Sig Sauer 1911 Tacops Carry .45 ACP

A custom quality firearm at a factory price.

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When most people think of Sig Sauer pistols, they normally think about some of their all-time great double action handguns - the P226, which is the official duty handgun of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies across the U.S., as well as the U.S. Navy SEAL's, the P229, which in its M11 configuration is nearly identical to the U.S. military's secondary issue handgun, and now the P320, which was selected in January of this year to replace famed Beretta M9 as our service standard issue handgun. Single action 1911 style pistols may not immediately come to mind-which is a shame, because SIG makes some great ones. The 1911 TACOPS Carry .45 is one those great pistols.

Before going into detail on the SIG 1911 TACOPS, let me throw this out for your consideration. If you are planning on purchasing a 1911, you may want to consider purchasing it from a manufacturer who makes handguns selected for our military, law enforcement, and specialized elite forces the world over. You will find the same quality built into SIG's 1911's as there is in the rest of their justly famous line.

The TACOPS Carry is basically a "Commander Size" 1911 - which means that its frame is full-size, while the barrel and slide is a shorter 4.25 inches in length, rather than 5 inches like the "full-size" 1911's. While 3/4 of an inch reduction in overall length doesn't sound like much, it really does make a difference in terms of concealability and comfort. The slide, barrel, and frame are all constructed of stainless steel, which is the foundation of building a rust resistant handgun. The slide and frame are black Nitron finished, which further adds to corrosion resistance. This is about as good as it gets in terms of weather proofing and appearance. The frame has a built in accessory rail for the addition of lights and laser sights.

The slide of the TACOPS features wide rear cocking serrations, and is topped with SIGLITE three-dot Tritium night sights. The rear sight has a Novak style slant to help prevent snagging. One thing you will notice about the slide is that SIG 1911's use an external extractor mounted in the slide on the right side. Smith and Wesson also uses this style extractor. While not original to the 1911 design, many folks feel that it enhances reliability. Until not too many years ago, most 1911 pistols firing blanks in the movies weren't Colt .45's. Blank technology then available for the low pressure .45 ACP cartridge wouldn't cycle the slide. What you were actually seeing on-screen were stand-ins for actual Colts-9mm Spanish Star 1911 style handguns - which were fine handguns in their own right. 9mm blanks worked well in these guns, and you can tell where they were substituted for Colts because you will see the same external extractor that is now used in the SIG lineup. The Star 9mm "stunt" pistols could be regularly seen in episodes of M*A*S*H* as well as in movies such as the Untouchables.

The SIG TACOPS features a number of custom enhancements beyond the basic features I just described. One of those extra features are ambidextrous extended manual safety levers. While I personally don't normally seek this feature in 1911's being right handed, ambidextrous manual safeties can come in handy during law enforcement firearms qualifications requiring both right and left hand stages of fire.

While ambidextrous manual safeties help, they don't make the TACOPS a truly ambidextrous pistol, since the slide release lever is not ambidextrous. It is however, an enhanced release making manipulation by the right hand shooting thumb much easier, which helps those of us with medium or smaller hands. The magazine release, while also not ambidextrous, is slightly raised above the standard position, which again, makes activation easier-requiring less twisting of the shooting hand to reach it. The grip safety has an extended beavertail to protect against hammer bite, and a "memory bump" for positive activation. Speaking of hammer bite, the oblong hammer is skeletonized and is just a bit longer than the original Commander rowel style hammer.

The bottom of the frame features a bolted on mag funnel to speed reloading. Speaking of reloading, the SIG TACOPS comes with four (not a misprint) stainless steel eight round magazines, complete with bumper pads (required for easy insertion in the extended magazine funnel). In a time when many pistols are sent out with only one magazine, getting four magazines with a pistol of any price range or type is an excellent bargain. The grooved synthetic ERGO XT grips with SIG medallion are not only striking in appearance, but really aid in control of the TACOPS during firing.

I test fired the TACOPS Compact at the Vance Outdoors Shooting Range using two different types of SIG Elite Performance .45 ACP ammunition-230 grain Elite Ball practice ammo rated at 830 FPS, and 200 grain V-Crown JHP defensive ammo rated at 918 FPS.

This is one shootable handgun. The all steel frame and 38 ounce weight and fine line checkering on the front and straps work together to keep recoil and recovery controllable. Accuracy was top flite thanks in part to the crisp single action trigger pull and the skeletonized aluminum long trigger. Firing at an NRA B-27 Silhouette target standing with a two hand grip, six shot groups in the 2 to 2.5 inch range were easily managed with both loads. My best six shot group at 30 feet was 1.5 inches using the Elite Ball ammo, with four shots in one hole, and the remaining two in another. There were zero malfunctions with either load.

The SIG Sauer TACOPS Carry model combines the best of all 1911 features in one reasonably priced gun. If you don't like this particular SIG 1911, there are currently 24 variants listed on the SIG website. The TACOPS Carry has an MSRP of $1221, but should be available for closer to $1000.