Sig Sauer Spartan BB pistol: Part 1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Sig firearms
- The airgun
- Manual safety
- Full blowback
- Light rail
Today we begin looking at Sig Sauer’s latest BB pistol, the Spartan. It’s a faithful copy of their Spartan 1911 firearm, which has upgraded features that put it ahead of many production 1911s. And it’s made in Japan.
I will say this about Sig firearms — when they decide to make something they don’t cut corners. I never had much contact with them in the past, but since they have started making airguns I have been giving their firearms a look, as well. I am a died-in-the-wool conservative when it comes to firearms. Don’t try to sell me on a process like metal injection molding (MIM) unless it performs better than machining in some way other than just the cost to manufacture.
Some newer readers may not remember the struggle I had with my Taurus PT1911, but until I got rid of the MIM extractor and fitted a machined one from Wilson Combat, it was an unreliable dog. You can read about it here. As a result of that debacle, I pay attention to the construction of new firearms, because there is a lot of cheap manufacturing going on. But at Sig, firearms don’t get out the door unless they are right. Or, at least that is the impression I have from shooting them, examining them and reading about them.
Sure they cost more money, but what difference does that make? If I am buying a firearm for defense, I want it to be right — period! End of report! If you want to save money, cut a slot in the top of your head and become a piggy bank.
The Sig Sauer Spartan, with its stainless steel slide, retails for pennies under $1,400, with street prices all over the place; some as low as $800. That puts it in the same category as other fine production 1911s like Kimber. This is a Series 80 pistol that has a firing pin safety to prevent accidental discharge in case the loaded weapon is dropped. That is a feature I personally don’t care for because it usually impacts negatively on the trigger pull, but military and law enforcement organizations are demanding it these days.
The Sig Spartan 1911 BB pistol is your opportunity to own a Spartan for less than $100. I have to tell you, the heft and feel of this pistol is quite realistic.The only fly in the ointment is a lawyerly manual safety that comes from the airgun world. No firearm would dare have one like it.
The safety has an additional button on top of the conventional thumb safety switch. Apparently the designers really want the shooter to think before he releases that safety. The trick is to treat it differently than a stock 1911 safety. Push the top button down with the soft pad of your thumb and the safety becomes a one-hand control.
There is also a lever on the right of the gun, but it’s only cosmetic. It doesn’t move.
The Spartan is a full blowback (long slide travel) with a metal slide, so I will guess the recoil is quite realistic. On the left side of the slide the words Molan Labe are written in gold Greek letters. The meaning is “Come and take them,” which American gun owners can appreciate, but which is actually the motto of the First Greek Army Corps, as well as the United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).
Of course the blowback cocks the hammer, so this is a true semiautomatic pistol. More on that in the accuracy test.
The grip panels are smooth black (or dark bronze) scales with an ancient Greek helmet and the same words silkscreened in gold on both sides. The front strap is stippled with a uniform fine grid pattern, for a better grip. The Spartan begs to be held correctly — as in a 1911 bullseye hold that I will discuss when we get to the accuracy test.
A Spartan firearm is finished in an oil-rubbed dark bronze Nitron finish. To my colorblind eyes this pistol appears to be one of several colors, depending on the light. It’s either a deep charcoal, or a matte olive or even a light black. I can even see the bronze color in incandescent lighting.
The hammer is a skeletonized Commander profile and rides above a huge beavertail grip safety, designed to protect the web of the hand from the slide in recoil. A high speed bump at the bottom of the safety ensures the safety will always be depressed when the pistol is held correctly. A 1911 grip safety combines with a short floating firing pin to give two of Brownings three positive safety features, making the 1911 safe to carry cocked with a round in the chamber. But many law enforcement agencies don’t think that’s enough and demand the fourth positive firing pin safety that comes with Series 80 pistols.
The sights are fixed combat style, front and rear. There are three white dots that are aligned for a rough sight picture in action shooting. On the firearm they are tritium (radioactive — glow in the dark) but on the BB pistol they are just painted white. But the front blade is wide enough for a bullseye shooter. Can’t wait to get this pistol into accuracy testing.
The trigger will take some getting used to. I can make an argument for it being two-stage, but stage one is extremely short and vague. Instead of a first stage it feels more like there is some play in the linkage. Stage two has a little creep but it breaks relatively cleanly. It feels heavy, like the trigger on a firearm. I think I will learn a lot more in the accuracy test.
The Spartan BB magazine is a 16-shot stick mag that fits in the front of the grip. It drops free when the release is pressed and it holds the slide open after the last BB has been fired.
The CO2 cartridge fits into the grip through the left grip panel. The Spartan uses the same CO2 cartridge mechanism that you saw in the Sig Max Michel 1911 review. In fact there is a lot of similarity between these two pistols.
The frame comes with a light rail that is not found on the firearm. A light rail allows the mounting of accessories like a laser or tactical flashlight for combat use. I have a light rail on my Wilson Combat CQB, but it attaches with screws, where this one is cast into the frame.
Like I said in the beginning, the Spartan offers a lot for a budget price. Of course the operation will prove the pudding, so let’s get this one into the tests!
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