Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical Operations Review
There is no more of an iconic American handgun like the 1911. For a century now, shooters have sworn by it and for the 100 years of its existence, the 1911 has set the standard for auto-loading pistols. From functional design elements to ergonomics, almost every single auto pistol has adopted some sort of attribute from John Moses Browning’s design from over 100 years ago. Gun manufacturers have made and produced a huge variety of 1911s ranging from different calibers to various sizes, but many feel the quintessential American auto-loading pistol has to be the full size, steel framed, .45 ACP 1911 such as the new 1911 Tactical Operations from Sig Sauer.
A plethora of companies manufacture them but when you hear 1911, the common 1911 makers that usually immediately pop in your head are Colt, Springfield Armory, or Kimber (for me at least). So last year when Sig Sauer released the 1911 TACOPS (Tactical Operations), just by looking at it, I had a feeling that I would be adding another name to that short list of must have 1911s. We’ve had the Sig 1911 TACOPS for two months now, shot what seems like an endless amount of rounds through it, and we’re ready to tell Gunblog.com readers that when you hear 1911, the name Sig Sauer should pop in your head as well.
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The Sig Sauer 1911 TACOPS was designed to be a straight up tactical pistol for law enforcement or military, which usually means the civilian market will like them that much more. Everything on this updated American classic handgun feels like Sig hit all of its goals for creating durable, controllable, and comfortable handgun aimed for markets that demand those attributes in their sidearm. Sig Sauer did an excellent job of adding some needed improvements to the traditional platform while simultaneously retaining classic elements that make 1911s great. Along with the must have demands of a tactical 1911, the Sig 1911 TACOPS also hosts some out of the box extras that shooters will truly appreciate.
Opening up the nice black compact case of the Sig 1911 TACOPS , new owners will see the usual accoutrement associated with a new handgun like a gun lock, fitted case, manuals and so forth, but what is truly nice with Sig’s 1911 is that they thrown in 4 magazines. Most manufacturers of 1911s will only include 1 magazine, maybe you’ll see one spare, and so seeing 3 extra magazines was a nice bonus. The case it comes with is as nice as it is practical; a lot of factory gun cases (including Sigs themselves) seem to have cases that are unnecessarily large and bulky—the Sig Sauer 1911 factory case is a perfect size for the gun with no unnecessary girth and it features foam cutouts for the pistol and the extra magazines. Shooters also have the option to install the 4 included magazine bumpers which add some length to the base of the magazine, which I would recommend doing.
Gripping the Sig Sauer TACOPS feels just like handling your standard 1911 with some very pleasant and robust differences. First off, the TACOPS has a very solid feel while at the same time being slightly lighter with a weight of 41.6 ounces (2.6 pounds) fully loaded compared to its counterpart over at Springfield, the Operator, which weighs a smidge over that while unloaded. The second noticeable aspect when first picking up the TACOPS is the Ergo TX grips, they feel as good on the pistol as they are at making the pistol look great. The grips almost completely eliminate an operators hands slipping or shifting. Along with the ERGO XT grips, the front strap and the rear of the SIG TACOPS are checkered contributing to a nice confident grip.
The Sig TACOPS was built to take a beating that SWAT or military personal would give it, and while handling the TACOPS, it quickly becomes apparent that Sig accomplished this objective. Everything from the solid barrel bushing to the steel frame echoes the qualities that have been synonymous with Sig Sauer. The standard length steel recoil spring guide, the solid aluminum match trigger, the raised beaver tail grip, and an ambidextrous safety add to the continuous excellence that is presented with Sig Sauer’s 1911 TACOPS.
The ambidextrous safety seems to be a bit slimmer on similar models that feature an ambi-safety. The right hand side of the safety also appears to be closer to the slide than on the side. While both safeties have a very distinct and positive feel, the safety on the right hand side (which would be utilized by left handed shooters, or right handed shooters in the offhand position) is a little bit more difficult to engage or disengage. It’s still feasible to operate it, but I believe due its shorter profile, combined with my off hand (or weak hand) use, it makes it slightly more difficult to engage/disengage when compared to the other side. Again, it’s functional, and in no way prohibits purposeful use of the ambi-safety, but when compared to the other side of the safety, there is a noticeable difference between the two actuations.
Sig Sauer’s perspective on a tactical 1911 proves to be parallel with their market’s expectations. Along with the previously stated features the 1911 TACOPS hosts Novak three dot night sights, a picatinny rail for mounting a tactical light or laser, and a nicely flared magwell. The flared magwell lends itself well to fast and accurate magazine changes, even more so if the magazine bumper extensions are installed on the factory 8 round magazines—it makes it easier to seat the magazine with the added length of the bumpers since the magwell does protrude outward making the magwell almost flush with the standard magazine.
The finishing touches on the Sig TACOPS’s build relates to the the slide. Shooters that are familiar with the 1911 will notice that the slide is a bit different from traditional 1911s with its slightly wider profile and smoother lines—I personally feel it adds a Sig Sauer element to the classic firearm. The rear of the slide is serrated while keeping the front smooth with only the Sig Sauer engravings on the left side. The most noticeable feature of the slide is the external extractor versus a traditional internal extractor commonly seen on virtually every 1911. The external extractor combined with the long list of features on Sig Sauer’s 1911 Tactical Operations come together in harmonious fashion making for a great day at the range.
