the tritium inserts. (Tritium sights average around $80 to $120). Sig uses larger white dot sights on the WE THE PEOPLE CO2 model than other air pistols and these are real dovetailed sights, the rear locked down by a small hex-head screw. It would be theoretically possible to switch them out for tritium night sights, but not economically realistic.
For the comparison shooting test, the range for the .45 ACP model is going to be 50 feet and 75 feet, for the CO2 model 25 feet. The Sig CO2 model sends its 4.5mm rounds downrange at an average velocity of 329 fps, velocity for the .45 ACP model using Sig Sauer Elite Performance 230 gr. FMJ averages 850 fps, so not exactly a match up there.
Although this has little to do with air pistols, the recoil on the Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE .45 ACP model is remarkably manageable due to the size, weight and balance of the gun. It is one of the smoothest handling .45 ACP models I have come across in quite some time. This almost translates equally to the CO2 WE THE PEOPLE because it is also one of the smoothest handling blowback action 1911 models with just enough tactile feel to the recoil, slide action, safeties and slide release to give you a close approximation of handling its centerfire counterpart.
As for accuracy, it is hard to compare shooting a .45 Auto at 75 feet (25 yards) offhand to a CO2-powered BB version at 25 feet. You expect the 4.5mm air pistol to deliver pretty good accuracy, and it does. My best offhand 5-shot groups shooting at a full size B-27 cardboard silhouette target measured 0.51 inches (a second group of four measured 0.68 inches and I had one flyer at 8 o’clock at the bottom of the 10 ring that opened up my entire 10-shot group to 1.56 inches. From 50 feet the .45 Auto punched its best 5-shot group into 2.25 inches and at 25 yards (75 feet) 2.75 inches. An aggregate of 10 rounds from two different ranges averaged 3.125 inches, and yes if anyone is counting bullet holes there are 12 not 10, the shots at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock at the bottom of the 10 ring were a sixth and seventh round fired in error at 50 feet, (the magazine had 7 rounds in it and I shot until the slide locked back).
At the end of the comparison shooting tests I came away with absolute certainty that the CO2 version is a perfect training pistol for Sig’s .45 Auto model, or for any full size or compact 1911 pistol. And that is as much as anyone can ask from an airgun. Right now at the mid point of the year, the Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE 1911 CO2 model is my choice for Airgun of the Year.