Sig Sauer Max Michel 1911 blowback BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig Sauer Max Michel BB pistol
Max Michel 1911 BB pistol from Sig Sauer.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Loading the CO2 cartridge
  • Daisy BBs
  • Sig BBs
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Sig CO2 cartridge
  • Blowback is heavy
  • Trigger pull
  • Overall evaluation

Today we look at the velocity of the Sig Sauer Max Michel 1911 blowback BB pistol. Let’s get right to it.

Loading the CO2 cartridge

The CO2 cartridge loads differently than any I have encountered. Remove the left grip panel and pull up on bottom of the flat mainspring housing to unlatch, then swing the housing out of the grip and down under the grip. Now the large end of the cartridge must be inserted into the grip first. There are two flanges at the bottom of the hole in the grip that are too small for the cartridge to pas through, so the large end has to be inserted above them and then dropped inside the grip. That’s the first departure from the norm, but there is one more.

The mainspring housing is now swung back into position, but it stops when the piercing pin contacts the small end of the cartridge. You must squeeze the housing back into place. When you do this a roller bearing on the mechanism forces the cartridge up against the piercing pin, completing the procedure. This is one time where reading the manual will definitely help. I lost a little gas while I learned how to do this the first time.

Daisy BBs

The first BBs I loaded were Daisy Premium Grade BBs. The first shot went out at 397 f.p.s. They averaged 375 f.p.s. for 10 shots. I waited 10-15 seconds between every shot, but the velocity dropped in a straight line. Shot 9 was the slowest, at 361 f.p.s. So the spread for 10 shots was 36 f.p.s.

Sig BBs

Sig sent me a plastic bag of BBs with the pistol. They also sent a package of 15 CO2 cartridges, so I think they also plan to market BBs under their name and the packaging was just not ready when they sent me the gun. I loaded 10 Sig BBs next and continued the velocity test. Once again I waited 10-15 seconds between shots. These BBs averaged 381 f.p.s., with a low of 360 (last shot) and a high of 404 f.p.s. (first shot). The spread was 44 f.p.s.

Hornady Black Diamond BBs

The last BB I tested was the Hornady Black Diamond BB. On the first try these BBs averaged 350 f.p;.s. but that was because the CO2 was exhausted. The low was 305 f.p.s. and the high was 397 f.p.s. — again with a 10-15 second delay between shots. But I knew that was not an accurate test. so I exhausted the gas, getting a total of 46 shots from the gun before the gas pressure was no powerful enough to cycle the slide for the blowback. Then I installed a fresh cartridge.

Sig CO2 cartridge

The second cartridge I installed went better because I now understood the slightly strange procedure for piercing the cartridge. No gas was lost this time. And this one was a Sig cartridge. This I retested the Hornady Black Diamond BBs. This time they averaged 408 f.p.s. with a low of 386 f.p.s. and a high of 427 f.p.s. That’s a 41 f.p.s. spread.

After the first test I started seeing how many shots I could get from the cartridge by shooting and then waiting 5 minutes or more between shots. Shot number 37 was a Hornady BB at 395 f.p.s. After that shot the velocity started dropping. Shot number 40 was 381 f.p.s. Shot 45 was 327 f.p.s. Then I waited 2 hours before shot number 46, which went out at 315 f.p.s. The gun was clearly out of gas at this point. It went to 55 shots before the slide would no longer cycle the gun.

That’s 46 shots total on the first CO2 cartridge and 55 shots on the second one. This pistol uses a lot of gas to cycle that heavy slide.

Blowback is heavy

The slide is all metal and heavy so the blowback impulse is also heavy. The feeling is not unlike a .22 rimfire pistol when it’s fired.

Trigger pull

The trigger feels like a two-stage trigger, but that seems to be slop in the trigger linkage. Of course the hammer must be cocked for the trigger to work, so it’s really a single stage. The trigger breaks at a rather heavy 6 lbs. 6 oz. and there is some creep in the pull.

Overall evaluation

I hadn’t expected the gas consumption to be so high. A shooter will go through a lot of cartridges with this pistol. The trigger seems heavy for a competition gun.

The blowback does seem very realistic. It’s the most realistic blowback I have seen in many years of testing.

The next test will tell all. Accuracy trumps everything!

35 thoughts on “Sig Sauer Max Michel 1911 blowback BB pistol: Part 2”

    • Siraniko,

      If this pistol is exceptionally accurate, then yes, I would say that. Because with accuracy I can really train. But if not, then this will be an air pistol that came close in looks but failed to deliver.