The Sig Sauer 1911 TACOPS looks great and comes with a long list of out of the box features; however, all of that is secondary to one needed inarguable aspect, reliability. There’s multiple facets to reliability—reliability to function, reliability with consistency, and the reliability to be accurate. Reliability is what ultimately makes a tactical firearm truly tactical. Forget about rails, lights, lasers, or “things that go up,” the one characteristic of a firearm that is most important to a professional operator is the ability for it to work like it should work when he or she needs it to work the most. From our two months that we’ve been shooting the Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical Operations, it has proved to embrace all these facets of reliability, fully justifying Sig’s use of the term “tactical” to its new 1911.
As mentioned before, we shot a variety of ammunition through the Sig 1911 TACOPS. Mostly 230 grain, since that is what will most commonly be used with the firearm along with some 185 grain jacket hollow points. The Sig Sauer 1911 TACOPS cycled and shot every single round we put through it with virtually no errors due to the pistol itself. Even after an extended 700 round range session the only malfunctions experienced with the Sig 1911 TACOPS were mostly due to operator error (mine).
With a high round count, I’ve found that a lot of 1911s will sometimes, just like with all firearms, experience a decrease in function. The most noticeable malfunction I’ll see at this point with 1911s is usually a failure to extract. It seems that Sig Sauer has greatly reduced this likelihood with its external extractor—with over 2,500 rounds through the Sig 1911 TACOPS, I never experienced a failure to extract. The only malfunction, due to the trigger interface (aka me), was a failure to battery. After about the 500 round mark, the slide doesn’t have that liquid-like motion as it did when freshly cleaned and lubed; therefore, it requires a good solid power stroke rack to fully seat slide when dirty. This happened to me twice, both times after the 500 round mark and while using less than premium ammunition. There were no other failures during our review, no failure to ejects, no stove pipes, and no failure to feeds.
We also used Chip McCormick 10 round power plus magazines with the Sig TACOPS since we figured so many 1911 shooters use them. As expected, the Sig Sauer 1911 TACOPS performed flawlessly with them; I actually prefer them to the included magazines. Not to say there was anything wrong with the Sig factory 1911 magazines, but I do take away a little warm and fuzzy knowing there’s two more rounds available and plus the Power+ magazines seem to seat rather well in the Sig 1911 TACOPS.
The match trigger on the Sig TACOPS fully deserves the nomenclature of “match,” and helps validate the term tactical to be applied to the pistol. There is very little slack and virtually no creep whatsoever with its approximately 5 lb. pull and the break is glass like. Trigger reset on the TACOPS is adequately short, but it does have some spring to it on the return. With all the great features the TACOPS hosts, the trigger is by far my favorite component of the handgun, and it is the one aspect that fully lends itself to the incredible accuracy experienced with the Sig TACOPS during our review.
Accuracy with the Sig 1911 TACOPS is so outstanding it’s almost misleading. Not in the sense to where the pistol itself isn’t accurate, instead misleading the shooter that he or she is actually that good of a shot. Turning one small hole into a slightly bigger hole with the Sig 1911 TACOPS was almost an effortless task. From fifteen yards away, I was able to consistently see daylight with my groups on the paper. With almost any ammunition I put through it as well. There were some small variations with the groups, but nothing really noteworthy. The best I had was a >2” group with HPR FMJ 230 grain ammunition from 15 yards away, with a couple of fliers (again, the trigger interface’s fault).
Sig Sauer’s new 1911 TACOPS is comfortable to shoot as well. The grips really lend itself to the confidence while operating the handgun. There’s no slip when shooting and the high beavertail grip safety does a good job of reducing muzzle rise allowing to take advantage of that superb accuracy with easily placed follow-up shots. Those extended range sessions seemed to go by a little faster than normal since the 1911 TACOPS was so enjoyable and comfortable to shoot.
The only thing that was lacking with the Sig Sauer 1911 TACOPS at the range was an endless supply of .45 ACP, because I felt assured that this workhorse of a 1911 would spit it all out with no problems. The TACOPS’s dependability parallels its accuracy; I wouldn’t normally call a pistol a tack driver, but if the tack is within 25 or so yards, I’d be able to drive it with the Sig 1911 TACOPS, and that’s more than I can say for a lot of handguns out there.
There are endless choices when choosing a 1911 handgun and usually price is going to reflect what you get. The combined features of the Sig Sauer 1911 TACOPS along with its reliability and performance make the MSRP of around $1,200 completely justifiable, especially when compared to other 1911s on the market. Now while I don’t see it as a “must buy bargain,” I do believe the TACOPS‘s features, reliability and performance are parallel with its price point. I would readily place the Sig Sauer 1911 TACOPS in the same category as the more expensive Kimbers that are aimed at the same tactical demographic.
The Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical Operations proved itself in its entirety to be added to the list of incredible handguns and showed that Sig Sauer should come to mind when talking about 1911s. A virtually error free experience combined with ego boosting accuracy made the 1911 TACOPS go towards the high end of my list of favorite handguns. Sig Sauer successfully combined its own signature styling with an iconic American classic handgun while simultaneously providing reliance and accuracy resulting in a tactical 1911 that genuinely deserves the title tactical.