      The recoil means the shooter will have to learn to deal with it on the fly. That is where the training comes in. But the pistol has to be able to keep its shots within an inch or so at 5 meters, or all the value of the heavy blowback is lost, because when you do recover from the recoil there’s only a chance you will hit your next target. We don’t want a chance. We want skill.

      We shall see.


  1. B.B.,

    Off-topic, but I noticed the new Air Venturi V10. I can’t find in the description, specs, reviews or questions section the answer to an important question: does it have true dry-fire capability? I can always fashion left-handed grips for one, but “no dry-fire” to me translates to “no sale.” If you happen to know, or if you could easily find out, it would be appreciated.

    Thanks very much,


  2. B.B.,

    This Max Michel Sig does intrigue me now, because while I have a handful of blowback air pistols (Mauser broomhandle, P08, and a Gamo PT-85), I would like to get one that has blowback that approaches a real .22LR, so as you point out, it this is accurate . . . well, Christmas is coming soon, after all. :^)


  3. I love these blow back replica pistols, looking thru the catalog I’m like a kid in a candy store overwhelmed by the selection. With one exception no.22 caliber. Do you think that will ever be available as an option. I can understand with the short barrels and the blowback action in the semi autos that there might not be enough power for a larger cal pellets. But how about the revolvers, a buntline in .22 would satisfy my itch.

    • Coduece,

      Considering the low power provided by most of these powerplants I am not surprised that there is no .22 readily available. The best and most powerful semi-automatic in .22 I can think of is the Crosman 600 pistol which B.B. recently reviewed. If one were available when funds become much easier to spend I would purchase without much thought.

      Majority of these pistol manufacturers come from an airsoft background with relatively low velocity 6mm 3 grain plastic balls which is not that big a leap to a steel BB weighing in around 5 grains. Redesigning an existing powerplant to push a +15 grain lead pellet at a respectable speed is going to be an exercise leading to a gas hog giving you around 20 shots with minimal sales which dissuades manufacturers from making one in the first place.


    • Coduece,

      I just realized that once the masses grow old they might also want .22 caliber because that size is far easier to handle for arthritic fingers.

      Here’s to hoping it happens sooner for them.


  4. I agree with others on here and would love a .22 cal blowback. I’d even take a .22 non blowback if it was a repeater. Crosman and Daisy used to produce them (Daisy’s looked like a Beretta copy if memory serves me right). That said, everyone loved the Crosman 600 and rightfully so as I like it too! But my favorite that I’d like is the forgotten Crosman 451. It’s a 1911 looking .22 cal with blow back. I’ve never gotten the chance to see one in real life, only from some reviews, including one by James House. That gun is also a gas hog. http://www.co2airguns.net/Collection/Crosman%20451/profile_left.jpg

  5. I guess the more realistic your blowback, the more gas you will lose. Realism may be fun, but I wonder how important it is to training beyond a certain point. My airgun skills seem to translate to firearms that are nothing like my airguns. On the subject of gas, I was just reading about the chemical composition of gunpowder. It seems that the gases releases on discharge are carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Bearing in mind that the air for pcps is mostly nitrogen, it would seem that firearms and airguns at bottom are the same.

    B.B., I’m no expert on tuning, but the question of tuning a gas spring gun like the AR8 is a teachable moment. Whatever goes into tuning, I had thought it was not confined to the mainspring. The features of the spring including its size and stiffness are fixed. So presumably there is something else you can do to the gun. Since the piston is what transfers the spring’s energy and is presumably responsible for the vibration and forward recoil, perhaps there is something to do to modify its velocity and cushion its impact. Maybe a thin rubber ring on the contact surface. 🙂 Otherwise, how about truing and refitting all the parts and lubricating them.


    • Matt,

      Most gas springs are unitized with the piston, and the tolerances are less than a thousandth of an inch. At least the good ones are like that. Nothing a home tuner can do will improve them

      If you have a cheaply made Chinese gas spring that is really sloppy (several thousandths clearance) then skimming with PTFE patches can do something.

      But gas springs are not like coiled steel mainsprings.


  6. The interesting part of this pistol is that it has heavy blowback and 400 fps. I would prefer less shots with more velocity.I had my Crosman 600 tuned to get over400 fps with standard barrel .I get around 25 shots per powerlet . I get them at Walmart $17 for 40. A lot of of the so called extra shots are almost nonfunctional dribbling shots in many pistols .Would be interesting to see if other pistols can maintain this type ofbliwback and velocity

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